Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Dreaded CV , Going it Alone, International Women’s Day

The Dreaded CV – sometimes you just have to rest

‘Sometimes you just have to rest’ by Miki Rogers Digital illustration using watery colours and pencil sets of naked plus size woman by a stream with her hand in the water
‘Sometimes you just have to rest’ digital illustration Miki Rogers

In October 2021 Mr R and I finally succumbed to CoronaVirus. Officially we’d both managed to avoid it, even though at the very beginning of the pandemic I’d been ill enough to need paramedics, with all the symptoms of CV except a temperature. At that time your temp was a main test criteria, before the heady days of Lateral flow tests and PCRs.

I’d dreaded getting Covid after my lovely friend, Zetland Radio presenter and star of The Mighty Redcar Julie Donaldson succumbed, and sadly died on Halloween 2020. I’d messaged her everyday after she went into ICU, and it was, and still is a huge shock and loss that she’s no longer with us, her wicked sense of humour, boundless support for local communities and fab taste in music though will remain.

We had the jabs. Having an Autoimmune illness, I was first at the gate, and I truly believe, bearing in mind how ill we both were, I wouldn’t have survived. I was beginning to think, I definitely had it early doors so had some kind of natural immunity. ….Nope.

I’d recently gone it alone after leaving my job of 8+ years (more of that in a bit) and – feeling a renewed sense of independence, when a dear friend had a close family member die , I decided support her at the funeral – driving alone to Kent and booking a last-minute AirBNB. The funeral was a sad and celebratory affair, and my friend – a bar owner, battled through the wake which they’d held at the bar, but was clearly ill. From the stresses of her dog having had a terrible accident, her Mum dying and a car crash in quick succession, we thought.

In reality she’d contracted Corona Virus – from her brother’s Girlfriend who was supporting her before the funeral, and so I and all my friends who were at the funeral got it too, then my husband, and I managed to pass it onto my daughter’s partner’s parents, a source of shame for me at the time as they’d been totally isolating up to the point we all had dinner together.

Luckily we all got through it, after a good 10 days of both being really ill, a couple of takeaways and a doorstop delivery from Morrisons, Chris now totally over it, me left with a very odd sense of taste and recovering from chronic fatigue on top of my normal chronic fatigue. I think we had a close call. As I write, what seems like the end of an unsavoury and sad period of time overshadowed by the terrible atrocities in Ukraine.

Going it Alone – back to Freelance

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed this website having had an overhaul and name change from Ruby & Blue to – I’ve gone back to working freelance …

I’d left community curator job in September, and felt unsure of the future but was dedicated to making it alone. My disabilities had deteriorated, and I’d been diagnosed with Hypermobile Joint Syndrome – an aspect of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a confirmation of Fibromyalgia connected to the illness and widespread Osteoarthritis. Clearly all of these illnesses had been there all along, and I’d started having treatment and odd diagnoses aged 8, but the combo of CV on me both physically and mentally, with the added treat of menopause had sent my illnesses into the stratosphere.

When I returned to work in Spring 2020 after being furloughed, my place of work and work conditions had changed, and even my job was about to change.

I’d been working for the previous few of years mainly just getting on with my own projects and reporting in. It was an exciting time full of possibilities, and I had a great oral history / music project to work on with the amazingly talented Patrick Dineen, funded by Great Place. and with images by my fabulously talented photographer friend Kev Howard taken at the very doorsteps I was dropping off recording equipment for interviewees. I found myself working in the project between my home and these doorsteps, Md online, which I found suited me well.

Through these oral history interviews about their experiences of living in and around the formerly thriving Steel town of Redcar, Patrick produced ‘Not in a room of our own’ a soaring piece punctuated by these voices. Listen here:

From there, the changes brought my mental health and neurodivergence into sharp focus. The lack of directly supporting communities I had taken hard and what was on offer was neither a replacement for this, nor something I could work with. My working relationship deteriorated, and after being encouraged to do so by many supportive friends and colleagues, I called it a day on the job I had previously adored and had much pride in.

Around this time I met the wonderful Catherine ’Katnipp’ Kay, an illustration superstar with her fabulous Katnipp illustration, online vlogging and digital empire, all run from a couple of floors above my former place of work on the Seafront in Redcar.

I introduced her to illustrator and educator friend Frances Moffatt, who was in the process of setting up the inspiringly wonderful School of Illustration with partner Nick Moffatt, and I’ve been reaping the benefits of our support and friendship together as well as attending workshops set up by the SoI. Fran and Cat have helped me to work on my own Illustration practice and supported me in the changes I needed to make to go freelance with my work.

I was also contacted by the creative and community powerhouse that is Donna Freeney of Pimms and Needles, and have been providing tea blending workshop with the fabulous women who attend, plus there’s been work on a couple of top secret projects.
One I was asked to help put a bid in for and project manage, the other my own project working with some of our bigger cultural powerhouses and our communities here in Teesside. What an exciting time!

International Women’s Day – my take

International Women’s Day 2022 is Tuesday 8th March here in the UK, so I thought I’d start with some of my illustrations of women and nonbinary people I know or admire, starting with the fabulous three at the top:

Edith- my dear friend and sister, owner of refill shop and eco hub The Cut Back and eco warrior woman in her own right, alongside Edith’s eco sidekick, my very own singing squirrel Sadie Joan, and my co-director supporting Edith, Saltburn Solidarity Foodbank Doyenne, and my other sister from another mister, Lynn JP.

Closely following are Dolly, Greta and Frida … not much needed to say about these three, but if you don’t know about Dolly Parton’s work for communities, go have a look at the Dolly Parton Foundation.

Row three is all about those wonderful people I’ve met online, and now consider friends….

Fantastic body positive maker, beauty practitioner and designer Lou Worrell to the left : and queen of all things colour and pattern, Siobhan Murphy to the right who, alongside the whole crew kept me entertained and enthralled during lockdown on Interior Design masters. I’ve loved watching these two go from strength to strength.

They flank an image straight out of my brainbox which I’ve now attributed to glorious body positive LGBTQ+ skater Courtney Shove aka @fat_girl_has_moxy on Insta.

You’ll see I’ve included non binary people, and my approach to Femimism is an inclusive one. The issues we face are the same for cis women, trans women and non binary people who either present as fem or deal with women’s health issues, and I’ve run the Community Craftivism group Women of The Resistance Teesside For the past few years on this premise.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias supporting equal pay for women across the world. I’ll be joining by doing some work for Break The Bias, but also wanted to support Ukraine, so you’ll see me illustrate my take on work by Ukranian Folk Artist Maria Prymachenko. The museum dedicated to her work in Ukraine was, in the last few days destroyed by Russian forces.

Drawing for a cause, Back to Work, Sea Swimming

Find my cards here

Drawing for a cause

One of the issues facing people throughout the pandemic has been the sense of isolation many of us have had to cope with.

I’ll talk about getting back to work later, but for me it’s been a really tough nut to crack, even though I had my husband at home when he wasn’t working as a key worker, and my son living with us, as just as lockdown was announced he was between homes and then without work as a chef. 

Personally, I lost my purpose for a time – furloughed from the job I love, unable to work with communities, missing my daughter who had moved in with her then boyfriend’s family to keep me safe, and unable to do markets. This time last year, I was about to do a March market then had very little until a rare market in December. I filled my time making scrubs for friends working on the Covid ward of a local hospital, setting up a community group locally, and later running a Christmas Window project in homes around the town. In-between I worked on the Middlesbrough Mela mandala project and shared my love of crochet, teaching people online whenever the opportunity arose. 

For people who have had to shield like my parents, this period will I’m sure, go down as one with never-ending days and realising the simple things are those we miss the most. Hugs, holding a hand, watching a band, having endless cuppas and chats in real time, laughing together. 

Saltburn Community Response, a group set up in our neighbouring town of Saltburn-by-the-sea wanted to tackle these issues while making some much needed funds for the group.

The group have been outstanding in the way they have worked to help people during this time, working alongside Saltburn Solidarity Foodbank, setting up community cupboards and running trails in the town that people can safely follow while out on their walks during lockdown.

The group commissioned me to design three postcards, each one a positive message of hope, which could be sold with some of the profits going to their cause, and I was happy to oblige. I’d been teaching myself to use the Procreate app do develop my digital drawing and designs over this time on my Ipad and withe help of Lisa Bardot and her amazing online workshops – one of the benefits of endless days without work

I used this do design the three postcards which I had printed locally by Teesprint in Middlesbrough. the timing for this was perfect, with sunnier days on the way and the opening of my friend Tracy’s Eco Hub and Zero Waste shop The CutBack gave me a bricks and mortar outlet in Saltburn ( they also sell my teas and all manner of eco wonderfulness)

Each card benefits the Community Response group, and it feels great to add something positive and help out at the same time.

I’m selling online too, through my ETSY shop and you can find that here. I hope you like them!

Back to Work

It’s so great to be back at work – at Tees Valley Arts

We’ve been slowly working away from home working towards being back in our space at The Palace Hub in Redcar and preparing for the opening of our Honest Shop and Gallery.

Ongoing lockdowns and changes to rules for both retail and cultural venues mean plans we had in place for an opening earlier in the year with a new show and the fab Honest Shop have been a movable feast, but we’re looking forward to a safe Mid-May opening.

In the meantime, I’ve been working with the hugely talented composer, producer and lyricist, Liverpool’s Patrick Dineen on an Oral History project – talking to the communities around the Steelworks and people who live in and visit Redcar, about their experiences of the town and what it has and had to offer.

We’ve had to tackle the thorny issue of interviewing people in lockdown., which we’ve managed with the use of Zoom (which we all should have taken out shares in during early 2020!) and using field recorders (also made by a company called Zoom, but unconnected as far as I know) – so I’ve spent much of the last couple of moths at people’s doorsteps.

The Honest shop is our latest big project – taking its lead from the Honest Shop project set up by Grizedale Arts who have been supporting us, our shop echoes other similar projects being run across the world from Japan to Australia.

Our shop will sell items made and grown by local hobby and community makers, and the stock will change on an ongoing basis depending on what people can provide. So far we have links to a whole range of local community groups including the Barefoot Kitchen who will bring orchard produce, and all manner of food based packs and items to purchase.

We still have space for community groups interested in selling craft items handmade from natural materials – email me for details

Sea Swimming

In September I was lucky to be able to go Sea Swimming with the Saltburn Sea Tribe – in the North Sea just off our coast here, buoyed (see what I did there) by the idea that it might be good for my worsening Fibromyalgia and Arthritis.

My first foray into the surf was admittedly a freezing one and we had headed down long after dawn, the temperature in the car reading at 6 degrees centigrade.. cold by anyone’s terms. Initially the bitterly cold water on my warmest body parts was a real shock, but after getting my shoulders in and swimming along it was a huge thrill to be in the water. It was a gorgeous day, the sun still low in the sky with just us, the birds and what lived beneath the waves as company.

The serenity of the calm sea in the distance, alongside the awareness of its obvious power in the breakers and the feeling of insignificance and grounding in such a huge body of water was really overwhelming and quite surprising.. I’d been swimming as a kid, but as someone who has mobility problems, the utter freedom of moving in the huge sea, the former rusting Steel Works in the distance was not lost on me. It was magical.

Never one to do things by halves I was wearing a 1950s style swimsuit, retro bathing cap and swim shoes. As we emerged from the water to wrap up tight in woolen hats, huge towelling robes, drinking hot tea and coffee, I knew the experience had been a positive one. I felt elated and my pain at least for a time after the swim was reduced.

Back in the car park, I met a photographer friend, Ian Crockett who showed me some photos he’d taken of us, saying he wouldn’t be publishing them unless he got us to agree. He was particularly please with a closeup he had got of a swimmer in a red costume – the closeup made through use of a really long lens making the image appear to show a lone swimmer in front of the Steel Works ( which are in fact a few miles up the coast) … In a red costume .. me!

I’m hoping to be back in the briny this spring.. maybe I’ll have a new swimming cap but I’ll still be wearing my red costume.

And here it is. ( thank you Ian for allowing me have this image) So proud of myself.

Lights, Camera, MELA !

Find my Mela Workshops HERE

A couple of years ago I was asked by Middlesbrough Council to work with another artist and with loads of groups, making 100 (I kid you not) hula hoop sized textile Mandalas to be displayed around the park at Middlesbrough Mela. No mean feat.


This year the amazing Middlesbrough Mela  – this celebration of Asian culture, of music, taste, colour  and sound could not happen in its normal home of Albert Park- at the centre of the town – because of Covid restrictions… so what is a group of creatives to do? Take the Mela online!


Making films isn’t entirely new to me, but making films in my workroom at the back of the house in between the dog barking, people delivering and an assortment of DIY going on outside certainly was a new experience.

We began our journey with a meeting of the fellow artists on the project .. Leader Lisa and JR from the council had assembled a fantastic group of creatives both local and from further afield.

The project sits around an online and physical children’s book, which in the tradition of the Mela would bring in a story that picks up on Asian tales, written by Umar Butt, who also translated  it into a range of languages, and beautifully illustrated by Becki Harper. It tells the saga of Sara the Tortoise who loses her home and all her friends, picking up on themes of migration and asylum but in a totally child-friendly way.

After some great Zoom meetings (who knew Zoom would be such a thing) and loads of watsapp discussions between all the artists and project leaders we came up with a range of activities;  Dance , mask making,  printmaking, windsock creating, yoga and banjo making on the website, alongside my two workshops (see the workshops at the end..)

And off we went – Filming our little instructions as we went – I bought a tiny light rig and phone holder to stand above my table to do mine, attached to a wooden box. A real Heath Robinson affair. After lots of head-scratching download / upload fun, all the film clips went to film-maker Paul to create his magic. Meanwhile we artists and a willing small socially distanced gang of helpers were making 100 free kits to go with each film – that’s A LOT of free kits!

On top of this, I’ve started making my own films, the first one can be found here: 

So here they are .. I’m really chuffed with my films and amazed by the others, the story and Umar’s storytelling too.  Get yourself to the Mela website and fill your own world with colour and magic…

Wrapped Mandala ( using the basis of god-s eye wrapped sticks) Granny Mandala (a mandala based on granny squares)


insta: @boromela website :


Thriftfest on our doorstep, Discovering Berlin, Whole lot of Rosie update

Thriftfest on our Doorstep

F o T Day 2-64
Image: Festival of Thrift

It’s that time of the year again! My favourite yearly event rolls into town, and this time it’s almost on our doorstep, in the neighbouring town of Redcar.

The Festival of thrift was devised and began three years ago as a collaboration between a local business man (who just happened to own Lingfield Point, the funkiest industrial estate you’ve ever seen) and retro genius, designer and Red or Dead owner  Wayne Hemingway. I visited in year 1, met one of my now closest friends who had a stall (hello Jane) and was totally won over by it all.  Finally something totally up my street had arrived in the Tees Valley!

Year 1 brought 17,000 visitors and I knew at the end of the two days I just had to be part of the next one. A year passed, and in year two I was there with my stall, and my book classes, with 40,000 visitors, my friends Geraldine and Abi selling too, and the lovely ladies from the Bobbin Shed (at the time artists in residence at Lingfield Point) as well as hundreds of stalls, classes activities and loads of shows. In year 3 the visitors had topped 45,000.

F o T Day 2-57
Image: festival of thrift

This year there’s been a change. The fab F0T people have decided to move the event and bring it to Kirkleatham, on the edge of seaside town Redcar. Kirkleatham is what remains of the village that surrounded Kirkleatham hall and is a hidden gem of gorgeous homes, a stunning little church and buildings which now serve as a Museum, almshouses and a bird sanctuary.

I’ll be doing a new thrifty ‘Mini-screenprinting’ class, suitable for those aged 14+, which can be booked here, and will be selling on my stall with the help of my children George and Sadie.  To find out more about this fab event which comes our way on 17-18 September, click here.

Discovering Berlin 

This Summer we visited Berlin. In September my son will be off on a new adventure, starting Uni in Leeds, so this one was a special ‘last time we’ll all live together’ holiday.

Thoughts: amazing laid back city, creative as could be with plenty to see and do. SAFE, even at night, everyone is laid back and pace is slow. Rush hour still isn’t packed and S & U Bahn trains are clean and efficient – go by tram if you want to see the place..

Loads of graffiti on everything! Everyone lives in a flat, has a bike and a bottle of beer. Police are calm even if there’s been a spectacular accident (which we observed). If you try to speak German you’ll probably find the person you’re talking to is Australian.

There are urban beaches all over ( you need to find them) and a swimming pool in the river. You can tour the city on a hired bike, on a Trabant tour, in a mini-dragracer, in a horse and carriage, or on a London Bus. Sit outside and eat, take in the atmosphere in Kreuzberg or Friedrichshain (where we stayed) in E Berlin. Do a river trip in Moby Dick and wonder at the modernist government buildings around the Reichstag. Visit the old Jewish quarter of Scheunenviertel with its galleries, gorgeous old buildings and the labyrinth of independent shops in the Hackescher Markt 

If you go, go on a Sunday when all the amazing flea markets in the east of the city are on. If you miss that, then every Tuesday there’s a fabulous Turkish market in Neukoelln, full of gorgeous eastern food, fabrics, jewellery and sounds. … Wonderful.

IMG_6606 IMG_6496 IMG_6505 IMG_6509 IMG_6572 IMG_6601 IMG_6664 IMG_6730

Whole lot of Rosie Update 

The life of a creative is never smooth, but always interesting!

WLoR Design 4In-between my job at TeesValley Arts, our shop, the markets and events, somewhere there is a creative / foodie business. So – how far have I got with the update of my tea brand? I have the new name, domain name, and email address sorted, and next has been the logo and labels.

Summer is always busy, I try and fit spending time with my children between all this and there are holidays to be had (see above) as well as events to prep for, but I’ve got back to the drawing board (literally) and made myself everything I need.

New name, labels in hand, some images to take next and we will be off! Whole lot of Rosie teas will be here soon, with a new site where you can look and buy. WLoR design 3WLoR design 2WLoR design 1

The Shop that was Shared, My Musical Lot.

The shop that was shared. 

Once upon a time there was a lovely shop in Guisborough called Maison Belle, owned and run by a gorgeous princess and her  beau who loved their little shop and their home town.

The princess decided she would like to share her little shop, sent a message to 4 likeminded business ladies which said: ‘an interesting proposition’ and so Ruby and Blue became one of the 5 businesses running Maison Belle…

We’re 18 months in now, and the little shared business has grown and evolved into the delightful double fronted shop of delights we have today.

I wanted to tell you more about our shop in the town nestling below the Moors.

Maison Belle was the brainchild of Laura and Neil, and ran for three years, selling gifts, homewares and a premium paint brand before we came along. Laura works full time and between running the shop with her soon to be husband, she up-cycled furniture , sold to people in their homes and was a talented interior designer and maker of high quality home textiles, later to become her ‘Pinky and Binky’ brand.

After deciding to discontinue selling paint, we were grateful that she had considered us as potential shop-sharers, as a way of sharing the load of running an independent business.

I met Laura a few years before; I knew her to say hello to, as Maison Belle was one of the only places at the time to buy gifts in the town, but we became closely connected after starting to run Totally Locally together.

Through the Totally Locally market, she met her new shop-mates; Glass artist and silver jeweller Geraldine of ‘Bean Creative‘, Wedding guru and sign designer Abi of ‘Oh, Abigail‘ and accessories queen Kim of ‘Daisy Bloom‘, and we were the objects of her new plan, and it’s worked ! Thanks Laura X

We’ve often been asked how we managed to continue to get on, and I can probably sum it up in some simple tips I have learned from the ladies of the shop:

  • Let everyone have a chance to shine
  • Be kind when there is an issue, and support eachother
  • Don’t leave anyone out
  • Plan the shop as a team
  • Keep  talking (we use Facebook chat)
  • Have meetings in the pub (and have fun)

Take a look at the Maison Belle facebook page, run by Laura for all our updates at the shop here.

My Musical Lot

We’ll start this bit with my lovely girl, Sadie. She’s been singing since I can remember, in front of people for many years, and writing songs since the age of 8.

Her music has become more sophisticated so has her voice and guitar playing, and now Sadie’s an accomplished performer, who goes by the stage name ‘Sadie Joan’ and can be found here on Facebook.


The photos on her page were taken by brother George, whose musical talents lie in an altogether more technical area. George is just about off to Leeds for a degree in Music Tech, and plays a a mean keyboard as well as knowing the ins and outs of a synthesizer and recording equipment.  George started volunteering at a recording studio at 15, and now helps at local Redcar radio station Zetland FM, sometimes running a show with his sister. If you live around Redcar you can tune in on a Tuesday eve (until he runs off to Leeds) or you can find it online here.

I’d like to think they got this musical talent from me, but apart from a bit of backing singing  in my 20s, the ‘Partridge Family’ (ask your Mum) harmonies in the car and being able to play ‘Danny Boy’ on the piano very badly, my musical skills are none. Their Dad, however has bass playing in his blood. He’s currently to be found as part of  local band Little Mirrors, who Sadie sometimes supports, and is connected to late 80s squat punk band Axegrinder, as well as Ska band Intensified and Funk Punk group Seep, playing in both of the last two bands when I met him.

It’s no wonder the youngest two of family Rogers are so musical with a dad with such a varied musical background, but the creative home of Ruby and Blue is a music filled one, and that’s how we like it.




Tea and Makes, Ruby the Camper

Tea and Makes

If I was to work out where my love of all things tea began, I would have to say it all startedRingtons Teacup with my lovely Nana, who I often enjoyed a sweet milky cup of tea with as a very small child. Both my Nana and Mum always made sure there was a china cup and saucer, and tea was always made in a pot (in my Nana’s case using leaf tea from a fascinating wall-mounted dispenser.)I lost my wonderful Nana when I was in my teens, but still have some of the willow pattern cups and saucers she would use, which she saved up Ringtons Tea vouchers to collect in the late 60s.

Through my student years, insisting we had Yorkshire Tea in our shared hsaltburn food festivalouse, and right up to my involvement in running a tea-shop, my love of tea has been a constant, almost inevitably leading to me having my own tea brand, which I sell  at festivals and markets. Probably the apex of my tea-selling career came this summer when I was invited to have a stall and a pop-up tearoom at Saltburn Food Festival.

The festival brought in 14,000 visitors last year, in the one day it rufood fest 9ns on the town’s Milton Street and with even more people visiting this year, had a whole street filled with the very best of local produce and amazing food from all over the UK.

We showcased our range of 10 packet teas including the new Special Matcha Green, selling cups of tea too so visitors could try for themselves. My youngest, Sadie sold cakes for the charity trip she is taking for school to work in an Orphanage in India, and we had my usual tea-cosies and other makes , infusers and vintage teacups & saucers to buy. It was a real family affair with both kids serving alongside me, and Husband Chris keeping the hot water coming, from the back of our T25 camper van fest 4

An amazing day was had by all and I would highly recommend a visit next time, on the first Sunday in August next year! (So hope we’ll be invited back and am already counting the days!)

Ruby the Camper

I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my wonderful family, who are with me all the way and often   help out (sometimes the dog comes along too.) The two kids will rubyvanbe alongside me this year at the Festival of Thrift, and running the stall while I teach my ‘Kitchen Cupboard Books’ classes there. This little aside, however isn’t about them; it’s about my ever faithful van Ruby the other important cog in the machine, who I thought you would like to know a little more about.( I say who as I consider her a person, not a machine)

Before that, a little step back in time.

As a couple, Chris and I have had a few Volkswagens over the years, and probably my earliest memory of VWs were those owned by my uncle in the 1970s; the orange Beetle with the big sunroof he would drive around our estate ruby v w frstivalstanding up, and the Karmann Ghia which lived on our drive ‘temporarily’ for a year looking stunning but totally engine-less, like a model who’d had a frontal labotomy. This was my plaything and thoroughly ingrained in me this love of VWs.

Over time we owned a T25 pickup truck and and a nippy little Polo, but Ruby came along when we were looking for a fully blown kitchened camper. She’s from California, but we picked her up in Doncaster, with a full service history and Californian plates which enabled me to find her first owner who had her right up until she was imported to the UK in 2009.  She told us Ruby had been a ‘he’ in the US, called Wolfie as he’s an edition from the famous Wolfsberg factory. He became a she, renamed by her new UK owner and when she ended up with us,  we gave her a spruce up with a respray and had some dents removed and she was ready for the road. She’s taken us on holidays and festivals up and down the UK, and often acts as both my kitchen and my office when I run Totally Locally fest 8

In 2008, I set up SkyBlueRed, a community arts company. I wanted to give my new venture a non-specific but creative name; and as most of my work entailed creative sessions in schools, thought the use of colour would be good. I also wanted a title that reflected my personality, and when I asked a friend how they would describe me, they said ‘really blue eyes, red hair, and red lipstick’. It was a done deal. When I decided to have my own ‘brand’ for selling at fairs, it seemed an obvious choice to keep to the same red and blue theme. Also Sadie was going to be named Ruby, but Ruby Rogers? With a name like that she was destined to be a Country and Western singer and not much else! (As she’s something of a singer, I think that may have been an issue)

So, it was ironic that our new acquisition was called Ruby when we got her, years after Ruby and Blue came into existence, so completely fitting in with everything I do (and we couldn’t really not buy her) and if you ever see her about the place, you might notice ‘Blue’ the bird in the middle of her windscreen, made for me by the lovely Paula of ‘Vintage Polly. Ruby the van, and Blue the bird, coming to a festival near you soon !

Let’s Create, Cycles Galore, Twice the Love..

Let’s Create

Time for new workshops … take a peek at the poster and see more here. The workshops are at our NOW next-door neighbour’s place, LEVEN CRAFTS… more about this later ..

apr may  creative classes

Cycles Galore

Lots of excitement and anticipation is about in Guisborough as LE TOUR YORKSHIRE passes our way on the 1st of May. Hot on the heels of last year’s stage 1 of Le Tour De France, which brought millions to the Dales and West Yorkshire , it’s our turn to welcome people from all over the world for the great race.

We are the nearest town, here in Guisborough for much of stage 1 so we have no idea as yet how many people will descend on our little corner of North East England, but with the help of Welcome to Yorkshire , we are preparing for the hoards! Look out for lots of cycle themed items being produced, and lots of blue and yellow … In the meantime , here’s the stage 1 map..

tour de yorkshire stage 1 map

Twice the Love

Maison Belle Guisborough
Maison Belle Guisborough

In October I became one of the 5 ‘Belles’ of Maison Belle in Chaloner Street, Guisborough, selling my own work and Ruby & Blue teas as well as carefully chosen cards and home wares. To say this has gone well has been an understatement, and a couple of weeks ago, we were able to double Maison Belle by taking over the newly empty shop next door!

There are handmade cushions and bunting, and lovely furniture painted in Farrow and Ball colours, from Pinky and Binky, fused glass, handmade silver jewellery and stitched art from Bean Creative, individual painstakingly painted signs by Oh, Abigail and gorgeous bags scarves and accessories, courtesy of Daisy Bloom (my lovely friend Kim, who I have been friends with for 30 yrs.

This also means our next door neighbours are Leven Crafts, (which is very handy as I run my classes there, I wonder if they’ll let me put in my own door? )

Take a peek at our pics and see what you think!

Rosie Lea and Weekly Wonders

Gosh! It has been a while since I posted on here, but SO much has happened! Will tell you more at the end, as I do a little recap of the year!

Let’s start with a little Rosy Lea. As you know if you follow my of my rose-tea-1920-1080-6003blog, my love of all things tea has led to me starting my own Ruby and Blue Tea brand, with a nice little range for sale in Maison Belle, and soon to be for sale in two cafes, one in Redcar and one in Chaloner Street, Guisborough. My latest tea for the tasting, I have actually called ‘Rosie Lea’ after the Cockney rhyming slang for tea. It’s a gorgeous blend of rose buds and petals from Tuscany, which can be drunk as a tea on it’s own or added to your favourite leaf tea to make your own blend. I’ll very soon be able to give you the whole lowdown on the available teas on my dedicated tea page, but for now, I’ve added all the details of this delightful and refreshing tea. To go with, I’ll be making some rose inspired makes for the shop, and will have pics as soon as they’re done.

10898230_558608530942062_53106454900584494_nOver the years, I’ve done lots of classes of all types with all ages, and I particularly enjoy the classes I’ve run at Leven Crafts, because I love the space and the ladies on the shop, Ruth and Lorna are two of the most delightful and supportive people I have met. Happily I can report that from February 2014, I’ll now be running a weekly class, which will run Tuesday evenings in school term-time from 7- 9, and my great friend Geraldine will be doing them with me too. Here’s the poster with all the info and further details of exactly what’s running can be found here. tuesday classes flier

Tattoo Time, a New Job and an Old Name

Hello all…

Before I start, check out our latest workshops at Leven crafts here, which have just been announced.

I realise it’s been longer than normal between posts, but not without good reason. You’ll see that this is a longer post to make up for it though, so you still get your money’s worth.

A new job…

In May, I took up a post part-time in our nearest big town, as a Projects Officer for the main community arts company. I now have the responsibility for setting up some of the creative intervention projects which benefit many of the most vulnerable members of our society, something I’m absolutely passionate about.

The work we do involves everyone from refugees to probationers to the homeless. Looking back at previous projects it’s clear the difference the creative work makes to those involved. I’ll keep you updated with how I get on.

A tattoo …

OK, I admit it, I love tattoos, tattoo designs old and new, and all things tattooey. I helped out at a tattooists when at Art College and even did my thesis on tattoos in the fashion industry.


My work is often inspired by tattoos and I love the vibrant colours and illustrative designs, and how personal they are.

There was bound to come a time when the voice in my head telling me to get a new one would shout too loudly, so after many many months of deciding, designing, and with lots of pain, I went for it, but it was certainly worth it!
I spent a lot of time researching tattooists, talking to people who had been tattooed at my chosen venue, and deciding which tattooist’s style most suited what I wanted. I went for Miss Purple at Guisborough Tattoo Emporium, as I loved the illustrative style of a rabbit design she had done which looked like a Beatrix Potter drawing, with a real watercolour feel.

I wanted something which didn’t have a typical tattoo black outline, in particular colours and depicting two of my most loved themes. Now I have something permanent, bright, happy and completely me; tea and birds, my two favourite things.


An old name…

You may have noticed the name ‘SkyBlueRed’ on the Community Art page on this site, and wondered what it’s all about.

I set up SkyBlueRed in 2010 and worked in schools and on my own art projects from there on, with over 800 children taking part in one or more of my art events and classes. When I was a founder member of the team of a new community not for profit art studio and tearoom benefiting adults with special needs, we decided to cash in on the popularity of the name and used it for the shop.

Three years down the line I am no longer part of the project and the team that now run the shop have decided to change the name, so SkyBlueRed is back , where it belongs. You’ll see it loud and proud on our posters, and if you want to know what it means, it’s blue eyes, red hair (so, me then! ) reminds you of this site? You can see there’s a theme!