Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 ...living the dream.

Well 2016, here we are! 

My life has seen so many changes since my last post ... 
well a lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same.

I'm still creating to my hearts content, but no longer as a part of Ruby's Nest.

Ruby's was a wonderful experience, 2 years running a shop with my crafty friend Anna of Polly Pratt.

Each week the space evolved and grew into something we just loved more and more. 
As the end of our 2 year lease approached, it was decision time though.

Anna was lucky enough to have landed a small shop and residence (every designers dream) whilst on a hunt for a new home to house hubby and her baby on the way. 
Life for her, was taking a whole new direction, which meant that by default mine was too.
I personally, grew so much as an individual and designer during the 2 years at Ruby's and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to have shared a shop space with Anna.
Alas... life was to change,  Just when  thought I had it all sorted out.

                                                              image via: theloadstar.co.uk
I was at a crossroads, being forced to make a decision as to which way my life was to go.
Knowing the rent of our current premises I really didn't think it was an option to go it alone, so I started to contemplate leaving the creative life and heading back to the 9 to 5.

I honestly sat on this for a while and it just made me feel so heavy and down on life.
I started to look at smaller shop spaces closer to home, convincing myself I could go back to markets and work part time on the side.
None of this sat well with me.
So I pushed it all aside for 2 months, so I could just get on with life and hope that something would pan out.
Allowing myself to fully be present at the Ruby's with no expectations or decisions made about the future, 
made me realize that it was something I really enjoyed doing on a deeper level.
Creativity is at the heart of what I do and having people engage with that process, loving what you make ... enough to buy it, is extremely fulfilling.
Whilst the idea of having a shop to represent my own range was exciting, I've always been passionate bout representing the work of others too.  Helping new designers get there products out there and giving more established designers a home for their work too.



So thinking about a small shop was no longer an option ... because how could I fit the work of a crafty community into a small space.
Dream big hey, Why Not?!

                                                                Image via:sayingimages.com
So begun a period of seeking advice from accountants, bookkeepers and business mentors to test the viability of staying at 159 and going it alone.
Easy is not a word I would use in describing the decision making process and easy is not a word I would use to describe the job that I had laid out before me ... but I have never been one to take the easy road. 
I'm not afraid of a challenge and I believe with all my heart that if you come from a good place, with heartfelt intentions you are on the right track.
Back it up with a bit of hard yakka and 110% commitment and you have a wonderful foundation from which to spring board life in any direction you want.


So began, the next phase of my life ...
In Dec 2015 I opened my own shop space called 'Finki'. Representing my handmade range, along side the work of over 40 independent designers, makers, jewelers and artists.



It was so exciting to take this step and bloody scary too !
Its not all crafty parties and fabric shopping ... 
  If I want to sell 100 items a week to pay my rent, I need to be able to make 100 items a week to sell.
So its a huge balancing act to keep it all afloat.  One only made possible by the artist/designers and makers who bring awesome stock my way each week and of course the community of customers who support our work and keep the dream alive for all of us.
I used to think in terms of 'I' and 'me' ...
  Only to learn that in life and business, 
it is all about 'us' and 'we' ... 'We' as a community of makers and 'us' as conscientious consumers.

                                                                Image via : www.lccsnj.org
It takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to run a successful business.  

So thank you to all of you. My village, my tribe.
Running my own shop is a dream come true and I could not do it without you.
Jay x

Friday, January 16, 2015

90's Hipster Dag ...

Well 2014 flew by without one single visit to the old blog.
I do miss the opportunity to get one's thoughts onto a screen, in a setting that doesn't demand 15 words or less or the attention span of a gnat.

Sometimes it's nice to sit and write for a while and sometimes it's nice to sit and read for a while.
So here I am.

I've been reading a lot lately on body shaming.
Not fat shaming ... body shaming.
The part of us that cant see our beauty at size 8 or size 20 and says things like 'I cant wear a bikini, my thighs wobble Yuk'! or 'I have to dress in black to hide my hideous shape'.
Thoughts like that are not helpful at all and should be no part of any ones daily mantra.

I think seeing all these articles on loving our body is a 'New Year' thing.

The whole 'New year' new me bizzo, has roused up the commonsense naturopaths, dietitians and body confidence coaches who tell us that everyday is an opportunity to live well. That we don't need the reason of a new year to inspire us, we just need to choose any old day and any old reason and start living the way we want.
True Dat


They also preach that you don't need a new you.
The old you is awesome.
Maybe the old you is tired, puffy, stressed overworked and wants a shake up and wake up. So go get em' by all means ... but love the old you and don't feel you need to change.

This body shaming got me thinking that when we finally do start to accept our bodies and love and nurture them as we always should, we still face the fashion police.
A rather shallow and ridiculous band of people who feel the need to comment on the way we dress.
Although not as deep and cutting as those who feel it their place to comment on our bodies, the comments from said fashionistas can be just as hurtful making us feel inadequate and worthless once again.


As you know, I work in fashion.
It's on a very small scale running a little independent business making clothing and jewellery that ... I like to wear.

Daily I meet women who are so down on their body shape and it's not just big woman. Honestly, it spans across the size 6 to 24 spectrum.
They come in, so despondent, thinking nothing will fit or look any good, or thinking they can or can't wear certain things based on their age or occupation.
"Oh I'm too old for that", or "I look terrible in a dress".
Say's who?

I'm always proud that our little shop covers from size 8 to 24 and more often then not these despondent women get into the fitting room with a garment or two and soon realise that we don't conform to mainstream rules of fashion.

If I want to have a purple and green dresses when fashion dictates that it's yellow and orange that are in fashion.
I can.

If I want to have a waist measurement that is a wee bit more generous then the sizing standards dictate.
I can

If I want to make a t-shirt with pineapples for a 15 year old or a 40 year old to wear.
I can.

But ... my non conformity does not go unnoticed and recently a friend commented on a top of mine saying  it was so 90's hipster!

At first I was offended, thinking that it was just a blatant way of saying my range is dated.
But then I thought for a bit and said "yeah it is". Actually my whole range could be categorized as 90 hipster and I'm ok with that.

I've always struggled a bit with my own style and therefore the style of my range.
Not quite being able to pigeonhole it or put a label on it and therefore not owning it in all its lovely hipster daginess.
Occasionally I tried to do 'pretty' or 'fashion forward' or 'modern' or 'sleek' but they never sat well on me and I never feel genuine when imitating these trends or trying to capture them.

Time and time again I would come back to a skirt and cardi look, or the floppy dress with volleys and lets not forget a good fitting pair of jeans and a comfy tee.



I remember as a teen one time, getting dressed up to go out. Donning a rara skirt, pink button shirt and trainers. I was tickled pink, thinking I was the bees knees. I came out to the lounge with a twirl and a big taadaah entry, only to have dad tousle my hair and say "you're such a dag jay"
Of course at the time it was not the response I was going for.
Rad, awesome or cool would have been accepted. (Hey, it was the 90's)

I never embraced my inner dag back then and up until recently I was totally trying to present in a way that I thought I needed to, as a professional 39 year old woman.

Truth is ... I sometimes wear my hair in ponytails, if I wear a dress it's usually with Birkenstocks, boots or volleys.
I have a cardi to match every skirt in my wardrobe and I think my style icon is Drew Barrymore the 1990's version.


So to be honest I'm sort of 90's hipster and definitely a dag.

A dag is described as an amusing, quirky and likeable person who tends to stick with what they like regardless of the opinions or pressures from others.

So knowing this is me and embracing that, I can only say my range reflects that entirely.
It's not polished, prim and proper,  trendsetting or fashion forward.
It is a range that supports comfort, color and fun, for many sizes and ages.
It is a range that not every one will love and I don't expect them to.

When I see you walk in the door with a flower in your hair, a summer cardi on a winter day and a pair of comfy Birkenstocks,  know that I smile a little and think to myself that you are one cool person... Maybe a bit of a dag, but that's ok cause I'm one too and you've come to the right place.

Jay x

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New adventures ...

Well 2013 was amazing  ...
Lots of personal growth. Lots of hours at the gym and lots of kilos lost Yay!


Which in retrospect was a much needed year in preparation for the ride that is 2014.

I had in my head already decided that 2014 was the year for me to head back into the workforce. Get a real job after being a self supported artist/crafter for over 4 years.

As fate would have it, the shop I was a part of decided to close down ... forcing my hand a little sooner then later.
The real idea of working for the man in a typical 9-5 job really had me on such a downer.
So ensued a couple of weeks of assessing life and all that I wanted from it. I still wanted to lead a creative life and that was the one thing I knew for sure.
So when we heard that the space we were a part of previously was being made available for new ventures there was a very short period of throwing ideas around and coming up with our new venture ...

A new shop created by with my crafty partner in crime Anna of Polly Pratt clothing.
We had worked together in this space for over 4 years, so we had a good idea of how we worked together as a crafty duo. We loved the space and had called it home for the last few years so it seemed a natural progression.
Of course the major difference was having between 8 and 10 people running it previously to it really becoming our own and being run just by the two of us.
Which also means being paid for ... just by the two of us. Crazy scary stuff people.

Timing was bad as I had not a cent in the bank, my stock levels were really low and I had no arrangement for childcare ...

But if I was to wait for the timing to be perfect the opportunity would have passed me by. So we worked like mad for the last 2 months of 2013, saving money and building up our stock levels ready for beginning in January.

 The space was long overdue for a paint ... so we closed for the first 2 weeks to renovate and snaz the place up.

It was a blurr of 12 - 14 hour days ... sanding, painting, building walls and knocking them down. Absolute mayhem. But we did it ...

Two crafty friends, a whole lotta faith and not much sleep ...


We have been in the new shop for nearly 3 months now and every day it grows more and more into such an inviting and fun space to work in.


We represent the work of more then 10 makers including our own labels Finki and Polly Pratt and that will only grow. There is an artist space we offer to a new artist each month and a Saturday market day for new designers to trial there range in store for a day.


It's early days, but we love this space and hope it grows into something that people love coming to see for years to come.

We are much more active on Facebook than blogs these days too, so keep up to date with all that is going on at our Ruby's Nest FB Page.

Love and light to you all.
Jay xx

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Kickin' butt in 2013.

I've been keeping myself busy of late with little bits here and there for Finki ..

Making gloves,

Skirts,
 
more skirts,


experimenting with punch cards,

and some machine knitting.

Mum has been gung ho on the machines too, making some awesome new styles.

Amidst my time making Finki stock I've packed up my studio at Olive Grove and brought it all home. Little man was my awesome helper getting all packed into the car. It was a bit sad to say goodbye to the studio, but I could never manage the time to get over there anymore, so really it just became storage.
It sort of had me split in two as far as productivity goes as half my supplies were there and half at home.
So I actually look forward to a concentrated effort in making stock now that I'll be saving time travelling and saving money on studio space too.
So it's sad to have left, but I'm excited for the future too.

In other parts of life I'm going great guns with my health and well being. I'm eating really well and have maintained gym going for 5 months now. My longest stint yet. A big part of me has accepted that the way I'm living now is not a fad to get fit but rather a life long change for the better.

I totally struggled for the first 3 months. Having to force myself to overcome tiredness or a sense of needing to be working or cleaning the house instead of going to gym. But I pushed through and when I hit a wall and almost gave up, instead of walking away I reached out and asked the gym for help.
They were so reassuring.
We did a new program, assessed my nutrition and I took the plunge and started group fitness classes.


Yes I was the sweaty fat chic at the back with the beetroot red face. But I soon realized that everyone had there own struggles and reasons for being there. Everyone was a sweaty beetroot focused on improving there own health.
So I pushed through those first few awkward sessions, made a bunch of new friends and actually look forward to going to gym. Woohoo.

I've lost 12kg to date and finally have started to feel my energy levels come back to normal. Thank god for that.

All I need to do now is spend less time on FB, Pinterest and Instagram and start being a whole lot more productive in the field I love.
The arts and crafts.
Hope your all well and kicking but in 2013.
Jay xx

Friday, June 28, 2013

Craft with Heart.

It's been far too long since I've done a market and mingled with my crafty peeps, so when I saw this flyer on FB recently I decided it would be a perfect foray back into the market scene.


I love that it's all about raising money for the church building project, as a lot of the people in the local community use the church for there clubs and meetings. So your gold coin donation is going to a good cause and who doesn't love some home made cake and a white elephant stall.

There is more info: here

It's on tomorrow 10-3, so if you're up for a drive on the first day of school holidays, bring the kids down and explore Williamstown.
Jay xx

Monday, March 25, 2013

Makin' cakes

Recently the house turned into a party venue for miss turning 13.
Officially a teenager now and no longer the much hated title of being a tween.

She had chosen a steampunk theme asking friends to dress smart casual with a steampunk twist. So there were aviator goggles, mini top hats, pocket watches and vests galore.


I decided to make a bronze cake with cogs and a pocket watch on it and of course headed into it with no cake decorating experience what so ever. I knew enough to know that I wouldn't get the look I wanted with frosting so googled a bit and learnt I needed something called sugar paste. A friend recommended I visit 'Cake Deco' in Port Phillip arcade in the city and my visit proved to be very fruitful.

Cake Deco for cake people is like Gj's patchwork section for patch people. Positively jam packed with cookie cutters, shape makers, boards, impression plates, piping, gels, colors, lustre's....the works.
The guy behind the counter was so helpful in showing me everything I needed to achieve my look.

So I headed home with my edible lustre, sugar paste and shape cutters, set for a cake making adventure.


Some of the cogs were made using a flower shape cutter and others just formed out of using the right size lids and glasses to get the size circles I wanted. I used Bronze, silver and gold edible lustre which is just dusted over the sugar paste shapes to get the color. Little screws were made using balls of paste flatted and pressing a knife on top to create the look of a screw top.
My pocket watch was a cake base covered in gold paste, with a circle of white on top, then ... can you believe it, edible texta to write the numbers on. The 13 was just cut out with a knife and miss Kizz made a little steam punk mouse to sit beside the cake.

Whilst it was fun to create in a totally new medium, it did take a while and was very messy,


or maybe it was just me being very messy...
I sorta thought using the paste would be like using clay, but nah. It was quite fragile and didn't really like being too thin, too thick or bent to much. So a bit of a learning curve.

But alls well, that ends well.

Apart from that I'd whipped up some name cards,


 filled balloons with helium and glitter,


 and collected fun metal bits and bobs from the local oppie to create a steampunkish table center to cover with tea lights.


A fun night was had by all and what can I say, you only turn 13 once. 
Jay x



Friday, March 15, 2013

School Fete ...

Oh I do love this time of year for school fete's, they are everywhere.
Such an easy way to entertain the kids for a day at a place walking distance from home.


This will be my first year helping out at the new school, so I have put my hand up for the craft table.
Stick with what you know hey!

If you are in the neighbourhood, pop by and say hello.
Jay x

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A piece of cloth ...

Lovely Liz of Gleaners, was nice enough to invite me to take part in her current exhibition 'A Piece of Cloth'
I had to be secret squirrel about my creation till the exhibition had begun, but we are in full swing now so I can show you what I made.


The fabric we all received was of the retro brown orange and green variety which didn't appeal to me at all color wise. So I started planning black and white designs. Just outlines and petals, as I did love the flower shapes.

But somewhere along the line the colors and I made some peace and I was able to put something together that was an item I would love enough to want to wear it my self.

The exhibition runs all through March so if you haven't been over to see all the great pieces on show yet, there is still plenty of time.

Jay xx

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Flying kites ...

This weekend a lovely little kite festival was happening down the road at Edwardes Lake.


The wind factor was spot on for kite flying, and the weather was 30 something...
which seems to be a theme of late.


 Once upon a time Melbourne Summers used to have  heat waves for 4 or 5 days peaking at 40 something then have huge thunder storms to wash it all away. Instead this year, we are having really long stretches of 30 plus everyday.  Almost how one would imagine a normal summer to be. Go figure


But weather aside, we made our way to the park for some kite flying and some rather sticky gelati.


The rest of the festival was stall after stall of community organizations, Councillors and such with info booths.
Good on them for getting out there and spreading the word, but you know me...I wanted some crafty stalls, gourmet foods and homegrown grub. Oh well maybe next year.


Alas my needs were met the very next day,
when we had to set up our marquee and be a part of the Sydney Rd street party.


It was huge. Positively thousands of people, 30 + again, no wind, awesome bands,
lots of good food and a great mix of community and craft stalls.


An awesome day out, hopefully introducing a whole new crowd of people to Olive Grove and what turned out to be one busy weekend.

Hope you all had a good one too.
Jay x



Friday, March 1, 2013

Health and Happiness ...

Hooray for 2013, so far it's turning out to be a winner. I've decided my focus this year is health and happiness...isn't it one's focus every year, one might wonder. But I guess a lot of the time I hope it's a side effect of my focus on home, family, work etc ...


But I have learnt that, you know what! It doesn't just happen as a quirk of fate.
It takes time to be made for it and focus to be placed upon it.

So in a nut shell, this is where I am at presently. Eating nutritionally, growing veggies, walking to school with Finny daily, back at gym to rebuild some long lost muscle, back at yoga to try and bring some mind and body alignment into play, enjoying the mans new roster of weekends off for the first time in years and most recently, I've cut down my commitments at work and changed the way I fit in at Olive Grove.


Its all very new and all a work in progress, but for once I feel in charge of my life and the direction its heading.

Creatively I have been on hiatus. Sort of de-cluttering, clearing out everything at the shop and making space in my head and home for new ventures. Can't say I'm 100% on what they are just yet, I just know I needed to get back to basics and start again for it all to come out just the way I want it to.

So I'll make sure to keep you posted on my progress.

Big thank you to Sister Outlaws and their thought provoking post on why we blog. It reminded me that I enjoy sharing what I do and make with you all.
For a while I felt that all I was doing was bragging or boasting about me, my business and I, which didn't sit well as I'm just not that sort of person.
So getting a reminder that creativity is a process, something we share for gaining clarity in it's explanation or something we share for sharing sake, hoping that someone in our crafty community might be inspired, intrigued or interested in it, is a lovely reminder of all the right reasons to keep up with le' old blog.

Also I gotta keep mum up to date with my life as we are a few states away from each other. Hi Mum.

So from me, I'm doing o.k and I Hope you are all doing well too,
Jay xx




Friday, November 2, 2012

New toy ...

I've been having fun learning all the In's and outs of my new toy...

Mum brought it down for me when she came to stay after my oppie.
She was only here a week, so it was a crash course in learning all the wonderful things a knitting machine can do.

It's quite a technical piece of equipment, but once we got going I sure learned a thing or two.

Firstly that me and punch lace will not be friends...and secondly that my ignorant attitude about machine knit pieces being somehow easy to create was wrong.

It is a manual machine operated by pushing that big carriage with the handle back and forth. the wider your piece the longer your push. One push left equals one row. A scarf 1 metre and half long equals 900 rows. 900 times someone has to push that baby left and right. It sure does work out the arms and the core  muscles and over do it ... ie: try and do 7 scarves in a day and you'll cause yourself some harm.
Mum will testify to that!

From what I understand there are electronic ones out there, bigger and more expensive and the machine does the back and forth by itself. So I guess to me, this still feels handmade and quite labor intensive even though it is way quicker than hand knitting.

Definitely worth the time dusting it off and learning how to use it.

I have been experimenting with some lovely 3ply cotton that I got from Spottie and came up with these goodies.


Necklaces and summer scarves. 


The options are endless and quite possibly I have opened myself up to a new medium that I might lose my self in for a while.

I'm excited to try 1ply, multiple colors as one, metallics and patterns.
Did I say you can make your own patterns.
Yup ...sure can. Could put your name on stuff if you wanted to!

Fun and games.
Jay x