Sunday, September 25, 2011

For Lease - try a little POP UP in South Melbourne!

Well, it's been a wonderful wonderful year in my little shop in South Melbourne. Unfortunately though, two halves of a marriage relying on retail to support a family of four doesn't quite add up.

So, as the main bread winner I'm back winning the bread.  I've got a new corporate gig in the city that requires my full time presence. My office isn't quite the same as the shop - ie. a light filled, warm and visually satisfying space with a beautiful view down a tree lined street to the gorgeous South Melbourne town hall - but it's still not a bad place to sit with some pretty great people around me and a regular income. And when I work back and the afternoon turns dark the view of the carpark and buildings next door look kind of pretty with all those lights....

Anyhoo - here's YOUR chance to have a go at a little shop for a while.

We're trying to find a taker for our whole building (two shopfronts, self contained studio, garage, 2/3 bedroom dwelling and a very cool second story deck) but we're pretty sure that will take a while to lease out.

So in the meantime we're open to a month to month lease for one or a group of Makers who would like to get some retail space for the Xmas trade. We have a phone line and an eftpos all set up, and still have some display cabinets, plinths, tables etc here if needed.

If you're interested (either in the building for a long term lease, or my shopfront on a month to month), please shoot through an email to and I'll get back to you!

I've contacted my Makers to thank them HUGELY for jumping on board when I opened last year. I had so many wonderful compliments on the items that we sold here, which clearly only the clever Makers who made them can take the credit for!!

I'd like to take the opportunity to say thanks to all of the wonderful customers who also supported us. We developed some regulars pretty quickly and it was lovely to see their faces and have a good chat - and also see new additions with babies being born through the year.

We hope this isn't it for ever. I'll focus a little on this blog - which means I'll use it as a justification for shopping at every Makers market I can find - and I'd also like to look at a the occasional pop up shop perhaps at Christmas time next year. Because I love Christmas and I love gift wrapping!

So, please hang around, check in once and a while. If nothing else, I hope I can show you some new Makers or new markets from time to time.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

another country market find: Villa Hunter

Well, although I've been a tad behind in my communications I've still been busy behind the scenes!! A couple of months ago the Maker family headed to Daylesford for the day, primarily to check out the Farmers Market and the Makers Market.

We hit town just as the Farmers Market was packing up which was very disappointing, but saved by the purchase of some very yummy cookies which our youngest kept a very firm grip on.

We wandered up the hill to the Makers Market which, while small-ish, was well worth the visit in terms of quality.

The Daylesford Makers Market
Anchors favoured by Master Maker

Master Maker came across some wonderful cushions from Villa Hunter. We bought him one of the ship & anchor and he has loved it so much it was obvious we had to get some more for the shop. It took me a while, but here we have them....
Villa Hunter cushions. Birds for little and big girls.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Up Close & Pretty

Dames & Divas sterling silver, resin & kimono fabric rings have been a bit of a hit in store so Amanda kindly sent me more.

This one in particular I think is just gorgeous....

Up Close & Pretty

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Personal Best

As I've blogged before, I don't mind a bit of re-arranging. While I love a fresh look in the shop, the process usually brings a little pain, a load of frustration, and some regret at losing an additional hour or two of my life feeling overwhelmed an hour or so in.

Not so today! It took me the full 5 day break to get to it, but once I started I managed to make the paper dahlia-esk pom poms (courtesy of the Martha Stewart website, bless her), change the window display and re-arrange a fair bit of stock in just over an hour - WITH two kids running around at high speed, clinging to me, fighting around me, or using me as an obstacle in their obstacle course.

That's a PB.

(Credit: I must thank Mr Maker taking charge of relocation for the remaining Blaise McFarlane owls which bought me a good 30 minutes.)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Parliament is in session

I discovered Blaise McFarlane and her owls at Mornington Markets a couple of months ago and was just smitten.

Blaise popped in yesterday and has entrusted me with her "parliament" of owls, who are of course now gracing our window as all newcomers do. (Yes, Parliament is the correct term for a group of owls. Who are of course known for being wise. Given I worked in Federal Parliament for 9 years no "wise" cracks please!)

A couple of the bigger guys have already found a new home so I'm getting to know the rest while we still have time together! We are currently debating the finer points of parliamentary process and public policy formulation. They really are very good listeners.

The spotted feathers and fabric on this little guy makes him my fave.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dames & Divas add a bit of colour

I was very very excited when Amanda from Dames & Divas dropped in yesterday and left me with a load of treasures made from resin and kimono fabric.

It's possible I was a bit greedy. But the good news is that means you have lots to choose from when you next drop in!

We've got bangle bags (I don't know why I don't already own one), brooches, clips, bangles, earrings (all of them are my favourites), headbands, rings, and cufflinks.

The stock has been out for just a few hours, but I've already had customers asking me to get her shoes in. I may let Amanda take a breath before I covet more of her lovely things though....or I may not. I really need a new pair of ballet flats!

light, resin, colour - it's a beautiful combination

Silver plated cufflinks are only $19.95. If you want these you'd better get in before I have to do my next consulting gig...or they are all mine!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pretty new shelving

Ahh, didn't Quentin do a lovely job! He took my two spotted gum shelves, one of which was thrown in the garage and the other was a half used wobbly fixture in the shop, and turned them into this lovely, sturdy, shelving and clothing display.

I love it!

If you want to contact Quentin for any of your own commission work you can contact him via his website:

He loves doing shop fittings as well as fun things like chook pens and tree houses, AND he will not only turn up on time but will likely even be early. So clearly he is not just a tradie, he's more like a skilled creative. And a nice guy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A call to (coat) arms

As we speak, the talented Quentin from Q. Design & Construction is building me some shelves and clothes rail.

While my vintage wooden ladder & pedestal combo currently housing the clothes looks fab, it is a little clumsy for adult sized clothes hangers.

The current shelving is also limited. While the salvaged spotted gum is very pretty, Husband and friend had a go at the shelving when I first opened but, unfortunately, their enthusiasm exceeded their skill and the result is a very wobbly shelf and more than one too many additional holes in the wall.

By the end of today we will have some lovely new shelves and a clothes rail as well, so now I have to fill it!!

I need to rally some wonderful makers, so this is my call to (coat) arms for all of those wonderful clothes makers out there who would be willing to put some stock in, on consignment in the first instance. Dresses, cardigans, jumpers, scarves, hats.....both adults and kids.

If you make them or know of anyone who does, I'd love to see some images. They can be emailed direct to .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My new obsession - The Graphics Fairy

Oh wow - if you haven't seen this site yet you've got to take a look!

The Graphic Fairy provides vintage graphics for free download - and because they are mostly pre 1923 legally you are able to use them for private or commercial use.

Get over here and get inspired, but a word of warning, it may just become your new obsession....

The Graphics Fairy

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maker Profile : Reissued

Jacqui Porter from Reissued is a Melbourne based Maker who, rather than making something from scratch, creates beautiful pieces by restyling and recreating furniture. You can always find one or two unique Reissued chairs or stools in Maker Handmade. 

Who are the Makers behind Reissued?

Jacqui Porter is the creative mind behind Reissued Furniture and other things. Jacqui sources and restores the furniture, whilst Alex and George work on the re upholstery. Jacqui also sources sustainable contemporary or vintage fabrics for the furniture from around Australia.

Tell us about the process of creating your products, from concept to finish?

I love the idea of recycling and re-creating a piece of furniture that has already had a history. The creative process of re-styling a piece of furniture varies. Sometimes I fall in love with a piece of furniture or sometimes with a piece of fabric and so I begin at those points. I like to spend a bit of time with a piece of furniture before deciding what I want to do with it. Sanding the timber back on a chair or stool, and then oiling and waxing it helps you get a feel for the piece which allows you to be clearer about the fabrics that will really bring it to life. Similarly sourcing some beautiful screen printed fabric from a talented Australian designer and sitting with it in the studio, really allows me to be much clearer about the types of furniture that would enhance it. Working closely with George and Alex (the upholsterers) who have been in the trade for many years ensures that the upholstery work is done in a style suitable to the piece and with a high quality finish.

What’s in the name?

I hope the name expresses the idea of recycling and recreating. That is: a piece of furniture was issued once many years ago and now it is being issued for a second time but in a different way – i.e. Reissued.

What do you love about what you do?

I love the idea of recycling. I love exploring what a piece of beautiful contemporary or vintage fabric and a piece of sandpaper can do to a very tired and dated piece of furniture. It is very satisfying being part of this transformation. 

What do you hope happens when you send your products out into the world?

I am forever hopeful that some people will appreciate the history, beauty and uniqueness of Reissued furniture and want a chair or a stool or both to be part of their homes. I am looking forward to going to a stranger's home and seeing a piece of Reissued furniture in pride of place by the fireside or under a wonderful painting or something like that.

The important details:

Prices vary depending on the piece of furniture and the fabric used. Jacqui also loves working on commission pieces

Retro stool covered in "Ella & Sofia" screen printed organic cotton fabric - $155 (sold). Pictured with evie lala mary jane baby shoes.

Square retro stool covered in Nicola Cerrini (blue squares) fabric  - $145 (currently in store). Pictured with Sam & Digger scotty dog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just "freshening things up"

My husband gets a little frustrated with what he thinks are "frequent" urges from me to move things around a little. You know - freshen things up, make some changes. My urges aren't that frequent at all, it's just that he believes you put a couch there, a TV there and that's where they stay. Forever. And why do I need a new cushion cover anyway? God forbid I should go for a coffee table, it just takes up floor space (which apparently he needs for something, but unless he has a secret aerobics hobby I don't know what he needs the floor space for).

5 months into our current abode (above the shop), I am very much over the lounge room. It just doesn't feel "grown up". My husband bought one of those ridiculously large plasmas a few years ago that restricts lounge placement to, well, as far away as possible. So we have a 2 seater lounge at one end, a TV at the other, and under protest I managed to get in a side table and an armchair (hello, family of four require seating options!). But the room just looks bland and unwelcoming.

Conveniently, one of my Makers, Jeremy from karrottopdesigns, dropped in some lovely furniture yesterday and one piece, the vintage dresser, just had to go in the shop window. This required some rearranging. It started with the window display. Then I moved the pedestal that was in the window to the kids section. Which meant I had to move the vintage drawers from the kids section to...oh dear where can that go....oh I know - our lounge room. Stroke of genius.

karrottopdesigns vintage dresser $495

So I went up and moved the lounge, rug, armchair and side table to accommodate the vintage drawers. Then I had to track down the vacuum cleaner and while husband did battle with the monster dust bunnies the kids delighted in the discovery of forgotten toys neatly stashed under the lounge. Husband was then sent back and forth to his gallery downstairs to find appropriate pieces to put on the wall. Oh yay. With just a couple of knick knacks the lounge room will have so much more character! And it has a clean floor!

When I went back down to the shop I remembered another Maker, Quentin from Q. Design & Construction, had also dropped in some rustic wooden display cubes in while I was out. (As a side note, this guy can design and sew you an enviro conscious bag, and build an extension on your house.) I love a bit of initiative, and they are very cool, so best use them. Don't look good on the centre table. So I cleared the centre table and called husband to cart it away. It was too dark for the shop anyway. Back to the white pedestals.

Quentin's display cubes with and.O, Ivy & Jean, and Cosse ceramics 

Quentin's cycling bag (with waist strap) - $150

Rearranged shelf, oh dear that doesn't fit, must rearrange side table. Whoops, some things don't fit, have to rearrange counter. OK, getting tears! What on earth was I thinking!! This is why people have retail fittings - they are fitted. There's no moving around on a whim. No opportunity to spend five straight hours of your life arranging and re-arranging. Yes, the shop always looks fresh but it's starting to cost me my sanity. In frustration call husband for advice on product placement, which I immediately dismiss.

OK. Turn around, deep breath, turn back around. Oh - that actually looks quite good. Oh yes, that's much better! Bless husband for humouring me. Time to reward myself with a hot milk and tim tam. The Osteopath can sort the rest out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

nature AND nurture

It's a lovely day in the store today. I've put some gorgeous Mondocherry butterflies in the window and am just sitting here watching them dance in the breeze coming through the open door. (At $15 a packet and with a free branch from a local park, they make for a brilliant mobile.)

Unfortunately, the gentle breeze isn't the only bit of nature coming through the door.....I'm distracted by a cricket casually strolling in. A visitor from the current "plague".  I prefer my insects in paper form, thanks very much. The butterflies are going to have to dance to the breeze from the air conditioner instead!

Aside from setting up the new window display, today I happily took delivery of more Cosse body products. It feels a little bare in the store when I run low on Cosse. Annie dropped in today and topped everything up and brought in a couple of new items as well, including more of her mum's pottery and some gorgeous silk covered lavender eye pillows.

Almost as soon as Annie walked out the door there were customers caressing and smelling those soaps, with my favourite being a gorgeous 3 year old on her way to kinder. She just happens to collect soaps, she tells me because they make her room smell nice! She managed to overcome her 3yo shyness to come and ask me the price of the lovely pink clay soap. Her mum told me that when Dad goes on business trips, she's happy to get the hotel soap as her gift.

My son was more into the tacky, overpriced airport gift with limited life span. And he wouldn't settle for anything else. My husband and I used to do quite a lot of (separate) interstate business travel so he has a bucketful of broken toy airplanes.

Now, while I'm not into the whole "made to order baby" thing where you can choose gender, eye colour etc etc....if I was going down that path again I would close my eyes very tightly and wish for a child with a predisposition to beautiful, handmade things. Or maybe just free smelly things, that would be OK too.

Is it nature or nurture? Before my son was born I bought him a handmade woollen scotty dog softie, he has never liked it. He does however, quite like the blue bunny that looks like it came off the consolation rack of the duck shooting game at the royal easter show. And gee, hasn't that thing lasted longer than anyone could have hoped for.

Yesterday, I handed out Max's party invitations with a big Pokemon on the front. And there'll be a Pokemon transfer on his cake. He is now of the age where he has an opinion on his party so there goes that whimsical vintage circus, or retro cowboys & indians themed party that I keep seeing pics of in those glossy mags.

And my daughter, no pretty handmade dresses or hair clips for her. She favours the blue scrunchie dad bought home (from the airport) or the supermarket bulk pack of hair ties, and my son's hand me down jeans (complete with holes in knees).

How do you get a child who loves the good stuff?? I've gently encouraged and provided the right environment but no reward so far.

Now, where are those scissors....I have to cut that plastic tie on the bulk pack of black hair ties....oh and get pocket money out, Max will be wanting a $2 pack of pokemon cards on the way home from school...

Friday, February 11, 2011

waste not, want not

I can't stand waste. I have a hard time throwing things out and it's only my adverse reaction to intense clutter in my living space and love of storage solutions that saves me from having a guest appearance on that oddly fascinating TV show "hoarders".

If it has a purpose, it can't be discarded. Which has caused me some torment just recently, balancing the desire to upgrade to an iphone 4 (I love gadgets) but not allowing myself to because my 2.5 year old iphone 3 works perfectly well. Loud cheers from me when my husband lost his phone and I could upgrade and give him mine!!

Back to the story, I do love that sense of achievement I get when I can re-use something and get rid of it at the same time! So, when my grocery delivery arrived right in the middle of creating my window display I was inspired to use this bit of second hand twine wrapped around a paper bag of fresh herbs.

Fresh veges from The Convenient Kitchen - highly recommended!

On the shorter side of a metre, it was still very useful to suspend the little cut out hearts in my Valentines window display....

Thursday, February 3, 2011

beach treasures

Inspired by Wendy Tuohy's column a couple of weeks ago on holidaying at home (Herald Sun Weekend lift out), I took the troupes off to the beach. Nothing like a bit of sand and salt water to make you feel like you're on holiday.

The thing is, we live exactly 2kms from the beach / one suburb away / a 3 min drive / a 25 min get the picture....and I'm ashamed to say we get there about once every couple of months (as opposed to when living 200 metres from the beach we visited every day after dinner during summer, and I walked every other day during winter). Out of sight out of mind.

It really was a wonderful time. We took muttley along for some socialising as well, the kids found some sea shell treasure and I found my new jewellery display!

Shell treasures from our friend

One very happy muttley (it's a dog beach)

my treasure. From this...... this...

Friday, January 28, 2011

summer lovin' Twirling Betty Sun Visors

How gorgeous are these sun visors from Twirling Betty?

I had included them in my last newsletter, but since then have popped them in the window for a bit of a summer vibe....

I tried to take photos during the day when they are at their most glorious....but that just shows all the dirt I didn't know was on my window!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maker Profile : Yardage Design

Nicole James from Yardage Design is a Melbourne based textile designer who provides us with a wonderful, bold range of hand screen printed fabrics. Maker Handmade carries Yardage Design tea towels, cushion covers, market bags and DIY bunting panels.

Who is the Maker behind Yardage Design?

Hello! I’m Nicole James, the owner and jack-of-all-trades behind Yardage Design. I am an environmental scientist by profession, who has been dabbling in creative pursuits since childhood. I have been screen printing for a few years now, and decided to start my own independent textile design and hand printing business just over a year ago. I’m loving the journey!

Tell us about the process of creating your products, from concept to finish?

My creative process usually starts with a need. I like to design and make things that suit my needs (as we renovate our 1890’s cottage) and colour palette. Design ideas come from lots of places - plants, architecture, books, magazines - whatever happens to be in my field of vision that catches my eye. The idea is sketched by hand and then refined on the computer before a screen is prepared. Colours are mixed and test prints taken. Lifting the screen to reveal a new design is the best feeling! The final step is packaging and preparing for sale.

What’s in the name? 

The name “Yardage Design” came from a simple circular design (now my logo) that was one of the first graphics I created when I was thinking about starting a textile business. The circle motif represents the end of a bolt of fabric, and that got me thinking about words associated with fabric. I settled on “yardage” because I like its vintage appeal and it was my goal to print fabric by the metre.

What do you make? 

I hand screen print my own designs onto a range of natural fibre (organic cotton, hemp, linen) fabric and homewares. My homewares range currently includes tea towels, market bags and cushions. I also have a range of fabrics that are used for interior decoration and dressmaking. Keep an eye out for new products and fabric designs in 2011!

What do you love about what you do? 

I love ...

~ turning an idea into something tangible and practical that other people can enjoy

~ being creative, with a purpose

~ being part of the amazing online craft community

~ lifting the screen and seeing a beautiful print ... it never gets boring!

~ working for myself and having much more time to spend with my family.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Maker Handmade makes the papers (with a little help from Mookah)

Well isn't it a lovely thing that the Makers we stock provide us with such lovely products!

Maker Handmade got a mention in the Herald Sun Weekend lift out - now publicly and officially declared our favourite weekend mag - "Love it" column today and we're very excited. Have a little look and you'll find a lovely Mookah Fairy Penguin gracing the page and Tilli Michelle gets a mention as well for those amazing clutches.

Thanks to witty and entertaining feature writer Wendy Tuohy supporting our little shop - and yay everybody!

Herald Sun "Weekend" Lift Out - Love it column - 15 January 2011

Tilli Michelle vintage Japanese silk & leather clutches

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mister Moustache is here!

Oh yay they're here!

I found the Mister Moustache baby mobile on the Babyology newsletter months ago and just had to have them in store.

All the way from Berlin, it has taken a looooong time for them to get here and just as I was about to write them off as a loss - but happy days!

My husband has some indigenous artists in his gallery at the moment painting, and along with one of their grandsons Liam who is 7 and helped me open the package, there were some very delighted giggles!!

Made from 100% recycled paper and nut veneer. Uber hip!

Mister Moustache mobile from jall & tofta (Germany)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Maker auctions for the Qld Flood Relief Appeal

Well here's a good chance to get some great goodies AND help out our neighbours.  Check back regularly for updates to this post, listing Makers who are auctioning off their wares to raise funds for the Qld Flood Relief Appeal.

Click on the links below for more information - and bid generously!!

Twirling Betty is raffling a $60 voucher to her online store, plus a $40 donation to the flood relief fund in your name.

Toni Coward is auctioning off a signed copy of her book "Make it Perfect" (my mother and I recently flicked through this book and it's just great), the book will be accompanied by a few pairs of Toni's gorgeous chill out slippers.

Chantal from Chantal Vincent Art is auctioning these delightful stamps, along with some of her prints and her sister's Little Wrap Bags.

I know there's one or two other Makers out there who are going to do something similar, I'll post them here as I can. If you know of any or want me to link to your blog for appeal efforts just leave a comment!