Yes, today is the last day of November, this is it folks. For a little independent retailer like me this is when the mix of panic and excitement sets in, t'is officially the start of the big Xmas trading month (well 24 days actually).
We are also only a few days out from the Big Design Market, set up begins on Thursday and then three full days of being carni-folk. Are you coming? Is there anything you would like me to have there? We'll be releasing the new batch of felt pennants at the market, Rebecca has done an amazing job on them! Rebecca is the fabulous artist that I worked on the Stitching Time project with and today is the last day you can go to see this exhibition that Dell and Isobel curated.
I've got so much today before the bump in, organising and making, working out timetables and how we will get things there, maybe even making lists. Everyone tells me I am great at throwing it all together but what if I don't manage that this time?? Argh! I'm sure it will be fine (I keep telling myself...). Generally I am good in a crisis.
So I am shopgirl today if you need me for anything. I have new satchels to flog, some new bright birds, I made some more indigo silk velvet cushions and you better be quick as the Turkish towels are growing legs and walking out the door.
Oh and any suggestions for some really comfortable shoes to wear whilst working up at the Exhibition Building? My feet are killing me already just at the thought of it!
OK, time to get moving. This day is leaking time.
Just a quicky this morning!
The FedEx man delivered our first Cambridge Satchel order in ages (don't ask...) and we have new colours and the return of some old favourites. A spectrum of leathery goodness! Some of the colours/sizes are very limited so be speedy if you are after a particular one. Funnily enough the new shipment of birds matches the satchels!
We also scored some very cute Mexican bottle brush Xmas trees from our friend Zara, these are delightfully wonky with their little rough wooden bases and are for hanging although you can stand them up too. There are only a few available of these and they go really well with the little deer and reindeers.
I'm off to the studio in a couple of minutes to attempt to get work done. I am still panicking about Big Design Market as I still have the pennants to make and the artwork isn't quite done yet, so therefore the screens haven't been made and the printing isn't done..... funnily enough this is exactly where we were at last May when we released the first batch! We will get there.
And I found out on Wednesday that I have to have surgery to my hand... but I am just ignoring that at the moment.
I'm sitting at the computer trying to get emails and orders sorted, chasing up shipments and tracking them across the planet, things are on their way, some parcels have arrived and more to come. Yesterday the two boxes of beautiful handwoven Turkish towels arrived (after detouring to Brisbane, they are more travelled than me) and customers were snaffling them even as I unpacked them. We've new colourways in the big towels and best of all we have the handtowels too in six (I think) designs/colourways as well.... they are so pretty! You better be quick as we have sold out of one hand towel style already and have only one left in another style.
(I'm having trouble stringing sentences together this morning. Excuse me if I am a bit all over the place.)
Yesterday was a strange ol' day. Things got done but by 5pm I was so very weary and could have just curled up and slept. I have so much to do this week and am once again pushing that panic down. I did manage to get some indigo dyeing done and now have velvet ready to go for cushions and 'gingerbread' hearts. I also started mordanting in preparation for cochineal dyeing but misplaced the tannin and the first batch of pink/red didn't go quite to plan.... which was good because I then had a play and ended up with an amazing combination of coral pink and indigo velvet. I am rather pleased with it but a bit nervous as it is in the washing machine having its final rinse, this is when things can go horribly wrong.... and I just nipped downstairs to check and yes it is a huge failure.... oh well. It's all just a big experiment. I have plans though...
OK, better get moving.
Lots to do.
A slightly crazed morning with a mad dash to Coburg for the farmers market to pick up some of Dr Marty's marvellous crumpets, a big bag of amazing tree ripened organic apricots (hopefully to make jam but I'm not sure how I will go with a knife to chop them up...) and some Myrtleford Butter Co butter. I think the Tasmanian raw honey will only just make it through the weekend with those crumpets in the house. My kitchen sink looks like a floral still life with flowers in various stages of decay and bunches of beetroot lolling about.
I managed to survive this week, splint and all, and am happy that I actually knocked a few things off the to-do list. The felt oven mitts are ready to go out and will be available at Craft and through the ASRC catalogue soon. I also managed to get some vintage blanket pot holders, mohair hotwater bottle covers and a couple of African wax print chemise dresses done. There is still so much more to do and I know I am about to lose time in the next week with appointments at the hospital and deliveries and pick ups...
OK, lost time for a while there looking at photos on instagram but now I am back. I must race off and get the shop ready to open. I hope Jethro doesn't decide he has an overwhelming need to be a brat five minutes to 11am as I am not as quick as usual at the moment. We have lots of lovely new stock in, there is more things coming this week (more on that later) and if Fastway Couriers hadn't decided to send a parcel meant for Melbourne to Brisbane we would have even more beautiful things in..... ha.
I'm dithering now. Come and visit. I'm shopgirl, please excuse my slightly dodgy wrapping and receipt writing.
It's been a busy week.
I got my splint changed and now have a lighter one made from plastimake and I am back in the studio. I can't say it is easy or painless working with it on but I am trying to get at least one project ticked off each day. I feel like I am working incredibly slowly but I think it is just that I am aware of every movement. I see the surgeon on Wednesday afternoon to find out whether I will have to have surgery to have a pin fitted. Wonder what they will say if I tell them that I can't do it until after the Big Design Market has been put to bed.
Last night was the opening of the TDF Open House. It was a lovely evening, relaxed and chatty, and the house is amazing. Three more days to go and I have heard rumours about some stock selling out in an hour or two. The Dulux dog is making an appearance every day too!
I am still in a total clamped down panic over all the things I need to organise before we do the dump in at the Exhibition Building. It's freaking me out. I've also had stock go missing with it ending up in Brisbane.... very annoying. We are slowly unpacking more and more Xmas decorations and I am trying to find a moment to photograph them and get them into the online shop. Never ending.
My hand is making me very tired, I'm incredibly weary, it's time for bed.
How glad I am going to be once this week is over. I have the specialist on Monday seeing to my hand and am looking forward to losing the thumping huge splint and being fitted with something smaller and more manageable. I ended up back in Emergency last night to have the bloody plaster and bandage contraption re-fitted and got all 'woe is me', then thought how lucky we are to have free public healthcare or that my home hasn't been wrecked by a typhoon and realised I was being so 'first world' and was appalled by my inner moaning. I am also looking forward to feeling a little less overwhelmed by everything, it's been a right shit of a year so far but I am luckier than so many people in this fucked up world.
So getting back to be all 'first world' I went and picked up our Xmas decorations and they are so pretty. Old fashioned indent style glass baubles, pretty little birds, funny how sparkly things can sooth a battered soul. The bauble sets are the best vintage style glass ones we have ever come across and are pretty accurate, if you remember my real vintage ones we used to sell you will k now what I mean. We've got some individual ones but also sets on twelve and even some tree toppers. I'm all for liberating them from the tree and hanging them on a wall. even on a pegboard if you have one, you could even washi tape them to a window (or wall), string them across a mantlepiece, hang them from a light.
My favourite piece is the tinsel garland, made from twisted wire and silver bullion tinsel leaves, it reminds me of the Kinari Bazar in Old Dehli where everyone goes to by wedding finery. This is tinsel in the real sense, made from fine cut metal foil, it shimmers and trembles and this won't be put away once Xmas is over.
I better get a move on. I've got piles of boxes everywhere that need to find a home before I open the shop and I am hoping Jethro doesn't act like a brat this week like he did last Saturday.
What a week this has been, not a fun week at all.
I've ended up with broken bones in my right hand (including a break that was discovered in the CT scan that was missed in the trip to Launceston Hospital back in September) and now have a plaster splint from my palm up almost up to my elbow. Yep, really did a good job this time.
And at the absolute worst time of the year.
And on top of a seriously ill father in hospital.
And being financial stressed.
And exhausted.... the reason I probably haven't bounced well over the last 3 months and have had pinched nerves, bruised coccyx and developed the habit of falling onto all fours on the hard ground.
I'm 'treading water' until I see the specialist on Monday and hopefully will be fitted with a less bulky splint. Apparently the old break makes things a bit more complex. *sigh*
We've got the Big Design Market coming up and I am flummoxed by the logistics of the whole thing at this point in time.
But even while all this has been going on there has still been deliveries happening and lovely things arriving. Look at that unused (!) vintage enamel! Fabulous! And the 'daisy' lids for the mason jars, perfect for sprinkling or drinking! And I am just about to go pick up our glass Xmas decorations. I think it might be time for the Cottage to go a bit Xmas-y, we've had people coming in asking so I think it might be time. It also might actually make me feel a bit better to get the shop tizzed up a bit. Working out where the hell we are going to put things might take my mind off my crippled wing.
So just to let you know, the shop might be opening a tad late this morning.
I had a bit of a tumble yesterday afternoon taking out the recycling. Ended up on all fours again, much/exactly like the accident at Cradle Mountain in September and have now managed to injure my right hand on the opposite side to that klutziness. have a bruised radial nerve in my thumb and torn tendons. I'm off this morning for a CAT scan and as I am on shopgirl duty I'm hoping that I will be back in time to open up.
As I was lying there I looked up and discovered I had a flat tyre. In screaming agony I changed the tyre before limping inside (you should see my knees) to sit on the couch with an ice pack. I even went back out to finish my chores before taking myself off to the emergency last night.
Could this be an even worse time to damage my hand- again? I think not.
It's going to be a busy couple of weeks.
I'm getting slowly/quickly more fearful of the work I need to do.
At least this part is done and dusted and delivered! If you look very closely you might spy some Cottage product on the roof of that Mini. If you join in the fun of 'spot the Mini' you can win stuff... reminds me of the 3XY Thunder days!
I'm off today to pick up another shipment of Mason jars and I'm waiting on boxes of Xmas stock to arrive. I'm also waiting for the bank account to lose it's anaemic tinge so that I can get the ball rolling on other projects. Ball rolling/juggling/kicking, I keep trying to tell myself it is always like this at this time of the year, that the switch will flip over and things will start moving again. But what if they don't? Yes I am a pessimist but it means I am never disappointed with the outcome (pleasantly surprised or told you so, it's a win/win situation).
Jethro and I did sleep in a tad this morning. I had strange dreams about op shops in obscure one way streets and shops in basements that you had to enter via ladders. Trying to place orders for things and phone lines dropping out. Having to tramp through office buildings and over bridges to get from A to B. Don't quite know how to 'read' these 'night travels'. Well actually I do.... but let's not going into it too deeply!
OK. I'm off. Vacuuming and box stashing to do.
And I'll be in the shop tomorrow if you are in the 'hood and looking for me.
It's been one of those weeks, the type that you wish you could cancel and re-boot. One of those weeks that wear you down and leave you so flat you might be mistaken for a pancake. Eight days straight with splitting headaches probably makes it a bit hard to see the world clearly too. If you were to say it was all down to Mercury being retrograde I might even believe you this time, that's how wearisome it has been.
Anyway, I am trying to pick myself up, shake myself off, buck myself up and generally do a lot of wishing for fair weather (really mixing up my metaphors here I think but you get the drift). We've not long until the Big Design Market, Xmas and all that end of year stuff (hence why I shitting myself) so I have to come up with a plan of action. I may actually have pinned a huge sheet of paper on the studio wall with a list of things I need to work on and you know things must be at crisis point as I loath lists.
Even though I was battling with a runny nose and sneezing last night (those headaches might actually be a virus) I managed to do a quick shop change about, the window is kind of same-same but with another wax print chemise and a new rug (it's huge, it's beautiful) and I've changed the cushion colours a bit. Until I can dye some more velvet and make some indigo 'gingerbread' hearts for us (this week's batch went off to the TDF Open House) I've used the heart wall to display these fabulous soap holders. They look like squiggly wiggly drawings of what a soap holder should look like! Over on IG we've been discussing what else you could use them for, lollies, toys, air plants..... We've got a limited number so you better get in quick on these! And if you are desperate for an indigo heart I have a couple stashed away, just ask.
I'm doing the pre-Xmas juggle of waiting for the Xmas spending to start so that I can pay for the Xmas stock we ordered in February, it is an unbelievably stressful time for us little retailers. I've been going to write about this promotion but every time I start typing something about it I feel a little weird and delete it. Let's just say there is credit up for grabs for customers and small shops can also win some money, we take this card and don't mind if you use it. Nuff said. Although I do have to say that the graphics for it look a lot like our lovely Gertrude Street!
Oh lordy! Look at the time! Better dash!
I'm in the shop, come visit!
It seems like half the people I know spent Cup Day getting their products ready for delivery to The Design Files Open House. I juggled heart stitching in between a splitting headache (still) and moaning about my public holiday peace being shattered by a bobcat revving out in the back lane all day. Not such a restful day off as planned sadly.
Lovely day out, time to come and get your cotton cardis for the warmer weather... although I see it is cooling off again by Friday. I have so much to do this week I am feeling a little scared. I need to move stuff in the studio as I'm helping someone store some equipment and at the moment we won't even be able to get it in the door. So lots of running around, lots of sewing and lots of cleaning.
OK. I better go and get moving.
I also need to make some of these indigo dyed silk velvet and linen hearts for us!
(Not in the shop yet, stay tuned.)
A Sunday night post!
Just a quickie to let you know that I have finally got the online store up with a whole swag of birds available. I'll be photographing the owls and other bits for Xmas as they come in. If there is anything you would like me to put online just let me know.
Flat rate of $10 within Australia, so if you buy just one bird it might add a bit but if you buy a few it will be a bargain!
(We've gone back to BigCartel so let me know if there are any problems.)
What would you do if you were presented with a box containing this?
I am tempted to take the day off, grab a rug and a fork and go sit with this box full of goodness under a tree and eat myself stupid. Strawberry Roulade Shock is what I am in after the fabulous Nat of Beatrix handed these beauties over to me this morning and I am just so amazed at this gift (a late birthday present).
Alas alack I won't be doing that as it is Shopgirl Saturday and I must be ready for any customers that might venture out on this 'long weekend' (ridiculous how it has become a long weekend because of a 3 minute horse race on Tuesday afternoon).
I managed to accidentally unplug the modem last night whilst trying to plug in the new printer and have just spent the last 3/4 hour on the phone whilst it was being reset. We have internet again and the connection to the outside world is restored. For a moment there I thought there might be no Saturday Morning Post, I better type faster though if I want to get this out there and the shop chores done for the day.
I did manage to get a batch of round bottom granny purses finished yesterday and we now have them in two sizes, the original 20cm framed clutch and the new 15cm frame purse. All made with our lovely vintage linen scraps. I need to spend the next few weeks head down getting stock made. It does feel good to get something made and in store, something we had totally run out of.
Working in the shop this week I discovered where I had managed to stash a box of green enamel tea pots so we have some of these back in stock and we are still waiting on the new shipment to arrive later in the month. I am very good at stashing stuff, you should have seen how much came out of me old studios each time I moved, a TARDIS moment indeed. So this week, new birds, rediscovered tea pots, a few new welsh blanket cushions and granny purses. That's all.
Drop by, we are open until 5 today.... and it's a glorious day for a promenade and a shop.
That's the great thing about 'strip shops', you can take the air and browse, so much better than a shopping mall.