Friday, 11 November 2011

ahhh... the joys of waitressing...

i am just completely crashing and burning on the blogging front. i just looked again and couldn't get my head around the fact that it has been 4 weeks since my last post. i seriously need some motivation! i am not working as many hours at the restaurant lately, so that has given me time to focus back onto what i really love... making stuff, writing and scouring ebay for vintage clothing and tchotchkes.

before i write about a little experience i had recently at work, i just wanted to post pix of the sweet little bike i just picked up on ebay. we are going to go on a road trip next sunday to pick it up and it has worked out that where we are going, there is a pottery exhibition on that day that scott wanted to check out. so it's win win. but also, even better than the bike, i found a little accessory that i think is really one of the coolest things ever although, i can't seem to find many people that can appreciate how cool it is or share my enthusiasm for it. i love it for it's rarity. a 1980s, old stock, still in the box, never been used am/fm cassette player for the bike. i know we've moved on to digital. but i still love the simplicity, the kind of tinny sound and i think it will be nice riding along the seafront listening to all my old tapes mixed and otherwise. here are some pics...

my new wheels
totally bitchin cassette player

also cool... has a cb...i have my eye on it

so...the restaurant has been a very interesting experience for me. i hadn't waited tables for longer than i even want to think about and... i tell you... it totally reminded me why i decided to fucking give it up in the first place. it brought back the exact moment, many years ago in california, when i found myself so over it, so worn down by it all and suffering from torrents of stress dreams where there were too many tables and i couldn't cope or i forgot someone wanted a "half-caf" latte instead of regular, that for about half an hour i sat harboring fantasies of going postal on a room full of people or maybe just turning on the gas and running out, locking the doors behind me.

it takes a lot of years of waiting on people in LA with their impossibly extensive lists of needs. all the "no oil or butter, no fat, lightly steamed, basted, i didn't want this, i can't have that, of course i can't have anything the way it comes on the menu, i'm high maintnence! i need to change it all! waitress...WAITRESS!!!! snapping fingers, blank stares, complaining, complaining, COMPLAINING...blah blah blah as well as all the extremely self-important people in the "industry" to grind you that far down.

i was lucky though that i worked with great people, including my brother jason, who always kept me laughing with little gems like, when a customer, who after half an hour of abuse and just being a complete asshole would say, "you KNOW... the customer is ALWAYS right!" and jason would just deadpan, "uh... sorry...not on MY shift." we had 100% back up from our employers, who trusted us completely when we would tell them we had just been pushed too far.

the restaurant where i am currently working is really lovely. it has a fantastic vibe about it, 98% of our customers are wonderful and interesting and a pleasure to chat to. thankfully, it is a totally different story here than what i have dealt with in the past. i have had a couple of incidents, but not even a patch on what i've been used to dealing with. i almost wanted to goad the few customers that HAVE tried with "jesus... is that the best you can do? let me give you a few pointers on how to make yourself even more pathetic and annoying... i don't feel like you are committed to this... you have to find your inner asshole!"

a few weeks ago, there was a woman who was celebrating her 40th birthday and had reserved a table for like 10 people. when her party arrived, there were 3 of them. and they seemed slightly strange with each other. the birthday girl informed me that they were all there. there would be no more coming. or possibly one more.

that night, i was training a new employee and for what felt like HOURS,  i had been explaining in great detail every aspect of the job. so maybe i wasn't at my sharpest. the new waitress came to me and said something about the birthday woman wanting to order some champagne. she had said which one she wanted, but she wasn't 100 percent about it. so, i don't know why, i have no excuse, normally i would have just checked this with the customer, but instead, i brought the bottle i assumed she wanted to her table. i then made the mistake, which i hadn't ever made until then, of letting her keep talking and ignoring me as she was, as i stood there, and NOT show her the bottle. totally my mistake. i opened it, i poured it, they were drinking it and it was only about 15 min later when she lifted the bottle out of it's bucket to pour more that she realized it wasn't the one she wanted.

so, immediately i hear "EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!" and turn to see a very unhappy, pinched-up, pissed-off bitchy face waggling a finger, beckoning me to come and have a showdown. there was no build-up, she just wanted to get straight in to it.

birthday girl: "um... THIS is not the champagne that i ordered. Uh, i know we have all had some, but this is NOT the champagne i ordered, THIS is not even champagne! ( i would like to note that it did say "champagne" on the bottle and although slightly less expensive than the one she wanted, it is an award-winning champagne, so you know, not just some sparkling grape crap or anything).

me: " oh... i am SO sorry about that. um....

b.g.: " i don't even know what this IS... it is NOT champagne... it is NOT the one I ordered and LOOK there isn't even a label on it that says what's in it and you know, i am REALLY annoyed.. i mean... it's my birthday and i decided i would get this champagne and you know... my birthday was ( motions skyward with her thumb ) and now it's ( motions thumbs down) so... um... i am really annoyed... really annoyed... just REALLY ANNOYED."

at this point, i looked at her friends to see whether maybe they were in agreement with all of this behaviour or whether, like me, they thought maybe she might be overreacting a tad. there was such a huge air of tension. i thought they were on my side, but, i wasn't totally sure yet if they would agree with me that she had the kind of personality that would have dale carnegie breaking through solid oak and digging himself out from under 6 feet of earth just to teach her how to win friends and influence people. or at the very least, by the tiny turnout for her birthday party,  just win friends.

i tried my best to smooth it all over and find out what i could do to make her happy
( as it turns out...nothing) and offered to discount the bottle of champagne i had given her and maybe give her a glass of the champagne she wanted on the house. this suggestion met an icy stare and a "NO... not good enough." so, i then asked what WOULD she be happy with.

she: " THIS... what you've given me... it's not champagne ( so, we were still back at the beginning). it's NOT EVEN champagne.

me: "um... it is champagne. max, (the owner) has chosen all the wines on the list and i think he's pretty happy with his selections, but i am so very sorry it isn't the one you wanted."

she: "MAX... yes... oh, i have had a CHAT with max about his "champagne selection" you know how many champagnes he has on the list? THREE ( thrusts her 3 fingers at me) ok... THREE. i know a little bit about champagne ok? just a little... just a little bit...only a slight bit...just a little ( as she goes through about what felt like 20 minutes of saying 'just a little bit', she was pinching her thumb and index finger together to emphasize this and was so nasty and sarcastic. i didn't know what i could do really. i just watched the performance)

me: "i am positive you know way more than i do. i really don't doubt your knowledge."

she: "i have traveled around france ok... doing wine tastings, but i don't know MUCH... i don't know much about champagne...just a little bit about it all... ok? i've tasted champagne from all around france. ok? this is not champagne... but, you know... i just know a little bit... that's all...( she had such a smug bitchy face on her through all of this)

at this point, one friend chimed in, "she does know a lot about champagne". then the other male friend looked at me with what i swore were pleading eyes and just said, " please, just bring a bottle of veuve cliquot."  as i walked away, she was just still ranting about it all. and when i returned, the same guy asked, " can i just down it all in one?" which gave me the assurance that he was indeed on my side. thankfully. i walked off as she continued to rant about stuff and i heard her say something to the guy like " NO, i am RIGHT. you just don't have the fucking BALLS to do what i just did."

in the end, the guy came up to pay the bill which was maybe £150. he apologized for her behaviour and i asked whether maybe she was allergic to alcohol, because she was so totally over the top for what the situation was and he said, " to be honest, i don't really know her that well. i've only met her a couple of times. but, no, she's actually just like that."

my god! i couldn't even fathom wanting a friend like that. and the fact that he was paying the bill astounded me. i'm sure i saw a halo of light around his head as i processed his card. he was a much better or much stupider person than me. i couldn't decide which.

also, this was a huge eye opener. here she was... her 40th... considered pretty much a landmark birthday and she was spending it with 2 strangers and another guy (who cut out shortly after the champagne incident and she spent the rest of the night bitching about him off and on). OUCH... where were her lifelong friends? or jesus, even just some people she had met more than "a couple of times"? either they couldn't be asked to come or more than likely, she just didn't have any. it didn't take my one semester of high school psychology to figure out her rant wasn't about the champagne at all really. it was much deeper than that. which then made me kind of pity her i guess rather than feeling slightly angry that someone felt that it was acceptable to behave so abusive and child-like and belittling toward someone and not even bat an eyelash.

at times like these, i can go a little dark and maybe a bit evil. there was a part of me that wanted to shout at that little girl inside of her, sad that no one had come to her party, sad because somewhere deep down she might feel like she hadn't achieved much in life apart from being a brat and having no friends. i wanted to tell her how brilliant all of my birthdays are, spent with all my beautiful friends and family. surrounded by people who love me.

of course, i didn't. it did turn my stomach a little bit when she tried to be friendly and chatty with me as she got her coat at the end of the evening. as though nothing had happened. but i still managed a smile. i probably need to let it go now, but there is still that little part of me that if i saw her outside the restaurant, wants to tell her how i didn't really appreciate her performance....that she is living in some kind of fucked-up, crazy world where at 40 she thinks acting like a tantruming toddler is ok. and that maybe... just maybe... if she learns how to play nice with the other kids, she might have a better 41st....hmmmm....we'll see....

Monday, 10 October 2011

a lovely urn for hank...

wow... i don't post for ages and then all of a sudden i have so much i want to post about! i just checked out my scottie's blog and saw his post on the pot he has made for my little hanks ashes. it's brilliant. hopefully it will survive being fired. scott has such a natural talent for pottery. i also wanted to mention that he has just totally redone his website and added a shop where he has some of his prints for sale and some other cool bits so go have a browse!

ruby dixie winter collection

i seriously can't believe how long it has been since i have posted anything on this blog! i have been so busy working on this new collection ( and moonlighting a few nights a week working in a really cool new restaurant that just opened a couple of months ago...really good stories from there! ) so i have completely ignored pretty much everything internet/blog related. i am hoping to have everything on line by the end of next week, but here is a little preview... watch this space for restaurant horror stories!


Monday, 29 August 2011

and the winner is....

thank you everyone for entering the august giveaway. many names went into the hat and the winner chosen was....drum roll......FAITH MCALLISTER.... congratulations faith. your necklace will be on it's way to you soon! i will send you a confirmation email. watch this space for more giveaways, new posts and some new treasure very soon. x

Saturday, 13 August 2011

paris rocks!

whoa... i was really curious about why i seemed to have so many people looking at the "paris rocks" earrings on the ruby dixie website. every day there are TONS of people looking at them, but in comparison, not that many people buying them. in my google analytics, "paris rocks" is googled a HELL of a lot. so i  googled "paris rocks" and er...  my first click filled my computer screen with the gigantic image of the cooch of a nude "model" (all the "models" are 18 or over). there isn't even a page that sort of leads you into the website... just as soon as you click, giant vagina. the disappointment must be overwhelming.

i think i'm going to change the name...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

ruby dixie giveaway!!!

"cherished" necklace
i can't believe it has been nearly a month since i last posted anything! i have been busy making new treasure as well as spending what seems like an eternity moving the website on to a new system which is brilliant because i can now offer discount codes which is very exciting. sooooo... watch this space very soon for some pix of some new stuff and codes. i think in the mean time i should do a giveaway.  

how you can enter: if you don't already "like" ruby dixie on the ruby dixie facebook page, click here then when you "like" the page, your name will be automatically entered for the giveaway. if you DO already like ruby dixie then leave your name on the wall and you will be entered. giveaway ends on august 28th. good luck!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

for my little hank...

my beautiful friend hank, who has been part of my life for the past 10 years, was looking worse for wear lately. we began our friendship after i fell in love with him at the mayhew cats home in north london so many years ago. at the time, he was named "simba" and he stood out to me from all the other cats, (apart from an absolutely enormous pair of cats, in a size i have never seen a domestic cat, so large my friend claire who had come with me said, " jesus! i thought those things were extinct!)".

his green eyes were large and full of love. his coat was gorgeous and thick and shiny. i loved his little "goatee' spot on his chin. and he looked like he was smiling. he was friendly and let me hold him right away. claire said, " he is defintely a jakki cat!" although all the other cats were nice, he was the one. i named him hank and took him home and until last night, for all these years he was a wonderful friend to me.

i have a lot of good and happy memories, but the time i reflect on most was a pretty horrible period of my life where my faithful and caring friend, lay by my side, day after day, stretched out long along side me, looking after me, keeping me company, purring away.

having children took my attention away from him. i didn't have as much time for him as i once did. he was still the faithful friend. me? my guilt will never leave me.

so frail, i watched him walk around the house, trying to find a comfortable place to sleep, not eating much, drinking way too much, obviously not well. i hoped he would get better. the vet gave me some steroids and i was hopeful this would bring back the friend i knew. i tried so many different foods, treats, but still he lost weight. i so wanted him to get better. but yesterday, as i watched him, as much as i didn't want to, i could see his suffering. i went to the vet knowing what the outcome might be. as i guess with all of these things, we hope there will be a last minute reprieve, a sudden answer that will make everything better. she said we could try some things, he might respond to chemo, but, as we both could see, he was obviously dying. usually, he would try to jump off the table, but now, he just lay there, skin and bones, so tired.

the decision, to let my friend go, has left me so heartbroken. as i watched him go to sleep, a part of me went with him.

i wonder where he is now. he won't be back with me at home until next tuesday. as much as i try not to think about it, i want to imagine he is somewhere soft and safe until his ashes come home.
scott is going to make him a beautiful pot to keep his ashes. i will feel better when he comes back.
there is a large presence missing in the house. 
i miss you...
rest in peace hank... xox

Sunday, 26 June 2011

carry on camping...

a few weeks back we went to a birthday party in the woods and it was fantastic. my friends mom owns about 70 acres of a wood in a sweet little town called appledore. it was so tranquil and beautiful and adjacent to a massive field which the farmer may or may not have been totally pissed off we were running through. but he never came and told us off, so i figure we're good.
so my big plan has been to get our own tent so we can spend the summer as nomads... exploring new places... adventure is out there... where we pitch our tent is home... slightly idealistic i know, but...i can't let myself think of the reality.

my ideal camping situation would involve a beautiful airstream, but since i'm pretty sure i will never own one, i have been watching tents obsessively on ebay... as though i have nothing else to do... waiting for my dream tent to come along. pretty much to scott's horror, i haven't been looking at anything practical. i'm just all about the aesthetics. which the entire family will probably suffer for. as soon as discovered vintage frame tents i fell in love.

i have eaten, slept and breathed tents... absolutely massive tents that slept up to 12, tents with kitchens added-on, tents with bathroom areas, tents that were completely like just bringing your house with you and i have had to let most of them go when they got to crazy money. but tonight, i nearly felt my heart beat out of my chest when i won this little beauty in the last 5 seconds of the auction for not too much moolah. sure, i don't know if it will leak ...sadly, i don't think there are any instructions to tell me how to put it up... it probably won't even fit in my car, but i love looking at it. it's bright and happy (and i pray to god waterproof) and i hope we get to put it to good use.

ruby dixie shooting star necklace

wow... very cool! this sunday's "fabulous" magazine featured our "shooting star" necklace. get yours here.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

dalston vintage fashion fair

if you love vintage clothing, jewellery, homewares...jazz, blues, swing, burlesque you won't want to miss the dalston vintage fashion fair saturday july 9th from 10.30-6.00. ruby dixie will be there with a selection of vintage sparkles and trashy treasure. if you are in london come stop by and see us! click here more info!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

a really nice surprise...

i hate to admit it... but i do google "ruby dixie" from time to time to see if i come across any little blurbs about us online that i may have otherwise never been aware of. i was very surprised and pleasantly chuffed that i found this page on a fashion blog featuring some ruby dixie jewellery. thank you! x

Thursday, 9 June 2011

hollywood days and sherman part 2

and now...the rest of the story...

when jill, dominic and i arrived at the hospital to visit sherman, a nurse directed us to where his room was. we walked past the open door and i caught a brief glimpse of him lying on the bed in a hospital gown that was hiked up, completely showing off his bare essentials. there was no way in hell i was going in there when that was on display. it was definitely not a vision i wanted burned into my retinas for the rest of eternity. jill and i kept urging dominic to go in there first and tell sherman to pull his gown down.  he had a stronger stomach than the two of us, but he let us know there was no way in hell HE was going to do it either.

as we stood outside the room going back and forth with each other arguing over who would go in there first, a nurse walked past and saw us standing out there. she kind of reminded me of shirley hemphill from "what's happenin". she asked what was going on and i pointed around the corner into the room motioning at sherman and his display. she walked in there all huffy like this was not the first time she'd dealt with this and as she pulled his gown to cover him she said, "SHERMAN, how many TIMES do i have to TELL you, keep your gown DOWN! you got company". she turned and said, "he's always got his gown all up like that. hmph" and walked off.

we made our way in and put the basket down. we started to make small talk, but to be honest, i don't think he knew who we were. i can't even remember what small talk we made with him. i just remember that all of a sudden, the conversation got a bit freakishly x-rated. out of the blue, he started making all sorts of suggestions about what jill and i could do with each other and asking really nasty, graphic questions and he was starting to chase us around the room when we decided to cut our visit short. it kind of freaked me out.

sherman was in the hospital for a week or so. when he came back, i didn't speak to him for a bit. i avoided him. i was still feeling weird about the hospital visit. one afternoon, i came home from work and sitting by our front door was this ratty, dirty stuffed mouse teddy bear thing with a note pinned on it. i think it was addressed to "linda" or "josephine". it was pretty obvious who it was from. but the  question was who was it for?

the note had part of the "wicky wicky" song typed on it and professed an undying love for linda or josephine or whoever it was. a few days later, i came home to find another crusty old teddy bear with another note. this happened a few times. then one day, the phone rang. i could tell it was sherman. he asked, "can i speak to linda?"

"there's no linda here."

he said, "oh... um... you know... the girl with the long dark hair"

"you mean jakki?" i asked

"YES! yes, that's it... jakki."

"'s me sherman...this is jakki"

"oh linda...(getting it wrong again) all i can think about is you". ( which just grossed me out ...because... you know... i was familiar with the way he "thought " about people. ) "when i was in the hospital, you were like this shining light that came to save me. all i could think about was you. the hope of seeing you again is what saved my life."

jesus christ. this was so not what i needed.

he continued, "i was wondering, (his voice became more demure and flirty) if you would be so kind as to accompany me for lunch...... at my mothers. "

oh my god.

"um, sherman...i don't think so. i'" ( i lied)

"where's your husband?"

"he lives in another state. it's very complicated, works and we're madly in love, so...thanks but no thanks."

he didn't take no for an answer very easily, so the gifts still flowed. flea-ridden, piss-stained tokens of his love kept appearing on the doorstep.  what freaked me out more though, was i swear, every time i saw mrs. lieberman, i could actually see a ray of hope in her watery blue eyes. like this was the beginning of something beautiful. as if a relationship between her son and i could be a possibility.

in  the end, he found some other chick to crush on, the girlfriend of one of his homeless friends. and there is a story there, that almost put me off the idea of ever "knowing' anyone in the biblical sense for the rest of my lifetime. it's too horrific to recount here. it took me years to erase it from my brain.

a few years ago, when i was back in LA, jill and i drove by the old place. a lot had changed. it was pretty obvious to me that sherman was no longer living there. we sat outside reminiscing, laughing about our crazy days there. we remembered this video that dominic had found in sherman's place of sherman from years before we ever knew him. it looked like late 70s/early 80's. he was in a polyester shirt, open... with medallion, high-waisted polyester trousers, sporting a seriously blow-dried do and standing in front of a pretty nice house. he was talking to the camera, saying that what he was filming, was his "epitaph".

he gave the viewer a guide inside of his house. even at that point in his life, he was creative with the decor. he had chairs nailed to the walls and ceiling. scraps of various carpets made up whole floor coverings in every room. it was interesting to see this kind of mad, yet,  maybe just eccentric side of him. i still get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach sometimes when i think about the fact we never made a copy of it.

while jill and i were still in the car talking, one of the new residents of the four-plex came out and i asked if she had ever known sherman. she had similar stories of near death by paint fumes and mrs. lieberman sending maverick or whatever other unqualified person was hanging around with sherman to fix serious problems like gas leaks etc...  she said that mrs. lieberman had been ill and sent/went back to her home state to live with family a few years previously.  i asked about sherman and she said he had to leave after his mom moved. her husband had seen him a year or two earlier, living on the streets, not far away from 1432. without his mom there to look after him, he lost what little he had. i felt sad about that for a long time... still do.

(i spent the past 3 days digging through the thousands of letters, photos, scraps of papers i have kept my entire life because i know i have a letter or two from him and i can't find them. so disappointing!)

Friday, 27 May 2011

hollywood days and sherman...

ace and i

i was talking with a friend a few days ago about the old hollywood days. not the era of glamorous starlets and scandals and lunching at the brown derby, although i could talk about that for days, but MY old hollywood days. i am really missing home. especially when the sun is shining here, it reminds me of california.

i used to live at 1432 s crescent heights in west LA with 2 of my best friends jill and dominic.  then when dominic moved, ace lafayette still III moved in. ace used to equate the household to the sitcom "three's company". and i guess it kind of was. i had been living with my mom in marina del rey when jill and dominic first moved to 1432. it was a really cool 1930's apt over a double garage at the back of a four-plex. i was so jealous when i saw the place with it's vintage tiling, arched doorways and wood floors. as it turned out, i had to move out of my moms shortly after they moved in, so i was very happy to make it my home too.


the day they had originally gone to view the place, they were shown around by the landlady mrs lieberman. a woman of about 70 with a strawberry blond, slight beehive and a penchant for 2 piece polyester pant suits. she explained to jill and dominic that her son, sherman, didn't live there, but used the 2 garages downstairs from our potential apt as an office. he was a writer and he was working on the new "star wars" script. in fact, george lucas had just been there the day before. although i was intrigued, i don't know why, but something in me was slightly skeptical.

i'm not sure how long we were living there before we realized that sherman also lived there... in the garages...with his 2 dogs. in fact, the first day i moved in, i had a beautiful welcome from his dog cottonball, (who was possibly white under all the dirt), in the form of him hacking up a thick loogie, complete with grass, onto my bare leg as i unpacked the car. niiiccceeee.

slowly we began to see that life at 1432 was going to be very entertaining. sherman, who was about mid-50s, was an eccentric, amphetamine junkie that was basically friends with every homeless person and junkie within a 10 mile radius. he was up at all hours, painting and re-painting the garage below us and then paint removing and then painting all over again pretty much 24/7. once he decided to paint the path outside our place, which he then decided he didn't like. unbeknownst to me, he had then spread paint stripper very thickly all over the path. as i stepped onto the path, groceries in hand, i slipped and fell over. at first i hadn't realized what was happening until i felt the burning and stinging of the paint stripper all over my body. it was all stuck to my bare skin and without even thinking about it, screaming, i ripped off my top and was running and screaming like a lunatic in circles around the garden. maybe he was more cunning than i gave him credit for.

sherman would take his mom's brand new caddy,  load his filthy, really stinky dogs in, and head up to hollywood and beverly hills and go digging through peoples trash. we would sort of laugh about it, but sometimes he would come back with some amazing stuff. cool clothes, pictures, paintings and bric a brac plus a lot of total crap as well. he seemed to have an eye for some stuff though. i had my fair share of pickings.

all his homeless friends somehow had a built-in radar and would arrive to help him unload his findings into the garages. we would come home to a convoy of shopping carts lined up in the alley. then about half an hour into unloading, the rights of ownership and bickering would begin. the amount of fights that broke out that needed police involvement was spectacular. it was pretty much the same scenario every time. we could hear raised voices and then things getting progressively more aggressive and before long sherman would be screaming "mother! MOTHER! call the police! CALL THE POLICE...THIEF!!!"

shortly afterward, jill, ace and i, would hear hushed authoritative tones in the backyard. we'd peer down through the blinds and see the cops, flashlights in hand scoping out the scenario. i can remember once when they shouted up to us " hey, can you guys come out here a minute?" we went out, told them our standard "we know nothing" and then i noticed the the look on the face of one of the cops... pure  shock/horror. slightly pale and shaken he asked me, "have you been in his place?" i said, "yeah". he asked again, "No, i mean, have you actually been IN his place?!" the only thing i could think of that was freaking him out a bit was something that i guess had just become totally normal for me to see.

amongst all the other late night, meth-fueled hobbies sherman had, was his love for artistic collage. the walls of his place were wall to wall pages from porn magazines interspersed here and there with pictures from fashion magazines, a sprinkling of the odd bruce springsteen or other musicians, maybe a little plant life thrown in, but mostly, they were serious porn. i think the cops thought they were venturing into some "silence of the lambs" den of depravity.

his mom was used to it. she would go in and out of there and not bat an eye. i think we just didn't see it anymore. i remember once when his mom was away and i needed to pay the rent. i went to her apt. which was in front of us in the four- plex, and he was inside. i can't remember why i needed to walk by the bathroom, but when i did, i noticed that on the back of the toilet tank, was a picture straight out of hustler. a woman naked, legs akimbo, in a frame no less.

it didn't take long for us to realize sherman WAS actually trying to write a book. it was some sort of sci-fi thing. and most of the time, if we engaged in any sort of conversation with him, we would get sucked into the void to play audience to the latest 30 or so pages he had written. needless to say, we tried to time our comings and goings with precision. but, the few times ace or dominic had been cornered and listened to a chapter, they would say it was actually pretty good.

i on the other hand, would just glaze over while he read about "woofers" and whatever the other aliens were called and the insane names everything had and the song he sang which went something like,"i'm all the way up and i'm not coming down, how about you do you want to play around? it's a wonderful day staying inside listening to this strawberry jiiiivvveeeee.... i'm a hedonstic wicky wicky wicky machineeeeee"! it was all so clearly the amped-up ravings of a speed freak.

even though the paint fumes were killing us, the junkies were keeping us awake and our electric fuses were constantly blown because one of his crazy friends we nicknamed "maverick", parked his gigantic camper van in the alley and plugged it into our electrics for weeks on end, i had this soft spot for sherman. he would aggravate the crap out of me, but sometimes, i would look in his eyes and wonder how long he's been messed up. i could see there was a nice person in there, who i think really meant well. he had a warm, goofy smile. sometimes he would say something so poignant with this little sparkle in his eye and it would really touch me.

sherman and maverick
i'm sure his mom had something to do with his addictions and madness. she seemed sort of passive aggressive... controlling. she would chastise him like a child for bringing home all of the crap in her car, shirk her shoulders, embarrassed that we were witnessing his "vagrant" behaviour. but, at the same time, be picking things out to take in the house for herself. once, while i stood there staring at his haul, there were these ancient packets of spices and baking sprinkles. i could see the contents moving, full of bull weevils, and they'd just been dug out of the trash, but she came in and said in her slightly nasally tone, "jill likes baking, why don't you give these to her?!" mmmm... thanks mrs. lieberman, because our baking stuff just doesn't have enough bull weevils in it.

one day sherman and one of his friends had one of their disagreements. jill and i came home to hear that sherman had been taken to the hospital after he was struck in the head with a brick. it was easter and i don't know why, but i felt really bad for him, so i don't know what possessed me, but i thought we should go see him in the hospital. we piled into my datsun with a basket of easter eggs and went up to cedars sinai.  that day, things got a little more interesting...
part 2 comin' up....

Thursday, 26 May 2011

ruby dixie in bliss magazine

the ruby dixie "over the rainbow" charm necklace is featured in this month's bliss magazine. it's one of the things that has been "knocking their socks off"! to get yours click here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

liza lou

i feel like it has been forever since i last posted anything. i have been busy making a few new things and will post some pictures of them soon. in the mean time, i thought i would do a post about one of my favorite artists, liza lou.

i first saw liza's work on roseanne barr's talk show sometime in the 90s. my first reaction to her "backyard" and "kitchen" installations, after that initial pang for not thinking of such a fantastic idea myself, was total and complete awe. you have to have a whole lot of dedication and maybe a bit of crazy to create such beautiful pieces of work. i can't even fathom the amount of time it took to bead and create beaded components for them. each blade of grass is made of beads. every plate, cup, item, surface is beaded. i harbored fantasies for a while of trying my hand at a similar project, but after spending about a month trying to bead and sequin a bowl of plastic fruit, sore-thumbed and disillusioned by how long that alone took, i gave up.

the exhibition was in london some years ago and i'm so bummed i missed it because i think it would have been breath-taking to see it in person. if i ever win the lottery, i am going to commission her to bead'll think of something!


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

paper cuts

this is not my studio

my studio is a total wreck right now. i keep sitting in here, staring at it with visions of what i WANT it to look like and then wake up to the reality of what it ACTUALLY looks like. then i think, realistically, about the time and effort it would entail to make it look like the pink and cream checkerboard lino-ed, beautifully painted room i would love to spend time in and then i become completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the project, and then find something else to distract me so i don't get depressed about it!

it used to be scott's studio space, but he has now taken over the room next door for his pottery ( which is so cool, i need to do a post about that) so he is slowly moving all of his belongings out and i am slowly spreading out more and more. where his books are still on the pine shelves, i can see my glassware collection on ice cream coloured shelves with vintage shelf liners, where his collection of 70's brown ceramic owls and shell animals still live, i envision a wall of distressed cubby holes full of jars of charms, beads and sparkles mixed up with nik-nackery. i'm even staring at my boring stone-coloured filing cabinet thinking i should paint that with a bright lipstick red. if i only had the time! i think i am going to start this project slowly, a bit at a time and see if i can make any progress.

so to distract me for now, i thought i would do a post about scott's wonderful paper cuts. i have been very happy to receive some for presents for my birthday, mothers day and valentines day. he started doing these probably a year or 2 ago ( but with my child-addled brain it could be 10 years ago) and i think they are brilliant. the first 2 are based on some real people from a book called "the tennesseans", a photographic book from the early 80s, (i think) that i picked up at a garage sale the last time i was in the LA. 

the first couple scott based his paper cut on were flying the confederate flag in the background and hated yankees. she might have said she'd "be damned if she'd ever recognize missoura" and the 3 old men on the park bench were just a settin' and a wittlin' and a talkin'. they made good subjects. they might seem to be small pictures in the photos, but they are pretty large.

for mothers day i was given the girl with the black hair which is based on a girl in a mark ryden picture i have in my kitchen.  and for valentines day, i was given a the redhead lady based on the gorgeous christina hendricks from mad men. i also have a fantastic portrait he did of the boys and most recently, he made one for my friend elise for her birthday which was really cool, but i stupidly didn't take a picture of it before we gave it to her.

it's a little difficult to appreciate them in their full glory as the reflection in the glass seems to dull them a little. i was trying not to get my reflection in the photo, but you can see me crouching down trying to lean in to take the picture in the last one!

i think i may have inspired scott with the paper cut idea when i made a few "commemorative" plate cards for some of my friends little ones.

i did attempt to make him his own paper cut portrait for his birthday, but we can see where the real talent lies!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

ruby dixie in brighton

starting sunday, may 22, ruby dixie will have a stall at the new YARD market in brighton. the YARD is going to be a unique shopping experience, held every other sunday from 11-5 (it might change to every sunday) in the heart of the brighton laines on north rd. it's located in the "brighton farm market", known for it's fantastic farmers market on saturdays.

It aims to bring together the best of independent vintage sellers - from fashions to home wares and everything in between along with talented independent designers. it is a lovely outdoor space with sweet canopies (some coverage in case it rains!) with a gorgeous cafe serving delicious food that will take the edge off from saturday night! 


 so if you are in the brighton area, stop by and have a tasty cuppa joe, a yummy breakfast, do some browsing through all the vintage treasures on offer and come and say hi! x


Friday, 6 May 2011

ruby dixie charm holder in cosmo

 i was very excited to see a ruby dixie vintage charm holder in the june issue of cosmopolitan! my oldest friend ( and brilliant lecturer in feminist studies...and amazing writer!) jen maher, who i have known since we were about 8 or 9 maybe, said that she wanted me to "bring back the charm holder" so, i'm on a mission. we're on our way!

when jen and i were in elementary school, pretty much EVERY girl had one. there were the girls at school who came from the slightly wealthier end of the spectrum that had genuine 14ct gold charm holders, loaded with more real gold charms than a custodians keychain, hanging from an "s"(serpentine) chain which was the "only" chain to have darling...  and then... there was us.

we were the girls who longed for gloria vanderbilt designer jeans in the entire array of pastel colours, deeply desired velour cap-sleeve shirts and lusted after the cherokee platforms that all the popular girls had. but the most coveted item was the charm holder. unfortunately, we never had real gold ones. each of us possessed some cheap knock-off version, purchased at one of the cheapest department stores in LA ever like "gemco" or the "treasury".  they inevitably turned our necks green.

jen and i were in the 2nd most popular group at school. we didn't have quite what it took i guess to launch us into the popular group, so we were just loosely affiliated with them...we sort of dipped in and out. so when we were on the playground at lunch time and the popular girls, with their perfectly feathered hair, were all admiring the newest myriad of charms they had added to their charm holders, jen and i would be accosted by one of them so they could check out our charm holders. we'd sheepishly let them look at them with their piddly offerings of a few non-gold, probably even sport-related charms and wince a bit as they examined them, casting their eyes over every millimeter, determined to find a "14k" mark. then quickly release the necklace as though their hands had just been stuck in a vat of acid when they didn't find one.

so maybe it was subconsciously a secret fantasy of mine to one day own loads of charm holders. i don't know. i do know as soon as i found them a few years ago, i bought up as many as i could possibly buy. thankfully at this stage, the fact they aren't "14k" is totally by the by.

jen and i look back at those days now and laugh. they kind of stung then. but i'm so glad we were the girls with the fakes. our motto is "ALWAYS the monet...never the 14k"....

a keepsake of the heart forever

Thursday, 5 May 2011

irina werning

as a lot of my friends know, i am a slightly obsessed with the past. not just through my love for most collectables/memorabilia etc... pre (and including some) 1980's, but also anything that triggers that hazy, sun-drenched, coppertone-scented, blue-skied, super 8 movie of my childhood. the one that plays in my mind probably a lot more than it should.

i own one 70's orange, black and yellow floral "magnetic" photo album from my childhood that houses a handful of pix from the time i was born until i was maybe 10. there are so few photos in it for as much life that was lived. i remember seeing the movie "imagine", a documentary of john lennon's life, when i was about 13 and there seemed to be hundreds of home movies taken of his kids and his life and i was so envious of all that life that was captured on film. the day to day moments that looking back on would be like reading a diary... only better. i dreamt of seeing home movies of my brothers and i when we were growing up and forever secretly wished some might exist somewhere. i really treasure the photos i do have.

when i was studying at london college of fashion years ago, for a project, i had the idea of taking a polaroid a day of myself and then write a diary entry on it and a friend told me she thought that was a bit excessive. i have seen quite a few people since who have done just that and i get annoyed with myself i didn't just go ahead with my plan.

i came across these photos from buenos aires photographer irina wernings project "back to the future"  and thought they were so cool. i loved the idea of recreating the old photo.

 you can find more here on her website.