Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas :)

As Teegs has said over at the Ink & Spindle blog, this time of year is definitely one for reflection. It's so good to stop & take stock of everything that's happened in the past year - a lot.

It's been a combination of hard work, good luck, and great support - and I thank every one of my blog readers for that. Even though I seem to skip from one topic to the next on this blog I do read and appreciate every single comment and think over everything you write.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas (or however you choose to celebrate) and I'll see you all again in 2009!! Thank you!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Open Studio at Ink & Spindle

Lara at the Ink & Spindle studio

Oh my goooawd. I am so glad to be finally winding down before Christmas!! We're off to Ballarat tonight, I had my hair cut for the first time in 4 months, and I just bought 2.5kg of Lindt Couverture to make chocolates as Christmas gifts. When your crafty pursuits become your work the logical thing is to seek out some other crafty pursuit which you can do for 'fun'. Making Chocolates is that for me, I think. And oh my gosh have you ever visited Cake Deco in the city? AWESOMENESS.

Anyway, one last thing we're going to do before closing up shop is an Open Studio evening at Ink & Spindle next Tuesday! It's a bit last minute, and it's not our official 'opening night' or anything like that (although we do plan to have one of those in the new year) but it's mainly an excuse to crack open some bubbly and some snacks and have some wares on display just in case you need to do some last minute Christmas shopping.

So please, if you're free Tuesday night please come along and say hello! It's from 6pm - 8:30pm at our studio:

Ink & Spindle Studio
Younghusband Wool store
Suite 206
10 Elizabeth Street
Kensington VIC 3031

Hope to see you there :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mix packs ... finally

Fiiinally I've managed to get some mix packs up in the shop! Still in time for Christmas if you're an Australian customer... and maybe for international customers too if Auspost is feeling super nice.

For those of you who've bought my mix packs before - these new packs are new and improved! Each piece measures 45 x 45cm (and often slightly bigger) which I feel is a much more useable size. Cushion size, even!

Find all the available packs here in the Ink & Spindle shop.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the thinking never stops

Lately I can't stop thinking. Possibly a result of being so busy and not really knowing how to slow down. Also possibly the added pressure of having studio rent to pay now, and my income depending almost solely on Ink & Spindle and my textile label. It is a lot of fun, but it's also scary.

Anyway one thing I've been thinking about is what to print next, and which (if any) of my old designs I should bring back to life at the new studio. Below are a few candidates based on recent requests. I would LOVE to hear what you'd like. Or maybe you have some requests for what I design next. Like 'more small scale prints for craft projects' etc etc.

Wild Geese

Smaller scale birch (I'd still use the new branch shape and texture though)

Riverside Adventures

Bonsai Forest


I'd love to hear your thoughts. Even though I don't always have time to respond to comments, I do really appreciate everyone's feedback and kind words. I still value this blog & everyone's support very much, so thank you :)

Rainy Market Days

Myself and the Ink & Spindle girls are off to another market today - The Yarraville Christmas market. And of course it's raining ... again. Luckily we're indoors again (the Masonic Hall, corner of Canterbury and Willis streets) which is in the Yarraville village centre, so only a quick dash for all those breakfast and coffee goers who flood the village centre on weekends.

As usual, we'd love it if you came to visit us and said hello. But please don't steal our business cards since you already know our website and our huge stack of 500 has been wittled down to 50 already ;)

And, for those who can't make it, I've just updated the shop with some new fabrics, yay! I love how these all turned out:

Birch in chocolate on natural (when we mix this ink in our kitchen mixer it looks sooo much like chocolate and we have to restrain ourselves)

Ginkgo in snow

Birch in soft moss

Birch in Robins Egg

I do also plan to list some mix packs early next week. I keep saying that but I promise it'll happen this time :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Random studio pic...

Ink & Spindle studio

I stuck all our sample colour swatches up on the wall - so pretty.

And Bee found those chairs on ebay for $3.25. Eventually we'll reupholster them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A little bit festive

We went to see Australia last night. I managed to look past all the cheezy lines, cliches, repeated utterings of the word 'crikey' and just enjoyed it for what it was. An epic, with some stunning visual imagery. And then we stepped out of the cinema into the concrete jungle that is Scum Sunshine. Sigh. I need to get out of the city sometime soon.

I was wrapping a Christmas gift today (two cushion covers) and loved the way they looked all rolled up & tied with string:

I'm not sick of that ladder yet -are you? ;)

And I remembered that I am doing something slightly festive at the moment - eating Lebkuchen! Traditional German gingerbread for the festive season. Ever since I was very young my family has received a large decorative tin filled with these goodies from our German relatives. Mum and Dad try and make it last the whole year. But now I've found them at the IGA :)


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Aiko Tote kits

I am a little bit disturbed by how quickly Christmas (or should I say "the holiday season") is creeping upon us. I am jealous of other blogs with all their cute domestic christmassy themed posts. Making ornaments & handmade gifts, decorating the house - generally being all well rounded and wholesome. And here I am still blabbing on about work work work.

I'm planning to stock my shop up with some mix packs sooon, but meanwhile, FINALLY, here are some kits for my 'Aiko' tote bag design - maybe for that crafty person in your life?

Aiko Tote kit - plum acacia

Aiko Tote kit - chocolate birch

The kits are packed with heaps of stuff. Large chunks of fabric, interfacing, a magnetic catch, instruction booklet and full scale pattern pieces. Everything you need, basically. And not that hard to follow with all my pretty diagrams in there.

Hope your December is starting to wind down a bit. Happy Summer, too!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

post market shop update

As promised, I've updated the shop with some post-market fabric. Mix packs and half metre packs to come shortly!

Acacia in Gold

Birch in Fuchsia

Ginkgo in Aqua

Acacia in Snow

Ginkgo in Plum

No rest for the crafty

Whew! I loved doing the Design Market but man am I glad it's over. We burned the midnight oil getting all the final bits and pieces ready and packing our cars to the rafters, and of course no sooner than my head hit the pillow what happened? Nothing! No sleep! My mind was too abuzz. I only slept 3 hours before getting up at the crack of dawn. I tell you what though - I loved driving through the city at 7am on a Sunday - so quiet and still. Makes you feel like the city is your very own for a short while.

Here's some pics, more on the Ink & Spindle blog.

I feel so privileged that we got to participate in a market that just a year ago seemed like a completely unachievable goal. It was such a great learning experience too. Thanks so much to everyone who popped down to say hello. And to those who looked like they were about to ... but were too shy ;)

Next up - the Yarraville Christmas Market! No rest for us just yet :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not quite here

I am completely zoned out in the living room tonight. My brain is only half working. I'm flicking through my 157 unread craft blog feed items. Cruising cute overload, cake wrecks, fail blog and facebook - a veritable feast of geeky-ness for the half-asleep brain. Avoiding my inbox overflowing with unreplied emails.

I think it's partially the cold weather, partially hitting the wall after burning the candle at both ends. I'm allowing myself a couple of days respite before gearing up again for the big market next weekend.

Here's some pics from the Kensi market though :)

Looking a bit 'brrrrr'.

The day went really well, we learnt heaps and got some great new ideas already :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Winter in November

Well, Melbourne really turned on the weather for our market today. It was probably one of the coldest, rainiest November days on record, and although we were inside a hall we were rugged up with scarves, gloves, boots, jackets and tights. And other stall holders were jealous of our hot water bottles which we kept refilling from the kettle in the old kitchen :)

But all in all the market went really well, thanks to those who braved the weather and came to say hello :)

We took heaps of pics, but they're on Bee's camera, so will post some tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I've just done a little update to the shop where you can now find the lovely new Acacia in Charcoal:

Acacia in Charcoal on natural cotton/linen

Yay :)

Letterpress cards from Satsuma Press

Eeeeee! I loooooove letterpress. Especially when it's a collaboration between myself and the extremely talented Lynn of Satsuma Press. Lynn did such an amazing job of these cards. I can't believe the fine detail you can get from this medium. When I first sent her the artwork I thought the acacia was too fine but it turned out beautifully:

Acacia in Plum A6 letterpress cards

And of course, the ever beloved Birch, in a new Eucalyptus colour. I love how this turned out too!

Birch in Eucalyptus A6 letterpress cards

Both are available in sets of three in the shop right now. US/Canadian customers - please purchase from the Satsuma Press shop to save on postage (and carbon miles!!!) :)

P.S. - Lynn from Satsuma Press does amazing work, so check out her shop for other great letterpress items :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Market 3031

I didn't think I'd get to bed before midnight tonight, but if I get off this laptop in the next couple of minutes there's still a chance!

We've been working crazy long hours preparing for our upcoming markets, with the Kensington 3031 market happening tomorrow! So I just wanted to write a quick post to say please come and visit us and say hello!

Hope to see you there :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Eat. Sleep. Make.

It's kind of ironic how the more your craft becomes your 'real' work, the less time you have to blog about it. And there's been plenty of craftiness to blog about as we get ready for the Kensington 3031 market (this Saturday!!) and the Melbourne Design Market (Sunday 30th).

There's been a bit of this:

And a bit of this...

(gotta love these two old wooden ladders we scored off ebay for $30)

Plenty of this...

And this...

And also, very excitingly... a new collaboration with Satsuma Press. OMG I love how the acacia looks letterpressed!!

Mmm lovely deep impressions. Lynn did an amazing job.

All will be available at the markets, and then in the Ink & Spindle shop afterwards :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Umm, WTF??

I am very fortunate to have lots of 'angels' out there keeping an eye out for any ripoffs of my work. Usually it's something that looks quite similar but not enough to do anything about.

This time however was a completely different kettle of fish:

COMPLETELY UNAUTHORIZED use of my reindeer print on some keds on

Here's the original version of my reindeer pattern on flickr.

I have contacted the relevant parties so hopefully this will be GONE very soon. Even though I must admit they do look cute.

Thank god I have some very 'pattern savvy' people out there who know my work and can alert me about these sorts of things. Thanks again (you know who you are) :)

UPDATE: Keds isn't actually at fault here. This is a shoe created through that allows people to customise products with their own designs. So it's the user who submitted it that's in the wrong.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

10 (Potentially Controversial) Tips for Starting a Small Craft/Design Business

I've had this list half written on my desktop for ages, and thought now would be a good time to post it! Especially given how slack I've been in terms of giving back to the blog community of late. Enjoy!

1) Start somewhere, anywhere. Create and output as much as possible. Creativity is a skill that requires practice and more practice. That guy you know who's a fantastic drawer - he's been drawing and doodling since the age of three. Same with that girl who's a fantastic pianist. Practice.

2) Start a blog. This is fantastic for feedback and support, and also helps to motivate you to make/draw/design stuff to appear on it.

3) Do a short course to build up basic technical skills. Eg for my medium: Illustrator is always handy, or Photoshop. So long as you have the basics you can build your skills on the go. And/or google something if you don't know how to do it :)

4) Do lots of research. Keep a folder of inspiring things. Try imitating the things you like - it's not copying because you'll change it with your own unique style (however if it does end up too similar make sure you credit the original and don't try to make money off it!)

5) Talk to other creative folk. Don't interpret 'thinky' or shy as standoffish. Some creative folk can seem hard to approach because they seem all 'too cool for school'. More likely they're just off wandering in their minds somewhere and are actually really nice people. Although there are some wankers not-so-nice peeps out there, they're probably insecure and wont want to share anything with you anyway.

6) Drink lots of water! (well, not too much). It's good for the brain. I freak out if I leave the house without my water bottle as much as when I forget my lip balm ;)

7) Don't eat crap. Eat a balanced diet that includes protein and good fats - these are just as important as eating your veggies! There's nothing worse than sugar highs and lows to ruin your productivity and put you in a grumpy mood.

8) Take small, measured risks to get where you want to go. If you can find a way to make small batch units of something, that's always good. Then you can build up from there.

9) Surround yourself with supportive people. Don't go showing your early artwork to that person you're desperate to impress but you know doesn't appreciate creative things. It'll only discourage you and grow those seeds of doubt like "oh but I'm just NOT a creative person!". You are!

10) Don't undersell yourself (or your peers!) when it comes to pricing! A good rule is to always make sure your product is wholesaleable. You must be able to divide your retail price in half and still make a profit! Here's a good simple formula:

(Labour + Materials) + 100% markup = Wholesale Price*
Wholesale Price + 100% markup = Retail Price.**

* - because you still need to make some profit even if you outsource your 'making'.
** - because retailers almost always want to mark things up by 100%

It's therefore good to retail for a similar price to your (potential) wholesale customers, so you're not undercutting them.

The end! Would love to hear thoughts, feedback and additions to the list :)