Wednesday, 31 October 2012

a cat in the doghouse

I'm moving slow today. No reason, just am. I didn't set the alarm again but Jethro apparently didn't think I should be lolling about and sat watching me, mewing in disapproval every few minutes. He knows he's in the doghouse at the moment, we discovered yesterday he had put a few claw marks in one of the silk scarves in the window. I blame myself for being a bad cat mother and not disciplining him enough, indulgent. We are waiting on our scarf order to arrive in the next few weeks and we still have a few left in the cupboard in pristine condition so don't think we would sell you damaged stock.
I posted on Facebook yesterday that we have the last of the Douglas Sandals in store and have had many phone calls and people racing in to pick up a pair. If you are interested give the shop a call or drop in quick sticks and we can let you know what is still available. We don't have all colours or sizes but once they have gone that is it as Douglas Sandals has shut and at this stage we can't get any more. Another family business shutting.
Dell and I had cold drinks served in the new anodised milkshake cups yesterday. Those beakers do get icy cold! We didn't have milkshakes (orange juice and ginger beer instead) but we did have straws, perfect for a really hot Spring day. You know how I feel about hot weather and it was funny to have customers in who said that whilst they were hanging out for Summer felt a bit shocked by a 30+ day this early in the season-
34 predicted for today which might explain why I am procrastinating going to the studio!
I better make a move.
Don't forget we've got embroidered Mexican Frida dresses to go with those sandals!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

chores, chirping and crossed wires

I'm being slow this morning. I'm like this on Monday mornings usually but I didn't get a chance yesterday as I was doing my 'community service' and helping out as guest assessor at RMIT which was fun. So this morning Jethro and I awoke without the alarm (I am so much more relaxed and less grumpy coming to this way), showered and then went back to bed with a mug of tea, Jethro is napping on top of the chest of drawers as I type.
I am trying to decide what I should do today. Studio? Soap making? Perhaps most important of all I should check the list of things that need to be done in the next few weeks and make a list of dates. There is a reason for this, in the two weeks I have managed to stuff up/almost stuff up a couple of  appointments. I thought I was meant to be at RMIT on the 22nd and only realised in a dream (!) that it was the 29th I was booked in for and I turned up for a bbq at the friend's place last Sunday afternoon when in fact it is on next Sunday (I even had cake too as requested). To salve my wounded pride I apparently wasn't the only one that turned up on Sunday. On top of all this stupidity I slept really badly on Sunday night and woke shaky and 'lopsided'. Do you think I might need some downtime? I have never (repeatedly) done forgetful things like this before.
Our budgies have finally arrived. I think they would have flown themselves quicker than Australia Post managed to deliver them. The big chap in the background is an Indian Ring-necked  Parakeet, check that red beak out, I find it quite amusing that we go from one extreme to the other- cute fake birds to taxidermy real birds! I'm sure Dell will have fun today placing them in cute kissing bird tableaux.
I think this morning's main chore will be to get the washing on, it's going to be hot today and it will be perfect weather for getting the sheets dry. The housework still needs to fit in somewhere.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

beaker beaker

I've just 15 minutes trying to photograph our new anodised milkshake beakers to discover yesterday's 'happy snap' is the nicest photo taken... and here it is. Oh my! How I love these little beauties, they are all shiny and sparkly new but I think they will be even better when they get scratched and beaten. I want to use them on a hot hot day with condensation dulling the outside. Three colours, a bright electric blue, a silver-y green the colour of a those triangular chocolates in the Quality Street selection and a fabulous rose red (you better be quick on the red as we only have a couple of these left but there is more on order).
Having complained about the issues we've been having with getting special stock for the shop these milkshakers appeared to take the place of some of the enamelware we were attempting to import and then I got an email yesterday from the people I have been waiting on to confirm an order I placed over a month again- the joys of dealing with people in countries that don't have reliable telecommunications networks. Of course the order has gone missing but we are trying all over again and fingers crossed we will get the stock we have been dreaming about for the last 4 months.
I worked quite hard this week and was knackered by the end of yesterday. I was limping around in the afternoon as my lower back had completely gone out and sent shooting pains through my hips. A few more years and I will be a decrepit old wreck. I brought back two huge bags of cushions from the studio, lovely vintage linen florals and some stunning blue-y green Welshies and of course a few tea towels cushions to top it all off. Mountains of the damn things. Friday is always cushioning day.
I'm absolutely longing for a lie in tomorrow, I seem to have accidentally wracked up a few late nights this week. I stupidly plugged my phone into the computer, it attempted an upgrade and then crashed into repair mode and I had to sit there until 1am while it restored settings and reloaded. Technological fail. And  Instagram is chewing through my credit and I must keep away from it, Shock of the New app, I seemed to have splurged on it way too much yesterday.
Last night I made clocks. Finally. It has been in the procrastination basket but as a few were sold yesterday I thought I needed to fill the holes on the wall. I might even put out the new oven mitts today too. I better get off the computer then and go tart up a few displays.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

linen and lemon

This is Jethro's morning spot at the moment. He likes to sit in the window as I leave for the studio, looking handsome and playing to the crowds. I'd love to record his interactions with the outside creatures, once in a while we catch him snubbing someone with a feline haughty expression.
The purse framer did its job and we have a stack of brand new vintage linen granny purses in the shop. There will be new plasticised grannies perfect for makeup soon too and hopefully I'll find some lovely leathers to do more of the leather purses soon. I've been working The Beast (binding machine) hard this week, an order of a  hundred metres of tea towel bunting, oven mitts, doing the trims on the purses and today another batch of bunting. This bunting is special, it's made from raw linen souvenir tablecloths and is bound in bright lemon yellow herringbone tape. It's my concession to the neutral/fluoro bright fashion of the moment. We are finding the whole fluoro thing a bit of a giggle as we have been selling Cambridge Satchels for over a year in these colours and Miss Dell is famous for her knitting of builders's twine which she has been doing for yonks. I think I have pretty much cut up my whole stash of raw linen cloths now so this bunting is going to be a one-off.
I seem to be making a dint in the studio mess simply by using stuff up. The big double trestle table (four trestles, two doors) in the middle of the studio has been an elephant's graveyard of 'stuff' for the last year.
Yesterday I suddenly noticed that the pile on the top had lowered by about 2 and 1/2 feet and there are faint signs that the table top is showing through. I am amazed. I still can't find the stash of VITT (very important tea towels) that I discovered was missing last week. Fingers crossed they suddenly reappear.
Anyway I'm off to de-mould  some soap before bed. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

it bites

This is the purse framer. Now it's out of the corner I am not sure whether it is a praying mantis or some kind of four legged animal. It managed to bite a hole in my brand new top though.
I've lined its 'mouth' with felt to soften the squeeze and it looks like it's all going to work.
Quite pleased that I didn't consign it to the scrapheap years ago in a fit of pique. See there is a reason for hoarding.

crouching jig, hidden brain

'Hump day' is another name for Wednesday I've heard, for people who are excited that we are sliding into the weekend. For someone like me it's more 'damn what have I not achieved so far day'.
What have I managed to work on so far this week? Well apart from a slight sense of 5am panic I've been working on oven mitts for TDF Open House, felt ones and new quilted blanket ones made from our blanket quilt offcuts. I also spent some of yesterday prepping for a huge purse making session and had one of those moments at the sewing machine where I suddenly realised something. I suddenly realised that the old purse framing jig that I scored when Bambi Handbags closed down might actually work with the new frames we now use. In the past I could never get it work with the old curved profile frames and it had turned into a bit of an 'industrial antique' display piece in the studio, crouching in the corners like a weird insect. Looks like one of the dies fits perfectly! The motto is 'never throw anything away... one day your brain will catch up with your equipment'.
So that's my bit of excitement, fingers crossed it all works. Now I am just hoping incoming money will catch up with the bills and that I start to feel more optimistic. I'm off to see if I can get a soap stamp made this morning, I'll let you know how I go.

Monday, 22 October 2012

beat it

I've had a slight mental health day today. I realised in the middle of a dream on Saturday night that I had got the RMIT dates wrong and that it wasn't until next Monday that I had to be there to participate on the assessment panel. As I had written today off due to that, it seemed like a good idea to use the day catching up on a few things (OK not a total mental health day but getting some emails ticked off is always good).
I've sent in some orders for stock that should have been done a month ago, of course now I will need to find the money to pay for them. It's been a long and painful month chasing my tail over money and 'robbing Peter to pay Paul', October is awful like that and piking out of doing markets probably hasn't helped. Let me tell you all you craft types out there who fantasise over having a little shop of their own... it ain't all ginger beer and skittles, it can be a right pain in the kazoo at times.
I've spent the last few months hunting down special stock I really wanted for the shop and sadly it's looking like half of the products we were the most excited about won't be in store any time soon. It's often quite hard getting overseas suppliers interested in selling to a little store half a world away. I have dreams of winning lotto and spending the rest of my days wandering the globe hunting stock down and sending it back to a beautiful little warehouse which we would then open for huge sales every season. Dream on sucker. I also have dreams of getting the mess that is my tax muddle sorted.
I treated myself today, you've gotta eat cake sometimes and it may as well be the best in town.  A jaunt over to Beatrix, Nat's cakes always make me feel good. They are like the most perfect Melbourne Autumn or Spring day served in a slice. Let's just say the 'Trez Leche' taken in small forkfuls is making the afternoon go down a bit smoother.

Saturday, 20 October 2012


A slight attack of the sillies this morning, a bit of laughter down at Fat Man and a bit of tickling with Jethro- perhaps it's all because I'm not marketeering this weekend, high on the sense of freedom! I popped up to FindersKeepers last night (all be myself as no one I know wanted to go), it was pretty cruise-y whilst I was there (did it get crazy like the last one?) and I got to chat with some of my favourite Melbourne and ex-Melbourne makers (not all listed here!). It really was rather nice being carefree and chatty but I really wish the Taco Truck had been there....
So shopgirl duty today and I am looking forward to it being Saturday this week. It's been a weirdly fraught type of week, no great spanner in the works but the haze of splitting headaches and feeling lacklustre. I love that word, 'lacklustre', 'lacking lustre', really sums up how things are sometimes, dull.
I worked in the studio yesterday doing a pile of procrastination jobs, little re-stocking jobs that one just leaves and leaves until they haven't been done in ages. Would you believe I have just realised I left all the pegbags I made in the studio?? Damn and blast! What an idiot! Arrrgggh! Bugger! I did remember to bring some new Welsh blanket cushions back with me though, a crazy Brynkir Navaho pattern in blue, yellow and hot pink that makes my heart sing and a fabulous riotous khaki and orange one that is amazing.
OK, time to do the Saturday morning chores. Please drop in if you are heading into/out of FindersKeepers, the Cottage is just down the road!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

mountains to scale

My mountain of Welsh blankets makes me happy. Well they would if I didn't feel so frustrated and headache-y and annoyed as I do at the moment. I seem to have misplaced a rather important and special stash of tea towels and no matter how much sifting and shifting and sorting I do in the studio I just can't seem to find them. I feel like I am going a bit crazed and that perhaps I have used them all up and don't remember (I haven't on either counts I am sure). Perhaps I am in some strange loop cycle (see the zip buying incident) and my brain has turned to mush and I haven't quite noticed, a nasty case of CRAFT* syndrome.
I didn't make it to the openings at Craft this evening nor Dell's exhibition 'closing' as I had another splitter of a headache. I did send along a box of Yum Yum Balls to Life in Space however- if you are a child of the 70s did you ever make Yum Yums? Marie biscuits, cocoa powder, dessicated coconut and condensed milk. Ah, the memories, perhaps I do have dementia, regressing obviously.
What a right off of a week this one has been and it isn't quite over yet. I got some tea towel cushions done today but even that was a struggle. I have plans for tomorrow, an attack on some work as I will not have a studio day on Monday as I am off to participate in a bit of end of the year assessment at RMIT.
Wish me luck for tomorrow!

*Can't Remember A Fucking Thing

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

pretty polly

I think I may fall into bed tonight. It's been a long and slightly 'off' day today.
On the up side I went out and collected the main flock of our Xmas birds and have spent a fair whack of this evening pricing them, Dell got the ball rolling before she left and I've left 3 boxes to be tagged but they are almost done. I've put some out already although I did um-and-ah as to whether it was too early. I've kept back some that are a bit glitter-y and festive.... and the little glass owls are still in their boxes.... and there are more things to come.
This big parrot is a stunner and we have only 6 of them. I've popped one in the window on the branch and I am hoping he gives a few people a fright if they see him out of the corner of their eye. Jethro has attempted to break into the box of parrots, amusing to watch but they are all out of paws way now.
I signed on for Instagram this evening. Once again I am blaming peer-pressure so you better follow me (@penedurston) so I can justify the time I am sure to waste there. Sigh. And we hit 400 likes on our Cottage fb page today, which I am quite chuffed about although I know it is measly compared with some/all other pages but I am not taking it personally and am hoping that I won't feel like the unpopular girl at school which is how I view a lot of these things, a strange popularity contest......
Anyway I'm rambling as I think my brain has gone to sleep and not told the rest of me.
Night all.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

string theory

Tuesday again.
I'm having trouble kickstarting myself this morning. Chugga,chug, chug, chugga...... yawn.
I would really just like to hide away for a day I think. And oh my it's quarter to 10 already.
I suppose I could pike off for the day sort of and do some running about and email writing that didn't happen yesterday. I was on-call as our new shopgirl was learning the ropes. I had to go through everything with her and it was quite a brain drain for both of us, dredging up all that information that is just ingrained  now.
Late yesterday I had another weird interaction with this guy trying to sell us advertising space in a street guide/map. Every time he comes in and I explain it isn't something we do he gets argumentative and my hackles rise, I don't think he realises that he just makes me dig my heals in because of his attitude. I wonder sometimes if I just don't fit what is expected of a retailer, I don't like playing the 'game' and perhaps it is to my detriment- but I just don't want to do it that way!
More Xmas bits arriving (see I still play along with the 'retail festivus', I haven't turned my back on that yet) with little wooden spools of butcher's twine. They could be stocking stuffers or decoration in themselves tied to a present or hanging from the tree like stripey stringy 'candy canes' of twine.
Anyway I'm still not decided on what to do today. I could just go to the studio........

Sunday, 14 October 2012


You'll probably roll your eyes and think me a complete twit but I had a bit of a revelation today.
It started yesterday when I realised that FindersKeepers happens next weekend, I'd completely blanked it out from my mind, I knew it was this month but had just forgotten when. Then today I spent the whole day cleaning the kitchen, doing the washing and pottering about. I hate cleaning beyond anything but I had a lovely day and really quite enjoyed myself, I had to stop and have a think about this strange phenomena.
So you see I had a revelation.
If I had committed myself to the next three markets coming up I would have been stressed and furiously working to produce market-style stock. Instead over the last few weeks I have been making new clothes, stitching up beautiful cushions, staring in wonder at our beautiful new scarves- and doing something as mundane as cleaning my kitchen. Happily cleaning my kitchen.
So today I learnt that whilst I may have forfeited some money making possibilities I gained something much more important, a quiet sense of pleasure in pottering about my house. The kitchen isn't totally cleaned, under the fridge and washing machine are still to be tackled another day, the cupboards under the bench need to be cleared out, washed and repacked and lets say at head height there are still many surfaces that need a good dusting but there is an amazing expanse of floor now cleared of bags of gloves and there is bench space free for some work to be done.
As you can tell I am quite pleased with myself.
And a nice way to cap the day- Jack Irish on the couch.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

floral delights

I am such a textile nerd I have a favourite Sanderson linen print design. Yep, nerd. It's called 'Boveney', it's the blue one in the photo and we've had it in green and, I think, mauve from memory. I do love the dark colour background linens and the ones printed on raw linen so their colours are dirtied up a bit.
I'm waffling lyrical about furnishing linens this morning as I managed to get some cushions made up yesterday before I ran out of zips and inserts.
I discovered whilst hunting for zips that in the last two weeks I have managed to go to my haberdashery wholesaler twice and double buy zips that I needed. I must remember to wipe the shopping list from the 'note' section of my phone once I've bought the damn things next time, remind me to double then triple check my zip stocks. So of course I have heaps of some sizes and ran out of the ones I needed.....
We pulled all the cushions off the lower level of the bunk and repacked them all when I got back from the studio yesterday afternoon. These beauties are out in the shop now. We've only got a limited amount of the red print and there are only two red 'Garden Glories' /blue 'Boveney' combo ones, they are beautiful and very special and don't complain to me if you miss out on one/both.
What else has happened this week? Not a lot I feel and things I can't speak of yet have got the green light which is super exciting and I will continue to tease you about that. Soon my pretties soon. This time of the year is dreadful for juggling incoming and outgoing and I am dreading every bill and fidgeting over when stock will be arriving, it's dementing. We had sold out of our Heico cockatoo lights but they are back in stock once again, the shop always seems bare when they are missing. Hopefully our budgies (stuffed) will arrive next week.
So much to do.
OK time to set the shop to rights and hunt down all the gloves Jethro has 'caught' overnight and left scattered through the house. Don't think I'll be spinning yarn today (sometimes I feel like a freak the way customers stare at me as I do it), I might thread trade bead necklaces instead as they have been very popular.
You know where to find me, it is Saturday after all.

Friday, 12 October 2012

if it doesn't move label it

I bought a Dymo to label a mountain of tins holding little components.
There appears to be other things that are more fun to label.
I loved it as a kid when Dad brought the Dymo home from work. In those days it was the height of technology. Fancy. Now graphic designers fake it in Illustrator. So it goes.
I told a young waitress off (nicely) for calling me 'ma'am' yesterday. It is an affectation that drives me insane, perhaps it is the egalitarian Aussie that is coming out in me, but I wasn't in an establishment that should have felt the need to go formal on me. I think it is American service mentality, she said it was English, I begged to differ in this case, I think she's been watching too much 'Downton Abbey' and thought she was being polite. I'm inclined to believe she started her career with McDonalds training.
You see it's all about labels.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

sweep and stack

Yesterday was the first non-shopgirl day since last Friday and I managed to get a bit of dashing about done in the morning and then finally stumbled into the studio. I was dead tired but rallied a little to start putting rolls of fabric on the new shelves. I thought for a while that it was making no difference, that in fact the mess was so great nothing would save me from being lost in a hoarder's mess from Hell. Suddenly like a break in the clouds an empty spot appeared. I swept and vacuumed it. Dragged the wire shelving unit over and stacked a new stash of vintage furnishing linens on it and admired their prettiness. Then I went home.
I am having trouble getting out of bed, I am blaming it on this Daylight Savings malarkey- or it could of course just be my sloth. I am deeply lazy by nature, look at my hatred of cleaning as evidence, and would rather lie about reading and snoozing and drinking cups of tea (although then you have to get up and wee.....).
I'm up and dressed now so I suppose I should head off to the studio and get a few things done. I think I need to tackle the cleaning in slow measure segments. A little bit here, a little bit there. I certainly have no room to unpack the storeroom as yet, in fact the mess over in that area has got worse as I had to throw stuff around in order to set up the new shelves. There are a few bags of op shop crap that need to be sent off and when the studio building lift is finally repaired I will get Graham the Garbo in to cart away the build up of tapestry frames and glass. Lordy you must be bored with my cleaning dilemmas and wondering why I can't keep it all under control in the first place.
The final word on this subject today is you should see all the freakin' fabric I have and yes, before you ask,  I unearthed stuff I had forgotten I had.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

basket of stuff

Things are arriving.
Fearfully I must say Xmas is creeping closer.

My last day in the shop today- until next Saturday of course. I had quite a few appointments on the boil in between serving customers yesterday. We've had stock go out for a milk ad shoot and hopefully we might get to see some Cottage products on the small screen soon. There are a few other things brewing but I feel slightly nervous that I might jinx it if I say anything (I may even have gone too far already!) but one thing I can say is TDF OH is happening this year, south of the river this time, and we've been invited to be part of it again.
I have so many things I need to do at the moment, tomorrow though, I intend to collect all the rolls of fabric in the studio together and insert them into the new shelves. The plan has been to empty out the storeroom so I can turn it into a bit of a photo booth and get some product shots done. Really I should walk it all down the hall and get Michael to photograph everything but you know me, I like to waste as much time and effort trying to do it myself before throwing my hands up in frustration and palming it off to some one else. Hence the mess my accounting system is at the moment, rather like a large ball of tangled wool.
Anyway I must dash as I have a heap of things to do before I open the shop. Come visit if you are in the 'hood!

Monday, 8 October 2012

toast accident, very sticky

I managed to have a toast accident this morning and now have a large pile of paperwork sticky with cumquat marmalade. I am lucky it didn't all end up on the keyboard I suppose.
I didn't get in much of a weekend (Sunday) as I spent a fair chunk of the afternoon up at the studio getting some work sorted as I am in the shop filling in today and tomorrow, normal service will be resumed as of next week. I needed to get some tea towel cushions sorted and make a big batch of bunting, sometimes being in the studio on a holiday or a weekend day makes you focus a bit harder and get the work done so you can get out of there quick-sticks, no fluffing about looking for distractions. I made up the tea towel cushions I needed and a few more whilst I was at it, they have gone on the pile in the shop.

Vintage Melbourne tea towels tend to be a bit rare (they all leave the state) but I've scored a couple and you better be quick, they always go fast. Look at that arts centre spire! Wish they had covered it in copper like they intended, think of that wonderful verdigris! If I get bored today I might post some photos of cushions here.
Damn, it's 10.30 already. By the way I've decided we should drop daylight savings, 6 months of it is just ridiculous. I think I would rather put black-out curtains on my windows to cut the morning glare than have that extra hour at the end of the day. Summers are so freakin' hot that by the evening I am longing for a bit of dark to cut the glare. Anyway you know I'm biased and like Autumn/Winter/Spring best of all.
You'll find me in the shop if you are looking for me.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

hankie pankie

What a social day I had in the shop yesterday! People dropping in, tea cake and gourmet popcorn being delivered, phone rung off the hook, parcels arriving in a flurry in the afternoon and I even got some work done. I am definitely out of weekday shopgirl training though, that last hour feels so weird as I am used to closing at 5pm on a Saturday or breezing in from the studio for the last hour of the day.
New stock is slowly creeping into the shop. The seersucker tops are in and I've been playing with some handkerchief checks that will be turned into drop waisted sundresses and tops. I think they might have to be named after this lovely lady, not because we think she might wear them but for the handkerchief bit. I do love a hankie check, it makes me think of stealing a snot rag from the pile in Dad's drawer. Well washed and well used they were soft and lovely and pressed smooth- of course useless when wet and rugged your nose raw. I have to say I do love an aloe vera tissue, the best invention (however aloe vera infused underpants I do not get).
I finally got to string the new trade bead necklaces. I carted these to Tasmania to do, I think I pulled them out once rolled my eyes and shoved them back in my bag. They were a nice thing to do whilst being shopgirl. They have hand-twisted silk cord ties that have been hand-dyed in bright yellow, orange and blue and I will make more with new coloured cords soon. The beads are really beautiful Venetian glass, different sizes and shapes and some with tiny lines of colour running through them. They remind me of the Bo Peep dolly mix lollies from Darrell Lea, how I wished I'd scored some of those before they closed.

Oh my! Is that the time? I better get a move on. I really didn't want to get out of bed this morning and it is looking like I will have to go to the studio tomorrow (on a SUNDAY) to get a few things finished. Hopefully a bit of a sleep in though before I have to do some work.

Thursday, 4 October 2012


There has been a bit of excitement around the Cottage for the last few days.
We heard our scarf samples were on their way.
We were a bit nervous, Dell was waiting on her patchwork woodies and I on my tapestry goodies and with digital printing there is always a bit of fear.

They are stunning.
They were printed on a heavy-ish scarf weight silk satin and they glow and shimmer. They have wonderful drape and these ones are a huge 130cm square (there is also a few 90cm ones) but are really easy to wear. Dell and I had multiple scarves looped around our necks and they are just beautiful.

And we sold one as we were unpacking them!
I've got 3 tapestry designs, including the one we've nicknamed 'Bree' as the original tapestry was borrowed from the lovely Bree of Mr Kitly fame, the big floral and the country cottage. The edges are all hand rolled and really they are just completely LUSH!

Hopefully Dell will get a chance to post photos of her designs very soon. I think a couple may be heading into the final week of her show at Westspace. Woody good indeed!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

sea seersucker

I picked up the shelf framework this morning, slapped it together in 20 minutes but now have to wait on the wooden shelves. I also finally managed to get the storage room light working with a change of tube and a new flasher unit, I can see all of its corners now! When the shelf-y bits arrive I will scour the studio for every roll of fabric and file them all away. I am looking forward to it! I'm hoping the boys deliver the wood tomorrow so I can do a bit of sorting before I become shopgirl for two days.
We've found a replacement for Anna so instead of Yem filling in, I am. It's been quiet with the school holidays, up and down weather and Xmas looming- I hate this time of the year. The weather maybe beautiful in Melbourne (such a Spring and Autumn city) but it is always the time when money-in and money-out never really balances. It is stressful and annoying.
Whilst I am itching to have the shelves up and sorting started I have also been flitting from one job to another. There are pot holders and mitts on the go, cushions that need to be made, Summery clothing worked on and new things started. Flit flit flit. I've been stitching up some tops in some lovely indigo and green cotton seersucker, the fabric is like the sea and much more blue than it appears in the photo. It makes me happy. I've decided that I need to farm the design work out for one of our new projects, I know I am not up to it and really could spend my time better elsewhere. When it comes back in I will be the one doing the grunt work done to get it finish it so I may as well learn to delegate.
We've got a few new things in the pipeline which I'll let you know about if they come to fruition, funnily enough it's all popped up in the last few days. Fingers crossed. Also I can't remember whether I let you know that we aren't doing any more markets this year, so no FindersKeepers or Markit. Whilst they are always good for a cash injection the truth is I find doing markets stressful and rather unpleasant. It's a bit hard to explain really but I think it is that full on expense of energy for such a short time, I'm really not a sprinter, and, as Dell pointed out, they get in the way for working on new things. And really it seems a bit silly when two of the big markets are happen 100mt up the road from the shop. I have been feeling like I haven't been invited to a party that everyone else is going to (if you know what I mean) but I'm getting my head around making a decision that I know feels right.
Well I'm off to read my book, on my ipad which is something that I am in two minds about. I love books in all their paper-y goodness but when you have scoured the bookshops and can't find a copy of a book you really want to read then being able to download at midnight is really a marvel.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

stock piled

The studio is a real mess. A hoarder's delight. A creative's nightmare.
I can't wait until the fabric roll shelves arrive. There will be much moving about of stuff and the unpacking of the storeroom, it will be nice to pile all the rolls of fabric up and decide what will stay and what will go. Perhaps I will find material I would like to make things from.
I have discovered I have stockpiled more blankets than I thought, although I think that many of them appeared after the last quilt making. They will need to be folded and packed in bags and lugged to the top of the new shelves. After I'd graded a couple of patterns today I think the discovery of all those blankets made me look anew at the off-cuts of the blanket quilts. I got out the oven mitt and pot holder patterns and started chopping, so now we have a new product happening. We are all for mega recycling, recycling the recycled, around here.
I'm really am quite pathetic getting excited by a shelving unit!

Monday, 1 October 2012

better butter

Mondays sometime end up half work, half tinkering about.
I spent the morning emailing and doing shop/work stuff and then headed out to Bunnings (could their service be any worse??), got some plywood cut, bought a couple of tomato plants I have nowhere to put, trailed up and down the stacks and chose a replacement kitchen rubbish bin that is exactly the same as the one in the kitchen now, just 4 1/2 years younger and clean, then off to one of our wholesale supply places and back to the shop.
I started culturing up some cream to make butter and decided to beat it this afternoon. I haven't made butter since I was about 6 years old but it is one of those things that has just stuck in my head and with my addiction to handmade butter (wanker) I thought it was about time to make some, having picked up the Gourmet Farmer Deli Cookbook when I was in Tasmania probably hasn't helped. Anyway I chucked the cream in the KitchenAid, draped a towel over it to catch the splatters and turned it on. Easy-peasy. Except for the bit right at the end where I left the kitchen for less than a minute at what turned out to be a crucial time and returned to find a pool of buttermilk on the floor and bench. Luckily the saturated tea towel stopped the mess spreading across the ceiling and walls.
The butter got washed and squeezed and salted and some may have been eaten spread on some seriously average scones. I need some butter paddles, their grooves really come into play getting the excess moisture out and I am worried that I haven't squeezed this batch enough. We might have to use it up in some salty choc chip cookies.
Really should have been doing 'real' work but sometimes you just have to have a play afternoon.