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, 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.

Easter Freebie

Happy Easter to you all! For those of you who want a last minute Easter card but can't get to the shops, here's a free jpeg for you to download and print. Just print off on some A4 card, crop to size and bung in an envelope - et voila!

I'm off to the Welsh coast for some fresh seaweedy air, walks on the beach and a cream tea. It's my birthday on Easter Sunday so I'll be stuffing choccy as well as opening pressis - joy!