Wednesday, 29 February 2012

would computers work better with a squirt of wd40?

I'm trying to be calm.
I'm trying not to take a sledge hammer to the computer.
I am trying not to call Powerdirect and tell them how annoyed with them that the blackout on Friday appears to have f*cked with my computer.
I don't seem to be able to open any programme that isn't one that came with the computer. No Adobe, no Word, no MYOB.
Very, very weird, very, very annoying.
Anyway the tech is booked for this afternoon. On the phone even he is saying 'that's strange'. Never a good omen. Or it could be one of those really simple things fixed in a trice. Haha ha ha.
I managed to lose all of yesterday between answering emails, finding the computer was definitely rooted and thinking that I had a meeting last night which is actually tonight. Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the... past.
I think I am better with machinery that has little holes where I can squirt oil in.
I'm off to the studio to see if I can squeeze a couple of hours of work in.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

sunday too far away

Howdy all.
Sorry for the lack of posts but I've been busy/recovering from being busy.
I flew up to Sydney on Sunday to go to the gift fairs that were on over the weekend. A dreadful early morning wake up and I was in Sydney by 8.30am. Luckily Miss L'Uccello was on the same flight and we shared a taxi to the first destination. Funnily enough everyone I went to Sydney to see was from Melbourne! I think I spent most of the time at Life Instyle just running into and chatting to people I know!
Then I went off to the big scary gift fair, by the courtesy bus to the massive ugly Convention Centre. Not much to see although my favourite stand, which I wish I could have photographed, was my favourite for all the wrong reasons..... they were selling those electric sand 'painting', lit from behind dribbling sand forming landscape-sque patterns and the sales man.... oh my! Catweazle wearing a mismatched suit of fawn corduroy, flared trousers and all! It made my day! Sadly I don't think he was making many sales.
Anyway I got the fairs done pretty quickly and had far too much time left until my flight back and not enough time to do anything. I have to admit Sydney just isn't my favourite place to be, I never have a really enjoyable time there, perhaps it's the humidity. There were shops and things I should have made an effort to get to but I went to a Greek festival and ate haloumi instead, I wandered about, I watched teenagers dance and 'sing' to Asian pop in Pitt St Mall (highlight of my day) and generally mooched about until it was time to catch the train to the airport.
Stupidly I was booked on a Virgin flight back and the lack of legroom meant I ended up with my left leg jammed up into my sore hip and lower back for a flight that should have been 1 hour that stretched to just under 2 hours. The thunderstorms over Melbourne meant we circled over Mt Bulla for about 1/2 an hour and then did a long loop over Melbourne- which was actually fabulous, the city all lit up and every familiar landmark easy to pick out, the very best part of a painful day.
So yesterday I spent not answering emails or doing anything important but lying around stretching my legs and back and reading a book. Kind of making my Monday a Sunday. The downside is I now have a logjam of emails to be sorted. I think I may have to stay home and get them done. I really am floundering in procrastination at the moment.
I have a strange feeling I used a similar photo last time I reported on a trip to Sydney. Funny that.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

hot hot heat

38ºC they say it will be today. The supermarket was already pumping, people getting the supplies in before the heat cranks up. The Maggie Beer passionfruit icecream was at its perfect consistency when I got home and I have to admit I scooped a couple of spoonfuls before it went into the freezer.
Shopgirl today which means the fan will be directed at me, me, me. The power went off yesterday afternoon and we all sat around in the dark, we offered customers flashlights and luckily the eftpos machine is mobile so we can use it when the power is down and we already had frozen lime drinks from Sonido to keep us cool (spiked with ginger beer). Obviously someone had used more than their fair share of electricity...... Wonder if we will get a letter from the power company like last time. I also wonder whether they will charge us for sending the letter out 'apologising' for the outrage of the outage.
Enough musings for the day.
I'm still dozy from the battle of wills with Jethro at 6am. His first manoeuvre was to tickle my tummy with his tail. He then ramped it up to licking my hand prior to biting it, climbing on the bedside table to knock stuff off and attacking the iPhone..... I relented when I realised I had forgotten to put the rest of his food out last night so I deserved the abuse and after a snack we both fell back into bed for a morning snooze.
Oh well, I better go and do my Saturday morning chores. Hope you have a cool dark peaceful day.

Friday, 24 February 2012

polly wants a disco cookie! arrrcckkh!

Thanks everyone for the lovely letting-me-grizzle comments. The doctor has done a world of good (she's a great GP who has looked after me from just before The Accident and knows I only make an appointment if things are really bad) and knocking back a valium last night seems to have helped a bit- I can see all you holistics rolling your eyes and looking heavenward but really sometimes pharmaceuticals are the only way to go!
Running a little earlier today but not much! I'm grabbing the last of the tapestries I need for the  photo shoot and I'll be stealing a few Welsh tapestry cushions from the shop today as well. They will be back in tonight with some extra new ones if you come in looking for these beauties. I've also finally put out the new 'Stella' print skirts. And I quickly changed the shop window last night, fluoro satchels have made a reappearance and I've added denim Harvest smock and quilted denim cushions to the mix and a giant afghan throw as a backdrop.
It's heading up to 34ºC today and the Rosamund, Lettie and Frida dresses are all perfect for the weather we are going to expect over the next few days. March is always hot here in Melbourne, oh bring on Autumn I say, the evenings will hopefully be cooler and the long hazy light seems to take the edge off the heat.
Better run.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


Running late again. Slept in again.
I had a bit of a melt down yesterday, got back to the shop and burst into tears. The pain in my back and hips coupled with the excruciating (stress?) headaches finally tipped me over the edge. Normally when my back really plays up I just keep moving but this time a night's rest seems to ease it all off a bit. Then of course by the afternoon things have tightened up a bit again and by the evening I am just flat as a tack.
Anyway enough about my stupid back issues.
There are some denim Lettie size 1 in the shop along with the denim Harvest smocks. A new batch of our lovely Art Viva spotty knitting needles arrived on Tuesday. There is a whole pile of satchels I'd really like to sell..... and best of all next week is Autumn so I have an excuse to start dyeing gloves and and pulling out all the woolly stuff!
I've a photo shoot booked for tomorrow to get all the images of our new cushion range under way and we'll sneak in a few product shots too hopefully. I'm in love with these crazed Spanish themed tapestries, I have a third flamenco one and I think they all came from the same house, that would have been some decor to see!
Anyway I better get moving. Things to do today and a doctor's appointment to fit in. Hopefully after that I will be less pain-full-y moody than I have been and a lot more interesting to read.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

flower in the attic

I slept in. I'm running really late.
It's going to be a day that never quite catches up I think.
I hit the painkillers last night for my back and hip and I slept deep. I was so sore and flat and sad from the pain last night I couldn't see anything bright and shiny ahead. Hmmmmph. The hip isn't quite so bad today. Odd dreams about being on the Spirit of Tasmania and losing my car because I couldn't remember which level it was on (stop laughing Ramona, think you inspired that after the carpark on Monday night!), thankfully it wasn't an angsty dream just lots of trudging back and forth.
I really should go now.
This is the back of my place, I love how it looks. Look closely though, we're being watched. (Zoom in.)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

dog in the window

I think my back and hip have finally given up after last week's box lugging and a couple of weeks of stress in the lead up to said boxes arriving (mind you that stress hasn't abatted, it's just rolled along). My left side is complaining achingly and both sitting and standing is uncomfortable, I could have happily stayed in bed a while longer this morning. This is the boring residue of the bad pushbike accident of 2000, the aftermath of some injuries are often there for life (people who have sustained life threatening/altering injuries know what I am talking about). You just put up with them and keep on truckin'- except for the times when they like to remind you that you aren't invincible. Like now. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Not sure I am making much sense and I seem to be procrastinating a little today.
Like being amused by a photo of puppy dog cakes I spied at Breadtop on Sunday, that bakery always makes me laugh. Any one for a tira mi su cake in the shape of a super cute/annoying dog? Rump or lolling tongue?
Very Jeff Koons.
Anyway better get off and doing stuff otherwise Saturday will come around again and I will feel like I have achieved nothing. Another week down the sinkhole of life.

Monday, 20 February 2012


I went for a walk yesterday to the City to buy some mugs, I keep dropping them from the height of about 2" onto the concrete floor in the shop and snapping the handles off. I marvelled that Myers could leave the façade of their old building but knock down one of the last Art Deco buildings in Melbourne (it would be on the right of the photo just out of shot) and that they could refurbish the Bourke Street building and install a huge cone of dead space through the middle with glassed partitions rimmed in chrome all smeared with greasy fingerprints and a bar/café on every floor to 'enhance' the shopping experience. I wonder if they are the only part making money because the service is non-existant in all the other departments.
It was muggy and humid but you can tell that the Earth has slipped that little bit and Autumn is close, that Melbourne Autumn haze is there in the afternoons and evenings and the magnolia leaves have started to turn. They don't do anything spectacular, just turn the colour of a Manila folder and then Kraft brown paper and drop off. How pretty those branches are through Winter though, the little furry buds will swell and then in the dreariest part of the year they will pop open spectacularly and we will know Spring is here.

My plans for the morning have all been shifted about and now I am feeling a bit topsy, not quite sure what I should be doing and when. Mondays are my Sundays in a way and I often find it hard to settle to anything. I always have places to be but they are rarely the studio on a Monday. Today's 9.30 is now 10.30 so I need to move stuff around in my head and make a plan on where and what I need to do. I should probably stop dawdling and musing.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

not yawning, laughing

I'm sick of posting photos of satchels so I've resorted to Jethro snaps instead! This action shot was taken last night as I walked passed him in the shop. Is he yawning or laughing? Or is he a vampire cat?
As you can probably tell I am a little brain-fried. This satchel business is exhausting and my brain is only working on a very superficial level currently. It's going to be interesting to see if I can string two words together today. I had a fight with the vacuum cleaner this morning and managed to knock stock flying, a mix of impatience and frustration I think. I've been falling into bed every night and asleep before my head hits the pillow. I intend to talk to no one tomorrow if I can possibly help it. Ha.
The phone has already started ringing. I don't think that I will get any spinning done today! I have some skirt hems to sew which might be a better way to go today. I still need something to keep my hands busy in the quiet moments.
I was hoping for a day of rest tomorrow but looking around the room up here I don't think it will happen. I have 8 huge boxes taken up a quarter of the space and I need to clean a path through the piles of everything else. There is bubble wrap and cardboard tossed on the top of the table and I need to ferret the guillotine out from under it all to cut up the 'handspun yarn' wraps I have just printed. The desk is covered in a glacier of paper work. I have a box of tapestries that need to be carted to the car. I need to find a new home for the glass display box from the shop.
No rest for the wicked. Yawning or laughing?

Friday, 17 February 2012


Look we have a trolley for the satchels!
It doesn't hold all of them but it can fit most of them.
By the end of yesterday I was a total mess, my brain was fried and I could feel my hips and back aching from carting huge boxes upstairs. At one stage I thought it was 5pm when it was actually 3pm and I had great difficulty stringing words together to answer questions, the culmination of lead-up stress and physical exhaustion. Even though I spent hours marking off stock it took me ages to realise we had 3 colour/sizes of the order missing..... it wasn't until Dell asked me to go get them that the lightbulb pinged on, luckily someone around here was functioning on all cylinders!
Jethro let me sleep in this morning, I needed it and thankfully it was a cooler night. I could quite happily be still in bed. After spending yesterday morning sneezing, hot and sweaty from lugging boxes and then soaked when I went out to get reward crepes in the thunderstorm I expected to wake with a full blown cold but no, I'm fine. Damn. Sometimes you just want an excuse to collapse into bed and it just doesn't eventuate!
I'm not sure what to do with myself today. I don't think the studio is an option, I'm too satchel-jumpy. Perhaps I might pop out to get supplies I need to finish other jobs. Yes, that might be an idea. And catch up on emails and phone calls, fix the online shop, work out postage rates to the Rest of the World..... It never ends around here.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

the eagle* has landed

The satchels have arrived!
I wish I had had it together enough to photograph the stack of them out the front of the shop, they totally covered the shop window.
I've killed myself lugging them upstairs. It's far too muggy today to cart 20kg+ boxes around.
Now to unpack!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

blue bayou

It was all about the denim today. My hands turned darkest blue and my nails are still indigo even after being scrubbed numerous times. There is now a lovely batch of denim 'Harvest' smocks hanging out on the line, they should be dry soon. I'm a bit behind on these smocks, I've been promising Anna I would get them done for quite some time, but today the gather foot worked a treat and the stars were in alignment. 
I have more to do and I also need to get the rest of the denim Lettie dresses done as well. The denim is so dark that I like to do them all in a batch otherwise there is just too much cleaning up to be done. Not only my hands but the sewing machine and the ironing board. Once they are washed they just start fading down nicely, I can't believe how faded my smock is, it is from the first batch so has been through the washing machine quite a bit. Denim is lovely, the way it carries its story about. 
I forgot to let you know that there is new stuff in the shop. A big batch of pianola shades arrived on Monday night, a few new black Frida tops are in, I've pulled some afghans out of the cupboard and we have a stunning huge black bordered and bright coloured bedspread sized one going in store tomorrow. 
I'll have to get up early tomorrow to finish sorting out the shop, I've been moving stuff about.... we have a huge day tomorrow.......

the quarry is close

I've put on my hunting pink and tracked those pesky satchels down.
Yes! They are in the country! They are so close I can smell them! Tally ho!
I'm not promising anything but if all goes well (considering that it is only Wednesday, that the sun rises in the east, it's the Year of the Dragon, that my horoscope said....) we might have them by the end of the week.
I'm off to the bank to put the money we found down the back of the couch/in the vacuum/Jethro's pocket money into the account so we can pay the whopping customs/duty bill and get the damn things released. I will have to spend this evening finding places to put boxes and moving things about. This order is hugely overwhelming. It's going to be very busy around here when they arrive!

I am staring on this nice horsey tapestry, rocking backwards and forwards and murmuring 'la la la la la' until the medication kicks in........

Monday, 13 February 2012

12" of cold hard steel

I love my scissors. Freshly sharpened, ready to cut. They look tiny all lined up here but I use 12" shears and each of these is a different weight and balance and used for when I am cutting different fabrics. My new favourite is the blue handled ones on the right, they are heavy in the handle and cut through layers  and layers of fabric with ease, they're for doing the heavy work. The pair next to the blue handled is my oldest pair, the pair I moved up to from the old 10"ers, they are light and sweet but have been sharpened so often that the bumper (that's the little knob between the handles) has had to be ground down. The second pair from the left are heavy in the blades and I am still getting used to them and the pair on the left are my everything/everyday pair.
Over the years I have moved up from 8" scissors to 10" and then took the leap to 12". Sizes does matter and when you get the muscles strengthened up in your hand and forearm a beautiful pair of scissors is a fabulous extension of your arm. A bit like wielding a sword of power. And most of all a really good pair of scissors should be able to be sharpened and sharpened and sharpened. There is none of this stupid sprung scissoring for me, no plastic handled 'ergonomic' shamozzle, I want the type of scissors that could be passed down through the generations (if I had one to pass them down to).
I have some lovely 12" scissors sitting here that I have been meaning to pop in the 'Queens of Craft' store. I really should get around to doing that at some stage but I wasn't sure if people would be interested. You need to train up to a 12" and I wondered whether I should get some smaller ones in as well- 'training scissors' if you like.
Looking around my studio and home I seem to have scissors everywhere. All good full metal ones.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

sorting sunday

Quite a bit of sorting and cleaning got done today. Things got moved about, a pile from over here got moved to over there, stuff got stacked on the table, some vacuuming was done, things got put in boxes. It seems like today was a 'home day' for so many people I know, perhaps it was the weather. I had a little helpmate, Jethro feels he has not appeared on the blog enough lately so today we are having a cat-photo overload, poser!

I have so many boxes and trays full of papers that need to be sorted and filed. I need another table I think just for the laying out of stuff. The old sideboard will have to be dragged downstairs in the next couple of days but at least it is now possible- yes I have cleaned everything off the stairs! the stairs were a cross between a midden and a death trap but now they are just dusty (ah the joys of having a cat covered in fairy fluff fur!).

Saturday, 11 February 2012

the carrot and the stick

I was really hoping that this morning I could shout from the rooftops that the satchel shipment was on it's way...... but no, still no movement on that front even though I got the email saying they would be going out last night.
It's ready, it's boxed, it's waiting, I'm waiting, a whole book full of people are waiting but... no.
The only way I've managed to handle the stress of the last few weeks has been viewing it through a pair of charcoal pessimistic glasses. It's a philosophical method of making sure the top of my head doesn't blow off. It goes like this. An optimist is always let down by hoping for the best, when it doesn't happen or doesn't happen quite to their expectations then they are sorely let down, whilst a pessimist is either pleasantly surprised that it all went well or is confirmed in their view that it wasn't going to happen anyway. The first is a win/lose situation and the second a win/win. So I went to bed last (bloody time difference) thinking if it does happen that will be great but what do you want to bet it doesn't eventuate. Sure enough, I waited to check my emails, no confirmation email from the couriers. A big sigh, a calculation that I will have to wait until Monday night to find out what the freakin' hell happened and another week apologising to people as to why the satchels still haven't arrived. As they say.... 'it is beyond my control'.
On the 'stock we do have' front I've made a new batch of 'hottie' wheat bags, some new stripy zip purse and we would have had new denim Lettie dresses in store today but I washed them last night (we always wash our lightweight denim garments before they go instore) and hung them outside and it bucketed down rain early this morning so they are now soaking wet again. Expect them next week.
As we have a photo of carrots today I just want to ask has anyone seen that Coles ad about 'we don't freeze or thaw any of our vegetables' and could you explain it to me? I don't know of any business that would sell frozen and thawed vegetables, they would be weird mush (the vegetables not the business) and I am starting to think that Coles should sack their advertising agency if this is the crap they are coming up with. If the situation with the satchels hasn't popped my head this ad may very well do it. I'm even wondering if they can be pulled up by the advertising standards group for sprouting a whole lotta baloney. Coles definitely doesn't need the carrot they need a good sharp slap with the stick. Rant of the morning over.
Shopgirl Saturday. I'm about to choose some fleece colours to spin today but I would much rather be busy with customers. Did I tell you there are new patched denim cushions in the Cottage too? Well  there are. made from some of the leftover quilt lengths. There is also a lovely baby quilt made from the linen glass cloth/tablecloth quilting as well.... yes it was found on the cutting table and has been washed up and is lovely. New handspun yarn went out the other day too, I've been trying to get ahead on that front before Autumn arrives although looking at the rain splattered front window I am thinking it might already be here. There is no point starting to knit in the midst of Winter, you need to start now to be ready for when the cold really strikes.
And there is lovely new vintage lampbase in and hopefully the new pianola shades will be delivered by the end of today.
See, we have lots of new bits and pieces in the Cottage.
Sadly no satchels.
Soon my lovelies, soon.

Friday, 10 February 2012

spidery goodness

You know I am a textiles geek, well my fascination with this proves it. I've been meaning to post about this for weeks but the throttling of the internet meant I could only look at the articles on my iPhone and then I forgot to check it out when the power returned.
This is a garment made from spider silk. Yes you read that right- spider silk. In fact the silk of 1,000,000+ Golden Orb Spiders, hence the very beautiful yellow colour. If you look closely at the embroidery below you can see the variation in the shades of yellow. The fabric was handwoven and then embroidered before being made up. It is currently on show at the V and A in London, these photos from here and there is a video here.
I have an overwhelming desire to touch it. I'm known for being able to pick fabric content by touch (99 out of 100) and I want to store that one away, spider silk ✔.
This also amused me- Panda Tartan! Did you know clan tartans are a big fraud created by two brothers in the 1840s? Amusingly the fraud and Queen Victoria's Balmoral fashions are how we ended up with tartan today, tourist fashion you might say! Original tartans are far more beautiful, simple setts (patterns) created through the intersection of yarns naturally dyed with the vegetation of a local area.

See I am a total nerd.
I better get to the studio and put my NerdPower™ to use.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

dust bunny

I felt in the mood to clean today. So there was vacuuming and more vacuuming and unearthing things I had almost forgotten about. The wind last Sunday must have howled through the studio windows and there was grit and dandelion fairies everywhere.
I must be feeling a bit more together. Some people need to clean to feel better, I need to feel better to start cleaning and sorting. The whole point of the clean was to make a dint in the piles of crud on the cutting table. I made my way through the piles, chopped scraps up, filed stuff away, tossed out bits that I really can't use.

Look! I have a cutting table! (That needs a new top.)

And in the midst of doing all this I spent 2 hours hanging around the bank waiting for a cleared cheque to be OK-ed. That was a bit boring. Now I am waiting for an email. Sometimes life is all about the waiting, learning patience I suppose. This week's stressful juggling has been hard and now that I have practised a bit of cleaning I need to get in gear and do a big job on home/shop. I might go and meditate for a while.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


I'm all over the place. I can't settle. A stream of late night emails last night have made matters even worse. Let's say getting to sleep was hard last night, the dreams were annoying and then someone forgot to set the alarm. All in all not a great way to start the day. This satchel order is going to send me over the edge!
The studio is draped in Welsh blankets, my own padded room you might say. I have a desire to make them all into cushion just so I can see mountainous piles of gorgeous pattern and colour. There isn't quite enough room in the shop for us to store them all though and we have a strict rota that we must sell some before I move more in, we would be pleasantly smothered under an avalanche of tapestry cushions otherwise.
Apparently this Autumnal weather we are having is making people look at quilts. I've moved them all around and we are displaying fresh ones on the wall and in the window. Every time we hang a new one we are amazed by their pretty colour combinations. I love the thought of the cooler months creeping in, the Cottage is far more productive then.
I seem to be juggling emails, phone calls and internet searches this morning. Some days are like that I suppose- and all before breakfast! Do I have any toastable bread in the house I wonder.......

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

i can dream

I've slept in, I'm running horrendously late, I meant to post this yesterday, I should be at the studio by now.
I've waited months to see this episode of Grand Designs and finally Sunday night it was on. Freddie Robins and Ben Coode-Adams 500 year old barn conversion. Freddie is a textile based artist whose work I much admire, it's conceptual, it's funny, at times kind of gross and kitsch and technically beautifully made.

This conversion is just heart in mouth beautiful to me. It's huge and it's amazingly realised, look at the bones of the place showing through! I sobbed like a toddler at the end of the episode. I know it's not in every one's taste but as Kevin said it is the product of two makers who knew what they were doing. You could just tell how excited Kevin was! Inspiring! To me it is the epitome of living in craft, bring William Morris around for a cuppa and I think he would totally get what they have achieved.

And yes I want Freddie's library/studio!

Monday, 6 February 2012

just blew in from the windy city...

...and the windy city is mighty gritty. I ventured out yesterday and came back covered in tram sand grit. It was quite fun taking the tram a little further than my usual route, wandering around the trade fair, hopping back on the tram, taking a short purposeful wander around the city and then coming back home to papers and buckets of tea. To hole up against the crazy wind and smell the rain before it even got here, then watch as the sky cleared, washed blue and shining, ready for the laundry to be hung out.
I've treated myself to boiled eggs (were meant to be soft but ended up hard boiled) and sourdough soldiers this morning, I had that feeling of contented tummy and a brain firing on all cylinders, sadly that last bit is wearing off a little now. I've decided to try and get all those emails and bills that have been hanging over my head out of the way this morning. We have a big week coming next week and I nearly fell out of bed on Saturday morning when I got the email. Our Cambridge Satchel order is about to be sent and it is huge. We may have to build a fort out the front of the shop from all the boxes when they arrive. It's going to be a crazy, crazy time unpacking all those boxes! And now the weather forecast in Britain is saying that shipments will probably be slowed right down so I am sure most of next week I will be pacing around like an expectant father.

A few quick snaps of the window display. The new-ish plate glass is a right bugger to photograph around! I need to get a shot at night with the glare not quite so bad. The new cushions are gracing the window. I have a serious amount of work that needs to get done, I look around the shop and can't quite believe the holes everywhere. Luckily we have lovely Welsh blanket cushions and vintage linen cushions to fill a few spots.
Well I better get those bills paid and a few more emails sent off.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

oh! oh! oh!

Hot off the presses- and the sewing machine- the start of our new range of cushions!
I've been hanging out with Michelle and Jacqui down at Frankie and Swiss watching the big digital Florence zoom backwards and forwards across some fabric. It's a project I was hoping to start last year but everything got tied up and Xmas just swept us away but finally we've got things happening. We needed a way to use our tapestry finds that extended them from just our beautiful ottomans. Of course since we started using them the prices on them have skyrocketed, which funnily always happens when we produce new work. The scarf incident of a few years ago was the first time this happened and still makes me laugh. I was at an op shop in darkest outer Melbourne buying some scarves and the lady behind the counter told me that some woman was going around buying up scarves- I realised it was me. So far it has been the same with tea-towels, wool blankets, doilies, tapestries..... it's an interesting study in supply and demand.

There will be a couple of different themes in the range but first we had a play with 'tapestry' (of course!) and 'portrait'. We are playing with size and the print quality at the moment and I'm loving the supersized stitch ones. This is going to be fun! Now I need to get onto photographing every tapestry I own! I'm also on the look out for 1950s style oil portraits and florals, perhaps even some dodgy landscapes, if you have any lying about let me know!

I ripped out the last of the Summer window display last night and did a new one based around the first 5 cushions. I didn't get a chance to photograph it last night and the glare is too great at the moment to get a snap so you will just have to look at the photos I took in a hurry in the studio late yesterday. The cushions are backed in our lovely Swedish linen and have stripy ticking piping (left over from my other life consulting to Country Road).

There is so much possibility.......

This is going to be fun.....

Friday, 3 February 2012

holidaying in the nong

A journey to The Nong is always like having a mini holiday full of exotic sights and smells. There is the supermarket that sells fresh Islander food, the Indian ladies now running all the op shops (always a good sign when the volunteer nationalities starts reflecting an area) and of course a visit to my favourite big sub-continent  grocery store where it is fun just to cruise around ogling the products. Like a 10kg bag of Tilda basmati, apparently, according to the sticker, it has been genetically tested to make sure it is 'pure'. So many different types of riceness to choose from!

And cordials and juices with excellent labels. No 'Mangola' though. Mmmmmangola! Mangola nectar in a bottle, tropical sunshine in glass.

There was even fun over at the disposal store, digitally printed woodland hunting suits! I am quite tempted to buy one of the jackets.......
I must photograph some of yesterday's op shop finds for you. Quite amusing.
Sometimes even a little change of scenery can be good for the soul.

For the rest of the day I got stuck into cushions in the studio. We have the start of a new run of Welsh blanket cushions, green and raspberry similar to some last year but a bit softer in tone and a fabulous  brown, like the colour of packet chocolate cake mix, mixed up with teal, celery green, coral, rose pink and lavender-y purple....... crazy but really beautiful.
Errands again this morning and then into the studio.
Better get a move on.

*Satchel update- they will be leaving UK early next week so we should have them the week after. One lonely 15" fluoro yellow satchel in the window looking for a new home. All together now.... how much is that satchel in the window the one with the waggily strap.......

Thursday, 2 February 2012

the hunting of the snark

I stayed up late last night, accidentally, in email conversation with Cambridge Satchels. More satchels being added to the order- it's killing me waiting for the Fedex confirmation of shipment email but at least there are more satchels ending up in the boxes. This shipment is going to take over the shop! Fingers crossed it goes out tonight, we might get it by next Friday then...... Oh and I've relented and am getting in a small batch of batchels. You can't say I don't fold to customer pressure.
I had a little turn yesterday afternoon, the day was going so well and then I got snarky and upset. You know how it is.... someone said something/did something/didn't do something and you just feel like hissing and spitting and growling from inside your bear cave. I'm annoyed with myself for behaving snarkily and ashamed that I can't pull my head in even when I knew I was doing it. Sometimes the steam just builds up, perhaps a whistle on top of one's head would be good. A big steam whistle. It could let off steam and warn people to stay away. Perfect.
I'm off to glamorous Dandenong soon. Dear S.J.- 'Dandenong' isn't the same as 'the Dandenongs', the Nongs are leafy hills with nice views and Dandy is an outer suburb with great Indian shops and a colourful multicultural mix. Perhaps I'll sneak in a visit to Savers whilst I'm out there! I must remember to clear all the tapestries out of the back of the car before I leave.
I have lots of good things on the boil here (carrying on the steam metaphor) and I'll probably start complaining in a month that there is too much going on. I think I'm in the limbo that always happens at this time of year, the holiday season in all its manifestations is over, the change of seasons has quite started and part of me wants to get a big broom and sweep everything out to start anew. Did you know yesterday was the 4th anniversary of getting the key to the shop? That might explain it all.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

a nasty case of the laura ingalls

So today wasn't 100 buttonholes, more like 48. I haven't managed to sew on any buttons as I was out socialising tonight but hopefully if I get my new glasses I'll be ensconced on the couch tomorrow night stitching, stitching, stitching. 
I got inspired today after the buttonholes to start work on a new dress. It seems to be channelling  Laura Ingalls/Little House on the Prairie (although Little House in the Big Woods is my favourite, I must have been about 5 when it was first read to me and it stays with me still) via American Civil War and a touch of the 1930s with a dash of the ric racs. I like it. I'm thinking it's an Autumn dress. It has a slightly dagginess to it that amuses me, a little bit Amish (if it wasn't floral, decorated and fastened with a zip), a little simple and plain but in a nice way. I know- prim!

The Biblical Jasmine is flowering out the back, only a couple of flowers but the scent is heady in the morning. I'm not a fan of heavily perfumed jasmines, the common purple/pink/white version makes me ill but this one reminds me of India and I love the Azores Jasmine, the two in the backyard are growing like topsy and I'm hoping it will flower at some stage. The Jasminum Sambac makes me think of flower garlands and piles of tuberoses and petals  being threaded up, such intense scents that only seem to work in somewhere like India. In fact I bought this plant at my favourite Indian grocery in Dandenong.
It's time for bed. Time to shut up my waffling and snuggle down in the cool, it's so much nicer this bout of cold than sweltering humidity. Perhaps it was the chill today that made me think of Autumn dresses.