Wednesday, 26 August 2009


I was getting ready to post photos of new stock.
New clocks.
New tea cosies.
And then I dropped the camera down the stairs.
So on top of everything else I need to do tomorrow, I now have to race out and get a new camera.
Double farnackle.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

remembrance of things past

A year ago today Spotty died. I still miss her.

But now I have this in my life.

A crazed bundle of fluff and teeth and kitten curiosity.
He loves water but hates rain.
He likes to sit in the sink.
He fetches. 
He brings toys to bed.
He likes to climb vertical surfaces, the fewer toe-holds the better.
He likes to help.
And sometimes he is so happy to see me I am astounded.

Friday, 21 August 2009

all lit up

The new old wooden lamp bases have arrived. I've had them all re-wired and given them a good wax. There are four in all so we are all lit up. I rang one customer who was on the waiting list for them and left the most ridiculously garbled message on her voice mail- sorry Kate if you read this! I hope you worked out what I was trying to say..... or at least don't think me totally crazed.

I've also decided to sell some of our lovely hand spun yarn in the shop. I had so many requests when people saw me in the shop knitting I thought it was time to sell it rather than pack it away for next winter! 

A nice incident this evening after the shop was closed.
I was in the shop packing some things away and saw some people get out of a car out the front of the shop. Next thing I know the letter flap springs open and this voice says 'excuse me!', I reply 'yes?' and she says ' just had to tell you your shop looks beautiful!' and the flap springs shut. 
It's a sad fact that when you are so close to your creation (ie my shop and all its contents) things can get very subjective. Whilst your friends might tell you everything is looking lovely sometimes it's little interactions like this that come out of the blue that can really buoy you up.
Thank you stranger for your (very funny) way of making me smile.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


There seems to be large holes in my week at the moment.
Teaching takes out a bite, errands a bit more, being somewhere other than the studio even more.
Tomorrow I have to be shopgirl so there goes another studio day.
I feel like the shop is empty at the moment as we have had largish things leaving (sold) and we are low on smaller stock. I know it's not really empty but........ that's how it feels to me sometimes! Probably because unlike other shops I can't just pick up the phone and order it in, it involves the actual making of stuff.
Apparently the article in the New York Times was published this week and I know we were in it as a had a confirmation call from New York but I haven't actually seen it. 
I had nightmares for most of the week involving trying to get somewhere and in a blick of an eye I was miles away in the opposite direction- hmmmmm. Like dreams are meant to difficult to unravel, this one is so obvious I can't believe it!
So in an attempt to clear my head and blow the cobwebs away I've decided I need a break. The next quiet time won't be until after Xmas and there is a huge pile of things to do and get done. I need to recharge so in one week I'm off like a moldy banana! Of course that is in a week's time and I have a lot to sort before then..........


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

making the grade

Yesterday was spent grading patterns. Think of x and y Cartesian coordinates. I find it hilarious when students say they chose fashion because they are no good at Maths! Huh! Fashion is all about Maths and Geometry and 2 dimensions and 3 dimensions, about working out costings and estimates, jigsawing pattern pieces together to get the best cutting percentages, about measurements and scales. See it's all about Mathematics.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


Last night's wander came up with this.
Shadows on an old mattress.
Milk crates are such a symbol of inner city living. Outdoor seating, student coffee tables, bookshelves, bike baskets, they are so useful.

Saturday, 15 August 2009


I went out this morning to get the bread and newspapers. 
As I sleepily strolled, a little ball of fluff rolled towards me, pushed by the wind. 
For a second I thought it was vacuum dust.
A tiny nest made from possum fur with a few eggshell fragments in the bottom.

Friday, 14 August 2009

clever girl

Nikki Gabriel is someone who I admire to the max. Her work is extremely beautiful on so many levels and her love of technique and the mark of the 'hand' in creating work is just delightful.
And to add to the excitement of her Summer range just going into store over the last few weeks is the opening of her new web-site and her  new project/on-line shop. 
Over the last year she has been developing a bespoke yarn range and a set of accompanying patterns. Called 'Construction' these patterns are a clever mix-and-match accessory/garment.

You can start simple (say a hood) and then add to that through a number of stages to end up with a more complex garment (say a little shrug cardi with hood). The great thing is that you are not only the knitter but you can actually take part in the development of the garment, making choices as to how you would like it to look as the finished item. 
She has developed two yarns and patterns Construction One and Construction Two. There is a lovely almost handspun looking wool yarn and a beautiful alpaca yarn. Lovely. You can check the blog for the background story and ideas behind the new range and pop to the new web-site to buy, buy, buy!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

red letter day

A project that I am working on.
That I like but that went annoyingly wrong yesterday. Just silly mistakes. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do.
Jethro has given it the stamp of approval and is currently sitting on the sample (in fact he has now curled up and gone to sleep on it). I was photographing it in the light of the upstairs window and he has decided it is great to sit on and look out the window.
I always liked the concept of the Scarlet Letter. Not that Hester was branded with A for Adulterer but that she wore it proudly on her breast, a big red stitched A. The story actually annoyed the crap out of me, Dimmesdale was such a namby-pamby twat. A curious mix of the Victorian and the Puritan, neither the most liberal of times but certainly quite two-faced.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

sometimes i'm a brassica

Sometimes I feel like a brassica. Not to eat you know, like 'I feel like some broccoli/Brussels sprout/cabbage for dinner tonight'  but a bit unglamourous, a bit dowdy, a bit ratty from being chewed on by pests, a bit of an acquired taste.
I don't seem to be able to get anything under way or sorted out. This is frustrating and as annoying as hell. I'd really like at least one problem to be solved, one project to come to fruition. I have always felt that this is the hardest thing when 'you make stuff'- when you can't actually get into the swing making of things. The only thing it creates is havoc with your sanity. (Does that make sense?!)
I'd also like a break but that is so not looking possible at the moment.
I've been fighting off a lurgy for the last few weeks and I am ready for it to just either bugger off or make me sick enough that I could have an excuse to take to my bed. I seem to be feeling the cold no matter what I'm wearing or how close I am to the heater. And the studio is freezing at the moment, with no heating.
OK I'll stop grumbling now, go microwave my wheatbag and retire to the comfort of my bed, for tomorrow is another day.

Monday, 10 August 2009


I am definitely one of those people who develops a trail of clutter wherever they are.
Last Sunday a big metal and wood trolley (I know it as a 'cage') followed me home. Yes I was that crazy woman balancing a Ladro pizza in one hand and dragging a trolley along with the other. Luckily it just fit through the back gate into my tiny 'backyard' but I have been unable to get through the gate because of it for the last week. So yesterday I filled it with all the the other 'props' (aka junk) that was in the space and wheeled it up the other end of the 'backyard' so that I now have to squeeze out the back door but can at least get out the gate. 
Old wooden ladders, pram wheels, wire bird cages, fluorescent light troughs, metal mop buckets......... They are props, really, truly. Or perhaps I should say 'potential props'. I have plans you know.......
But I have to say they made lovely shadows in the sunshine yesterday.

some kittens are very spoilt

Jethro regularly gets presents in the mail from his Auntie Kim.
Today's was a beautiful print titled 'Overhead the clouds rumbled'. If you look closely you might able to see that the kitten in the picture has gorgeous red mittens hanging from his wrist- this kitten has not (as yet) lost his mittens.
Yet another one of Jethro's favourite things (along with water, feathers, wool fibre....) is bubble wrap. He lurves bubble wrap and would quite happily spend his day popping it. Ahhhh.... life's simple pleasures.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

repeat prescription

Very tired.
Perhaps this crazy wind has tipped the balance. 
Sneezy, sore and slow.

But look!
Repeat Repeat
Friday night down in the underpass (almost wrote 'underpants') below Degreaves St in the city.
All my favourite people will be there.
Check here and here

Bed is calling............

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

omg! nyt!

What a morning!
The Cottage was photographed for the New York Times!
Yes, you heard that right!
The New-York-Freakin'-Times! For the style pages!!!!!
(Hyperventilating! Where's my paper bag?)
Jethro was, as usual, the star of the shoot but it all went to his head and when we opened the shop he made a break for it and got as far as Robio. He now has a wild look in his eyes and a flick to his tail. He needs a good lie down in a dark room.
The New York Times!
(Being the little Eeyore that I am- as Ramona loves to remind me- I know that we may not make the final cut but really it was nice to be chosen for the shoot, there are only 6 of us in the group. Cool huh?)

Monday, 3 August 2009

staying at home

I never seem to have enough time in my day/week/etc.
Last week was flat out, fast and furious, and by Friday I had a killer headache/migraine thingy. I am still feeling slightly fried from it and my eyes are only now focusing a bit better.
I did manage to get a pile of work done but there is more on the 'list' (you know I hate those things.........) that needs to be sorted and I just got the feeling today that I needed to stay at home and try to make some order from the chaos.

(Of course it would be quieter at the studio what with the builders and their bad radio next door here. I will be so glad when this renovation is done, it's been 4 months of hideous commercial radio. Mind you I might take that all back when the new tenants move in.)

Miss Magnolia has an almost finished new dress. She looks all sparkly in her fresh lace. I worked most of Friday on her, much to the entertainment of everyone walking by. Our favourite comment came from one of the locals who said it was 'very artestical'. We are planning to use this comment at every art opening we attend from now on.

(The banging is getting worse from next door and Rose Tattoo is belting out a song on the radio- if you hear of a group of tradies being murdered in Fitzroy you will know who committed it.)

Saturday, 1 August 2009


The good ship (book) HandMadeLife 'i make stuff' was well and truly launched last night. We cracked a jeroboam of champagne across her bows and she slipped gracefully into the flowing waters of creativity. We all cheered and smiled proudly.
It was also the opening of Craft Cubed and the Perspective exhibition. A nice crowd of people and a hilarity of children (there's a new collective noun!). At the end of the evening these two in the photo had us entranced. They decided to carry through the 'i make stuff' theme and..... started to make stuff. A couple of stools, a poncho and their kicked off boots were enough for a joint installation- these kids have potential, someone sign them up quick!