Monday, December 31, 2007

little japanese purse

Nothing beats the challenge of trying to decipher crazy sewing instructions that are completely in Japanese. Luckily there were lots of diagrams included in this kit, which I bought from a craft shop in Nagoya (Leslie might be able to get you one):

It was an interesting learning experience It looks pretty similar to the picture, but I didn't take in enough of the side seams so the mouth is actually too wide for the closure. It does funny things on the side when you try to close it.

I'd also never tried this sort of embroidery before, but it wasn't too hard. Happy with how the birdy turned out.

Oh my god have many of you tried fitting one of these little purse closures? They are sooooooooo hard and frustrating to work with!! I dented mine quite a bit trying to press the metal closed around the fabric. The kit came with some thin rope that you stitch along the top edge of the fabric before fitting. It helped, but it was still veeery fiddly. Any tips?

2008 eve

Today we're gearing up for a 42 degree (107.6f) New Years Eve. I'm having my usual NYE dilemma where Pete and I have both been invited to different things, but really all I want to do is watch the fireworks. I've never seen the fireworks up close on NYE, and for once I'd like to.

We've had a pretty quiet holiday break so far. lots of playing scrabble and watching DVD's to escape the heat.

Pete randomly grabbed a handful of 4 E's from the bag - too funny not to take a photo.

I've been doing a heap of thinking about my business and where I'd like it to go from here. Thinking of new designs, products etc etc. One of the most inspiring blogs I have been reading lately is the Bookhou blog, of Toronto based Arounna and John. They make such gorgous stuff:

Bookhou design - see more of their work here.

I'd love to be making products/textiles with a similar feel to this. Which reminds me, check out this awesome studio tour with Lotta Jansdotter! (thanks to Make It for the link). Oh my god Lotta is such a sweetie! I was hoping she'd be a lovely, down to earth person just like this :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

farewell 2007

It's funny when you look back on the year that's passed and it simultaneously feels like time has flown by but that a gazillion things have happened. I just looked back at my blog archives and found
this post from just March this year when I tentatively put my first batch of fabric up for sale and bit my nails hoping it would sell.

It feels like that was years ago, not just 9 months. Again I just want to send out a huuuge thank you to all those who have supported me in this venture throughout the year. All your comments have really helped to boost my confidence and have given me a general feelgoodedness that has permeated the rest of my life :)

It's also been great to meet sooo many lovely people this year. On Saturday Bianca, Marcel and I had a great time catching up with Leah from Hyena in Petticoats who was in Melbourne for a bit - we did some Brunswick Street shopping despite the horrible weather. We also popped by the Rose Street market and bumped into Justine who had made these awesome bags and cushions from my fabric (and some gorgeous Japanese fabric):

I was a bit like a giggling schoolgirl looking at them whilst Bianca snapped these pics :)

Anyway better run. Hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas and I'll see you in the new year!! xoxox

Thursday, December 20, 2007

An amazing feeling of relief

You know what's a good feeling? Deciding NOT to buy a particular property. The last week has been sooo stressful with to-ing and fro-ing about a place that we really liked, going through the insanely stressful negotiation & organising process... putting everything else in life on hold basically. Thinking "is it worth what they're asking?? should we go higher?? this place IS a bit unconventional, is it really a good investment??". And then bring in Pete's dad, who has a look through and tells us there's structural problems, a leaking roof and a poor reno job done. And now just feelings of relief. We can just let it go.

You would have loved this place though. Converted commercial property with a funky rough exterior, huge living area, high ceilings, commercial kitchen, so many quirks. Perfect home office, so much space to splash my fabric around. But oh well. Some things are just too good to be true sometimes.

No wonder they wanted us to sign without a building inspection being done. Lesson learnt.

Okay so what's going on outside of my own head - oh that's right, Christmas!!! Time to go enjoy it :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More press - Print & Pattern!!

Thanks so much to Bowie Style for featuring my moo xmas designs on the Print & Pattern blog yesterday, whoo!!

So much other stuff to blog about but so little time. And other very exciting/scary things are in development but I can't talk about them until they go through... hopefully soon!

Hope everyone is having fun preparing for the xmas break and aren't too stressed :)


Saturday, December 15, 2007

The local rag

This is a little bit belated, but I got into the local paper last week!

And there are four photos. Four!

All thanks to my friend Nishanthi who writes for them - thanks Shanny :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Likes and dislikes

Well, I'm back from the rooftop market. The market itself was pretty good, with it's astro turf and market umbrellas and awesome views. Anna Laura was there and we had a nice chat, and there was some new stuff that I hadn't seen anywhere else before.

But what I didn't like were the scores of uber-cool hipster kids loitering around the bar making me feel intimidated, and the snobby bar man who was really condescending when I asked if I could get a granita that I could take away with me: "uh no... that would be illeeegal". I didn't realise it was alcoholic.

But what I do like, are these very very cute baby shoes by Evie Lala!

Such nice product photography too! You can snap them up here.

Everything on that site is gorgeous though and I love the site design :)

Meant to be

I love these Alex drawers from Ikea. Just like a mini plan chest but on castors (how rad do they look here!!). When I bought them I'd already measured the space and was pretty sure they wouldn't fit. But I really wanted them and Shannon was there with her she'll be roight attitude so I got them anyway.

And lookie lookie just how perfectly we managed to squeeze them into the space:

(I know, my studio is SOO not as sexy as you thought, right?)

It required some of Pete's tetris logic to figure out how to get them behind that bit of doorframe, but we got there in the end.

I'm really not in the mood to work today... but there's a rooftop market on in the city right now so I might run down and check it out!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Postal Service, you are letting me down

I'm not one hour back from my trip and I'm already stressed and upset. I come back to an inbox chock full of emails, and find that a few of them are about fabric orders that have gone missing in the post. Now don't get me wrong, 99% of the time packages arrive safe and sound (so don't start worrying), but to receive 3 emails at the same time about missing parcels was just too much for me to hear.

What I'd really like to know is, what is the correct etiquette when it comes to missing orders? What do shops usually do? I always resend the fabric if I have it (or another as a substitute) with no questions asked, but I'd love to hear what other people do. I hate the idea of an unhappy customer, so I'll do anything to make sure they're happy ... even if it means having to take responsibility for a crappy postal service or some nasty person who steals parcels out of mail boxes. Some shops put a "no responsibility taken..." disclaimer on my site but that just seems so cold and unfriendly and in the end doesn't make for a happy customer! Thoughts?

[update] Well, I feel better about the whole thing now - after talking to a few people and also reading the comments. All basically reinforcing what I already know is the right thing to do, which is to just take these losses as they come and replace any missing orders. Mum suggested to 'self insure' - which is basically to factor into your costs the possibility of one or two parcels going missing, so that it doesn't hurt too much. And I like that idea. Registered/Insured post in insanely expensive around here and just isn't an option.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Definitely Nap Time

Phew. It's the end of a long and exhausting week. Yes I know, I don't have kids that wake me up at 5:30am but I'm still tiiiiired. I've spent the last four days basically being a packaging girl and postal worker, and I'm so pleased to say that all orders are in the mail. My theory is that if I get to the P.O. before they open and am first in line at the door, then I can feel less guilty about using up one of the service counters for a full 20 minutes even if the line goes out the door, as it frequently does.

Anyway, what else has been going on around here? Ooh I got to meet some of the lovely girls at the recently opened Thread Den, and have already given them a bunch of my stuff - yay.

Thread Den is a retail space for vintage and local designer clothing and accessories, a sewing lounge with machines for hourly hire and lessons, and a hub for emerging designers in general. I think they will do well :)

What else? Oh last night was the Christmas Shopping Spectacular at Mikes which was a heap of fun. Lots of new people to meet, and plenty of white wine to keep me chatty (too chatty?) and give me a nice hangover to nurse today. I can't hold my liquor anymore it seems.

And then there's this awesome bag and lovely post by one of my favorite craftisans - Abby Jane of While She Naps, which I'm mightily chuffed about - Thanks Abby!

Tote bag by Abby Jane

And finally - time for a much needed break! I'm off to Sydney with a girly friend for a few days which should be so nice and relaxing. However I reckon the highlight of the trip will be catching up with Kristen who is going to take me to lots of cool places like Cloth. That should be very inspiring.

On that rambling note, I'm off! Thanks to everyone for your really kind words about the new fabric and for helping to empty my shop (mostly) yet again! I am always blown away by the support :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I was sitting at my computer at 7:30 this morning doing shop-related calculations thinking - something's not quite right here. I've sold most of what I put up in my shop yesterday, but I'm only just breaking even with my production costs.

And then I figured it out. I only listed in my shop HALF of what I actually have! For example I entered 10 quantities (5m) instead of 10

So, to anyone who missed out on something they wanted, there's more in the shop right now! If you've already placed an order and you'd like me to combine shipping - just include a note to the seller and I'll send you a revised invoice (it'll only be $1 less, but hey :) ).

Sorry about that!

Monday, December 03, 2007

fabrics in the shop

The shop is now healthily stocked up with the new Bulokku print and some other old faves:

The Birch Forest has all sold out in a snap though. I really need to do something about that. Birch is printed from the same screen as Riverside Adventures which doesn't sell quite so well, so I think it's time to separate them!

I can either find another design to print alongside it (maybe My Little Town??) or, I can modify the Birch to be full width. I'd probably do this by increasing the scale of the design slightly and adding more branches at the top. But I'm not sure - would that design really work 1.5m tall?? Is a full width Birch fabric even useful to crafters? Would love to hear people's thoughts on the matter...

Friday, November 30, 2007


Whee, I picked up a new design from the printers yesterday! I've been a bit sneaky with this one and haven't posted any concept pics on my blog at all - thought it might be nice to surprise yas all for once :)

Bulokku in burnt orange

Bulokku in Robins Egg Blue

I'm quite happy with how this one turned out - it was good to do a proper inverse print for once. And in 2 colour too! The name "bulokku" is a play on the Japanese word for "block". I love how so many Japanese words are just English words with extra syllables and a vowel on the end :)

These two will be going up into the shop Monday morning at 9:00, along with some old faves:

Riverstones & Flowing Dots - Raspberry on Cream
Riverstones & Flowing Dots - Robins Egg Blue on Natural
Birch Forest & Riverside Adventures - Robins Egg Green on Cream
Birch Forest & Riverside Adventures - Chocolate on Natural

I know I've gone a bit crazy with the whole Robins Egg colours, I think I've printed it enough now - I just like it so much :)

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ginkgo + Mattt

One of my favourite local artisans has always been Matt from Mattt bags. A lovely guy with a very successful, high quality product. We've done a couple of collaborations with my fabric and designs in the past, but funnily enough I've never actually seen one of the bags he's made with my fabric, let alone taken a photo so I can blog about it! I've been wanting to for most of this year.

But finally, I have one. It's actually for my mum, who loves Mattt bags and now has three. But she wanted another one with one of my designs on it, and has been asking for months. Very sweet.

Yesterday he came to collect a whole bunch of Ginkgo which will be available on his bags in places like Craft Victoria later this week. Wow, Craft Victoria. It's a dream to have something of mine in there.


Monday, November 26, 2007

good things

I just love all the responses to my creativity post! If you haven't read them, check them out! Some fantastic stories and insights there - it's so good to have my thoughts on the topic validated too. There are so many "gems" in amongst the comments, but here are just a few:

"I firmly believe that creativity is something we all have within us, it is only about the confidence and support to let go of these 'adult' feelings of it not being good enough or right or worthy. Once you can release those fears and just go for it, everyone can unleashed their creativity."

"...a lot of what people construe as creativity is the result of damn hard work and patience! And you can be as creative as all hell and never make a thing if you don't dig in to your ideas and do some work. :)"

"Sure, I was good at drawing as a young child, but that is what I did *all* the time. Lots & lots of practice."

"It's scary to think that with people publishing things like that, there could be tons of artists just giving up instead of working harder to develop there talents into more than just a interest. I think if you have a want and will to learn, the doors are always open."

"This is too true! I have always likened it to the fact that we were "taught" to write and form the letters and words, and it took years of practice and study to perfect how you do this physically and then how you learnt to compile them in a way to express and communicate. We all have very different levels of how we write and communicate. Like anything it's those who practice these skills who are the best at it. I think art and creativity is the same and yet people dont understand the "practice" element of this industry too!"

There are many other good things going on around here at the moment. Stitching night last night at Mikes was a whole lot of fun. I made a Japanesey-esque design to be made into a notebook cover and discovered the joys of split stitch:

My box of Moo Xmas cards arrived in the mail, and I'm really happy with how they turned out - I hadn't seen them printed until now. You can get yours here
[yay shameless self promotion].

And last but not least, our new bespectacled, dorky, yet somewhat endearing Prime Minister. Looking forward to seeing what a change can bring! I have high hopes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A rant about creativity....

I read something in YEN magazine the other day that really annoyed me. It was this quote from some ad agency bigwig who concluded with something like "i firmly believe that creativity cannot be taught". The article was interviews with people in the creative industry who had "made it" giving advice to those who want to get in.

Given the context of the article I thought that was such a horrible, narrow minded thing to say. It is exactly that sort of mindset that stops many lovely & potentially very talented people from realising their creative dreams.

I guess it's something that's really close to my heart because I know that feeling of not being 'creative enough', and it's purely through persistent effort and the support of people like my blog readers that I've been able to develop in recent years. It just takes practice, persistence, and confidence that you're on the right track.

I guess my point is that creativity is like any other skill. We all start off as highly creative little individuals, but the people who seem 'naturally' talented as adults probably just continued outputting creativity throughout their life, rather than putting it on the backburner for more 'appropriate' pursuits.

The type of people that surround you when you're growing up make a huge difference - if you're parents are supportive of your creative outputs, you're much more likely to keep doing it - practicing, refining, getting better.

But that doesn't mean that someone can't pick up creative skills later in life. It's not that they lack some magical, exclusive talent. They're simply out of practice, and how can you expect to be good at something that you haven't practiced?

What I love about the blog community is it's like a big, supportive family, providing a lot of much needed support and encouragement. It's been great to see everyone collectively growing and improving, feeding off one another, taking things to the next level.

Anyway I'd love to hear other people's opinions on the above. If you think it's true or not, and what has helped you develop creatively...

Stocked up

Woohooo, my shop actually has a decent amount of stock in it for once! I uploaded a bunch of mix packs this morning, plus the two ginkgo designs, and I think for once there's enough for everybody... plus more :)

And this might seem like Deja Vu if you've read Kristen's post - but check out this lovely little package I received from Suz of Cocoon in Launceston:

How did she know I have a lip balm obsession!?

We've only spoken over the phone but she sounds sooooo lovely, and bought a bunch of my stuff for her shop. And check out how gorgeous it is! (I pilfered these photos from Kristen's blog too):

More photos here.

It's funny how you suddenly get a whole new impression of a town you've never been to once you know there is an awesome, funky shop there. I might catch the boat over to Tassie one day and check it out!

Monday, November 19, 2007


Thank you to everyone who commented on my pricing post the other day. I really appreciate your honesty when it comes to such matters - especially tough ones like that.

Meanwhile, the shop has been cleared of fabric yet again and I worked hard this weekend to get all the orders packaged and posted off before I get swept away with other commitments. Really glad to have got that all done.

So, onto something new. Since I started producing textiles, there are three things that I have always aspired to achieve. 1- to print on a really lovely, natural feeling base cloth. 2- to print a 2 colour design, and 3, to produce a design that I feel wholeheartedly confident about and proud of.

And finally, at the risk of sounding conceited, I think I've finally managed to pull off all of those three things:

I'm reeeeally happy with how this one turned out. I was fretting about it for ages until I finally got it back from the printers and saw how the colour & scale turned out. I really hope you like it too.

I need a bit of a break before doing another shop update, so these two colourways will be up in the shop maybe Thursday or Friday this week, along with some mix packs. I'll confirm the time later on :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

a long day

It has been somewhat of a mammoth day! The shop has been cleared out of all fabric except for some of the gold raindrops and poppies. Which is funny because they were my favs! But each to their own :)

This morning was more stressful than usual - Etsy threw it's hands up in the air a couple of times when two people tried to buy the same item at once, dropping items out of their cart and all sorts of things. Many upset emails were received. But all was smoothed out in the end.

In the midst of it all, my letterpress tags made their way up into the shop also:

Thanks again to Lynn from Satsuma Press for doing the printing :)

Definitely time to clock off. Dumplings and Kareoke time I think...

New fabric and a note about pricing

New fabric is in the shop right now!

Now, I don't assume for a second that you guys haven't noticed my prices steadily increasing over the year. Pricing is a really difficult subject and something I do a lot of thinking, research and stressing about. This time, the prices have gone up again for a few reasons. 1, to accommodate the fact that the USD has been weakening, and with Etsy forcing us to list in USD us Aussies have been losing out. 2, to be more fair to my wholesale customers and not be undercutting them so much (thanks to
Bianca and Craft Inc. for this advice!). And 3 to be more fair to myself, if I want to be able to make an actual living out of doing this. So yeah. Prices will continue to go up slowly, but will stop when they reach a point that's fair for all :) I promise it won't be crazy expensive :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

gift labels and many other things

Today my "studio" / apartment looks like a bomb hit it. Last week I didn't have enough to do, and as it always goes everything suddenly arrived at once. I've got letterpress gift tags in the making, freshly printed label sheets (just up in my shop today!), packaging goods coming out of my ears and bolts and bolts of fabric to photograph.

Here's some pics of the gift labels!

The button badges are a freebie with local orders, and the gift tags with international orders (so that I don't have to deal with customs - paper goods are much easier).

Aaaaand, to add more madness to the day, an interview I did with Triple J radio apparently starts airing today! I think it's only a minute long and gets aired a few times during the week. So I'm keeping an ear out. Gee I really hope I don't sound stupid. The interviewer Jen was really lovely and she said she'd do her best to make me sound good, but hopefully I gave her enough good material to work with! You can read the accompanying online article here. I say "artsy crafty" way too much.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And the winner is....

Comment number 64!!!! And that person is "Denise"! I can't click on your name to see exactly who you are, but this was your comment:

"ohh , so many things I would like to make, I would like to frame them to make some small medium wall art for my studio,with this tutorial

Or cover various wood boxes to keep sewing notions, I'll also like to cover-decorate some IKEA KNUFF magazine files, A nice little bag to carry my camera would be nice also... I can keep going !
So many ideas!! ^_^ for your precious fabric"

Sounds like a very worthy winner to me! Please contact me at lara[!at] and let me know your address :)

Sorry to those who missed out. There were some really lovely comments left (116 comments, crazy!!) and I wish I could send you all a little something. I do have at least three more giveaways planned though :)

Aaaaaalso, I just picked up the next batch of fabric from the printers. So stay tuned for a shop update sometime in the next week :)


Monday, November 12, 2007


Entries closed! At 116 comments I think that's plenty!! I'll do the draw now :)

It's really high time that I did a giveaway on this blog. I might do 1 every fortnight up until Christmas or something. Well, the thought is there, I'll try to follow through with it :)

Anywhoo, below is a pile of fabric from my stash. There's quite a lot there, but it's not all good. Some of the larger pieces have print defects - some minor, some serious. All cut-around-able. Most of the smaller pieces are completely fine.

The pile will go completely free to a fellow Aussie, or $10 to cover postage if the winner is anywhere else in the world. To go into the draw just leave a comment on this post and tell me what sorts of things you like (or would like) to make out of my fabric. Always useful to know!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bobbin Friends!

The Cups and Cuddles exhibition last night was great - you should definitely check it out if you're in the area. Lots of lovely people were there to meet and catch up with, I got to have a nice big long chat with Pip, and got to meet the very talented Catherine Campbell in person, who was really lovely. For some reason I always form a mental impression in my head of what someone will be like before I meet them, and if they're super talented I often assume they'll "know it" and be all "uber cool" and standoffish. And it's fantastic when they're just lovely and down to earth and nice.

This weekend I've had a whole bunch of 'me' time whilst Pete's off at an Olympic weightlifting certification thingy (no he's not all huge and hardcore with no neck - just something he's getting in to). Plenty of time for crafting and preparing some new, non-fabric stuff for my shop (the fabric is still coming though, in about a week - whoo!).

A little while ago I got these 'Bobbin Friends' button badges made and have sewn some little Japanesey fabric pouches for them. They're up on etsy now.

Okay time for a cuppa. Take care and enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

vintage spools

I jump at any opportunity to make my home look like something out of a Japanese Craft book. Only if it's just a tiny little opportunity ;) These vintage spools I found here on Etsy did the trick:

Only $3 for a set of 5. Go snap em up!

Gunna go to this tonight, sounds like heaps of people are going to be there...

Should be really good. Can't go wrong with cute, girly illustrations. Hopefully there will be cupcakes.

Friday, November 09, 2007


I am always taken aback by how many really lovely people there are out in blog land. Today I received a parcel in the mail from Kaija, a Finland based bookbinder and maker of lovely things. Kaija, having grown up in Finland, has experienced somewhat of a Marimekko overdose. So she sent me this little parcel of Marimekko scraps!

The envelope in the foreground was hand stencilled by Kaija - really lovely.

I've been admiring Kaija's work for a little while now and have been meaning to post about it for ages, so what better time than now. Here are just a few examples of her lovely work:

Find more at her blog Paperiaarre, and her etsy shop here. Thanks again Kaija :)