Tuesday, 26 April 2011

ruby dixie bracelet in the june "bliss" magazine

i was really happy to end the day today getting an email from my fantastic pr girl louise with this attached... it makes me smile seeing something i made in a magazine.

ruby dixie bracelet in june's"bliss" magazine

Monday, 25 April 2011

stuck on you...

 here are some of the newest additions to the ruby dixie website... brooches and stick pins...

come follow me...

here boy...

swing birdie

don't lose your head

birds of a feather

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

location location location... the penultimate post...

i didn't sleep very well that night after seeing the houses. i wasn't sleeping very well anyway in my pregnant state because i love to sleep on my belly and this was now completely out of the question. i woke up practically every hour and i had this permanent empty, sick feeling. i was plagued by crazy stress dreams and hoped so much that out of the last two properties we would find our future home.

when the morning came, even in my sleep deprived state, i wasn't at all tired. i was working on pure adrenalin. when they came to pick us up, they said that we would be looking at a house over in st leonards, which is the next town along from hastings. we hadn't given much thought to living over there because all of the people we knew were based in hastings or around the west hill where we were currently living. although hastings was being touted as "up and coming", st. leonards, although only down the road a piece, still seemed like it was kind of not participating in the "regeneration".  and we didn't know anyone over there and it seemed miles away.

our ride turned up and they drove us over to the house in st leonards. from the outside, it looked alright. when we got inside, i felt it was the first place that had a good feeling about it. it seemed more spacious than the others had felt, but it was possible i just liked it because it had some colour and warmth. it was the first place i felt  i could see us living in. at this stage i was feeling like i had better start to like something. scott seemed to like it too, but was still thinking of the potential of the place with the basement. i think he was fantasizing about turning that basement it into a studio or rec room with a pool table.

property 4... i think it's the one with the sign

the garden at this property was pretty much non-existent. there was a shed that was taking up most of it. with a little bubba on the way, i had imagined more outdoor space... enough room for playing and running around and that wasn't anywhere near a possibility here. i knew in my heart at some point i was going to have to start compromising somewhere though, so it was the first place i was seriously thinking about. scott was STILL partial to the other place, which i didn't really like.

property 4 lounge

property 4

property 4
after seeing property 4, we broke for lunch. we went to st. clements which is one of the best restaurants in st leonards. they have yummy food! i had a knot in the pit of my stomach wondering what the last house would be like. when they told us that it was also in st leonards, i felt a pang of disappointment. in all my daydreams, i was up on the west hill and now with it being the last property, it didn't seem a possibility.

as they drove us to the road, i think they might have had said to close our eyes or something like that. another thing they would do while we were filming was to drive us around the corner from a property, then they would have phil walk along chatting, leading us up to it, getting that natural first reaction. as we drove down the road, there was a school playground on the right and some houses which didn't really appeal to me and some really nice looking houses on the left. i prayed it was on the left. please let it be on the left. if it was on the left, there was still some hope. we parked around a corner and waited. the suspense was way too much for me.

when they were ready, phil led us down the road and stopped in front of this house and immediately i thought "this is it"... just from the outside. but when he told us how much the house cost, i just about burst into tears. i thought there wasn't a hope in hell we could have this place as we were not even convinced we could afford the ones we had already looked at. this one was £30,000 over our budget. we felt lucky to have secured the mortgage we did have in place and had slightly struggled to get that one. how in the hell could we find another £30,000???  i had to see inside though. we were standing there...so... in we went.

property 5... the one with the blue door

from the moment i walked in, i was in total and complete love with it. it felt so spacious and light and beautiful. it was a lazy, warm, sunny day  and the windows were open and a slight breeze was blowing in through them. i could hear that wonderful, faint, collective sound of happy children playing in the playground across the way. the yellow walls made me feel relaxed and happy. i couldn't wait to see the rest of it! as we waited to see more, phil was kicking it on the sofa for a bit, shoes off, cool, chilled out.

property 5 lounge... it seems really narrow in this pic

as they led us from room to room i knew we had to live there. even though the furniture/decor wasn't our style it was the first time i could see past everything and envision all of our own things there. my whole life i had dreamed of living in a house like this one. i was in love with the brownstones in new york ( i remember telling scott i had really hoped we might find a place with a "stoop") and the victorian houses in san francisco and the craftmasters in LA and this felt like that sort of place.

we continued on looking. the kitchen was big. a real family kitchen. and it had this nice arch which reminded me so much of one of the places i lived in in LA. ( i later found it so weird and i guess a sort of statement about our style vs the modern age when a few people said " oh you could easily knock that arch out so it goes straight through. " and i'd say "are you NUTS? why would we do that? that's a feature! that's part of what sold me on this!") every room was brilliant. the master bedroom was large with 3 gorgeous bay windows. every room was a good size and there were 5 bedrooms which was perfect with each of us needing a studio space for work. there was a massive bedroom at the top which i immediately sized up for my studio. but phil made me promise that if we did buy this house scott should get that room for his studio.

property 5-kitchen

property 5-top bedroom

we went outside into the garden, which wasn't really big, but big enough. the owner was obviously a keen gardener. it was slightly overgrown in a good, almost "secret garden" way and there was a big cherry tree and figs and raspberries and a peach tree. we sat with phil on an old, victorian stone bench in the sun, talking, and i just didn't want to leave. with all the stress in the air about what to do, he said to scott, " i wouldn't want to be you tonight." and scott dead-panned, " phil...you wouldn't want to be me MOST nights." which cracked me up. later when i was talking to the director she said that she loved that phil had then said " oh, i don't know about that." or something to that affect, being cheeky phil. i hadn't even heard it.

running parallel to my euphoria was that sick feeling that there was absolutely no way we could afford this house and that we would have to walk away from it. i wondered if they had any back ups in place, but it didn't look that way. i could see that scott liked it too. probably almost as much as i did. but he is way way WAY more practical than me and i think he would have found it much easier to walk away from it and move on. i just couldn't let that happen! not after all of this.

that night absolutely SUCKED. we talked about it and talked about it until we couldn't talk any more. how could we swing this? it seemed impossible. it wasn't just another couple of grand, it was serious cash. the researcher, who's name has totally left me right now, was such a lovely, brilliant person. we were on the phone to her a few times that night because they wanted to know what we were thinking about it all and how we were feeling. she said, "we'll be up late... if you need to call and talk to us just call us at the hotel. i don't care if it's midnight."

the next day we were supposed to go back for a second look at any of the properties we were interested in. i could only think of one...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

more from the never-ending saga..."location location location"

on our road trip a couple of weeks before filming

wow... i really didn't realize how long it would take me to write about this! i think this is the penultimate installment...

so where was i? i'm sure i mentioned before that i was obsessed with looking for properties. i was online searching the estate agents websites several times daily as if they were actually listing properties hourly ( which they don't). as soon as they told us we would be on the show, i was told that i was not supposed to look for properties anymore. i was to stay away from estate agents windows, local papers, looking online, etc... this was an absolute killer for me. as much as i had faith in them having a strong idea of what we wanted, i was also scared that they might miss something. i stuck to my word and avoided looking, so i had absolutely no idea what was around or what they might be showing us.

when i opened the door, there were a lot more people than i had expected. 2 researchers, who were really lovely, a director, producer, cameraman, sound man, phil, his driver, and a few more.
they told us they had 5 houses for us to look at and we would do 3 that day and 2 the following day. the days were going to be long. i can't recall if it was a 4 or 5 day shoot, starting at 8am and finishing between 4-5pm with a break in the middle for lunch. after meeting and greeting everyone, they had a look around to figure out where they wanted to talk to us etc... and then we pretty much started straight away.

we were introduced to phil. he was very nice. i couldn't help but feel he had a sort of a presence. i didn't feel nervous around him because he was a "celebrity", but i was aware of his celebrity if that makes any bit of sense. growing up in LA it's the norm to see celebs/stars a lot and i've served quite a few in my time...when i was waiting tables at a coffee house in marina del rey, we used to have regulars like jane fonda, lee curreri, courtney cox, one of the "corey's", linda hamilton, adam ant and loads of one-off visits, so i was unfazed by phil in that way, yet very happy to meet him. on the other hand, a lot of our neighbors had noticed that something was going on and were peeking out their windows. some started to come out into the street to watch the filming and as soon as they saw phil they started to circle for autographs, which he was happy to give. 

one thing that scott and i had talked about a lot before this day had come was how so many people on the show tend to use property jargon cliches, especially the "wow factor". we hoped that we wouldn't succumb to that and as we pulled up to the first property, i instantly saw i didn't need to worry. from the outside, it was not at all what i had my heart set on. i had to remind myself that this happened quite a lot on the show. that they would often show the people houses that were nothing like what they wanted, but still pull a winner or two out of the bag. yet i was worried that with the budget we had, they might all pretty much be places like this one. it made me question how realistic my dream house was.

the outside of property #1
before entering the house, we were told they want the show to feel as natural as possible and want actual first reactions, so the crew go in and set up first and make you wait in between each new room they show you to get that authentic first reaction as you walk in. part of me wanted to say, "i REALLY don't like it" immediately and skip it, but you never know what it might be like inside. so we looked, but i couldn't see us living there. i think it was pretty evident to everyone i wasn't feeling it. there was just something very bland and soulless about that house. i was happy scott seemed in agreement.

property #1 kitchen
in between shots, we chatted with phil about everyday stuff. he was dry and funny and i never realized until after we had filmed that he had a rep for being "cheeky", but i did notice he sometimes had that slightly naughty school boy twinkle in his eye.

we moved on to house number 2 (which they don't show on the programme or the "location" website). it was a few houses up from a major road, which was one location we agreed we wouldn't want, on/near a main road. although from the outside it looked really nice. it was edwardian and had lovely windows. at first glance inside, it looked impressive, but after that initial moment, it became apparent there was a lot of space doing nothing. there was a grand hallway and beautiful cornice, but the rooms were all pretty small. there was one bedroom that might have been just about 3 feet wide. and there was only one bathroom which was so small we couldn't both stand in it comfortably at the same time, especially with my belly. we did a few "comical" shots of this at the directors request, but thank god they didn't get used!

so we were 2 down, 3 to go and i was getting a little twitchy. we took a break for lunch. they bought us a gorgeous lunch everyday. we went over to the old town and ate at lathams which at the time was one of our favorite restaurants. all i remember from that lunch was that i don't know why i had it in my head that phil's driver was his dad. for the whole lunch, everything he said i tried to relate to phil. a few things phil said to him seemed strange to say to his dad, but i still didn't realize my mistake until like 2 days later.

after lunch, we headed to the last place for the day, property 3. it was actually right around the corner from where we were living at that time. and here, i have to come clean and say, i was already aware of this property. a friend had seen it for sale and knew of our desperate quest and told us about it. i was so worried that it could be "the one", that i went against my promise and after asking scott what i should do, but ignoring him anyway, i walked over there to see what it looked like. i had hoped that it would be one of the properties they showed us and was relieved when they did take us there.

property number 3 outside
it had been hard to tell from the outside what it was like so i was very interested in getting in there. once inside, i thought it was ok, but it had a strange layout where you walk in on the middle level rather than the first floor. it WAS an improvement on the previous 2 properties, but the kitchen was small, downstairs was a bit dark and the rooms were on the small side and a bit narrow. they all felt claustrophobic like the walls were closing in on us. most importantly though, i wasn't seeing much space to put all my most coveted "collectibles" (or "crap"). scott was more sold on it than i was. the garden was a nice size and there was a basement that could be a workshop, but all in all it didn't do it for me. i worried scott was kind of diggin' it and there could be a disagreement over it.

property 3 kitchen

property 3 lounge
property 3 bedroom
through the whole process so far, scott had been brilliant. i was so impressed with how natural he was in front of the camera and his ability to be himself and he was very funny. he had all sorts of great lines that sadly ended up on the cutting room floor. they rolled off his tongue effortlessly. but me on the other hand, i thought i might be coming across as too negative, not enthusiastic enough and not appreciative enough of the research they had put into finding the houses they had chosen. when we finished for the day, i was feeling a little disheartened. we only had 2 more houses to look at. that was it. i started to feel we were doing it for nothing. that at the end of it all we would walk away in the same position we started and that buying a house was just not in the cards for us.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

treasure huntin'

i could hardly sleep last night knowing that today, sunday, was not only supposed to be about 80 degrees, but also the first major car boot sale of the season. hard as i try, i really can't seem to fill my house with enough crap! every room in the house is over-flowing with all my "finds" i have amassed over the last god knows how many years. and as much as i don't want to be attached to this stuff, i just can't help myself. i really am.

when i was growing up in california, i was a major thrift-o-holic. i can remember when there wasn't  much competition and walking into a thrift was like an aladdin's cave heaving with dirt cheap tat that would now be considered collectible and cost a fortune. when i was in junior high the thrift stores had racks of gorgeous 1940s, 50s. 60s dresses that very few people at that time, apart from a few trying to emulate molly ringwald in "pretty in pink", had the desire to wear or buy and only cost a few dollars. homewares, melaware, lunchboxes, old tin toys (just to name a few), everything that now makes my heart skip a beat was all sitting there for the taking for a few bucks if not pennies...it is a repeat regret of mine, (one of those things that when i think of it i get a little tummy pang) that i didn't have the foresight at 15 to buy up all those treasures and keep them for the future.

car boot sales are great because even though there are people that know what they have and charge accordingly, there is still that chance you might find something that makes your heart sing for 50p. the little thrill, that rush of adrenalin you get from finding that piece of a collection you have, or a beautiful dress that makes you feel like a million bucks is taken away if you feel you have over-paid for it. a lot of people are into vintage now. dealers are trying to find stock for their shops, websites, personal use etc... so you have to get up mighty early if you want to get a good start.

going early paid off. scott and i both did pretty good. he is collecting hand thrown or hand coiled old pottery and he always spots good paintings. he found a couple of paintings he liked and a few other bits and i found some melmac dishes to add to my picnic set, some gorgeous old tins, a few vintage children's books including a pop up book about baby jesus...brilliant...a cool old plywood puzzle of america, and a vintage sailboat brooch all for just under £5.

it's our anniversary today so we took a drive to rye and had lunch and a couple of beers. i can't even begin to describe how great it felt to be sitting outside with my sweetie having a pizza and an ice cold peroni while feeling the warmth of the sun shining on my back. heaven... it's the simple things.

just as we were leaving, i saw one of those things that made my heart skip a beat... 3 old animal seats from a children's seaside 1950s carousel. i love this kind of stuff because it is so rare and when you do find it is usually very expensive. (earlier in the day, i had seen an old charity box for disabled children that was incredible, but it was already sold) there was no way we could afford all three, which would have been nice to have as a set, so we treated ourselves to one as a joint anniversary present for the living room. i just love him!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

the birds and the bees

i have been working on a few new trinkets. i love these rhinestone bees. they seem to look good with and work with everything. they remind me that summer is on the way.
the birds and the bees 2

the birds and the bees

forest friends

love birds

yellow birdie