Making tea cosies is Merrin's sanity saver
AT THE best of times, child safety can be a dark and gloomy place to work.
The responsibility of providing a family with refuge is a hefty one.
For Merrin Shaw, whose child-safety shifts take in a full 24 hours, maintaining a positive outlook is crucial.
Twelve years ago, Merrin discovered knitting.
At first, knitting was something she could do in her spare time to take her mind off the pressures of work.
She took to tea cosies because they were relatively quick to make.
But as others caught sight of her talents, Merrin found herself selling her creations to passers-by on the streets of the Gold Coast.
Having grown tired of the place where she had spent most of her life, Merrin sought somewhere quiet, and fours years ago, she discovered the peacefulness of Maleny.
She now spends her Sundays at Maleny Markets, selling her quirky old-world tea cosies to locals and tourists who venture up to the Blackall Range.
Business is brisk and significantly higher at Maleny Markets compared with the Gold Coast, but money isn't what keeps Merrin interested.
"It's not about keeping the tea warm," she said.
"It's about having a laugh and a discussion."
Her products can justly be described as unique because of the vibrant colours she uses, and the often-bizarre patterns they take.
Merrin believes that by using this formula - or perhaps no formula at all - each cosy exhibits its own personality.
They are cause for laughter and conversation and allow her to get to know customers better.
She described the Maleny Markets as full of nice and friendly people.
Cosies might not be everyone's cup of tea, but Merrin has made a significant difference at the markets as a result.