Thursday, January 25, 2007


I thought I may have escaped the weird thing tag, but no. 

Thanks Alison.

So here we go:

I wear contact lenses. Not weird in itself, but before I can put them in, I have to point to the appropriate eye and say out loud "left, right". Like I am a simpleton. Which, really, I'm not.

When I was a toddler, my mother gave me a drink in a glass and I started running with it and need I say more. In defence of my mother, I was her first child. Anyway, I had quite a nasty gash right between my eyebrows which need stitching. When Mum came to get me out of my cot the next morning, I had picked all my stitches out. Yes, my stomach turns at the thought. But that's not all. She rushed me back to get more stitches and next day, yes, you guessed it, same thing. Ground hog day for poor Mum as she took me back AGAIN to be re-stitched. One million dollars to the person who can guess what happened next? A-ha, I did it AGAIN. But this time, my mother didn't take me back. Can you believe that she would leave me to suffer like that?

Which leads to point number three. I am a compulsive picker. 

Each night before I go to bed during school term, I have to get everything out on the bench for breakfast the next morning. Bowls, spoons, cereal boxes. If we are having porridge, I have to measure it out and put it in the microwave bowl, ready for the milk to be added. It all sits neatly on the bench. I put the coffee in my cup. I make sure the kettle is full. I get the toaster out. I live in the misguided belief that this saves me a good hour in the mornings.

I am a "silent labourer". Which doesn't mean that I will quietly build you a house. When I am in labour, I don't make a sound. How good a wife would I have made Tom Cruise? If you walked past my house now and heard me yelling at my children, you may find this hard to believe. But I just find the whole thing so intense that I can't even open my mouth. If I am asked a question mid contraction, apparently I just stare with my eyes popping out of my head. I'm answering the question quite coherently in my head, but I just can't open my mouth. But give me an epidural and I can't shut up.

Internet "browse" for fabric all the time. Every day in fact. I have a compulsive disorder for visiting on-line fabric stores and just serial browsing. I live in fear that these shops have site meters and they know who I am and when I eventually do order, they will have alarms and flashing lights that will go off alerting them to the fact that fabric stalking girl is finally ordering. 

So there it is, some little insights into my weirdness. And in a salute to Little Cookies, I am going to tag AmandaBindiCourtneyDollyAnna-Nicole and Kath Day-Knight. Just because I am fascinated as to what would make them weird ...

Happy Australia Day for tomorrow.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I caught the bug ...

Had a lovely break.

Sun, more sun, hot, hotter, power blackouts, sand, surf, sharks, penguins ("Happy Feet" has a lot to answer for), koalas, wallabies, rabbits in the back yard, possums in the trees that woke us at all hours, ice-creams, wine, more wine, taking little girl's to big people's restaurants, having them sit at the bar and drink raspberry lemonades that were bigger than they were. And a bit of sewing and knitting thrown in for good measure. 


I bought a couple of magazines while away and was inspired by some creations in one magazine, made out of old blankets. Or should I say vintage blankets. It somehow sounds far more attractive? But no, I'll stick with old blankets. So where does one find old blankets? The op-shop of course! 

Along with my current aversion to using the word "vintage" (just because everything made prior to 1999 now seems to be tagged "vintage" and the price triples) I also have an aversion to calling my op-shopping "thrifting". Maybe because it is getting close to Australia Day and no self respecting Australian goes "thrifting". We go op-shopping, mate.

My track record with op-shopping is not good. The score in the past has been op-shops (too many to tally) Vs Me (zilch). I look at other blogs and marvel at the finds that other's seem to score. I have never found anything worthy of the 50 cents asking price.

Until now ...
Nothing but the best for me to cut into small pieces. And don't you love those old advertising slogans - "Make "goodnight" a certainty". Perhaps I shouldn't be cutting them up. It could deter the 3 out of 4 sleep walkers I have in my home.Saw this table cloth and had to have it. I have no idea what I am going to do with it, because once again, it is calling out to be cut up into small pieces. But those colours! That pattern! Now if that doesn't say stylish and old (note - not vintage), then what does?If I was really good, I would make myself a little sundress, reminiscent of the fifties, but it was only a small tablecloth, and after the afore mentioned wines and restaurants, I would be lucky to have it go round my waist. Perhaps I should stick with a nice little handbag.And then I just really couldn't go past this little treasure. It was so lilacy and cakey, that I could taste my Nannie's sponge cake, or my Grandma's asparagus rolls, or my Old Auntie Pattie's cheese scones.

The op-shopping bug for old things has well and truly been caught.

Friday, January 5, 2007


I've hesitated with writing this post. Now that doesn't sound like a very positive start to a bright new year. On the contrary, I wanted to get it just right. 

I've read so many wonderful posts from my favourite blogs with lots of resolutions and goals. All very inspiring. I thought I would use this post to take stock of where I am, where I have been and where I am going. When I say "I", I mean "Violet & Rose" as a business.

2006 saw the "birth" of my baby. A baby I had dreamt about for a long time. "Violet & Rose" had been hanging around in my head for a few years. I started blogging to help me to realise this goal. I had no idea how inspired I would be by what everyone else out there does and have been really overwhelmed by the support shown to me from everyday strangers who have become my blogging friends.

I have learnt a lot. The steepest learning curve has been with the markets. How much stock to make, what would sell, what wouldn't? I have decided that the markets I did were a necessary evil in my progression forward. Hard slog for some return, but not as great as I would have hoped. Next time, pick my markets more carefully.

And then there are the choices about what you will make and the fabric you choose to make it in. I am discovering the fine line between what you like, and what the general public likes, and as a consequence, what will sell. Do I suffer for my art and make all items for girls in pink because that will sell? Or do I stay true to what I love and make things in fabrics that are a little quirkier than you would find in Target? I find it really difficult to sew with a fabric that I don't like. But what I like is sometimes brown, and not everyone likes brown. Anyway, it's a line I am learning to walk.

I have also learnt that in the evolution of creating a little "brand" there are items that fit and items that don't. Helpful people often suggest things I should make. Yes, but no. And then there are the things that I thought would be a sure fire winner. Like the purse size tissue holders for little Christmas gifts for teacher's, neighbour's and the like, but no. So sadly, I may have to say good bye to these.

On the positive side though, I had so much great feedback about some of my items, like the button bracelets, the pencil rolls and the notebook covers. I will perhaps make some subtle little changes, or improvements, to these this year.

Looking ahead, I see many things. I see new items that are swirling around in my head, waiting to be created. Ever tried to find a wash bag or toiletries bag for a child? Idea number one! What do they say about necessity being the mother of invention? I have just spent ages looking for a wash bag suitable for my three year old. No luck. A ha! A gap in the market, she says! 

I made some children's or babies coat hangers as baby gifts over Christmas and I was really happy with the look on these too. And then I read during the week where the pinafore/smock top is going to be "the" winter fashion item. Inspiration enough to look at creating a winter version of my little girls smock tops. All just the tip of the iceberg really.

The other direction that I am looking towards is wholesaling my goods, rather than direct selling to the "public". I feel that I would like to try and sell my goods in a marketplace that has already been created, rather than going the hard slog and trying to create my own. Does that make sense? And I feel that the boundaries will be more defined. As in (fingers crossed) I will receive an order and make 10 pencil rolls and ship them off. As opposed to making 10 pencil rolls and thinking, hmmm, I wonder if I have made enough or too many.

Some random thoughts, perhaps, but I feel like I have sat down and put pen to paper and now, bring it on!

On that note, I am taking a little break first. Was that contradictory? Everybody needs a good break before they tackle things head on. Surely? 

Back in a few weeks with more adventures ...