About Me and Design Rocks!

My photo
Hello and welcome. Here's a bit about me: I've spent my childhood and a lot of my life traveling. Places, colour and pattern are my biggest inspiration. I've surfed & lived in a tent in Cornwall. Sketched my way round Morocco. Designed from an antique textile archive in Manhattan (dream job!). Styled and written for an interiors magazine on the sleepy island of Malta. Now I live in Manchester, UK, where I run Design Rocks greetings cards. Whilst in Manhattan I amassed a large collection of vintage textiles. These were used as inspiration for my first card range, Vintage Rocks! We sell wholesale so if you'd like a brochure visit the website or get in touch. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

City Art Gallery

Just a quick not to say I went to see the Da Vinci drawings at the City Art Gallery this morning and they're well worth a look. Shoot me for saying I didn't 'get' the smushy smudgy ones but the others were just incredible!!

There's a really beautiful exhibition next door by Paul Morrison for all you nature lovers. He does these amazing bold graphic botanical paintings. Unfortunately the gallery was closed due to a high level of hobnobbing this lunchtime so I'll have to go back. How annoying is it to close of galleries for private functions grrrr.

Green Walk Art Festival

This weekend is the Green Walk Arts Festival in Whalley Range. It's a lovely little street with a green, all the residents open their homes to artists and you can go and have a nose and buy some crafty stuff.

I'll be holding a stall there, and I'm selling my cards for only £1 each, as well as lots of new stationary and notepads.

It's off Wood Rd in Whalley Range and it's on from 12pm to 6pm on the Saturday and Sunday with tea and cakes on the green.


Blimey, it's only been a couple of days and I've had a call from a New York studio that wants to represent me for pattern design. Sounds wicked but alas these things take an AGE to earn anything from, so I'm not jumping for joy yet.

I've also been doing some really cute promotional mini jam pots with a label that tells you about the 'Sticky Jam Soul Nights' on Thursdays at Jam Street in Whalley Range, just down t'road.

I've been doing their branding revamp which is a lovely brief. Get yourselves down there for the vintage clothing sale on the last sunday of the month. Gorgeous cakes and tea and I've brought a lovely frock every time!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Inspired by the rain!

You can stay under my umberella..ella..ella eh.. eh.

Thank God it rained today - totally inspired by the downpour. Here's my new umbrella design as a result!

rainy monday morning

Remember people, there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.

Brolly yourself up right nice and enjoy the rain! I like nothing more than a slosh in a big puddle.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Caravan of love

If I can't have one of these I'm going to scream until I'm sick! I'm loving this baby's t-shirt by Leanne Graeff too.

I long to gut a 70's caravan and rebuild it - it would be an interior design dream. I'd paint tree's and birds on the outside so we could be at one with nature in our darling tin can.

After an in depth discussion on caravanning with the Made in Manchester gals (it was a very important business meeting) it was decided that caravanning, and camping for that matter, was like Marmite - a love or hate thing. Mrs B was also pro caravan.

I was bought up spending every summer in a 70's caravan on the costas eating tinned everything (I'm reet classy me). And I just LOVE it. The smell of gas and matches, ants in your bed, melamine plates. Loads of feral kids playing out in the fresh air all day. Happy days!

There's a wicked picture of me age 7 in my caravan sporting NHS specs and a sombrero somewhere. I must dig it out.

I feel some camping inspired designing coming on!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Print and Pattern showcase!!

It's very exciting as yesterday my cards were featured on Print and Pattern. A fab blog with - you guessed it, loads of gorgeous pattern items. Well worth a look if you haven't already seen it.

I got a few sales which is great, I just need to keep on getting my stuff out there!

Here's the birdy card that featured.

The french markets are in town tomorrow - I'll be having a mooch and ordering 'deux crepes s'il vous plait' in my worst schoolgirl french!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Old Skool Exercise books

I heart vintage exercise books so I just created 5 new books in different retro chalky colours.
Here's my fave, the pink birdy one.

How curly and gorgeous is that 'E'?? Imagine people used to write in that lovely scripty way.

I've got some serious uploading and listing to do in my shops!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

My new notelet sets

I've been a busy bee today. As well as a blog revamp I'm having to go into overdrive as I have 3 craft fairs in a row. Yikes!

More details on the locations as they get closer.

Back by popular demand is another floral vintage phone - I WISH I could buy a phone like this. This time I've created it as a notelet set so you can keep them as a stash for any occasion like a surprise birthday or a thank you. Click here to shop!

Let me know what you all think.

Monday, 20 April 2009

hello blossom

I actually hyperventilated when I saw this gorgeous pom pom blossom. Then bizarrely when I took a photo it went weird and created an almost painting effect. Even more beautiful.

Copy and set it to your desktop - It could be raining next week and you can look at this instead of out the window!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

My bargain vintage frock!!

Here it is in all it's £1 glory - I have a soft lilac leather belt to cinch it in and I bought some ivory cotton lace to make straps. The fabric is really soft - like a washed linen/cotton mix.

That's my full size tree mural on my studio wall behind!

Made in Manchester meet up

What a gloriously sunny day we had. I left the house early to catch a tram to the Northern Quarter (the creative artsy bit of Manchester) for our Etsy/Crafters meet up. We meet once a month to swap ideas, give moral support and set ourselves goals.

I always come away with a long list of new ideas and techniques to work on and really motivated.
Watch this space as we will have our ownshop and blog coming soon.

The lovely Mrs B joined us for the first time, we discovered a childhood love of caravanning and tinned potatoes (more on that later). Sorry I lost you in Abakan fabrics Mrs B - I got carried away with my trimmings, I think you may still be there under your pile of many fabrics!

I had to get a shot of the glass ceiling on the craft centre - it's not often you see such a cerulian sky in Manchester!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Charlotte's butterfly

My lovely friend Charlotte is an artist and art therapist who runs a great company called Fresh Canvas. I did her business i.d, logo and creative input for her website so check it out.

She has some great work, one little project she did was these little origami butterflies. They start of as a sheet of paper with lots of personal visual references, then they're folded and framed. So simple and beautiful and easy to do at home! You could have them in multiples and different sizes too.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

happy Easter Bunny

I'm such a happy bunny!! I had the best Easter holiday of my life. Gorgeous blue skies, sandcastles, bbq's on the beach & a blinking 'hot stone massage' in a lush spa - look at me getting above my station!!!

I totally annoyed everybody by snapping at everything i saw, all that sunshine got me in a photography mood.

I feel on top of the world at the moment, I feel like I've been struggling on for an eternity and now my life seems to have clicked into a lovely place.

Sorry, I think I just had a little 'moment' there, I'm a big soppy softie that's just full of the joys of spring. Maybe blogging is good for your health in that it makes you appreciate the little details of life.

The only neg was the sodding dog tried to attack a little spring lamb - poor lamby. It was ok but I nearly had an angry farmer with a blunderbuss after me.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


notonthehighstreet has just accepted me to be part of their 'ting.

This seems like good news, I think there could be a financial catch I'm going to read all about it.


A lovely new client

Crikey my rethink on the agent front has really paid off. I decided to go it alone and market and sell myself, I've just got my shops looking full and yummy, plan B is then to start emailshooting blogs and getting some freebie publicity to increase my traffic.

There I was pootling along when I got a call from Jenny at House interiors and gifts in knutsford. She saw my work on Folksy after having a tough time getting cards down the usual avenues of tradeshows etc. She placed an order and we were both happy!

So all you designer makers out there, there are lots of great independents who need little guys like us so it's important to make your presence known.

I can recommend a trip to Jenny's shop,you can also shop online. It's adorable, she's got a great eye and it's very british without being twee!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

aaah. My new vintage circus notepads

I love vintage childrens illustrations and whilst normally animal circus antics are SO WRONG, here they're just so right.

They're on my folksy site, I must get on with uploading them on my etsy site

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

my car

Ah little Doris, covered in flowers. I designed and made the vinyls for my little japanese car. Mocked by men and fan's of Top Gear.

Well they can laugh on, this beauty has never failed me, it costs £25 in petrol a month, is super economical & green and never fails to make people smile, or indeed laugh.

Unfortunately my long suffering husband is in the construction industry and once had to use my car for work. He arrived on site to rounds of applause, whistles and laughter. At least he saw the funny side.

I can print any kind of car stickers in lots of different patterns, they're not permanent but totally weather proof. Email me if you'd like more info on pimping your car/bike/walls.

spring walk

Blossom was literally bursting off the trees this morning!

Here are some lush nature pics, it's my mission to escape to nature at least once a week. I love Manchester as I can be in the middle of the city in 5 mins one way and in the countryside in 15mins t'other way.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Happy happy joy joy!

One of the best things about being a designer is that you can make stuff that you love that you can't buy in the shops!

My current passion is vintage typewriters and my new writing set is full of the critters. I actually hyperventilated today when I was researching them and came across such beauties.

I've just listed it on Folksy, now I'm going to make a nice cup of tea and write to my lovely batty auntie Sue who's painted her whole house blue, she even painted her garden ornaments with blue glittery nail varnish. A woman after my own heart.

fashionista's notepad

I'm very excited to be launching new ranges of stationary!!

I'm one of those gals who get very excited in a stationary shop and end up coming home with yet another notepad/journal/writing set.

I want to start a snail mail rebellion, here are some tips for writing love letters! I've got so many lovely letters that I've kept over the years. Armed forces letters from when my Dad was in the Falklands war, letters from my Granny, letters from my little neices and nephews with their first scribblings on, and postcards from all over the world. Even love letters!

There's nothing nicer on a rainy winter evening than getting out my letter box with a nice cup of tea and taking a trip down memory lane. Who ever did that with an email?????

So start your own letter box now! Buy a cute writing set (like mine, cheeky I know!) and discover the pleasures of paper and your best handwriting. It's a thrill to receive a letter with your bills.

I'm going to upload one of my new writing sets any day. I've just ordered some gorgeous envelopes.