This is all the labels that are left. I think it's a sign to take a little break whilst my friend Ben (hopefully) prints a new batch. We've lots of Welshies in the shop, I've made 50 metres of bunting, pressed and put wraps around a pile of angora/lambswool socks, vacuumed the bedroom, put the washing on and folded what was dry, sorted what needs to go to the op shop/bin and put all the bedside books back on the bookshelf. Phew.
All of this on top of having my lower back and shoulder go into meltdown and needing to hit the painkillers. There hasn't been very much 'good' sleep over the last few nights as every time I rolled over I managed to wake myself up from the pain, I've been a bit dazed all day because of it. Pushing through the pain barrier and getting the cleaning done, I'm a high performance ather-lete. Have I told you I really hate cleaning, like really really hate cleaning? I can see the bedroom floor now, that's a plus, and although I haven't mopped the stairs at least the dust bunnies have, well, bitten the dust. I do like a clean house I just hate cleaning.
And now to the Saturday Shop News.
We are running (have run) out of storage space and we have new Slade Knitwear Summer stock due in soon so we've decided, although we never go on sale, to mark down the Slade woollen stock. It's going down by about 30%- so sweaters were $85 are now $60, cardis were $95 now $65 and the lovely beaded cardis were $145 now $100. What a bargain! So please come in and buy them as we can't be bothered folding and boxing them up.
The new angora socks are lovely, they are made from the yarn we use for our gloves and, yes, I know they should have been in store ages ago but we still have cold weather forecast, I think I heard something about snow in Victoria and Tasmania as I walked passed the TV last night. They look like fluffy jubes sitting in their basket.
The butcher's twine, Heico cockatoos and new little ceramic animals all arrived earlier this week as well as a new clutch of hedgehogs and bees and I've put out a big pannikin of dolly pegs. The shop is looking very bright! Oh and the satchels arrived too, so much happening. And I need to hang up some new Frida and Sophie dresses and measure the hank of hand spun I did last Saturday and put that out too. So many chores- who says retail is glamorous?? Ha.
The Royal Agricultural Show is coming soon and I signed up.
I had a big bowl of cumquats that I needed to get in the pot and I had some gloves I needed to dye so this evening's work involved a bit of multitasking. Stir the marmalade, stir the dyepot, stir the marmalade, stir the..... you get into a rhythm. It's a bit nerve-wracking this competition preserving but I think I may actually have made the best batch of marmalade I have ever done. Fine cut cumquat marmalade has resulted in sore feet, my kitchen floor is concrete and a killer on the arches.
I've got a batch of gloves in the washing machine and I'm just waiting until it finishes before hitting the sack. It beeps when it's finished so there is no way of going to sleep with the laundry under the bedroom and I'll be able to get it into the dryer so they'll be ready to be pressed in the morning.
I might just sneak in an episode of The Armstrong and Miller Show on iView. You have to watch this, it's too too funny!
Spring is coming.
There has been a bit of feline sunbaking happening. Check out that bedhair!
Today was a bit of a write-off having to wait around all morning for an appointment that wasn't really about anything. I dumped a load of 'stuff' at the studio, I'm trying to make a bit of room here so each morning I load the car up and lug it all up the stairs to be stashed in piles around the studio. There is going to have to be a HUGE clean up and sort out there very very soon.
The rest of the afternoon was driving around doing errands, picking up supplies to finish projects. I've a few things I need to get done in the next few days. I've been trying to get emails out of the way, I get very bad at writing them, they are like evil 'homework'. Of course the longer I leave them the worse they get and the harder they are to write.
So much stock starting to come in. Today we had new butcher's twine arrive (I can't work out why it's been re-branded 'baker's twine'- what's a baker doing with twine??) red back in store and the new tri-colour variety. I picked up a new batch of cockatoo lamps too, we've had a bit of a run on them lately.
I think I've had enough of computers and typing today.
I ran out of zips this afternoon but lots of cushions finished!
These vintage tea towels are stunning and I've spent my evening putting them out on the bunk. Oh so pretty and more to come. So many to drool over. I must remember to keep a few budgies just for me.
Busy box day today. First the tin toy order came in and then later in the day the satchel shipment arrived. This isn't the big satchel shipment that should have been arriving about now but has been delayed by a month, instead it was the smaller 'surplus' shipment. I did my 'squeaky wheel' impersonation and managed to snaffle a small order to keep us going.
We've got 11" red, 13" vintage brown, 13" green, 14" green and 14" fluoro yellow but best of all is the 11" white. So pure, so virtuous, so cute. The white has been taken off the wholesale list but being the 'squeaky wheel' I am I scored by getting them- you'll have to be super quick though as there are only 5 of them.
The tin toys are pretty cute too! 'Woman with geese in a basket' joins 'Man with suitcase' and 'Man pushing a box'. We've also got 'Dog with a ball' and a very demented 'Kangaroo' whose tail spins around and makes her do a weird little hop. They are all quite crazed. I'm sure a person will spend most of tomorrow winding them up and letting them spin around.
I'm off to bed now with a tummy bug and a 2/3 read book that I was meant to be saving for my late Winter break.... ooops it fell open and I just had to start reading. I'll be popping this book into the mail when I am done as I know a certain Librarian will get a giggle out of the latest in this series.
I awoke this morning totally confused as to what day of the week it was. I hate that feeling. Then having got back from getting the papers I almost put the kettle in the dryer, a nasty case of doing two things at once or I've got early onset dementia but more likely I just wasn't awake enough to be firing on all cylinders.
A rainy old grey day here in Melbourne Town and I would love to be doing newspapers (old style not the expensive light-on crap now masquerading as a 'newspaper') and tea at the kitchen table, RRR's Radiothon in the background. That would be an old fashioned Saturday around here. If you are venturing out then remember that the Craft Cubed Open Studios event is on today all over town. The lovely Victoria Mason just up Gertrude Street is flinging her door open and unveiling her new 'House Plant' range, those cacti look so big in the photos but they are little, little, little and I don't know how she manages all that detail! It doesn't matter what sort of studio based creativity you are into there is so much to see and as the makers can't run away you'll be able to ask lots of questions. Please remember though that you are visitors in what is often a very private place and don't go stickybeaking in any drawers!
So being Saturday here is the shop report.... new vintage lampbases are back in stock, lots of lovely Welsh blanket cushions and a couple of new glove colours have appeared. Zara has sent down some lovely Guatemalan sash belts that we think make excellent scarves, they are woven with panels of beautiful coloured inlaid patterns interspersed with indigo or black dyed sections. We also have some narrower belts, these have alternating black and white striped and beautiful embroidered floral sections.
Better dash. I think Jethro's still in bed (the lazy slug) and the shop floor is littered with mashed magnolia flowers.
Yesterday i promised myself I'd get a pile of things done in the studio today. Well I started out productively but things slow downed as the day progressed. You know how it is..... Friday's can be like that.
I've started on out new vintage tea towel cushions- oh my, so pretty! I don't want to see the budgies go, I lurve them so. There are bulls and donkeys and all sorts of fabulous ones to come. I dropped some donkeys into Casa Ciuccio this evening, they have our tea towel cushions on the banquette seating and at Jo and Matt's city restaurant Bar Lourinha there are our Welsh blanket cushions. Nice to be supporting and supported by fellow Melbourne businesses.
With these new vintage tea towel cushions I am finally going to have raise the price a little, I hate raising our prices but these have been the same price for 4 1/2 years so we are going to bite the bullet and do it. Sorry. 10%. They are really, really beautiful though. I'll be keeping these separate until we have a big tea towel cushion change over. We may even have to stash them in the cupboard, out the back, under the stairs, just ask and we will pull them out.
It's cold out there. The studio was quite snuggly and warm with two heaters going. Remember Winter isn't over yet and the Cottage (being sensible) has warm woollies still out. Gloves, sweaters, cardis, beanies- you'll need them this weekend!
Friday is usually Welsh blanket day but somehow this week got all mixed up and it we had Welsh Wednesday instead. Here's Dell trying to hold back the flood of cushions. We have some new colours and some old colourways we haven't had in ages.
Today I've been running around in the car doing things like visiting the printer for new postcards, picking upbio-degradable packing peanuts from St Kilda, lime marmalade from East Brunswick and doing a whole pile of other strange things. I then came back to the shop, packaged up stuff to go interstate and spent what felt like a whole afternoon staring at the computer screen sorting out banking and boring emails- weirdly it was only a couple of hours and now I feel a bit discombobulated. It all feels like a bit of a wasted day now.
Tomorrow I will be a good girl and get work done at the studio..... and find somewhere to stash the remainder of the 400 litre bag of packing peanuts. It is looking like there may be a studio sale coming up in the nearish distant future.... stay tuned.
I do need to do a major clean around the house before I go off on my short break. Mainly just in case the shopgirls need to scour the house for Jethro's glove thefts. The dust bunnies may become feral and start attacking people.
There is a stack of Welsh blanket cushions all cut and overlocked and ready to go. We seem to have had a run on them lately- and lampbases and shades too. Runs on products have us amazed and trying to work out what is going on but as usual there is no rhyme or reason. Retail is like that, don't believe them when they say it is a science, it's sheer potluck.
I watched the rain come in as I left the studio but I was too slow and was drenched between the car and the shop. Luckily those cushions I had finished and stuffed made it in dry in their giant plastic bag. The magnolia was battered but prettily jewelled after the rain, they look like last night's spangles and yesterday's pearls.
I'm delaying writing emails.
You can tell can't you?
Procrastinating over my homework.....
Bessie the Cow looks like she's been on the turps.
It amuses me no end the weird 'installations' that appear out in the back laneway, although the grease trap pumping truck at 7am yesterday isn't included on the amusing list. I am pretty pissed with my neighbours for that one.
I seem to have taken a fancy to wearing flannelette shirts at the moment and this morning's ensemble is looking pretty strangely layered. As I haven't left the house yet I am perhaps not as concerned as I should be about my sartorial inelegance. I did get a pile of odd chores done yesterday but the rest of the washing was sadly not one of them. I am attempting to unearth the floor in the bedroom and the stairs are desperately in need of a de-clutter and vacuum.
I've managed to get the shop back in order and given it a once over with the sucking machine whilst listening to the girls on the radio. There has been discussion on this on Facebook over the weekend. I was tagged facetiously as 'Ms Jolly Hockey Sticks' as I am a little opinionated about the consumerism of 'cute craft'. It was all a bit of a laugh whilst being a tad feisty.
Yawn. I really wish I had a real weekend (but what is a 'real weekend'?). I've a dye load of gloves in the dryer, a forest of renovated vintage lampbases to cart downstairs and a hundred emails to answer/write. Oh and the post needs to go out, I need to go to the bank, the studio, my suppliers.......
Saturday. Here again.
Look! New coloured spotty knitting needles, the new yellow really sparks the other colour up and there are new sizes too, we now have 3.75, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 8, 10mm. As I said the other day we have the CWA of WA cookbook in now and a new shipment of 'Make do and Mend' has arrived too. The last batch of CWA Classics flew out the door but I have one copy left in the shop at the moment if you can't wait for the next batch, I love how well our CWA cookbooks sell.
I finished the rest of the blanket quilts yesterday so they are all in the shop and I'll get photos done soon. There is some stunning combos in this run, mixed up pinks and purples with pine-lime (as in Splice) greeny-yellow and orange and bright blue. I also finished the needle books (no picture yet) which I haven't had a chance to make in ages. I had to wait for the missing die to arrive for my studding machine from Hong Kong, now I've misplaced the boxes of darning needles and sewing needles that I like to 'prime' the books with. Last night I was trying to get some work finished and to dig out components for things we need to make for the shop. I seem to have unknowingly run out of heaps of stuff that I would normally make sure we had plenty of. I kept open boxes to find them empty. I really don't seem to have my eye on the ball at the moment, so next week I will have to get in the car and madly dash about restocking. I may even have to write a list.
I bought myself some freesias this morning. My absolute favourite flower the smell of them actually trips me out and really lift my mood. If I go for a stroll I can actually sniff them out from metres and metres and metres away. My gardening dream is a birch grove to lie in in Summer and beds and beds of freesias to bloom when Winter is inching into Spring. These ones need to warm up and hopefully they will release a bit more smell, I am very particular about my freesias, white preferred as they have more smell and little short stemmed cream 'old fashioned's for their heady scent.
Waffled about things, now I had better get a move on. There is barely any room to move in the hall and kitchen at the moment and I must spend tomorrow sorting it all out. I've promised myself that I will get a Sunday at home tomorrow, first time in weeks.
Before I forget, new re-wired vintage lampbases in store too.
It's Saturday, you know where to find me.
Shaun Tan and Oslo Davis was last night (I made a mistake, dates mean nothing to me). It was a hell of a bitter night out but it was more than worth venturing into the wilds of Brunswick. They showed their work, chatted, talked about their desks and, as I think most of the small and perfectly formed audience were makers, there was a lot of nodding in agreement. And laughter. And a few dreamy ooohs and aaahs. You would have loved it LibraryGirl. As Ramona said at the end 'I'm so glad Shaun is such a nice person'.
It has been a bit of a messy week here so hearing creative types talk about their work actually came at just the right moment. I always feel drained after the gift fair week and doing that on top of a virus really floored me. Those two talked about being introverted and the need to be alone to create, how to balance that with being out in the world, and it spoke to me. Being surrounded with too much consumerist crap and people knocks me about. Yes it is almost time to turn off for a week and breathe fresh air and look at long vistas.
I'm off to the studio to get some things finished. I need to get the gas bottles filled otherwise there will be no buckets of tea. Pick up some more dye as we have entered the final end of Winter glove push- and the last few days have been freakin' freezing.
There are new Welsh blanket cushions in store that i finished yesterday and a couple more quilts, I'll finish the rest today hopefully. Pictures of new pretties tomorrow my friends.
A stunning magnolia sky yesterday evening.
We stood out on the street and admired it.
It's been a strange couple of days with weirdly annoying things happening. Today is all rain and cold and I have had little fantasies about being holed up in a cabin with a fire clinking in the hearth and rain pattering on the roof. Instead I am settling for a mug of tea, a handful of Haigh's dark chocolate raisins and a flannelette shirt. You've got to go with what is at hand. I think the tail-end of this virus has mucked me about, I'm heading towards 'little bit emotional'. Yes the need for holiday time is fast approaching.
Good things have come in the mail though. Ann has hooked up a storm even whilst inundated with family commitments and has sent through three beautiful afghan throws and a small mountain of her wonderful tea cosies. A parcel has arrived from the CWA of WA and we finally have copies of the CWA cookbook I grew up with. Mum's version, which she was given when she married, has had no covers for as long as I can remember and I loved reading the handy hints section when I was a youngster ('how to whiten kid gloves' was always a favourite and I think I always dreamed of one day having to put the hint into practice). A box of silk spinning bobbins has come in too and we have stock of the 3 smaller sizes available again.
I have something to admit..... Dell, Drew and I have all entered the Royal Show cooking competition this year. Dell and I thought we had missed out as we got our entries in a tad late but apparently the RASV is a generous organisation (or Shirley only comes in once a week) and we have been accepted. Stay tuned for our adventures in Show World.
I have spent 4 out of the last 6 days traipsing around the gift fairs that are on at this time of the year. My eyes won't stop watering, a nasty combination of still being virus wracked, stifling aircon heat, fluoro lighting and a visual bombardment of weird products. I did get to overhear strange comments and conversations and luckily my blocked nose saved me from the stench of too many scented candles. It's like being on a treasure hunt, picking the gold from the dross and sometimes in amongst the foulest crap you can find a little gem. Now I have to sit back and hope they arrive.
My feet hurt and I want a nap.
Meeting tonight and this tomorrow night. (Heard a rumour it's sold out.)
Can I have a sleep in tomorrow morning?
Well I seem to have caught a dose of the fluviruscoldthingy, although I think last night it might have broken. Teeth chattering chills and a hotted up wheatie bag certainly go together. Trying to do the trade shows and the Craft Cubed opening while delirious is not a great idea. The joys of being self-employed... 'sick days', what are they??... although I did pass out on my bed on Thursday between trade show and opening.
Yesterday I really needed to go and do some work in the studio and get some things done as I still have two more trade show days to go. We never get very much in from the gift fairs but it's always a good idea to see and be amused by some really weird stuff that makes you wonder about the state of consumerism. I have to say I think I am going to retch if I see another single colour screen print cushion. It actually reinforces why I do what I do, small, handmade, a bit tongue in cheek and referencing our textile history. As an example please see our new 'pennant' cushions. I've patched together beautiful wool felt, stitched on the souvenir pennants and backed the whole thing with blue saddle felt. Talk about colour blocking. There are only a few of these at the moment as I can't seem to find where I've put a stash of these pennants.
Every time I think 'pennant' Indiana Jones saying 'penitent man' pops into my head, bloody 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', bloody cute-in-those-days-creepy-looking-now-I-blame-Callista Harrison Ford.
And in shop news our big shipment of Trunk and Orderly kinder and lunch cases are back in stock. I better dash now as I need to find somewhere to stash the box of extra cases.