Wednesday, 30 December 2015

New item: swallow and hydrangea


My most favourite flower is hydrangea. When I was little, it wasn’t my favourite because it’s a flower of the rainy season in Japan. I didn’t like my rain boots sticking around my thighs and making red marks. I also didn’t like wet socks and I didn’t like my brand new notebook getting wet in my bag. But when I did an emergency teacher job in Ballarat, one of the teachers gave me a hydrangea from her garden for a farewell – I was there for a month, and it was really beautiful. Ever since then, it became my favourite. One Aussie lady taught me the beauty of this flower.

See the product

Monday, 28 December 2015

Oosouji (大掃除 – Big Clean)‏


we took these to OP shop
In Japan, we have tradition to do a "big clean" before the New Year comes. We clean all the windows and little spots we don’t usually do. I love that tradition because beginning the New Year with things all clean is so nice! A couple of weeks ago I showed you our messy home in my blog, a bit shamefully. Any change after that? Well just little by little. Our guest room was full of extra stuff, but we took them to OP shop. I sorted all Nico’s old clothes in boxes. It’s so amazing how much clothes he grew out of this year.  We’ll keep them next couple of years just in case we have the second, but we never know. 
 

We're almost ready to welcome our guest (my mum) in January. She will stay with us for two weeks, so we’re excited about that. 

 
I haven’t done much with my messy home office, so hopefully it’s all cleaned before New Year. Do I have time to do window cleaning? Well…let’s see. 
 
 

Do you like this idea of “oosouji”? You still have some time before New Year, so just try! I’m sure you’ll love it and this will become your new tradition ;-) 

 

With love,

Allie 


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Mulgrave Twilight Market



We had a lovely time at Mulgrave Twilight Market last night. Thanks to all the people who stopped by nuno and stitch. We kind of had the sunniest spot at the market and because of the sunlight from the west, we didn't get any shade from our own marquee! It was quite tiring standing in the heat but we really enjoyed meeting all the people there.




Now I can have a rest from making things for a while. I put so much time into my shop the last couple of weeks, so now it's time to work for my boys  ;) I am planning to make Tiramisu for Christmas.

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas!

With love,

Allie

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Carols and Market



So as we announced previously, we had a market stall at the Christmas Carols at Sts Peter and Paul in South Melbourne on Sunday. It was their first attempt at having stalls at the Carols and we were told not to expect too much (we know the people there very well), but it was really wonderful night!

Paul’s parents also had a stall there for their charity so we decided to take Nico with us. Setting up stall with a 1 year old boy running around wasn’t easy. Paul and his parents looked after Nico in turn. It lasted until 8.30pm but Nico was being such a great boy, enjoying all the music and clapping his hands.

my lovely helpers -Nico in Japanese jinbei


Except for nuno and stitch, all the other stalls were charity based, so I felt a bit bad, but the people gathered there were so nice and told me how much they liked my products. Thanks Sts Peter and Paul for having us there and for the wonderful night. The singing was really lovely!



And tomorrow, we’ll have another stall (it will be the last stall of this year) at Mulgrave Twilight Market. It’s a "handmade products only" market...the “nuno and stitch production line” is still in progress. There will be lots of food, lovely stalls and Santa Claus will be there, so come and have some fun!

With love,

Allie



Monday, 21 December 2015

My favorite things - Ghibli

 

 
Have you ever watched studio Ghibli’s animations? If you haven’t you’re missing something! "Animations" sounds like they might only be for kids, but they're really great for adults too.
 

I grew up with Ghibli and don’t remember how many times I watched "Totoro". I love the Japanese countryside scenery in Totoro. I never lived there, but it made me feel nostalgic somehow. In Totoro, Miyazaki (Director) probably describes the times my parents grew up. Satsuki and Mei (two of the characters) pick cucumbers and tomatoes from a farm and cool them in a cold stream to eat as a snack. No fridge, no lollies. Kids these days might find it funny, but I think it’s so nice. (You can also see they're using TENUGUI in many different ways in Totoro!) This story about two sisters also always reminds me of my childhood with my big sister. My big sister was a bit bossy, but caring like Satsuki and I was just a carefree little kid like Mei. We sometimes had fights a lot but also lots of fun together.


Miyazaki doesn’t say much about the inspiration of some of the places in his films but many Ghibli fans think some of them slightly based on places in Australia because Australia is Miyazaki’s favourite country.

 
For example

Bakery (Kiki)  - Tasmania

Tower Clock (Kiki) –Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Forest and Rocks (Princess Mononoke) – Grampians

The Valley of  Wind (Nausicaa) – Mount Olga, Alice Springs

Porco’s secret base (Porco Rosso) – Great Ocean Road

 

It’s very difficult to choose one favourite from Ghibli but “Whisper of the heart” is definitely one of my special movies, because the town it depicts is my hometown ‘Tama’.

 

I also found a very nice blog showing all the different places. This person actually visited my hometown: http://japan08.blogspot.com.au/2011/03/day-12-part-8-seiseki-sakuragaoka.html  

 

In “Whisper of the heart”, there are also two sisters (again just like my sister and me.) Their father works at a library and their little apartment is  filled with books. My otousan (dad) is not a librarian – he was an university professor - but our home was (and still is) full of books just like their home. I used to like writing stories just like the main character Shizuku. All the small conversations reminds me of my childhood. The only difference is that I didn’t have a boyfriend making violins!
 

The newer Ghibli movies are nice too, but Nausicca, Laputa, Totoro and KIki are four classics. If you’re wondering where to start, I recommend Laputa, because it’s full of adventure, a bit like Indiana Jones.
 

My auntie bought a super cute Totoro backpack for Nico when we went to Japan in June. At that time, Nico was too young for a backpack so we kept it and we’re planning to give it to him for Christmas. Just to make sure he knew Totoro before he received it, we started showing him Totoro about a month ago, and now he loves watching Totoro!! I guess he likes the music too because that was his lullaby when he was a tiny little baby. Paul and I sang it again and again until he went to sleep.
 
 

 

What is your favourite Ghibli movie? Why do you like it? It’ll be interesting to know what other people like!

 

With love,

Allie


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

getting ready for another market..


Hello everyone. I haven’t done any proper blog posts lately… I’ve been busy with the “nuno and stitch production line” :P We had market stalls at Glen Waverley South Primary School and Belgrave South Community Market so far, and some of the fellow stall holders recommended to me to go to the Mulgrave Makers Market. Luckily my application for the market was accepted, but there’s one thing I need to prepare a lot for - I’m allowed to sell only handmade (by myself) products there!

 
 
 

I already had handmade goods like lampshades and CHAIR Zabuton, but they’re not enough. So I’m making makeup bags I sold at Belgrave South Market and some cushions using our favourite sashiko Furoshiki. 

 
 
When I started nuno and stitch, I wanted to have my handmade range but it was almost impossible. Firstly, I didn’t have enough time. I was busy enough with updating my blog, Facebook, the website, sending emails to wholesale shops, and of course looking after my boy(s) and our house.

Secondly, I thought I couldn’t use my sewing machine while Nico’s sleeping. Most of my work is done while his sleep. Nico was pretty sensitive with sounds.  
 
 

But now I’m kind of "forced" to make more stuff to sell. Now I use the sewing machine even if my boy is sleeping. Sometimes I’m doing it until 1am and have to get up for feeding at 3am. It’s not easy, but I’m actually enjoying it. I’m a very clumsy person but I love making things!  

 

With sewing and other stuff, my home office became a kind of chaos. It’s not really comfortable to work in a space like this.. Hopefully I can clean this room before Christmas comes..

 

 

If you’re interested buying my handmade products, please visit us at Mulgrave Twilight Market. We use beautiful Furoshiki and TENUGUI fabrics for our handmade line. 

 

Mulgrave Twilight Market

Cnr of Jackson & Wellington Rd

Dec 23 rd 5-8pm

 

Hope to see you there!
 

With love,

Allie 


Thursday, 10 December 2015

New colours and patterns for CHAIR Zabuton



We have new colours and patterns for our CHAIR Zabuton. It's great, colourful and comfy Christmas gift for the home, work, the kids, friends and family. Great for everyone!

http://www.nunoandstitch.com.au/zabuton



Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Mihoko Seki Small Envelopes


In Japan, people use small envelopes called pochi-bukuro (literally, "tip bags") when they give money to someone. Our small envelops are "tip bags", but they can be used for heaps of things. One of our customers told us that she'd use these to give someone plant seeds as a present. Wow! We never thought about it. We love people get different inspiration from our products ;)

nuno and stitch stationery



Friday, 4 December 2015

Sweet home project 5 -private sales and crazy auctions‏

Stories before this



Sweet home project 1 buying an apartment in St Kilda East


Sweet home project 2 choosing an agent to sell the St Kilda East apartment


Sweet home project3   selling an apartment

Sweet home project 4 – endless inspections



When we were looking for a house around Heathmont, we noticed that “Private Sales” were more popular than "Auctions" in this area. We thought that an "Auction" was like a competition with other buyers and a "Private Sale" was just a negotiation with the vendor, so the latter seemed more peaceful and we thought we might be able to get a good price. But after a couple of trials, we realized that Private Sales are often much trickier than Auctions and that greedy agents (just kidding...kinda) can still use their tactics to get high prices - although when we were selling our apartment, we would have loved a high price!

We came to realise that Private Sales aren't so much a negotiation with the vendor, but a competition of secret (or are they sometimes even imaginative?) competitors. One place we saw was advertised as ‘500K plus’. We knew that the vendor, as a general rule, wanted at least 10% on top of the 500K (which means 550k) so we tried to put in an offer of 560k. When we called up the agent, we didn’t have to say the price on the spot. Instead she asked us to come to the office and put in our "official" offer. Paul finished his work early and we went to the agent together on Monday evening.



The agent told us some people came in to put in offer already and she was expecting a couple more after us. She explained how it works and told us we needed to put deposit of $1000 for the offer. We didn’t bring our check, so she said we could transfer the money that night and if we weren't successful she’d refund our money.

‘So…how much?’ she got into the point. Then we told her our offer was 560k.

Suddenly she changed her attitude a little bit and said “Well if you like, I can wait until tomorrow for you to put the deposit in. You will find out the result tonight.” I could tell that our offer was not good enough for her to bother taking our deposit and refunding it.

In the end, we found out that this house sold for 620K. Since it was a private sale, we couldn’t know what all the other people’s offers were, so the second highest offer could have been 570K and this successful buyer might have paid 50k extra. We'll never know. At an auction, at least you know for sure the second highest bid.

I know at auctions, people can get carried away and pay more than what they can afford, but still there’s the possibility that you can get a good price if there’s no other strong competitors. But for private sales, there’s no second chance, so you have to guess what the other people’s offers are going to be and make up your mind. Not too low but not too high, if you really want to get that place, you have to just put in the maximum offer you can afford.

We went to a funny auction too. This 3BR house in Ringwood was advertised as “430k plus”. By that time, we knew that the theory of 10% plus wasn't really working anymore and that the price would be 15%-20% plus, which we thought meant 495k-516k. When we got there, there were literally hundreds of people. A TV crew were even there, as well as a South American music band – it was almost like a street festival. Although their third bedroom was a bit weird (it looked like they changed the dining space in the kitchen into a bed room) and there were couple of cracks on outside wall bricks, we thought that house was okay if we could get it at a good price, because it had a big backyard. But the bidding price went up quickly over our budget. When it reached 600K, we started to think it’s funny because we thought it wasn't worth anywhere near that much with all those negative parts. In the end, they sold that place at 880K!!! Oh well…we just thought it was crazy.



This was the time we started to think that we wouldn’t be able to afford 3BR house in Ringwood/Heathmont area. We saw so many houses around there and saw same agents many times. After we put in some offers for private sales, agents started to know our "real" budget and somehow we felt like they were thinking we’re losers…



Next time, I will write how we finally found "our place".



With love,

Allie

Monday, 30 November 2015

Our favourite Melbourne - Bibelot (Chez Dré)

One of our favourite pastry shops in Melbourne is Chez Dré in South Melbourne. They make beautiful French style pastries. 




When we were deciding a cake for our wedding, we thought we didn't want a massive  icing cake which costs $$$$. The wedding industry is funny...even if it's the same cake, if you say "Birthday cake", that's $60 and if you say "Wedding cake" it's $600. 

Bibelot



We wanted a really yummy cake which our guests would enjoy. Then we went to the 'famous' Chez Dré and ordered their bigger cake, which was priced pretty normal. We asked for a little plaque "Paul and Allie" and just in case we didn't say that it was for our wedding ;) We ordered another cake from there too for our friend, whose birthday was on our wedding day and we got a plaque saying "Happy birthday ***" .

Bibelot



A couple days before the wedding, Paul called them up and checked the order and they said "You ordered two cakes, one says "Happy Birthday ***" and another says "Happy Birthday Paul and Allie" "! I'm so glad we double checked our order beforehand. Paul explained to the shop after all that it was actually for our wedding (they didn't charge us extra!) and we got the right plaque for our wedding day. 

our wedding cake!



On our wedding anniversary, we went to Chez Dré to get lovely cakes again, but we were surprised that they didn't have much of a selection any more. They just had tarts and breads..Although we were a bit shocked, just in case we asked the shop staff if that's all they had. And then they told us that their pastry section is now a separate shop called "bibelot" and it's next door! We were too busy with parenting to catch up with Melbourne trends...it must be famous by now but we didn't know that.

cakes we got from Bibelot



Well for those who are not really catching up with the latest trends, I'm sharing this info here;-)

Don't get disappointed at Chez Dré, just go next door.

Bibelot 
285–287 Coventry Street, South Melbourne 


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Self-esteem for mums



Recently I had a little crisis of my self-esteem and I wanted to share the experience with you today because I thought some of you might have had (or are still having) the same problem. Even guys can experience this too I guess.

Ever since I graduated from uni at age of 21, I kept working without a break. When I was in Japan, I lived with my parents, but after I moved to Australia, I couldn’t rely on anyone, so I made a living for myself. I always worried about becoming sick or losing my job.

My mum kept telling me since I was younger that I’d better have a job and my own money even after I got married. She had a little marriage crisis with my dad (they are fine now!!) but because she didn’t work after marriage, she couldn’t get any high paying job and had to rely on my dad financially. That’s why she thought women should be financially independent all the time. After the crisis, she studied hard and got a medical office work certificate and worked for a clinic for long time. Now she’s enjoying travelling around the world.

I liked my job and having my own money, so I was happy to continue it when I got married but I had to stop working when I got pregnant…my maternity leave started a month before my due date.

Then soon after I got back to my work (Nico was only 4 months old), I lost my job. Although I started my business soon after that, I was just spending my savings to set up my business and couldn’t actually contribute to my family financially. In Japan we often say that “he who does not work, neither shall he eat”. I was working, but not getting money so I felt bad about eating with Paul’s salary.

I know Paul doesn’t mind at all and many housewives do that, but I just wasn’t used to it. When I was working, I could also keep some of my own money for myself, so I could often buy Paul a cup of coffee or nice treat, a lovely Christmas present and Birthday present, but now I can’t do much of those stuff. That makes me a bit depressed.

Timewise, I couldn’t spend my time for myself either and that gave my self-esteem a bit of damage too. Doing my own business, looking after Nico and taking care of the house work at the same time never gave me time to look after myself. When I go to the supermarket with Nico, I always have bed hair and wear T-shirts and pants which Nico touched with his dirty hands. I don’t really have time to iron my lovely blouse. I don’t have time to put lipstick or contact lenses on.

When I see a mirror or window, I just think “who is this miserable lady?” Probably this is what Paul is thinking too...haha. It’s too different from someone who he got married 3 years ago - I always wore my makeup, nail polish and dressed up nicely.  But Paul is so nice and he always says “you look beautiful no matter what”. Well I know I don’t look beautiful with bed hair at all, so that only makes me doubt that all the lovely words he’s saying are just out of consideration...although I think he really means it - I think he’d better see an eye doctor!

I lost all my confidence. I started to think Nico must be pretty unhappy with this terrible looking mum and Paul better find a new beautiful wife. I’m not really contributing anything to my family and just eating food from our money.  I just hated myself.


Well…how did I got recovered from that point? Of course with my family’s support and encouragement. Paul said to me that if being a mother is a job, it has to be one of the most high-paying jobs and that’s how I’m contributing to my family. And then I could change my thought like this: “Well.. although I’m not making any money, we don’t have to pay $50 a day for childcare fee, so it’s same as I’m making $250 pw. It’s not zero at least! And being able to spend time with Nico is priceless.“  I know how working mums struggle too, this way of thinking just helps me feel more positive about my own situation.


About my miserable appearance? Well I try to look nicer on the weekend when Paul can look after Nico too, but on weekdays I just decided not to care much. I just don’t have time to feel depressed. No matter if I’m feeling down or up, the battle with new dirty dishes, clothes, nappies and hungry boys come. The most important thing is that I’m actually happier now than those times when I could spend all the time for myself and dress up nicely. Next time when I see myself miserable in mirror, I will just think “She’s trying so hard for her family!”


I hope this entry helps some mums (and even dads) thinking the same way - as parents, you're all doing something amazing!



With love,

Allie




Tuesday, 24 November 2015

New items: Fun Sticky Notes



Take a look at these colourful fun sticky notes. These will make your travel planning extra fun! Or you can make your work/study a bit more enjoyable;)

So many uses, all of them fun.

Price range $4.95-$6.60
See the products : http://bit.ly/1Nope6I






Monday, 23 November 2015

3 years ago today


3 years ago today, Paul and I got married. We're still not marriage experts and are still learning how to be a good wife, how to be a good husband. Paul sometimes gets upset with me because I don't listen to what he's saying until he finishes his sentence. I sometimes get upset with him because he keeps playing games in bed without getting ready. We sometimes have silly arguments at Bunnings. But we love being together and spending time together. We never wanted a break from each other. (Our ultimate dream is to work together so that we can stay together for 24 hours a day!) Sounds weird? Haha...I know. Many married couples want some kind of break from each other sometimes. We want to stay together all the time, not only because we're loving each other, but we really are best friends. You know when you hang around with your besties, the time really flies? It's just like that.



Today, we're planning to go to South Melbourne, where we got married. The restaurant we had our reception at is under renovation now so we'll have lunch at our favourite cafe and visit the church where we got married. We're so excited about going there with our son Nico! Well, it's our wedding anniversary, so we could have asked Paul's parents to look after Nico so that just the two of us could spend some time together, but oh we looooooove spending time with that little guy sooooo much! Now when we think about "us" time, that definitely includes Nico, because we're family.

Hope everyone has a lovely day today!

With love,
Allie

Friday, 20 November 2015

FilmNeverDie

Last weekend we caught the train and went to the city to meet our photographer friend Wei Wei. She took several polaroid photos at Nico's birthday party, so we were going to pick them and the USB up from "FilmNeverDie", Wei Wei's partner's (Gary) film shop.
 





Look at these lovely polaroid photos!

 



We loved her digital photos too but these are really special. What film can do is really amazing. "Capturing a moment." I especially loved this photo of Nico and his grandpa. These smiles are priceless.




Gary's shop sells heaps of different kinds of films and retro polaroid machines. They had a shop in Parkville, but recently got this pop-up space on Bourke St. They share a space with MAGNET Galleries and there's a lovely, light-filled communal space. Gary also has a cool espresso machine in his little shop, so after you get your film, you can just relax with coffee and chat with people who love photography, cameras and films in this space!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What I found is that his shop is not just a "shop", but a "place" to connect people who love photography. You can just hang around there for ages. They run a photo walk too (the most recent one was 'city rooftop walk' - sounds like fun?).

Aww, they brought my love of photography back again. I used to carry my camera with me everywhere, but what I'm carrying now is nappies and baby wipes. Being a parent is pretty busy, but I'd love to capture our precious moments more. 





Thanks Gary and Wei Wei for such a wonderful time. They have hearts of gold and made us really happy. Nico often cries with new people but he was so comfortable with them and laughed a lot. That made us happy again.

FilmNeverDie Café 
Level 2, 640 Bourke St, Melbourne
 Mon-Fri : 8-6, Sat & Sun : 11-6  
 
With love,
Allie

 



Thursday, 19 November 2015

Register now and get a 10%off discount code!


Register our monthly news letter now! You will get a 10% off discount code for Christmas gifts with the November issue, out tomorrow:-)


Sign up here
http://eepurl.com/bzHkdT

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

New items: Christmas TENUGUI and Fireworks TENUGUI



New items: Get ready for the festive season! These are lovely for wall decorations and table runners. Create a theme in your home that is sure to impress your guests. After the festivities, it’s great to be able to fold these away and and put them in your drawer - that doesn’t take up space wink emoticon

Holy Night $24.20

Christmas Ornaments $24.20



Friday, 13 November 2015

My favourite things – Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi is my all-time favourite artist and I just adore his talent! He’s got a Japanese name but he was actually American. (His dad was Japanese.) If you love mid-century furniture, you might know some of his mass production items like the Noguchi Table or Akari, but in fact he was more of a sculptor.

artnouveauenfrance - Isamu Noguchi, Coffee table, 1959


I got to know about this artist when I was working in Tokyo. I used to catch trains to go to work and one day, I saw a poster for his exhibition in the train. I always felt exhausted from my work in those days and usually didn’t feel like doing anything on the weekend, but when I saw the image of his “Energy Void” and himself , I felt a strong power and had to go to the exhibition.



The exhibition was really wonderful and I just fell in love with all his work. I always adore something Japanese that's mixed with Western things, but when western artists try to do something like that, sometimes their Japanese images are biased – for me, like the movie “Kill Bill”. But Noguchi did it very well.

His life was quite interesting too. He had a hard time as Japanese American around World War 2. He once had an affair with the famous artist, Frida Kahlo. But I like this episode about him and designer George Nelson’s famous iconic ball clock.



George Nelson recalls:

And there was one night when the ball clock got developed, which was one of the really funny evenings. Noguchi came by, and Bucky Fuller came by. I’d been seeing a lot of Bucky those days, and here was Irving and here was I, and Noguchi, who can’t keep his hands off anything, you know- it is a marvelous, itchy thing he’s got- he saw we were working on clocks and he started making doodles. Then Bucky sort of brushed Isamu aside. He said, this is a good way to do a clock, and he made some utterly absurd thing. Everybody was taking a crack at this, pushing each other aside and making scribbles.

At some point we left- we were suddenly all tired, and we had a little bit too much to drink- and the next morning I came back, and here was this roll (of drafting paper), and Irving and I looked at it, and somewhere in this roll there was a ball clock. I don’t know to this day who cooked it up. I know it wasn’t me. It might have been Irving, but he did’t think so-(we) both guessed that Isamu had probably done it because (he) has a genius for doing two stupid things and making something extraordinary.
George Nelson: The Design of Modern Design; p.111

Noguchi is just like this episode. His work is just beyond the ordinary people’s imagination, his talent is a real “gift” from God. He was often told that he was too advanced for the times to catch up, but I think the time still hasn’t caught up with the work he did almost 50 years ago.



There are so many places all over the world on my wish list to visit his work, but the top 2 are the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum in Takamatsu and Moerenuma Park in Sapporo, which Noguchi designed just before he died.

My good friend Riki, who is a tour guide of Riki’s Tours Japan, took his Aussie group to the Noguchi Garden Museum just recently and I saw it on Facebook. I was soooooooo jealous! After reading this, you might visit there (with Riki’s Tour?) before I make it and if you do, I’d still be jealous, but also so happy if you become interested in this wonderful artist from this blog entry. 



With love,

Allie





Monday, 9 November 2015

Sweet home project 4 – endless inspections

Stories before this


Sweet home project 1 buying an apartment in St Kilda East


Sweet home project 2 choosing an agent to sell the St Kilda East apartment


Sweet home project3   selling an apartment


Paul and I got married in November in 2012. Ever since then, we kind of started to look for a house. I grew up in a two-storey town house with a small backyard, front yard and sideway in Tokyo. My otousan (dad) looked after the garden but it looked like a chaos, at least for me, and I knew I’m not good at looking after plants anyway (I just don’t bother water them and then they die soon…poor things!) So I felt that if we couldn't afford a house, I was okay with an apartment. But for Paul, the idea of a "dream house" was a place with a decent size of yard. He grew up in a big house with a big backyard (typical Aussie home!) and his parents have lovely vegie patch and their garden always looks neat.


Well, I definitely didn't hate the idea of living in a house, as long as we can afford it, so we kind of decided that we want a 3BR house. It’s good to have 3 bed rooms because we might have 2 kids in the future. Even if we don’t, it’s good to have an extra room for guests from Japan (especially my mum.) We were pretty happy with our St Kilda East apartment before we had Nico, so we weren’t that serious about trying to find a place quickly. We just occasionally checked realestate.com.au and when there was something interesting, we went to the inspection for fun.


We thought it’s nice to live close to Paul’s family in Mount Waverley, but Mount Waverley was becoming one of the most expensive suburbs because of the high-ranked public school. Then we found this area called Clarinda (near Clayton) which is about 15 mins by drive from Mount Waverley and where the houses were still affordable. In 2012-2013, a 3BR house in a big block of land was around 500k there. Because of the land size, we thought we could build one more house in the backyard and sell or share the land with a friend or someone from Paul's family and build two new units. We weren’t ready to buy yet, but we went to a couple of auctions too. We saw at least 15 houses around this area over around 6 months. During that time, while we weren't that serious, the prices went up so quickly and we started to doubt if we could afford a house in Clarinda. That was the time we found our little Nico was in my tummy.


Then, as I wrote in Sweet home project 2, we decided to sell our apartment first and rent from Paul’s parents temporarily while we were getting ready to welcome our baby.


Once we started to settle in our new life with Nico, we started looking for our house again. Our first inspection after Nico was born was when he was 2 months old and my mum was there. Paul found a new area called Heathmont near Ringwood which was still affordable at the end of 2014. That suburb was a bit farther from the City and Paul’s work, but it’s still 15 mins drive from Mt Waverley and quite handy with express trains from Ringwood and a big shopping centre nearby.

inspections with little Nico



The first house we saw there was a lovely mid-century style house with a big backyard. The inside of the house was very very old, but it had some potential. It had a big front yard too, but they were selling the front yard separately and we couldn't know what kind of house would be built there.


My mum went to the inspection with us and I could tell that she was a bit shocked by how old the house was and how rubbishy it looked. By that time I had gotten used to looking these old houses in Australia and when I inspected them, I didn’t think about living there unchanged and was really just looking at the parts we couldn't change, like the structure of the house or location. But my poor mum, she didn’t really understand - in Japan, when people get married, they usually buy land and build a new home. Usually they'll never sell it and will continue to live in one "family house" for a long time. Once they pass away, their kids live in the house. (These days, many people buy a high rise apartment though!)


Looking around at houses with a newborn baby wasn’t easy. He was often sleeping in the car and one of us had to stay in the car with him. I often had to make formula in a moving car and try to cool it down while Nico was crying so hard. We sometimes had to change his dirty nappy in our car or on the nature strip too! We went to Heathmont almost every weekend and had 2 or 3 inspections each time. It was quite tiring.


Well this is becoming a long story (and felt long for us at the time), so I will share some interesting stories about inspections and auctions next time.


With love,


Allie

Friday, 6 November 2015

Photo present for Nico

Today I'm so happy to share our Nico's First Birthday photos taken by a professional photographer, Wei Wei. She's our friend from years ago. Paul and I met Wei Wei for the first time soon after we met each other and we weren't even dating! (Actually the day we met Wei Wei, Paul gave me a lift to my apartment for the first time!)

It was at that time that she just came to Australia to stay with her boyfriend and to study photography. We didn't see her much for the last 4 years, and during the time, she became a professional photographer and we got married and became parents.

I occasionally saw her lovely photos on Facebook or her blog and kept thinking to ask her to take Nico's photo someday. Then this special occasion came along...Nico's first birthday. When I checked her website, I was pretty surprised how reasonable the cost is for her to photo shoot for parties. A styled photo shoot involves a bit more cost and effort, but just asking her to come to our party and take photos was something we could afford. After seeing her photos now, I think she should have charged us more, but we're so happy that we could have her at our special boy's first birthday.

As I mentioned in my blog entry about Nico's First Birthday party, having a photographer at the party was the best choice we made (and not any photographer, but Wei Wei!) We were too busy to take photos and if she wasn't there, I'm sure we wouldn't have any photos. My sister-in-law Maria had her son's first birthday 6 months ago and she said she didn't have any photos (except for the ones her friends or family took) and she regretted a little that she didn't have a photographer.

If you have your kid's first birthday soon, I do recommend to get a photographer. It's much better than buying expensive toys! Your child will get heaps of toys from other family or friends, but they won't remember his/her first birthday, so being able to keep lovely memories in photos for them is really great.

Am I writing for too long??? Ok, ok..now I'll share the photos!




All the editing is done by Wei Wei.






Nico wore a bow tie from nuno and stitch!



 
 





Here is Wei Wei's details

her website http://www.aweiding.com/
blog http://hernameisweiwei.blogspot.com.au/

I'm sure Nico will love these photos in the future too!

With love,
Allie

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

3 month turning point

 
 
 


Soon it’ll be the 3 month anniversary of my shop “nuno and stitch”. When I started my blog, I wrote that I’d share my struggles and excitement for opening the shop in this blog, so I’ll be honest. At the moment when someone asks me “ how is your business going?”, I can't really say “it’s great!!!” so far.
 
Everyone knows that starting business is not easy so I shouldn’t be discouraged I guess. When I decided to start this business, I didn’t expect to be able to sell anything in the first 3 months, so it’s great that someone already bought something from my shop (even if they are my friends and family!) or left comments on my blog, or liked us on Facebook. 
 
But after 3 months, I feel like I probably need to start seeing some improvements in my business, so that I can say I’m going in the right direction. If not, I might need to change something, or stop what I’m doing (when to stop is always important!) .
 
Some of you might have seen my ad on The Design Files (it's Australia’s most popular design blog), but I’m hoping that this will take us to a new stage. It was quite a big decision for me to advertise my shop on a famous blog, but Paul convinced me that my business is worth making this big (at least for me ‘very big’) investment. I’m pretty nervous about whether I will get any reaction from this ad… maybe not even an instant reaction, but some future reaction in next 3 or 6 or 12 months. It’s a bit like getting the marks for my exam. 
 
Many people give up their business at this early stage because it’s unbearably insecure and uncertain. When you’re climbing a mountain, you can’t see what is over the mountain. I feel like I can still keep going not because I can see something promising but I have a strong support from my family (especially from my husband Paul) who always make me feel a bit more positive about my business. 
 
 
Thanks everyone for supporting nuno and stitch for the last three months. I will keep trying my best so that hopefully I can say big thanks again on our 1st year anniversary!  
 
 
With love,
Allie
 
 
 


Monday, 2 November 2015

New item: TORINOKO napkin



This lovely, handy size napkin is great for wrapping, covering or for your own sewing projects like cushion, kids’ clothes, or whatever you want!

sheep (red)
sheep (blue) 
lion mountain
lion mountain (night)


Friday, 30 October 2015

Herringbone weaving gauze towel scarf



New items: Herringbone weaving gauze towel scarf in black, blue and natural. Our popular herringbone weaving gauze range also comes as a scarf now. It's so soft and comfy! It's 100% cotton, so you can use this all year round. Of course, it's versatile, so you can use this as a towel too.

<black>

<blue>

<natural>

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

My favourite things- ReTree‏



When I got married, I thought it would be nice to have a Christmas tree. I had a few Christmas decorations before, but I had the feeling that Christmas Trees were only for family.

 
 
I wasn't really interested in a traditional Christmas Tree though. It looks so wintery and takes up so much spaces even in a box. However, I wasn't interested in a summer white Christmas tree, which are quite popular in Australia, either. These could be just a trend and become dated. I was looking for something we both can love for a long time.



Then I found this ReTree in San Francisco and fell in love. Originally they didn't have an international shipping option and when I asked, they checked the price and told me the shipping to Australia would cost around $400 (by international courier service) . NO WAY!



But the shop owner was very helpful and when I found a cheaper shipping option (United States Postal Service 'Priority Mail International' , which was around $60), she went to all the trouble of lining up in the long queue, double checking the price and going back there to send it. Because I was her first international customer, she didn't even charge me the handling fee.
Nico was only 2 month old in December last year



So my Christmas Tree came all the way from San Francisco. I love this because it's so simple and easy to match with the rest of our interior and we can use it all year round. We've got some little ornaments already, but it'll be nice to collect some other special ones little by little. I'm sure Nico will love our special unique Christmas tree.



With love,

Allie



Tuesday, 27 October 2015

INBAN owl bowls

 
We've got some new products for Girls With Style Ladies Night ! We don't usually sell Japanese tableware online because it's a bit fragile and difficult to handle, but just for this market stall, we've got these lovely owl bowls.

They are made by using Japanese traditional transferware technique called 'INBAN". Unlike machine printed tableware, some parts are faded or uneven because it's all done by hand, but if you can appreciate the beauty of imperfection (wabi sabi) , this is really great! We have 5 only in our stock, so be quick!



Monday, 26 October 2015

Sweet home project 3 – selling an apartment‏


 
 
In the story of Sweet home project 2, I wrote about how we chose the agent to sell our St Kilda East apartment.
 
 
So now we got an agent…what’s next?
 
The agent told us that the photographer would come and take photos of our apartment, but we still had some time. We had large, lovely wooden frame windows in the lounge and bedroom and that was the great feature, so we decided to sand and oil them to make them look nicer. They had started to get a little bit old and stained over the years.
 
Paul’s parents came to help us. They also helped with a couple of other parts, like fixing up a rotten kitchen window frame and painting the communal corridor wall and our front door, of which some parts were peeled off. They even cleaned the windows from outside (our apartment was 2ndfloor, so it wasn’t easy!!!)
 
Also Paul’s sister Maria came to the apartment and gave us some good advice about the interior (she does this for her work.. SEE here! ). We moved our furniture so that the room would look bigger. We even took out some of our stuff to Paul’s parents’ place temporarily. Living in a showroom-like home was sometimes inconvenient, but it was only for a couple of months, so we decided to do that.
 
We had inspections on both Saturday and Sunday, because St Kilda East has a large number of Jewish people, who may prefer Sunday inspections. The first Saturday inspection was a bit of fun for us - we were a bit excited to leave home and have a cup of coffee at neighbourhood café. But soon it became a bit annoying. We had to wake up early every weekend and keep our home tidy. Besides this, not many people were coming through. On the first weekend we had 5 groups and on the second weekend, 3 groups came. And the condition of our apartment was really good! A sparkling kitchen with marble benchtop, light-filled lounge, beautiful carpets (we didn’t wear shoes at home), close to station and shops, secure small block apartment, top floor...you name it, we had everything! Haha, maybe I sounds like I'm still trying to "sell" it, but we just didn’t understand why people weren’t coming.  Maybe the timing wasn’t that good, but we couldn’t wait until spring because we wouldn’t be able to move out just before my due date.

When we started worry that we might not sell at the auction, the agent told us that there was one person who was pretty keen to buy our apartment. She was a young girl who had some financial support from her parents and she really liked how we lived in the apartment. She even liked all our furniture!  The agent said she wanted to put in an offer before the auction, but if we didn't make a decision quickly she’d go to the other auction next weekend. Is that a tactic for buyers that make vendor feel nervous about that they’d not come back to buy at the auction? We weren't not sure, but the agent said this was a pretty good opportunity, especially since we weren't getting many people interested.
 
We were ready to accept an offer, but hers was a bit low. We were trying not to be greedy, but at least we wanted to get a similar price to what I paid 4 years ago. The agent understood our situation and tried his best - in the end, he got the price which was a bit better than we expected (it wasn’t as good as we first planned though!). The price was actually a couple of thousand dollars lower than the price I bought it for, but over those 4 years I also didn’t have to pay rent to someone else, so in the end we thought it was alright.
 
So we sold our little 1BR apartment in May in 2014 and moved out in July, which was 3 months before my due date. We were very emotional about moving out of our favourite place, but we got a lovely 3 BR and study house to rent from Paul’s parents and were excited about getting a room ready for little Nico, so it wasn’t too bad.
 
We really loved living in St Kilda East. Whenever Paul explained to someone we lived in St Kilda, I was a little upset because St Kilda East is completely different from what you imagine from just “St Kilda”. We really loved the little shops on Carlisle Street, including a great Jewish Bagel shop and a funny, old fashioned video shop with a huge selection. We also really loved the old beautiful building of St Mary’s church and hearing the bell from our apartment. When we get old and if we want to downsize our home, we might go back to this our favourite area again ;-)
Next time, I will write about how we got our new place!
 
With love,


Thursday, 22 October 2015

Mihoko Seki Collection



New Arrival: Mihoko Seki Collection
Mihoko Seki is a stencil dyeing (Katazome) artist. Katazome is a traditional Japanese stencil technique for dying fabric and paper. She designs things from matchbox labels, to Kimono, Kimono sash belts, food packaging and stationery. The world she creates is somehow nostalgic and fairytale like. We have 3 new designs for TENUGUI in two different colours!

bottle (purple)
play of the village (brown)
no sense of direction (Asagi)

We also have some of her other items, like stationery and baby bibs.
See our Mihoko Seki Collection here!

http://www.nunoandstitch.com.au/mihokoseki



woth love,
Allie


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

My favourite things-Baby Journal by Write to Me stationery



On Valentine’s Day in 2014, Paul gave me this baby journal. We found out that we were having a baby just before the Valentine’s Day, so it was a wonderful present. We started to fill in some parts even before Nico was born and since he was born, every month we sat down together and wrote things down about the Nico’s growth. 

 
I love this journal not only because the design is cute, but the content is unique. For example, there’s a page you can write about things that happened in the year the baby was born, like the prime minister, petrol price, AFL grand final winner. It will be interesting to see this page in the future! 


 

We put this journal on the table at the Nico’s 1st birthday party, so that all guest could see how Nico has grown. Some of our friends were surprised that we had the energy and time to fill in all the pages…honestly it wasn’t easy, but we enjoyed thinking about our little guy after he went to sleep and thought about all the memories we got from the month.

This is a 5 year journal, so we will continue to fill the pages for next 4 years, but after his 1stbirthday, we don’t have to fill it in every month, just every year. We already decided to give this to Nico on his 12th birthday just before he becomes a teen. We're hoping that he will know how much we loved him from this journal and that fact will help him through some difficulties before he becomes an adult.

 

With love,

Allie