You may have noticed we had a bit of a gap year last year. Dave and I had been working crazy hours with our little toy business for a number of years and we were desperate for some family time with our kids. Although you still would have seen us at Handmade Canberra, online things have been super quiet.
Our stall at Handmade Canberra
Our plan for the beginning of this year was to start back into work refreshed and ready to reopen our online shop, full steam ahead. However all those plans were put on the back burner (no pun intended), when our beautiful little corner of the world became engulfed in bushfires.
Miss Molly's Studio
Miss Molly's is based in 2 separate locations; our workshop (noisy place with sanders and saws) is in the industrial estate in Bairnsdale and our studio (dreamy place with paint and crochet hooks) is in a beautiful little valley on the way to Fairy Dell, near Bruthen. The studio had been under threat for weeks as a bushfire in the mountains behind us was at the constant whim of the wind direction. Three times we evacuated and finally in the end we simply packed the studio up and moved it to the safety of the workshop in town.
We watched on in horror from afar when on new years eve the fire that was threatening us broke containment lines and with a southerly change came charging across several small East Gippsland townships. It destroyed countless homes and for some hours the emergency app had the fire's foot print directly over our home and studio. We were shell shocked and truly believed our place would not have survived. I mean for anyone who's ever visited us, they would know this little timber dwelling tucked away in amongst the bush was not going to make it through a fire storm.
Later on News Years day a CFA friend managed to get into our valley and take a photograph of our place with the words, "All in tact!" Oh my goodness the sheer relief! Tears of relief. Followed by the continued grief for those who weren't as lucky.
In the end it was the mighty effort of our hero firefighters, water bombing aircraft and a handful of brave and gutsy farmers who stayed back that stopped the fire razing our valley. Those brave farmers on the ground stopped the fire spreading the old fashioned way, ploughing fields and beating spot fires with water soaked bags for hours through the night. The fire came within a few hundred metres of us and still to this day are we are in awe of just how close it came.
Our grand plans of jumping back into work after Christmas haven't worked out as we planned. We sat here a little wiped out for a bit, by the time we had moved everything back in and started back at work we looked at the calendar and 4 weeks had flown past. Now the burnt trees are shooting, the bracken fern is beginning to cover the blacked earth and life goes on. However I don't think any one of us will ever be the same again, simply the scale of these fires and the sheer loss is something we will never forget.
So here we are at the dawn of a new decade and Dave and I are back focused on our little toy business. We have been blown away by all the emails and messages from our customers with messages of support and asking when we will be back, thank you!!! Very briefly I thought I'd fill you in on where Miss Molly's is heading and our plans for 2020 and beyond.
First up, our daughter Hannah has joined us. She has grown up around toy making and at 17 is working part time with us. She is incredibly artistic and will be helping in the studio with painting and finishing of our toys, making Miss Molly's a true family affair.
Next you will begin to notice some changes in how we structure our toys. We have split our little business into toys and dolls. You will find information on our classic traditional toys on the Miss Molly's Toys social media while our artisan peg and rag dolls will be featured over on Miss Molly's Dolls. We will be restocking our classic toys permanently online over the next month or so, while our dolls (peg doll toys included) will be available in quarterly collections, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.
After a bumpy start to the year it is definitely good to be back at work. We are really looking forward to sharing our Miss Molly toymaking with you all.
Oh and a quick but important mention, you can find us at Handmade Canberra on the 21st and 22nd of March. We just love this market, we're into our 6th year attending and simply wouldn't have the business we have without the loyal support of our Handmade Canberra customers. See you there in a few weeks!