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August 2011

Big decisions

Two weeks ago I sent the following email to my mailing list:

Dear friends and customers,

After almost 10 years I have made the decision to wind up Townmouse. This little business has been a labour of love for me - something I've nurtured and watched grow alongside my children.

Though with 4 children now, life is extremely busy and I have decided to give my full attnetion to family for the time being. I want to find the time to sew for my own daughter before she's old enough to say, "Yuk Mummy, I'm not wearing THAT!" Which I'm sure is coming all too soon.

I will take away from Townmouse some wonderful friendships and fabulous experiences. It's been lovely to get to know customers over the years and now count many of you as dear friends.

There are still lots of classic Townmouse pieces in stock. But once they're gone, they're gone for good. So if there's a favourite piece you like, please go to the website and grab it.

making a gif

This was a decision I made over a year ago, and one that brewed for a while before that. So things have been winding down since then, as I've sold through my last ranges.

I originally started Townmouse because I loved making pretty dresses. So I sold them, in order to make them, if that makes sense. With the arrival of Adelaide though, a large part of my motivation for the business was satisfied at home. And last winter, while trying to get my summer range off to the manufacturers in the middle of school holidays I suddenly realised that things were all back to front.  

I was too busy creating clothes for other people's children to make the things I wanted to make for my own. I could see that I would kick myself in years to come having spent too much time in my sewing studio and not enough time enjoying my young children.

Winter04_contact_mainSo there you have it. Big news I guess. It's a decision I'm content with. When life is this busy you have to really love something to find the time for it. And I'd started to love it a little less.

I've been asked if I'm going to sell the business. No, I'm not. It was never about the money, and I'm too wedded to this little brand I have created. I don't want it to become someone else's, and for it to change into something I wouldn't be proud of. 

And besides, there's this little blog.  I will continue to blog - yes, definitely.  

When I sent the email above I didn't quite anticipate the response it would generate. I have been completely overwhelmed with orders.  The boys and I have been filling the post box near our house to the brim every night, and then taking the overflow of parcels down the road to the next post box.  It's been a little stressful but I'm getting there.  So until I clear the backlog of orders there won't be much happening here.  

In future expect to see more one-off creations. Looking back over my archives though, there are a few items there I'd like to make again.  

As always, lots to do, so little time.

Date night

We're heading here, to Lupino, for dinner tonight.


This restaurant is owned by Richard, an old school friend of Will's.  Those Melbourne readers might know and love Becco, Richard's first Melbourne restaurant.  

There was much controversy when Becco first opened about 12 years ago, because the owners refused admittance to a rather acerbic restaurant critic with a wide readership and the capability to destroy a restaurant with one cruel review.  The irony is the critic would have no doubt had good things to say about Becco because it quickly became, and has remained, hugely successful.  But it was a brilliant marketing strategy on the part of the owners (whether intended or not) because it gave the restaurant much attention.  There were many people in the food and restaurant world who either despised or revered the critic so it was a hot topic for a while.


Lupino is Richard's latest offering. I haven't tried it yet so looking forward to a date with my husband at what I'm sure will be a great spot.

A thread for any use

With all the sewing I do, it is a very rare occasion that I have to buy thread.  Thanks to the thrifty purchase 11 years ago of my collection of sewing threads (shown in the post below) I usually am able to perfectly match a thread to any fabric.  For just $100 I bought 4 of those wooden trays full of threads, from a friend's father who was closing down a women's clothing label.  

I was pretty excited at the time, but if I'd known how invaluable they have been I would have been doubly so.


Today is a case in point.  I'm sewing a tablecloth to cover a card table.  This piece of rather mustardy or wheat coloured linen has been hiding behind the door of my sewing room for years.  And the first thread I pulled out of its shelf was the perfect match.

Now I just have to master the art of sewing a mitred corner.

Seven friends and I are having Bridge lessons.  The girls and a Bridge teacher are coming to our house tonight for our second lesson.  When I told Will that our house was being used for Bridge lessons for the 5 Tuesday evenings of August he turned to the boys and said with a sigh, "Boys, your parents are officially entering old middle age."  I had to laugh as I do see it as a retirement pursuit.  That's what it's been for my mother who is a very keen player.

Anyway, 8 of us have come together to learn this challenging game.  We say we're trail blazing amongst our age group, and soon all our contemporaries will be in on the action.  Our mothers say it's good to learn while our brains are still young.

Do you play Bridge?  We all loved our first lesson and are looking forward to the second installment tonight.