Thursday, 1 November 2012

Presenting the new Finch Five Website and blog!

I have finally made the Finch Five website live!!! This is a major achievement for me as it was such a steep learning curve. I had never used Wordpress or the Headway theme before, not to mention messing about with bits of code! It was a lot of fun to do from designing my new logo to creating all the graphics to making my portfolio and finally putting the site together. The site will continue to grow as I add to my portfolio too.
I have a new blog on the website where I intend to write regularly about the things I have previously written about here with patterns and illustrations thrown in to the mix. I hope to do features with my favourite designers and illustrators too and show where my inspiration comes from.
Please do come over and have a look around and don’t forget to bookmark my new Finch Five blog!
I won’t be posting here at bird ahoy anymore. Thank you to everyone who has ever taken the time to read my posts here and an extra special thanks to those who have left comments. Please join me on my onward journey!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Launching soon!

If I've been quiet recently it's because I have been feverishly working away on a brand new website! I am creating a brand for my patterns and other illustration. After much deliberation and checking to see whether domain names were taken I have settled on the name 'Finch Five'. Here is a sneak peek of my new logo...

It has been a massive learning curve learning how to use Wordpress and the Headway theme but I am almost there! I am looking forward to getting stuck into blogging again and can't wait to launch my new site.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

passion 4 pattern bloghop


I’m so pleased to be part of the talented Claire Smillie’s bloghop today, celebrating all things pattern! There are 51 international designers taking part and if you follow the chain you will see lots of fabulous surface pattern work. Claire’s blog is at the start of the bloghop if you’d like to go to the beginning.

If you’re already hopping then a special welcome to you, you will have arrived here via the lovely Miranda Mol who has recently designed a collection for Indigo Paris.

So, on with the show! I’d like to share with you two of my recent pattern collections, Birdville and Starburst.








Please visit the next blog on the hop which belongs to a fellow northern gal and pattern addict, Gill Eggleston. Go and see her wonderful patterns!

Friday, 14 September 2012

this coming sunday…


I will be taking part in the ‘Passion 4 Pattern’ bloghop this Sunday, 16th September.

What is a bloghop? Well all the ‘Passion 4 Pattern’ bloggers are creating posts that will inspire and immerse you in a world of fabulous patterns. Each designer will link to the next blog in the chain which will take you on a wonderful journey through 51 blogs! I am so looking forward to this and have my post lined up ready to go live at 8am on Sunday!

I hope you will join us for our pattern extravaganza!

Friday, 24 August 2012

cream or jam first?

cream tea

I had a cream tea yesterday in Chagford to celebrate one of my patterns being featured in the new MOYO, a magazine about surface pattern design. We had our usual discussion about whether the cream or jam should go on first. Whichever it tastes just as good!


Sprigmug  © Lesley Todd 2012

Lots of fab work from my fellow students is also on show in the magazine so if you’re interested in joining the new round of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design (ABSPD) courses that are about to begin why not take a look… Congrats to everyone who got featured!

moyo magazine

A screenshot of the magazine… my pattern is 2nd row, 2nd down.

“MOYO, the world’s first online magazine dedicated to surface pattern design! Packed with interviews, design briefs, colour challenges, art reviews, student showcases, design tips, inspiration, trends and more.”

I had a lovely few hours exploring Chagford which is on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon. It’s a fabulous place, full of quirky shops, galleries, teashops and pubs. People are very friendly here and there is a great arty vibe. It is unusual for a small place to have so many independently owned shops selling everything you could think of or need. It would be an amazing place to live surrounded by lush countryside, maybe one day…


We found this Swedish mid century tray by Konga Princesse in one of the shops and decided to take it home.


We also visited Stone Lane Gardens where there are sculptures to be found hiding in the trees. I fell in love with the work of Tati Dennehy, nature had added it’s own flourish to her work and it couldn’t be more perfect in this woodland garden.


tati dennehy 2

Sculpture by Tati Dennehy


I also fell for this beautiful owl sculpture, I’m afraid I don’t know the artist’s name. Please leave a comment if you know.


Gorgeous patterns to be found in nature… will definitely be using this as inspiration!

Bye for now and if you’re in the UK have a wonderful bank holiday weekend!

Thursday, 16 August 2012


rachael taylor blog screenshot birdville

Excited to say that my Birdville pattern is featured today on Rachael Taylor’s blog in a showcase of student work from module 2 of the course I am doing. So pleased to be included! Take a look at some of the lovely work done by my fellow students. I really enjoyed the course and have signed up for another module.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

competition entry

scarf mock up we are all made of stars

I’ve entered my first competition with some of my pattern designs! The competition theme is ‘Heaven’s Door’ with an emphasise on skulls and the winners get their designs printed onto silk scarves which will be sold at Topshop. It’s possibly not a subject I would have ever chosen to explore if it wasn’t for the competition but I had a lot of fun with it. I’ve noticed there are a lot of skull patterns appearing in the new Autumn collections on the high street. Above is a photoshop mock up of one of my 3 designs.

we are all made of stars web-1

This is the full square above and details below. I called the design ‘We are all made of stars”, you can see it here and vote if you like although the winners are decided tomorrow I think.

we are all made of stars web-700x700-detail-2  we are all made of stars web-700x700-detail-8 

we are all made of stars web-700x700-detail-7  we are all made of stars web-700x700-detail-4

I went a bit crazy and entered 3 designs because once I started I just had so many ideas.


‘Memento Mori’ – this one might be a bit macabre for the mainstream, here’s the full design. I was inspired by tattoo culture and also the saying ‘memento mori’ meaning don’t forget your mortality, make the most of life, see the beauty in everyday things and don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.


This is my last design called ‘Sweet skulls’ based on Mexican sugar skulls. I wanted to do something a bit more uplifting. See more of this one here.

scarf mock up sweet skulls2[

scarf mock up sweet skulls


I did get a bit carried away! I would really love to win this but the other entries really are amazing and there are quite a few that I would love to buy if they get printed so we shall see tomorrow who wins! Can’t wait!

Which one do you like the best?

Monday, 30 July 2012

colour love from the rhs tatton flower show


Garden designed by Foundation Degree Garden & Landscape Design Year 2 students and built by Reaseheath College.

I had lots of fun recently gathering inspiration at the flower show which takes place just down the road from us at Tatton park. I love seeing the amazing spaces the garden designers come up with and their innovative ideas. There really is so much inspiration for patterns and colour schemes to be had – I took loads of photos! But this was my favourite garden. The colours just popped. The photo bottom left shows a really interesting structure built for insects and wildlife to inhabit. And I love the painted bench!! Gorgeous colours that were echoed around the garden.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

hawkstone follies

hawkstone follies 2

I want to show you some photos I took over the weekend of an amazing place we explored in Shropshire called Hawkstone Follies. I thought it was really enchanting. It was full of intricate pathways, towering cliffs and awesome caves and tunnels through beautiful woodland.


There are lots of winding paths through sandstone and twisting trees, bridges to cross and ravines to walk through.


I was really surprised by the amazing tunnels and caves carved into the sandstone… so much fun to explore. It is said that King Arthur addressed his troops here before his final battle.


You can’t help but think of Middle Earth.


It is a bit of a slog but you are rewarded with beautiful views. Especially if you climb the spiral staircase up to the top of the monument tower.

hawkstone tower

It gave me jelly legs and I clung to the tower for a few seconds at the top with a touch of vertigo but the view was fabulous. Please click on the panorama below for a better look.

hawkstone follies panorama


Floss enjoyed herself, great to be able to take dogs there.


I loved the twisted and gnarled trees and roots, and little paths where you have to duck through leafy tunnels.


hawkstone follies 3

I am constantly noticing patterns and motifs everywhere I go since I have been doing the surface pattern course. It has changed the way I look at things.


One of the many tunnels. You do need a torch in places, I used the flashlight app on my phone.


There’s a cafe at the end for an ice cream and a drink. If you ever decide to go I have to warn you that 3 days later I am hobbling up and down the stairs because there was a lot of steps and steep climbs but you might be a lot fitter than me! It was definitely worth it.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


delicious diary astrantia web

One of the exercises from the surface pattern course I’m doing was to design a set of stationery. I tried to design something feminine and luxurious, and used metallic gold, coral and smoke as my colour palette. One of the fun things has been naming colours to make them sound even more appealing… I do find naming patterns very difficult though. This one was easy to name though as my starting point was some astrantia flowers I picked from the garden. I sketched them first, scanned them into Photoshop, then used Illustrator to make them into a vector based pattern.

Here is the whole collection:

delicious stationery collection astrantia

I am throwing myself into this course. It is the best thing I’ve done for myself in years.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

first exercise… sketchbook to pattern


So this is my first creative exercise from the Surface Pattern course I’ve signed up for. I’ve already learnt so much from reviewing module 1 yesterday (I’ve dived straight into module 2 because I was too impatient for module 1 to start in August!) Can’t believe how intense this course is already… I’m finding myself completely absorbed by it. Already noticing patterns everywhere!! 

Anyway… for the first exercise I chose to draw the mug on my desk and ended up simplifying it to create a motif (although I was supposed to embellish it). Then after scanning it into the computer I worked it up into a complete pattern. I never thought about creating motifs in this way… it’s a bit of a revelation to me!


Thank you for all the kind comments on my last post. It’s great to be back blogging again!