Friday, 31 October 2008

bedlam baubles

These bubbles of glass are going to send me mad- if they haven't already.
I marked a hundred of the little buggers tonight. 
I've changed the displays in the shop what seems like half a dozen times this evening and unpicked  2 shibori kimonos. My back hurts, my feet hurt and I have had a very frustrating 2 days.
I think I should go to bed.
Anyway, there is a slightly madcap roses and horses window for Cup Week, and I've put out the first batch of vintage Xmas decorations (as it is the 1st of November tomorrow). I've run out of tags so there will be more out over the next week but there are lots of medium sized kugels and indents for you to peruse. This batch vary in price from about $12 up to $18. Most of them are from the 50s and 60s- amazing they have lasted this long! And the moustaches will be tagged and ready for any undercover operations you may need to dress up for. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


They have arrived!
Something's Hiding in Here make 'moustaches on a stick'. Two styles- Barber and Barman.

I think the boys upstairs from my studio are going to need to start hiding behind one or three of these faux-taches- they managed to flood my studio this morning. You read that right, water pouring through the floorboards all over the shelves and my cutting table. Let's say all my good intentions for the day went out the window........... it was very hard to concentrate after all that excitement. Excitement- huh, yeah right.........

But the moustaches are excellent- and hilarious- hours of entertainment for all the family and there is a whole flickr page of photos for you to peruse- cats, dogs, babies, people.... all wearing fauxtaches! Go on you know you want to! They'll be in-store Saturday (you could even wear one to the Cup!).


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

don't even write

I have to tell you I hate openings with a passion. I always feel like the country-hick-redheaded-stepchild (the bloodnut comment is a very old joke so please no irate comments) and just want to run away -but this opening I will be at. I have to admit there probably won't be any Egyptian baboons there and I believe the tired but lovely Mr Cruikshank has been  very busy this week creating the pieces for his exhibition. (He and Dell have been residing in Berlin and I know the antiquities museums there are crackerjack full of really cool stuff like the bab above so I'm guessing that's where the pic comes from- he is one sweet baboon- and check the cobras out. How I miss those museums full of plundered junk.....)

So TCB level 1/ 12 Waratah Place Melbourne Wednesday the 29th of October 6-9pm- see you there.

operation dark crystal

How exciting is this!
Char did it! She accepted the mission to visit 'Seizure' and has posted the photos.
It looks fantastic and I am yellowy-blue with envy.
The girl is going to get Tim-Tams and Double Dipped Cherry Ripes in her Xmas stocking.
Thanks Char!

Monday, 27 October 2008

rose is a rose is a rose

I couldn't resist walking home from the studio via Gore Street this afternoon, even though it is a bit of a loop.
The roses are out in time for Cup Day and this street has the best display of roses around. All trained standard (I think) roses. Old and with huge blown blooms. My favourite house at this time of the year is the fifties doctored terrace above and below. The roses are too hilarious and fabulous.
Worth a visit. 

I had C.W. Stoneking on the iPod and felt all New Orleans-y as I wandered along. You could smell the roses on the breeze. 

Saturday, 25 October 2008

muggy days

Have you ever had one of those days when you've run all your errands and you are all ready for the day and thinking 'I have all the time in the world now' and you look down and your 'clean' white shirt is grey with newspaper print?
Well the washing machine is filling as I write and I've ferreted out another top to wear. The weather is looking hot hot hot and I'm sneezing with late Spring hayfever. I wasn't built for hot weather, too white and pink and redly sweaty. Attractive huh? I love Spring and Autumn, mid 20s, coolish breeze when it's on the warm side, warm breeze when it's cool and long light, no sun beating down on the crown of your head- how perfect............

Finally getting a little bit of summery stock in store. There are two new tops and more new styles lined up for next week. The cushions are growing legs and walking out the door at the moment, which means I better get on the sewing machine. It also means that if you liked one of the new linen cushions you better hot-foot it in because they are disappearing and with nearly all those fabrics, that's it- no more, all gone, so sad.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

straw into gold

I do have to say it's been a strange ol' week.
More straw on the camel's back but also some really incredibly sweet things too.

As you may have guessed- or I've probably written about but my memory is total crap at the moment-  I'm a total pessimist. But as Alain de Botton ( he's as close as I get to pop-philosophy) covered in The  Consolations of Philosophy, pessimists are often happier than optimists. We like it when things are bad because we are proved right and  we are pleasantly surprised when things are only a little better than expected. Also I have to say I don't trust optimists, I think they are often deluding themselves and that cynic gene in me just makes me roll my eyes at their naivete. So now I've pissed off most of the population who like to smilingly label themselves 'optimists'.............

I've been thinking that my op-shop gene has broken/mutated/shutdown but I had one of those experiences today where I know its still working fine. I went out to Blackburn this afternoon and on the way back along the North Eastern Freeway I got that tingling feeling (and it wasn't a urinary tract infection). I turned off and headed to Your's Now Mine (what a name for an oppy!). While I was ferreting around a woman came in to drop off some stuff. I took my chance and although normally new stock must go out the back to be marked I somehow convinced the ladies to let me have the Actil cotton sheets (still in box). There was more stuff my fingers were itching to go through but I decided that that would be pushing it. 'Don't be greedy!' is often a good mantra to chant in an op shop as it seems to bring even more things your way. I prefer to be an 'opshoptimistist'.

This was not the only treasure that I scored today. My class at RMIT had their big pattern test this morning. It's really hard sitting there for 4 hours watching them working and being unable to give help. And marking the time off is hell, each 1/2 hour, then each 15 minutes and then 5 minutes and finally the last few minutes. But they got through it- although they still have lots of work to do. 
And then at the end of the test they gave me a card and a present. I got all shy. Very touched.

And I had lovely encouraging emails from special people (thank you Miss E). 

Wednesday, 22 October 2008


I'm sure you are all used to me groaning about how messy my house is.
It's even worse now that I've begun carting home the big plastic storage boxes full of vintage glass Xmas decorations from the studio. I'm slowly opening each box up and marveling at the beauty of these fragile things.
And they all need to be priced because they are all going into the shop.
I've been collecting these for a few years now with the plan to sell them when I got a nice big pile together. Now is the time.
There is some stunners. Hand blown, hand painted, indents, drops and kugels (balls), mercury glass and clip on birds (actually I'm keeping those), frosted with snow scenes and fabulous fifties ones with 'peace' spelt out in ovals of snow. 
I' was fascinated by the indents when I was a kid. For some reason we didn't have them on our Xmas trees (probably because we broke them.....) and I would be found checking them out on Other People's Christmas Trees. They kind of spooked me. If you looked at them head-on they looked rather like eyeballs. In fact I think they still do but I love them.
Even though we didn't have indents on our tree we used to have something even more special.
When we lived in Doncaster we lived opposite to an apple coolstore and every Xmas The Tullys would sell Christmas trees. We would carry over the road and put it up in the family room and if we were really lucky we would find an iridescent Christmas beetle crawling through the branches. The most beautiful of Xmas decorations.
Whilst I hate decorations being in stores too early (all the department stores have got them set up already) you can expect these to be in the Cottage in a couple of weeks- if you are dying to see them earlier let me know.

*Have carted the last 2 boxes home from the studio tonight........... so many to mark..........

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

hey hey hey it's the motley crew sale!

Well I've just spent the last 24 hours sorting and marking stock.
There's going to be a SALE.

It's going to be at the now closed Alice Euphemia store at 114 Gertrude St in Fitzroy.
It's going to be on this Thursday, Friday and Saturday (23-25 of October) and the doors will be open from 10am 'til 6pm for all your bargain hunting delight.
Cash only.

Let me say that I have seriously marked down a whole pile of stock and I don't want to lug it all back to the studio so come along and BUY, BUY, BUY. There is some lovely knitwear that is very cheap and wintery stock and some totally bargain gems.............. so if you had your eye on something I'm sure you'll get it for a song. Also summery stock and samples........ oh and its not just my stuff..... there's clothing by Tina Kalivas, Marnie Skillings, Lucy Hinkfuss and many more........... but best of all, there is going to be work from  Iggy and Loulou

Monday, 20 October 2008

it's great, britain

In the latest edition of English Elle Decoration there was an article about this amazing art installation in London. ArtAngel has put this on, its called Seizure and its be Roger Hiorns and I want to see it! He flooded a building with a solution of copper sulphate, left it for 2 weeks and when it was drained all the surfaces were covered in blue crystals- I bet you all did this experiment in school! I did and my dad still hasn't forgiven me for leaving a jar of copper sulphate to leak through my school bag and into the carpet in the living room- oops.
Sorry about the size of the photo but I couldn't find any larger. There is a teacher's pack you can download from the ArtAngel site with pictures of the process.
It's free and they even supply gum-boots (although I believe you can bring your own but you still have to queue (!)).  Big call out to Char -can you, please, please go for all of us who can't?

I'm also very taken with the Wellcome Collection. It's a gallery/museum in London that is, as they say on their website, all about Medicine/Life/Art. It only opened earlier this year and it looks fantastic, both the building and their exhibitions. At the moment they have work created by Mark Clarke called Clarke's Cabinets of Cures.  I really want to go to this museum, it combines  science,  medicine, anthropology and a hefty pinch of the gruesome. 
As you may have guessed I want to run away at the moment.............. 

Sunday, 19 October 2008

jumpy as a cat on a nylon carpet

I still can't settle to one thing. It's been a long and stressful week and I have been jumping awake during the night to the smallest sound. I really need some kitten stress relief.
I also need to get some work finished. No starting one job, leaving it unfinished and then moving on to the next. I think this might be one reason for not feeling like I am getting anywhere. 
It's, also, been quiet in the shop and this has made me overly zingy. God damn this Financial Crisis! I need to live in hope that the Xmas Spending Spree will begin sooner rather than later. 
Teaching has basically finished for the year which means more time, no money- never a balance in life is there.....
On Sundays I try to stay at home, do something fun or basically try and stay out of the studio. Sundays usually consist of vacuuming, washing, cups of tea, putting out the rubbish, reading the newspaper but mainly just flitting from one thing to the next. The vacuum cleaner is still sitting at the top of the stairs, half used. Yep, there is still crap everywhere. 
And I spent the day nibbling. I haven't had cheese for ages. Time for a cheese splurge! Dodoni and ricotta! Mmmmm. Last night it was green beans with dodoni and a steak (I realised I hadn't had red meat in forever..... also mmmmmm). And I'm still obsessed by beetroot chips and double dipped Cherry Ripes. Really balanced diet I'm on at the moment......... Oh well. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.
Anyway as I titled this- jumpy as a cat on a nylon carpet- that's me.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

all lit up

(pianola + lightglobe = sold)

(Wrapped in plastic.)

(shibori + lampshade = sold)

Some pictures to go with last night's post!
More to come..........

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

you light up my life

Well the first batch of lampshades have arrived.
Of course I don't have any photos to post yet as they arrived this morning just as I was leaving for school and I didn't get home 'til it was dark. 'But' I hear you say 'they are lightshades, pop a bulb in and fire them up!'. Do you know how hard it is to photograph a lit-up lampshade?! Actually probably not that hard but I can't be bothered, my brain is sludge, my feet hurt and basically I can't be knackered! Tomorrow I say!
I will however muster a little energy to say that they are in three different materials- tea-towels (of course), shibori and in two sizes in Pianola paper. They give off a lovely light, I have a Pianola one set up upstairs to light the big room and the glow is really beautiful, all golden and soft. There is a tea-towel shade in the front window for you to have a look at as you go by on the tram and I'm very pleased with the shibori one, which has been made from 3 fabrics and is all spotty and pretty unlit and lit up. The rest arrive on Saturday morning. Prices from $99 to $115, all handmade here in Melbourne Town.
And of course you really need to see them at night to get the full effect..........

Think my bed is calling................

Monday, 13 October 2008


This is a post I wrote yesterday and didn't, um, post.............
Today was no better than Friday.
Perhaps a severe case of Monday-ititis. 
Or just the result of a 4 day head-ache bout. 

I had to laugh (sort of) though, listening to RRR's 'resident naturopath' talking about music therapy to help with chronic pain. Let me just say, someone who hasn't experienced chronic pain should not give advice to someone who has. She was saying how she doesn't take painkillers- ptthwt I say! Painkillers are my friend! Every time I'm laid low I give thanks for modern medicine! It might be incredibly un-PC today to say yes to opiates but let me tell you, if they can get you out of bed, give you a decent night's sleep, let you function through the day, then I'm all for them. 

This is today's post............
I've decided on a mental health afternoon. It has been a strange type of day, spent a few hours in at RMIT when I should have been in the studio, then back home to pick up the car and run some errands and getting suss on the junkies out the back and deciding I didn't have the head-space to work on studio projects but might hang at home instead, although home is still work.... and then finding two posts that just made my day and the need to share them with y'all.

Have I told you how much I love Elsie? Anyone who calls her blog 'Punk Pensioner' wins a huge elephant stamp from me! Her latest post deals with an on-going issue of growing old gracefully, well, actually, Ms Elsie Dinsmore wants to grow older 'disgracefully' but certainly not looking like this! (Thanks to Lovely Miss Elvis for turning us all on to the Punk P!)

The other post was from someone closer to home. Sneaky Crafty's printing post had me sniggering, hell, I had only just got in from RMIT and the Tertiary World and this just made my day. I just love that someone had the sense of humour/the ridiculous/the truth to send out an email saying that! Go and have a look for yourself- I'm still laughing at how apt it is!

Really should go and do something I suppose.

thor's hammer

'Ripping Yarns' has always been a family fav. Michael Palin being exceedingly silly in re-invented boy's own adventures (and we all know how much I love those- check those clocks, notebooks and cards out in the shop!). One particular favourite is 'The Testing of Eric Olthwaite' with it's black pudding monologue ('the black puddin' is very black today mother, even the white bits are black') is still mis/quoted on occasion. And who can beat Eric's obsession with the Spear and Jackson #5 shovel (I think it was a #5........ better get the dvd out) which leads me into (via a long and windy road) to my new purchase- a Thorex 708 hammer with replaceable nylon hammer bits (bet they have a name... which I do not know). It gets even better....... it's made in Shirley, Birmingham by the Thor Hammer Company. I think this is hilarious. 
It tickles me that someone got to name their hammer business after Thor! You'd be so annoyed if someone else got that name before you. Here in Melbourne there is a medical waste company called Sweeney Todd- this reduces me to a giggling ninny every time I see their trucks or a waste bin in some service station toilet. I so want to know if they on-sell to Four'n'Twenty.

Oh, and I love my new hammer, it's seriously spicko!

Saturday, 11 October 2008


Friday was one of those days. It was like those times when every piece of clothing in your wardrobe is uncomfortable, when nothing feels right. Except it was the making of stuff that didn't feel right. I flitted from project to project but nothing 'fitted' comfortably. Maybe I just have too many  things on the boil at the moment. But really some days you just shouldn't work on particular projects. Some projects need a zen-like state to get them done, others need precision and agile fingers and if you don't get the mood right you just end up frustrated and annoyed. Not that I got to either zen or frustrated/annoyed, as I said I was 'flitting'. The good thing was I was totally aware of the mood I was in so I didn't get really shitty about my lack of focus. That was a big plus, normally I get to a screaming stage and don't know why.
Anyway I got a few things done.
A few more doorstops (until I ran out of shell-grit), I few more purses sewn into components (until I got bored), a few more bag outers (until I got bored), diary cover design sorted (see above- in store soon) (until I got bored), a couple of linen chemises cut out and one sewn up(see background of photo above)  (left it at studio, had to go back to get it), etc.
So today I am shop-girl. Need to get my handwork project for the day sorted. Can't read the newspaper all day! Of course if you all came in to visit then I would be busy and wouldn't need things to do. As I've said before 'idle hands are the devil's plaything'.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


(lyre-bird + tea-cosy = sold)

When I wrote about St Francis on Saturday, little did I realise it was actually his festival on the weekend. There was a blessing of the animals (and at the Edinburgh Gardens, a ecumenical bike blessing) and according to the newspaper it was mostly dogs and a couple of rabbits in a box (which might end up with lots of rabbits in a box shortly). The cats apparently decided to stay home in the sun. Smart cats.

I have so many projects started at the moment, and therefore so many project half-finished, that I feel all over the place. The studio consists of piles of crap dotted around all horizontal surfaces, boxes with stuff spilling out of them and unwashed tea-mugs. 
Have I told you that I think my inability to keep horizontal surfaces free of clutter is genetic?I reckon both my parents have the same 'horizontal surface' gene, so I have no chance! Wherever I am, clutter follows. It's always work stuff. Piles of receipts, magazines, work..... and the washing. I hate putting washing away and just end up pulling clothes out of the baskets that cluster around my bed. 
Anyway, the whole point of this rambling is to tell you about the tea-cosies!
Yes! Scary tea-cosies made from 'other people's craft'. Oh how we love 'other people's craft'!
All that work shoved in a bottom draw- to be reborn as some other crafty thing.
Tea-cosies, two sizes (small/medium and medium/large) and each of them different. 
And they are all made from hand embroidered doilies. And, yes, that is a lyre bird.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

my sister birds

Birds have been far too fashionable of late. Silhouettes, stencils, 3D, 2D, cards, clothing, everywhere!
But I love this fabric. Linen. Vintage. Manky green, teal blue and raspberry red. Yum.
And it's been made into cushions! And soon to be purses and bags. Gorgeous!
I thought maybe the birds needed to learn a bit of humility after all their popularity, so here is St Francis of Assisi's Sermon to the Birds- take it on my fine feathered friends, you got it easy!

"My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him (or Her); for He (or She) has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He (or She) has clothed you.... you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains for your thirst, and mountains and valleys for shelter, and tall trees for your nests. And although you neither know how to spin or weave, God dresses you and your children, for the Creator loves you greatly and He (or She) blesses you abundantly. Therefore...... always seek to praise God."

(I love that bit about not knowing how to spin or weave, I have this mental image of little birds at spinning wheels and looms. And of birds collecting wool from barb-wire fences to line their nests. And jackets and dresses made of feathers. You can tell St Francis was the son of a cloth merchant- 'dyed in the wool' as they say.)

By the way the cushions are in the shop today. Hey, I, too, am a merchant of the cloth!


Same site as patchwork, a week later.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

i want to live in a tram

Sitting on an old W class tram today, I started dreaming about making a tram, or rather a couple of trams, into a home. I was dreaming about sanding the woodwork back, how you could configure two or maybe three carriages, about what you could turn the driver's cubby into (fernery, wardrobe, pantry), about fixing the wooden louvred window shutters and the great little hinged drop windows, about the cool light fittings (and the fact that they still use incandescent globes), whether it was possible to fit a queen size bed in, when I suddenly realised I had gone completely passed my stop.
As I got up to get off I was stopped by a tourist family wanting to know whether they had got on the Titty Turtle (City Circle) Tram (no they were going the wrong way). I sometimes think that I might have a big 'I' above my head, 'I' for Information Kiosk. I always get stopped and asked for directions and information I can be somewhere packed with people but somehow I'll end up giving directions. Like the time a lovely Pakistani lad fresh off the plane asked me in the city if I knew where the mosque in Fitzroy was, strangely enough I did know, down a back street and not really sign posted. Or the American tourists who I ended up giving a guided tour of Brunswick St to. 
So anyway, as I said, I want a tram or two and a country block to put them on. 
(This all started a couple of months ago when I read an article about Elspeth Thompson's re-vamp of mahogany train carriages in Britain. You can read about the renovations here.)

drop #19 found!

Message just in from the Toy Society! The Parliament Gardens toy drop has been found!
Read on....................

I found her! I found her!
One of my ESL students and I decided to name her Chu Lo, which means "sparkle" in Korean. Or something like that.
I was smiling all day and had a spring in my step. Chu Lo occupies a prime spot in my room, and I now have to explain to people why a 28 year old bloke has a stuffed dolly hangin' around.
Thanks Toy Society. You made my day."

And this has made MY day!

(Hey, at least he didn't have to explain a blow-up doll....)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

pipes of gold

Cocker Lane in the city has been gold leafed.
Well the pipes have. All the way to the top.
Nice work Bianca Faye and Tim Spicer.
I like a bit of impermanent art.
We can watch it disappear over the next year.

a clutch of purses

All this talk of crashing stock markets and recession has made me jittery.
It reminds me of the early 90s and when we closed the shop in East Prahran-  arrggh.
Great time to open a shop huh?!

I've been re-jigging the purse patterns, new styles, re-vamped old styles. This is the first batch done, vintage linen and cottons, ticking lining and 20cm frame. It's more of a rounded shape than the usual granny purse I do- the box bottom grannies are under way as well. In fact I'm going to sneak a batch into RMIT today and use the fuse press to get them ready (wish I hadn't got rid of the old table-top presser I found at the Salvo's- one of those brain-frenzy times when cleaning up that I have repeatedly regretted- if anyone sees an old Elna-press going cheap give me ahoy).

Let's hope that this week is better in the shop than the last. When it's quiet you start to think what you are doing is not working or is rubbish....... and that just leads to an ever descending cycle of self-doubt and depression. 
I do have to say that on Saturday I had lots of lovely interstate people in the shop. Clare from Queensland had me smiling with her praise and how she just kept wandering in circles around the shop going 'oh!'. It's those times, when someone sees what you are doing with fresh eyes, that makes you feel everything will be OK.