Allsorts (not the licorice ones!) 

Today rosie and I carried on with creative things. We headed off to Slimbridge and spent a while sketching flamingoes. Rosie understandably struggled with the fact that they kept moving, and she wasn’t happy with the way she drew their heads, but i love the way she uses the pencil so she doesn’t get solid lines round the edges, and i love the variety of birds she’s captured with their heads under their wings and their necks twisted up in different ways, and the fact that her sketches have movement in them. It’s really interesting how we view our own work as i really like one of rosie’s pictures that she thought was no good and actually crossed out! 

I had fun trying out my metallic pencils and then getting more adventurous with pens. It was interesting to use slightly different colours because those were the ones I had. I’m a bit annoyed with both my pictures… The first because of the solid line round the edge and the second because I think i ruined it with the baby one flapping and jumping up and down… Mark thought it was a scarecrow!! That said, I’m really pleased with the shape of the flamingo with his head back, and i really like the colours together. 

When we got back we got the henna out. Rosie had never used it on anyone before so she tried a simple design on my foot and then did a more tricky bird design on my other ankle, combining bits of two different pictures in one. 


Rosie then found a floral design she wanted on her arm (so it will be covered by her blazer sleeve when she goes back to school), and i did that for her,adding birds flying across her wrist. 


After that we watched ‘you’ve got mail’ which she’d never seen before (I feel that it’s an important part of my role to educate her in great films)! And i finished off my octopus while we were doing that. His  eyes look weird but as rosie and mark both say ‘a premature baby isn’t going to mind about that’! That said… Next time I make one I think i will leave it without a face at all! 


Rosie worked hard and finished her paper cut too. I’m so proud of her as she’s put tons of time and effort into it and she’s done  a fab job, especially seeing as it’s the first time she’s ever done it. 


it’s been so much fun doing all this with rosie and I’ve loved being able to give her the opportunity to try new things while she’s been here. 

Sketching birds

Hi there, sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been on holiday on  a little island off the west coast of Wales where we didn’t have a lot of Internet, so i waited till we got back to write my blog. Now there’s quite a lot to catch up on! Firstly though, sketching. 

Mark and i went over to Skomer to help digitise their hand written bird logs. This will make it a lot easier for them to analyse trends in birds over the years. Essentially our job was data entry into an Excel spreadsheet, but it was interesting to see what birds the island has had. We inputted data for 1997,1974, 1945, and 1962-4.

In our free time we could wander the island, and we got to see cool birds and wildlife. The island is really important for breeding puffins, and manx shearwater, and it was a priviledge to be allowed to take part in the whole island puffin count on our last day there (there were over 25,000,which is the island’s biggest count so far). Here are a couple of photos to give you an idea :

The view from our office and our kitchen
Puffin count
A manx shearwater taken at night with red light

As planned I took my sketching stuff with me and was more pleased with some results than others. But regardless of the outcome I loved the process of sitting and really looking at the birds and animals. It’s tricky to draw them as they don’t sit still, so you have to observe and remember details, often from more than one subject. Here are my attempts:

Generally my pictures seemed to get worse as the week went on! Adding colour to the oystercatcher didn’t work but maybe because my coloured pencils weren’t very sharp, also the rabbit’s head went totally the wrong shape, even though I focused on it. But never mind, I’m pleased with my puffin and the fulmars.

But i realised i’d been too much of a chicken to sketch in pen. I’m not sure why, as it’s not as if I had a rubber to get rid of mistakes in pencil, but somehow I just wasn’t sure I could use the pen effectively. So today when I had a little outing to Slimbridge I decided to brave it, and i sketched a flamingo in pen. Don’t be deceived by the sleeping pose… It moved after a few minutes of my sketching (and no other flamingoes had their neck in exactly the same shape!) and also another flamingo came and stood in front of it for a while. Plus I was using my binoculars to see it properly, which makes sketching even harder! 

It’s still fun though, and a while back my lovely sister gave me a really pretty recycled bag. Now I use it to keep my sketching stuff in, which means I can bring it all with me to different places a bit more easily. 

Shopping spree

Today after work I treated  myself to a leisurely browse around a craft shop. 45 minutes later I came home with a bag  full of goodies! 

It’s all for a mix of crafts. So i bought a book that was in the magazine section which gives ideas of different crafts and instructions on how to do  them, which I thought  would be good for expanding my creative repertoire! 

I’m not sure about the tea blending, but we’ll see! 

I also bought some funky materials (something I never thought I’d do) and a patchwork ruler, with the aim of making a patchwork pillowcase… Maybe for me, or maybe as a present, I’m not sure yet. I’d  started off picking up a fat quarter of fabrics with birds on but when I saw these I couldn’t resist their brightness, so i put the bird ones back. I couldn’t find the perfect bluey green cotton for sewing them so I got this really cool variegated cotton which I hope will look cool even if my stitches show. 

I bought some fine line drawing pens to go with a small sketchbook I have, as I want to try drawing some birds  over the Easter holidays. 

Also a book of different patterned papers for another idea I’ve had for making pretty pictures,and some new sharp scissors. 

And finally some black cards with some oil pastels for an idea I’ve had for making cards (the fixative is to stop the pastels coming off when they’re touched, and the pens are for writing in the cards… I hope they work-I’ve yet to find a reliable metallic gel pen that writes smoothly). 

I thought that was my final comment but look! 

I just went to put my materials away and discovered that one of them has  little elephants on… It’s even more gorgeous than I already thought. 

So, my current focus is my crochet scarf, but after that it could be any of a number of projects! Have I got you excited about what might be coming up on my blog in the near future?! 😊