Tuesday, 30 June 2009

cramping his social life

photo via dell

It appears that if I stay at home (ie the shop) I may be cramping Jethro's social life.
Normally when I'm at home Jethro is not far from me, he likes to keep and eye on what I'm doing, in fact he likes to help.
When I'm not around, as he made perfectly clear today, he has a busy time lying in the window, chatting to his passing fans.  Like any cat he likes to be worshipped.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

crime spree

What a weekend.
I barely have enough time allocated this week to get everything I need to do done and then......
someone steals the number plates of the car Dad loaned me whilst mine was being spruced up.
Yes. Sometime between Friday night and this morning someone nicked both of them. The police were impressed. I now have to spend tomorrow morning sitting at Vic Roads getting new ones. So if you see a car being driven around with number plates reading UDN 869 let me know. Good chance it will be a white Nissan Pulsar hatch......... and do you know how many of those are on the road?! Have a look as you drive- they are everywhere! 
Also someone stole the scaffolding ladder that was out the back next door (I warned them!).
See, with a 'nice' man on Friday evening, we've had our own little crime wave. (I'm hoping that the Three Things Rule applies and all will go swimmingly from here on.

The horoscope in the Sunday Herald Sun had me in fits though! (You might have to click on it to read it.) The thing is it actually is spot on- those weirdos do keep me entertained!

Today's project (after the police station, etc) was to get started on the Project that Must be Finished Before the End of the Week. Well, part of it has been underway for the last couple of weeks but I needed to get the Big Bit done. This bit involves wood, screws, glue, a friend who luckily work at Bunnings (don't we all need one of those?), the old drill and the brand new circular saw and crossed fingers that it will all come together without too many tears. 
My back is now severely rooted but I am soldiering on. 

Now I've also attempt to avoid the whole Michael Jackson hoo-ha. I've never been a big fan (except maybe for some earlier Jackson 5 stuff) but I have to say I am looking forward to the funeral...... I'm sure bad taste will abound. Well actually I am really hoping. Think Elizabeth Taylor in a long black veil and I'm hoping for something along the lines of Liza Minnelli's wedding to David Gest...... that was a classic! Yeah, I know it's sad (blah, blah, blah) but did you see the drugs list in this morning's paper? I started to think this afternoon as I circular sawed, got out the self tapping screws, etc that maybe all these freaked out celebs should just start  crafting. That academic that phoned into the Richard 'The Tool' Stubb's programme last week was talking about the positive mental health aspects of making things. Yes, movie making and music are 'crafts' but I'm talking about the 'down home crafts', made simply and with lurve. Perhaps his doctors shouldn't have prescribed Zoloft and Xanax but rather a knitting pattern and some nice 100% wool yarn. 
I know some very special friends of mine are going to never talk to me again for admitting to my lack of enthusiasm for Michael J but I have something worse to get off my chest.......... 
Abba sucks. Never got them, never will. I have always thought them a big prank, a virilent version of the 'Emperor's New Clothes'. Woah! I feel so much better get that off my chest.
Thanks for listening.

Friday, 26 June 2009


It's been a long and strange week. 
I seem to have spent far too much time in the car and far too little in the studio. Lots of running around, organising things, picking things up, sitting in the car in the Essendon Spotlight carpark to listen to Pip and our Ramona on the radio (can't tell you how little I think of Richard Stubbs and Beck's 'tool of the day' quip had me in fits!) and just general tooing-and-froing.

And this week was Elise's last in the shop. 
She has been an absolute gem and if you have ventured into the shop during the week then you have quite likely been served by this smiling and always helpful best-est shopgirl ever. I'm (selfishly) sorry she's heading overseas. These young things off on their big trips! Damn!
Have a wonderful time Elise!! (Jethro will miss running out of the shop just to scare her.)
Sadly right at the end of the day Elise and I were harassed by a not so nice young man in the shop. Strange even before he spoke or did anything we were both on alert, when I asked him to leave he threatened to rob us and I had to call 000, he left but really not a good way to finish the day. Quite incredibly yucky in fact.

I couldn't resist posting this tea-towel detail. A koala with an ear trumpet......... The tea-towel is from Quota a charity that provides aids to the hearing and speech impaired. Tea-towel designs just constantly astound me.

Monday, 22 June 2009

bottled sunshine

I stayed at home today to catch up on a few things. 
Well that was the intention.
It's now after 3pm and I've barely scratched the surface of what I need to get done.
I have managed to get the quince jelly done but I'm nervous about the set. I never normally have trouble with quince jelly but this year looks like it's going to one of those times when jelly won't set, rain falls up and cocks crow at sundown. Fingers crossed.
It all of course really is dependent on the quince and I normally like mine to come from gnarled old trees that have knobbly woody fruit. The uglier the better. The jelly always comes out rose pink and jewel-like. Alchemy indeed. These quinces were a little too fleshy. 
As I said fingers crossed.

At least the shop and home smell like quinces and freesias today.
Quince jelly may be bottled autumn sunshine but freesias are totally spring for me. Their smell reacts in my brain in a full on way, quite trippy, I smile automatically, which in itself is quite strange, and I can feel a little peak of euphoria when I inhale their scent. I have been known to sniff out 'old-fashioned' freesias (they are the little creamy ones) at 200 metres. Kew Cemetery was always particularly good for wild growing freesias. I know Spring is miles off yet, having just got through mid-winter, but there was some at the florists's on Friday and I could not help myself. 

*9pm- Set is not looking good...... never had this happen before. I blame the quinces.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

saturday chores

I always seem to get more little chores done on a Saturday morning than any other day of the week. I get to get up a little later and it seems a little slower and easier than during the week. I think it is all an illusion but somehow satisfying.

Of course 5 minutes before I open the shop for the day it all turns to panic. 
I haven't updated anything about stock on the blog for what seems an age. So let me tell you that we have the Doreen wool jackets in in cranberry red, more sizes in the Agatha flannelette shirts, there are over 20 colours to choose from in our l-ov-er-ly angora gloves, a pile of berets including the super snuggly possum/lambswool ones, wheat 'hottie' bags to keep you warm and toasty and the very luxe vintage wool/velvet/scarf quilts. If you are strolling down Flinders Lane you might see one in the window at Craft Vic. Almost makes you feel like curling up in the window!
It was sunny when I first set out this morning but it looks grey and dull out there now. If you are out and about today and come down Gertrude Street I'll be the one sitting in Cottage Industry sewing doilies on tree trunks (and maybe reading the paper).

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

fog and sunshine

A crazy busy morning with stock deliveries, button-holing of new cranberry jackets, running around and hitting the road to pick up stuff for the New Project (stay tuned, more on this soon!).
It was foggy right up until midday and then it was all blue sky and wintery sunshine.
And vanilla slices from Bourkie's in Woodend.

Monday, 15 June 2009

jethro's ladder

As I reported the J-boy has been scaling the cedar doors in the shop and he loves shooting up the security grilles over the windows.
It hadn't registered that he was just in training for the Great Climb of 2009. 
Yesterday he managed to scale the back fence, scramble over the inward leaning trellis (positioned to stop him from going over the fence) and climb the builder's scaffolding next door. He then spent an hour running around the upstairs of the building until....... he realised he couldn't actually get back down. There is that meow tone that just lets you know a kitten (even an 8 month old very large kitten) is stumped. The one that lets a human know she has to swallow her balance issues and  climb a 20ft ladder. Jethro waited patiently at the top, chatting about his adventure, let himself be carried back down the ladder in one hand, meowing the whole time. Once back home he didn't know whether to complain his adventure had ended or spend the next hour being a purring bundle of cuddles. Typical teenage boy. 


I had to laugh last night when I noticed a link in my stat counter to the NSW Knitters Guild. They had this lil ol' blog listed and the caption after the address was 'general craft from a feisty woman'!
I take that as a compliment!
I rather like being labelled a 'feisty woman'.

To me feisty women drive ambulances in times of war. 
They drink whiskey straight.
They fall in love with inappropriate men, who break their hearts but never break their spirits.
They are opinionated and sometimes say what they think unedited, but only because they care deeply and wholeheartedly.
Feisty women see the dark side, taste the bitter, revel in the rain clouds because that is the only way to see the light, taste the sweet and watch the grass grow green.

I think all my friends are feisty women too. 
This is the one club I would be happy to belong to.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

vera and strider

Sometimes real life is just too perfect.
Yesterday whilst two women were in the shop browsing, a couple walked in. She was dressed in a lovely vintage dress, all rosey pinks and cream, with a camel coat, chestnut wedge shoes and a lovely petit point handbag and a cream floppy beret. He was in a bone jacket, white shirt, faun pants and a green tie. They looked so cute I said 'you look like you've come from a wedding!'. They giggled and smiled and said 'yes- we just got married'. There was gasps from the shoppers, congratulations and smiles. They had 'eloped' (as much as you can when it takes 4 weeks for a license- where's Gretna Green when you need it?) from Coffs Harbour for a winter Melbourne wedding. 
Really it couldn't have made the day more lovely.

Friday, 12 June 2009


I have to admit I've been ridiculously busy over the last month. I don't know why exactly, it's not like I've got anything amazing to show you  (like I built a crocheted car in the backyard or anything) but I just feel like I've been rushing from one thing to another but never getting a huge amount of anything done. I also feel like I've been letting emails and blog reading/writing slip- but that probably has to do with having more INTERNOT than internet. That problem has been almost fixed. 
So a big shout out to Elvis and Char and Elsie (if she's out there still) and the girls at Prick Your Finger (if you haven't dropped in to the best little haberdashery store in the whole world then you better! Check out the UFO project and their short wearing handy-man and do a search for their completely knitted and crocheted wedding........ brilliant!).
Closer to home, my favourite girls at HML, Dell, Shules, Emma (who's probably wondering why I haven't left a comment!)..... hell, just check the (un-updated) bloglist in the sidebar.......... and especially Lil............ I really haven't had much chance to skip through blogland lately, although I do have to say that I don't ever spend hours trawling the internet, there are too many other things in real-life to do, but I do love visiting my special favourites.
The things that have been happening lately include Jethro turning 8 months old and continuing to grow....... he's huge and fluffy and really sweet and silly. The photo is from this morning as I left to run errands. He was in the bedroom window silently meowing at me. He loves sitting on the top of the lower sash window, he leans against the security bars in a kinda of lazy teenage boy way. He's a twit. His latest trick is to climb the cedar doors in the back of the shop. Ridiculous. What's he going to do when he gets to the top of them? I think he just likes to show-off.
Like I said- typical teenage boy.


This week has been full of stops and starts. 
The studio was so cold today that I didn't take ol' brown parka off and had to wear my gloves whilst I worked. The 15ft warehouse ceilings in the studio make heating near impossible. I may have to resort to wearing thermals under my jeans. And I must get new leather boots, they really are the only way to warm footsies (along with possum wool socks- toasty!).
So to honour the snow we've been having up in the hills and the icy days down here in town I am proud to introduce Snowball the Beanie. Hand spun Finn wool and cashmere plied with hand-dyed and spun silk. It has a huge pompom on the top. It's a bit of fun..... and kinda luxe at the same time.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

and a final note for this saturday

I'm very tempted to wear my ugg boots in the shop today.

Stay warm.
There might be snow on the way.

Happy Queen's Birthday Long Weekend.

memory lane

Having managed to tame the Beast I also managed to get a few other things sorted and for one reason or another as I worked I had a little trip down memory lane.
It started because of a converstion the other week and some fabric I pulled from the shelves.
I have a few pieces of tie silks- no not Thai silk- silks (or rather rayons) used in making ties and I was chopping them up to make bag linings. I have a clap-trap memory for where I found fabrics and the one below was from the wonderful Michael's Corner Store. 

Ahhh..... Michael's Corner Store!
It used to be on the corner of Russell and Bourke Streets in the city, yes where the Evil Hungry Jack's is now.
It was seven floors (I think) of pure textile heaven. Job lots of every type of thing made from fabric, from clothes to napery and hundreds and thousands of metres of fabric. Fabulous. And the lifts! You all think the ones at the Nicholas Building are great- phthhhwt I say!- the ones at MCS were an experience in themselves! 
I was studying Textile Design at RMIT and often on the way to the bus I'd drop in and buy 2 1/2 metres of the most outlandish 60s and 70s curtaining material to make a shirt for the next day. $1.99 a metre......... I wish I had these fabrics now......... I'd be as rich as Croesus! It was an Aladdin's cave of the most crazy fabrics, all bought at the big warehouse auctions which heralded the start of the end of the Australian textile industry. 
These were the last of the golden days. On Flinders Lane you could still see trollies of clothes being wheeled from workrooms to agents, and hidden away up rickety stairs and creaking lifts were  fabric and haberdashery sellers. Within a few years all these people sold up and retired and an era ended. 
I still dream longingly of Michael's Corner Store and, in hindsight, what I missed out on.

i am the beast master

I realised on Thursday that the studio has become a chore lately. All the same long boring production jobs to do. I needed to have a bit more creative time. Which is where the Beast comes in.
He's my walking foot sewing machine. You need to feel strong when using him, as with any wild animal you have to have your wits about you, he can turn at any moment. The poor thing has been barely used in the last year and he regularly has to be scraped clean of all the dust that settles on him. 
I gave him a half-arsed wipe over, squirted some oil in his holes, changed the needle and off we went. 
He only caught my finger in the belt twice and I managed to stay clear of the walking-foot-feed-dog nips. 
I can't show you the new project yet, I have the 'home' part of the work to finish on it. Maybe tomorrow......

Wednesday, 3 June 2009


Someone yesterday told me I looked 'wan'. Such a great word. Sums it up really.
I think my internet is also a bit wan at the moment. Hmmmm. That's probably a bit on the understated side..... (I feel like I keep getting bumped off, just like in the old dial up days!)
I'm hoping if I just put up with it it will suddenly right itself. Bit like a pinching pair of shoes. 
I need to get a lot done tomorrow. Today was an early start, I had to get to school for the little dears' pattern exam. I got there early. Damn. I could have had 1/2 an hour extra sleep.
I think tonight may be an early one. I just don't seem to be in the black in the sleep bank. 
Monday is Queen's Birthday holiday and I'm planning to get a huge pile of stuff done. I always find I get a swag of work out of the way on public holidays because I have no distractions. Fingers crossed.

Monday, 1 June 2009

not perfect.....

.... but better than nothing.
The internet thingy is working a slight bit better than it was. If running repairs to the web involved a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a hammer I'd be much happier. Instead it makes me feel like I should run out and get a sledge-hammer, an axe and a stick of dynamite........

Decided to stay away from the studio today and get as many errands and as much dyeing done as possible. I can't wait until Kraftkolour is up and running again, my colour palette at the moment is a bit limited. 

(Goddamn internet keeps crashing. Grrrrrrrrrrr.
I am writing this for the third time so if it feels stilted that's my excuse!)

I have 6 weeks to get my sh*t together and I am thinking that I may need to make a LIST. You know how I feel about LISTS and if I run into you anywhere please don't say ask me how my LIST is going- OK?

I'm going to attempt to post this before the damned evil net crashes for the one billionth time.
Fingers crossed.