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Thriftfest on our doorstep, Discovering Berlin, Whole lot of Rosie update

Thriftfest on our Doorstep

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Image: Festival of Thrift

It’s that time of the year again! My favourite yearly event rolls into town, and this time it’s almost on our doorstep, in the neighbouring town of Redcar.

The Festival of thrift was devised and began three years ago as a collaboration between a local business man (who just happened to own Lingfield Point, the funkiest industrial estate you’ve ever seen) and retro genius, designer and Red or Dead owner  Wayne Hemingway. I visited in year 1, met one of my now closest friends who had a stall (hello Jane) and was totally won over by it all.  Finally something totally up my street had arrived in the Tees Valley!

Year 1 brought 17,000 visitors and I knew at the end of the two days I just had to be part of the next one. A year passed, and in year two I was there with my stall, and my book classes, with 40,000 visitors, my friends Geraldine and Abi selling too, and the lovely ladies from the Bobbin Shed (at the time artists in residence at Lingfield Point) as well as hundreds of stalls, classes activities and loads of shows. In year 3 the visitors had topped 45,000.

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Image: festival of thrift

This year there’s been a change. The fab F0T people have decided to move the event and bring it to Kirkleatham, on the edge of seaside town Redcar. Kirkleatham is what remains of the village that surrounded Kirkleatham hall and is a hidden gem of gorgeous homes, a stunning little church and buildings which now serve as a Museum, almshouses and a bird sanctuary.

I’ll be doing a new thrifty ‘Mini-screenprinting’ class, suitable for those aged 14+, which can be booked here, and will be selling on my stall with the help of my children George and Sadie.  To find out more about this fab event which comes our way on 17-18 September, click here.

Discovering Berlin 

This Summer we visited Berlin. In September my son will be off on a new adventure, starting Uni in Leeds, so this one was a special ‘last time we’ll all live together’ holiday.

Thoughts: amazing laid back city, creative as could be with plenty to see and do. SAFE, even at night, everyone is laid back and pace is slow. Rush hour still isn’t packed and S & U Bahn trains are clean and efficient – go by tram if you want to see the place..

Loads of graffiti on everything! Everyone lives in a flat, has a bike and a bottle of beer. Police are calm even if there’s been a spectacular accident (which we observed). If you try to speak German you’ll probably find the person you’re talking to is Australian.

There are urban beaches all over ( you need to find them) and a swimming pool in the river. You can tour the city on a hired bike, on a Trabant tour, in a mini-dragracer, in a horse and carriage, or on a London Bus. Sit outside and eat, take in the atmosphere in Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain (where we stayed) in E Berlin. Do a river trip in Moby Dick and wonder at the modernist government buildings around the Reichstag. Visit the old Jewish quarter of Scheunenviertel with its galleries, gorgeous old buildings and the labyrinth of independent shops in the Hackescher Markt 

If you go, go on a Sunday when all the amazing flea markets in the east of the city are on. If you miss that, then every Tuesday there’s a fabulous Turkish market in Neukoelln, full of gorgeous eastern food, fabrics, jewellery and sounds. … Wonderful.

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Whole lot of Rosie Update 

The life of a creative is never smooth, but always interesting!

WLoR Design 4In-between my job at TeesValley Arts, our shop, the markets and events, somewhere there is a creative / foodie business. So – how far have I got with the update of my tea brand? I have the new name, domain name, and email address sorted, and next has been the logo and labels.

Summer is always busy, I try and fit spending time with my children between all this and there are holidays to be had (see above) as well as events to prep for, but I’ve got back to the drawing board (literally) and made myself everything I need.

New name, labels in hand, some images to take next and we will be off! Whole lot of Rosie teas will be here soon, with a new site where you can look and buy. WLoR design 3WLoR design 2WLoR design 1

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The Shop that was Shared, My Musical Lot.

The shop that was shared. 

Once upon a time there was a lovely shop in Guisborough called Maison Belle, owned and run by a gorgeous princess and her  beau who loved their little shop and their home town.

The princess decided she would like to share her little shop, sent a message to 4 likeminded business ladies which said: ‘an interesting proposition’ and so Ruby and Blue became one of the 5 businesses running Maison Belle…

We’re 18 months in now, and the little shared business has grown and evolved into the delightful double fronted shop of delights we have today.

I wanted to tell you more about our shop in the town nestling below the Moors.

Maison Belle was the brainchild of Laura and Neil, and ran for three years, selling gifts, homewares and a premium paint brand before we came along. Laura works full time and between running the shop with her soon to be husband, she up-cycled furniture , sold to people in their homes and was a talented interior designer and maker of high quality home textiles, later to become her ‘Pinky and Binky’ brand.

After deciding to discontinue selling paint, we were grateful that she had considered us as potential shop-sharers, as a way of sharing the load of running an independent business.

I met Laura a few years before; I knew her to say hello to, as Maison Belle was one of the only places at the time to buy gifts in the town, but we became closely connected after starting to run Totally Locally together.

Through the Totally Locally market, she met her new shop-mates; Glass artist and silver jeweller Geraldine of ‘Bean Creative‘, Wedding guru and sign designer Abi of ‘Oh, Abigail‘ and accessories queen Kim of ‘Daisy Bloom‘, and we were the objects of her new plan, and it’s worked ! Thanks Laura X

We’ve often been asked how we managed to continue to get on, and I can probably sum it up in some simple tips I have learned from the ladies of the shop:

  • Let everyone have a chance to shine
  • Be kind when there is an issue, and support eachother
  • Don’t leave anyone out
  • Plan the shop as a team
  • Keep  talking (we use Facebook chat)
  • Have meetings in the pub (and have fun)

Take a look at the Maison Belle facebook page, run by Laura for all our updates at the shop here.

My Musical Lot

We’ll start this bit with my lovely girl, Sadie. She’s been singing since I can remember, in front of people for many years, and writing songs since the age of 8.

Her music has become more sophisticated so has her voice and guitar playing, and now Sadie’s an accomplished performer, who goes by the stage name ‘Sadie Joan’ and can be found here on Facebook.

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The photos on her page were taken by brother George, whose musical talents lie in an altogether more technical area. George is just about off to Leeds for a degree in Music Tech, and plays a a mean keyboard as well as knowing the ins and outs of a synthesizer and recording equipment.  George started volunteering at a recording studio at 15, and now helps at local Redcar radio station Zetland FM, sometimes running a show with his sister. If you live around Redcar you can tune in on a Tuesday eve (until he runs off to Leeds) or you can find it online here.

I’d like to think they got this musical talent from me, but apart from a bit of backing singing  in my 20s, the ‘Partridge Family’ (ask your Mum) harmonies in the car and being able to play ‘Danny Boy’ on the piano very badly, my musical skills are none. Their Dad, however has bass playing in his blood. He’s currently to be found as part of  local band Little Mirrors, who Sadie sometimes supports, and is connected to late 80s squat punk band Axegrinder, as well as Ska band Intensified and Funk Punk group Seep, playing in both of the last two bands when I met him.

It’s no wonder the youngest two of family Rogers are so musical with a dad with such a varied musical background, but the creative home of Ruby and Blue is a music filled one, and that’s how we like it.

 

 

 

Tea and Makes, Ruby the Camper

Tea and Makes

If I was to work out where my love of all things tea began, I would have to say it all startedRingtons Teacup with my lovely Nana, who I often enjoyed a sweet milky cup of tea with as a very small child. Both my Nana and Mum always made sure there was a china cup and saucer, and tea was always made in a pot (in my Nana’s case using leaf tea from a fascinating wall-mounted dispenser.)I lost my wonderful Nana when I was in my teens, but still have some of the willow pattern cups and saucers she would use, which she saved up Ringtons Tea vouchers to collect in the late 60s.

Through my student years, insisting we had Yorkshire Tea in our shared hsaltburn food festivalouse, and right up to my involvement in running a tea-shop, my love of tea has been a constant, almost inevitably leading to me having my own tea brand, which I sell  at festivals and markets. Probably the apex of my tea-selling career came this summer when I was invited to have a stall and a pop-up tearoom at Saltburn Food Festival.

The festival brought in 14,000 visitors last year, in the one day it rufood fest 9ns on the town’s Milton Street and with even more people visiting this year, had a whole street filled with the very best of local produce and amazing food from all over the UK.

We showcased our range of 10 packet teas including the new Special Matcha Green, selling cups of tea too so visitors could try for themselves. My youngest, Sadie sold cakes for the charity trip she is taking for school to work in an Orphanage in India, and we had my usual tea-cosies and other makes , infusers and vintage teacups & saucers to buy. It was a real family affair with both kids serving alongside me, and Husband Chris keeping the hot water coming, from the back of our T25 camper van Ruby.food fest 4

An amazing day was had by all and I would highly recommend a visit next time, on the first Sunday in August next year! (So hope we’ll be invited back and am already counting the days!)

Ruby the Camper

I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my wonderful family, who are with me all the way and often   help out (sometimes the dog comes along too.) The two kids will rubyvanbe alongside me this year at the Festival of Thrift, and running the stall while I teach my ‘Kitchen Cupboard Books’ classes there. This little aside, however isn’t about them; it’s about my ever faithful van Ruby the other important cog in the machine, who I thought you would like to know a little more about.( I say who as I consider her a person, not a machine)

Before that, a little step back in time.

As a couple, Chris and I have had a few Volkswagens over the years, and probably my earliest memory of VWs were those owned by my uncle in the 1970s; the orange Beetle with the big sunroof he would drive around our estate ruby v w frstivalstanding up, and the Karmann Ghia which lived on our drive ‘temporarily’ for a year looking stunning but totally engine-less, like a model who’d had a frontal labotomy. This was my plaything and thoroughly ingrained in me this love of VWs.

Over time we owned a T25 pickup truck and and a nippy little Polo, but Ruby came along when we were looking for a fully blown kitchened camper. She’s from California, but we picked her up in Doncaster, with a full service history and Californian plates which enabled me to find her first owner who had her right up until she was imported to the UK in 2009.  She told us Ruby had been a ‘he’ in the US, called Wolfie as he’s an edition from the famous Wolfsberg factory. He became a she, renamed by her new UK owner and when she ended up with us,  we gave her a spruce up with a respray and had some dents removed and she was ready for the road. She’s taken us on holidays and festivals up and down the UK, and often acts as both my kitchen and my office when I run Totally Locally markets.food fest 8

In 2008, I set up SkyBlueRed, a community arts company. I wanted to give my new venture a non-specific but creative name; and as most of my work entailed creative sessions in schools, thought the use of colour would be good. I also wanted a title that reflected my personality, and when I asked a friend how they would describe me, they said ‘really blue eyes, red hair, and red lipstick’. It was a done deal. When I decided to have my own ‘brand’ for selling at fairs, it seemed an obvious choice to keep to the same red and blue theme. Also Sadie was going to be named Ruby, but Ruby Rogers? With a name like that she was destined to be a Country and Western singer and not much else! (As she’s something of a singer, I think that may have been an issue)

So, it was ironic that our new acquisition was called Ruby when we got her, years after Ruby and Blue came into existence, so completely fitting in with everything I do (and we couldn’t really not buy her) and if you ever see her about the place, you might notice ‘Blue’ the bird in the middle of her windscreen, made for me by the lovely Paula of ‘Vintage Polly. Ruby the van, and Blue the bird, coming to a festival near you soon !

Let’s Create, Cycles Galore, Twice the Love..

Let’s Create

Time for new workshops … take a peek at the poster and see more here. The workshops are at our NOW next-door neighbour’s place, LEVEN CRAFTS… more about this later ..

apr may  creative classes

Cycles Galore

Lots of excitement and anticipation is about in Guisborough as LE TOUR YORKSHIRE passes our way on the 1st of May. Hot on the heels of last year’s stage 1 of Le Tour De France, which brought millions to the Dales and West Yorkshire , it’s our turn to welcome people from all over the world for the great race.

We are the nearest town, here in Guisborough for much of stage 1 so we have no idea as yet how many people will descend on our little corner of North East England, but with the help of Welcome to Yorkshire , we are preparing for the hoards! Look out for lots of cycle themed items being produced, and lots of blue and yellow … In the meantime , here’s the stage 1 map..

tour de yorkshire stage 1 map

Twice the Love

Maison Belle Guisborough
Maison Belle Guisborough

In October I became one of the 5 ‘Belles’ of Maison Belle in Chaloner Street, Guisborough, selling my own work and Ruby & Blue teas as well as carefully chosen cards and home wares. To say this has gone well has been an understatement, and a couple of weeks ago, we were able to double Maison Belle by taking over the newly empty shop next door!

There are handmade cushions and bunting, and lovely furniture painted in Farrow and Ball colours, from Pinky and Binky, fused glass, handmade silver jewellery and stitched art from Bean Creative, individual painstakingly painted signs by Oh, Abigail and gorgeous bags scarves and accessories, courtesy of Daisy Bloom (my lovely friend Kim, who I have been friends with for 30 yrs.

This also means our next door neighbours are Leven Crafts, (which is very handy as I run my classes there, I wonder if they’ll let me put in my own door? )

Take a peek at our pics and see what you think!

Rosie Lea and Weekly Wonders

Gosh! It has been a while since I posted on here, but SO much has happened! Will tell you more at the end, as I do a little recap of the year!

Let’s start with a little Rosy Lea. As you know if you follow my of my rose-tea-1920-1080-6003blog, my love of all things tea has led to me starting my own Ruby and Blue Tea brand, with a nice little range for sale in Maison Belle, and soon to be for sale in two cafes, one in Redcar and one in Chaloner Street, Guisborough. My latest tea for the tasting, I have actually called ‘Rosie Lea’ after the Cockney rhyming slang for tea. It’s a gorgeous blend of rose buds and petals from Tuscany, which can be drunk as a tea on it’s own or added to your favourite leaf tea to make your own blend. I’ll very soon be able to give you the whole lowdown on the available teas on my dedicated tea page, but for now, I’ve added all the details of this delightful and refreshing tea. To go with, I’ll be making some rose inspired makes for the shop, and will have pics as soon as they’re done.

10898230_558608530942062_53106454900584494_nOver the years, I’ve done lots of classes of all types with all ages, and I particularly enjoy the classes I’ve run at Leven Crafts, because I love the space and the ladies on the shop, Ruth and Lorna are two of the most delightful and supportive people I have met. Happily I can report that from February 2014, I’ll now be running a weekly class, which will run Tuesday evenings in school term-time from 7- 9, and my great friend Geraldine will be doing them with me too. Here’s the poster with all the info and further details of exactly what’s running can be found here. tuesday classes flier

Tattoo Time, a New Job and an Old Name

Hello all…

Before I start, check out our latest workshops at Leven crafts here, which have just been announced.

I realise it’s been longer than normal between posts, but not without good reason. You’ll see that this is a longer post to make up for it though, so you still get your money’s worth.

A new job…

In May, I took up a post part-time in our nearest big town, as a Projects Officer for the main community arts company. I now have the responsibility for setting up some of the creative intervention projects which benefit many of the most vulnerable members of our society, something I’m absolutely passionate about.

The work we do involves everyone from refugees to probationers to the homeless. Looking back at previous projects it’s clear the difference the creative work makes to those involved. I’ll keep you updated with how I get on.

A tattoo …

OK, I admit it, I love tattoos, tattoo designs old and new, and all things tattooey. I helped out at a tattooists when at Art College and even did my thesis on tattoos in the fashion industry.

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My work is often inspired by tattoos and I love the vibrant colours and illustrative designs, and how personal they are.

There was bound to come a time when the voice in my head telling me to get a new one would shout too loudly, so after many many months of deciding, designing, and with lots of pain, I went for it, but it was certainly worth it!
I spent a lot of time researching tattooists, talking to people who had been tattooed at my chosen venue, and deciding which tattooist’s style most suited what I wanted. I went for Miss Purple at Guisborough Tattoo Emporium, as I loved the illustrative style of a rabbit design she had done which looked like a Beatrix Potter drawing, with a real watercolour feel.

I wanted something which didn’t have a typical tattoo black outline, in particular colours and depicting two of my most loved themes. Now I have something permanent, bright, happy and completely me; tea and birds, my two favourite things.

tattoo

An old name…

You may have noticed the name ‘SkyBlueRed’ on the Community Art page on this site, and wondered what it’s all about.

I set up SkyBlueRed in 2010 and worked in schools and on my own art projects from there on, with over 800 children taking part in one or more of my art events and classes. When I was a founder member of the team of a new community not for profit art studio and tearoom benefiting adults with special needs, we decided to cash in on the popularity of the name and used it for the shop.

Three years down the line I am no longer part of the project and the team that now run the shop have decided to change the name, so SkyBlueRed is back , where it belongs. You’ll see it loud and proud on our posters, and if you want to know what it means, it’s blue eyes, red hair (so, me then! ) reminds you of this site? You can see there’s a theme!

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Creativity for Sunny Days.

Sunny Days ..sunny days

…bring with them the promise of festivals and markets outdoors;  we have lots of events to think about at the moment.

I’m finding it more of a challenge to fit things in these days, which I will use as a handy excuse for not having posted as often as I should.  This can be most easily explained by telling you about my new role as a projects officer at arts development company ‘Tees Valley Arts’.

I have long admired the work of the organisation, and was mentored through TVA a couple of years ago, so it’s a great coup to now be part of the team. TVA have been responsible for many of the important arts events and installations in the Tees Valley area, including the environmental programme ‘Green TV’ Here’s the website for further info: www.teesvalleyarts.org.ukwetfeltedballs

When I’m not making, doing classes or promoting the town through Totally Locally events and markets, this is where I’m at. All this extra work is wonderful , but does squeeze time, so I just need to be really organised. I find a combination of Excel, a good old Filofax and a sturdy calendar does the trick, but you can’t beat a good old list or 12, and for those I have lots of special books I have collected over the years.

Talking of squeezing time, more about those markets and workshops at festivals coming up sooner than I can believe! During both the Galtres Festival and Festival of thrift, we’ll now be doing creative workshops. Geraldine, my wonderful fellow maker and I are busy preparing lots of new work for  the markets and workshops.

You’ll find both Geraldine and I playing about with wool roving at Galtres, and making all linocampermanner of fun felted things. At The FoT, I’ll be making books from things you can find in your kitchen cupboard. (great for me with my aforementioned book obsession) My favourite is the Yorkshire Tea book; I do love my tea, so being able to make a tea themed book has to be a bonus, plus it still has that tea-leaf aroma.

You can make your own on either of the days. Also we’ll be using pre-cut lino prints so you can make your own bags and Ts at both Volkspower and Galtres…

..Handprinted tote bags and Ts .. ready for those summer days. All we need now is the sunshine.

Details of event dates are here, hope to see you there…

 

 

Market time , cross-stitch with a message and arty wax.

What a busy week we have had…

With markets at Guisborough and on the moors and one being prepped for at Lingfield Point, as I write. There was a fantastic spirit at the market and the sun shone brightly as we chatted to visitors both from the local area and from further afield. 

Here I am with the stall I share with Geraldine of Bean Creative.

Latest Classes

batik and x stitch poster

Join us this Friday and next Monday for two really different classes, both of which you can try on either day. During our Batik session, we’ll be looking at tribal and Aborigine art as inspiration for our designs, or you can go with your own ideas!

If you want something decidedly less ‘waxy’ then have a try at contemporary cross-stitch, incorporating modern sayings and today’s icons with this traditional craft.

If you want to look for some inspiration, look no further than our favourite cross-stitcher ‘Mr x-stitch’, the male sewer you may have seen on the ‘Kirsty’ programes on the TV. mr x-stitch

Take a look at his blog and ‘stitchgasm’ spot at http://www.mrxstitch.co.uk or click here.

Have fun with your crafting ! m 🙂

 

Felting, printing and crochet biscuits..

We’ve kicked off our new workshops with great fun and creativity at The Palace Hub.

We had a fabulous fun group of attendees for our first day of workshops for both the lino printing and needle felting classes, lots of tea in vintage cups, and even some delicious home-made biscuits courtesy of Geraldine’s little daughter..

Our chaps created a kalaidoscopic range of beautiful designs, some using dual printing colours while others printed over tissue papers and on a range of backgrounds such as sugar papers and old book pages.

We tried our hand at a ‘chine colle’ printing method, sandwiching glued papers between the inked lino and the base paper, to add vibrant colour to black mono-prints.

Geraldine took the helm for the second class , where we had excellent wool-based fun with needle felting. We prodded and poked in great style and made some smashing little animals, brooches and floral inspired pieces.  If you feel as though you’ve missed out , we’ll be doing it all again on Tuesday!  More info here.

Meanwhile there are lots of markets and festivals to think about.. As I have been away visiting family I needed something portable, so have been making some fun little crochet biscuits to sell.  Here you can see them by some fab little retro Pyrex cups given to me by lovely friend Abi of ‘Oh Abigail’.

crochet biscuits

The pattern for the Jammy dodger is by Matt and can be found on his ‘According To Matt’ blog  http://accordingtomatt.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/jammy-dodger-pattern.html the custard cream is my pattern (which I will most certainly write down and share at some point) and I’m working on a bourbon too, so we’ll see how that turns out!
If you’re round and about Guisborough on the 3rd may, you might just see my biscuity creations on the Totally Locally Market! See you then M