Saturday, 12 July 2014

time to rumble (in the jumble sale)!

And an icy good morning to you all!
The sun is shining out there but I am having trouble warming the shop up, if it is too bitter I might have the shop door closed today but we are open!
Poor little blog is probably the last to be informed (well not quite, the mailing list is next) that we are having a studio sale.... RUMBLE IN THE JUMBLE! We haven't had a studio sale in ages, there was meant to be one in September (broken wrist), November (broken wrist) and February (broken wrist) and things have finally got so bad=full in studio that I had to chose a date and just go with it. It means I have a week, actually less, to pull this together. The stuff that I am unearthing..... hopefully next Friday I will announce the list of the really special stuff that is going in to the sale, I'll be posting all week over on Instagram (@cottageindustrystore) photos of things that I discover. It's been like a crazed archeological dig in the studio and we haven't even cracked open the boxes of stock....
While I have been going mad up in the studio there has been new stock arriving at the Cottage, 2 out of three boxes of Lisa B socks have landed, third one hopefully will arrive on Monday. Lisa has sent over new northern Winter  2014/2015 styles that have only just come in from the sock mills! We have new rugby stripe and big dot women's socks, new men's and bubba's birdseye design and have restocked on the women's classic dot socks and have 17 colours available at the moment! Let me just say today would be the perfect day to kit your feet out in these beauties and I dyed 6 new colours in gloves at the start of the week so hands and feet will be snuggly warm. OK I still haven't quite got back to the beanie knitting yet....
Time to shoot. The shop counter looks like a bomb has hit it, the floor needs a good clean and I desperately need another bucket of tea.
I'll be here until 5.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

giving jip

So yes, the smockage continues.
I seem to have quite a bit of smock suitable fabric stashed in the studio which might explain why I keep inundating you with 'smockbomb' photos. Also they keep selling so of course I keep making them!
This last week has been a bit exhausting with lots of things happening and long days at the sewing machine. Yesterday I had the nerve conductivity tests (checking for carpal tunnel problems etc) on my right wrist, electric shocks to the nerves which is either tickle-y or excruciating but mostly funny when you see your hand twitching about. As usual I had the doctor and scientist taking the tests a tad flummoxed. Apparently there is something wrong with the nerve but they can't pinpoint exactly where, there is a chance it is related to the when the taxi hit me in the shoulder during the Great Bike Accident. Most of all I just really want my surgeon to remove the wire in my wrist that is giving me jip. It is 10 months since the first break at Cradle Mountain and I am a bored with it all.

I've been looking around the shop and thinking it is looking a bit bare. We've had a run on blankets, gloves and socks (yes, it has been a bit nippy) but there is more stock coming including new designs in the Lisa B socks range which is pretty exciting! I think we might be the first store anywhere to get the new styles and as we were Lisa's very first stockist in Australia and love her socks I can't what until the boxes arrive. I need to get a few dyepots on tomorrow and get some more of our glove stock happening too. And last of all, and finally, our lovely Heico cockatoo lights are back in stock.
I had the weirdest conversation yesterday with someone about the fact we don't have a designated website and inferring I should buy larger amounts of stock. It got Elise and I talking about how much we prefer to actually have a conversation with a customer about the product they are buying, whether it is face to face, on the phone, via email or chatting on instagram and how important that dialogue is especially when the product is handmade. I don't believe online shopping is all it is cracked up to be and I also think it is having a huge effect on people when they are out shopping, it appears they are almost developing a fear of being chatted to by a sales assistant.

OK I am off now to do my Saturday duty. It is CosPlay Day up at the Exhibition Buildings with Oz Comic-Con happening so it should be an amusing afternoon on Gertrude Street with the youngsters all dressed up! I'll be here until 5pm as usual....

Saturday, 28 June 2014

upsy, downsy, umming and ahhing

Morning all!
It has been one of those weeks, a bit upsy, a bit downsy and definitely all over the place. This morning seems to be carrying on the week's theme but I hope by 11 I have all my chores done, Jethro has settled down (a case of feline crazies) and I can take a deep breath.
I'm excited our new plates have arrived, made from tin printed with designs from the Queen's and the Wallace collection, they make me laugh and are the most ridiculous picnic plates ever! I'm not a fan of melamine and these appeal to my enamel love. I'm planning a new wall display installation tomorrow and I have the peg board and wood in the back of the car ready to go.
I managed to get some patchwork Harvest Smocks done (pop over to Insta or Facebook for the photos as I don't have time to upload them here today sorry) and have also done the sample for a new one in boiled black wool crepe, very Melbourne!
Last news of the day is that I have decided to pop these two pouff├ęs on sale as I am planning a new batch and these have been sitting for a while. They have been much admired and ummed and ahhed over but have been adopted yet... so 25% off! Down from $600 to $450, definitely no lay-bys or holds on these and yes we can ship them.
OK, better dash! I'm in the shop until 5.

Saturday, 21 June 2014


I was dreading this week, it was mapped out in post-it notes around the edge of my computer screen (which might explain why I was avoiding doing anything on the computer...) but now it is Saturday and I get to at least have a half day off or just a bit of a sleep-in tomorrow. I barely got a day and a bit in the studio but managed some sewing up of lovely vintage floral linen cushions and started work on a pile of tea towel cushions too.
I did lose a day being swept up country to visit an old friend's lovely house, eat lunch and then race back. It was nice to be in the passenger seat for once, I got to see things from the left side of the road. We grizzled and moaned and sorted out problems and had a grand day of it. It was cold but sunny and we missed the fog that set in the next day and blanketed Central Victoria. It wer' right grand!
Anyway. Back to the grind and it is Saturday, shortest day of the year and although it was lovely earlier this morning I think the mizzle and grey is settling in... which I don't mind! In shop news, the shipment of small bonsai scissors and little snippy thread scissors has arrived, there they are next to the big 10" tailor's shears, cute as. I need to get knitting some more beanies. I also need to have a play with the front window display and give the shop a good doing over. Looks like I will be forgetting that sleep-in in the morning...
I'm still arsing about trying to choose a date for the studio sale, seems I am not good at committing. probably because it goes hand in hand with a huge studio clean. I know I am just procrastinating in the standing-in-the-middle-of-the-room-and-screaming-'argh' way. I need to move everything to the left 8 metres and then start sorting back into the cleared space. This is not going to be fun. In the past I have tried to snaffle an empty studio in our building so I could move it all in there, have the sale, sort out the left overs and divide what would stay and what would go, I just always seem to get the timing wrong and miss out on booking the room when I need it.
OK. Better get a move on. I'm in the shop until 5pm, there are lovely snuggly things to buy, you might need a wool jumper and some angora gloves if you are off to a Solstice Bonfire tonight.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

well smocked

What a topsy week that was. 
And now here is Saturday again.
Perhaps it was the holiday on Monday that threw everything into confusion but I am glad that tonight I might be able to throw myself on the couch and fall asleep... after I have baked off a batch of choc chip cookies for a Ben's Turning 6 Party tomorrow, of course as they need to sit overnight for the chocolate to set again.
I'm feeling embarrassed that the only work I seem to photograph or talk about at the moment is based around Harvest Smocks- long, regular and short, wool cashmere, linen and denim.I have a mountain of other work in the studio that needs doing (and a sale to organise) but the smocks keep selling and so I need to keep making. I'm pretty chuffed by the lovely response we are getting about them. Thank you. Apart from the denim smocks many are made in very limited quantities as a lot of the fabrics are pieces that I have been hoarding for years or get in very limited amounts from my wholesalers. I haven't had a chance to get them online as they just don't stay in the shop long enough or we have only a couple of them but if you are interstate, in the country or overseas we can arrange a sale over the phone or by email. 
I'm desperate for a break away. It's been a hard slog since last September and I know I am getting grumpy and short tempered, with myself mainly I must admit. I'm still juggling doctors appointments and nerve tests and waiting to have the wire removed from my wrist that is impinging on a nerve making my fingers numb and causing acute pain. I could deal with the lack of movement (in fact I am pretty used to that now) if it didn't hurt so damn much. I also need to go back to Cradle Mountain and lay that first fall that started all this to rest. To stand on the boardwalk, breath some icy air and say 'thanks for a shit of a year, I'm done with it now!'. 
It;s been a funny start to what they say is going to be a warm Winter. I have all these lovely woollies that are great for cold but not too cold weather, bits that are great for layering when/if it gets colder but I am happy we never go in heavily for big wool coats when the seasons can be so finicky and undecided like this one is being. I want cold, I want rain, I want toes that feel warm in wool cashmere socks, heads protected by beanies and hands in gloves. Come on nippy weather, I need you!
Lordy! I'm running late now! Better get my skates on! I'm in the shop! 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

another long weekend

I've been a bit worried that I have been posting too many Harvest Smock photos on social media of late but they have been the main thing that I have been making over the last few weeks. Don't worry there is a lot more sewing on the horizon and lots of stuff to take photos of soon!
It's a long weekend here and most of it will be spent trying not to procrastinate over things that really need to be done. Things like cleaning and glove dyeing and pennant cutting and more cleaning.... and I have a hankering to make chocolate chip cookies as I still have a huge bag of Callebaut choc chips sitting in the cupboard and due to a moth infestation in the pantry I am dreading discovering they have attacked these precious yummies. Baking would mean I need bench space and that is something seriously lacking in the kitchen at the moment not to mention any floor space with boxes of gloves and yarn everywhere.
I'm longing for a trip away down south but I don't see that in the near future. I am getting depressed seeing photos of everyone else's jaunts to the southern isle.I need quiet, fresh air and some green therapy otherwise I can not be held responsible for anything I do or say.
There has been a bit of a clean in the studio this week and a load of rubbish hauled to the tip, I now have a cubic metre free but there is still a mess from hell clogging the space. I am aiming to clear enough space to then be able to have a studio sale. The last three times I have started to plan a sale I have broken my wrist so you can see why I am slowly easing myself into this! Stay tuned!
I'm so glad there is more of a chill in the air, I love Winter as you know and that crazy balmy weather in May was making me a tad bored. Coming out of the studio the other afternoon I could feel an icy tendril and it brought a smile to my dial. The street my studio is on runs east-west and in Winter when there is snow brewing on the mountains you can see great snow laden clouds to the east and feel the cold on your cheeks. I love that extreme after a hot sweaty Summer and feel energised and awake.
I'm shopgirl today. I have had no chance to plan anything to keep my hands busy so I am hoping for a busy day to keep me awake. We've gloves and socks for your extremities, Harvest Smocks in denim in regular and long lengths, a stunning cashmere wool one (must make one of these for me!), super woollen cardis and jumpers and scarves for your necks. It is time for a big cushion restock soon too and I have lots cut out and ready to go at the studio.... oh there is so much I need to do at the moment!
OK, better make a move. Shop prep on Saturday always seems so involved and rushed. Here until 5!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

this, that and the other

Well we survived Markit on Sunday. My prediction at I would come down with the flu on Saturday night came to nothing.... I got it on Wednesday instead. I'm coughing and sneezing and start fine in the morning but sink as the day progresses. It was on the cards that I would be the next to succumb after both shopgirls were hit by it, I think mine is just a cold from too much balmy weather and being in a space with a couple of thousand germ laden strangers!

I've been juggling appointments and work all week and only really scored a couple of days in the studio. We had such a huge interest in the harvest smocks on Sunday and it was gratifying introducing them to a new audience. They sold out and I have managed to make a few more this week (but not many, the black and white check has gone off to a new home already, more to come) there are some patched indigo linen ones and I finished a denim long and a denim regular last night so they will be in the shop today. I'm really glad that after 5 years of making these people are suddenly embracing them. I have plans for more linen ones and have laid out some stunning wools on the cutting table ready for next week's cutting.

Our lovely friend Celia dropped in with some new Oleana cardis and we have done a big swap over of stock. We only have a few on the rack at the moment but there are more being delivered next week which is always exciting. This new one is an amazing rhubarb pink with chartreuse and duck egg blue, so pretty!
Jethro has his crazy pants on again this morning and I have resorted to buy a spray bottle this morning in retaliation to his sudden game of waking me up three times in the night by sitting on the bedside table and quietly mewing at me.... game on furry housemate! I think it is his payback for me not being home for most of last Sunday, he doesn't like his Sunday routine messed up.
OK. Time to start the Saturday engine. I need to find something to wear as I seem to have popped on a flanny shirt this morning.

Oh! And before I forget!
At 6am tomorrow morning the new edition of Handmade Market goes live over on  Temple and Webster . I was asked to take part by its curator Jacqui Fink and they chose our felt pot holders and mitts and the vintage blanket versions. These links will only start working for the feature tomorrow morning, they will be updated then. Sadly this will probably be the last of the felt pieces until I can track down some new stock, such is the life of the hand made, you've got to be quick!
I'm in the shop today, come say helloooooo!