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, 8 November 2010

Hungarian folk vintage xmas cards

What's that you say?....folk, red, vintage, hang on ....there's a running theme here!
How GORGE are these cards I found from Etsy shop Found Vintage Style based in Toronto. Check out their other scrumptious items too.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

My Venn Diagram

If my dream lifestyle were a venn diagram this is what it would look like. I was thinking about current trends and desires and this is what I reduced it down to, it's a kind of thick stock, a gravy of my woodland dreams....

.....Ok I'll shut up now as I'm turning into captain random. I'm off to bed to dream about tree houses, open fires, guitars and owls...zzzzzzzzzz.

guitary thing love..

I'm busy designing my new range (in my sleep) so sifting through billions of images on t' web when I came across this beauty.....I don't know what the hell this is but i LOVE it.

It ticks all the boxes:

Red - Check
Folky - Check
Vintage- Check

I just wish I knew what it was or how to play it - any ideas?

P.s Creating makes me sooo happy - Just wish it wasn't so blinking hard to make a living out of it!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

owl crazy...

It's a trend that runs and runs - OWLS!! I just can't get enough of the little blighters.

I just ordered this owl crochet hat from etsy and these little owl shoes from daisy roots for my own little chick. Cute childrens clothes are my weakness, I also got some fab owl pyjamas from boden for my eldest chick - ok stop now, enough owls!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Drink Shop Do

Kristie & Coralie and their lovely cafe are my new customers....

Sometimes when I have time I like to have a little peak online at what my outlets actually look like, otherwise they're just a name on an order form.

I'm always pleasantly surprised at how hip or gorgeous they are! I wish there were more of these gorgeous places near me - although for my bank balance it's probably just as well. I've had to ban glasses of wine and internet shopping recently, ahem.

Here's a pic of a new cafe in Kings Cross called Drink Shop Do, check it out if you're in the area, it looks cute, I love their colour scheme.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Print pattern feature...

I had to blog (with baby on knee!) to tell you about my new range featured on one of my fave blogs - print pattern. If you're not familiar then check it out, I find it really inspiring...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Yummy childrens illustrations...

What is it about old childrens books that I love so much - the colours? The fresh illustrative styles - they're quite graphic in nature. I dunno but I find them really inspiring. It takes me back to being a little girl (I'm pretty vintage myself) and curling up on a cold afternoon in front of the fire with a new picture book, mmmm the smell of the pages and the crackle of the fire - bliss!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Xmas Brucy Bonus...

Hi All, look at me blogging more than twice a year - life must be getting easier.

I'm telling y'all about my spesh 'Brucy Bonus Xmas Bonanza'. I've still got tons of Christmas stock (I ordered WAY too many!) so I'm putting it on special offer for any Xmas early birds.

You can now buy 12 of my luxury, glossy, thick (no it's not a hair advert) Xmas cards for...

ONLY £8!! ...Ta da!

They retail individually for £2.20 each in the shops so it's a HUGE saving of £18.40. I'm trying to clear some stock ready for new designs that will be out soon (well, just as soon as I sit my bottom down to design them!)

Each of the six designs is also available individually for just £1 also from folksy.

Click on the cards to take you to my li'l ol' Folksy shop.....

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hello long lost bloggers!

Goodness me, a bimonthly post is a bit rubbish isn't it?? Well it's sunday morning, I just made myself a big cup of Jo and a fried egg sarnie and settled down to catch up on the blogging world so I expect any minute now my sleeping babe will awake!

Amazingly I've managed to keep my business afloat and growing, new updates are my new range 'Fur & Feather' came out last month and is selling well. I have a fantastic new agent for the SE who's bringing in tons of new accounts and doing amazingly well. I also have a development with a company in Dubai who are setting up a moonpig type business and want to license my designs. I've also ventured into prints for a new company called 'Beautiful Pea Green Boat' who launch next Saturday, so it's all good.

I'm struggling to have time to create sales myself and I can only do the bare minimum for so long before it all catches up with me. My good old mum has stepped in to help and has taken on my orders and dispatch for me which is a god send and should free up more time for me to get stuck in to some marketing and design (in my sleep!).

Of course I'm a bit frazzled but we're through the toughest baby bit, she's still waking every 2 hrs to feed but 3rd time round I think I've become invincible! I just feel very lucky most of the time that I have a job I love and a gorgeous family, yes it's blinking hard work and I never have a minute to myself but I'm very happy and that's priceless.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Back with baby!

Hi All,

I can't believe I've actually found time to blog (well I should be doing admin but that's boring). Baby No3 - Lois was born on 29th May at home in a pool, she's a very cute pudding and we love her to bits. The home birth was a brilliant experience - I LOVED being at home. It also helped with bonding for my other children , being part of the experience and being there to hold her. Having 2 other girls, the experience for them was positive and powerful too, they were totally unfazed and took it all in their stride. I'd highly recommend it if you have quick and easy labours, not sure how I'd fair for hours and hours on end though, you have to be pretty brave!

Surviving on 4hrs sleep a night, running a business and looking after family, 3 children a dog and a house is not for the feint hearted, it's been blinking tough at times. But seeing as I adore all of the above, it's a labour of love and I guess will get easier.

Looking forward to getting back into the blogosphere and seeing what the world's up to!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Hip snaps from my hipstamatic...

This is officially my first blog from my iPhone. I've been getting to grips with it for the last month and we've been through a lot together. I spent the first week guilt wracked at such an extravagance. The second week was getting used to the keyboard, imagine a cow trying to type with it's udders and you'd get the picture! Week 3 I really started to comprehend how amazingly useful and indespensible my new friend was and now i'm really having fun.

I'm not going to be a phone bore but some apps are fab, others are totally pointless.
Here are 5 apps I will NEVER need:

1. Gun builder(?!)
2. Spirit level (just incase i need to know whether i'm lying down or standing up).
3. Compass (a must when orienteering my way to asda)
4. Stocks ftse index update. Those of us in the design industry aren't famed for our wealth!
5. Facebook. Call me old fashioned but I've never done social networking sites. I love REAL people in the flesh!

On a better note, I found this great hipstamatic camera app which turns your phone into a camera that takes pics that look like those from the 70's. Any old snap takes on retro value, it's fab! Here are some pics of my adorable mutt and a vid of what it can do.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

'Tis the Queens Birthday today...

... so what better way to celebrate than a visual feast of all things British and the good old Union Jack.

There's a fab old club called the Carlton Club near us, it has a wonderfully dilapidated interior. It's fallen from grace but I love it's tired glamour, there's a huge faded print of the queen in a guilt frame, dusty chandeliers from the 20's, a wooden dance floor and stage and lots of mismatched chairs from various eras.

It's been adopted by local DJ's and hosts some cool underground nights, I love Home on the Range, the last friday of every month, always a sell out. Cheap beer & great tunes - lets hope the Queen is enjoying the very same thing this evening!

Friday, 16 April 2010

My hospital retreat...

Well, folks, it's been an interesting week, I wound up in hospital for a couple of days this week. I'm home now and recuperating well (well I must be nearly better if I'm blogging!).

I had to take an order from a shop within 10 mins of arriving home which was a little disorientating. That's the only downside to having your own business - it doesn't stop when you do.

On the upside, it was actually a good experience to totally stop for 2 days, lie on a bed looking out a huge wall of window ( I was in the new St Mary's hosp which is fab) without any phone, internet or outside communication. It was a bit like I can imagine a retreat would be. I just thunk thoughts and had many hours to reflect on every part of my life, work and family. My brain slowed right down to a silence and since I've felt strangely calm and together and almost zen like.

Maybe we all need to totally stop every now and then, trouble is most of us are only forced to stop when we have to through illness. I think just a walk on your own would be a good time to think, so that's what I'm going to do more often. Or maybe I just need a lie in once in a while, I'm just too enthusiastic about everything!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Lotte Reiniger

Grandma arrived yesterday with a DVD of the work of German artist and animator Lotte Reiniger. I was so inspired, it's absolutely beautiful and the animation is so elegant. She worked using paper cutouts with stop motion animation. Her prolific work spans from the 1920's to the 1970's. You can see most of her animations on you tube.

To think that every scene was cut intricately and lace like with scissors is incredible. There's been a trend for laser cut greetings cards with a folky feel such as these by Rob Ryan, who's work I've always loved. I first saw his work when it graced the cover of my favourite novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louise de Bernier.

These mugs from Pintuck also have a similar feel with their cut out style. I think this style of illustration has a timeless feel and certainly jumps on the folk trend. It's always a surprise when you find out that this modern trend finds it's roots nearly a century ago when this style evolved so beautifully from the dexterous hands of Lotte Reiniger.

Friday, 9 April 2010

I'm feeling creative

Maybe it's the spring sunshine (and the fact that I'm running short of time before baby arrives!) but my feverish brain has been spinning with lots of creative thoughts.

I couldn't sleep last night as my design cogs whirred and clicked with new ideas. I sold out of my birdy design some time back (sob! - my fave design) so I want to create some more designs that are blank for any occasion.

I'm going to start designing next week. God I love that bit - can't wait. I've also got to think of a way to produce new products that don't break the bank. These print runs are my biggest bank breaking expense and i always have more than i need. Hmmm a little lateral thinking is in order me thinks, time to get my biz thinking hat on as well.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Magpies Daughter is getting hitched!

My lovely crafter friend Rachel (aka The Magpies Daughter) is getting married this weekend. I wanted to wish her all the best for a lovely future together with her husband to be Ian.

The weather is supposed to be beautiful so the birds will be singing and the sun shining for you.

In the meantime, here are some examples from the clever chick's collection. The links take you to her blog as she's shut up shop until April 20th to be in wedded bliss!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

My fave holiday shop...

I just adore The Deco Shop in Machynthleth, near Aberdyfy. It's just full of everything gorgeous you could ever possibly want to buy. It's such a visual treat. I just love the juxtaposition of gorgeous homewares, pattern, colour and texture - take a peek for yourself and make sure you go there if you're ever in that neck of the woods.

I'm totally stealing the painted pink cabinet idea for my new studio!

Back from my hols..

I had such a lovely break I was actually a bit tired and grumpy when I got home which is not like me, I miss living by the sea sometimes, the urban lifestyle is hip but sometimes I crave big open spaces! No that's not the beginnings of itchy foot syndrome again, I've had enough moving to last me a life time. Did you know I have lived in 27 different places in my life, which is ridiculous and verging on nomadic.

Spending my birthday afternoon on the beach collecting shells and crabbing was perfect. At about six, when the shadows were long and the wind dropped it was just beautiful, the light was incredible and the skies dramatic.

The girls made me this heap of cup cakes for breakfast (they were very keen but it was a bit early for butter icing so I saved them for lunch!)

Friday, 2 April 2010

On a more contemplative note...

A dear friend of mine has just discovered her mother is seriously ill and only has months to live. It's so hard seeing a friend so upset but these times are when we need to look at our own lives and question what we're doing.

Being a sensitive soul, I often think about making the most of my life and what's important. For me, it's making great memories with my family, my husband and my children. It's been a long journey but the small things in life are the best for me. Waking up and cuddling my children, really talking to my husband - sharing our good days and bad days, having a glass of wine with friends or a big meal with family. Community and charity work too - sometimes doing a good deed makes you feel happier than the person who benefits from it.

We think we love the material things in life but nothing fulfills us more than good relationships. On that note, I leave you to your Easter weekend, call a friend, see family, go for a walk and a long chat, enjoy the great people and simple things in your life.