Wednesday, 30 June 2010


I have something to confess.
I know that you might see me in a totally different light. 
It's a hard one to admit.
Ok deep breath.

I like corduroy.
I love the way it has nap and its mix of sheen and dull depth.
I particularly love velvety English corduroys but I also love practical pinwale cords too.
And I love brown corduroy. Chocolate-y, mole-y, mouse-y brown corduroy.

I've said it (well, written it). 
And I've made something out of it. 
Corduroy smocks, a variation on the Harvest smock, simple with pockets and soon to be in green and blue and black.

cold enough to freeze a witch's tit

The highest temperature the studio get to yesterday was a balmy 12ºC.
And that was with the new heater I had raced out and bought on.
At one stage the tips of my fingers were glowing an unhealthy purply red and beginning to go numb. When it's like this I just channel my 'artist in a freezing garret' and try to get on with things! I'm also channelling a 'consumptive artist' at the moment with my cough-and-snot issues (charming I know).
It's funny after all my studio issues (that is not wanting to be there and finding it a bit depressing when I am) that I am now annoyed that friends have just rung, are coming down from the hills into town and want to catch up today. I am glad to see them but torn that I had things planned to do studio-wise. Oh well- life will sort itself out when it's ready I suppose.
Mind you by the time I get to the studio, even with a heater, I'll probably be so chilled to the bone in that warehouse space that I would rather be somewhere else. Fickle.

Monday, 28 June 2010

heater love

As you may know I love winter but I have to admit I'm not looking forward to the unheated studio tomorrow. At least it will be warmer in there than outside.... but I think I may have to run out and buy a heater just to take the edge off the icy chill.
Jethro has taken to evenings in front of the heater and I have dug out Spot's old basket. He loves rolling around in it and young Ben popped some toys in it the other day saying 'Befro for later' (this was after he had chased Jethro under the couch and attempted to coax him out with a jingle ball).
It was an at-home-day today. I got to have vanilla slice from Woodend and cups of tea with Ramona, do an over the phone interview thingy, get an application sorted and in the mail and, most important of all, do the washing. But I am feeling strangely bored and very unmotivated at the moment and I have barely been in the studio over the last few weeks and feel very out of whack when I am there. It's like 'writer's block' or 'blank page' when I do get there, things to do but very unsettled and I flit from one thing to another, never quite settling.
Tonight I MUST make clocks! There are empty hooks on the clock wall in the shop! Dreadfully slack of me! But first I think I need to fill my tummy with corn chowder- heating from the inside out.

Oh and before I forget! Check the Water and Lace post over at Yarnbombing!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

warm flannelette

I got up this morning and looked out the window to find a rainbow arching across the city. I'm guessing from the Eastern Hill fire station to Queen Vic Market- well maybe not but I like the idea.
I hear it is going to be the start of a 13ºC week so that could mean no-one will venture out today but I think you should as I can supply you with lovely hot water bottle shaped vintage flannelette wheatbags, snuggly wool scarves, brightly coloured fine wool sweaters (and yes lightweight wool can keep you very warm!), enough quilts for a bundling party and angora gloves galore!
I'm hoping my voice is going to hold out until the end of the day. I'm feeling a right bogan today wearing what could be mistaken for a checked flanny shirt and a baggy cardi, perhaps I should change my converse for ugg boots just to complete the picture.

Friday, 25 June 2010

a little bit shirty, a little bit hoarse

Excuse the squeaky voice, a slight case of laryngitis it appears.
I don't know where this week has gone but I certainly feel like nothing has been achieved or ticked off a list (if I ever wrote one). Some new scarves knitted, more gloves dyed and a general go-slow, perhaps it's the apex of winter and the lurgy conspiring to make me feel so unproductive. I look around the shop and all I can see is holes, although Dell tells me I'm the only one who can see them! I do still have all those unfinished things to catch up on but I am hoping with nothing booked in for this Sunday I might get a sleep/work/clean up jive happening. 

I did manage to get the first of the vintage cotton shirts pressed this week, they were found on the Big Bunker Expedition I went on with Charlotte. They are old Army dress shirts and have the date of manufacture printed on the labels. We have some from 1950 and some made in 1968 and they are just beautiful, long length and with French cuffs. They look very cute with our grey wool vests over the top, kind of '1930s cycling through the countryside', accessorised here with an Emerge Queen belt and a Dell feather brooch.

Monday, 21 June 2010

die dust bunny die!

It appears the rug upstairs has a lovely pattern to it.... amazing what a vacuuming reveals......
Of course the house is in even more of a mess and no shop work has been achieved. I hate cleaning and especially hate it when running a temperature. Looks like a Cold has finally grabbed me. 
I love my rug. I bought it many years ago for $90. It's linen and probably late Edwardian. Of course the colours above aren't anywhere near what it really looks like, it's more of a golden raw linen colour with celadon green, chocolate and Indian pink. I rarely see much of it as the floor is constantly littered with crap. 

nature's splendour

Instead of staying in bed on Sunday morning I got up early (sleepily) jumped in the car and headed up to Sutton Grange, got lost, got found, swapped cars and drove on up to Bendigo to check out the exhibition of Christening gowns at Bendigo Art Gallery. There was discussions about popping the beautiful little Shortening gowns into that magic En-Largo Machine that makes children's clothes fit adults. Then we hit the Eaglehawk Tip Shop (nothing this time for me), headed back to Castlemaine and looped back through to Sutton Grange for a late soupy snack, a bit of playing with toy cars and then jumped into my car and headed home. 
On the way I was mesmerised by the most beautiful light and cloud show ever. As I travelled along the Sutton Grange Road rain misted down with the evening sun shining through and it was like I was in a huge light box with everything glowing and in contrast. The picture just can not capture the beauty of it. Every drop of moisture in the air seemed to glistening and sparkle.
By the time I got to the Calder the setting sun was streaming under clouds lighting up banks of dark grey rain clouds and towering white cumulonimbus rising above them, the trees were gold washed and the grass was luminous emerald. Then as I headed in to Woodend and Mt Macedon the clouds closed in and the rain bucketed down as it always does along that ridge of hills.

I am at home today with a very messy house and a very sore throat (finally I think I've managed to catch the bug everyone else has had). Apart from needing to pick a few things up I think that I should bunker down and actually do things like vacuuming and finishing work that is cluttering my big table. Perhaps even sorting some of the piles of stuff that litter the floor in a weird obstacle course. It's all foggy outside and the other plans I had for this morning have come  crashing down so I think a little thinking and pondering and catching up are in order today.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

press button for service

Thank goodness Jethro woke me this morning. I had managed to hit the off button on the alarm. I could still be asleep now. In fact I would like to still be asleep right now. Damn you Jethro! He sat on the bedside table and meowed at me until it sank into my strange dreams and came to the surface. And they were very strange dreams, even when I was deep in them I was thinking 'this is very weird'.
Another day as shopgirl today and I'm trying to find the right needles to work on the project I started yesterday that didn't work out right- so many needles, never the right size. I finally made some button earrings last night, they have been on the 'must make' agenda for sometime. I seem to have a lot of things on the 'must make', most of which have been started but not actually finished. It's that hump point where procrastination rules supreme and things just sit and taunt you. I need more clocks, to finish the shibori purses, make more brooches, knit up scarves (wool is at studio next to knitting machine), finish the notebooks that have been half-done for months....... maybe if I did all this I would be able to see the top of the old kitchen table upstairs. Then I could sit there on a Sunday morning and read the newspaper and drink tea and eat my breakfast- all sounds a bit too civilised to me.

Friday, 18 June 2010

tools for knitting and slaying

I have been in the studio for a grand total of 15 minutes this week. Since last Friday all I seem to have been doing is running around doing errands, lugging huge pots on and off the stove and splashing  dye everywhere. I think I am looking forward to just being shopgirl for the next two days. It will tie me to one place doing mundane tag tying, glove pairing duties for 7 hours a day. 
The parcel arrived from Nikki yesterday and excitedly unpacked it..... the new 25mm ebony needles are just freakin' crazy! Really if you want to multi-task with a bit of crafting and vampire slaying then these are the tools for you!! They are the type of things that have heirloom written all over them- or could look fab sitting on a designer coffee table as objet d'art. And we have Nik's new scarf/hoodie/mitten kits and the full Construction #1 kit with 8 balls of yarn in a bag, the kits come with free patterns but we also have the lovely cream wool yarn too. You better hurry though because we keep selling out!


Thursday, 17 June 2010

dear opp shop gods

Dear Opp Shop Gods
They say that if you send it out to the Universe it will come to you. 
On Sunday at Ben's 2nd birthday Jen made a passing comment about needing a Sunbeam Mixmaster and asked me to keep my peepers open. On Tuesday on the way to pick up gloves I dropped into my favourite opp shop and behold there was a classic Mixmaster with two bowls and a juicer. Just the same as both my and Jen's Mums had. They had a particular smell these Mixmaster, of hot meringue, a Proustian childhood smell. 
OSGs you made it very hard for me. I had a little Devil on one shoulder saying 'keep it for yourself' and a little Angel on the other telling me to call Jen and tell her I had found what she had asked for. I'm sure the man serving me was a little worried as expressions of greed and altruism fought across my face. Well the Angel won and Jen is coming to pick up her 'new' mixer tomorrow, so I was just wondering Opp Shopping Gods whether you can view this as a tick on my side of the Opp Shopping scoreboard and if you could possibly see a way of, perhaps, you know, maybe sending something special my way sometime in the near future. Just a thought. 
All the best and keep up the good work

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

silver and amber

The drive up country yesterday was nice. I got to see (evil) bunnies hip hopping across green, green grass, mist in the valleys and silver clouds. 
Today was set aside for dyeing, dyeing and more dyeing. So much stock to catch up on and I needed to cook up a batch of cumquat marmalade first thing to clear the decks. I've had pots of cumquats soaking and I still have persimmons ripening on the bench- and there is barely enough room in my kitchen to swing a cat. In fact Jethro has to sit on a stool so I don't trip over him. If there are boxes on his stool then he'll sit on the washing machine in the tiny laundry so he can keep an eye on me. Today he perched on the stool in front of the dryer watching gloves going round and round- we call it Kitten TV.
The marmalade is jarred up and I've pressed up ten dye batches of gloves. 
Still a few things to do tonight before my head hits the pillow.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


Well I got that Queen's Birthday lie in I was thinking about but I don't know whether I feel any better for it. It was meant to be tempered with a bit of cleaning and a smidge of work.
I washed the dishes in a very half-arsed manner- does that count? And I cut out clock boards- Jethro is now playing with the sticky offcuts which, to say the least, is hilariously funny.
I read a lot, didn't drink enough tea, got a headache and sort of felt that I had maybe wasted a day. Oh well that's how it goes. 
Of course I have spent the last couple of hours working out how I can do 'nothing' today now that I am in the zone but the call has come through and I'm heading up country to pick up gloves. We have been so low on stock it was starting to get very worrying! Now I can at least complain to everyone how bored I am dyeing.... heehee.
I've been dyeing gloves for so many months that I feel that I am at the end of winter not barely two weeks in! (You've heard it all before!)
Hopefully I'll get some lovely wintry photos up in the hills. Misty valleys and all that! The cold air will do me a world of good, freeze dry all those cobwebs!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

saturday papers and buckets of tea

My how these Saturdays come around so fast!
It's time for me to be shopgirl once again.
Long weekend here, Queen's Birthday, start  of the snow season and all that- so I wonder whether it will be a quiet Saturday or not. I walked out to get brekky and the paper and it was cold and a bit Scotch Mist-y (to me Scotch Mist is always Ballarat in  the winter, the air laden with tiny droplets of water- and not some alcoholic beverage as some of you tipplers might  think!). A good day I would think for reading the newspapers over steaming cup of tea. although I do think it is really nice to go for a wander in the cold, it makes for that snuggly feeling when you get home to the warmth and glow of home.
I have been trying to decide which projects to work on in the shop today. I have new religious safety pins to put on cards and the knitted necklaces have been going gang-busters so I need to make more of those and I have a few knitting projects I want to work on. I used to love reading the Saturday newspapers but I don't think I have had a chance for the last couple of months, occasionally right at the end of the day I might get to quickly scan them. I loved sitting at the kitchen table with bottomless mugs of tea, working my way through the papers. Bliss.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

minor panic and a flaming miracle

Not a lot achieved today.
Oh well some days are like that.
About 8 o'clock this evening I realised I'd misplaced my purse. Panic in all its forms ensued. Long weekend coming, cancelling cards, ID replacement.... it all flashed before my eyes.....
The last time I had it was at the supermarket late this afternoon and after a quick phone call they said it had been handed in. 
And miracle of miracles it still had everything in it! 
How often does this happen in Fitzroy??
Thank you person who found it I hope you have a wonderful weekend! In fact, may karma be gentle with you, you are the best!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

long light

According to the electronic scales in the studio it topped at 15.5 degrees inside today. The long low sunlight through the windows was nice.
The angora shrug möbius loop thingies are done, Jethro has checked them (ie sat on them) and they are now hanging in-store. And the bunting is done and some new wheatbags and eye pillows.
I still haven't managed to get the new batch of clocks finished which is annoying me beyond belief. I really just need to do the damn things- I have started them so at least I've got that far!
I think I might skip the studio in the morning and run some errands and I'm toying with the idea of sleeping in on Monday (Queen's Birthday long weekend) rather than going to the studio. Normally holidays are great days to get things done in the studio but I rather fancy a leisurely day.... we'll see....

the temperature is dropping

Yesterday was all about knitting loops and prepping bunting. Today will be all about linking that knitting and binding the bunting.
They said that it is going to be 13 degrees today (yay!) which means the studio will probably be about 11! Every year the studio reaches a point when the residual heat/cold finally dissipates and it's just boiling hot/freezing cold. Yesterday the temperature on the electronic scales registered 15 and with no heating there will be a point where I will be puffing clouds of steam as I work. I don't mind- I'll just slip on a pair of angora gloves, make another cup of tea and keep working to keep warm!
Dell is in the shop today so come on in and get your own pair of fluffy fingerless gloves, a wool sweater and a scarf to stay toasty. I'm working on more angora mobius loops so they should be in-store tomorrow but there are a couple of lovely possum wool ones if you are desperately cold.

Monday, 7 June 2010

hands to work

As part of Craft Victoria's 40th anniversary Beck organised a project. She commissioned Dell and Adam to design a tote and then we all had the chance to decorate one in our own way.
I just couldn't help myself and managed to chop up two totes (#12 and #13 of 200) to make this pair of crafty mittens. I really enjoyed doing them, I don't get much chance to do something like this just for the fun of it.
So if you feel like joining in you need to hot-foot it to Craft Vic to buy a tote and get creative asap- entries are due in by this Friday. Oh! Did I say there are prizes you can win? Well there are!

lighting up winter

I finally managed to get some orders out today and a few emails answered but they are still piling up in the mailbox. It was a complete and utter mail day! Of the tangible and intangible varieties!
And look! New lights! Made with our lovely pianola rolls but these ones are perfect for sitting on tables. They are made with a black metal frame and stand about 12 1/2" high. I like them a lot. They are same-same-but-different to our classic pianola drum shades. Classic bedside lamps!

Sunday, 6 June 2010

sun showers

Friends dropped into the shop yesterday to let me know I am a freak for liking cold wintery weather. How could you not like this morning's sun showers and drippiness? It was lovely.
After a visit from the Vintage Tour ladies this afternoon I went for a walk to the city. We've been surviving on the last of the tea mugs and I really needed to go in and pick up some more. We'd reached that stage where people would have to share a mug if they dropped in for a cuppa! They are really tea-buckets as I am so used to giant mugs now and am very picky about them. We now have enough to have a hot chocolate afternoon tea party!
And I picked up the new Sookie Stackhouse novel. Nothing like running off to a steamy, sexy, pre-BP leak, Louisiana for a bit of vamp-loving in the midst of a Melbourne winter!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

texture of memories

Saturday has come around way to fast- again.
So that means it's my turn to be shopgirl.
Well for most of the day- I am taking a couple of hours off this afternoon to race out to Eltham to be at the opening of (young Ben's mum and dad) Jenny Bartholomew and Peter Anderson's exhibition 'Texture of Memories'. These two fabulous artists have been working in conjunction with the residents of the Eltham Retirement Centre. Over the last year Pete's been helping them write about  their memories and lives and Jenny  has been creating textile works exploring memories and skills based on textiles, clothing and materials of domestic life. 
I've been lucky enough to see many of these pieces as they have developed and in fact some of the base bits and bobs have come out of my ridiculous collection of stuff!
So Anna is coming in to mind the good ship Cottage while I get to be at the opening of 'Texture of Memories'. Please come if you are in the area- they are even launching a publication of the works, stories and images. (And it's looking like it will be going on tour too- this exhibition has legs!!)

Eltham Library Community Gallery
Panther Place, Eltham (Melway 21 J5)
Opening 4pm today, artists talk at 5pm
Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm 
Sunday 1pm-5pm

AND Dell and Andrea are doing their artist talk at Craft Vic in Flinders Lane at 2pm today as well so you are going to have a very busy afternoon aren't you?!

Friday, 4 June 2010

crepe and cumquats

I've been working in the studio most of the week and everything seems to have taken an absolute age. My hands still don't seem to have their garment making memory back and I fumble and slip constantly. Something that should take a day to do has taken most of the week.
On an up-note the new wool crepe and shibori dresses are almost finished. Just a bit of handstitching of hems and belts and they will be instore. They are inspired by some crepe dresses I used to have from the early thirties, fitted across the sleeve, shoulders and bust but skimming the body down from there, sort of loose without being loose..... it's going to be interesting to see if people can get their heads around the fall of the crepe and the way the garment sits on the body.

 For a bit of a break yesterday I snuck out to raid the world's biggest cumquat tree around the corner. I think the workers from the office next to the tree thought I was a complete loon as they popped out for their ciggies in the car-park. It's funny how urban harvesting can really freak people out. 

Thursday, 3 June 2010

death rattle

We are all heading off tonight to see Mr Cruikshank's Domestic Death Rattle at Westspace.
As you can see he's been drinking a lot of beer in preparation for this exhibition.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

an ode to porridge

I had a dreadful porridge experience on Monday. 
I was hanging out for some oaty goodness, a few plump sultanas and a splash of creamy milk but with the first mouthful I new something was definitely wrong. 
Bitter and burning- and I don't mean the temperature.
If you've ever experienced eating rancid stale pasta you'll know what I mean...... arrrgggghhhh!
How is it that the organic oats I bought 3 weeks ago from the health food shop are OFF?
Damn them!
This morning, though, I tried again. Yes! Perfect porridge. 
Welsh blankets, angora gloves, porridge..... but where is our real winter?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

a winter love affair

I'm in the throws of a love affair.
Or rather I am having a love affair with throws.
I've been on the hunt for the last couple of years for them and my stash has grown to (a measly) three- and we all know that three marks a collection. I would happily find room in my home for three hundred of these things. I love them! 
My first one I found two years ago, a cream and fawn one, then the pink and green and cream one above and last week a glorious purple and green example arrived. Jethro is asleep in front of the heater on that one, the first two are on the bed. I am sure as winter creeps in I will add Jethro's to the bed as well. 
I grew up a weaver so I love the double cloth weaves that these blankets use, the heavy slightly scratchy wool and their history. I sleep deep and happy under them.