A Glammed up Garage Sale

The Elm Tree has been approved and we will be moving into our Pop Up space on September 20... so after furnishing it and prettifying all the wonderful stock people are bringing in to sell we will be opening for business before the end of September!

Pretty awesome news!!

With all the time that we have leading up to getting our space we have been furiously making things and being creative and all of that good stuff. (Never mind the bank stuff and stressful side of the whole thing) The Elm Tree as a brand is coming together pretty well and to celebrate and launch the things that we will be selling in the store ourselves we have gathered together a few friends and will be hosting a mega glam garage sale in North Parramatta on Saturday August 31.

It seems a bit pretentious of me to call it a brand launch - but I won't deny that I am ridiculously excited about the thought of spending time with some very awesome ladies and chatting and making things and listening to nice music and visiting with the people who come (you'll be there I'm sure) 

I will be selling my art and various other things that I have made (that also have my art on them) like notebooks and quilts (I'm still figuring out this whole quilting thing so we'll see if they make it on the day)
My sister Reina and her husband (who is a pretty talented wood worker) have been putting their minds together to bring to life all the sketches that she has in her sketch book with wooden ladders (the designer home-ware kind) and candle centrepieces and a whole heap of beach style home-wares.
Jess will be baking up a storm and catering for even the gluten intolerant among us (pre-orders will be available soon!)
Katie (my business partner in the store) has been testing out her craft skills on a range of baby gear - from onesies to booties.
McKenzie (who will also be working with us in the shop) is a talented artist who has turned her hand to sewing and is just as talented at that! McKenzie is also a wonderful musician (because she doesn't have enough talents!!) and has performed numerous times in Parramatta and I'm sure we can expect to hear her lovely music as well as seeing her other creations on the day.
A lot of my friends already have children who I've seen wearing Zana's unique skirts, but you'll also be able to pick up a one of a kind design from her on Saturday too!!

So spread the word and hit up the ATM before coming to visit us.
It's close by Parramatta Lake, so make a day of it why don't you and enjoy our little neighbourhood.

See you then!!

My family.

On the morning that we were to get our photos taken by Analiese (from *Dimples* by AnalieseJane) Ronin fell onto his face and bruised his cheek.
Can you tell?

Analiese's photos have basically confirmed two things that I pretty much already knew.
1. She is an awesome photographer with some leet photoshop bruise removing skills.
2. I have adorable children!

 See? So cute. (If only this were a perpetual reality because they were both little nut cases today...)

I actually really dislike having my photo taken partly because of the regular boring reasons (wah wah my eyes are crooked blah blah) and partly because I think that I look especially stupid in posey photos.

These photos weren't like that. With occasional guidance (lighting and composition ideas) Analiese just took photos of us being a family and when Ky decided that he wanted certain photos of him with his boys she was more than happy to oblige.

 (Fun fact: Ronin is eating grass in the photo on the left and is shoving a flower in his mouth in the photo on the right... Just keeping it real)

The turn over between getting the photos taken and getting the link to the online gallery of our work was fast, and I was SO happy with the photos that she chose to send us. Especially because she sent through the photos of us being real as well as the ones of us being atypically (comparatively) good looking.

I love this photo... (that green colour in the back? One of my favourite colours in the world)

And I love this photo even more... because this is basically the story of my life. Kyle laughing at something (probably something that he said himself) and me looking at him just like that.

It's REAL!
I suppose that's the take home message.

Photography is awesome because it captures real moments that are worthy of remembering - and I love those real, honest photos much more than posed photos. Analiese was great because she made the boys feel comfortable (Gabriel LOVED having his photos taken) and let us laugh and parent and joke and just be ourselves and still managed to make us look good!

Gabe's mismatched socks :) He was really worried he was going to fall off Ky's shoulder.

Sometimes it's a difficult thing to prioritise family photos when other things come up (like power bills and registering your car and all those other gross real life things) but you can't really put prices on memories like these. I have a lot of photos, a lot of them have great memories attached to them, but they don't look super nice like these ones. Why bother paying to get photos taken? BECAUSE THEY LOOK BETTER. You know... cos it's their job!

Good photographers have skills that you probably don't.
I know how to use photoshop to make art, I can even edit some photos but making beautiful photos isn't my job. Thanks to Analiese I even know how to shoot using the manual settings on a camera... but my photos don't look like these.
Also - I am usually the one taking photos and so there aren't a lot of photos of me and my boys together (selfies absolutely do not count) so these photos are amazing for me.

I have already ordered prints.

Ky and I have set a goal to get photos taken every year to track our families growth.

 It is worth it.

The Elm Tree - Handmade in Australia

Not long before the Samurai was born I decided that I really wanted to set up a business that sold handmade goodies and then taught you how to make things... it seems rather counter productive to teach people to make the things that you are also trying to sell them, but I am standing by my initial business plan.

I have awful timing. Brand new baby + brand new business = stress, and when it came to the 'something's gotta give' point it was naturally the business that gave.
I just couldn't do it on my own.

Enter Katie.
Katie has a lovely daughter the same age as the Samurai.
Her husband is studying full time. (like mine)
She speaks Mandarin after living in Taiwan (like me!)
Best of all, she is in the perfect position to be going into business with me.
BEST of all she is WILLING to go into business with me.

So we have been working our butts off this past month putting our application into the Parramatta Council to be part of the Pop Up Parramatta initiative that places creative enterprises like ours into vacant commercial properties.

We've been meeting with stockists, working out budgets, calling in favours with trades-people we know, re-purposing furniture we pick up from the side of the road, meeting with the bank, taking photos, sourcing materials... and having a lot of facebook chat conferences hahaha.

Half (or 2/3) of the space of the store will be dedicated to selling the work of local artists and designers in a marketplace style set up. All our products will be aimed at children, with a focus on sustainability.

The rest of the space will be used as a classroom where we will teach crafting and art classes for children and adults.
We just want to bring the focus back to the community, to makers and craftspeople and away from the commercialism of big stores.

That's the goal.

If you or anyone you know would like to be part of a shop like this, as a teacher or as a stockist (we sell on consignment - no commission, only rent) please contact us { hello@theelmtree.com.au } 

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