Friday, 31 May 2013

i have discovered i no longer bounce

I really have fallen into a bit of a heap this week. Bed, most nights, by 9 (although I stayed up late last night, 10pm) and dragging myself about. The fact that I am old has really sunk in, I do not 'bounce' so much as 'splat'.
I suppose some work has been achieved, glove dyeing and yesterday I did spend the whole day in the studio. I made a few vintage tea towel cushions, which haven't made it to the shop as they have sold already, but I spent most of the day looking at the mess that is my studio and unearthing bags of stuff which I moved from point A to point B. Some of those bags of stuff actually got emptied and chopped up (the stuff not the bags), mountains of old unfashionable jeans were chopped down into usable panel ready for a HUGE quilt making session that is looming ever closer. If I am tired now just wait until I get to the end of that project! Lugging those quilt panels about and rolling them ready for the quilter is a real workout let me tell you.
As I have said before, the easiest way for me to clean and sort the studio is to make stuff out of all the fabric that has piled up on every horizontal surface. I did manage yesterday to see a few areas of floorboards that have not seen the light of day for sometime. There will be a fabric explosion coming up though, I'm about to open some storage boxes.... it will get worse before it gets better.
I think I am slightly flat after the high that was Markit (thankfully I'm not one of those troopers that are off doing Finders/Keepers Sydney this weekend!!). I'm hanging about the shop today as we have a new shopgirl in training, I thought I might even do some work on Miss Magnolia whilst I loiter, she's looking very shabby. I also need to go out and buy a new heater, as our old one keeps popping the switch on the powerboard and I really need to find a new pair of Winter boots.... because it's Winter tomorrow people!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

post market heap

Let's just say after Sunday at Markit@FedSquare I was pretty much shattered. And wired. It was a great day and we lugged everything home and I put the shop back together on Sunday night and collapsed into bed after eating a hamburger which I don't actually remember eating because I was so tired. There was no sleeping in on Monday morning though and I had an appointment at 9.30am and although I tried to creep back to bed I was so overtired and wired I couldn't keep still so trooped up to the Museum and saw the Treasures of Afghanistan exhibition (or whatever it is called). Whilst there I bent over to look at something and my lower back went *ping* and so I limped home. I've been limping around and wincing for  the least few days, I think my age is showing like a tart's petticoat, 'bouncing back' is no longer on my agenda.
There are a lot of things to do. Yesterday I did get four loads of glove dyeing done but really I just want to curl up and hibernate for a while. I've spent this morning furiously emailing in an attempt to get a banking/freight mixup sorted, this has been going on for 6 months and I am well over it. I 'grrr' as I type then emails and shake my fists at the heavens when I get a moment with my hands off the keyboard.
I have to get the gloves pressed this morning and then it might be time to get to the studio and start working on things other than market-y type stock or just re-stock-y stock. Things like wax print dresses and denim 'Harvest' smocks, tea towel cushions, all that sort of thing.....
Better get my shoes on and get working.

Saturday, 25 May 2013


It's been a busy week, Markit@FedSquare is on Sunday and there has been lots to do. 
We've been frantically trying to get a new project up and running but it has taken about 6 months and finally we have something to show you. Dell hand drew the names of suburbs and our screenprinting wizard Ben got it all transferred on to beautiful German pure wool felt and then I raced up to the studio and got the project cut out and stitched up.... the first batch of Pennants of Northlandia! 
We've only done the first 6 suburbs of Fitzroy, Collingwood, Richmond, Thornbury, Brunswick and Melbourne. There's lots of colours and two sizes, littlun and biggun, they have little felt streamer ties or you can slip a stick up the bind so they can be waved around. 

Sometimes I think I'm living in an episode of 'Portlandia' and the alternative opening song from Thursday night's episode had me in fits.  I feel making a range of pennants is such a Portland thing to do.... hence the northern suburbs range is most definitely 'Northlandia'! I'm so glad we didn't opt for a hipster chalk drawn/painted typeface, Dell's work is much more unique and it involved a lot of discussion about how we see particular suburbs, how the names 'feel' as typefaces. And look at the 'Collingwood' one... Dell's woody loggy letters of course! We are launching them tomorrow at Markit (although some have snuck into the shop today...).

Today is the last chance for you to put in any requests for things you would like us to take to Markit. At the moment we are planning on taking a lot of woolly stuff, gloves, socks, tea cosies, scarves and a few special bits and pieces we have been squirrelling away. It's going to be an early start tomorrow.
In other shop news, our latest shipment of enamel kitchenware has arrived- saucepans! Be still my beating heart! Three sizes and four colours! I'll post photos on FB and IG sometime this morning. I've got a vintage tour coming through in half an hour and a shop to sort out and clean up before that so I had better bust a move..... 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

stand off

I'm off to Bunnings this morning for supplies for the Markit the stall. We need some hanging arrangement for possible new stock, 'possible' in that it's not back from the printers yet and we aren't sure whether it will be finished in time, it's a work in progress shall we say, if it is done then we will need somewhere to display it. We are borrowing a friend's big van which means I can take lots of stuff but whether it will make it onto the stall is always open to editing on the day. Perhaps I should have booked a two table stand.... nah. It's exhausting enough trolleying it all in anyway!
I got six loads to gloves dyed yesterday, all new colours/shades and for the first time in ages we have a bright red I am happy with. Not sure how that happened! I've got glove orders to go out this morning and it has been a busy week with all the gloves going out. New stock has been delivered to Lulu Design Store (Balaclava), The Maker (Hobart), Department of the Exterior (Canberra), Shelley Panton (South Melbourne) and Made by Others (Moss Vale)... busy busy busy!
We got the rest of our Lisa B sock delivery on Monday too so now we have some of her new cotton sock range in and the oh-so-cute baby socks. Those baby socks learnt to walk yesterday and headed out the door! The adult socks in wool are available in cable, spot, fairisle stripe and snowflake and we also have a few styles in stock in odd patterns, the cotton ones are in floral and pin spot (I'm coveting the pin spot in the green and the pink).
OK I better stop waffling and get the newly dyed gloves downstairs and sorted for the orders. I'm thinking today will be a bit topsy. I'm longing for a day sleeping in but I don't think that will be happening for a while. I'm sure panic will set in before Sunday when I realise I haven't made something we need.....

Saturday, 18 May 2013

shop module

The in-house model strikes again. There I was trying to get shots of the new 'ammo' bags and someone had to sit on them. He calls it 'product testing', I call it 'typical cat behaviour'.
So it's Saturday again, coming around way too fast for my liking along with that overwhelming sense of everything spiralling out of control and everything stopped dead. Happily I have ticked hot water bottle covers off the procrastination list, the bag handles didn't take too long to make last night and we have a new shipment of Lisa B socks in. We've restocked on spot and cable sock colours and have some new fairisle snowflakes too, there is another box arriving next week with the cotton socks and the super cute baby socks (oh my, you have to see these!).
The 'ammo' bags are now in a new size, 10", and these are all in brown 'antique' leather, one cognac in colour and the other a bit chocolatier. They look redder in the photos than in real life, they are much more chestnut in tone. There are two 8" (43 and 52), two in 10" (64 and 36) and one in 12" (410). I'm running really low on the canvas bags and also on the brown leathers so please if you want one don't leave it. My army disposal dealer is trying to hunt some more down for me but with this sort of thing it tends to disappear and that's it. I could go grain sack but I'll have to do a sample and see what I think about it. This project has been sitting about for ages and in the procrastination interim Tamara Fogle started doing her range out of England and I've steered away from using the grain sacking.
Thanks for all the nice comments when I had a grouch late on Thursday night, I was tired and still had a mountain of work to do before bed. It all got done and people got their heads around the cold weather and came out and bought gloves... it probably helped that I hung them in the window to remind people! The Cottage is very wintercentric, it's all about woolling up and getting cosy. It's Markit in a week, is there anything you would like me to pack? Let me know if you are coming and if there is something you want to bring.
OK, better get a move on. The shop floor is filthy and I need to put all Jethro's glove hunting 'kills' back (these two things do not go together by the way...). I must spin some yarn today as we have sold out of all the ones I put in last week. More work to do..... although the new black and cream baby alpaca/silk/angora scarves might be ready to come out of the dryer soon....

Thursday, 16 May 2013

slow as a wet week....

I hate Budget Week. I only realised this afternoon why it has been so slow in the shop, whenever there is doom/gloom, budgets, political carp sales plummet and people seem to hide away, then they forget about the politicians and things go back to normal. I am waiting on the normal, I have a lot of bills to pay!
And there is the weather. One week it is glorious and people get lulled into a balmy Indian Summer and forget that the cold is where we are heading, Winter is just around the corner and they act all shocked. And then I've been dyeing gloves and preparing for the cold and now I feel like I am in August but actually it is still just ticking over the middle of May, this is an issue all retailers have, we get a bit confused about the season and what month it is!
I threw together a dodgy window display this evening, our usual hanging gloves and trying to squeeze the mannequin in with some woollens keeping her warm. Jethro of course now thinks the glove hunting season is definitely open and he even tried to grab them out of my hand as I started hanging them. He's got his silly pants on this evening and has been sitting in the sink, trying to find his packet of bonito flake treats, playing in a large cardboard box and yelling at me. He's found his voice and is very talkative at the moment.
I have the ironing press on and should really be pressing gloves before I turn in for the night. I didn't manage to get the handles made for the new batch of 'ammo' bags but will have to make sure I get them done tomorrow night... bad Pen bad... I even went and picked up the buckles today but just somehow the straps didn't get done and I know there are people waiting for the new chestnut ones to be finished.
I better go and check what the brat is doing (he's yelling up the stairs) and get these gloves pressed before bed.

Monday, 13 May 2013


I had a huge pile of dyeing to be done yesterday but some how most of the day got frittered away on napping and general laziness. The feline was just glad to have me in his sights most of the day I think. Late in the afternoon I fired up the coppers and got the dyeing started, we were unbelievably low on glove stock, it shocked me when I checked. Another two lots done today in between chores and errands and meetings. I now have a mountainous pile of pressing and clipping to do.
The weather has swung around from the last week of balmy autumnal days and I marvelled at the huge sunlit icy cold clouds that piled up and then dropped their cargo of hail as I drove back from Coburg. Beanies and gloves in stock and more scarves when I get into the studio tomorrow (must remember my glasses) and new glove colours in store tomorrow. Markit creeps closer and I must get my arse in gear. Hopefully the socks will arrive in time.
Not much else to chat about. I need to stomp into the city tonight although I would much rather be hunched over the warm Elna press!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

darning the hole in my soul

I'm just back from two days up country. Oh my, it is a stunning Autumn out there! The best colours I have seen for years, it took my breath away. Poplars, liquid amber, pin oaks, elms and best of all the maples flaming coral red. Mother Nature really know how to turn on a show. I drove through the mountain ash and tree ferns just to balance out my native and imported species and felt just how much I needed to look at some trees, it's been a while. I couldn't have asked for two more beautiful days. I love 'flying' through the trees down country roads but really I wish I had a bit more time to actually stop and do nothing but look at those trees, sitting in the sun drinking a big mug of steaming tea and feeling all lethargic and at peace.
Anyway, back to the grind, I'm shopgirl today, I've returned to my Saturday duties. I've got a pile of stock to tag and get out and a hillock of beautiful dyed fleece to spin. I managed to get two hanks done on Wednesday and they will be going in store today once I've weighted and measured them. My spinning wheel needs a bit of tightening and fine tuning as it gets a bit loose being carted up and down the stairs.
I believe it's Mother's Day tomorrow.... so let's get all crassly commercial and suggest presents from the shop.... well really anything from the shop would please a mum I think! The indigo kit springs to mind for the crafty mum, fingerless gloves for the mum who likes to go out walking on a cold morning, an enamel tea pot and hand crocheted tea cosy for a sitting around the kitchen table type of mum, a tapestry print silk scarf for a glamorous mum out doing her Grace Kelly impression (or she could just hang it on the wall), a plump of cushions for her to sink into after a hard day being a mum, a 'hottie' wheat bag for her to fall asleep clutching, a 'granny' or 'lumina' purse in our new range of metallic and lustre leathers for her to keep her financial life in........ well you get the idea. You know we have lots and lots of 'mum' type stuff.
(I always feel bad doing the shop plug but the reality is we have very large bills to pay!)
Oh and the Lisa B socks! Don't forget them.
I see that the weather is about to change, these autumnal glory days are being swapped for an icy bout next week, 14º, just my type of weather! Perfect weather for holing up in the studio and trying to get some work done for Markit. Tomorrow I need to get cracking on the glove dyeing, we have orders to go out and have sold out of some colours already. I  hear my baby alpaca/silk yarn has arrived so it will be time to chain myself to the knitting machine and get some scarves done. So much to do and organise.
OK, time to get the shop sorting underway.
I'll be at the Cottage from 11 until 5 this afternoon for all your Mother's Day needs!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

another day running

Today has been just as busy as yesterday was. Yesterday was all about wholesale orders and mail orders and photographing quilts and answering emails and running about like a headless chook. Today was once again wholesale orders and mail orders with the added bonus of a delivery of new Oleana knits. I managed 'breakfast' at 2pm and am still in desperate need of more tea, no studio work has been achieved and as I am shopgirl tomorrow I'm going to be luck if I get there on Thursday.
I have become slightly obsessed with knitting baby clothes for the DellAdam baby. I think I must be seriously out of practice if it takes me 6 goes to get a very simple and cute little pattern right. I'm blaming it on my eyesight and am longing for my new glasses to be ready.
So much to do at the moment.
Winter is our most frantic time and we aren't even there yet!
Well I had better get some dyepots on if I'm not going to get to the studio today.
Anything good on TV tonight?
Not that I need a distraction.

Monday, 6 May 2013

monday, meetings, markit, @megan_morton and more

A fine autumnal Monday out there.
And I am trying to catch up on all the stuff that got left scattered about after I shut the shop door late on Saturday afternoon. There is mail to go out, purchases to be couriered off (I bought the wrong sized boxes) , emails to be written (sorry of you are waiting, the replies are coming) , bills to be paid (groan, elastically stretching the finances to cover it all, springing back with a snap) and a shop that looked like the mongol hordes had been through leaving a ransacked and pillaged battlefield (the shop manages to get like this between 5pm Saturday and 11am Monday for some reason).
We have the countdown until Markit at Fed Square on the 26th of May and I have no idea what in hell we are taking. I'm shopgirl on Wednesday so if I am really lucky I might get 3 days in the studio this week. As you might be able to tell the little pressure valve on the top of my head is starting to whistle.....
I went to The School's Instameet late yesterday and got to hang with some of my favourite people (and I ate tacos) and basked in the glory that is Megan Morton. As you know I'm not good with social occasions but this was fun and then I came home and sat on the couch and watched TV while I knitted.
I'm all over the place today, OK better get on with the rest of my Monday chores.....

Saturday, 4 May 2013

i'd dye for you

Officially a 'topsy' week, all over the place and arse about, sidetracked and messy, running against a ticking clock. I discovered last night I am totally hopeless at the moment at reading a knitting pattern, I am firmly blaming it on the wait for my new glasses and not having the right yarn (glasses arrive next week, fingers crossed, and a think I might need to walk into the city and look for some new wool tomorrow) but really it all lies with me just being a bit too brain dead at the moment.
I did get a new run of cushions made this week as there was a request for something special for a book photo shoot and some of the range has ended up in the shop. Round cushions, roly-poly, round cushions. I raided the vintage floral linen stash and pieced together lots of different designs, they are very beautiful and Dell and I spent some time choosing our favourites from amongst them, as is tradition when new stock goes into the shop. There is also two new square floral linen cushions in the crazy blue/mustard combo.
The Welsh blanket stash got an injection this week and the African wax print stash has exploded again and I really really must make it all up before any more appears. It's out of control at the moment. I always think new shelves in the studio is one way to deal with it but really I am kidding myself.
An exciting box arrived from Noon Design Studio and Natural Dye House in Los Angeles, lovely shibori wrapped natural indigo dye kits. They contain everything you need except for what you want to dye, a bucket and some water, you have to supply those. The dyes and auxiliaries are packed in water dissolvable packets so you don't need to measure or tip open packets of ingredients into the water, great if you are feeling a bit nervous and this was one of the main reason- and the beautiful presentation- that we bought Jane's kits. Before you ask, no we won't be holding any classes about indigo dyeing but I will get around to writing about it. I'm a great believer in, as Kirsty terms it, 'HAC' (have a crack) and I just like discovering stuff via reading, experimenting and giving it a damn good go, making mistakes is when we learn and is the really fun part of learning new stuff. It may appear to take longer but really it's all about the accumulation of knowledge that you certainly don't get in a 2hour workshop. Never be afraid to teach yourself something! Anyway that's me Saturday rant done.
I'm shopgirl today (well it is Saturday) so I had better get the mop out and clean the muddy footprints off the shop's concrete floor and wrangle Jethro before 11am. (The cat housemate has been enjoying the purchase of a mattress topper for the bed, as I have too I must admit.) I had work to finish for the shop last night but I got sidetracked (story of the week) and started knitting... and restarted and restarted and restarted... and have now put that aside before it sends me mad. The 'hot water bottle' wheatbags were made this week but sadly not the actual real hot water bottle covers, the floral linen purses were sewn but the frames weren't attached, the dyes were bought for the gloves but the gloves weren't dyed..... I think a bit of spinning is in order today in between customers. I hear that it is forecast to be 15ºC in Fitzroy today so time to venture out and buy your woollies!