Saturday, 30 April 2011


I've woken up this morning feeling like I have a hangover from attending The Wedding.
And what a wedding it was. Really for something so big it had a really quite lovely simple feel about it.
The Dress was beautiful and The Bouquet and The Veil just the right size. I loved the hedgerow-y flowers behind the altar and The Horses were fabulous! (Lurve the horseys.)
And 'Jerusalem'..... oh my! It is just so amazing when a whole church belts it out- I was screaming '.... and again! One, two, three.... Did these f-e-e-t in ancient times.....'.

And in answer to the queries as to why I hate weddings, well I spent 10 years of my working life designing and making wedding dresses (and Bat Mitzvah dresses interestingly) and I have had any form of wedding spirit totally knocked out of me. I'll never forget a 25 stone bride accosting a friend of mine, who made her dress, because my friend hadn't made her look thin enough. Every bride a princess for a day. Probably the nicest wedding I've been to was a bring-a-plate affair at a borrowed garden in Healesville with lamb on the spit and the world's shortest wedding vows. Simple.

Anyway today's another Saturday and I better get the shop sorted and spruced. We have a huge batch of new tea towel cushions ready (including the Charles and Diana one in the picture and there is also one from Anne and Mark's wedding- both ending in divorce....) and I need to get them all displayed on the bunk.

Also before I forget the Cottage won't be open this Tuesday, sorry about that but the new front windows are finally being installed! I'll be around if you are desperate to buy something but the shop is going to be a bit difficult to navigate as I have to drag everything out of the front window. It will be sad to see the lower lattice windows go but it has been a total bugger to display in and hopefully this means we will no longer have windows that leak or threaten to cave in if people lean on them. And a new door too, which means I need to get on to our new shop signage as well. That bit is exciting.

Friday, 29 April 2011

pomp and couch-potato

Went to bed with a headache, woke up with a headache.
Probably from all that work I (barely) did yesterday.
As you may possibly have noticed there is an event on today. Then tomorrow there will be the whole dress dissection (I'm betting the dress will be fairly fitted and slinky). I'm wondering how long it will take for the poor-man's copies to start flowing down, how many churches will refuse to allow trees as decoration (although I rather like the idea and that they are being planted out after). And really I don't give a toss about The Chaser being canned as for the most part they are pretty unfunny, Roy and HG would probably do a much better job and I'm wondering who at the ABC didn't read the fine print. They could have got around it by broadcasting on radio and getting people to switch their TVs on to watch, a simulcast just like RRR used to do for the Grand Final. See, public broadcasters think out side the idiot box.
Anyway, I may hate weddings but I do love a bit of pomp and circumstance and I will definitely be turning the sound way down. See you on the couch tonight.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

the c-word

I know what the Hon George Higinbotham is saying to me.... 'get your arse in gear girl and get to the studio!'.
OK, OK. For the first day in what feels like a month I am off to the studio, after a meeting here at the shop first.
I've decided that I really like this Five Day Easter, even though I worked on Saturday, although the C-word has sent me slightly loopy. C-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e. It seems to be the downside of our lovely Five Day Easter Public Holiday.
So lots to do and I will probably have trouble settling to one job, I will flit from one thing to the next, buzz buzz, flutter, flutter. Perhaps I will waste time writing a list, hmmm perhaps not, it's all in my head anyway. We need tea-towel cushions and Welsh blanket cushions, gingerbread hearts, clothes, scarves, purses, quilts.......... arggghhhhh! Where'd I put the c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e??

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

a whole lot o' nothing

Perfect Melbourne Autumn weather, a cat, a girl (once upon a time), a book, a bed,a bucket of tea.
I've achieved the grand total of nothing so if you are expecting an email from me, you might have to wait a little longer.
I have taken the rubbish out, it maybe a holiday but it is still Garbage Eve and let me tell you the rubbish situation here was getting very embarrassing and slightly claustrophobic. Not the smelly type of rubbish, just piles of newspapers and boxes and recyclables, it's done now.
There is a hot-cross-bun-bread-and-butter pudding in the oven as I am out to dinner tonight and there were left-over de Chirico buns and Milawa fruit bread that all needed using up. I'm angling for another 3/4 hour lie on my bed before the pud is done and it is time to go out. There is a pile of stuff that needs doing but really who can be bothered.....

Sunday, 24 April 2011

easter sunday

A lovely Easter Sunday- snoozing, tea drinking, newspaper flipping, a cat chasing mini eggs across the floor and an appointment to see some vintage fabrics.
Everyone I know seems to be having a rejuvenating Easter this year. I can't say the first half of this year has been the greatest but I am feeling that things might just be getting better. I think I enjoyed today knowing that whilst I have work to do over the next two days I can also fit in a bit of nothing time too.
Look at the lovely Easter present I was given from Birdie and Fox, the box has the cutest illustration by Elise Hurst on it of Miss Rabbit drinking hot chocolate upstairs at the Koko Black Royal Arcade store, sadly it now contains fewer chocolates.
The paper today had an article about how much exercise it takes to work off a Lindt bunny- stupid party poopers, I know it's not good for me but how about just enjoying it?? Although I might be reaching the point where if I see another piece of chocolate my head might explode.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

chicks and cups and chocolate

It's funny how everyone this Easter is all smiley and relaxed, it would appear to definitely be a time of renewal.
Much fun was had at the BirdFox Good Friday lunch yesterday with everyone wearing rabbit ears (I forgot I had them on and scared myself silly in the bathroom mirror) and six squealing adults doing an Easter Egg Hunt in the lounge room. I now have so much chocolate I think I might make myself sick- and if you are thinking 'well just don't eat it' I must remind you that it is Easter and copious consumption of chocolate is all part of the festivities!
I've been out and got the papers and the vacuum is sitting in the middle of the shop floor..... it is of course Saturday once again. We have some of the oh-so-cute knitted chick egg cosies left and the Hookturn Easter/Mother's Day limited edition cups are in stock. We've also unpacked the knitted bees and ladybirds and hedgehogs that we went up country to collect.
The shop is open today 11am until about 5pm-ish (I would think everyone would have wandered off to do lazy things by late afternoon so I might close before our usual time of 6pm) so please drop in for a visit!
I'll be the one behind the counter spinning straw into gold.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

it's going to be a good friday

Back in the 'hood, April blue skies over the chimney pots.
I was so very tired today, a mixture of two days of driving, a pesky 24 hour gastro bug and a little furry visitor who ran amok through the house at 5am. This creature is a little cat who lets itself in by crawling under the backgate. It's visited before but this time was much more dramatic with two cats racing about the big front room. When I got up and turned the lights on I found it sitting on the little run of stairs leading from the landing to the front room. It is the most amazing looking cat, I think it has a bit of Bengal Cat in it, incredible markings and the most beautiful toffee colouring. It rowled at me, we both circled the table and then it scooted off downstairs and under the gate and away. Jethro by this stage was hiding under the couch. I don't blame him, our visitor regularly has crazed cat fight out in the back lane.
Tonight is going to involve a big long sleep, an Easter renewal, and tomorrow is lunch with Birdie and Fox.
The shop is open on Saturday but we are going to be closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. I need some sleep time, lolling time and definitely some cleaning time- Easter is good like that, it is so much lazier and less fraught than any other holiday. I'm looking forward to it.


We got back last night from the country interlude. Such amazing autumn colours and with all this years rain the trees really seem to have decided to give a show and a half.  The yellows glowed, the reds were saturated and the deep dark burgundies were almost black. We missed the poplars of the Ovens Valley but it was still amazing. Sadly no photos, I don't know why, perhaps driving too fast. There were fabulous clouds and shafts of light and a huge moon and although it wasn't really cold there was bucketing rain and mist in the valleys.

Our 'alps' may not be very alp-y but they are very nice. You drive through farming valleys and look along amazing vistas and it is so very seasonal thanks to those Northern Hemisphere trees against the blue of the gums. I love that we have changing seasons and winters down here. Bring it on.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


I love you but I need some space.....
Just kiddin'.
I'm off for a country jaunt to meet up with Our Ladies of Perpetual Craft and possibly visit a few op shops along the way.
I have to say things have been very frustrating this year and an Autumn drive will be great. My compadré of craft will be riding shotgun which means that there maybe a few disagreements and a bit of thrift jealousy en route.
I better get the kettle on and the thermos filled and I have a pile of tapestries in the back of the hatchback that need to be dumped at the studio. The Nissan Pulsar now has roof racks(!) and looks exceedingly sporty (pimp my ride indeedy), this of course might lead to larger amounts of crap infiltrating my life.
We areI am having a late start today after de Clieu's famous 'egg and bacon' brekky with Miss Beck but I better hit the road. I'll report on my return!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

ersatz country towns and zombie koalas

Sometimes living in Fitzroy is like living in a country town. Perhaps it is just the age of the buildings in old Newtown/Fitzroy and how the architecture is so much that of so many of our best country towns. Then you get places like the old Fitzroy Football Ground, cricket in Summer, football in Winter, a friend's wedding in the Grandstand, the little grassy knoll over to the side and the pin oaks changing colour. And what's a country town without an old skool oval?
I'll stop waxing lyrical now, it's just Autumn does this to me, it's the light you know.

The big order of cushion inserts came in but I seemed to work very slow yesterday and only managed to get a pile of new vintage Welsh blanket cushions done, we've got a new batch of colours, black with coral and yellow and pink with blue and yellow and I've made up more of the ecru with orange.
I've had a collection of 'koala bear' tea-towels that I have been saving for over 5 years now. All the same design but in different colourways and I finally made them up yesterday. On mass they are seriously strange, like an army of koala zombies out to kill and the colour combos are fabulous. Not sure if I want to sell them...... such a great design...... damn, maybe I should have stitched them up into a curtain, although that really would have been nightmare inducing.

Friday, 15 April 2011

the wanders

I had to go to Williamstown yesterday to pick up something and ended up in a café in Yarraville watching blonde haired children being fed macaroons by their trim blonde mothers. I ate an average croqué monsieur, drove to North Melbourne bought a roof rack for the Pulsar hatchback, visit Brett at the Junk Company and then forced myself to go to the studio. After an hour of not getting much achieved I got back in the car and drove to Doncaster to pick something else up. I got home (someone was parked in my spot) chatted to Anna for a minute and then walked into the city. On the way I got accosted by a beggarman who asked me for a cigarette, when I said I didn't have one he followed me down the street abusing me and sarcastically saying 'sorry, sorry', then asked for money.
I dropped in to the Sportsgirl store on Bourke Street to see the 'make do and mend' display they had up. I don't know how I feel about this.... well actually I think it is quite  (un)funny that a store that encourages spending by the under 18s is using a promo advocating not spending and repairing and re-making. I'm not totally sure they have quite got the point! And I'm not totally convinced their garment would last long enough to be worth repairing. Also it annoyed me they had technique confusion with a crochet afghan suspended from giant knitting needles.....
I did visit my friend Lisa Lang, joint Vogel award winner, SMH nominee, NSW Premier's Award nominee and.... Cosmo FFF nominee (heeheeheeeee , this one makes me laugh and has resulted in many very stupid late night text messages with Lisa) but otherwise a supremely annoying day. A bad case of the Wanders, I really should have got in the car and gone for a autumnal country drive.  It wasn't that I was in a snarky mood at all, just very off kilter things just seemed to spin about me all day. It's probably my bung shoulders and back making me prone to strange occurrences. I'm off to the studio now to await a massive cushion insert delivery and if I am really lucky I might even get some work done.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

come snuggle

Our wintery blast deserved a window display change. The gloves are suspended, a blankie quilt is hanging and piles of Welsh blanket and crochet afghan cushions are perched percariously on the turquoise bench.
Time to snuggle!
I had chicken stew with fluffy dumplings for dinner last night and have had a breakfast experiment of barley porridge this morning. I'm ready to face Autumn and Winter now!
I'm working in the shop today as Dell is off teaching animation to the youngsters at Artplay and Anna has a Masters lecture to attend. As the studio and I am not having a good relationship at the moment I'm not so fazed about being shopgirl. I've been working hard when I have been at the studio but find myself drifting off almost not thinking as I cut patterns and feeling crowded and closed in. Of course this might just be due to the excruciating muscle knot centred around my left shoulder blade..... problem is it is spreading across both my shoulders now.....
I am trying to decide which projects to do today. The colour chart for the gloves would probably be most important, I have a customer in Sydney who is about to lose it if I don't get it through to her quick smart.
And a bit of spinning might be fun, although as I haven't managed to clean all the crap off the stairs it could be a bit dangerous lugging the wheel downstairs.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


I'm sitting here in the semi-dark listening to the rain bucket down.
My type of weather!
Makes me think of angora fingerless gloves, wool socks, handknitted beanies, fine wool jumpers and snuggling in a Baden Powell poncho by a roaring bonfire. (Hee hee. All available from the Cottage right now!)
All of which makes the stuff I'm working on at the moment not quite in the right season. Well it hopefully will be when it all comes together but at the moment the fabric I am sampling in makes it not quite right but I have plans- and a lot of work to do.
Once again I managed to not get the window display done, I must do it tonight.  I really need to turn the damn TV off in the evenings, somehow it hypnotically lures me to park my arse on the couch and if I don't have a handwork project planned a sink-hole of time occurs and there goes a pile of wasted hours.
I've drunk my tea and it's time to get out of the pyjamas and into some studio clothes. Work to do!

Monday, 11 April 2011

achievements lacking

Things achieved this weekend (Sunday)....
1. Buckets of tea consumed.
2. Newspapers browsed.
3. Books read.
4. Watching Jethro sleep.
5. Listen to the rain fall.
6. Feel good that Winter is on its way.

Things not achieved this weekend....
1. Vacuuming.
2. Glove dyeing.
3. Changing front window display.
4. Washing clothes.
4a. Putting last five lots of washing away.
4c. Washing the dishes.
4d Putting last lot of dishes away
5. General house cleaning.
6. Clocks made.
7. Putting the cover back on the couch.
8. Photographing gloves.
9. Answering emails.
10. Putting the rubbish out.
11. Sorting out the shop store cupboards.
12. Making up glove colour charts.
13. Picking up everything on the stairs.

And now it is Monday.
(And why can't I ever find any socks in this place?? Where do they all go??)

Saturday, 9 April 2011

newspapers and kitchen tables

I can't believe how sore my shoulders are from lugging dyepots around. Stiff and sore.
The breeze has picked up and there are clouds coming in so maybe the cool change is coming in a little early.
17ºC forecast tomorrow so I am blatantly plugging angora fingerless gloves, fine wool jumpers and cushions and quilts to snuggle up to and under.
I need a project to keep my hands busy in the shop today. I can't decide what to do, perhaps I'll just crochet cords for our necklaces. I normally like to get in a smidge of newspaper reading in the late afternoon but last week the papers sat unread. I am one of those types that has to read Saturday's newspapers on a Saturday, I get confused otherwise. Back in the days when I had leisurely Saturdays I loved sitting at the table in my old kitchen, reading the papers, drinking buckets of tea and fielding visits from friends. The kitchen here is the size of a shoebox (one day I will have a big kitchen again) and although the old kitchen table is upstairs in the big room it is always piled so high with work there is never a clear space to spread the papers out (one day I will have a clean table).
Better scoot and get the shop ready.

Friday, 8 April 2011

my little helper

(Please excuse the gratuitous Jethro photo but he spent most of the day helping me dye gloves. Normally a weekday for this kitty means a huge daytime nap. Not today though, he has added 'dyehouse assistant' to his job description. When not keeping an eye on me from the thunderbox outside, he sat on the washing machine, in the trough, had a nap in the dryer, lay on the stainless steel bench squashed between the window and the heat press, climbed into the storage boxes, lay on the floor right in the middle of the kitchen..... such a fabulous little helper....)
After spending the day dyeing I've spent this evening trimming and pressing gloves, tomorrow I'll finish tagging them and pack them away in their storage boxes. I've put out the new colours in the shop display baskets and I'm starting to feel happier about the way the colours are coming together. There seems to be a few too many blues and greens but range looks so pretty at the moment.  I've dyed up a batch of the extra strength turquoise which we haven't had for ages and there are new reds and a really lovely rose pink. I'll have to re-do the window display on Sunday and hang the gloves as we do each Winter tumbling down from the ceiling. I also need to get around to photographing them all so that I can start the on-line shop up again.
I seem to be surrounded by a riot of colour at the moment- the new blanket quilts, woollen jumpers and cardis, the Welsh blanket cushions, the crocheted cushions and baskets and bowls of angora gloves. Looks like Winter is going to be very bright this year.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


I was a good girl today. I sat at my sewing machine and stitched. I made a new batch of '4 Square' crocheted cushions and I made stripey crochet cushions.

Then I got out some new-old-vintage Welsh blankets and made some new cushions. Welsh blankets always make me happy.

The last part of the day was spent drafting a couple of new pattern adaptions. See, I'm so much happier when I'm creating. Of course when I think of all the other jobs I need to do I feel a little week at the knees. It's a balancing act, walking the fine line of overwhelming workloads. Tomorrow it will be me and the dyepots, lots of gloves to boil up.
I need a good night's sleep though. The furry housemate is still on Daylight Saving Time and spends an hour and a half every morning playing on the bed, under the bed, around the bed and making little 'memmm' noises as he plays. His latest trick is walking along the metal bedhead and looking down on me then sitting amongst of piles of books on the bedside table and slowly pushing them onto the floor. I'd really like that extra hour of sleep.....

(Sarah Jane! I have your winnings from the doily tape competition here- should I mail the package or wait for the Other Penelope to drop by? Let me know lovely lady!)

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

compare the pear

My middle name is 'Procrastination'.
One of the fluorescent lights in the studio has been dying for about 3 months, I thought I would see how long it took to die, gradually that section of the studio has got darker and darker. I've been feeling a distinct loathing for being in the studio lately and this morning I wondered if it may have had something to do with this creeping darkness. Then I started to think perhaps my own creeping darkness was the reason for me not replacing the light tube. So I went to the supermarket, bought the new tube for $4, climbed to the top of the ladder and replaced the damn thing. That section of the studio is now covered in a  glaring retina burning  glow and strangely I feel a little better about the studio.
Being a creative soul means that when I not making work I feel quite out of sorts and when I am out of sorts I find it very difficult to positively, productively creative. Today I tried to work through this, to 'break through the pain barrier' if you like sporting metaphors. I made a huge batch of our hottie wheat bags, pressed up new afghan scarves, prepped denim for cushion backs and Dell helped me put out the new batch of pure wool cardis and sweaters. I tried to get my head into a better state, to feel a bit less like procrastinating.
Whilst procrastination can be conjured up at any time I am seriously prone to it in April. That long Autumn light triggering memories of getting out of hospital after a month full of tubes and drips and how incredibly blue the sky was, how amazing the sunlight, that year is far away but memories are always close. Now I try to fill Autumn up with the best of the harvest, Fuji apples from Harcourt, Beurre Bosc pears and getting ready for Winter.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

sofa sitting

I had forgotten how nice it is to have a couch with room to sit on.
I dumped all the piles of crap that was piled on it somewhere else and washed the quilt and cover and spent Sunday night sitting in the middle of the seat (rather than jammed up on one corner) luxuriating in the illusion of space. It was rather nice last night, too, when I sat crocheting the edges around a couple of afghan scarves and enjoying the evening being dark and a little cool.
And yes I sometimes wear glasses. My eyesight at the moment for doing close up stuff is atrocious and I really need to get a new prescription. After a few weeks of the new glasses I know my eyes won't be quite so bad as they are at the moment. I have to admit I am tempted to go to Big W and buy an el cheapo pair there.... but I know I will probably end up at I Spex and spend a small fortune on a 'groovy' pair (I have my heart set on a hot pink style by Cutler and Gross I saw in Lula magazine..... I am so far from being an 'I-want-that' magazine reader but once in a blue moon something will take my fancy...).
Anyway I am off to the dentist now...... groan.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

pea and potato

I like the Sunday when Daylight Savings finishes. That extra hour just begs to be wasted. I didn't get to sleep in as my furry housemate decided to use this morning for hyper-energy hi-jinks. I did get to lounge in bed with tea and devoured a whole book in a morning. There is really so much to do around here (cleaning, sorting, dyeing) but really who can be bothered? This afternoon I did roll the old rug up and unrolled the Axminster, much to Jethro's excitement, and stripped the cover and quilt off the couch and gave them a good wash. There is boxes of stuff everywhere now, nothing put away but I have yummy mash and peas in my tummy (single girl's empty fridge Autumn dinner) and have kept my hands busy with a bit of crochet. Bed soon and a day in the studio tomorrow.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

breakfast of champignons

OK so perhaps not the most healthy of breakfasts but who can go passed a cannellé straight from the oven?
(Just realised the settings on the camera are all out so they don't look quite so eggy yellow as they should... and having just scoffed one I can't re-do the photo. Of course I could have re-shot it with two and you would have been none the wiser..... oh dear there is only one left now....)
I went to the studio yesterday, the first time in a week, and had to put blinkers one to avoid the piles of mess everywhere from the last few weeks market preparation. I really should have spent the day cleaning but that would have just made me feel a bit flat and bored so instead I had a play with some new stuff I'm working on. Not perfect but I have now put the 'blank page' issue that looms over new projects to one side and hopefully will feel a little more confident when I really focus on it.
Having had last Saturday 'off' from the shop I am once again shopgirl today. Hence the need for cannellé treats! I am so looking forward to a big sleep in tomorrow. Doesn't the end of daylight savings mean an extra hour to lie in?