Wednesday, 31 March 2010

i don't want to go phishing

So here I sit with internet access but no email... go figure!
The Provider can't even get into my email account... go figure!
Might I have got a little cranky with said Provider... whatcha think?
You bet!
They are saying I'm the only person with this issue (hmmm) and they will fix it asap (hmmm hmmm).
Why is it that internet providers turn me into a complete m'em sahib (I want this fixed and I want it fixed now!) and while sitting on the phone listening to the annoying hold music I began to think that perhaps there is a note on my file that says 'difficult'.
So if I promised you an email/reply/something then my apologies and I really hope that I am not about to see my world explode due to a phishing trip. Fingers crossed this is sorted out by morning.......

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

an odd spot

I am feeling a bit flat. 
I just haven't the inclination to get into the studio, so today I took the shop apart, put out new stock and generally moved stuff around. It only took about 8 hours, with a little help from the furboy who took to climbing the cupboard doors, pushing beans under the front door and sleeping in the boxes of gloves. 
I'm not happy with the window display. The big trolley has been both a boon and a bane, providing extra storage for cushions but making it very hard to do displays in the window.
I've put out our new scarves and cushions and some cardis- wool, wool, wool, bring on autumn!

In today's The Age the Odd Spot reported 'the annual contest for oddest specialist book title for 2009 has been won by Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes. The book won 42% of the vote run by Second was What Kind of Bean Is This Chihuahua? with Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich third.' I'm putting my order in for Crocheting Adventures and Jethro wants a copy of  What Kind of Bean. A bit of Easter reading I think.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

bomber unmasked!

Saturday evening this person dropped into the shop.
Appears 'bellamy&attenborough&nutkin&oddie' is our knitted love letter yarnbomber!
She chose to remain incognito!

elspeth thompson

I woke up this morning to a sad message about Elspeth Thompson's death on Thursday the 25th of March. She was a writer I greatly admired and loved following her posts about the Victorian railway carriages she was renovating and the creation of her garden in a pebbly English seaside town.
She began sending through lovely messages to me after I mentioned her in a post about daydreaming on a tram. I loved her writing about observing changing light through her home as the seasons progressed and on her beloved sea shore. She was also a forerunner, and much  imitated, in her books writing on living well in a sustainable manner and reviving home crafts. 
I'll miss her greatly.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

the days grow shorter

I've been holding off doing the big autumn change over in the shop, mainly until I had the time but the time is drawing near. I have boxes of stock ready to come out, scarves and beanies and cushions and yarn and things to snuggle with, but have barely started the clothing side. So much to do.
The days are growing slowly shorter with last Sunday's Equinox and I have been sleepy all week wanting early nights and not having to get up in the mornings. It's just that change of season thing when you click from one way of living to thinking about getting the extra blankets out of the cupboard. 
I've fallen behind in replying to people too. So if you are waiting on an email from me, I will get there! I really do need to clean out my email inbox!
And I can't believe it is almost April, I never seem to catch up on anything. 

Thursday, 25 March 2010

crockeraholics anonymous

I think I may need an intervention.
I have this addiction. 
I seem to have a huge amount of crockery stashed in the cupboards, under the bench, in boxes-
and as of today I have even more. 
You see I had to go pick some stuff up in Dandenong South and I thought 'I haven't been to Dandenong Savers in ages, I might just pop in....'.
So in I go and peruse the first stacks of crockery to find a lovely pile of cherry blossom plates, 'Richmond' by Barker Bros, then a few 'Chantilly' plates by Crown Lynn (sprays of roses on a sort of basket weave background) and then I turn around....
Sitting there is a pile of Johnson Bros 'Jamboree' dinner plates, I look to the left and there is a pile of entree plates, a bit further along bread-and-butters. At this point I am slightly hyper-ventilating. Calming my breathing I look a bit further and there are the bowls and I just knew by this stage that the cups and saucers are somewhere close... in fact around the corner in the cup section. 
I think my brain may have melted in pure delight!
Oh how I love thee Johnson Bros!

I am single, I live alone, I don't entertain like I used to but with the amount of crockery I own I could hold the biggest buffet ever. You could come along and choose a favourite plate but you'll have bring your own cutlery and glass, I'm a bit low on those. 

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

and the winners are.....

The Paws of Power took a flying leap at all the little bits of paper.........

There was a little bit of a rummage.....

And the P of P pulled out.....
Can and Cake!
Then things got a little bit silly and Jethro ended up wearing the contestants.....

Email me with your details Lucky Winners and I'll get your gloves off to you before the weather turns bitter!


Well the give-away is closed folks!
Thanks to everyone for commenting both here and over at The Design Files- you all said such lovely things.... (blush stutter...)
Jethro is getting his kinder scissors out and will be chopping up little slips of paper with all your names on. We'll do the Magic Paw Draw this evening after the shop is closed so come back later to check who gets the gloves!


Monday, 22 March 2010

birthday present

As it is the Cottage's second birthday we've decided there should be presents!
But we are going to give you the presents. If you pop over to The Design Files Lucy has two pairs of our long angora fingerless gloves for people to win and I have two pairs to give away here. Four pairs! All you have to do is post what colour you would like if you were to win a pair. And if you get picked by the Interweb's Random Number Generator (also known as Jethro's Magic Paw) I'll send the gloves to you anywhere in the world.........

Closing crunch time is 9am (aest) on Wednesday 24th of March.

two years old

This is my little shop.
My little shop turns two years old today.
Can you believe it? I can't. Sometimes it feels like yesterday that I was painting and hammering and then unpacking and setting up.
And thank you to all you lovely customers and new friends that we have made over the last two years. And thank you to Cottage Industry's lovely sales girls who spend far more time than I do helping the people who come through our front door.

Happy 2nd birthday Cottage Industry.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

skein and cone

Somedays I just can't seem to multitask.

Yesterday was one of those and I blame it on the weather, this humidity has got to go. I was down at the bookshop yesterday morning and commented on the humidity and the guy behind the counter said 'but the rain will help get rid of that' and I looked at him in disbelief. Have you ever felt the overwhelming impulse to say to someone 'are you totally stupid?'..... I controlled myself and said 'umm don't think it works that way'. Of course I blame my crotchety ways on the humidity.......

So yesterday instead of having the knitting machine whirring away and a couple of projects on the boil, I caught myself just attending to the one job. I was having trouble with the edges on some of the scarves anyway so I needed to watch and rewind and scream a lot anyway. I suppose that is a form of multitasking. I am trying to get a heads-up on a pile of scarves, as we always seem to run out, lots of colours in fine wool, 'kid' sized and 'adult' sized. 

And the new 'harvest smock' denim dress/top/tunic (depending on how tall you are) is in. 
And the pianola lampshades will hopefully be arriving before I open the shop for the day. 
And I must get all my pile of handstitching in my basket ready for me to work on. 

Thursday, 18 March 2010

the needle has landed

A box arrived from New Zealand today!
Nikki's ebony knitting needles are back in stock and the lovely chunky wool yarn too!
Come and get it!

joining the big cartel!

I have been paying for a Big Cartel site since last November. It was meant to be up and running for Xmas but you know how things go.....
Finally on Tuesday , in between the filming and the fuffing about, I managed to chop the crate I made for last year's Projection Festival down, paint it and get it all ready to do product shots. Then there was the light globe fandango and finally discovering the tungsten setting on my camera and...... ta-da, fanfare, drum roll........ the site is finally up and running!
It's only stocked with long fingerless angora gloves at the moment but give me some time and you never know what might appear in its 'shop window'.
Pop over and check it out!
Currently I am only doing postage within Australia but I am going to get on to working out a Rest of the World rate (if you are RotW and wanting gloves drop me a line and I'll get the ball rolling).

knitted love letter

This appeared outside the shop this morning.
We are taking it as a knitted love letter.
Winter is coming and we don't want our signposts to get cold.
Thank you anonymous yarnbomber!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

why it was a home workday

This why I had to stay home today.
A film crew was coming to visit. That's MJ doing a piece to camera, Danielle standing in the background and Jethro lolling on the counter (he especially liked the fluffy wombat microphone and being cooed over by everyone on the crew). It's for a segment in 'Coxy's Big Break'.
Of course customers tried to come in and at one point we had to explain to a guy who had managed to walk in and started browsing that we weren't actually open..... embarrassment all round and giggles from us when he left. 
What a busy life I lead....


Whilst I've managed to get those two days back from teaching I seem to spend them errand running or working from home. 'How did I manage before?' I am continually wondering. 
Today is a home workday (which I think Jethro really likes) but when I am here, even working, I feel like I am secretly slacking off. Working for yourself is often about balancing those feelings of guilt that you aren't really working. My day rarely starts at 9am or finishes at 5pm, my week rarely starts on Monday and finishes on Friday, op-shopping isn't just a bit of fun and holidays and sickdays just mean nothing produced and no income.
There is so much to do. While I wait here today I am trying to get a photobox made, handstitch doilies on cardis and make phone calls to arrange stuff. That's what I do, I juggle, but trying to keep all those balls in the air is so exasperating. Especially when you'd really like to be snoozing with a cat and a good book.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

it's a cardi life

You are just going to have to put up with my Hipstamatic obsession for a little longer..... normally service will be resumed soon.
Meanwhile it's a good way to while away a bit of shopgirl time.
I managed to actually get a start on the new cardis for winter and I realised the shop counter is a perfect height for getting hand sewing done. I never do any hand finishing at the studio (or only if I need to do it to progress in a design) as it is one of those jobs that is more suited to home. I may have said before that I have jobs for the studio and jobs for home, which is why things get a little messy here. Some jobs are done on the couch and some jobs are at the kitchen table and some are crossed legged on the bed. Variety is the spice of life they say and perhaps that explains my Hipsta photos at the moment.

Friday, 12 March 2010


I can't remember whether I showed you our new shop postcard. So far we have had 'girl with brassica', then 'tapestry swans' and now we have 'dandelion owl'. Although we've got a couple hundred to go I'll have to keep my eye out for the next one. My plan is to change the postcard every batch of 500. 
I'm playing at being shopgirl today and tomorrow and, once I've run my errands this morning, I need to come home and get a big basket of handwork together to keep me busy. It's been a bit quiet in the shop lately, change of season and crazy weather, so I am hoping things pick up. I've been feeling like I haven't been getting much done in the last two weeks but getting the gloves in-store has made me feel a little better. They are so pretty (that statement is good considering the other night when I was getting them laid out I had a moment of thinking I had dyed all the colours 'wrong' and they would never sell...... I'm pathetic).

Thursday, 11 March 2010


I've been playing with Hipsmatic on my iPhone. Not totally convinced but it's fun.
Couldn't resist snapping the nuns on the way home this evening. And around my bedroom last night.
A bit bored with the look though. So many arty design blogs use similar images. Ah the joys of digital photography. 

crafty autumn

Linen doily dilly bags to keep your knitting in. 
Or your books.
Or a pair of shoes.
Or a secret stash of chocolate.

Vintage linen needle books.
Hand stitched and machine stitched.
Cotton flannelette pages.

cushiony autumn

Stumbled on some fabric bits yesterday.
They are cushions today.
Lovely red backcloth mixed with golden patterned linen.
Beautiful tulips backed with flowery cotton velveteen.

(g)loverly autumn

All lined up.
Dyed, washed, pressed and tagged.
The colours are prettier in real life.
Like spring blooms.
Fingerless angora gloves.
About 24 colours at the moment.
More new colours as autumn slips into winter.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

polka dot happiness

Dell told me the other week that polka dots make people happy.
She claims it's a scientific fact.
I don't know whether she was just messing with me but I think these knitting needles will put a smile on her face when she comes in tomorrow.
Handmade from Tasmanian Oak in 6mm, 8mm and 10mm.
Slowly I'm starting to put out our autumny wintery stock.
More to come- stay tuned!

waifs and strays

It seems I just can't say no to a waif and stray bit of machinery. No saving and buying a brand spanking new piece of equipment, oh no, not me. I've got to take in the quirky temperamental old bucket of bolts. I've got to coddle it and work out its kinks and curse and moan and wonder why I do this every time. 

And then I look at something like this counterweight and think it is all worth it.

With a bit of tinkering and a smidge of lateral thinking I sort out the problems. 

I don't normally name my machines (although another waif and stray, the walking foot binder is affectionally known as the Beast) but this one has 'Collin' scratched into its side so Collin it is. 
Collin the Conewinder.

Monday, 8 March 2010

for a little of that southern rain

The song was running through my head all morning, I couldn't place it except for the line 'for a little of that southern rain'. Four hours later the brain's card catalogue spat out Cowboy Junkies and I had it. 'Southern Rain'. (Duh.)

'Cars alive on city streets
Of sparkling black water
Like waves beneath my window
Never break just roll away
Tonight, this rain will be my lullaby
These cars, my dreams
To carry me home to stay
And it will never cease to amaze me 
How a little rain can drive folks crazy
When I'd trade all my blue skies gladly
For your blue eyes, crooked smile
And a steady downpour'

I feel drunk on the rain, sleepy and lulled. I felt like this in Tasmania last September, with rain and snow and rivers in full spate and 'the drought has broken'. Last night I went to sleep hearing the cars swish by and the big drain in the alley out the back sounding like a creek babbling. 

I didn't make it to the studio today (although public holidays are usually quite productive days, no interruptions) and apart from doing the washing,  packing a box to be sent to Sydney, upending a jug of smelly dead flower water all over the stairs (and my electric drill) and going out to Ringwood to pick a piece of equipment, I have had a lazy and highly unproductive day. 

I really need to kick my arse into gear. I am getting nowhere incredibly fast at the moment. I seem to be frittering away those two recaptured days.

I do have a chicken stew in the oven and fresh sheets on the bed though and the rain is coming down again, my kind  of drippy weather. I wonder if I get a raincoat for this winter will that encourage the rain to stay? We need a cold wet winter, it makes the brassicas sweet.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

great and glorious plans

I had great plans to announce a whole slew of new autumny, wintery products today. Sadly products Y that were to go with my products X have not arrived so there is going to be a little delay..... and a pile of other work hasn't been pressed and tagged and stacked..... so soon, very soon.
I'm blaming this hot and humid weather. I just become grindingly lethargic and wilted. I caught myself sitting in the studio yesterday with my feet up on a sewing machine and my hands behind my head, staring into space. I couldn't settle to just one job and everything I started just failed abominably. Not a good day for knitting, making decisions and finishing things off.  Of course at about 4.30pm I started a new project and left the studio in even more of a mess than usual. It was a quiet Friday in the shop, a mixture of long weekend and sticky weather but I hope today picks up even a little bit, otherwise I may fall asleep at the counter. I'm getting a basket of work together to keep my hands busy just in case.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

fluff and swatches

Gloves, gloves, gloves.
What an exciting life I lead.
The couch is piled high gloves with a little patch for me to park my bum on. There are buckets everywhere, full of gloves sorted, gloves soaking, gloves ready to be pressed. 
And then there is the fun things like sticking little bits of fluffy knit to cards and coming up with names. This sort of activity is a bit of feelgood time wasting really as in a week or two there will be new colours, sold-out colours and not so successful colours to be revised but they look so pretty all lined up.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

magenta decline

I thought today was going quite well. Even though I was awake an hour earlier than usual (checking eBay- didn't win the auction which is quite possibly a good thing), got dyeing started and got the shop prettified as Jo was bringing through some students from RMIT. 
Then things started to go pear-shaped. Not in any major way but enough to make me feel a bit 'off'. I discovered I'd forgotten to send off a very important letter. I mixed up a whole batch of dyes to the wrong strengths. I got stuck in a traffic jam. I noticed someone had attempted to jemmy the front door. Sigh.
Trying not to feel too annoyed by it all. 'Annoyed' is how I always end up feeling about trivial but sort of important things when they go wrong. Annoyed with myself. Annoyed that it upsets me. Grrrrr.
On a better note I am working on dyeing gloves and making up colour cards. I get to choose glove colours and give them names and one new colour is called 'dahlia'. Yes it is magenta just like the beautiful bunch of dahlias that I got as a 'thank you' present today.
I love dahlias. I love that they are blousey and a bit brash but in the nicest kind of homey way. Kind of like Miss Marple had a bit  too much sloe gin and kissed the vicar.

Monday, 1 March 2010

the first scarves of autumn

I don't know what to do with myself in the studio at the moment. I can pick and choose and like a kid in a lolly shop I just can't settle on just one thing. I flit and flip from one thing to the next. A few scarves, a new sample, a bit of production, occasionally just staring off into the distance. 
And thinking. Quite a bit of thinking but not really about anything in particular.