Cross stitch patterns for YellowBirdieStitches on Etsy

Back again

So… It’s been a while.

Poor health, getting caught in up hospital paperwork, and extra long waiting lists for operations don’t really make you feel like blogging regularly. Or at all it seems (2014?!)

So other than the bad bits, what have I been up to? Crafts have become a big thing, especially in light of needing something to do while waiting/recovering from hospital. I’m making cross stitch patterns based on my sister Vicky Scott’s illustration (available on her Vicky’s World Etsy shop) and more recently opened my own Etsy shop of designs: Yellow Birdie Stitches (more to come soon!). Volunteering is something as well that’s helped. It’s led to more craft opportunities such as painting chairs and a doll’s house for a local charity shop, as well as doing a few video intros for charity films based on learning and health.

Cross stitch and upcycling projects

Clockwise from top left: Vicky’s World cross stitch, Yellow Birdie Stitches cross stitch, a chair for upcycling, a Scandinavian doll’s house

Hopefully I’ll be able to do do a few posts my crafty exploits as well as a few more K-pop packaging pretties and other musings on graphics, games and curiosities (you would not believe some of the things that end up in a charity shop…).

Be seeing you (I hope!)

Another year down

So, 2014, how were you?

Videos! Gifs! Animation! Websites are getting movement, and it’s not just parallax scrolling anymore. OK, so it’s a bandwidth killer for some of us, but it adds another curious element to a page. Do we have the attention span to take note of video background, or are they a more acceptable form of the autoplaying music? Tumblr is effectively spilling out onto the rest of the internet. The good: it’s different and another layer of interest. The bad: slow internet speeds are actually a problem for the majority of users without “super-fast” broadband (or even broadband in some areas), rendering some sites as painfully slow as 2005 MySpace covered with animated Flash banners urging you to hit the mosquito.
We’re also still big on the Metro squares and flat design (colours seem to be going to the extremes of either very pale or very bold to the point of clashing) only with more elements. Full screen landing pages with big text and a button is quite a big thing, but there’s more to it than that. Hand lettering, flat illustration, “real” photography over obviously staged stock images, images creatively cut out… It’s all natural progression from what started to appear last year. There’s nothing amazingly new here, but it’s evolving.

K-pop (Oh you knew it was coming)

Not bad at all. Not the best year, but some nice packaging and decent music to go with it. I present my award for The Most K-pop Video of 2014: Red Light by f(x). Dancing in a laser-filled box-room set, check. Pretty people wearing slightly odd clothing, check. Strange potentially symbolic imagery that has no meaning, check. A strange, disjointed song that on first listen is bizarre but will grow on you even when you still think it’s not quite your thing, check. You get the picture. I never thought I would like f(x), but after listening to the rest of the album on Spotify (yes, K-pop on Spotify happened this year) I was won over. Track 3, Nabi (Butterfly) sounds essentially like a pop song based on the Jill of the Jungle soundtrack, so consider me a fan. It’s also got quite nice packaging

Packaging-wise, special mentions for TVXQ’s two releases Spellbound and Tense, Super Junior’s Mamacita (another good album, also on Spotify) and Boyfriend’s WITCH. I’m sure there are plenty of others, but these come to mind (and as I’ve said before, I’m a little bit biased towards SMEnt artists).

And me
Turns out 2014 was not wonderful. On a personal level things got pretty bad, particularly round September time (hence the lack of updates). Out of the blue I ended up in hospital. I’ve had one operation, so now I’m looking at a bit of a battle and a long waiting list for the one I really need to ensure I’m well again. I might even need hospital treatment before I get that far. It’s not a particularly stable time. But while it’s disappointing, perhaps there is some kind of opportunity here. Time to learn more, do more (albeit carefully), and just generally be prepared for when I can take control of my life again. Sometimes these things just happen and all you can do is try to make the most of a bad situation.

Happy New Year! Fingers crossed for 2015 🙂


For varying reasons, food seems to have been a topic for me. I like food. I like trying out different combinations of things, like five spice in stir fries (it’s like a spring roll, only not in a roll), grilled grated carrot and cheese toast, avocado and honey on toast… In fact, a fair few of them involve toast. But my favourite has to be apple, cinnamon and peanut butter on toast. Crunchy, gooey and toasty? Yum. So naturally, this being my blog and not a foody one, I made an After Effects animation dedicated to the best fruit-nut-spice-bread combination ever.

I was going for something a bit infographics-y and stylised, and that advertising staple of ukelele, clapping and jingle bells seemed perfect for the soundtrack (Music by Sweet Wave Audio It’s not a recipe (not unless you count those “1: roll out shop bought pastry 2: fill with can of pie filling 3: cook” things that turn up in magazines recipes as well), it’s just for fun. And to spread the word that apple and peanut butter go really well together.

Cumin is the spice of life :

Again with being food-related, cumin is good in/on many things. Soup. Roast potato/sweet potato/parsnip/carrot. Stew. Couscous. I was trying to get the background on this to look a bit tangine-like (the decorated serving dish with a cone-shaped lid). Perhaps a Victorian inspired tangine? Hmm…

Be seeing you.

Goodbye 2013

This was the year that:

Design went 2D
Flat interfaces, Metro inspired squares and those funny extra long diagonal shadows. Geometric shapes. Simplicity. Thin versions of fonts. Chunky stroke borders around type. GIFs (or is that jifs?). Colour swatches that, when apart, look like the kind of syrup medicine you used to get given when you were little (“Banana”, “Strawberry” or “Cherry” flavour. Mmmm.) but together look… kinda cool. They’re bright, but also toned back, like they’ve been taken from an Instagram filtered photo.

(SM Ent) K-pop really happened
SHINee marking their 5 years since since debut by going from being those kiddies with bowl cuts and singing about a crush on an older girl to doing everything from self-penned R&B to electro, dance and pop with their excessive number of albums/singles/EPs. Girls’ Generation winning at the YouTube Awards. EXO actually having an album. f(x) actually having an album for that matter. Super Junior and Infinite doing world tours that actually included Europe. SMTOWN 2014 in London please.

This happened
And I was there. Glad I got to see some really well done cosplay in person. Plus Borderlands. That sneaky, Sneaky Zebra

I did New Things
Finding inspiration in unusual places. Meeting new people. Personal development stuff like: working with Blender (the 3D program), improving HTML skills, working on web design, illustration and animation. Unfortunately a New Thing was spending too much time for my liking in various hospitaly places. But somewhere along the way picked up how to read Hangul (the Korean alphabet; still working on the what it actually means part), and have reached at least cooking level 2 (Herby butternut squash pizzas ftw)!

It hasn’t all been good, personally or globally… But let’s hope 2014 can be a good year.

What’s up?

A little bit of news: Not-so-secret-side-projects! I usually have a few on the go at any one time and thought it was time to give them some air.

I call this one Hipster Airlines. It’s using a brief I got when I was doing AS level Graphic Design (I looked back through my old work. Argh. Should never be done). Horizon Air(lines) are a small company offering holidays to Pacific island locations, and need promo material. In my AS project, I was focussing on leaflets and illustration inspired by the popular style at the time (very vector-y if I remember rightly). This time round I’m more interested in getting a brand going, using the theme of pop-graphics of now.

May I present… PIXELee. OK, so I put this on Twitter a while back. But this is a Thing. Something will happen with it. However it could take some time. I’ll make no promises, as it’s just a bit of fun when I get the time for it. And let’s face it, Eadward Muybridge this ain’t… (On a side note, congrats SHINee on winning Artist of the Year at the Melon Music Awards. Bless their little teary faces).

I’m also getting together things for my inspiration posts (and not all of it K-pop packagaing(!)), so I’ll get some more bits and bobs up soon.

Be seeing you.

Bits and bobs

1) Patterns! I have made some. They’re only very simple ones, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to try out for a while. Full versions will be up on my Behance in future. Believe it or not, there’s a common thread between these 5…
Pattern previews

2) The new Firefox logo. I like the simplified nature but without the shadows it doesn’t stand out well on the taskbar when it’s active when compared to the older version (not shown). Not grea when crossbrowser testing in actual browsers.

Firefox logo

3) I love the Franz Ferdinand video for Right Action. All those vintagey graphics translated into animation – nice Saul Bass inspired section. It’s like their earlier one for Take Me Out. Check it out.

A little update

Another of those “what’s going on” updates.

1) Hospital. It is not fun. They tell you to focus on something positive, so I got through it by looking forward to going to the HallyuUK SHINee concert screening (it’s a bit like going to a concert, only you get to sit down in a cinema instead of flying to Japan/Korea. A lot easier post-hospital! Thanks guys!). Wasn’t sure if I would be able to go, but I managed. Positive thinking!

2) Still having a go with bits and bobs. The interface bits were meant as a challenge to myself, and unsurprisingly they’re being challenging! Also a few Illustrator type+image pieces.


3) I have a Behance now. It still needs a few more projects organised for it, but it’s getting there. I’ll do a write up of some of my personal projects (like K-popsicles and any of my newer type) later on.

4) I said something on Twitter after um… A long time away. I won’t be checking it too often, but I’m going to try and get back into it slowly when I can. Thanks for your patience.

Be seeing you.