Monday, 30 November 2009

My Sister Pat

We have just launched My Sister Pat in our shop. I am really excited about this range of women's swimwear, and it's attracting a lot of attention already.

Margie Delahunty Spencer is a local designer; her 1950s-inspired bathers are handmade in Ballarat using vintage fabrics and traditional methods.

The bathers are cotton-lined and fully shirred at the back, making them incredibly flattering and easy to wear.

Margie's bathers have appeared in Vogue and are worn by quite a few celebs (but I'm not one to name drop). You can also see them in this month's Peppermint. They are only available in a handful of shops and I'm delighted that Lark is one of them.

We've got a selection of My Sister Pat one-pieces and bikinis in different sizes and colours. You are welcome to visit our Daylesford shop to see them, or you can buy them in our online shop. I am going to treat myself to one for Christmas and wear it to the beach in January!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Flat Out

This is a post I've been wanting to write for some time. I am so busy at the moment. This time of year, with Christmas and all, is very important for our business. Lark is our family's main income and we also employ three nice people part-time, so at this time of year, because our business is gifts and toys, we work really, really hard to keep our customers happy and stay in business. It's just how it is. We take our holidays in Autumn, we are poor in Winter, and Spring is when we just work, work, work.

So I'm really sorry if I haven't replied to your email yet, but I will, as soon as I come up for air. And thank you if you left me a kind blog comment. I do read them all, and I always visit the blogs of everyone who leaves a comment on mine, but I often just don't have time to write a comment back, much as I'd like to.

And I'm sorry to my beautiful kids, who for a few weeks at this time of year don't always get as much attention as they deserve. I promise you, my lovelies, that in a couple of weeks it will all be over and we will have our usual crazy family Christmas then we will spend January hanging out together in the sun and making ice lollies and water bombs.

And sorry mum that I haven't rung you very often this month. And sorry to anyone I have been a bit impatient or rude to this past couple of weeks. And roll on Christmas, it can't come soon enough for me.

Lizard Drinking photo by Richard & Jo.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Bits and Bobs and creative people

Phew, what a day. The shop was busy, busy all day yesterday. With the Daylesford show and makers market nearby, lots of people came in, including heaps of blog girls wearing handmade yoyo brooches to recognise each other, how cool! It was all Julie's idea. I wore mine too. There were too many lovely old and new friends to list everyone, but thank you so much for popping in to our shop!

I was about to shut the shop at 4pm when Jodie, Annie and Cam and her sister came running in all breathless, and it was lovely to see them. And the customers who followed them in, and the customers after that too (I finally left the shop at 6.15!).

Such a happy day. I was especially excitable about putting out the goodies from Bob, which you can see in these photos. Sonia Brit is one of my idols, I admire everything she does, so I was jumping up and down when her mum and dad dropped off a huge box full of cute wrapping paper, gingerbread men, sweet bobby pins and the awesomest totes. Yay!!!! And these pass-the-parcels for crafty girls too!

Beccasaurus popped in again at lunchtime with a vintage Smurfs bag full of cool pencil rolls for the shop. Love them! I will post a pic as soon as I've put them in the shop. And Nic gave me a preview of her amazing new tea towel designs, which we will be stocking soon. Danielle, who did the designs for our new knitted play food packaging, came in with her new baby. And Belinda, who is one of our favourite customers! And so many other nice people.

Lovely Kirsty sent over a special gift for me, before popping in after the market. It was - gasp - one of her albums with a hand-embroidered vintage Little People cover that I had been dreamily admiring at Mathilda's market last week. What a gorgeous and clever girl she is! And a super friend to boot!

Seeing so many lovely crafty girls really lifted my spirits yesterday. It reminded me that there are so many genuine and warm people out there, people who have such original ideas and create things themselves rather than taking from other people, and who are loyal and funny and clever. We're so lucky here in our corner of the world to have such a huge and passionate craft thing happening.

Today was much quieter, allowing us to clean and re-stock the shop. Phew. Hope your weekend was lovely!

Friday, 27 November 2009

This weekend our Daylesford shop will be open extended hours from 9am to 4pm each day. Do please drop in to see our handmade, crafty and cute wares.

Lark is tucked away in a quiet part of Daylesford, so I've scribbled out this map to help you find us. Our shop is off a residential street called Duke Street, which is the street behind the main drag (Vincent Street) just two minutes walk from the shops, cafes and town hall.

Hello Old Friends

Thanks for all your supportive comments about bullying, I appreciated them all and I especially liked the comment by Iris (whose sister makes these lovely doll patterns) that: 'finding a real friend these days is a bit like finding a pearl so rare and precious'. My own recent experience proves this to be true (bullying doesn't just happen to kids) but I've been heartened by the kind words of some super friends (you know who you are), and also excited this week to have heard from these two old pals who I haven't spoken to for ages.

New friends are nice but old friends are the best, aren't they? This year we'll once again be spending Christmas Day at home with friends we've known for 17 years (we don't have any family in Australia). Both my sons have known their best friends since we first moved here three years ago - my older son has even been at a different school from his bestie for the past two years, but they are still so close and comfortable with each other when they meet, and they are proud of their friendship. I love to see it! I don't get to see most of my besties very often as we are all scattered about the world, but we still keep in touch through phone and email and it's nice to know they are out there and doing just fine. x

Super Sukie

I'm very excited that the new range from Sukie arrived in our office yesterday. Darrell and Julia are ace designers and lovely to work with - their range of notebooks and screenprinted organic textiles is the best! Many of the designs are handmade and use recycled materials.

Sukie was a big hit at our trade fair, so the range will be going straight out to shops, including Bob Boutique. Do check with your local lovely stores, as we have stockists all over Australia, and it's really important to support independent retailers. If you get stuck we can always post out to you via our online store.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Why would you?

My son went through a bullying incident recently, at school. The school took it seriously and dealt with the issue but it has still left me shaken. It made me think a lot about bullies, and the people who tolerate them. My son is only in his first year of school and a particular boy was teasing him about his long hair, the way he speaks, the other things that differentiate him from the other boys in his class. At first I felt angry at the bully, but it dawned on me that bullies are not the real problem. The bullying kids are generally those who have difficult, unfulfilling home lives, who have to shout the loudest because they lack attention and are probably a bit jealous of the kids who are comfortable with themselves and have a close family life. And who are popular, happy and doing well in class. I'm not excusing their behaviour, but I can kind of understand where it comes from.

What I will never understand is the kids who tolerate the bullying, who stand by and watch it happen, staying friends with the bullies, laughing and joining in, or even just saying nothing. These kids are more dangerous because without their audience the bullies would not exist. I guess it's because they can't bear to not be popular or not be friends with everyone. They are scared of having a confrontation with the bully themelves. These kids tend to be from good families and should know better. I am really proud that neither of my kids fall into this group. Neither do I - I simply don't understand the logic of 'sitting on the fence'. If someone is clearly the target of aggressive behaviour, and you know it, it's your duty to make a stand against it. End of story. I simply can't respect people who choose popularity over humanity. Or a 'quiet life' over a stand against injustice. Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't live with myself any other way. Paul's the same, and that's what we've taught our kids.

The good ending to this story is that my son has a best friend, who has been his pal since they met at age 3. His friend was off sick when the bullying was happening, but now he is back at school and it has suddenly stopped, because my son is hanging out with a real friend again, which offers him a kind of protection. Makes him stronger. Thank goodness for that real pal who will support you when you need them most!

You Muppet!

Thank you Frankie! I DEFINITELY have time in my day for the Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody! And finally my kids appreciate the Muppets too (son #1 is a devoted Queen fan, go figure, last year he wrote a letter to 'Mr John Deacon, Former Bassist with Queen, London, England' inviting him to his 7th birthday party).

Sun vs. Rain

It's been raining all day, rain like you wouldn't believe. I don't think I've ever seen this much rain, even in rainy Daylesford. The rain on our tin roof is so loud that we've had to shout at customers all day! I think there has even been some flooding. It never rains but it pours, eh?

It's been a funny old day inside too. Quite a few local customers braved the rain to visit us. Emily brought in some handmade Christmas cards, pretty new earrings from lovely Gaynor were dropped off too. I received a crappy email. And a nice email about a big collaborative project for next year. An exciting long-awaited contract came in the mail, as well as another less pleasant legal matter that I can't put off much longer. Lost a favourite brooch. Bought a new one (from Betty Jo). A day of contradictions, I guess.

It was lovely to go to school assembly today, which I don't manage to do as often as I'd like. And I was taken for a slap-up lunch at Red Star too. A happy day in spite of (because of?) the rain!

Beautiful rain

Woke up to a huge thunderstorm over Daylesford today, and lots of beautiful rain, which is apparently set to continue into next week. It is literally pouring down at the moment!

Another great market

Don't forget if you are in Melbourne (avoiding the rain), the Northside Makers Market is also on this Saturday. This event looks amazing, with 50 Melbourne crafters, quite a few I have met at other markets or through our shop, and I love their work. I wish I could go and catch up with some of them and buy their wares!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Vintage sheets...

and blankets and quilts, blowing in the wind. Is there anything nicer? I found dozens of photos of thrifted sheets on my washing line when I was going through my photos recently. They somehow make me feel very happy!

Something for the weekend

I've been busy all week preparing our stall at the Daylesford Makers Market, which as you know my friend Kate and I started last year and it has had a great reception. The standard of makers is very high, and most are from our local region. Hope to see you there!

I'll be dividing my time between my stall and minding the Lark shop, with help from friends. To tempt you into the shop we've made a batch of new goodie bags, free with purchases only from the shop. You wont believe the cuteness that's inside, here's a sneaky look at some of it.

The Lark shop will be open from 9 on Saturday, but there are only a small number of goodie bags so please get here early! Just mention my blog and spend over $30 to get your free bag. Here's a map to the shop, we're just behind the main street in a little laneway (look for the dragster bike!).

Dispatches from the shop

We've given the shop a makeover this week, and got all excited about Christmas. And there are lots of new handmade lovelies. Take a peek...

Lark Christmas goodies

Aunty Cookie - yay!

My Sister Pat 1950's Bathers

Beci Orpin jewellery

Beci orpin Folk Face cushions

Cutest ever Christmas sacks

Frankie calendars

Fresh new zines!

Wildflowersoul - made in Daylesford

Lark knitted Christmas decorations

More Lark goodness

Delicious Naomi Murrell prints - I want!

Laptop and Camera Cosies handmade by Darren, the Clunes Strangler