Thursday 24 February 2011

Scarf Admiration

General Edition Cast offs Scarves
The first product in my range that I ever made to sell was my Cast offs Scarves. Way back in 2004 I was playing around with some felted woollen jumpers that I had and I made one for my lovely husband Sam. He was chuffed and wore it all through the winter. I was chuffed that he wore it and that people asked him about it and commented on it.

A bit later down the track when I was pregnant with our daughter Kitty – I made her a baby cot blanket using a similar idea. One thing led to another and before I knew it my squirrel instincts had kicked in and I was collecting woollen jumpers here, there and everywhere. All these years later – my Cast offs scarves have evolved to become a true winter staple.

You won’t often see me without one on – and now that I have made the move to a colder climate – I think they will become even more of a permanent fixture! Funnily enough the customers I have met who have bought my scarves have all said similar things - in that they do not take them off during winter because they get so attached to them and then there are the poor souls that have misplaced them or heaven forbid left them on the train by accident and come to visit me at the market to share their story. I know tears have been shed over lost scarves.
Necklace Scarves from Body parts - Gaye Abandon
The thing is – I know of lots of other crafty types who also make scarves. My two favourites would have to be Gaye from Gaye Abandon who has become super well known for her lovely circles necklace scarf and Jo from Frankie and Ray who has designed and knits her own neck warmers out of the most gorgeous coloured wools and who also plays around with jumper felt and various fabric combos to great success.

I think one can never have too many scarves in their wardrobe – there is nothing quite like jazzing up your outfit with something that looks fantastic and keeps you toasty at the same time!

Stay wonderfully warm and woolly!
Frankie & Ray Scarf by the lovely Jo Dunsimur
Knitted by Jo from Frankie & Ray

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Back to reality

Mum & I celebrating on the opening night of the show!
Well – here I am back home again after a whirlwind week in Sydney exhibiting once more at Life in Style trade fair. One of the best parts of my trip was all the lovely re-orders I have taken from my existing stockists and the overwhelming number of new orders I have taken from new retailers! Boy o boy am I going to be busy!! Still the best bit is that my winter woolly things like the Cast offs scarves, baby blankets and my new giant rainbow throw have all been very well received. Bring on winter I say!

My First in Style showcase!
After a couple of solid days of taking orders – I slipped away and left Mum on the stand whilst I went on a treasure hunting excursion with lovely Allison. What an interesting experience it was to be a shopper at the trade fair instead of a seller! Thank goodness I had Allison with me – who has a fantastic eye and of course lots of experience! On Saturday we spent the whole day at the Home & Giving Fair at the Sydney Showgrounds where we traipsed up and down each aisle – searching for goodies (to much success I might add) and then on Sunday we spent most of the day at the Reed Gift Fair at Darling Harbour. In the end exhausted but happy we got back to Life in Style just in time to finish off orders with exhibitors there and pack up our stands! Now I just can’t wait to get all the goodies that I ordered delivered! The Crafty Squirrel is going to be chock block full of vintage crafty goodness!

Fabulous Team Lark! Dean, Allison and Paul
One of my super favourite bits in relation to getting out and about is of course the opportunity to catch up with all the amazing crafty and clever peeps I meet in my travels. I have massive admiration for all these wonderfully creative people who all have super good taste I might add. How lovely it is to be surrounded by such a supportive and imaginative community. It certainly makes life more interesting!

After all this trade show business – Mum and I took the day off to explore around Newtown before we flew home. Unfortunately because it was Monday a lot of the shops (like Newspaper Taxi) I wanted to go to were closed which was a bummer. Still I got to pop into Made 590 which I have been wanting to visit for ages and was delighted to find that Christina was in and up for a bit of a chat. What a shop! Definitely add to your must go to next time you are in Sydney list – it is fantastic! Also too, a wee spot of vintage haberdashery shopping was done – so I really did feel like it was a super successful trip!

Now I just have to fill all those orders I took!
The gorgeous Belinda from Babushka Baby

The very talented Jarren from Temono

Shabana and her beautiful silver and ceramic jewellery

The lovely Amber from Down to the Woods – giant freckle anyone?

Clever Caitlin from Little Lamb

The talent behind Knuffle Kid – Emma!

Christina – the gorgeous Made 590 Queen!

Made 590 – one of the coolest shops in Sydney

Monday 7 February 2011

Once a Squirrel….always a Squirrel….

My op shop Squirrel lamp - he sealed the deal!
 Have you ever heard of the theory that each person has an animal totem in terms of personality traits? Most of my life I have thought of myself as a cat. I have always had pet cats (whom I have thought of as my babies) and I am a Leo born in the year of the tiger. Increasingly however I have realised that I am also very much a Squirrel! And a crafty one at that!

Over the last few weeks in Ballarat I have managed to pay a visit to many of the fantastic op shops that are to be found around town. And what riches there are to be discovered! During these times of searching and gathering treasures I have been hard at work trying to think of a good name for my new shop…lots of names have popped into my head, been road tested on my family and friends and then discarded for one reason or another - until the day I came up with ‘The Crafty Squirrel’. The whole family said ‘Yes!’ and the more I thought about it – the more I knew it was right. So ‘The Crafty Squirrel’ it is!

Some lovely girly squirrels from one of the Squirrel books I found.
Of course the day I truly settled on the name I went out op shopping and found 3 squirrel related items – 2 books and a little squirrel night light. I knew I was definitely on the right track and ever since I have been finding all sorts of wonderful vintage haberdashery items to sell in the shop!

When I researched Squirrel totems on the internet – this is what I came up with… was slightly too close to home really….but maybe that is a good thing!

The gathering power of the Squirrel is a great gift. (That’s what I think J) It teaches us balance within the circle of gathering and giving out.  
They remind us that in our quest for our goals, it is vital to make time for play and socialising. Squirrels teach us to conserve our energy for times of need.  

If your totem is Squirrel or a Squirrel has recently entered your life - lighten your load of things that are unnecessary – things that you have gathered in the past and may be cluttering your life – thoughts, worries, and stresses. (Sounds like a plan…)

Squirrels are also the totem of action. Ask yourself - are you too active, not active enough, afraid of enough, hung up on accumulating and collecting. (ok, ok….maybe just a little….thank goodness I am opening a shop! Then everyone gets to benefit from my squirrel ways!)  

Squirrel people tend to be a little erratic – trying to do many things at once. (No…really!?) Take the time to stop and listen to your inner self – and don’t forget to play! (AOK!!)

This is just a small collection of my amazing knitting needles for the shop.

I couldn't believe my luck when I found this...original box and all!

A small selection of vintage haberdashery from my travels...