Saturday, 29 November 2008

tea lights

Handmade soy wax candles. Lightly scented with lavender and rose geranium. Vintage tea cups. In a box. As Madame du Barry said 'very Martha Stewart'.

Friday, 28 November 2008

i op there for i am

Some days you just get in the car and end up miles from home (studio).
It was unintentional, kind of, sort of.
I've been noticing that so many op shops these days have been cleaned up (and out) and they don't have the same atmosphere (smell). They have new carpets, less stock and high prices.
Then I pulled into the carpark of this one. A tin shed. Walk inside and enter an old-skool op shop. Perfect. I didn't score a huge amount, I don't check clothing as it isn't what I'm interested, but I managed to find a great glass container (that I managed to break within a minute of getting home- bloody concrete floor!), a couple of books and an armful of doilies. Really it was just the joy of stumbling across an honest oppy.
As I looped back between Melton and Gisbourne I came across this little chap ambling along. He almost tried to cross the road, I came to a stop as he got to the gutter, pulled in and put the hazard lights on. He almost caught it when a car overtook me but they noticed him in time, he did a u-turn and headed back up the slope. I love echidnas.

So much to do at the moment. The feeling of panic is beginning to get overwhelming. I'm shop-girl tomorrow and on Sunday I'm helping out Mr Porcelain at the Melbourne Design Market. Don't know how that happened- oops! At the moment it's the choice of which job to do first. I spent an 'exciting' Friday night mopping the shop floor and working on a new product (stay tuned, in store tomorrow hopefully), making purses and getting work ready for the exhibition...........

Thursday, 27 November 2008


It was sad news to come home to tonight. Killings and mayhem in Mumbai. 
(At my favourite hotel too. I love the old Taj, I love hanging in the Shamiana Bar for breakfast, the bookshop and the fabulous shop where you can buy fabric made from peacock feathers, watching crazy Indian weddings and slapping around on cool marble. Not PC I know to say how much you miss a hotel when people are dying but this old place is just so evocative of the extremes of the sub-continent. How I love India and how sad I find it when this sort of thing happens.)
Yes, that is a shocking old photo of me on the balcony of my room in the old part of the Taj Hotel, overlooking Gateway to India. Sigh.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

brown paper packages tied up in string

I love getting mail (except bills) and I especially love getting packages, which is why I love sending parcels. I love the thought of someone at the other end being just as excited as me when the mail arrives. One of these parcels is off to Sydney containing a faux-tache and the other is flying off to the UK- a winter care parcel for someone from the Antipodes.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to do a bit of a shop update. I've been pushing s**t uphill lately. Barely getting 1/2 a day in the studio if I'm lucky and too much to do. Fingers crossed I'll get there. Where? Xmas of course!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

ground control to major thom

This is Amory Cormac Duff upon hearing that he'd been upstaged by the (fashionably late)arrival of Ramona and Alan's Thomas. Amory is only 9 weeks old but a week's a long time in infant politics (I've gotta stop all this politicking..... Rudd getting posted twice in one week...).
Although I think the tears were actually because Amory just doesn't like me. He's had a hectic couple of weeks the poor little tacker, he's racked up more frequent flyer points than most of us would in 10 years. 
Let's hope Thomas settles in to his new home and appreciates all the crafty goodness his gorgeous mum will shower on him. Born at 7.45am 24th of November............. phew I think he's the last of the bubs for this year.......... and all boys!

(As you can see in the background, Amory chose a metrosexual lavender sock monkey as his childhood companion.)

Monday, 24 November 2008

Sunday, 23 November 2008

super tuesday

'Tuesday is the second day of the week according to international standard ISO 8601, and is situated between Monday and Wednesday'. 
(I had to check this on Wikipedia. I love the Wiki. I could spend hours hopping from topic to topic.)

Back to this topic though- we are opening on Tuesdays as of this week! 
Come and visit!
Xmas has arrived!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

quirky schmirky

I worked in the shop yesterday, Friday. I've only been doing Saturdays for the last few months and now have to work again today. Which means today feels like Sunday and with the rain and grey skies and the swishing of cars along the street I feel like curling up in bed and snoozing.

Pip tagged me the other day. 6 Quirky Things about Yourself (non dirty). 
I'm not a big fan of the games of the Blogverse (they always bring to mind Groucho's remark about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have him) and to tell you the truth, I'm not a big joiner-in-er. I try to stay under the radar as much as possible with such things. I think it's also that they are the younger sister of the Evil Chain Letter ('if you do not send this letter on you will die a horrible painful death and will not receive $1,129.00 by return post').
Although I do have to say that I look forward to receiving letters from Mrs Lovely Ngimbo from Nigeria. I feel dreadfully sorry about the death of her husband and somewhat guilty that I can not send her through my bank details.
I think the whole thing about a lot of tagging is that it's all a bit fluffy and feel-good for me, and plays on people's need to join in and their feelings of guilt and exclusion if  they don't. 
Sorry just had to run off and look at the hail that was slamming down, it's really raining! All those water-tanks filling up! Hope the wedding isn't washed out this afternoon.....
..........back to business...........
I had to laugh as today's aphorism is 'Know thyself? If I knew myself, I'd run away'.
Spot on Herr Goethe!

Anyway I thought just this once- and only time- I'd join in. I may not be able to do 6.......
*I once belonged to the Doctor Who Fan Club (I also have NERD tattooed on my arse- oh that's right- non-smutty)
*I hate pumpkin soup with a vengeance. I have had some wonderful pumpkin soups in my time, don't get me wrong, but it is one of those things that everyone thinks they can cook...... let me tell you this isn't true. If you really want to feed me pumpkin, roast it until it has caramelly burnt bits and I'm yours for life. 
*I love freesias, their smell makes me all trippy and, yes actually, happy. It's only the whitey/creamy/yellowy ones, the old fashions that have the intense smell. I've been know to sniff out freesias at a 100 metres in old graveyards. 
*I am very bad at choosing Boyfriends, 'nough said on that topic.
*I am unable to have an open packet of biscuits in the house- all or nothing is the motto here.
I have a friend who eats biscuits in 1, 3, 5 or the whole packet. Maybe it has something to do with prime numbers.
*Hmmmmm #6.......... how about things like....... I'm quite good (if the wind is in the right direction) at Cryptic Crosswords (the only good thing one Ex-Boyfriend ever left me), I like reading Crime Novels, especially 1930s ones by Georgette Heyer, Ngaio Marsh, et al............ which leads me to the real #6- I'm a Completist, yes, I'm one of those people who has to have all the CDs by a musician, read all the books by a writer. 
Is a Completist different to a Collector? 

So I don't know how 'Quirky' I've been, except to reinforce I'm a huge nerd, and I repeat this is the one and only time I will ever join in a Tag.
Thank you and I better get the shop ready for the day.
Come out in the rain and visit. It's a perfect 'wintry' day to come in and choose pretty Xmas decorations. Xmas was really designed for the dark of winter, with glowing lights and snow......... well today you could pretend.

Friday, 21 November 2008

get thee to an op-shop

After my moan about Tuesday's lack of op-shoppery I headed off to the Mother-of-All-Op-Shops to see what they had collected for me. My timing has been out all year and if I hear 'oh you just missed a batch, we packed it yesterday', I'm going to scream. 
But it was a good scarf haul and I managed a few tea-towels (hee hee). Also someone's whole collection of knitted (yes knitted) doilies, which I might try to photograph at some stage over the weekend. They all look like 'ring shawl' patterns to me. 
I thought I'd share with you the tea-towel above. As soon as I saw it I thought 'I have to make it into a cushion for our favourite political pundit'. It is now a cushion and hopefully this afternoon I'll get to give it to Amory's father, along with presents for Duff Junior himself and huge hugs for Amory's mum. Andrea, Cam and Amory are back in the country after 3+years in Canadia. Hooray! 

Now the thing about this tea-towel could probably be best summed up by the old saying 'a week is a long time in politics'. 

Not so long ago this man won an election (well a year ago but it seems like less) and now he has been relegated to the op-shop. 
The op-shop is a great leveler. 
How fickle is the souvenir tea-towel trade! 
Is this the fate of all the great Obamacraft that was around a few short weeks ago?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

highs and lows

Today was one of those that starts well but somehow goes a bit awry.
The new batch of shibori lampshades arrived. (High.)
I ventured across the river to Malvern to visit Kim in her lovely new shop, Claude the Bird, in King's Arcade. She has a lovely branch with bird's nest in the window. We chatted and laughed and I managed to leave things behind and had to go back to visit to pick stuff up. (High.)
Decided to do a little bit of opping whilst I was out and about. Atrocious. Not a god damn thing. Chose all the wrong places to try and my heart was just not in it. I was feeling dizzy and dragging myself about. I drove in the wrong direction. I got to shops that were closed on a Tuesday. It was as if my in-built sat-nav was kaput and my gold medal championship winning op-shopping skills were rusty. (Low. Low. Low.)
I'm hoping that the thrifting gods are giving me a bad time because I'm about to hit the op jackpot. (Hoping.)
Or maybe I'm suffering from an attack of hayfever or a 'summer' cold, as I'm feeling creaky and sneezy (and I don't mean two of the seven dwarves). (Haha.)

Monday, 17 November 2008

i has bean

Mmmmm- homegrown broad beans.
They were a pressie. Mmmmmm.
Why is it that I don't mind cleaning the house on a Monday evening but cleaning on a Sunday is anathema?
Managed to get 2 cardis and 2 jumpers washed, boxed up a whole pile of afghan rugs and winter stuff so I can store it away, scoured the house for newspapers and recycling, 1/2 cleaned the kitchen (haha), wrote a pile of emails, put washing on, sorted the car out, made some dinner, all in about 1 hour..... weird. Perhaps I should never attempt any cleaning on a Sunday. I still have a mess of a house but I feel a little virtuous. I think (touch wood) I'm about to do a job on the piles of paperwork. Procrastinator Supreme but maybe this time I'll get a handle on the 'office' side of life. I will have to sort out some horizontal surfaces first, just to make room.
Perhaps I'm trying to make some order because Andrea, Cam and the Duff junior are due to arrive anytime and Andrea will definitely enjoy laughing at my mess. (Cam gets a bit twitchy about my disorder I know!)
Note to self- never attempt cleaning on a Sunday.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

yes virginia, it's xx days 'til xmas

Have totally given in to Xmas.

This is the shop Xmas tree. Yes it is a ladder but the shape is right and it's made of wood.
It's a bit hard to see (and I'll post pictures later if I can get some good ones done) but check out the decorations! Remember back in about August when I did the doily window and everyone wanted to by the stiffened doilies? Well the Xmas decs are crochet stiffened cotton. We have snowflakes, singularly or in strings, balls and even tree toppers! Love them!

And there's handmade garlands made from vintage buttons that you can wind around the tree, twist to make a table centre piece, just hang on the wall or a window or drape along a mantlepiece.

The divine Madame du Barry, whilst in confinement in her chateau, has run up some cards for us. The images are from a box of vintage Xmas decorations. Photos don't do justice to show how lovely these cards are. It's taken all year to find an image and we were very excited when we realised this one was just perfect. Good things come to those that wait (and let me tell you I've been waiting.....).

And I'll be getting more vintage decorations out today.
Hurry- first in has the best dressed tree!

the andre rieu tour souvenir cushion

Couldn't resist a bit of schmaltz on a Saturday morning!
New vintage scarf cushions backed in waxed linen. There are 4 cushions that go beautifully together and look superb.

Also managed to get a new batch of vintage linen cushions done and a couple of the vintage linen ric-rac bags that have been so popular.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

flood, blackout and fire

Thursday week ago it was water pouring through the ceiling at the studio. Yesterday it was a power black-out (ended up coming home in frustration) and this afternoon it was a fire in a skip just around the corner from the shop. Two fire crews later............. (this picture was taken after all the fun and smoke and smells).
So really I need to get some work done! All these interruptions are driving me crazy!
I've got things to do you know!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

the school of life

I am in lurve with this place. I was very annoyed when it got into the travel pages of The Age on the weekend. 
What is it?
Well it's kind of a philosophy shop. It's in London (bugger) and it makes me laugh and smile.
They have sermons by guest lecturers on topic such as punctuality ('latecomers will be admonished'), seduction, pessimism, curiosity and even 'loving your neighbour' and they serve tea and sticky buns after.
They do holidays with such titles as 'Around the World inside the M25', 'Philosophy on a Bicycle' and (my favourite) a weekend at Heathrow Airport, which includes dinner at the Sikh baggage handlers favourite Indian restaurant!
They also have services like 'Experts' (you can hire an expert to run ideas pass) and 'Bibliotherapy' (book prescriptions, a made to order reading list).
You can sign up for a 'Daily Aphorism' and check out the blog.
I haven't laughed so hard in ages.

What is an aphorism?

I like work: it fascinates me.I can sit and look at it for hours. (Jerome K Jerome)
I believe the glass is half full, of poison. (Tim Collins)
A pessimist is an optimist with experience. (P Clements)
Imagination. You can't imagine life without it. (Jacqueline Oliver)

remembrance day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Monday, 10 November 2008

parade of champions

Today was my last day in at RMIT for the year. 
I love this message that I found on a whiteboard in my class's studio.
The highlight of the day was the First Year Fashion Parade. The little dears organised a full parade with DJ, film and stills photographers, make-up/hair, models, everything! They did a fantastic job and we were all very proud of them. Kick-arse job guys! Lots of proud mums and dads and friends attending their first fashion parade- they better get used to it, there'll be more to come over the next 3 years.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

thief in the night

I had to laugh when I went downstairs last night and noticed that someone had nicked one of the lengths of bunting from outside the shop. They had been there earlier in the afternoon when Gale had been in collecting stock and she'd asked me if how long it had been up and whether anyone had tried to steal it. I said to her at the time she'd just jinxed it, considering that it had been hanging there since Easter and no one had tried.
I must have noticed not long after it was taken and I wondered if someone had pulled it down and chucked it on the ground but, no, can't find it anywhere so I'm hoping they stole it because they liked it and took it home rather than just being destructive.
Just to put the wind up me, newspapers and TV started the '45 days 'til Xmas and counting' mantra yesterday. Like I'd normally care....... however now I must care as we've just had a pile of stock go out and I need to build stock levels up again. This is the biggest -and scariest -thing when you are a maker/wholesaler/retailer, just keeping on top of it all. One more day of RMIT marking and I'm free to spend as much time as I can scrape together in the studio. Once I'm in there working I'll be complaining that I'm stuck there.................

*Bunting update! 
Strangely, as the bunting was in one continuous piece, the thief CUT OFF only half and left the rest. I would have thought they could just have pulled the whole thing down........ maybe they only wanted 4 metres........... seriously trippy.

Friday, 7 November 2008


Note to self: don't try to get from Fitzroy to Blackburn at 3.40 on a rainy Friday afternoon.
Waste of time when you need to arrive before 4.30pm.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

surfeit of media sluttage

It's been a busy day here at the Cottage. 
The most exciting thing is Miss Bianca's article in the Melbourne Leader newspaper. It's all about the Toy Society (and if you look really closely that's me in the picture above) and I'm so excited for the TS founder/ruler/matriarch/queen. May she succeed in her plans for World Domination- mwhahahaha! Bianca Rules!!
And back to me- again- Something's Hiding in Here Faux-taches were written up on MichiGirl today. (And yes that's our beloved Dell in the photo- beer in hand- actually it's the same photo I posted on the blog last week so you've all seen it but visit Michi anyway and if you aren't a subscriber sign up to get the daily email.)
So yeah lots of media slutting around here (and more to come apparently........... I'll keep you posted when it happens........)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

quantum of procrastination

You know I'm procrastinating when I start cleaning.
As I've said before -there are many other more interesting things to do.
The whole 'cleaning' thing doesn't mean that anything is actually, you know, clean. Although vacuuming and windex-ing was involved, the main thing was to see a little more of the floor and the Big Table now has patches of wood showing through. Really it was all just so that I could do some other work that needs to be done and this could only happen if I managed to sort through all the pattern paper that was forming in snowdrifts at the edges of the Big Room. There are still unpacked boxes littering the landing and various other spots but their unpacking is dependent on some spare cash  and a trip to Ikea. I need more bookshelves.
I also need to get some work sorted, some wholesale orders finished, some hiccups in my life smoothed out and a silver lining fitted.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

light my way

The pianola lampshades are back in store- 2 sizes with great lyrics!