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! 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - Bread & Jam

A very good morning to you, you lovely lot! We're continuing our interview excellence today with the loveliest Jamie and Catherine from Bread & Jam - and I am excited! You are going to LOVE their products, all designed in the beautiful wilderness that is the North Pennines. Jamie and Catherine launched their brand in 2012, although have been honing their creative skills for many years. 

Let's hear a bit about their products and what they love most about Christmas...

Do you make specific Christmas items, or just stick with your usual all year products (if so, what are they)? 

That's an interesting question and one we wrestled with this year. It's tricky because you can get plenty of press exposure in gift guides and Christmas related features if you do release Christmas products. This year we did decide to design a few products specifically for Christmas and we're hoping that they go well. It also leads to the age old question of how much stock you may or may not need. The last thing we want to have is a load of over stock which we can't shift after Christmas. I always find it a little sad seeing all the left over Christmas stock being sold cheap to get rid of it, it takes the shine off Christmas a little.

What have you got on your Christmas list this year?  

Ha, funny you should ask that question, we decided way back in January that this year would be an entirely handmade Christmas and we would make all the gifts to give to family and friends. Sadly, as time has crept upon us and we've been so busy we've almost run out of time to make this a reality. However, we are still planning on making a good chunk of gifts and then attempting to buy the rest from people who design and make fabulous things. We have, for a good few years now, tried to buy handmade wherever possible, for example, instead of chocolate Santas poking out of the stockings last year we bought 2 wonderful screen printed Jane Foster rabbits. A bit extravagant yes, and there was some chocolate buried deep inside the stocking too but the stockings did look lovely last year. I know Catherine still loves her Anna Wiscombe necklace from last year too and there was a bunch of homemade sweet treats to munch on. Obviously, with prying eyes upon us I'm not going to divulge what's on this year's list (Catherine has a habit of reading over my shoulder!) but safe to say it's going to be a mix of things which we make and things which other artisans and designers have produced. Of course, with older children these days we have to balance the handmade with some high street stuff too, I'm not sure I'd know where to start if I was going to make an iPod for example and I'm not sure my version would be appreciated as much!

What is your favourite part of your Christmas day? 

You can't beat (and we still get) that little excited buzz when you open your eyes on Christmas morning. Especially as we have two little (well, not so little anymore) monkeys who still wake us up at the crack of dawn. We also like the very end of Christmas day, when the kids are fast asleep and we can bask in the peace and rummage through our own goodie pile (if we've been good).

Real tree of fake tree? 

Real, without question, there's nothing which makes us feel more festive than the smell of pine needles (apart from perhaps mulled wine). I really don't have an issue with collecting up the needles, it's well worth it!

How do you choose stockists? 

To begin with, when we had a small number of stockists, we were happy to supply goods to anyone and everyone and that has served us well as some of the smaller boutiques have grown with us and now they are amongst our very best customers. As we now have quite an extensive number of stockists, across 3 continents we are a bit more selective. We're very fortunate in that we have never had to seek stockists on a grand scale, most of the wonderful boutiques and galleries we work with have contacted us directly and asked for our wholesale details.

We don't have an overriding method, it's quite organic really, if we get on well with the potential stockist early on and it feels right then generally we will be happy to do business with them. 

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

As we are based high up the North Pennines, there's very few stores locally to us but when we do get off the mountain (it happens) we absolutely love a shop in Corbridge, Northumberland called Re. They stock a wonderful eclectic mix of handmade, found objects and things they design and make themselves. If you've never been I urge you all to go, it's well worth a trip out to them. If we were ever visiting Liverpool there's a fabulous store called Nook & Cranny (who we stock) and they've moved into a lovely new space recently and from the pictures it looks beautiful, we must visit soon. That could be levelled at most of our stockists actually, shops like Pippin in Edinburgh, Lovedge in Cheltenham, The Mere Gallery in Bowness, Chirpy in Chapel Allerton, The Print Room in Keighley, Plaisir in Biggar and Dear Doris in Penarth to name but a few. We wish we could visit each and every one of them!

Actually, we have a little exclusive scoop for you. We're in the throes of potentially opening our own little store, right here in Alston. We've got the basis of an idea to stock 10 amazing, hand selected designers/design houses and sell only their goods, alongside our own bits and pieces. As I've mentioned, we're pretty remote here, so we will be running an online store as well as ensuring our shop looks amazing for the tourist season. It's still early days and Bread & Jam may yet still consume every moment but it's a dream which may come to fruition, with any luck.

When is your Christmas postage cut off date?

Friday 20th Dec for first class postage and Monday 23rd Dec for a guaranteed service.


I am mega excited about this little store which may be opening soon, and will one of the first visitors! Thank you so much to Jamie and Catherine, it has been wonderful having you here on the blog! Pop over to say hello for me and have a wee peek at the lovely things up for grabs at Bread & Jam at the following...

I hope you're having a wonderful week wherever you are! And if it's snowing where you are, stay cosy!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Peony Cole

Hello my fellow Christmas Gift Guide friends! And how are we feeling today? Having much luck buying lovely handmade gifts? Never fear, for our list just gets better and better!

This weekend just past I was at Bruntsfield Makers Markets and met the lovely Catherine from Peony Cole. She is a textile designer from the Scottish Borders, and I absolutely fell in love with her 'Birds, Berries and Brambles' cushion. My Gran even bought the card!

Check out her beautiful work here! And then get those snow boots ready - I have high hopes for tomorrow! 


images via Peony Cole

Friday, November 15, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - Nikki McWilliams

And a very good morning to you, my dear blog readers! How are you this fine Friday? I am in the throes of list writing and may need another sheet of paper - my wordy! Nevertheless, there are things which I have already done this morning which I shall add to my list simply to cross them straight off and feel a sense of accomplishment. Success! 

But enough about my incredible exciting list writing! Please make very welcome the super talented Nikki McWilliams who is joining us on our little blog this morning to share her most excellent products and some of her favourite things at Christmas time! Based in Dundee, Scotland, Nikki graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in 2009 and launched her own label shortly thereafter. Filled with biscuit-y goodness and much loveliness, you will LOVE Nikki McWilliams!

Do you plan to be at any Christmas markets this festive season?

Our things are popping up at Festive markets with THEO at Somerset House London, and THE POUNDSHOP at Loft, Tokyo - which is really exciting!

What is your favourite part of your Christmas day?

Christmas dinner and present opening!

What is the best thing about running your own business?

The freedom to make your own schedule! Before I quit the day job, I worked every Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Being free to spend time with loved ones on special occasions is what I value most about running my own business.

Rocky road or fruitcake?

Fruitcake all the way! It's probably not the best going, but I really love Mr Kipling Manor House cake! Reminds me of being little and at home :)

Take a hop, skip and jump over the Nikki McWilliams online here, and have a look at her gorgeous designs. I've got a Custard Cream cushion on my Christmas wishlist, and a few other bits and pieces too! Say hi while you're there, and stock up on extra special Christmas gifts! x

ps - Don't forget to order by 13th December if you want your goodies by Christmas! And be sure to order earlier than that if you live far, far away x

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Paper Snapdragon

Good afternoon to you my dear blog readers! I hope you're having a lovely day? It's a beautiful Autumn-y day here, clear blue skies, golden leaves falling off trees and crunching beneath your boots, an absolutely arctic wind which will knock your socks off if they're not thermal, or at the very least thick and woolly. But I am inside, and I have leftover birthday cake - win!

Today we have the gorgeous Paper Snapdragon on the blog! Check out Cath and her beautiful artworks here. As we continue down our merry path of handmade gifts for Christmas, why not consider giving someone a gorgeous piece of art? Splendid idea, I say, jolly good chap! And the best part is, not only is Cath rather talented, but she's lovely as well! Double win! 

The Road North, Glencoe

Winter, Port of Menteith

Fife over the Forth

'Cath is a Scottish landscape and botanical artist living in central Scotland.  She combines photography with painting, watercolour washes, crackle glazes and textures of peeling varnish, old parchment, fabric, crumbling plaster, scratched metal.....all sorts of unusual things to create gentle, painterly digital mixed media images.  
Much of the inspiration for her landscape work comes from "wide open spaces, vast grey skies and low light of the Scottish West Coast, the Firth of Forth and East Lothian". '

 East Lothian field #2

Have a look through the beautiful gallery of Cath's works here, and be sure to say hello! 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

happy birthday!

Hello there you lovely lot! It is a brilliant day today! Why, I hear you ask? Because it is my birthday today - OH YES! Now, some of you may be thinking that I, as a grown woman, should be slightly over the excitement of birthdays and all the love and fun they bring. But alas, I am not, and LOVE to celebrate my birth with mucho enthusiasm!

Husbando has spoilt me rotten, as have all the other folks near and dear to me. So in return, I am have a flash sale in our Etsy store - YAY! But it's only until midnight tonight - so be quick! Enter the coupon code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at the checkout to receive a full 20% off your entire order (excluding postage)! Happy birthday indeed!

Make sure wherever you are you eat some cake and blow up a balloon (there'll be one in the third drawer), and let us never loose the joy that a chocolate cake and good company can bring - three cheers!

Check out the ginourmously awesome birthday sale here!


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - Mustard & Peaches

Hello there my lovely blog readers, how are you this lovely weekend? It's my birthday week, I won't lie, I am excited. But I'm also very excited to share with you a bit about the lovely Mairi from Mustard&Peaches. Based in London, Mairi launched her jewellery business in 2012 after graduating from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee.

We had a lovely chat with her about Christmas, and some of her favourite things...

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

The gold plated dreamer pendant is one of my favourite pieces and is perfect for festive parties. If I was to give it as a gift it would have to go to my sister. She’s been dropping hints for a while that she would like the gold plated dreamer pendant to match her gold plated cherish ring that she already has, so perhaps that.

Real tree of fake tree?

Real Tree – It's not Christmas without the smell of pine and needles all over the presents below the tree!

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

Black BoxBoutique in Edinburgh – lots of lovely things in there!
I FeelSmug in London – An area of colourful and lovely designer products.

Mustard & Peaches will be offering a gift wrapping service in the lead up to Christmas, and are also offering all off you lovely readers an exclusive lovelyprettycheerythings discount on her jewellery - three cheers all round! 

Simply enter the code LPCTxmasdeal at the checkout when purchasing any of her handmade jewellery (excluding wedding rings) at Mustard & Peaches for a 10% discount - easy peasy! This discount is valid from 10th Nov - 15th Dec, so make sure you get in quick! 

Keep in mind, because all of this beautiful jewellery is handmade, there are cutoff dates for orders. If you're having to take into condiseration international postage, these are the dates you'll need to go by:
Last day of Purchase
Monday 2nd of December - Asia, Far East, Japan, New Zealand.
Tuesday 3rd December - Australia, Africa, Caribbean, Central and South America, Middle East. 
Friday 6th December - Cyprus, Eastern Europe, Canada, France, Greece, Poland
Tuesday 10th December - USA, Western Europe.
And if you're in the UK, you'll need to have your orders in by Friday 20th December.

Pop over and have a look at Mustard & Peaches and Mairi's gorgeous work here, and why not say hello!? 
Have a WONDERFUL day wherever you are, and I shall see you soon!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Oil and Wax

FRIDAY!!! It's time for a treat, eh? And I am seriously in love with these gorgeous candles - lovely for Christmas! Who doesn't love to make their house smell all lovely and Christmas-y and cinnamon-y and orange-y and spruce-y?! I most certainly do!

I am having SO much fun finding all these beautiful handmade gifts for Christmas, and I'm book-marking loads of these lovely folks for birthday gifts too - who knew I could be so organised?! I'm going to say - not many people. 

Check out Oil and Wax here and stock up on sweet smelling loveliness!


images via Oil and Wax

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Little Orange

Good morning my sweets! Last weekend in York we stumbled across loads of lovely little markets, and in doing so, stumbled across loads of gorgeous handmade loveliness! One of my favourite discoveries were these brilliant engraved wooden signs made by Little Orange in beautiful York. 

Check out all the other lovely bits and bobs Little Orange make here - and I'll see you soon with loads more ideas for a handmade Christmas!


images via Little Orange

Monday, November 4, 2013

Christmas Gift Guide - Meet the Makers - Something by Someone

Hello there my lovely blog readers, and a very happy Monday morning to you all! I am currently in York and it is STUNNING! But more exciting than my Autumnal love affair is that today is our first Meet the maker interview - hooray! And we get to start with the lovely Em Renke from Something by Someone. Based in Sydney, Em Renke started up her jewellery business last year after working for a company as a bench jeweller, and is creating beautiful work left, right and centre!

We were able to ask her what she loves about Christmas, and about some of her favourite things...

Do you make specific Christmas items, or just stick with your usual all year products (if so, what are they)?

I don’t make anything specific for Christmas, jewellery is a pretty special gift for Christmas so I keep on selling what I design and work on through the year. I am a ring person, so I have endless designs for rings. My favourite rings are my double band hammered whisper rings and they are currently my best sellers.

What is your favourite part of your Christmas day?

We do presents on Christmas Eve so for Christmas day, we go to church and then have a spectacular lunch. I love all the company of family and friends together and sharing that lunch and then looking forward to a lazy afternoon with some coffee and fruitcake.

Real tree of fake tree?

I like a fake tree that looks just like a real tree. I don’t think I could live with a tree slowly dying in my house.

What do you use for inspiration for your work?

I draw inspiration from my little girl. She has some pretty great ideas and exploring the world with her leads to discovering different shapes and materials. Usually if I find a shape or idea I like, I'll keep on playing around with it until I feel convinced that it will make a beautiful piece of wearable jewellery.

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

Your time is your own and you can work around whatever life throws at you without asking anybody’s permission. Although you work harder, there is the freedom and flexibility that I find very valuable.

Tell us one of your favourite traditions of Christmas time?

Dressing up and planning my Christmas outfit! We always had the tradition where we would choose a theme and all the girls would dress up (usually the theme revolves around a certain dress hanging in your closet for the entire year and you still did not get the chance to wear it!).

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

PiccoloPear in East Gosford
Two Birds Gallery in Long Jetty and
Madeby Others in Moss Vale NSW

Rocky road or fruit cake?

Fruit cake! It is the only time I will ever have it.

Do you bake at Christmas? What is your speciality?

Big time baking happening at Christmas. I love hand made and home made so baking cookies for friend as gifts are our thing. The whole house smells of fruitcake!

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

Always flowers. I will buy the prettiest and most unusual flowers and arrange them myself in a beautiful little posy complete with an old jar or tin of some sort tied with twine and a tag.

Check out the lovely Something by Someone and all of Em Renke's gorgeous work! If you're hoping to make an order, make sure you do so by the start of December, as each piece is made especially for each customer.

Have a wonderful week wherever you are! And I'll see you soon! x