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

Those pesky birds.....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, May 23, 2009 5 comments

mmmm, grass clippings, nom nom nom

My posting has fallen off a cliff. All my good intentions of daily blogging have fallen by the wayside since we got our chickens (always good to have something else to blame!)

I know that my intention in getting chooks was so I'd spend less time inside working and more time relaxing but this is ridiculous, I could happily watch them for hours, they almost induce a hypnotic state as I watch them spuddle round the back yard, chatting to themselves and going crazy for grapes (I think they'd mug a granny for grapes).

In honour of this new soporific state I'm even taking a rare holiday next week (sans chickens). Robbie my boyfriend will be forty and we're taking ourselves up to Scotland to revisit some old haunts. As we're both self-employed now it feels like a Herculean task to take time off - it seems like double the work before we go away and anticipation of double the work on our return but the break will do us good.

Meet Barker and Corbett....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, May 12, 2009 2 comments

Our new chickens! They arrived today and are very beautiful and bird-brained young ladies. All seems to be OK so far although Corbett had a VERY loud fit of squawking at tea-time which I hope was just nerves at her new surroundings. Living in a built-up urban area I'm very aware that we can't upset the neighbours. So, lay some golden eggs soon my pretties and then we can bribe any dissenters.

Missed it again

Posted by Red Ruby Rose 2 comments

Wow, trying to purchase one of knitalatte's beautiful covered crochet stones is akin to stalking down a treasury on a dial-up connection with a wind-up imac. I've tried about four times now.... Margie has even sent me tip offs as to when she's listing but it's either in the dead of night when I'm asleep (damn the UK time difference) or as in last night, gone before my very eyes.

Last night I even double-checked the EST time v GMT so I knew I had to wait up until 1am (or so I thought) so I pootled round the web, checked some blogs, visited the shop again at 12.30 to loiter and lo and behold I'd missed the party. There was only one left... all the others had been listed and sold. The only reason I didn't purchase the one left is it wasn't quite the one I wanted and I didn't want to deny someone else if that was their favourite. Needless to say it had sold by today.

I need to brush up on my time-keeping and detective work to bag one of these beauties.

On the arts trail

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Saturday, May 9, 2009 3 comments

I'd planned a humdrum day of pottering around and working today but the best laid plans and all that..... instead I spent the day walking round the Southbank Bristol Arts Trail and catching up with friends. It's the one weekend of the year when some of the braver local arts folk open their houses for the weekend and tolerate all and sundry having a wonderful snoop around at the art but more importantly their houses. As a self confessed window-peeper I find it's nice to have validation for being a nosey-parker for once.

Of course we supported the arts too, I picked up some ace cushions in mid century barkcloth fabric and some other bits and pieces..... and as every single house seemed to have been home baking for England it would have been rude not to have scoffed the cake and quaffed the tea on offer. Tomorrow I'll eat fruit.

pics: the best dressed doorway in Bristol

News from the potting shed....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Thursday, May 7, 2009 3 comments

It's fair to say I've been like a bear chewing a wasp this week. Everything work and house-wise has been on hold until finally today my neck-strain eased enough to function again. Phew! I had a shuffle round the garden and finally checked on all the plants I recently planted or have been nurturing. Most stuff is fairing OK and just needed a really good drink.

The sweetcorn looks great, it's growing strongly and doesn't seem to have minded a few days of drought. Tomatoes were sulking but have perked up. Basil is taking an age to do anything, diva of the herb world that it is. Unfortunately the sad specimen below is what's left of a cucumber seedling. One sniff of that delicacy and the local snail population of South Bristol have descended and made a tasty snack of it.

The Ranunculus is a little windswept but still blooming - love that red against the yellow paintwork.

Geraniums need potting up, another job to add to the list.

The Anemones seem to have been avoided by the marauding munchers so far.

I'm going to be spending a lot more time in the garden this year, as part of a promise I made myself after spending the last twelve months in near-constant work mode. It's hard getting the balance right but hopefully I'm on the right track now. Bring on the sunshine!

Northern lights

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Tuesday, May 5, 2009 4 comments

I try and visit Katy Elliott's journal whenever I get the chance. She's a prolific daily blogger and her posts are always full of savvy design tips and links. Plus, it's great to see the progress she's making on renovating her beautiful New England home.

Her recent post about Scandinavian designers Bungalow led me to discover Lille Firma, a UK stockist of Scandinavian design.

These adorable casalinga birds caught my eye - striking wall wear and a lovely contemporary twist on the classic flying ducks.

I've become a recent fan of Mia Cullin's work - a Swedish designer based in Stockholm, her textiles are strongly influenced by geometry and assembled modules of pattern. She uses a variety of materials including leather, tyvek and felt to startling and beautiful effect.

This cushion is available at Habitat

Blooming lovely

Posted by Red Ruby Rose 5 comments

I'm always delighted when Etsy sellers go the extra mile and so I was tickled to receive this vintage necklace from 5gardinias in the post today. It arrived so prettily packaged that I grabbed my camera phone to take some pics. (5gardinia's own product shot above).

Love the embossed paper and handwritten label tied up with postal string.

The bright pink tissue was a nice surprise...

Inside there was protective foam and gorgeous printed tissue paper. The actual necklace is gorgeous with enameled chain and and lovely detailing. Originally I had planned to photogram elements of it as the flexible plastic is similar to another piece I have that photographed like this:
But I think the plastic on this necklace may be too thick. However, I'll certainly give it a go as I love the design... it will hopefully end up as a textile print of some sort, as well as a favourite necklace.

Kathi at 5gardinias has a gorgeous shop of vintage treasures and top notch product photography too.
sweet jane flower necklace

cottage rose eclectic china stack

**edit** I've just discovered Kathi's other Etsy shop, via her blog she's a very talented jeweller too. I adore these earrings

What a pain in the neck

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Sunday, May 3, 2009 7 comments

Ugh, I managed to pull a muscle in my neck last week and I've spent the last few days walking lop-sided and feeling a bit sorry for myself. At least it's given me an excuse to take a few days off from working and to enjoy the May sunshine.

I took myself off to Somerset this weekend (although driving maybe wasn't the most sensible thing to do) and visited my parents. Their garden is looking absurdly wonderful, I'm glad I took the pinhole camera along and took some blossomy pictures.

top left: fig tree branches, top right: apple blossom, middle: clematis, bottom left: aged terracotta pots, bottom right: vintage candelabra, all taken with pinhole kit camera, fuji film silk 100c

When the fuji film ran out I moved over to my camera phone and filled it with images of amazing cherry blooms (tweaked in Photoshop to enhance the intoxicating effect of these amazing flowers).

and the winner is.....

Posted by Red Ruby Rose Friday, May 1, 2009 3 comments

SWEET TWEET birthday prize ribbon by poppyandclover

I had a really hard time choosing the winner for the clutch giveaway in my first blog post. Many thanks indeed to all 137 contributers. After much consideration I have decided that there are THREE winners, all of whom win a $75 gift voucher for my Etsy shop and free international shipping.

They are:

1) Sarina who wanted to be a siren, 'lounging around on sun warmed rocks half naked by the ocean, singing all day and entrapping handsome men.'

2) Emily who made me smile with her wish to be a hippo as she could, in her own words, 'lounge around, eat all I want and never be offended when someone said, "You're as big as hippo" because, you know, I would actually *be* a hippo. :) '

Holly - who *technically* should be disallowed as her answer wasn't a creature as such but is still a living thing (check me out, bending the rules). She would like to be a redwood tree.... '[in the redwood forrest just outside of San Fran... I visited there recently - beautiful!!] They are tall, strong, majestic, wise and very long living!'

Special mention goes to to the dotty one who wanted to be an aubergine.

Eggplant plush by Vintagepixie5

Thanks for the fantastic answers. I can offer everyone else who took the time to enter this giveaway a 10% discount on any purchases and free international shipping in the Month of May. Simply type the answer you put into the box at checkout and I'll refund shipping and 10% via Paypal.