Frozen chicken

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1 comments

Our chickens haven't seen snow before and they both treated it highly suspiciously. The normal chaotic scramble to get out of the hen-coop yesterday morning was instead a beaky sniff and slide followed by a frogmarch back into the coop. A fairly sensible decision which was very funny to watch.

Yet again us Brits have proved that we don't do bad weather. Two inches of snow and the country grinds to a halt, airports close, railways declare it's the wrong sort of snow, and everyone enjoys a good old bellyache about the terrible state of it all. Hapless visitors caught up in the gridlock ponder incredulously at our seeming lack of ability to cope with inclement weather.

Normally I can smugly observe all the shenanigans going on outside and thank my lucky stars I don't have to commute... all very easy to do when I don't actually have to go anywhere. Tomorrow I'll put all this to the test as Rob and I attempt to make it to Scotland for Christmas. Eeeek.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Pia Jane Bijkerk

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, December 4, 2009 1 comments

I pootled around for happy couple of hours earlier this week on a blog-hop, starting at Katy Elliot's daily journal of her life and house renovation in Marblehead, MA, and then over to Etsy buddy Lillyella, and to Tinctory to find out how her solar dyes were progressing and ended up at a delightful find, the sumptuous blog of Pia Jane Bijkerk.

I was immediately struck by Pia's beautiful finds and writings and reading further it came as no surprise to find she's a renowned international stylist and writer.

Paris: Made by hand by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Her first book, Paris: Made by hand is now on my Christmas wish-list and looks like the perfect excuse to hop on the Eurostar for the weekend and wander Parisian neighbourhoods for beautiful design haunts. She is currently working on her new book and lives on a houseboat in Amsterdam. Plus, she is exploring musical avenues with her soundscapes. Wow!

Images from

So, I sent Pia and email and despite her busy deadlines she kindly featured my pinhole and photograms and revealed that one of her favourite processes at college was making photograms. Next time she's back home she says she's going to look them up and I for one can't wait for her to share them with us.

Ethereal beauties from Tinctory

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, November 29, 2009 0 comments

Ancient fragment no. 2 by Tinctory

Stunning and ethereal smocked textile jewellery from another of my Etsy favourites. Tinctory aka Eva also writes a beautiful blog detailing the process and creative thinking behind her work. Currently she is experimenting with different dyeing techniques including solar dyes. A veritable alchemy of jars are currently brewing on her radiator, absorbing the natural juices and colours of autumn. Beautiful.

Sssh... Mum's the word....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Wednesday, November 25, 2009 1 comments

I'm going to try and avoid going to the shops this year for Christmas presents... there are so many favourite shops I've added over the past year on Etsy that it seems a shame to shop elsewhere. One shop that I love is Julieandco - contemporary Japanese temari, beautifully created with stunning complex patterns. I decided to buy one for my mum, and sharing this gift on here won't spoil the surprise as my mother rather refreshingly doesn't even know how to turn a computer on, let alone snoop around on the internet to see what her reckless daughter is up to. These temari must take an age to make... so beautiful.

Introducing Amy

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, November 24, 2009 2 comments

I've been a bit behind with adding new items to the shop due to being a bit poorly last week but I'm now aiming to have some new items including more printed leathers listed later today.

Amy was the friend who helped me out on the recent bag shoot and it's so lovely to have images of the clutches being, well, clutched. Makes a refreshing change from seeing my gnarly hands in the odd listing photo for scale and blimey that lady has cheekbones!

The new collection

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Monday, November 16, 2009 6 comments

The wild honey clutch - part of the new Red Ruby Rose collection

I'm so happy to finally have the first part of my new collection listed on Etsy, and to be able to share what I've been up to these past few weeks. The new collection forms three main parts - the first of which are leathers and suedes in a new clutch style. Many of these leathers are unusually printed, embossed or patterned and are so soft to the touch. I think that Toby's photographs have captured the texture and quality of the clutches amazingly well but it's their tactile quality when they're in the hand that I'm really loving. They are kind of hard to put down!

The new clutch design has a solid construction internally so it is firmer and has a lovely curve with no bottom seams. I'm also using different frames which I previously found too slender for my fabric clutches but which are perfect for this design.

Peacock Palace - original printed leather clutch

Next up, something that I'm so happy to share. I finally found the perfect way to achieve full colour-printing onto leather that doesn't involve silk-screening or heat-transfer. The company who do this process have achieved something miraculous I think and I'm so delighted I found them. I've been wanting to do this for years - ever since I struggled at art school with transferring print to leather and suede and wished I could translate full colour images. The results I hope are reflected well in the photographs - really rich colours and a high-quality permanent finish that won't rub, fade or peel. There will be more printed leather clutches arriving in the shop next week - I'm currently making the newest batch up.

Silk peacock feathers clutch

....and last but not least... some old favourites from my previous collections which look are looking lovely and fresh with their gorgeous new photographs. I'll be adding more of these embroidered silks next week too.

Blue Roses

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, November 15, 2009 0 comments

Laura Groves aka Blue Roses

Tonight we played a show supporting Blue Roses at the Bristol Louisiana. Sunday gigs can be a little unpredictable but it was a pin-drop crowd and a lovely evening. Laura, who is the voice and mastermind behind Blue Roses played a gorgeous show. Her voice reminded me a little of Harriet Wheeler, sparkling and bell-like. She's a wonderful guitarist too. The other band on the bill were Marcus Foster - a brilliant three piece including double bass and banjo. Both bands are about to go on tour together in the USA and Canada, so if anyone happens to be in LA, Seattle, Dallas, Memphis, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal at the beginning of December, I'd really recommend checking them out. I wish we could smuggle ourselves in their drum-kit cases and go too, ha!

Behind the scenes

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, November 13, 2009 1 comments

Snapshot of photoshoot set up

The shop reopens next Monday 16th November. I can't wait! I'll be listing in two batches, one lot on Monday and the next the following week. There won't be as much stock as before - I think previously it took me the best part of a year to build up to around the 100 listings mark but there will be around 20 new styles to begin with.

I've decided it's time to pension off my trusty but ancient 2 mega-pixel fuji-finepix digital camera. It's served me well but this time round I've enlisted the help of friend and professional photographer Toby Farrow. We spent a fun but exhaustive day today shooting the first batch of clutches, and he quickly managed to fill the whole room with an impressive array of photographic paraphenalia while my little fuji-finepix wept quiety in the corner. His set up included a laptop with software that triggered the shutter so images could be previewed immediately on screen - so great. In the afternoon another friend popped over to do some model shots and she shone in front of the camera (and sadly looked better in my dresses than me, sigh).

This collaborative working is a new thing for me - I'm so used to working alone that it was wonderful to get a fresh perspective and bounce ideas off others for a change. Roll on Monday!

While the shop is closed....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, November 10, 2009 1 comments

It's been quite odd having the shop closed the last few days. Partly I think I'm a little mad to do it so close to the busiest shopping season of the year but I needed just a little space to gather my thoughts and actions for the new things in the pipeline.

There have been a few frustrating delays on materials and I've got my work cut out to get everything up and ready for re-opening next week. Also, having the shop closed has made me do all the things I have been putting off for months.... like a really good tidy up, cooking some proper meals for a change (when was the last time I baked a cake? last year I think... wow the one I made on Sunday tasted good!) and I finally got a roman blind made out of the gorgeous dandelion clocks material. With all the sewing I've done the last couple of years I had high hopes for the blind but it still took several hours of cussing and grumpiness. Slippery little sucker! But, it's up now, looks pretty good and hasn't fallen down yet. Also, Rob and I have been working on our new single for Cue Fanfare, it's pretty much all recorded now, just needs mixing.

So, if all goes well, the plan is to re open the shop next week... I can't wait! I haven't got an exact day in mind yet as there's still loads to do but it'll be so nice to have my Etsy life back again, I'm missing it.

Last day of sale

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, November 6, 2009 1 comments

House plans clutch reduced from $75 to $50

Today is the last day of my sale. All of the clutches currently listed in the sale section won't appear in my shop again, apart from the silks. It's quite sad to say goodbye to many of these styles, which have become like old friends but it's time for a change. The shop will close tomorrow for about a week.

paper scissors stone

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, November 3, 2009 0 comments

Painted stone by Yoran Morvant

I adore this intricate drawing on stone. So striking! It's worth checking out the Ashes & Milk site for more lovely offerings.

The beat that my heart skipped

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, November 1, 2009 2 comments

Stunning kitchen interior by designer Karin Draaijer

I was contacted in the week by a very new British blog on the block, the beat that my heart skipped. Run by design savvy blogger Rohini (and maybe I'm a little biased as she kindly featured my clutches) all the same, there is a fiercely creative eye at work here in her other posts. The kitchen above made me drool... I really should post some pictures of my kitchen for the full appreciation of my lusting envy, as mine looks like a 1970's caravanette but not in an uber-retro stylish way, just a cramped brown and beige vinyl nightmare scenario. Anyway, I digress. Anybody that can start and continue a blog with beautifully eclectic diligent daily posting gets my vote as it's such a time consuming business. Looking forward to following Rohini's blogging adventures in the coming weeks and months.

Talking of the beat that my heart skipped, on Friday the long awaited sample material for my new clutches arrived and I did a very happy dance indeed. Now I can go ahead and place my order and then get making. I'm excited and scared about the new direction... excited because I love the new design but scared because the material costs will make them much more expensive and I don't know if I'm going to be pricing myself out of the Etsy marketplace. If it doesn't work then I'll have to go the wholesale route and that's a whole other ballgame.

The sale in my Etsy shop ends on November 6th and I will be discontinuing all current clutches apart from the silks. I'll be closing the shop for a few days and will aim to reopen mid-November with the new collection. Yippee!

Fabric sale

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, October 23, 2009 0 comments

Peacock feathers fabric - Liberty of London Kingly cotton cord $35

I didn't realise how many fabrics I'd amassed until I started sorting through them over the last couple of days - in fact I'm a little daunted about the prospect of listing them all on Etsy. To start with I'm going to sell some of the larger pieces and then I may try doing 'mystery' bundles, I think that's the only way I'm going to be able to manage it. I hope it can all go to good homes and that lovely items can be made.

Show boat

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, October 20, 2009 0 comments

Tonight Rob and I supported Colin Macintyre (aka Mull Historical Society) at Bristol's floating venue The Thekla. It was a last minute booking so we didn't feel massively prepared for it. Usually on a gig day it's hard to knuckle down to any other work but the shop's busy at the moment so I was working up until sound check. Plus Rob has a bout of man-flu at the moment so he was feeling a bit woozy all day and I wasn't sure he was up to playing.

As it turned out, it was a great night. In the past we've supported touring bands at the Thekla with the full band and it was always a pretty hectic affair. Last minute soundchecks, frayed nerves and just enough room on the stage to swing a moderately sized cat. Tonight was a breeze. We were the only support and the normally standing-room floor was decked with chairs so punters were right there rather than loitering at the side or back (as we all like to do). It was a lovely gig, really refreshing and it was an absolute pleasure to open for Colin Macintyre as his set was magic. I'd never seen him live before although we've got a couple of his albums and his new more acoustic direction (with gorgeous double bass and fiddle) was wonderful. A pindrop crowd and lovely atmosphere. Not bad for a rainy Tuesday night on a boat in Bristol.

The times they are a changing!

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, October 18, 2009 0 comments

Chartreuse Peony - reduced to $50 from $75

The last few weeks I've begun to feel a little restless, as though things needed to be shaken up and changed a little with Red Ruby Rose. This has coincided with two exciting tweaks/changes I've discovered for my product line which are still in the pipeline.

In part this has been influenced by the fact that my shop no longer feels as unique as it used to. The heady early days on Etsy were such a buzz and I loved the freshness of the shop and the fact I had my little purse-making niche. Roll forward two years and now there are so many of us purse makers on Etsy making similar items that it's getting a bit of a cliche. Competition is good, cloning is kind of dull.

I still adore making kisslock purses and so I'm not going to be radically changing things but whilst I work on my new range I'm having a monster pre-Christmas SALE. Yippee! Most of the clutches are reduced by at least $25 ... some by even more and as these are all limited edition, once they're gone they're gone. I'm also going to be selling some of the fabrics I've been using by the yard and some by the piece depending on what I have left.

Exciting times!

Tiger tiger

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Wednesday, October 14, 2009 2 comments

My latest batch of fabrics arrived today which I've been busily listing. One of them is this new tiger print which is based on one of my collage illustrations.

Also, I'm SO excited as I have finally found a print solution to something that has been in the back of my mind for ages and ages. I can't really post anymore about it until I see the print samples but if they work out OK then it'll be an exciting new direction for Red Ruby Rose!

Maxi bag

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, October 10, 2009 5 comments

I've joined facebook this month, hence the tumbleweeds round here the last few weeks. Late to the party as usual! I'd been putting it off for ages thinking it would be a work distraction and true enough the first couple of days were whittled away in fruitless fashion but at least I now I'm in the loop and don't feel such a social pariah, ha.

I've a couple of new fabric designs coming hopefully next week and I've been working on some new bag styles too, including this maxi-clutch handbag. Thought it would be nice to have a bag with the Red Ruby Rose stylings including full silk lining but in a larger format so big enough to fit a lot more stuff. It's got an inside pocket and lariat key hook so keys don't get lost in the bottom of the bag. I love how it turned out, going to make one for myself now!

Rah Rah Rah!

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, September 12, 2009 2 comments

The last couple of days I've been down in Devon and Cornwall doing family stuff. Travelling through the country lanes in Devon we stumbled across an artists studio which had opened its doors for Devon Art Week. There was some great work on show but I was especially captivated by the stunning ceramic collages that Rah Rivers creates. I've never seen anything quite like it, beautiful remnants of decorated plates and china objects that have been lovingly reappropriated into complex and striking artworks. Each piece must have taken her many days and weeks of intense work and her sense of colour and pattern placement is so uplifting. I was pleased to see the amount of red 'sold' dots sitting next to her pieces, not only because I was happy to see her selling so well but also because it saved me from buying temptation.

All photos and artwork copyright Rah Rivers 2009

Summer's over

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, September 5, 2009 0 comments

Our last night in Germany, photo by Heiko - Songs and Whispers

I accidently left my Macbook charger at the artist flat in Hamburg so the last couple of days in Germany were spent without internet. We had a bit of hassle sorting accomodation on the second night in Hamburg. The venue had double-booked the flat and the alternative hostel arrangement was unsuitable which resulted in a last minute arrangement at a place in the Reeperbahn. Michiel and Robbie drove across town to check in before soundcheck and arrived back all grins reporting that they couldn't wait to see my face when I saw our accomodation for the night. More about that in a moment.

The second night in Hamburg was at a lovely neighbourhood bar called Freundlich und Kompetent which lived up to its name and had a great atmosphere, mostly thanks to the manager Julius who went out of his way to make sure we were all OK. It was a good crowd and a nice mellow contrast to the Astra Stube the night before.

But back to that hotel. We were exhausted by the time we arrived back and I'm kicking myself that I didn't take photos. The downstairs was resplendent with 70's retro kitsch and as we climbed the stairs the decor got increasingly camp and boudoir. Robbie and I got the blue room and it was a sight to behold. A large double bed with blue velvet drapes and a star fairy light canopy, velvet curtains, blue lights, a mirror with dressing-room lights around it and facing the bed was a huge blue painting of a male nude with resplendent blue buttocks. It was a homo-erotic paradise and the lady who checked Robbie and Michiel in obviously thought they'd have fun there. She must have assumed that the additional single room was for me rather than Michiel.

Leaving Hamburg on Thursday we drove South West to Nienburg for our last gig. It's a small and pretty town and we relaxed in the afternoon and played a low-key gig in the Hotel Weserschlosschen in the evening followed by a hefty game of Kegelbahn (like skittles or ten-pin bowling). Then it was the goodbyes which were sad as we've had such a fun and intense fortnight. Robbie, Michiel and I finished off the evening supping fine malt whiskey, looking at holiday snaps of Scotland and reminiscing.

We flew back to Bristol yesterday. Susi and Uli (Haruko and Hlynur) kindly met us in Bremen and drove us to the airport and we grabbed a coffee together before departing. Then I realised I'd muddled up the departure times and so instead of a two-hour wait we caught the flight without a minute to spare which was great if not a little unnerving.

It's weird to be back. I have a huge amount of RedRubyRose to catch up on and have spent most of today printing out orders and am about to start packaging. Time to get my bag-head back on!

Hello Hamburg

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Wednesday, September 2, 2009 0 comments

I'm losing track of days here, we've now played thirteen shows in nine days, and the gigs have varied considerably. Our first highlight was Polyester Club in Oldenburg on Saturday night which was I think the first show where we let go and had fun. The venue was great and atmosphere relaxed and we all played well. It was a long journey south to Gottingen for Monday's show at Blooming bar and well worth the travelling as the place was packed and everyone was so friendly. Another big drive yesterday, through some gorgeous countryside and hot sunshine back up north to Hamburg. It was quite a jolt to suddenly be back in a pulsing city but as soon as I saw the venue we played at last night I knew we'd have fun. Astra Stube is located under tramlines at a large intersection and the club vibrates everytime a train passes overhead. It was hot, sweaty and so we rocked things up a bit. Not much sleep last night and lots to see in Hamburg today!

A man called Tomas and a Schnapps tipple

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, August 29, 2009 0 comments

Here are the lovely musicians we're sharing this tour with.

Solo, aka Dutch songwriter Michiel Flamman

Bugs and colds are passing around us all here. We played two shows yesterday - an afternoon instore at Hot Shots records in the centre of Bremen, and then at Townside later in the evening when I was so dosed up with Ibruprofen that I had to sit down whilst playing to counteract the wobbles and felt as though I'd drunk a bottle of tequila - which wasn't without its woozy pleasure. It was a nice chilled show.

We headed back to the hotel and loitered at the bar for a nightcap, only to strike up conversation with a witty and charming retired German gentleman called Tomas who was propping up the bar and supping schnapps and espresso. He bought us schnapps (dismissing my brandy as a brown drink that was bad for the heart) and we launched into an animated and hearty conversation which at times made me roar with laughter so hard that tears rolled down my cheeks. It was a real tonic - who would have thought that a 65 year old man doing an energetic impression of a famous English rock singer (that he couldn't remember the name of) would amuse and keep us guessing so much... especially when both the barman and Michiel guessed his crazed twitching gestures as that of Joe Cocker immediately.

Plus, joy of joys, that combination of schnapps and hearty laughter made me wake up with a clearer head and reduced fever. Yay!

Two red balloons

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, August 27, 2009 4 comments

Heart Shaped Balloon Embroidered Art Plaque by Samskiart

It's been an emotional couple of weeks. Part of me feels naturally reluctant to spill my heart, but something happened last night that I felt moved to share. The decision to come over to Germany and play some shows wasn't without its pain. My grandma died a few days before we were due to fly and it was a difficult... and maybe in part selfish... decision on my part to carry on with the tour and miss the funeral. My family were very supportive in this decision and so it was that as my family grieved in England on Tuesday morning that I found myself sitting in Bremens oldest church. with the organist practising for the next mass and light shining through the ancient windows.

On Tuesday night we played at a cafe/bar in Bremen's old docks area which has been regenerated into a creative artsy quarter. The stage was outside and although it threatened to rain all night we got through without a drop. By the time we were on it had got colder and my heart was heavy so it was a little flat. Afterwards I couldn't help myself but weep and feel utterly miserable that I wasn't with my family.

Yesterday we drove to Bremerhaven, about 40 miles north of Bremen to play at Passage Kino. Heiko, who is the whirlwind maverick behind this Songs and Whispers tour, met us at the venue clutching two red heart-shaped balloons. He explained that they were for my grandma and so I took the balloons and let them fly high and free at the waterfront in Bremerhaven. I was very touched by this beautiful gesture.

Oooh, votey votey!

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, August 25, 2009 7 comments

I just saw that I've been included in Etsy's latest voter, featuring clutches. Oooh! Now, I don't want to twist any arms but here's where to vote ... although goodness, what a selection of delicious arm candy to choose from!

Hello Bremen

Posted by Red Ruby Rose 0 comments

So here we are in Germany... we arrived in Bremen yesterday on a lovely flight with OLT in one of those little twin engine Cessena type plane such a luxury compared to our usual Easyjet experiences. So far we've played two shows and I think we're still finding our feet... fun fun fun, but it feels like a steep learning curve. I'll post more about the shows and the lovely people we're sharing the billing with, and the production/promotion team behind the tour, but for now, here are some photos I took around Bremen today. I keep forgetting to take my camera to the gigs, I'll do that tomorrow!

Cue Fanfare

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, July 31, 2009 4 comments

Rob and I: Cue Fanfare photo by Toby Farrow

A lot has happened in the few weeks since I last posted. Turns out that the Santa Dog gig I posted about below was probably the band's last... at least for the forseeable future. We've been through so much together as a four-piece and I feel a bit woozy about it all. However, since Red Ruby Rose has taken over my life the last year or so I've taken my foot off the band pedal and you can't sustain a band without a pulse.

The last month or so I've started songwriting again which has been a real joy but these new tunes have a different feel to them and so I felt it was time to try something different - more gentle and acoustic and a duo, with just me and my partner Rob (guitarist in Santa Dog). Lady fate turned her tricks and within two weeks of making this decision we'd been offered a two week tour of Northern Germany. I think this was the straw that broke the band's back... there are only so many plates you can spin at once without breakages.

So, in three weeks time Rob and I are packing our guitars, hopping on a flight to Germany and playing 13 shows on successive nights in and around Bremen and Hamburg. We are equally delighted and terrified by the thought of this... having never played so many shows without a break it may well be exhausting. Also it's a big chunk out of our usual routines so it's a leap into the unknown. However, we have always dreamed of touring more and playing music around the world so this feels like a really great step in the right direction. Our new little duo is called Cue Fanfare and there are some tunes on the myspace player.

In the 18 months I've been running my Etsy shop the longest I've been away is four days so I feel a little nervous about leaving it for two weeks but I'll have a laptop so I'm sure it will be fine.

Might mean I get to blog a bit more while I'm away from my sewing machine too :)

Musical musings

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Monday, July 6, 2009 0 comments

My band Santa Dog has been a bit quiet the last few months. We had a flurry of activity in 2006-8 that took us to some really fun places; playing in Europe and Canada and releasing our album on Japanese label Quince, but it's a difficult thing to sustain and all four of us in the band have needed to balance the gigging and recording side of things with our everyday lives. However, the need to make music is an itch that must to be scratched and it can't lay dormant for too long. I have felt a little guilty the last few months that my previous drive and musical passion has wained but I'm really happy that I've finally got some fire in my belly for it again. We've started rehearsing new material and are taking a slightly darker, melancholy approach to our pop sensibility. We've got a gig coming up this Saturday at Bristol's Cube cinema as part of indie-pop fest the Big Pink Cake and I can't wait!

My latest crush

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, June 27, 2009 12 comments

After all my fussing and fretting yesterday, three lovely fabric parcels arrived in the post this morning. It's certainly made me a feel a little less hasty to banish all but my own fabrics (see my post below) as the new arrivals are real beauties and feel fresh and new.

I've been totally smitten with this fabric ever since I clapped eyes on the above picture in a recent edition of Country Living. It's such a clever design, contemporary but with a lovely retro flavour and the perfect balance of colours and shapes. The manufacturers don't state who actually designed it so it's hard to know whether it was one of their in house design team or a freelancer. I'd love to know as it'd be great to see more of their work. Either way I'm sure it will be an absolute best seller for them... it was out of stock twice before I got my consignment.

Handbags at dawn

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, June 25, 2009 9 comments

Several times recently I've started posts about copycats and then abandoned them. It's a tricky topic to broach but I've had a particularly unnerving experience this week so forgive me if I'm venting but it's the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back.

I make clutches, nothing original there. I even use some commercial fabrics so anyone can make what I make and that's no big deal. However, I've worked very hard to develop my own original 'house style' on Etsy - so it hurts me when new shops open up and quietly adopt said 'house style' as their own. I've toughened up quick and I'm not going to be a cry baby about it. Etsy is a warm and fluffy cupcake of a site and I still love it to bits but behind many popular sellers there are a raft of not very sisterly copycats chomping at the bit to get a slice of the action.

The trick of course is to stay ahead, ignore the rest and not get rattled. I'm still working on that last bit. Worrying about other sellers leads to negativity and sapping of creative juices - it's an unwanted distraction.

Without naming names or flinging mud, I was tipped off this week about a seller who was busily promoting to blogs and inadvertently including some of my bag photographs along with her own. One of the posts was a blog giveaway where over 300 people had posted, and of course they were all led to believe that it was one of her clutches when it was in fact one of my own. I felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach. I should add at this point in the spirit of balance that she apologised to me and explained it was an innocent file mix-up. That's right, my copyrighted clutch bag photo files were sitting on her computer hard drive and accidentally got forwarded as promotional puff. Great.

All this has got me thinking some more about slowly phasing out all of the clutches I make with commercially available fabrics and only making my originals and maybe keeping some of the sumptuous silks too. I would miss sourcing all the lovely prints from eclectic sources but I love designing new fabrics and I feel I should maybe play to my strengths in this department rather than using commercial fabrics. This would also mean I could branch into other branded Red Ruby Rose products, something I've been thinking about for a while.

Talking of new designs, I have two new prints that I'm really excited about. I'm like a kid at Christmas when my latest fabric delivery arrives.

Scots pine by Red Ruby Rose

Both fabrics were inspired by my recent holiday in Scotland. Scots Pine was a 'stop that car!' moment as I kept seeing wonderful vistas of tree trunks in the roadside forests but could never find a good place to stop. The days were ticking by and I felt that if I didn't simply slam on the brakes and stop the car I'd never get my picture. Maybe the subtitle should be 'the clutch that nearly caused an RTA between an impatient photographer, three German bikers and Mrs McCloud from Achiltibuie who was taking her annual trip to Inverness to buy her M&S smalls'.

Secondly. 'Pink thrift' which is a simple and breezy print. Just looking at it takes me back to the salty sea air at Badachro.

Pink thrift by Red Ruby Rose

Perfect poppies

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Monday, June 15, 2009 0 comments

The time seems to have flown by since my few days in Scotland at the end of May. A combination of catching up with work and sunny days have brought my blogging to a halt again. Now if only I had a laptop and our wifi wasn't so sketchy it'd be a constant garden chicken-cam. Those cheeky chooks have started laying the tastiest eggs and a quick tea-break in the sunshine always means at least a half hour chook-watch.

It's nice to be spending time in the garden again. One thing I'd completely forgotten I'd planted last year was an assortment of poppies. To my delight they have come up as absolute beauties. I think I may have pulled a few up at their early stages thinking they were weeds but a few have battled through and their blooms are magnificent but fleeting, only lasting a day or two at the most. The seedheads will look lovely going through to autumn though and then I can dry them.

I've got a couple of new clutch prints coming soon, based on pictures I took in Scotland. I've based one on the pink thrift pictures and another on roadside trees, I'll post them here when they arrive back from the printers. It's always an agonising wait as I never quite know how they're going to turn out as textile prints. It's such a shame that this amazing print technology didn't exist when I was a student in the 1990's - my work has always been so influenced by photography and montage and the textile screen printing methods at college never seemed to quite capture what I was looking for. I should make more use of it now it's available.

What a difference a week makes

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, May 31, 2009 5 comments

What is it about working for yourself and not taking holidays? I'm not so good at taking a break - not because I'm a workaholic or don't enjoy putting my feet up but because I think there's an underlying feeling that as a self-employed person I already have my cake and thoroughly enjoy eating it. However, I think I'd begun to forget the value of switching off, recharging and getting a fresh perspective.

The last few days spent in Wester Ross have been idyllic. I'd forgotten how beautiful and haunting the West Coast of Scotland is and the combination of celebrating Robbie's birthday, visiting old haunts and exploring new places was intoxicating (and that's not even taking into account the heady malt whisky).

It's hard to capture the sheer majesty and scale of the West Coast. I took a few fruitless snapshots of landscapes but had more fun homing in on the little details like the drifts of pink thrift clinging to the rocky shorelines, beautiful and unexpected bog-dwelling plants and the intense colour of bracken after a rainstorm.

What the photos couldn't capture were the startling and delightful sound of skylarks, chirruping and twittering as they hovered overhead, the cuckoo that started calling at 3am and carried on relentlessly throughout the day, the swifts swooping along the beach hoovering up sandflies and other tasty morsels. They can't summon up the salty smack from the fresh scallops served at the Badachro inn , the refreshing pint of 80 shilling at the Glenelg or the genuine warmth and hospitality shown us by Trudy at South Erradale B&B. But, these pictures give a taster of a wonderful few days.

Thrift at Badachro

Thrift at Badachro with bay in background

Delicate star-like bog plants by the roadside

Bracken fronds unfurling after a rainstorm, rainbow in background

Cotton plant with backdrop of Torridon

An ancient iron age Broch at Glenelg

Ubiquitous sign with additional shot-gun holes - target practice.

Unfurling bracken frond

Underwater rock pool photo

Underwater rock pool photo

Sundew plant on peat bog at the wonderfully-named hamlet of Mellon Udrigle

Robbie at Red Point

The view from the road leaving Poolewe

Stunning road leading down to Lochcarron

Glenelg to Skye ferry point

Treacherous cove

striking window

Robbie at Red Point