Thursday, 31 March 2011


I have to admit I hate reality- Reality TV that is- but I love 'Turn Back Time- The High Street'. I managed to miss the first couple due to prior commitments but have been glued to the show over the last few weeks. It's about the British High Street over the last one hundred years and the changing face of retail. There is a baker, a butcher, a grocer, a dressmaker and a blacksmith. It has human drama, a bit of fun and laughter and really a lot to say about how not all changes in retail have been for the better. Last week (1920/30s) the dressmaker and the bakers both realised that when you are the ones making the product life isn't so easy and in many ways you become a slave to your skill. This week (Second World War) those same people were the ones that got the most out of their trade. I also love the way the townsfolk of Shepton Mallet , where it was filmed, really seem to have got into the spirit of the whole enterprise. And I have to say I love the set dressing, interiors and the costumes.  The closest I'll get to reality (TV).

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

turn turn

The Sitting Still isn't working well. I'm basically spending my days fine tuning my skill of annoying Anna and Dell. I float about sticking my nose in and making stupid statements about things. I'm in a dreadful mood, acting like an overtired toddler.
Instead of getting anything vaguely productive done I sunk my afternoon on eBay and going for a walk. The leaves are turning and the Garden Show is on, both definite indicators of the Autumn turn. I always feel a little melancholy at this time of year even with beautiful blue skies and long light.
I'm not sure what is on for tomorrow. Laziness or energy? I think I will decide that one in the morning.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

learning to sit still

I took today off as well..... I feel very naughty. A lovely breakfast with Nikki, a chat with Charlotte, a chinwag with Zara and a bit of fluffing about. And I  finally hooked together the new computer and the old computer, a bit of binary angst and I am now typing away on a spanking new keyboard and admiring pictures on a shiny new screen (the new computer has been sitting in its box for the last nine months.... don't ask.... a tiny bit of technological fear).
I really was at a loose end for most of today, I didn't know what to do with myself. I really am very crap at relaxing, especially when things are going on around me, the shop was open. I had had plans to go out for a drive but I think after a couple of crazy busy weeks I have an overwhelming desire to sit very still for a minute or two. I'm wondering how many days I can justify not going to the studio this week..... it all depends on whether an order of cushion inserts arrives this week or not.
It takes me some time to slow down.

Monday, 28 March 2011

lazy day

What a weekend, meeting lots of bloggy friends, putting faces to names and basking in lovely compliments. Thanks everyone who said hello and sorry if I was a little crazed and vague, it was a full on 48 hours.

Sometimes bed is the best place to be.
By the end of last night I could barely move- two days standing on a concrete floor, lugging boxes and piles of things about, packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking had taken its toll. I went to sit down on a stool in the shop last night to sort some gloves and totally missed the stool and ended up sitting in a crate of sandals- a bit overtired I think. Midnight I was popping painkillers and limping around the house. Today I slept in, drank tea, read a book, went to the post office and generally loafed about, I may well do the same tomorrow.

Now better late than never...... time for the announcement of the Doily Tape prize!
Drum roll please......
Outbackgirl please stand up! She suggested using it to mark your suitcase for easy identification on the luggage carousel.
Stompergirl's somewhat timely Xs on your windows during cyclone preparation (and because the Stomper Family is going through a difficult time with Basil the Cat and all our love and best wishes go out to them).
And finally Sarah Jane because she will enthusiastically stick it everywhere!
Thanks to everyone and please email through your addresses so I can mail the parcels out (

Once again thanks to everyone who came to the market on the weekend!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

i'm a lot taller than i appear on my blog

So here's our crazy stand at Finders keepers. Swags of bunting, a layer of Axminster, mannequins wrapped in quilts, a tower of pianola shades, a shelf of cushions and bowls  and baskets of stock. Some lovely people said we had the most fabulous stall of all (thank you) and it was all a bit crazy- another one to get through tomorrow!
I am now addicted to Raph's tacos, served from the fabulous Beci Orpin decorated Taco Truck, so if you are coming to Finders Keepers tomorrow join the queue and order one or two or three.... and sit out on the wharf and chow down.
Today has been a huge day, not only FK but also a full page in today's Herald Sun Home section. Anna was flat chat fielding enquiries about the budgie tea towel cushion. I have to admit it never made it into the shop, I made it for myself, I very rarely end up with my own work but this cushion had to stay.

I'm off to bed.
Tired and another big day tomorrow.
Come on down and visit!
The view of the city from the other side is quite intriguing.

Friday, 25 March 2011

hide and seek, finders keepers

Temporary Cottage.
Under wraps.
Until tomorrow.
10 am.
Shed 4.
Come visit!
(Permanent Cottage is still open, Anna will be playing me.)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

axminster camouflage

The Axminster has arrived (after I had to do a total 'memsahib' and  coldly inform the carpet shop that they had guaranteed me delivery on Tuesday and as it was Tuesday why was it not ready, I ended up picking it up from the rug overlockers myself yesterday). We unrolled the smaller one and Jethro stepped out onto it with toes splayed, I think he was in sensory overload and pounced around as if he was trying to catch the flowers. I came downstairs last night to discover someone had been taken flying leaps and making the carpet slide across the floor, Jethro and his Magic Carpet Ride. It must be amusing standing outside the shop and watching his antics through the window, especially when he thinks he isn't being watched.
I managed to crawl back into bed this morning with a mug of tea and now of course I am running a wee bit behind schedule, I'm off to pick up a few things and then it's a studio day trying to sort the last of the stock for Finders Keepers. Tonight will be packing and panicking.

I'll announce tonight the winners of the doily tape suggestions this evening.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

three years old today

How time flies.
The Cottage is three years old today.
I'm in shock.
I'm stunned.
(I'm perhaps a little horrified as well.)
I'm definitely shocked and stunned and astonished.

Monday, 21 March 2011

views on the move

I've managed to do just a bit over 800 kilometers in the last 24 hours, I drove up the Hume late yesterday and back again this afternoon. I caught up with Miss Lizzie Bennett (also known as Charlotte), had an appointment with Ann the Crocheter Extraordinaire and got to meet Marnie who makes our Town and Country Mice. A pretty busy morning. The weather was crazily grey and warm with amazing clouds, strange and zingy but I felt too rushed to enjoy some of the places I quickly stopped at, next time I'll take it slower.
I got home to this and this- Fran, you make me laugh and blush with embarrassment, thank you!
We've got a big week here to get through, lots of preparation to do for Finders Keepers, lots of work to do.  I am looking forward to kipping in my own bed tonight, I think Jethro will enjoy a snuggle and snooze.

Remember! You've got until Wednesday to make doily tape suggestions!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

extreme doilyism

Many many years ago I moved into the old place on Brunswick Street where I house-shared with a friend Virginia. I moved in first and then a few days later she moved in. I got home that first afternoon to discover doilies scattered on table tops and shelves around the house. I drew a picture of a doilym surrounded it with a big red circle and slashed a big line through it. Doilies banned in this home! Virginia was very nice about it, laughed it off and all was good.
Well those damn doilies have spent the last 20 years creeping up on me. Now they are part of my life, my design practice, but never ever on a horizontal table top! Wrap them around a tree or a rock, print them on a t-shirt or sew them on a cardi, repurpose them a million ways. I swear it is their revenge for my rejection of them all those years ago. Haunting me!
Finally I feel we may have buried the hatchet............ doily sticky tape!
I have an overwhelming desire to cover something completely in doily tape........ if I owned a bike perhaps, a lamp post maybe, my car (Dad would kill me).........
I'll send out a roll each to the three top 'covered in doily tape' suggestions! Posted to anywhere in the world.
I hate blog give-aways but I want to your suggestions! Quick sticks, you have until next Wednesday (23rd March) to tell me!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

checking out

It's been hard getting out of bed this morning, yesterday was a hard day, exhausting, lots of running around, lugging stuff up and down stairs and making, making, making.
I've been feeling the shop was very low on some things, especially tea towel cushions, but last night I dragged new stock in and moved stuff about and now I can't seem to find any space to put anything. 
This season's new gloves and wool socks are starting to trickle in. I picked up the latest batch of quilting yesterday and managed to get half of the quilts bound and I've popped a few up in the shop. So checked, so pretty, made from vintage lambswool blankets.Really my head is in a spin from such a busy week, I now feel like I am rambling and blathering.
After last Sunday's Age picture the Cottage has also managed a post on Michi Girl (by the wonderful Miss Leah) and a couple of lovely mentions on the DFiles in Lucy's interview with Fiona Scanlan. Three things in a week..... not bad really!
I've got an exciting something to show you but that is going to have to wait until tomorrow. This morning has got away from me again and my typeface on this blog seems to have gone haywire and I am not in the mood to work out why. Perhaps when I press the publish post button it will all be ok

The photos don't do them justice. Jethro has given them the stamp of approval, he really likes them and I am positive he winked at me while lying on one last night (it's his form of a thumbs up signal).
Better run, I have a shop to open.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

roll me in axminster

I'm stuck at home waiting on someone coming for a viewing (I'll explain later if it comes to fruition as I think it is rather funny) and then Miss Beck is meeting me for a spot of morning tea so I may laugh at her ever burgeoning (pregnant) tumtum. Of course I should have been in the studio by 9 am but things have been conspiring against me for the last couple of weeks and don't seem to be able to balance what I need to do with what is actually getting done- tres annoying.
I have a looming deadline. It is sitting low over my head like a giant Earth colliding asteroid. Next Friday afternoon I am bumping my stall in to Finders Keepers Market and I feel like I have a major dearth of stock at the moment..... panic stations are definitely about to be hit. Faaaaarrrrrrrkkkkkkk.
Oh well I can only get what I can get done.......
I've decided that we need a rug to go on the stall so after I delivered a giant roll of patchwork to the quilters yesterday I went hunting for a bit of Axminster. If I don't have much stock then I'll plump for a pretty looking stall!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

tuesday already?!

Morning all.
I've been lying low trying to keep access to the TV and internet low, I'm fine with the newspaper but I seem to have a nasty case of Disaster Overload. I am still shocked and stunned but I find myself staring at the TV in horror, it does me know good at all so I have pared it back to the minimum and that needs to be ABC only. I don't want to see Mel and Kochie live from Tokyo, I don't want  to hear the same inane drivel over and over, how dare they send these 2nd rate TV 'personalities' over to disaster zones, haven't they suffered enough? What a waste of resources.
Anyway, there is my rant for the morning. 
On other more local-than-global news Jethro and I spent Sunday in bed trying to break the back of this stupid lurgy I came down with. Still a little sweaty temperature but that is probably more external than internal now. We opened Sunday's Age to find we had stock in the style photo-shoot, bunting and new Welsh blanket cushions (they borrowed 8 cushions and we got one in the shoot.... go figure.... better that than nothing I suppose....)
Yesterday was pikelets and tea in the 'backyard' with Miss Leah and then hours and hours of glove dyeing, washing, drying, pressing and labeling. The first run of loves are in store as of this morning. After over 6 years I have finally put had to put the prices up on the gloves, not much, just a couple of dollars. I feel bad about it but it's a couple of years late as it is. I always hate looking at the glove colours I have chosen at this point, the palette is always a bit all over the place but it will settle down as I start adding more to it. And we have socks too! Dyed wool ones in two lengths and some super stunning over the knee angoras in the natural cream colour, perfect to wear with your Hunter gumboots I hear.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

relationship in the making

I've finally succumbed to an early Autumn cold. I have that fine line of sweat on my top lip and a dampness in the small of my back from running a temperature. Oh well, everyone else has been sick. I put it down to dyeing gloves on Wednesday in a muggy fugness, humidity how I hate thee.

Yesterday was spent in the studio, finishing projects and starting new ones. I got thinking (as you do when working repetitively) that starting a new design is a bit like embarking on a  new relationship. You go in full of passion but passion tempered with trepidation and a dash of fear. Then you reach the part where you stand back and wonder at what you have created, you are deeply and overwhelmingly enraptured, astounded at what you have made, in the first flush of love. Sadly those feeling of joy subside as you labour on, slogging through the joyless labour intensive hours of production. Your love has waned. You could shove it all in a box and walk away but you stick to it, you are faithful to this thing you once felt so strongly about. Just as strongly as you once felt love you now feel loathing and hate, you want this thing gone from your life, it's ready and you want it gone, you are so bored with it, the relationship is on its last legs so in an act of mercy you send it out into the world. And like any relationship as soon as someone else wants it, marvels at it, loves it, you start to see it with fresh eyes. You begin to see its good points, how nice it looks and you realise you'd go through it all again. 

On another note the first of this years handspun yarn is in store today. Lovely silk, wool and mohair mixes in a lovely batch of colours. I'll get around to spinning more over the next few weeks. And as the swing tags are finally in from the printers (they delivered them yesterday as I don't think they wanted me to come in to pick them up, two and a half weeks late but finally here) I can start tagging and putting out Autumn/Winter stock out. Of course we are having stunning Melbourne Autumn weather now, skies as blue as a sailor's eyes.

Friday, 11 March 2011

tie me up, tie me down

My apologies people, I don't know where this week has gone.
I promised on Monday evening you'd get to see the contents of the box that arrived and then I just managed to avoid the computer as much as I could this week. Sometimes it is just really nice to cut back on the internet world and that has been how I've been feeling for the last month or so, it's such a time wasting sink of energy sometimes.
Back to the box..... we've excitedly been waiting on a batch of Something's Hiding in Here's Forage bow ties! Shauna and Stephen make the fabulous faux-taches that we've carried in the shop pretty much since we first opened and I really wanted to get the bow ties in for Xmas but the poor loves were totally snowed under with orders but I finally managed to snaffle some for the Cottage. These are the real McKoy, you'll have to learn to tie them if you want to wear them! I've printed out some easy to follow instructions to go with them. Like all Shauna and Stephen's products it's the whole package that is just so fabulous, the boxes these things come in are just amazing. These two are just the total bee's knees pin-up couple, there is a great interview with Shauna on Etsy and a photo spread of their home on DesignSponge- go and have a look!
Back to the bow ties..... we have them in Liberty print or fabulous 1940s cotton plaid. They would be perfect as a boyfriend present, for a wedding or even on some super cute girl doing the whole prim and proper secretary/preppy look thing, of course she/he would be off riding on an old skool treadly bike. Just had a thought.... they would look fabulous with a spot of Harris tweed!

Anyway better run, I'm late for the studio......

Monday, 7 March 2011

snip tease

A day in the studio. 
I decided that a good way to start was to get a pile of stuff cut out and ready to go, preparation is sometimes good for the creative soul. So tea-towel shoppers cut out, their off-cuts turned into bunting triangles, gingerbread hearts prepped and a new purse pattern and sample done. It's sort of like doing stretching exercises, easing back into the hard slog.
I got home this evening to find a box had arrived. Exciting! But you will have to wait until tomorrow for the photos... I'm a tease! 

Saturday, 5 March 2011

when weeks go bad

This week has been a total pain in the pattootie. Not much has gone right, there has been misunderstandings and cock-ups from start to finish. The piece-de-resistance* was turning up late yesterday afternoon to pick up the three days overdue new swing tags from the printers to find they had been badly printed on the wrong card stock. I was so close to crying, screaming, stamping my foot.....
A great end to a fabulous week......
The swing tags should have been the world's simplest printing job and the annoying thing is that I can print better on my little cheapo Pixma printer. In fact that appears to be what I will be doing this weekend, making our new swing tags. It just annoys me that I farmed this job out as a way of taking another job off my plate and it hasn't worked out that way, it's just created even more headaches.
Oh well.
I did get a drive under lovely grey and slightly misty clouds yesterday. I did find a few things at the op shop (although one of my favourite op shops wasn't open due to being flooded last week) and although I did swear no more crockery I did score three Johnson trio sets (cup, saucer, plate) in matching fruit and flowers designs. I couldn't help taking a photo of the doll in the picture as she looked so run-down glamorous even with a dink to the side of her head and a price label looking like a sticking plaster on her cheek. I'm thinking she's Edie Sedgwick after a hard night out. I even love her sleeveless roll neck sweater made from a cut off sleeve. I didn't buy her though. Perhaps I should have.
On the shop front we've got new re-wired vintage lamp bases and lamp cords in and fingers crossed the new batch of pianola shades will be in tomorrow ready for Monday. I have a whole batch of new stock to go out but it will have to hold off until next week (* see above) but we have the fabulous cushions piled high in the window (there in lies another frustrating story of this frustrating week, involving a stylist, a mountain of stock on loan and a return date that is well and truly passed).

Frustrating week be gone! Leave by the door and do not return! Out, out! Get thee gone!
Hey I've got to try something to get this ball rolling!

Friday, 4 March 2011

watching and waiting

I'm off up country for a couple of hours this morning. A quick run to pick up some gloves I forgot to grab last time I was at my knitters and to drop off another box of yarn. I might sneak in a couple of op shops before getting back into the studio, my now slightly emptier studio, minus two tables and a pile of rubbish.
I better drag the twenty five kilogram box of yarn to the car and hit the road.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

change is as good as a wink to a blind camel...

.....hmmm.... that doesn't sound right......
I am a little (make that 'a lot') befuddled today. I was throwing back painkillers and sipping a mug o' tea at 2.30 this morning, I managed sleep but am as creaky and sore as someone who has been lugging furniture, installing shelves and re-doing displays can possibly be. I don't think there is a part of me that doesn't ache today.
Yesterday was the day of the Big Table Swap of 2011. My antique dealing friend lent me a beautiful unrestored Wiener Werkstätte table three years ago (the loan was meant to be for a year....) and when late last year he called to say he needed it back then the hunt started for a replacement table. For a while there I was thinking of using my grandmother's table but one day out hunting we stumbled on a stunning old kitchen table. It may have been covered over with manky lino squares but it reeked 'renovator's delight'. It languished at the studio for months until last week in a fit of frustration I sanded the glue off the top, gave it a good old wax and it was ready to go, then I painted little table's legs and the date was booked for the swap.
One table out/two tables in.
The shop looks same same but vastly different.

I've been waiting for the table swap so that I could put out new Autumn/Winter stock and last night I got the chance. It's mainly cushions at the moment but oh what cushions they are! I am going to write a whole post on my addiction to Welsh tapestry blankets but here is a little taster, they are the cushions in the top half of the photo above, they are fabulous beyond belief, I luuuurve them. And there are new crocheted cushions too. And ultra new hot water bottles with woollen blanket covers.
Now I needed to get the dye pots bubbling.
Back to work!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

turning the tables

Littler table is back on its legs which means the time is getting closer.
I've slept in, after being awake half the night having angsty money worries, even Jethro slept in and when I threw back the curtain he yawned like a reluctant schoolboy. We are both up and ready to go, certainly not with engines running smoothly but with a slight chug-chug-phtwwwt feeling.
Better get to the studio, just my luck it will be the day the delivery man is early.....

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


When it comes to painting I am known for just slapping the paint on, even painting over cobwebs rather than do any form of prepping. It's all to do with my love-hate relationship with the paint can, I think 'oh wouldn't it be fun to paint that!', then 30 seconds in I am cursing why I ever started and have to workshop through my emotions of paint-regret until the thing being painted starts to look OK. Of course I get to end and all those bad feelings about painting get covered up with layers of shiny, shiny gloss and  I forget until the next time I open a paint tin and slap the first coat on just how much I hate painting.
There is going to be a big swapperoony in the shop tomorrow evening. Stay tuned.