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Monday, 27 December 2010

Ruby Summer goes crackers and musings on the new year!

Well howdy all! I am crackers! Besides the obvious cracker connotations of Christmas I am also busy busy busy with bag design - yay! Talking of Christmas was yours good? Christmas chez RSVI was great charactersied by the words cosy, quiet, familial and FAB. I got a new toy too! Yep, I finally got my embellisher which I've been playing with all day. I know a lot of people use them for felting but me always having to find another angle worked out how to distress fabric with it! I reckon some of the fabric I made today would be excellent for book covers etc.It is really brilliant FUN!
I have designed and made a couple of new totes and a satchel stylee bag this week.The fabrics are sooooo gorj I don't know what to say! Back to the drawing board in the morning to draw up some more ideas.Ooooh and I rustled up a little ipod touch cover out of some of my sample embellisher distressed fabric this evening before Easties started! Oh yeah - Super Woman! Hahahahaha.
It's time to get the game plan for the year written up - there are markets I want to attend, craft shows to have a stall at, textile events to visit and lots of drawing and making to do! Best get the year planner out then!
One thing that has always mystified me is News Years Eve - is it just me or is it an anti-climax? In the interests of research I would love to know what it is you do that makes it so good? I need some inspiration as I wanna be part of the fun!!!!!
Anyway... here's me wishing you the most amazing and peaceful 2011 full of success and love xxxxxxx

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Loving the snow!

I am loving the snow! It meant I got back to my workshop earlier than planned today and I have managed to get the new frame purse instructions processed. As always I am relying on the editor (yes, Rob) to check it all through!
I have also been cutting out more Dotty kits tonight. I was trying to work out why they took so long to put together - look at the photo - there is tons of stuff in it all in different pieces! Hey at least the recipients of these yummy kits will know they were put together with a hell of a lot of love!
Back to the snow - how strange is it to get snow in November? No doubt just like where you are it hasn't stopped all day. Debs assures me that the flakes were falling at 1.7 metres per second - can you tell she is an engineer?! I have no idea how fast they were falling but there gazillions of them.Ok well it's time to get back to the cutting table....
Keep crafting my beautiful snow angels!
love janie xxxxxx

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Did you know?.................

Men wore bags until the internal pocket was invented? Of course now that they have internal pockets they shove their hands in them and their junk in our bags to lug around!!! Happy Days...
Happy crafting xxxx

Call Me Dotty - Make your own makeup bag!http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Ruby-Summer-Bag-Making-Kit-Aqua-Black-/330501969944?pt=UK_Crafts_SewingPatterns_EH&hash=item4cf373d818

Ruby Summer kit launched!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is bigger news than anything on X factor or the forthcoming royal nuptials!
The first Ruby Summer kit "Call me Dotty" has been launched - I am sooo excited. After months of planning they are here with lots of other designs to follow!
The first kit makes a divine makeup bag/clutch/pencil case. It has everything you need including very high quality Moda fabric (no cheap poly cottons here!) and fabulous full colour instructions for you to make a really professional looking bag.I loved designing it and choosing the fabrics and I hope you love it as much as I do.
There will be more dotty bags in different colourways and fabric patterns as well as a few more in the current colourway. If you want more than available on ebay please email me via contact@rubysummer.co.uk
I am busy writing pattern instructions this week for cute coin purses so expect them to be available very soon - yay!
I have looked at many selling outlets during my "planning phase" and have decided that ebay is a very safe purchasing environment that allows me to keep my costs down and hence the final selling price down.
To locate this yummy kit please cut and paste the following in your browser: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Ruby-Summer-Bag-Making-Kit-Aqua-Black-/330501969944?pt=UK_Crafts_SewingPatterns_EH&hash=item4cf373d818

Once you have made yours up please send me a piccie of your gorgeous creation!

Happy crafting my darlings xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Just a quicky - oo-er missus!

Just a quick posting tonight as I have a much bigger posting to put up in the week - yay!
This week has been not so good - damned viruses etc have laid me low for most of the week. Am feeling a lot better today and have even ventured out into the cold, ooooh I am so brave. My poor darling daughter wrote her car off yesterday. Luckily she is relatively unscathed but emotinally it has really got to her. Kate we love you xxxx
I have been editing and re-editing the "Call Me Dotty" pattern instructions. My editor (okay, Rob) is doing the final checks for me tomorrow. I am pretty certain I am doing more pre-launch checks than NASA when sending a rocket in to space! Guess it is the lawyer in me. (No rude jokes there please!)
Have also been working on the pattern for the new coin purse kit. Nicks and Sparkles already have a version of the finished product but there will be some changes in the gusset area - hahaha.
Will be sending out a bigger post in the week as promised.
Stay crafty................love Janie xx

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The bag lady writes.....!

Hello out there how are you all this week? Have your houses stayed standing or more to the point did you when you braved it outside in the biting winds?
Right now I am keeping warm in front of the fire, Rob is still outside in the garden insulating his office and Beast is out with friends. So here I am with a golden opportunity to catch up with you all!
So the bag lady has been busy! Three different really useful zip top bags in different sizes with different finishes. They are fully lined with the most gorj fabrics - I loooooooooooooove them! They aren't too difficult to put together and the "Call me Dotty" bag, an original Ruby Summer pattern, will be available as a kit for all you crafty people very soon.They are a fab sewing project giving you an original accessory with a squillion uses.I have a friend who is sending them out to California as Christmas gifts! I plan to use mine as a clutch and then it will be my new makeup bag after the party season is over. My sister uses her to put her "nursing bits" in and Mum has one that she keeps her meds in within her handbag so she keeps organised. What will you use yours for?
I hope you love the piccies and the minute the kits are launched officially you will be the first to know! I am expecting to follow these with framepurses inthe new year!
Stay warm, stay upright and stay crafty!
Loads of love Janie xxxxx

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Bums? whats that got to do with bags?
I went to the Spirit of Christmas at Olympia yeaterday on a reccee to checkout the competition! There was just the best stand there called Twisted Twee.They were so refreshing - there was an awful lot of extremely pretty samey stuff there. Amongst some very funny stuff were some hideous Y fronts with pics of various politicians on the back. The owner (what an adorable woman)explained that the Gordon Brown ones had his mouth fittingly placed to lay over your ******* when worn!!!! good one!
I picked up some interesting promo materials yesterday - I firmly now know what I dont want the business to be so thats great.Its taken me a while!!!
At the bedroom meeting this morning I was finally able to say what direction I wanted to take - yay!The future is now clear - either that or I had given my specs a damned good clean.
I have been prototyping a pattern this weekend for a future kit which will retail through my site. It has to be perfect and the instructions have to make sense so I have been taking photos of every step so that they can be bought and made and finished to a professional standard.I think my teacher instinct is coming out with this! How many times will I write the instructions before I am happy?!!!!
Anyway - no pics this week - I cant reveal yet!!!
Have a wonderful bagalicious week everyone.
Loads of love Janie xxxx

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


Madame Deborah keeps asking me about my bags and where they are! So I thought I'd let you in to a little secret!! Shhhhhhh don't tell anyone else!
Ok here we go..... each bag takes at least three weeks to make - shock horrror! It all begins with a flash of inspiration (you will have to wait and see what I came up with whilst sitting by the villa pool in Corfu recently looking at a plant stand!!)
I then sketch my ideas from all angles, measure up and cut out the pattern pieces using my lovely dot and cross design paper and mocing up a 3D paper version,list the processes needed (and check it about a hundred times so I dont go wrong!!). Next comes the best bit - choosing the fabric and notions to finish it. Once all the pieces are cut out - hey presto!
The biggest problem bag designing? overcoming the temptation to miss out basting etc cos you want to finish the bag and gaze at it adoringly!!!
So Ddddddddddeborah that's why it take so long to see a finished product!!
'Til next time my lovelies......Janie xxxxx


I just had to share these beautiful creations with you by Deidre Hawken that I espied at the recent Textiles show I visited. I was totally bowled over by these hats. Each one takes about three weeks to make and they are all made from textiles. It's really difficult to find a favourite but I think the summer pudding has it! (oh what a surprise I LOVE puddings!). I wasn't the only one who fell in love with them - Deidre was being asked if she would fly to Scandinavia to give a talk about her work whilst we were busy taing photographs.Oh I can only dream of such lovely things!
It's really worth googling Deidre, her work is amazing!
Hope you like the pics they aren't the best quality as they were taken on my blackberry.
lots of love

Saturday, 30 October 2010

hey you!

OMG since my last posting I have been busy busy busy (again!). I have been to a designer masterclass to make sure I stay ahead of the game with my skills. It was fantastic! I learned so may new ways to do things. I got to use lots of new tools too - a spiral clamp is now on my christmas shopping list!!!
I have been sourcing loads of fabrics - as you probably know by now I love vintage fabrics. I love looking for odd pieces - I dont want rolls of the stuff as I want each bag I create to be individual.I am pretty sad you know - I love touching the stuff and envisaging it made in to one of my ideas! HELP - now I have confessed the men in white coats will be after me!
I have been over to the north east coast of Corfu again.Got back yesterday. I have picked up more greek too - in about ten years I should be fluent!!!We stayed in a fab villa full of va va voom with the most awesome views (pics will be on facebook (Janie Cook) very soon!)
Obviously I took my very sexy camera and drawing books etc with me - who needs to pack lots of clothes when there are important arty farty things to pack? well ok - I did take a fair few things with me of the clothing variety and then wore practically the same stuff most of the week!
The scenery out there is awesome and very inspring - I was looking at the mountains over the the bay in Albania - the shapes were awesome - they got me thinking about the finish on a bag I had drawn earlier that morning which I had based around a huge urn full of flowers - I can hear those men in white coats on their way!
By the end of the week I had sketched three very different bags - tomorrow I am cutting the patterns.
also on the list for tomorrow are xmas presents - all being run up by lil old moi in the "studio"!
gotta go now - hope to be back in a couple of days with pics etc.
take care all you gorjuss creatures xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx janie xxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 19 September 2010

There's a meeting in the bedroom!

Evening all!
What a frantic weekend! The ghant chart is updated and I have a squillion tasks to do for next weeks meeting. We have been having our weekly meetings in the .............................bedroom! Well we havent got a boardroom and bedroom sounds a bit like boadroom so why the hell not?! I've never been to such chilled meetings - freshly brewed coffee, gluten free toast and marmite, two laptops and all whilst still sat in bed - yay! Long may it continue.
On top of MY task list today was to create a proper workshop. I think I have done really well but I've now got a cracking back ache. (Well I did raise my weights again in the gym yesterday too!). Nothing a pot of tea can't sort out - Rob can I have a cuppa please? I need some picture rail hooks to put up a mood board or two and hang finished scruumy bags for photographing.
Talking of photography do any of you have any great hints about setting up a cheap and easy to put together set to get the most out of my pics?
Rob has been busy doing technical tasks today. I am not a bad techie but he is amazing - what would Ruby Summer do if we didn't have him to guide us? He really is so inspirational. Rob I love you x
I've got some designs draw up this week so from Tuesday I will be running up samples for the week. I can't do it tomorrow as my granddaugter is 3 tomorrow so I'm going to see her.
Hope you like the pics
Janie xxxxxx

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Life 2.0!!!

I am soooo chuffed. I have booked on to a design course for October at the Cockpit Studios in Holborn. I cant wait - weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
www.cockpitarts.com/ check out this link

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Long time no speak

hello everyone!
I am sooooo sorry that I haven't been on here for a while. I can only apologise.
The last couple of months have been hectic to say the least. I have been to the stunning north east coast of corfu for a much needed spell of R&R and have been busy busy busy sourcing and creating patterns for bags and looking for fabric and trinkets to ensure my bags are true to their and their owners spirit - original.
Corfu as ever was awesome. Plenty of boats, books, walking and all in 48 degrees - yes you did read that correctly! I adore Corfu it feels like a spiritual home to me. I am out there again in October to see the beautiful island in the autumn.My camera is ready to capture the beauty of the empty beaches and verdant scenery. I really hope to get some amazing photographs to use to make calendars for some of this years christmas presents.
I have also been planning my future like crazy! Ruby Summer will become my full time occupation as soon as is feasable. Rob and I have a Gant chart in place to plan the next year so we can take this forward! I am feeling much happier now because I am always better at being my own boss rather than a puppet for others. I have the most amazing partner in Rob and my (now adult) children are so supportive of me and my dreams. Everyday I feel so lucky to have them in my life.
As location is not crucial to the success of Ruby Summer we are going to resume our hunt for a property in the new year. We have talked about this for so long but it seems that now we have a solid plan we can seriously go forward again.
So there's planty of research to be continued, patterns to draw and make samples with and plenty of positivity to grasp for the future.
And on that note - I am off to hit the dining room come studio(!!) to attack the latest sample!!
Onwards and upwards my lovelies
Janie xxxx
ps - can you send me the links to your blogs please so I can get them on here
ps - going to see Muse tonight at Wembley!!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

It's getting real!

Sorry no photos tonight! I have been mega busy this week with rolls of this and that, handbag hardware and fabric not to mention some rather gorj business cards and lovley parcel labels arriving!I can't hand out the cards yet as I have loose ends to tidy up beofre I can register with the old Inland Revenue! Oh yes and I have some lovley simple fabric labels on order too!
I have been funding this start up with selling lots of my rubber stamps etc on ebay - bidders certainly love the Tim holtz stuff - it gets bids within minutes of being online! Selling off my beloved stamps also means I am gaining more space in the dining room to work at! Rob has built and electrified his "shedquarters" which should see a lot of his dining room "stuff" move out too - gosh we might actually be able to eat in there again!
I have been laying in bed late at night this week mulling over designs in my head - great but why does inspiration strike after midnight?!
I picked up some fabulous great quality lining fabric today - its yummy but you will have to wait to see it!
Debs and Nicks - I have not forgotten your birthdays but I honestly think that I will end up bringing your pressies to AP!! Sorry what a rubbish friend I am!
My name inspiration - the gorgeous Ruby has been poorly this week - she's still not quite better - I hate it when someone I love is ill and I cant help them.
A chance convo this week led me to discover that someone I work with has a lovley building in Wales that they rent out for workshops! Yay! You can imagine the old brain has gone in to overdrive. It would be great to run purse or bag making workshops in a pretty environment.What do you think?
Last week Debs suggested that I look at goddess names for my bags - why are they all called names like Hecate or have names that sound beautiful to the ear but mean something hideous like "death by overdosing on chocolate"?!
Anyway - things to attend to so need to disappear and try and sleep.
I must not think about bags, I must not think about bags, I must not think about bags!!!!!
Have a wonderfully crafty week folks!
J xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Happy birthdays and more glue!

As i sit here overwhelmed with 50 metres of interfacing for the old bags it has been a weekend of celebration for my friends. They say things come in threes and that is certainly true this weekend as Debs, Nicks and Jude all celebrate. Last night we went down to Rustington to Judes party. As ever Jude and Paul are great hosts. I met a lovely lady who also works in education _ Hannah. How fab to be able to discuss distressing and glue with someone!
Today the Rubymeister came over for a few hours and we took her out for supper. I love that girl soooooo much!
Right now Jordy is playing his bass very loudly and goodness me he now needs a whole cabinet set up of amps - yay our neighbours will love us! the orange amps he is after come to a stunning £27500!!! hahaha im afraid he will have to make do with fender or marshall if im paying!
Friday night saw me playing with oil cloth for the first time. It was easier to handle than i expected and i drew up a pattern and made a giant sunglasses case. My sunnies are huge and need more space and protection than the average case sold on the high street. The inside is so padded i could lay my head down on it and sleep soundly right now! i also decided to revisit some lovely fabric i have in jelly roll format by american jane. i sewed three strips together and then embroidered along the seams for added detail. the purse pattern was then overlaid at a jaunty angle(a bit like a rakish parking angle!) to give me an original look.I hope you like it.
Two blogs to have a good look at this week are nicks arty stuff and debs altered mind - go and have a look they are fab and sooooo talented.
have a wonderful week and stay happy crafting xx

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Glue Glue GloriousGlue !!!!!!!!!!!

Evening everyone
At last Wimbledon is quietening down - it has been hectic here for the last two weeks with the tennis. The good bit is that Murray did really well and can be proud of himself - unlike the other lot who were playing in south africa recently!
Have had a really busy week - lots of courses here there and everywhere and finally ordering business cards and return address labels for the launch of Ruby Summer. I also finally found a reliable source for glue - yes ok that probably sounds boring to most but I am thrilled!!! I have been drawing some new shapes to try out for purses and have got some great linings for totes and book bags. I need to get really busy now if I ma to be a kitchen table tycoon!!! Decent delivery boxes seem to be eluding me right now and I am just a little fed up of looking at wholeslaers of packaging!
I have been dabbling with the idea of making some purse and handbag kits together to sell - what do you think? I would love your input.
I have decided that I need to name my lines, for example, totes with linings, unlined totes, the purses using the shape showing on the blog and the current clutch bag shape showing on the blog. I don't want to use peoples names or link it in to fabric otherwise the fabric cant change over time. If you have any ideas i would love to know.
Jordy has finished college this week - we went to see him and his band play at the Inn on the Green in Ladbroke Grove/Notting Hill this week.You can find out more about him at myspace - www.myspace.com/jordanepibass - it's worth a look in my humble opinion!In the meantime he has modelled the pink three pocket apron at the top of the blog!
I'm hoping for a lovely sunny successful week this week!
Hope you all stay happy and healthy and keep crafting!
Janie xxxxx

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

What a day!

Not only have I managed to make another bag,(piccies at the weekend!), I have taken a two of my fabulous students to a reception in the strangers dining room in the house of commons today. One of my girls made a speech - she was brilliant - I felt like a proud mummy even though she's not my child! We couldnt take any pics but if the official photographer sends me nay i shall scan and upload.
I promise some more piccies of bags this weekend!bags bags and more bags!
Will write properly at weekend when piccies are ready
have a fab rest of the week and keep your mojo flowing
j xxxx

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The smallest things excite me!! (sound slike a Frankie Howerd moment!)

Just a quick posting.
Successful evening - have just managed to lay my hands on some lovely gold finished coin purse frames in bulk.
Am going to work on a pattern for a hex frame iphone purse this week as well as one for a lovely lined bag book - who knows I may even get to do it without getting really stressy and swearing a lot! Perhaps if I set up a charity swear box at least some of my stress could be used for some good!!!!
Ok I am off to watch Family Guy now.
Hope you all have a lovely week. Take care everyone.
Jane xxxx

Saturday, 19 June 2010

I'm out of the dining room (oops I mean the studio!)

Ok, Rob had tidied up the dining room so I have been pretty efficient tonight!
The pictures are of a purse made with Micheal Miller fabric printed with scenes of 1950s fashion in Paris and lined with pretty pink small square gingham. The other is a funky shaped purse (took a while to draw the pattern to get it to look slightly unusual!) using a gorgeous Amy Butler fabric. Both fabric designers are American and they have produced some awesome collections this year. If I didn't exercise some constraint I would have to hire a studio to put all the fabric in! For Mother's day I made my mama a gorgeous retro 1950s styled apron with the Micheal Miller fabric. She told me on the phone the other night that she puts it on when someone comes around for supper so that all her friends get to see it and she can brag! Ahhhhh my mama loves me. Ok it's getting late and I need to do some ebay scanning so I shall get piccies uploaded and bid you a good night. Janie xxx

Brrrrrrr....and Karen and myself in maths!

So it is almost the longest day and then it starts getting darker in the evenings again! How did that happen without even getting any decent weather?!
I helped out today at Wimbledon Village Fair today - it waa packed but boy am I glad I played safe and wore jeans and took a jacket.
Enough moaning about the weather! I have been pattern drawing this week - hmmm didn't think I would ever need a protracter once I left school. It reminded me of Karen and myself struggling through maths trying to work out what on earth we needed to do maths for when we were clearly going to be rock stars! "come on girls rotate the shape at 12 degrees" - it still mystifies me to this day!! What about you Kazzy-Lou?
Off to sew now - the dining room (oops sorry, studio) awaits me! Do hope Rob cleared up a bit after hours of working in there on Friday!
Mug of skinny cow - check
DAB radio - check
Patience - let's wait and see!
Hopefully will have piccies to upload tomorrow
Have a lovely Saturday night
Janie xxxx

Sunday, 13 June 2010


Yay! I did it! I made my first and certainly not my last frame purse. I have kept it deliberatley simple but hey the world is my oyster now- haha!
I entered the dining room this morning feeling very nervous in case I messed up - well it would have been an expensive mistake!!! Radio on, coffee made, machine plugged in and ready for some serious sewing action!
Unfortunatley the colours really dont show up well in this lovely english summer light we have to take photographs in! The bag is beautifully squishy (do you know many layers of silk fleece are involved in a bag?)and a beautiful coffee colour with cream and a faded red lining. It's a real shame you can't get to see that. I shall have to get some better lighting for the photography.
I am just baout to be invaded by family so I shall take my sore backside (yes I did some serious squats on the TRX int he gym today!) and get some supper on the go!
Speak soon
J xxxxx

Saturday, 12 June 2010


What a week! Long long days at work and exciting post!
We are full flow in exams now so tension is high in the sixth form! Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong this week - students forgetting their exam times and arriving late, students forgetting about their exams (how?!) and racing around to find enough answer booklets. Combine that with tears of despair and elation - you've got the picture!

To compensate I have had some lovely post this week. Glue, fabric and handbag frames. I've got the most beautiful antique brass finish frame to work with. Combining that with two different prints of Moda French General fabric and I am ready to go! Everything is cut out and just waiting for me to shift my bottom away from my blog and get it sat in the dining room - which if I were feeling pretentious I would call my studio! Somehow the room functions as a dining room, office, study and sewing room. I can only assume this room must be a female as it is multi-tasking!

Last week I told you that I had got some great vintage fabrics and bits and pieces in Brighton - how fab is "Snoopers Paradise" in the North Lanes? I have put a couple of pics up to show you what I was getting so excited over!
I'm expecting a few more little parcels this week - I've had a field day in between exam stress sourcing vintage or interesting fabric pieces.
I have decided not to go sailing this weekend such is my desire to make the handbag! So tomorrow morning it's off to the gym and then straight home and squirrel myself away in the dining room!
Well if all goes well a piccie of finished project will follow!
Happy days
J xxx

Saturday, 5 June 2010

All at sea!

Well I promised to post more often and I promised to upload some piccies of Ruby Summer..............so here we go - madam "rowing"!!!!!!!!!!!! These were taken last weekend (May bank holiday) down at Langstone. I think we have another potential sailor in the family as she now wants to go sailing on the "big boat"!!!