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.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Little Vintage Dresser of Joy..

I picked this little beauty up off ebay today! I've been having a massive sort out, and needed a nice storage/display cabinet for the boudoir. I had a moment of madness and just bought it - it was one of those gut reaction things.

Just think...you pay £100 for a solid wood vintage darling like this but if you bought new you'd have a super flimsy, rattly bit of rubbish. It's a win win - quality craftsmanship, environmentally sound and something I'll still have when I'm 90 as it won't date!

It looks a little Ye Olde Inn at the mo but I have big plans for it. I'm going to paint it a nice grungy neutral then wallpaper the back of the display shelves in a fab wall paper, or I'll paint a nice pattern or illustration to work with the displayed items. I love natural shades with patterns and colours that pop. A bit like my cards I guess. I'll show you the after when it's done.

Friday, 24 July 2009

A little gift to you all...

Hmm, I've had such a nice day I'm feeling in a generous mood! Here's a little book label for you to print and keep, if you print them 8 up they'll fit snugly on a sheet of A4. Either print them on to a sticky label sheet or just plain paper and stick them on with good old pritt stick.

Now you can get busy with a cute book labeling project and pretend you're back at school.

Enjoy, but remember people: this is for personal use only....and have a good weekend. Yay!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Happy Harrogate!

My God, people in the greetings card industry are SO lovely. I went to check out Harrogate Home and Gift to get an idea of trade fair set ups and a fresh feel for the market, before I take the plunge in Jan at Top Drawer. I chatted to a few of my competitors and I couldn't believe how friendly they were.

My two best show pals were: Iain from Hello! Lucky, here's their stuff. I've always loved the Letterpress stylie and these guys are definately one of the best so there was much scribbling and chin stroking whilst talking to my mini mentor Iain.

My other mini mentor/verbal sponsor is the lovely Alison from Aliroo. Not only is she always so generous with her time and knowledge, she does all this with a 10 week old baby in tow!

I think what I like the most is that these great people have the same outlook as me. I love helping people and sharing what I've learnt, I'm not guarded or defensive (or naive!). Supporting people on the way up is a two way street.

I believe there's a market out there big enough to support all these diverse companies so the best thing we can do is to support each other to make British design the strongest in the global marketplace. And I believe it is. Right. I'll get down off my soap box now.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

China Town colour blast!

We went for the legendary Thai buffet in Pacific (go starving - there's a lot to fit in). After wards I had a mooch over to the mental craft shop in China town, it certainly blows out the cobwebs with the bright colours and mega kitsch merchandise! These are my colour inspiration pics from the Chinese Craft market.

I had to buy a lantern for the garden. I bought tons one year and hung them along the washing line for a bbq, only trouble was it was windy so I popped in to the kitchen to get some bbq fodder, when I returned the whole lot was on fire! A bit of a fire hazard with candles inside but they do look pretty.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


I'm putting on my heels and I'm off for a summery drink and an Indi film at the cornerhouse. I can get my fix of hustle and bustle down Oxford street.

Yay for a bit of fun!

On days like these...

...when the kids are driving me mad, the house is a tip etc etc, I dream of packing a suitcase and traveling back in time to my old job in The Big Apple. Sigh, I walked past this button every day. I used to get up pootle to work walking alongside huge skyscrapers, grab a cup of joe en route and take in the blue skies , abusive New Yorkers, and lovely hustle and bustle - it really made me feel ALIVE!

Weekends I used to spend rollerblading around Central Park, checking out the weekly roller disco. I'd look a bit of a sad div doing that round Old Trafford! but I think I need to inject a bit of glamour back in my life, it's all got a bit kitchen sink drama.

I can't afford a trip to NYC so I'll have to have a think and come up with some glamorous ideas. Help me have a think about cheap/free glamour??

I'm thinking, a gallery, some shopping, a night out, haircut, new make up?? HELP

One day, my ambition is for my business to be successful enough to be able to do the stationary show at Surtex, NY. Then I have a legitimate excuse to go! Watch this space (although you'll have a long wait!)

Answers on a postcard please.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Studio Blitz!

It's time.... to clear The Room Of Doom as it's become known. I'm taking a break from a massive studio blitz. I can't stop sneezing from all the dust - I hope nobody knocks on the door, I look like I've got swine flu. This isn't actually my studio but I like looking at it as it makes me feel much better to know that there are people with worse work spaces than mine out there.

Isn't this cute? I found it at the bottom of my samples box (one of many!) It's a 60's floral. Maybe it's the sun but I'm really into acid yellows as an accent colour with muted shades of lilac or bone at the moment.

Annoying interruptions of my Studio Blitz:

1. Jehovah's witnesses (sorry but it's really annoying) Thanks for sharing the word but no thanks. Plus I've sussed you now - I can spot the long black silhouette and briefcase through the glass door

2. Sales calls. After spending 10 rings searching through my crap for the phone only to find it's a chirpy recorded message from 'Susan' telling me I need more credit cards. I don't.

3. Hunger. All that sorting and chucking means I have to keep stopping to refuel.

4.Calls from lovely family members who have no idea of the massive task I've just taken on and that I could die under a landslide of my own rubbish if I stop to chat, however tempting.

5. Finally a nice distraction: Blogging. We'll a girl's got to take a rest and survey her explosion in a paper factory of a studio!

Oh Wow! I just looked back at my studio and it's no longer The Room Of Doom! Yay, I'm nearly there and won't it be lovely to know where everything is??? Is every creative person messy or is it just lack of time/space etc? Let me know!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


A random man offered me a lollipop on Sunday which set me thinking about the sweets of my childhood - ahhh 10p mixes.

I also had a fathers day bacon buttie and coffee party this year and i made all the Dad's a 'Dad's Mix' of sweets.

garden doodle

I love doing kawaii or 'cute' garden doodles. Here's one I did last night. Also working on my new range which is exciting, can't wait to show you when they're all done!

Monday, 6 July 2009

My heart beats faster...

...when I see a gorgeous colour combo like this. Where's my sketchbook - I feel a design coming on.

A love affair

Sigh....another gorgeous weekend in the elements, building fires, camping with 20 great friends, nobody but our gang and a ton of fields, skimming stones (see pic), walking through woods, guzzling good wine around a roaring fire. Ok, so chorizo on the fire isn't very Ray Mears but it's lush! Bloody knackering but great fun.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Keeping your accounts in order...

...is very important. For all of you guys who are rubbish with the whole numbers/tax/receipts thing. I wanted to share my husband's system with you...

1. Keep all your receipts on the car floor/glove box (handy for the kids to draw on and rip up on long journeys)

2. Collect up and put in a shopper:

3. Now you're ready to iron. If it's a nice day you can do it in the garden.

4. Now call your accountant with an undertone of panic in your voice.

There. Never feel bad again - If any of you are worse than this I want to hear about it??!!