Saturday, 31 August 2013

darned quilts

Well the quilts are all done. Making them is always exhausting but this time was particularly stressful with the quilting fiasco and I have felt a bit down about them all but they really are quite stunning. I've had to darn small homes in a couple of the wool blanket ones but I am learning to love them all the more because of it. Late yesterday I was in despair about this but I have been reminded that is what I love about textiles with history... the patches, darns and scars that tell their history. I can be a bit thick at times and forget the very things I preach about! The emotions are still a bit muddled over these quilts.
It's Father's Day tomorrow and although I don't buy in to it all I will say that we have some lovely socks (only 6 pairs as our new shipment is on its way and will be here soon) if you feel like going down the sock-and-jocks road or perhaps some enamelware or a Welsh blanket cushion (blokes love these!) or how about a fabulous wool suiting/cotton shirting quilt? OK, the advertorial ends here.
Before I forget we are going to be closed on Wednesday (first time ever!), just one of those things but we will still be open as usual Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Election Saturday (blah). Don't forget to sink your sorrows and do a bit of shopping next Saturday at a small local shop......
The shop is a bit of a mess this morning so I had better get a move on and set things to rights. Please come and visit. We have a lovely range of quilts for you to peruse.

Thursday, 29 August 2013


It's been a 'colourful' week. Emotional might also be another term we can use here.
I got the call on Friday to say the quilting was ready to be picked up on Monday morning, excitedly I drove over... to find they had *fucked* up and sewn two separate lots of patchwork together. There were tears. And anger. And frustration. By Tuesday afternoon it was all sorted though... even if I lost a substantial chunk of patchwork in the process.
The new raw linen quilts and the suiting/shirting waggas are done and in store and today's job is to get the blanket quilts finished today but having a lie in and a tickle with Jethro seemed to good to pass up this morning. A reward for all the stress of the last few days.

And the other reward of the week was the arrival of the handloomed Turkish towels! They are just beautiful! They need to be soaked in cold water for 24 hours and then drip dried to 'activate' them before use and I am itching to use one. Wish I had a lovely bathroom to go with them.....
I better get moving, there is a lot to do today. Thanks to everyone who bucked me us over on IG whilst the fiasco was turned around and quilt-y goodness prevailed. I'll post more quilt photos when I get a minute!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

enamelaholics anonymous (and a little sale)

Some time ago I thought it might be a good idea to start CrockerholicsAnonymous, I am now thinking EnamelaholicsAnonymous might need to be organised as well.
We had another, unexpected, delivery of enamel yesterday and we are now fully stocked for pie dishes (round and rectangular), baking dishes, biscuit sheets and baby mugs (espresso mugs but they would be so cute for baby mugacinos). Along with the five boxes of Falcon enamelware a box of vintage enamel arrived too. Yesterday is now official known as The Great Enamelware Delivery Friday. In the box of vintage enamel there were fabulous old billies, a super gorgeous pale blue bucket and two handfuls of ladles. We'll get all the ladles out once I have had a chance to install a Sheila Maid airer from the ceiling tomorrow.
I've got to say I am completely knackered from the unpacking and lugging and stretching and bending and my back has gone into complete meltdown. Please be gentle with me today.

On other shop related news...... I have got to make some room at the Cottage. I don't like having end-of-season-in-store-sales, I find them all a bit nasty (studio sales are different and we will be having one of those in the near future) but we need to make room for new stuff so I'm selling off the glass domes at 25% off. But more exciting.... I have heard from my quilters that all my quilt lengths are ready to be picked up on Monday morning, this means next week we will have new blankets, wool suiting/shirting and raw linen quilts in the shop. We have three vintage blanket quilts in the shop and as our new quilts are going to be slightly different with new backing and also in new sizes I would really like to sell this trio before the new ones come in. So 20% off. I'll post their photos on instagram and facebook in a little while so first in etc etc.... and you can call the shop for more information. The new quilts are going up in price (sadly but this had to happen) so it is time to grab a bargain.

So on top of all this I've also managed to  get 6 wax print chemise dresses made and they are in store too.
And did I tell you we have new Oleana in, little cropped red cardis? I think I did, they are perfect for Spring.
We are running low on Lisa B socks but a new shipment will be here soon.
OK, I need to go take some painkillers before I start my day as shopgirl.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

indigo addiction

I've kind of taken the morning off. Sort of. I'm feeling incredibly slow today.
While I have been nursing a stuffed lower back I managed to slip down the stairs on Saturday night and land right on my 'upper bum' on the edge of a tread and then slid down the remaining stairs, socked feet flying to end up spreadeagled on the floor. One of these days one of these tumbles will end in a broken hip. Funnily my upper bum has been so sore that my lower back has paled into insignificance, now the bruising is going down my lower back is flaring again!
I have been in the studio most of this week and there are new things brewing. Most of it seems to be indigo themed. The new indigo dyed silk velvet has excited me no end, the cushions are backed in heavy raw linen and the indigo velvet looks lush if I say so myself. I've also been sewing up some wax print chemises (again with the indigo) and hopefully if I am motivated tomorrow we will have them in store on Saturday.
I think I am feeling in limbo as we have deliveries coming in and the wait is killing me! At this time of year everything gets a little dreary and slow in the world of retail and new things sparks everything up. Bits and pieces have been dribbling in and that is always exciting!
I'm waiting too to hear from my quilter to say the quilt lengths are ready to be picked up. This is the scary limbo time when I never know how the quilts will turn out and I am at the mercy waiting for outside contractors to get their act together. Fingers crossed.
OK, better go and do something productive.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

totally waxed off

Just a quick post today as I am running so far behind today.
It's Saturday again and this week seems to have gone ridiculous fast. I also spent most of the week unsure of what day it actually was, which made things weird and messy. I've been down with a fucked up lower back and hip (left side only) and almost collapsed this morning outside Beatrix when the bloody thing went into spasm. For a minute there I had visions of being stuck in North Melbourne on the side of the road in agony.... but it eased and I got on with my morning.
In shop news, I made some new vintage Welsh blanket cushions, we have Harvest Smocks back in stock  too and I whipped up more wheat bags, eye pillows and hottie covers which we seemed to have had a run on. Late yesterday I even got to start ironing some wax print fabric up in preparation for sewing new chemises and dresses.
While I was throwing things about in the studio I discovered a little pile of cushions on a couch and thought they looked lovely. Nikki popped in yesterday and I think she fears for my safety after seeing the state of the studio which is quite amusing as there are small clear spaces starting to appear. Nik is in town preparing for the weekend workshops at Harvest next week, I think there are still spaces available and it is a bit of a bargain with everything included and it is the launch of Construction #4 (which I have seen and it is fabulous!).
Anyway I had better bust a move (or rather slowly and carefully) and start prepping the shop for another day of retail. I'm wearing the new longer length Harvest Smock Dress today, same as the smock but 20cm longer, of course on certain people I know this garment would come down to their ankles...... I've been thinking of doing it in three lengths.....
Like I said, anyway, there is new stock in the shop, the wind has died down and it's a great day to pop out before that cold front sneaks back in tomorrow.

Thursday, 15 August 2013


Just a quick post as I rush off to the studio (actually 'limp' is more accurate, damn hips and lower back are playing up, in fact I am in excruciating pain and can't wait until I have eaten something so I can hit the painkillers).
We had a pile of boxes arrive yesterday. Lovely new Oleana cardis, wristlets and a stunning blanket. We even have a cardigan to match the blanket! I asked Celia to get some Oleana blankets in but she went and sold all of them except for this one which I snaffled before she could sell it! We also had a small but very heavy box of metal stuff arrive... gorgeous Indian padlocks and brass handled bonsai scissors. These scissors are great for left handers and are very snippety-snip and they come in their own little box (and we all love things in boxes.
What else? Let me think.... a new Welsh blanket has arrived. I washed it last night and as soon as it is dry it is going to turn into cushions. I've been dyeing stuff in indigo (which is why my back has gone out) and as nerve wracking as it is at this stage I think it will all come together.
OK. Better go and find food to line my tummy in preparation for those painkillers.

ps I've changed the instagram account name to @cottageindustrystore

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

indigo blues

Back in my younger days I was quite good at late night creative endeavours. In fact I had a habit of getting into the studio about 2 in the afternoon and stumbling back out at about 2 in the morning, I always swore I worked better as a night owl.
Not so much these days.
I seem to enjoy bed and sleeping at regular hours now I am old and creaky.
Tonight, though, I got a couple of dye pots on at about 9 which is quite late to start boiling but it gave me an excuse to hang about and test fabrics in the indigo vat and play a bit with the new camera (working out the settings for aurora shooting). Really much more enjoyable than sitting on the couch blobbing in front of the TV as I seem to have been doing of late. Appalling behaviour. I must snap out of it.
There are gloves in the dryer and some bits and pieces lying about letting oxygen transform them into beautiful blues. I'm off to bed, a little bit virtuous.

tuesday indecision

It's Tuesday and for a change I am the Tuesday Shopgirl.
(I hope things settle down soon as too many days as shopgirl is not good for my health.)
I'm down with a cold/hayfever, it hasn't decided which, and lugging huge rolls of fabric about yesterday whilst sweating and sneezing was not my idea of fun. The upside to that Hell was that I finally got the patchwork off to the quilters. Today's upside will be that I can get some more embroidery done in between serving customers, I managed some nice clouds on Saturday but I have a lot more to complete.
I am in a pickle as to whether to take a few days off at the start of September as I always do at that time, I feel guilty as I have had 5 days away at the end of June. I'm not good with this 'holiday' notion and manage to spend most of anytime away zipping about like a loon anyway. Hmmmm.
I'd better get my day sorted now, there is breakfast to be hunted down, vacuuming to be done, I need to collect all of Jethro's elastic bands from around the shop and roll up his play tunnel. I haven't managed any glove dyeing this week although I have been promising that I would have stock done. I think I may have fallen into a sinkhole of procrastination and indecision.
Better get moving.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


Being shopgirl yesterday I managed to get some shop chores done.
Things like folding the silk scarves into their new boxes, it's taken me ages to find boxes that I liked to present these scarves in and I finally found some I liked. Beautiful heavyweight boxes that you'd think twice if not three times about throwing away and good enough that you would happily pack the scarf away in when you weren't wearing it. The scarves look pretty special in their little box-y beds.
I made calls about stock, chased things up, talked to people, all the things I don't necessarily get to do when I am running about or working in the studio. And I served customers and chatted to people. And then the day was done. And I sat on the couch and I may have eaten some Cheezels whilst surveying the mountains of crap I need to sort out.
Now it is my Saturday Shopgirl Shift. Jethro is down in the shop enjoying his old cat tunnel which is open in the shop, it seems the games that you enjoyed as a kitten are as much fun when you are a big cat (it's just a bit harder to do a 180º turn in the middle of the tunnel).
Tomorrow I must spend some time cleaning and catching up on chores. A couple of weeks of losing your Sunday 'day off' means everything slides and things get really disgusting (not say they are ever clean and sorted around here at the best of times). There has also been a paperwork avalanche off the desk this week and the rugs can barely be seen for the sheets of paper scattered from one end of the upstairs room to the other. The usual narrow pathway through the mess from the top of the stairs to the couch is not quite so free of obstacles at the moment. And there is a small ironing board propped precariously on the top of boxes on one end of the desk that is in danger of taking down a slew of more filing should it be knocked ever so slightly. OK, enough of my lack of cleaning admissions.... except the one about how I found a pair of socks this morning 'filed' between two batches of receipts and invoices.
Oh lordy. It's going to take me weeks to sort out.
Time to vacuum the shop and have a bit of play with the furchild before I open the shop.
Lots of lovely enamel in store.

Friday, 9 August 2013

up, down, round and round

Well that was the week that was. I know there is still a couple of days to go but as I am shopgirl for the next two I am pretending it is all over. It's been a week of lows (Dad rushed to hospital in an ambulance, which I think he quite enjoyed, through the pain, as at 81 it was his first ride in one) and the excitement of the birth of Dell and Adam's little girl Hana Claude (happy birth-day little one!).
I did multiple trade shows and managed on Monday to seize my hips and lower back after stomping around the one at the Showgrounds. I couldn't get out of the car when I got home and, when I did, walking was excruciating, I am stuck wearing rather hideous runners now in an effort to reduce the jarring. I've found some stunning things, now it is the wait to have it arrive. I've been seeing online products that other shops have ordered and for a minute I get envious and then realise I could never stock that stuff, I have to stick to my passions even if it makes me no money!
Finally the patchwork is all ready to go to the quilters. I could have kept going on new designs but yesterday I realised I really needed a break after weeks and weeks of stitching these great lengths together so I've put it all aside and hopefully with the backing fabric arriving today I can get ready to load the car early next week and lug it all off to the quilters.... and then sit back and worry whether it will turn out OK.
There has been new stock arrive in the shop as well. Giant 5" safety pins, made for the US Navy Laundry Service, these are fabulous chunky things! And the first bit of the enamel order we placed in February has finally landed. I spent last night unpacking beakers and pie dishes and backing dishes. I am now salivating to make a berry crumble. The baking dishes and pie dishes come in sets and I would really like to sell them as sets and not break them up.... would you buy the set? We also have the cutest little single 16cm pie dishes and today's weather seems to be saying 'bake a pie, bake a pie!'. These little ones are great as you can prep single serve pies in them and freeze the pies unbaked so that they are ready to just be popped in the oven as needed. And check out the enamel beakers! I am such an enamel nerd! I've hopefully got some great vintage enamelware coming in, it's very fingers crossed as to whether I have scored what I ordered....
Time to make ready for a day in the shop. Jethro is still in bed and I wish today was Sunday so I could be snuggled down with him. It's a real wintery day today and let me assure you I have not packed away all our Winter stock the way some shops are already doing. I know we still have a blast or three coming our way. I'll say it again... gloves, socks, cardis and sweaters, we've got them all!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

sunday to far away

I got up and went out.
Yes, even though it was Sunday.
I spent all day wandering up and down the aisles at the trade fairs, under bright lights looking at stuff, lots and lots of useless crap and a few gems. I did get to have lunch with this lady.
Then I trooped through the city homeward bound and captured this rainy laneway in our fair city. I couldn't believe how full the trams were (or how smelly, damp humans) and was so happy to get home.
I've fixed the computer fan issue (yay for me) and have a pile of stuff to do this week. I have to start work on as many things as possible, start ticking projects off the growing to-do-list.
Time for an early-ish night I think.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

strange and not so wonderful

It has not been a good start to the day.
I was up just after 4am trying to get the attention of the holiday let people who were up to their usual crappy noise, they finally answered the doorbell and this time the girl who answered was polite and apologetic. I crawled back into bed at 4.30 and of course couldn't get back to sleep as I was writing an imaginary email to the owner David in my head.
Now I am ever so slightly shattered and to make matters worse/more annoying my computer is having a slight crisis. It wouldn't wake up and now its fan is whirring incredibly loudly. I am muttering a pryer to St Isidore in the hope that I return to it this evening and it has decided to right itself. If not I am anticipating the money for a new camera will be going on a new computer soon.
Some days should come with a reset button.
I was in the shop all of yesterday dealing with LifeInStylers wandering around dazed from the trade shows. Being in the shop I am confronted with how much work I really need to get done. We are so low on somethings and new projects are flaunting my lack of time to work on them at me. Frustrating beyond belief.
Oh that's weird! I've just noticed the pendant lights upstairs are swinging back and forth.... how strange.
OK today is now officially one in which I should crawl back into bed and pull the blankets over my head.
I'm off to the big commercial trade shows tomorrow and one Monday. I should be in a right state by Monday afternoon. At least doing these helps me focus on what I doing right and what I hope never to be part of!
So I am shopgirl again today. Pop in if you are in the 'hood!

Friday, 2 August 2013

faux drunk, punch drunk

Where I wish I was today.
Snuggled down in bed with a book and a mug of tea.
Instead I am shopgirl, yes it's Friday and yes I will be shopgirl tomorrow too. Hopefully I will get some stitching and some selling and some thinking done. In between the sneezing and sniffling, I am not sure whether it is a cold or Spring allergy (wtf? it's still Winter!),  I always seem to have the sniffles around trade fair time, perhaps that is what causes my allergic snuffling.
There is so much to do at the moment. I am torn between all of it. Last night was the Craft Cubed opening at Craft and a quick dinner out. I was strangely 'drunk' after it all, very strangely as I don't touch alcohol anymore, I think I was like an overstimulated toddler by the time I got home. Let's say I slept very well last night!
Anyway, I am in the shop today.
You know where to find me.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

off to church

I can't wait until I get all the quilt lengths done. they have taken up days and weeks and, although I will then have to wait for the quilters to put them through the machines which is always highly stressful, I will at least have finished the biggest part of their make. Their return is always filled with trepidation and excitement.I still haven't ordered the backing fabric as I have been umming-and-ahhing over it- when did I become so indecisive? That will be today's job when I have returned from LifeInStyle, the biannual 'high church of retailing'.
I'm due to join the big snaking queue outside the Exhibition Buildings in about half an hour. I was up there last night helping a friend out and it will be amusing to see it all today after the littered cardboard box strewn sight/site I witnessed yesterday. I must get some brekky into me before I go.
Lordy it is August the First. This means for little retailers like me that we are entering the scarce months, August and September can be good, can be bad and are invariably the months were more money goes out than comes in. It is when we start focusing on the end of the year, Xmas is coming people and there is a lot of stuff to do. A ridiculously huge amount of stuff to do.
OK, better go eat!
Remember it's the last official month of Winter... enjoy it!