Saturday, December 21, 2013

merry christmas and a very happy new year!

WHAT a year! I can't believe it's Christmas time again! But here we are again, and as I've been baking all morning the house is smelling magnificent! How has your year been? Any highs, or lows? 

I want to say a massive-o thank you to all of you lovely readers (and customers) - you are all swell! This year has been an adventure, at the very least! And it has been made all the more delightful having you guys along for the ride. We broadened our horizons and have been blessed to be able to continue doing gorgeous weddings and events with our flowers! But we've also been so blessed to have been accepted into many craft fairs, beginning the textile and homewares side of rubyandjoy. And WHAT FUN it's been! Weekends crazily busy with market stalls, our Etsy store getting more established, beautiful weddings, wreath workshops, foraging, my very own lovely sewing machine from Australia making it to bonny Scotland, gorgeous fabric, setting up my studio...and the list goes on!

I must say a very big thank you to husbando, my market time buddy-hero, without whom I would have had to have carried loads more stuff, drive way more, and would have been hungry every lunch time and sorely missed my morning hot chocolates. And pep talks!

As everyone gradually begins to shut off their computers and take some time off, I want to wish you the merriest of Christmas-es, and pray that your 2014 is overflowing with love, joy and peace! Thank you again for all your support this year, it's been grand!

All my love, Nicola x

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - rubyandjoy

Good Friday morning to all of you! And how are you today? Feeling festive? I hope so!

Today is the last of our 'Meet the Makers' series for handmade Christmas Gift ideas - and I'm featuring ME! A lot of you might read this blog and not know about rubyandjoy, and as sharing is caring, we thought would share our favourite things about Christmas and get to know you a bit better. Try not to think of me interviewing myself, but rather, imagine a 40's style reporter grilling me in a friendly but professional manner, wearing very shiny shoes. I imagine he would also have a pencil in his hat.

If you were giving one of your products as a gift for Christmas, what would it be, for whom, and why?

If it was for a new Mummy, I would give them a wee whale or elephant cushion with a lavender and flaxseed eye pillow. If it is was for my sister I'd give her some Christmas decorations and a lovely big pinboard and if it was for someone having their first Christmas I'd give stockings. If it was for my best friend I'd give a couple of cushions, some decorations and a lavender love heart. That's more than one, but it's SO hard to choose!

What have you got on your Christmas list this year?

This year has been quite tricky actually! But I have on my list as gentle suggestions (I'm a BIG fan of people not using lists!) a Nikki McWilliams custard creams cushion, a Catherine Brunet hot water bottle, a massage (I'll take any chance I can get for one of those!), some music and a bit of a holiday. I love flowers at this time of year too - especially giant Poinsettia plants! I'm off to buy husbando's gift today though - and I'm super excited about that one!

What's your favourite part of Christmas day?

Oh there are so many things! I love it ALL! For me Christmas has always been about church and family, and it stays the same today. In Scotland we have a midnight service on Christmas Eve which starts everything off, and I cook a big turkey meal while we're waiting for the late service. Then on Christmas we have church in the morning, and the rest of the day is spent with family. I miss my family loads back in Australia, so there's always quite a few skype dates!

Real tree or fake tree?

Real! Always real! I absolutely love the smell. It was always tradition back in Australia that Dad and I (and sometime my brother) would go and pick the tree and cut it ourselves, I absolutely loved it! We've not found a cut your own tree place here yet, but we went out to a lovely farm this year and got a wee beauty! We've also got some lovely big spruce branches in the house with giant branches of pinecones, so it feels very festive! All the house decorations are going up tonight - and then the Christmas baking begins!

What are some of your favourite stores that stock handmade items?

There are so many, and so many that I love, but can't remember the name off! But I do love Blue Magpie in Dunkeld, Lovely Things in Dundee, Pippin in Edinburgh and Boo Vake in Perth. Etsy online is also a treasure trove of lovely things!

If you were going to a Christmas dinner party, what would you take as a hostess gift?

I've always hated going to a dinner party empty handed, although usually it's just a box of chocolates that accompanies me! This year though, we're heading to a small event on Sunday evening, and I'm going to make a fresh spruce and pine wreath - I'm so excited! I've been running workshops for a few weeks and the ladies have been absolutely loving them! I feel a bit like a cheat though, as it hardly feels like work for me - I'm having a ball! While we were at the last class, I was thinking that a smaller version would make a lovely gift, so I might make a few!

Pop over and have a look at the rubyandjoy online store - there are some gorgeous gift ideas, if I do say so myself! We're also having a sale until Sunday (hooray!) - spend over £15 and you'll get £5 off your order! That's a free decoration! Or a free lavender heart! If it wasn't weird, and if Etsy would let me, I'd be shopping there myself! Just use the coupon code CHRISTMAS13 to get your discount.

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know some makers a wee bit better, and I hope you've been inspired to buy some handmade gifts this year - there are so many lovely ones to choose from! I hope you have a magnificent weekend - keep your eyes peeled here though - we've still got a few more gorgeous gift ideas coming your way.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Pop up Shop - Sydney


And a very good evening to you my dear blog readers! How are you this fine Tuesday evening? I am currently admiring our gorgeous Christmas tree which I am completely in love with. I am also considering very important issues such as - when should I cook my Christmas cake? - and - I wonder if my squirrel decoration on our Christmas tree needs a pal?

It has been a MEGA busy few weeks here at rubyandjoy HQ, and so I am redirecting your attention to this excellent sounding pop up shop in Sydney! Hooray for pop up shops! Now, you know we've been quite keen to encourage you all to support the local and small businesses, especially handmade this year, and this is a great way to do that easily. There is going to be some seriously cool stuff there, and if I were somewhere closer to Surry Hills than say, Scotland, I'd be there!

And so I very kindly ask you to take my place, chat to those lovely makers who will be very excited to see you (it can get awfully lonesome in a wee studio) and stock up on extra gorgeous gifts - hooray's all round!

Located at The Paramount Building in Surry Hills, and open from Thursday 12th - Sunday 15th. Check out their facebook page here for more info.

And because you're just DYING to see it, here's a wee snap of our Christmas tree. Isn't she lovely?! You could write a song about that...


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Miri

Ahoy me hearties! What are you up to today? I'm hosting a Gingerbread-House-making-night for 70 women tonight, so there is icing and there are bags sweets absolutely everywhere! HOORAY! So very quickly, as there is holly to be hung and lights to be strung (ooh, a rhyme!), you must check out the sweetest Miri! I have a squirrel print and a grumpy cat, and my wordy, I absolutely adore them! Based in Wales, there are also badges, there's lovely jewellery and there's new mugs - yippee!

This is happy kitty - before he gets grumpy... 

Put on your cosiest boots and get yourself over to see all the loveliness at Miri pronto - and make sure you say hi from me! I'm away to get the Gingerbread House fun started!


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - The Little Paper Pantry

Good morning lovelies! It is a blustery and cold Wednesday morning here, which made getting out of bed mucho difficult! But today we have the gorgeous Madi from The Little Paper Pantry on the blog, and I'd like you to make her welcome! She is a dear friend of mine, and is incredibly clever at making beautiful paper-y delights. Read on to hear about her favourite things at Christmas time...

Do you make specific Christmas items, or just stick with your usual all year products? 

Every year my family decides on a specific theme for Christmas. This means the table decorations, the tree and even our outfits need to match this theme. So, I love to design special wrapping paper and tags/cards for all the gifts under the tree…this year the theme is “tropical” These new designs usually find themselves onto our Little Paper Pantry shelves as well, so keep an eye out for some fun and fruity designs!

What have you got on your Christmas list this year? 

We’ve all decided that this year we would only be giving handmade gifts. So, I have handmade jewellery, a crochet blanket, marmalade and some soft cheese on my list

What is your favourite part of your Christmas day? 

Going to church with all my loved ones, fantastic food (of course), the much needed nap after all the eating and then waking up in the late afternoon and having another bowl of trifle with my tea.

What do you use for inspiration for your work? 

We love the 1950's and find a lot of inspiration from that era, from the glamorous timeless fashion to the idea of the perfect housewife, ‘a domestic goddess’. This era is a popular ingredient in many of our designs. We also can't seem to stay away from patterns and flowers and other prettiness. We can be inspired by a lovely cup of fragrant tea or reading some blogs and magazines...the list is endless really. A season can even be inspiring...I especially love Christmas time with all the family and friends, specially wrapped gifts and yummy food. It all fills my heart with joy and that inspires me to make beautiful things.

Rocky road or fruit cake? 

I LOVE the smell of fruit cake baking, but don’t like all the fruit in it (conundrum!), so I usually opt for the Rocky Road instead. If only there could be a fruitless fruit cake…or fruit cake flavoured rocky road?

If you were going to a Christmas dinner party, what would you take as a hostess gift? 

I would usually take some beautifully wrapped fruit cake or cookies in a cute tin with a lovely tag or card…all handmade of course


Skip yourself over to The Little Paper Pantry and say hello here! A big thank you to Madi for hanging out with us for a while, and now, as it's a Wednesday (unless you're still confused) and because any excuse will do, it must be time to put the carols on? Yes? 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - poosac

Rushing back from London for a market in Edinburgh meant I was up at 5am on Saturday morning for a flight. These are the days I seriously consider becoming a coffee drinker! It did not start well, as I lost my boarding pass in the airport between security points. By the time I'd made it back onto Scottish soil (I had to race from one end of the airport to another to get a reprint - way to early for that kind of rushing!), I was as present as I could be, but not all the lights were on, if you know what I mean?

However! After I'd set up my table and husbando had delivered me a hot chocolate (gold star to him!), I was able to have a quick wander around the market. Even with my senses dulled by lack of sleep I did not miss these gorgeous creations! Check out poosac and their lovely little Etsy store here. All of these super sweet creatures are handmade, and have so much character!

I've seen loads of variations of the 'shop handmade' and 'shop local' movements recently, and hope we've been able to help you find some real treasures so far! It really is a lovely thing, to buy a gift for someone which has been made with so much love. 

If you're an Edinburgh-ian and around on the 7th/8th of December, I'll be doing my last market before Christmas at The Assembly Rooms. Not only can you say hello to me (score!), but there'll be LOADS of other gorgeous makers with their gorgeous products there - over 120! If you've got the handmade bug, come along for a lovely day out!

Don't forget to say hello to Mr Reindeer (above), and I hope you're week begins magnificently!


Sunday, December 1, 2013


Good evening! And happy 1st of December to you!
I had a very (very!) quick trip down to London on Friday evening, and got to witness this magnificent sunset on the way down, and had to share. 
I was back at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning for an Edinburgh market, but my mind kept wandering here, and to the sky, and how things slow down a bit when you're in the air. Even though there's the engine noise and the people noise, it gets quiet. Especially when you get to gaze out the window at this.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - Gillian Kyle

Good morning! And how might you be this frosty (freezing) morning? I am well, although I always feel I deserve a medal for getting out of bed when it gets wintery and cold, so you know, still waiting on that. I went to the gym last night so the sugar on my weetbix did not count. We're off to a grand start!

To make this morning even more magnificent, we have the most excellent Gillian Kyle on the blog this morning - hooray! She is the Queen of Tunnocks (an unofficial term), and all of Scotland love her for it. If you like biscuits (silly question), or fish and chips, or bread, or Andy'll love her! Based in Glasgow and opening their creative doors in 2008, they have loads of brilliant gift ideas. Please do step through (or scroll down) to see what she loves at this time of year...

If you were giving one of your products as a gift for Christmas, what would it be, to whom would you give it and why?

It would definitely be my new 'Great Scot' t-shirt, and I'd be giving it to my Dad to wear when he goes off to watch Scotland play footie. He really is a great Scot, and it's a really fun t-shirt to wear with your kilt, and he ALWAYS wears his kilt when he goes off with the Tartan Army!

Real tree of fake tree? 

Real tree definitely - but I just can't bare the waste when they're all thrown out after Christmas. I might buy a living one this year and plant it in the garden afterwards. The smell of pine in the house is hard to beat!

What are the top 5 best things about running your own business?

The freedom to take things in the direction I want them to go in, being able to choose my own colleagues (and working with such great people!), the ability to work the hours I choose - even if that's usually much longer than 9-5! It not mattering if I forget to get a receipt for petty cash (although Katie our bookkeeper still gives me a row) and the feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment when something really cool happens.

What are some of your favourite small shops that stock handmade items?

There is an amazing wee store in Glasgow called 'The Shop of Interest'. They sell lots of pieces by students, recent grads and emerging designers, and the mix is really eclectic and fun. I love that it's not too safe in its choices when buying, and there is always something new to see, no matter how frequently I go in.

Do you bake at Christmas? What is your speciality?

I'm not a baker unfortunately, and I'd just eat it all if I were. I'm really into juicing though, so maybe I should come up with a special festive juice? Probably best to leave the brussels sprouts out of it though!


I'm going to wholeheartedly agree that all brussels sprouts should be left unjuiced, and that the smell of pine in the house at Christmas is incredible!

Swing by the Gillian Kyle website to check out her lovely products, and say hello for me! All this talk of biscuit-y goodness has left me a wee bit peckish. I hope you have a wonderful day dear readers! I'm off to scour the pantry - we must at the very least have some cooking chocolate...




Monday, November 25, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - AliBaliJewellery

Hello there my dear blog readers! How are you today? It was a cah-razy weekend at rubyandjoy HQ, with two separate markets on the go on Saturday! I managed to avoid cloning myself and got to see Edinburgh lit up for Christmas and looking gorgeous! Highlights of the weekend for me? 
1. Meeting all the lovely people that came to say hello at the Assembly Rooms, as well as catching up with all the lovely makers I've been really lucky to befriend over time.
2. My mother in law stashing chocolate hobnobs in my lunchbox - hello biscuit heaven!

I also managed to sneak into Anthropologie while I was waiting for my lift for 10 minutes - I got about 2 metres in the door. If chocolate hobnobs are biscuit heaven (they really are), then Anthropologie is Christmas shopping heaven. I'll be real with you, I think it's heaven all year round. But at Christmas time, it is cinnamon and orange smelling, jazzy carol playing, cute mug displaying festive magic.

It was also the first time I've taken my fringe to the big smoke, where loads of people can see it, and I think we managed quite well! 

But what I really wanted to share with you today was these gorgeous acorns by AliBaliJewellery. I met Ali in August at a Morningside Market, and she's been so lovely to me since then, giving me lots of tips and encouragement. I'm never able to stand long at her table as it's always mobbed by people, but so far, these are definitely my favourite - acorns!

Check out her online shop and facebook page, and say hi for me! She'll be at the next Assembly Rooms Fair too (7th/8th Dec), so if you're swinging by to see me, I behoove you to swing by her way also. Excellent word. Behoove.


Friday, November 22, 2013

market madness begins..

Good morning to you on this beautiful morning - actual blue skies and everything! Today I'm off to Edinburgh to set up for the Assembly Rooms Christmas Fair. This involves a lot of packing, sorting, cleaning, packing, organising, list writing, packing and lets be honest, cookie eating. It's extra fun (*cough*) because on Saturday husbando will be at St Andrews for rubyandjoy, as we're having a market stall there too!

I hope we'll manage to see loads of you lovely folk, please do stop by and say hi if you can! All of the details of both events are on the facebook page - it's going to be grand!

I hope you have a magnificent weekend, whatever you're doing, and blogging will resume it's normal service early next week - hooray! I'm off to pack. Or eat a cookie. Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Lovely stores

And a very good Thursday morning to you! How are you this fine day? I am always cold from the knees down, that goes without saying, but apart from that, things are somewhat towards the frantic side of things. 

Other lovely folk who are a wee bit frantic at this time of year (good segway Nicola) are lovely shop owners, particularly those who have their own wee shops stocked with loads and LOADS of goodies! If you're ever in Perth and looking for an excellent place to buy gorgeous handmade items with a Scandinavian feel, head to Boo Vake. And if you're in Edinburgh and looking for a spot of beautiful handmade shopping, stop by Pippin, a magnificent store overflowing with the loveliest of items.

This way, you're not only supporting the makers, but the small business owners too - double win!

'tis almost Friday, I can smell it in the air! Enjoy your Thursday my bloggy friends, and be sure to stop by these lovely stores full of Christmas-y delight!