Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fresh and Shiny

Happiest of the happy new years to you! I hope it's a wonderful start to an incredible year. I'm certain that's the case here at Trove HQ.

Sparky and I have spent the best part of the last three days clearing out the studio and getting organised, so I'm feeling particularly upbeat and prepared for the year ahead. Miss Isy has very much enjoyed her first official silly season, and all three of us are keenly looking forward to our first camping trip coming up soon. It's. all. good.

I've yet to take any artfully staged, blog-worthy shots of the refreshed studio, but I will. Promise.

I can, however, show you the abomination we were faced with upon opening the door for the first time since the Christmas madness ended. And, can I just say, I am incredibly, unequivocally ashamed.

Fireworks image from here.

New Addition!

Everyone, meet Bosci*. Bosci, everyone.

One of my sisters and her family (of seven!) are travelling around Australia for the next year, and Sparky, Isy and myself have adopted their border collie, Bosci, for the duration. She is a beautiful dog with a gorgeous nature, and is so wonderful around Isla. It's taking a bit of time for her to settle in - there's been some digging incidents - but it's so great to have a dog around again. It's been a long time for me, and I've missed it.

*Bosci is short for Fettucine Bosciola. As in the pasta dish. As in...
"Honey, we really need to name the dog. It's been two weeks, it's getting ridiculous... What's for dinner?"
"Fettucine Bosciola."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lovely Features

I was lucky enough to meet the gorgeous Amanda from indie blog Calico & Co at the recent Finders Keepers market, and was chuffed when she asked to feature Trove in her regular Monday's Spotlight column. You can see the interview here and you may be interested in the sneaky little reader special going til the end of January.

(*cough cough* 25% off *cough*)

Looky Looky...

Got my shots from yesterday's lookbook shoot back today. Needless to say, I am stoked. And I have the most gorgeous model ever. And the speediest and greatest photographer going round.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Exciting Things!

It's been an exciting year in both business and life at large, and I plan on doing one of those retrospective, "The Year That Was" type posts soon. But for now, let me tell you of the exciting businessy things that are in the works right this very moment.

- New Website! Set to launch in February, this one will be fully equipped with an excellent shopping cart, a blog and other nice things. I'm quite excited!

- Photoshoot! With a real human model! I've enlisted the help of a very talented photographer relative and a very beautiful friend and will be shooting all three collections between now and New Years. Totally excited!

- Trade Show! Our first foray into trade shows, via Life in Style, is rapidly approaching (Febraury - hence the work-in-the-Christmas-break-time urgency of said photoshoot) and I'm getting nervous. And excited.

- Catalogue! The photoshoot will culminate in a (hopefully) beautiful 16-page lookbook. So excited!

- Currently working on new collection ideas and hoping to soon start research/development on a range on home decor. Incredibly excited!

I suppose it's fair to say that I am excited about a lot of things for the coming year. And that's just the business. Wait till you hear about what the year holds for the Sparky, Isy and myself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cute Attack!

It's been an exceptionally busy couple of months and I'm only just getting back to some kind of normality. I'm going through approximately 2391 photos that remain unsorted and stumbled upon this little gem.

At the November Magnolia Square market in Sydney, we were lucky enough to setup shop next to the best hatmakers in Australia, Truffaux, and hurriedly purchased three of their finest. Isy is the best model one could ask for.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Joy

We've had a delightful Christmas over here at Chez Trove. Particularly delightful, as it was our first as a family of three. And even though Miss Isy is a little too young to really 'get' Christmas, Sparky and I had a ball! And the bub thought that wrapping paper was the best thing ever.

I hope you all have had wonderful Christmases/holidays with family and friends.

As usual, thoughts now turn to 2010, but I'm trying to keep them at bay. Just for another day or two. The weather is so drizzly and lovely. Perfect for cricket watching. Leftover eating. Tea drinking. Toy playing. Book reading. Husband snuggling. Baby tickling.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I'm not dead. Promise. Just very. very. busy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

We Come in Peace...

Is it just me, or does this strange little fellow look rather other-worldly?

We found him exploring a can of spray adhesive in the backyard late one afternoon, and I think he may have made our asparagus fern his new home. No problem, Mr Caterpillar.

Isla was a little unsure though.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Done and Dusted.

Stitches and Craft is officially over and I am officially ecstatic! What a massive undertaking it proved to be, and not necessarily one of my most successful (I don't like regrets so I won't regret this either - all manner of opportunities may yet arise from it).

All I know is that I could not have done it without the massive help I received from Tez, who ran my stall Wed, Thurs and Fri and Sparky, who took the reins on the weekend. (Apologies if you came by to see me - I am not a handsome man, I was just absent!) Isla had a meltdown fortnight in the lead-up to and including the show, so I couldn't spend nearly as much time there as I would've liked at my stall, but thankfully I had help.

I've got some photos of my booth setup below, and would love to share some shots of my delightful fellow Incubatorians (particularly Monalisa Designs, Berlinski and Rummage) but I didn't get a chance to take shots of their gorgeous setups. I am, however, getting one of Monalisa's beautiful tweets for Isla's room so I'll show you that when it arrives.

I was pretty pleased with my booth setup, considering the space we had was quite limited (2m x 2m) and I loved how my new sign turned out.

The resin kits sold pretty well, and I still have some available for purchase. If you're interested, send me an email and I'll get one out to you. They sold for $50 at the show but for blog readers they'll be $40 plus shipping. (They include an introductory booklet with projects, resin - retails for $30 - mixing cups, measuring cups, wooden stirrers, papers, acrylic bases and findings to make bobby pins, brooches and pendants). Bargain of the century!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where I'm Up To.

Sneaky sneaky me. This is a scheduled post. Tut tut. Because as we speak (read) I will be knee-deep in craft enthusiasts at the Stitches Show and may fail to post for a little while (year). By the way, come visit me up on Level 4. I'm the glamorous lady (HA! Try the exhausted looking woman, in desperate need of a haircut and colour, with a delightful smear of pureed pumpkin on my chin...) in Booth 206.

I nicked this concept directly from Pip over at Meet Me at Mikes. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

Making: Earring cards for said Stitches and Craft
Cooking: (Reheating) Bolegnaise that Sparky cooked up
Drinking: NZ Sauvignon Blanc (Thank YOU Mr Greys Online)
Reading: Harry Potter #6. Again.
Wanting: To organise my studio. Desperately.
Looking: At the application form for Life Instyle 2010
Playing: Possum.
Wasting: Tiiiiime.
Sewing: Nothing. I wish I could sew. Then I would sew the whole world.
Wishing: To see my jewellery on Scarlett Johansen.
Enjoying: Gardening.
Waiting: For our holiday to arrive.
Liking: Project Runway Australia (Mark or William to win!)
Wondering: If I can rationalise buying a decoupaged elk head.
Loving: Sparky and Is.
Hoping: I turn out to be a good mum.
Marvelling: At how disruptive teeth can be.
Needing: A massage.
Smelling: Lux soap flakes.
Wearing: Sloppy Country Road cardi
Following: Stephen Fry on Twitter. Charming man.
Noticing: How the light has changed.
Knowing: I'm blessed.
Thinking: Of hiring a part-time assistant
Feeling: Groovy.
Opening: My credit card bill
Giggling: In anticipation
Feeling: Funny.

Do you want to do it too?! Cut and paste the blanks below to your blog... or print them out and write your answers and stow it away just for yourself!

Making :
Cooking :
Drinking :

Monday, August 17, 2009

Who? Oh, me. Right.

Hello. I do still exist.

I have approximately three minutes until my brain turns to mush and my baby starts crying, simultaneously, so I'll be brief.

I've just come home, drunk a glass of wine and put Isla to bed after the set-up for Stitches and Craft. It was fun. Until Issy lost her business and I had to run (yes, run) to save her poor grandmother from a nervous breakdown. After that, not so much fun.

All I can say is THANK THE LORD for the delightful Alison (from uber-gorgeous handbag/clutch label Berlinksi - - I'm too shattered too even hyperkink)* and her sister Bree for helping me out in my time of need. I'm quite pleased with my setup overall and I will take some photos over the next five days to share with you.

Aside from working 20 hours a day in preparation (slight exaggeration, but I have been awake for 20 hours a day all the same), I have been daydreaming about our upcoming holiday and buying swimsuits accordingly. Check this beautiful maillot out:

So, let me see... My last few weeks have consisted of making over 400 pieces of jewellery, dealing with a cranky cranky bub, holiday dreaming, online shopping (I have also bought delightful things from Georgie Love and Cocorikoo, and may or may not have an extra delightful something in the works for Sparky - hi Sparky!) and not sleeping a great deal. Yep. So I guess this is a comprehensive update. Excellent. I am an excellent blogger, yes? No. OK.

Must dash. Brain fried.

*OK, I see that it says hyperkink, but that made me chuckle, so it stays. The asterisk simply says that I'm not a moron who can't spellcheck.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Sometimes, when things just get a little too difficult, my muscles ache a little too much and it becomes increasingly troublesome to drag myself through the day, it is worthwhile stopping, pondering and making up a word that sums that feeling up.

Hello, flergenblech.

In other, less insane news, I am using this photo to get me through the next few weeks:

Sparky, Isy and I are heading to Byron Bay in a few weeks time for a much MUCH needed break and the thought of it is currently the only thing keeping me from getting 'Flergenblech' tattooed across my forehead (that is, the only thing keeping me sane).

I've also compiled a list of events I hope to participate in over the next 12 months and that is an incredibly exciting and motivating thing for me. The rundown is only approximate because I don't know what I will or won't be accepted into at this stage, but here it is:

- Stitches and Craft - 19-23 August @ Rosehill Racecourse
- pyd Designer Markets - October @ pyd, Waterloo
- Magnolia Square - 19-21 November @ Royal Randwick
- Glenbrook Spring Festival - November
- Glenbrook Markets - October, November, December
- The Rocks Markets (if I can get someone to work for me) - October, November, December
- The Finders Keepers - December
- Youngblood Christmas Markets
- Life inStyle - February 2010
- Royal Easter Show (Fashion & Style Pavillion) - April 2010

Helpful in motivating me, and helpful in making me feel exhausted. I think I'll tackle the majority of these after the holiday.

For now it's back to Stitches and Craft prep, among other things. Today I am proofing my resin booklet, taking Isy for a check-up, getting a sneaky coffee, catching up with my sister, assembling my kick-arse new sign, applying for two of the above-mentioned events and a retailer showcase called (m)art in Brisbane. I also need to do another two pours and start drilling an enormous pile of pendants and earrings. Excellent!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The One Where I Apologise

Oh. Hello there. Yes, I do still exist and occasionally I do actually turn on my computer. And (even less) occasionally, I may write a blog post. Such as this one.

I have been madly preparing for the Stitches and Craft Show which begins in (gulp) one week and two days. I am building a very solid inventory which will either all sell out (yay!) or hold me in good stead for the crazy October-December Christmas and market frenzy. So this is a good thing.

I've also been working on my new collection (hello chunky neck plates, vintage doilies and pretty ribbon), experimenting with my friend Joe the Plastics Man on how I can speed up my production process for my Elements and Still Life Collections, doing a mass mailout to boutiques, working on my catalogue and linesheet, sourcing some of the most gorgeous papers IN. THE. WORLD. and putting together a limited number (hint: 100) of the 'Introduction to Working with Resin' kits that will be for sale at Stitches and Craft.

It's been a stressful, wonderfully productive time and I (mostly) wouldn't trade it for anything. My higher levels of what I like to call 'real' business work come from a much-needed mindset shift where I now have to really focus on Trove as a business, rather than a quasi-business kinda-hobby thing. The problem I've had as the label has grown organically from a hobby is that I've never had to take the nitty-gritty completely seriously. And since my maternity leave started I've been swept along in the romantic notion of working at home. When the reality is that I am so passionate about my jewellery and to make my label a success AND so determined to be able to stay at home with Isla, that I need to focus a lot more specifically on the things that really matter. Like a wise man once said, "Think of every day as an opportunity to make money," and while the idealist inside says that money isn't everything (totes true!) the reality is that money is required for living and that my back is to the wall.

So there you have it. A large dose of reality that is now in the public sphere. I have to make it work now!

Back to your regularly scheduled program of meandering, irregular updates and semi-interesting photos:

In order these photos are CUUUUTE, paper, paper, paper and the grab bags of (paper) that I will have for sale at Stitches and Craft. Bargain basement price of $5 will get you a variety of papers in a variety of sizes to use however you wish. I'd personally recommend decoupaging your toilet seat, but that's just me. I'm awesome like that.

Ooh, speaking of being awesome, do yourself a favour and check out Sally's most recent posts about why she is indeed awesome. (As if we needed reminding!)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Fortnight in Pictures:

Life has taken the first exit to Hectic Town and I haven't been near a blog post in quite some time, and for that I am truly sorry. The upcoming Stitches and Craft Show has leapt view and taken over my every waking moment and I am now officially freaking out.

I thought the best way to update you on what I've been up to over the past few weeks is in pictures. So, here you go:

So now we're on the same page!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The One Where I Say, "Oh, haaiiiii."

Oh, haaiiiii. It's. been. so. long. I'm sorry. Very, very sorry.

I have had a multitude of computer issues (no Etsy for almost a month, no Facebook for over a month, photo freak outs, etc) that getting on the old laptop has been more of a stress than anything. But it finally appears that everything is back on track, so here I am.

Been keeping rather busy over the past few weeks, in preparation for the Stitches and Craft Show but am nowhere near prepared. Of course. I'm still experimenting with the kits that I will be putting together, trying to make it as streamlined as possible. I'm sure I'll get there, but I just wish I was one of those early-preparing types, rather than the "oh, yes, I do have an assignment due next week. I'll get to it... I'll get to it... I'll get... Bugger! It's due this afternoon" types.

In related news, my delightful crafty friend, Mrs Pineapplehead will be joining me at Stitches and Craft to help me run my stand!! So excellent! So excited!! So relieved! (Isla is no longer happy to just chill in her pram for longer than an hour or two, which makes 7 hour days at the craft show seem rather unachievable).

In other other news, I received a phonecall at 7.01am last Friday morning from my mum who was exclaiming excitedly down the line, "She's wearing your necklace! She's wearing it! Turn the telly on!"

I did:

Yayayay! That absolutely made my week! I know the lovely Natalie Barr said she would try to incorporate my jewellery into her on-air wardrobe, but I never really expected to see her wearing a piece. It was a delightful shock. (Dreadful screen-grabbing skills on my part. Sorry, Nat!)

I sent her an email to say thanks and she replied to say that they had received a couple of emails from viewers wanting to know where they could buy my jewellery and that she had forwarded my details. So that was rather exciting!

I'm trying to rectify a camera problem that I'm having, because I've got so many photos to share from the last few weeks. The garden is going gang-busters, Isla is redefining the acceptable levels of cuteness and I'm working on some new fabulousness in the studio. Sadly, these things I cannot share with you. Yet. But I will.

Have wonderful days!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Adventures in Music

It's a scientifically proven fact that I have not a musical bone in my body.

I once sung karaoke at a pub and was shamed into NEVER singing in public again when Sparky had to take the female part in Mustang Sally and me the male. Then my friends all stood up, pointed and laughed. So, yeah, not. a. musical. bone.

But I really love music. I love live music, I love new music, I love dancing to music and I love old music.

Triple J are currently running the Hottest 100 songs of all time and I'm enjoying listening to it so very much! (So much so that I hold Triple J solely responsible for my very unproductive week.)

Anyway, it's inspired me to put together a list of my favourite music moments.

First concert I ever went to without a chaperone (so excluding John Farnham and Girlfriend): Smashing Pumpkins at Sydney Ent Cent (and so began a decade-long obsession with bald men - Billy Corgan and Ed Kowalczyk namely)

My favourite concert ever: Impossible to pick just one. It's a very serious toss-up between Kings of Leon at The Enmore, the Beastie Boys at The Hordern, The Beach Boys at the Capitol Theatre and Brian Wilson at The Opera House. Oh, and Brian Wilson at The Domain.

Most epic concert moment: Dancing joyously in the rain while U2 played 'City of Blinding Lights'.

Most surprising concert: Vampire Weekend at the Metro. They were a little meh but Little Red who supported them were delightfully catchy. Little Red formed the basis of summer 08/09's playlist.

My Top 10 Songs of All Time. (Subject to change at any given moment):
1. 'God Only Knows' by The Beach Boys was our bridal waltzy song, so that's up there by default.
2. 'Girls' by the Beastie Boys.
3. '1, 2, 3, 4' by Feist.
4. 'Work It' by Missy Elliott. (Weird, huh?)
5. 'No Cars Go' by Arcade Fire.
6. 'We Crawl' by Polyphonic Spree
7. 'No Woman No Cry' by Bob Marley
8. 'Rainy Day Women' Bob Dylan
9. 'New Slang' The Shins
10. 'Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes'/'Call Me Al' by Paul Simon

Apologies for boring you!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The One Where I Dream...

I'm dreaming of my perfect studio.

I have next to no time at the moment to actually make it a reality, but I'm still dreaming away.

Meet my inspirations:

As you can see, I crave the order of 'a place for everything and everything in it's place'. Currently I have the chaos of 'if there is a bare patch of floor or workbench, please feel free to dump whatever you have in your hands and move onto another project, entirely overwhelmed by the mess you've created'.

It's way productive.

(Images via Modish's Handmade Spaces and Heart Handmade.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Win for the Good Guys.

While Clare, my favourite favourite Australia's Next Top Model contestant did not win (boo!), I was so happy to see the sweetheart of the contest, Tahnee take out the title of Australia's Next Top Model.

Gorgeous, fresh-faced and athletic, I felt like it was a win for the good guys. Hurrah! A model with curves! And she's not being referred to as 'plus-sized'.

Time will tell whether or not the fashion folk are willing to embrace Tahnee as a serious model, or if they'll keep their blinkers on, employing (while delightful, I'm sure) stick-thin teenagers to showcase fashion for women. How can we expect girls, or women for that matter, to have a balanced view of themselves?!

I hope Tahnee heralds a new generation.

The Reasonality of Things.

Apart from making up words, I am currently marveling at the way life works itself out. Things happen for a reason. If you take the bad with the good, often the reason for the bad becomes apparent and it's not so bad. Following? Yes? No?

I was quite disappointed not to be accepted into Young Blood for the upcoming market, which is running over 21-22 August at the Powerhouse Museum. But yesterday afternoon I received an email from the organisers of The Stitches and Craft Show, asking if I would be interested at exhibiting in the Incubator section of their revamped show.

Um, would I?


YES! Yes, I would.

The new owners of Stitches and Craft, Living Creatively are moving the show in a new, exciting direction which embraces the indie craft movement and a new generation of crafters, designers and hobbyists. It's actually incredibly exciting (my participation aside) as it sounds like a lot of the indie craft events that are being held in the States. Exciting times indeed!

While Stitches and Craft used to focus more on the crafty suppliers, workshops and classes, they are now moving in a new direction and including a section of the exhibition where new designers can show and sell their wares. They do ask that those participating provide instruction and inspiration where possible, and would like us to present a workshop if possible. (EEP!)

Being quite a shy person, I don't know about the workshop business but my mind is working overtime trying to think of ways to inspire and instruct (and sell my goods at the same time). Here's what I have come up with so far:

- A free booklet outlining the basics of working with resin, as well as providing a few simple projects for people to do at home.
- Selling a kit for people to make their own resin and paper wall hangings. Kit to include acrylic shapes, paper/fabric, resin sample (if I can get the manufacturer to help), mixing cups, mixing sticks, etc.
- Selling grab bags of paper
- Selling grab bags of fabric
- Postcards printed with really lovely images of my work (if I do say so myself)

So that's where I am at the moment. My brain is working overtime and I'm getting quite inspired myself actually.

If you have any suggestions for other products to inspire or instruct, please feel free to let me know!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Good With the Bad

The past week has had plenty of goods for me and for Trove. I sold really well at Magnolia Square, I had a few wholesale enquiries, I was featured in thewhitebook's July chapter and I was nominated by Tess from Planet Treasures for the One Lovely Blog Award. (Made my day, Tess!) So there's lots of goods there.

The bads are well outnumbered but still a little disappointing. Namely I wasn't accepted to the Young Blood Designers Market for reasons unknown, which has really bummed me out. I was so excited at the prospect of exhibiting there - they always have a great line-up of emerging designers and really foster the young designers scene. It's brought up some niggling self-doubts and left me feeling a bit hollow.

That's not to say I won't be applying again, and ramping up my application even further to see that I make it next time. I think they hold another one in November/December. Perfect for the Christmas lead-up.

I won't focus on the bads, though, and will instead be looking towards the next set of opportunities. This week I'm working on my wholesale orders for Nook and Pleien as well as getting together my samples to send to magazines. That ought to shake out the negatives, pump up the positives.

The Week That Was...

I am home, I am semi-recovered from Magnolia Square, I am drinking coffee and I am happy.

Last week was a blur of last-minute prep for the market and the craziness of the market itself. In all it was a fantastic event - I'm really pleased with how my jewellery was received (and purchased!) and I'll definitely be doing the November market. The Thursday was exceptionally quiet for us, but the Friday was great and the Saturday, oh, the Saturday was quite a bit of madness. The best kind of madness though. The Tea House venue was not crash-hot (not quite enough room in the aisles for lots of ladies with lots of prams) and it was a little church-hallish. But the organisers did a stellar job of disguising that fact, and the visual merchandising was gorgeous. (So much so that I felt a little sheepish at the simplicity of my stall design. Next time, yes, next time I will blow their socks off!)

I'm glad it's over, simply for the fact that a three-day market with a four month old is slightly tiring, particularly when she is teething. But not to worry, she coped like a trooper and Sparky was, again, my greatest helper. I did come to the realisation that I need to hire someone to help me with these events, so if you know of anyone reliable, passionate about handmade, willing to work stretches of long-ish days sproadically throughout the year and perhaps with some sales experience, please please please send them my way.

The wonderful flip-side of exhibiting at an event like Magnolia Square is the huge range of delectable shopping opportunities on offer. I restrained myself quite well I think, but did buy a few lovely things for Issy and myself:

These gorgeous little leather shoes were bought for Isla. They're so soft and such a pretty green. I had to restrain myself from also buying these,
these and these.

hamb is a really sweet Melbourne clothing label with some gorgeous mens, womens and kids t-shirts and sloppy joes (does ANYONE use that term anymore apart from me?!)

I bought these for Issy and myself, so that we can have dorky matching clothes days.

And before I sound like a horrible wife, I did offer to buy Sparky a matching t-shirt but he politely declined.

I also bought some of these beauties:

Sparkle Cupcakery make the most delicious, modern little pattypans full of joy. I can personally attest to this as I tried both their Belgian Chocolate and Sparkle Cake (vanilla - classic, not boring) and they were beyond delicious. Yum, yum, YUM!

So that is the week that was.