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June 2007
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August 2007

July 2007

The eye of the storm

Our three day market was lots of fun.  I always enjoy catching up with my fellow marketeers.  We are an eclectic bunch.  One is the sister of the first boy I ever kissed, one is my next door neighbour, one is the sister of Will's friend from boarding school and the other plays pétanque with my parents at the seaside town of Flinders.  We all come together every 6 months or so to sell our wares together.

PashminaAfter eyeing off a tantalizing colour palette of pashminas at Bec's jewellery stall for the three days, I zeroed in on this denim colour which I am wearing today.  I'm loving it with jeans.  One can never have too many scarves I always say.

In addition to doing some shopping for myself I caught up with a lot of my regular customers, met some new customers and even met a fellow craft blogger in person.

Today feels like the eye of the storm.  Now that the market is over I'm enjoying a relatively quiet day before I launch my summer range on-line overnight.  All the stock from the market is currently piled up on our dining room table so I'm off to tidy the studio and find a home for it all.


To market, to market

Today I was in Hawthorn to set up for our Christmas in July market this weekend.  Together with 4 friends who also have small businesses, we will be selling our wares from Saturday through to Monday.

If any local readers are seeking the perfect cumquat marmalade, affordable and stylish bags, divine butterfly and botanic stationery or a summer wardrobe for your children, drop in to the Troubadour Arcade, 673 – 681 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn in Melbourne.  And if you do drop in, please come and say hi.

Oh and I ordered two more Liberty fabrics today.  I’m so excited – they are the prettiest Liberty prints I’ve seen in ages.  They will be perfect for my winter range next year.  The whole range has been coming together in my head as a result.


Crafty shopping

Yesterday with an hour to spare before I picked the boys up from school I wandered in an out of a few shops.  I’m always tempted to do a little purchasing when new season’s fashion first hits the shops.  Let’s just say I might have to have a little Townmouse sale to pay for my goodies.

Necklace

I found this divine necklace which will be perfect with a plain white t-shirt and jeans.  It reminds me a little of the cute hairclips by Wren Handmade.

I also bought the top pictured with it – simply because I loved the pleating detail so much.


Henri lends a hand

A while ago two year old Henri lent his little hands for a secret project.  He made hand prints on a shirt for a Channel 9 presenter to wear in a photo shoot.  This is for the new craft website I metioned that I only know snippets about.

Handprint

The photo shoot was on Friday morning.  Our Tom, and other children of a similar age, gathered in the studio with the television presenter for a fabulous photo.  I always find it interesting to see the behind the scenes work that goes into a finished production.  In this case the finished production will be a website that I'm tipping will be amazing.  The launch is timed for August so we don't have long to wait now.


Here comes summer

No, not literally.  But I’ve just picked up five boxes of my summer stock, with more to come on Monday.  I can’t wait to put my new range on the website.  It’s time for something new for my customers to look at.  And I’ve been keeping these fabrics hidden away in my studio since the beginning of the year.

Here is some Liberty confection:

Summer_stock

And here’s a little ad that will be appearing in a national Australian magazine due out next week.  Everyone in the craft  blogosphere will recognize the fabric instantly.

Acs_ad_heidi_5

In fact I have 5 Freshcut fabrics in my summer range.  I think they'll be popular with my customers, don't you?  Or at least, I hope my dress designs will do the fabrics justice.

I do love this photo.  The colours in the fabric worked so well with the potted plant and surrounds.  The little girl, Heidi, is the photographer's daughter.  The photographer, Kate, I met originally as a Townmouse customer.  Kate takes beautiful photos, and the fact she can bring her own model to the shoot makes it doubly sweet.


A studio day

I love days like today.  Max and Tom are at school and Henri is at crèche nearby.  So I have the whole day to potter round in my studio.  After school pickup I’ll hopefully collect my summer range from the manufacturer.  He tells me he’s busy pressing my garments this week.

The Liberty agent has just paid Townmouse a house call.  I had a look at the summer 2008 range and ordered ten different prints.  These won’t be delivered until January next year, and will mostly go into my summer range for 2008/09.

With my summer range coming up I’ve been playing with a few new t-shirt appliqués.  I have been loving this television commercial airing in Australia at the moment. 

It has inspired one of my new designs.

New_designs

And all the lovely rain we have been having in Melbourne has inspired another.


Merveilleux

Will travels a great deal.  He's on a plane now and won't be back for over a week.  Admittedly I do get a lot of work/sewing done when he's away but I miss him and the boys miss him - especially on weekends. 

But there is an up side.  That is, sometimes I get to go with him.

Palais_royal_2Last night he casually said to me, "Première Vision is on in Paris in September.  I thought you might like to come with me?"  Not only was he asking me to travel to one of my favourite cities, but to visit a fabric fair no less!!!  How good is that?  Needless to say I am just a little bit excited. 

Every year we try to get away just the two of us.  There had been talk of Japan in October but I wasn't confident that it would come off.  Will's travel is unpredictable and hard to plan around; his work is also incredibly demanding.  But the fact that Première Vision is a fixed date and he needs to go for his work, means that this trip is just a little more likely to happen than the others we have discussed.   

Palais_royal2There was even the mention of a Tokyo stopover on the way there.  I won't get my heart set on that additional treat yet as that could very likely get bumped as the dates draw nearer.  I'm not complaining though.  Paris will suit me just fine!  I haven't been there since 1999.  Since then I've had children and started a children's wear label so you can imagine that visiting a few children's wear boutiques will be high on the list.

Now I just have the small task of finding a nanny who is happy to move in and care for our three boys for 9 days.  What do you think my chances are?


Ho hum

It’s been a rather quiet few days.  Henri and I passed the entire weekend cleaning the house while Will, Max and Tom were skiing (Henri likes to ride the vacuum cleaner).  I spent many hours sorting Lego, dinosaurs, toy cars, etc.  I even managed to dispel that annoying pile of paperwork and other miscellany that hangs around the end of our kitchen bench. It feels great to have the house more organized. For today, at least, everything is in its place.

Jasper_2

And I also bought some new tableware.  Food always tastes better when served on pretty plates.  These have replaced a plain white set we have had for the last 8 years.  I cleaned out several kitchen drawers and made a trip to the goodwill store with all our old stuff. 

Oh, and I stuffed and labeled several thousand envelopes for an upcoming event Townmouse is involved in.  Riveting stuff!  Details on that soon.


Local finds

One doesn’t have to go far to find interesting stationery these days.  I was in our local Officeworks getting printer ink a few days ago and came across this range of products from their Contemporary Stationery Range. 

Box_file_set

Officeworks is no Zetta Florence or Paper Source.  It’s basically a cheap and cheerful stationery supermarket.  But it’s always fun to browse in, nonetheless.

Box_file

I picked up a couple of the file boxes and have found a home for them in my armoire which I was busy tidying last night.  I'm not sure what I'll store in them. But for now they're doing their job by just being nice to look at, don't you think?

Tidy_armoire

A few garments from my new summer range are hiding in the armoire.  I'll show you more in the next week or so, before the range goes on sale on the website on the 1st August.


Opportunity cost

Opportunity cost is the value of the next best choice that one gives up when making a decision.

For me the greatest opportunity cost of the time spent in my studio is the reading I miss out on.  After the family’s needs are taken care of and the boys are tucked up in bed I can either head to my studio or pick up a good book.  By the time I get around to picking up that good book I’m too tired to read more than a few pages.  And I don’t always make it to the monthly bookgroup that a friend and I first started nearly 7 years ago.

Bookcolette_2 I used to be a voracious reader, chewing through a few books a week.  When I studied French in my twenties I went through a French phase, reading everything from Colette (my favourite) to Sartre and Proust.  Then in my Italian phase I loved Italo Calvino.  The Baron in the Trees is a beautiful, whimsical tale.  I love twentieth century classics and have read every book I can find by Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Galsworthy.  My favourite author is Edith Wharton and I also love Henry James.  And I have read and re-read the now-out-of-print yet fabulous Angelique series many, many times since my mother introduced me to them in my teens.

BookangeliqueThankfully in this modern age of ipods and MP3 files I have been able to combine my two loves.  I can now download audio books and listen to them while I work in my studio. 

Will has taken 6 year old Max and 5 year old Tom to the snow for the weekend to introduce them to skiing.  Henri and I are kicking back at home.  Tonight I have enjoyed rearranging the armoire in preparation for the arrival of my summer stock whilst listening to Anna Karenina.


A sequence of events

I love the way life works!

I mentioned in an earlier post that Townmouse had some editorial in a Sydney newspaper a few weeks ago.  As a result, I got an email from a woman asking me whether I offered any kind of sling bag.  She wanted a bag with a single strap that her nieces could carry across their bodies.

Usually I have to say no to any special requests as I don’t have enough time.  But her question got me thinking about a gap in the Townmouse range.  The crèche bag is a bag for mums to carry and isn’t easy for young children to carry themselves.  A bag for children to use is a good idea.

Sling_bag_ella

I’ve always packed the boys’ crèche bags with new activity books, fun food, etc, for plane trips (to keep them occupied).  With our trip to Port Douglas coming up I thought I’d have a play around for this customer and test out a sling bag on my boys.

As well as getting out as many orders as possible before we left, I was up until 3am the night before our flight making sling bags for the boys. I used the Library Bag, but with a different strap.

Then while we were in Port Douglas I had a call from an editor at Good Weekend magazine who wanted some items from my upcoming summer range for a shoot that week.  I did some quick washing and ironing and packed off a few of the boys’ clothes, including Tom’s sling bag.

Tom_shirt_2And, as fate would have it, the Sling Bag made the cut, as well as this very shirt – photographed on Tom 3 years ago – now worn by Henri some 200 washes later.

I will be eagerly awaiting my copy of the paper on Saturday 21st July to see what turns up.  Busy times ahead.

My Melbourne manufacturer also sent a parcel to Good Weekend for me with some of my new range - hot off the sewing machines.  I won't know until the day of print whether they made it into the feature as well.