Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Our dear Miss Andrea is having her first solo show opening tonight at the Abbortsford Convent C3 Gallery. So we'll all be trooping down there tonight for the unveiling. I believe she is making a new folded and drapey dress for the event- elegant as always!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

pell mell

Never enough time.
Too many things to do.
Sometimes I wish I was an Hindu goddess with 8 arms..... of course if I was an goddess I could just wave my hand and it would be done. Sigh. I'm just an ordinary me with too much to do and so little time.
I was awoken this morning by crashing and banging next door. Looks like the renovations have finally started. I walked out the door to see the hoarding being erected right up to my front door...... Not a good way to start the day. I'm now worried no-one will be able to see us. The upside is a few ideas about blank walls and 'art'......... (heehee- anyone feel like joining me in a bit of cut-and-paste? It's almost a year since Miss Magnolia was done....... I have a plan....) 
The last few days in the studio has been a frenzy of piecing and stitching. I've been pulling out boxes of vintage wools and velvets and ironing up scarves. The studio has been looking like the Dance of the Seven Veils got a little out of hand. But it's all done now, well at least the first run. It's a new project that has been hanging over my head for the last year and I've been part itching to do it and part scared stiff that it's not going to work. I just won't know until it all comes back to be finished..... stay tuned.
The cooler- no, let's call a spade a spade- cold weather has made everyone glove-mad and I'm panicking about stock. I'm car-bereft at the moment and it's making life a little difficult, I can't run errands as quickly as I need to. And lugging cushions up from the studio is a complete pain in the whatsit. OK, I'm grizzly today, tired and stressed- 'what's new?' you ask! Hmmph!
I've managed to get stock made to go into Eastern Market this week and I'll be dropping that off tomorrow. This type of stock is different to what I have in the Cottage. Still hand made but a little bit strange- leather bags made from washed hides, all the raw edges and dangly bits still attached set onto vintage purse frames. They sort of look like a vintage granny handbag that's mated with road kill.........
One thing I am happy about is that I managed to get the first run of wool jackets in store. They have hoods and Italian twill lining and the wool blend is really nice. More to come......

Saturday, 25 April 2009

from the hearts of children

One last post for Anzac day.
Last year I wrote about The Nephews going off to France for the services at Villers-Bretoneux and the story behind Australia's ties to that little town. On the cover of today's The Weekend Australian was a lovely story

There is a school in V-B that was rebuilt when, after the First World War, the children of Victoria each donated a penny. Every child. A single penny. 

This school is the Ecôle Victoria, situated on Rue de Victoria, around the corner from Rue de Melbourne. 
The children of the school are now raising money for the children of the bushfires in Victoria who have lost their schools. 

'"We have not forgotten the Australians."
That is the simple message of Pauline Lefebore, 10, who beams with pride as she tells how she and her classmates in the French village are keeping a promise made long before they were born.
"You always have to keep your promises" says Pauline's friend, Cecile.'

Sometimes something very good comes from something so very bad.

anzac day

For those of you not in AUstralia or New Zealand today is Anzac Day.
It is a day when we remember those who have fallen in war and those that returned having served.
There is the Dawn Service, the March and the Fly-over, going down the RSL (Returned Services League) to drink a pot of beer and play a game of Two-Up and the remembering those comrades that are no longer around and then head off to the MCG to see Collingwood and Essendon 'battle it out'.

It's 11 years since Anzac Day has fallen on a Saturday and most shops are going to be closed until 1pm.
The Cottage will be opening then.

Friday, 24 April 2009

a soldier's sweetheart

Could you imagine if 40% of all the men, aged 18 to 44, you knew went off to war?
This is what happened in Australia during the First World War.
What happened to all those women left behind, all the sweethearts, wives, mothers and sisters?
What did they go through?
This is a 'sweetheart' brooch. It is made in the shape of the Rising Sun insignia that the lads wore on their slouch hats. This one is from the Second World War. You wore it with pride on your chest to show that you had a loved one away at war. 

*If you are interested in seeing more 'sweetheart' brooches have a look here. It's not a definitive list but there are some lovely handmade 'recycled' ones there.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

hey, hey, it's the carlow cash and carry sale!

Two floors at Carlow House in Flinder's Lane have got together and are having a studio sale. 
Or rather each of the studios are having their own sale on the same days. 
Does that make any sense?
You know what I mean! 
They want you to turn up, give them your Rudd Bonus and they will give you lovely hand-made things in return. 
Remember the Government wants you to spend money!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

autumn days

For the last few weeks the days have been autumnal clear blue skies. 
Not a cloud and amber light.
A time of the year that is slightly melancholic for me.
But very beautiful.
They said that the scorching hot weather may mean no autumn colour in the the leaves but there have been intense dark reds, bordering on black, to be seen on the trees in Fitzroy. I am glad. 

Still a ton of work to do but I have the first batch of black wool jackets ready- except for the damn buttons! They won't dye black enough and I'm itching to get them sewn on the jackets and in store asap. There is always a little hiccup along the way.
I had a pile of things I was going to write about but I'm bone weary tonight and my brain has stopped working. I think it might be time for bed and book. 

Friday, 17 April 2009


Sorry about the lack of posts this week. A mixture of busy, no interesting photos and a general lack of time and energy.
Today I had a visit from young Amory and we had a little photo-shoot. Amory, quilted tea-towels and a scout cushion........ product and cuteness- the perfect combo. Later Amory sucked my nose, according to his mother an 'Amory-kiss'- I have to say...... a very strange sensation. 
I've managed to get the new wool/cashmere skirts into store and am hoping that the new wool jackets will be ready next week. Everything at the moment is black, black or black but there are some colours on the way- stay tuned!
Today also involved 'dumpster diving' for a new batch of tea-towels and managed to score a few doilies, embroidered and crocheted. The studio looks like it has been ransacked by the Mongol Hordes in search of the Golden Tea-towel. Fabric from one end to the other. I always distrust a  clean and ordered studio, it means no work is underway, but really things are getting a little ridiculous. Every now and then I have a fantasy about having a HUGE studio sale and just getting rid of everything..... don't get excited, you'll be the first to know if I ever decide to do it!
So hopefully next week I'll get a chance to get more stock in store. Remember we have our lovely angora fingerless gloves in a rainbow of colours, perfect for this time of the year when heavy coats and woolens are just too much.
Oh and don't forget tomorrow (Saturday) is International Independent Record Store Day! Head down to my favourite recorded music shop Polyester Records and get served by guest sales staff and get the warm and fuzzy glow of knowing that 20% of proceeds for the day will go to the Cancer Council. Check the website for the list of stars, when and where. 


Monday, 13 April 2009

cat on a string

It's been a quiet Easter. 
A few days in the studio, a day in shop and a day mooching around the house getting gloves dyed, doing the washing, training Jethro to wear a bright red kitten harness.
On Thunder-and-Lightening Friday he managed to get through the screen door, evade Elise and run out on the street, so after having a chat with the vet girls, I decided we'd give a harness a go as a training tool. Jethro is a strange cat (as Elise said she isn't sure whether he's a complete dud or brilliant- there is a fine line) what with his love of sitting under the sink tap while it's on- and I do mean ON-, sleeping in the washing machine, biting but not scratching, combing my hair with his claws and agreeing to wearing the little red harness without much of a struggle. Well, we'll see if it helps with his run-away tendencies........ Wish he'd calm down just a bit..... Had to rescue him from next door yesterday when he climbed the fence and got stuck on the top of a high brick wall..... Funnily enough when I opened the back gate he decided it was all to overwhelming and just sat right on the threshold, it took him a while to venture out- perverse little kitty!

I've got another couple of days free in the studio so I'm hoping to clear up a heap of work. There is so much still to do and I'm still not feeling like I'm getting as much done as I need to. Where does the time go?

Saturday, 11 April 2009

satadi moaning*

* Gotta say it with an Australian accent.

Have spent this morning bumbling around.
Getting the papers. Avoiding Babka.
Trying to stop Jethro from going over the wall at Stalag Gertrude 67. He only does this on a Saturday Morning. Trying to wear him out by playing bouncy ball in the shop, the concrete floors make for excellent slip-and-slide but sadly I think it might be me that needs to go back to bed. He's still got a large amount of kitten in him and his vertical jump and twists are something to behold. I am constantly amazed by his leaps and bounds and how he can seem to hang in the air, for what seems like an age, before he lands.
The shop's open today but I'm not expecting a big one. A long lazy holiday weekend. Really I'd still be in bed now if I didn't have a shop to open.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

tree project

I had lots of running around to do this morning. I was stuck in the car. So of course RRR was tuned in. Richard Watts interviewed the people from the Australian Blacksmiths Association (yes there is one!) and the project they have started. I cried. 
The Tree Project is all about the creation of a gum tree made of stainless steel and copper. The leaves are being handforged by blacksmiths all over the world and you can actually sponsor leaves and gumnuts to be made on your behalf. It is going to installed at Strathewen later this year. Go and have a look and a read of the website and see the beautiful leaves that have already been made. As we move into the next phase of the healing process these sorts of projects take on a new and powerful role. This piece has the potential to be strikingly beautiful,

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

very hot and cross buns

Had to laugh when I went to Babka to pick up a Danish this morning. Apparently there has been some serious Bun Rage going on. Every year, they don't learn, read the sign- 'No buns left, orders only'. 
Because they are just Babka's everyday Shoo Fly Bun with a cross on the top.
Superstitious bunch aren't we.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


Studio work  is just not happening the way I would like it to at the moment. My sciatic nerve is shooting pain through the top of my leg (well actually my buttock to be precise- sorry) and it's making it hard to think. No, my brain is not in my bum, but the pain is distracting. I'm feeling under the pump and stressed anyway so not getting as far with things as I would like is driving me insane. The weather has of course spun around to cold and rainy and we have next to no winter stock ready yet. As you can tell, a grumpy little fruitcake here.

On the upside the new batch of pianola lampshades are in and, finally, we have vintage and antique wooden lampbases to go with our shades. They are old ones that I've had completely re-wired and buffed up with some lovely Tinderbox furniture wax (thanks Nik for putting me on to that one!).

Winter clothing-wise the lovely cashmere/wool Dora pants are in, only in black at the moment. In fact much of winter looks like it is going to be black. Well we are in Melbourne.....

We'll be closed on Good Friday but will be open on Easter Saturday, if you are in town come visit.

I think my Indian take-away might be ready soon so I'll sign off and pop down the street to pick it up. I've been in a bit of a dhal mood of late and the place down the road makes their own paneer so I'm in Hindi-heaven. I know I should be cooking it myself but too many other things to do!

Monday, 6 April 2009

the one where i feel old!

It's a sure thing that when the 13 year old emails you to let you know she now has a blog, and you read it and feel excited and proud and overwhelmed and very very impressed and laughed fit to burst, that you know she's grown up and therefore you are now officially OLD.
So go check it out- Lily and Larry (who I should explain is an imaginary badger). God-damn 13 year olds- too cool by half!

Saturday, 4 April 2009


What do you get if you cross an egg and a tea towel? 
A teaster egg......... OK that's really really bad but I've had one of those mornings that started out with plenty of time and then went totally pear shaped. (Note to self: Remember that Hot Cross Bun Time makes the queue at Babka really long and cases of Babka Rage* are common.)
In the shop today we have- perfect timing for Easter- giant (15cm) eggs made from tea-towels and the Clever Girl's too too gorgeous egg hats! And our lovely Ramona's gift tags- which I forgot to photograph.......

*Babka Rage is when someone (who only goes to Babka at Easter or once in a Blue Moon) thinks that someone before them is going to get the last Hot Cross Bun or Danish........ it can get nasty....... 

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

baden-powell's badges

I've never had  a desire to join groups, you know like the Guides or Brownies. I had one sister who was a Guide and one who was a Brownie for a short while and I think my brother may have toyed with Scouting for a second or two, but I think it was just a sign of the times, the late sixties, early seventies, when it was more common than it is now. There was a friend who asked me to join Venturers with her but really when it came down to it I'm not one for organised activities. Group outings leave me cold. 
But Lord Baden-Powell was right about one thing- everyone loves collecting badges! It was a marketing coup!

Do the activity, get the badge, swap the badge, sew the badge on!
OK, I've gone a little badge-mad. I'm making friends all over Australia hunting down these little  suckers...... they want to know if I'm into Scouting....... and (shamefaced) I have to admit 'no'.
Once I explain they think it's cool and tell me stories about swapping badges with foreign scouts, sewing them (the badges, not the foreign scouts) onto a blanket with a head hole cut in the middle of it and sitting around a campfire snug-as-bugs-in-rugs swathed in a scouty rug poncho.
So this is part of the new winter cushion range. Scout cushions! Made from wool army blankets and scout badges. Jethro likes them, I think he wants to be a scout.