Tuesday, March 28, 2017

      The Sweet Bianca make-up brush holder

      Gosh it's been a while since I last wrote - I had to blow the dust off my banner - and oil my logo before I could write this!! Ha ha! So... I thought it was about time that I popped in to do some spring cleaning and say g'day!

      I've been pottering away quietly.  I finished a magazine project in the early weeks of the year, and am currently working on a secret quilt for a friend, but there is something I can post pictures of, and that is a make-up brush holder that I designed and made for my son's sweet girlfriend, Bianca - who I always call my 'Sweet B'.  She turned 20 in March, and she and Aaron have been dating for five years.  ((Yes, I feel old!!))



      I pre-purchased the brushes so that I could design the holder to suit, and laminated the fabrics to protect them from make-up residue.  It's difficult to see in the photo, but the brushes are protected by vinyl as well (I really love the smell of that stuff - it takes me back to my childhood and the aroma of a brand new Sindy doll!  Did you ever have one?!)


      Self-covered buttons and a laminated butterfly (don't want to be getting those wings wet!!)


      I used an assortment of floral fabrics including:  Memoire a Paris by Lecien and Sevenberry which I had collected from Ministry of Fabric along with some beautiful other prints and linens.   I couldn't resist the twist on Bianca's nickname by making a few hexies with the bee print fabric...




      I'm currently re-making the project with some Liberty of London tana lawn cottons... including the cutest 'Hello Kitty' fabric I've ever seen... from Ava & Neve, based in Australia.  I'll be sure to pop in to show you and let you know when the pattern is ready.

      This week is mostly being spent touring High School's for my youngest who is in her last year of Primary.  I treasure every moment of watching her play with her toys, and listening to the tales of funny goings-on at school, all very innocent and silly.  They really don't stay kids for long do they?

      Until next time - stay safe and have a great week!

      Vikki xoxo

      Saturday, December 31, 2016

      Christmas season 2016

      Happy New Year's Eve, folks! I hope you had a really wonderful Christmas! It always seems to come round so fast, and then travel by even quicker, doesn't it?  I was woefully unprepared this year, not even sending out cards, but I cram-packed in as much as I could manage!



      An opportunity came my way in August that led to my taking an acting role in a local live-radio stage play of the 1940's classic, It's a Wonderful Life.  I played Josephine, the Superintendent of Angels, and my role could be described to that of a narrator.  I met a whole new group of friends, faced fears I didn't realise I still had, and learned heaps about the intricacies of putting on a production.  The culmination of three months' work led to three performances in mid December...


      With my family in the Green Room after my second performance.


      It was so heart-warming to be in community with such an amazing group of people, praying together, learning together, and having heaps of fun in the process.  The whole purpose of putting on the play was to gift the community - we prayed for each person (known and unknown) who came to the shows - that they might be touched in some way that benefits them.  Believe me, with a serving heart there's not much room for ego, I don't think I'd be able to 'put myself out there' if ego was involved, because I have very little confidence and would compare myself unfavourably to others.  This may sound so corny, but my heart was full of love and joy when I was on that stage.  It was beautiful.



      I'm having issues with my back again but it just held up enough thanks to having a chair on stage to rest when we weren't up at the mike.  We are all hoping to put on something else next year... watch this space!

      My family and I love to go to the  'Carols by Candlelight' performance that is put on by the local council.  This northern-hemisphere girl still finds it fascinating to enjoy Christmas in Summer... and this is one of those times that I embrace it - sitting outside with hundreds of other people - while being entertained by some true talent.  My son's girlfriend, Sweet B, came with us this year, aren't they cute?  They will have been together five years next March, and we are hoping there are many, many, many more years to come!


      My two kids and I also squeezed in a trip to the beach before the heat of Summer well and truly kicked-in.  We were on the rounds to collect gifts that I'd bought off eBay!  Ha ha!  You know I'm the eBay Queen, right?!


      I didn't get in much sewing time, but managed to finish this advent calendar for my daughter a day late... actually I stayed up until 4am on the 2nd December to finish it!  My sewing machine wouldn't sew through all the layers so I hand-stitched all the pockets on... my fingers were red-raw by the time I finished but I was determined that she wasn't going to wake up for a second day without an advent, fortunately for me she'd forgotten all about it on the 1st December, and had no idea that I was making her one!  The final result wasn't exactly as I'd envisaged and the pockets are wonky due to the hand-stitching... but it doesn't matter.  Perfection is over-rated, right?!!!


      I used an advent panel by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs, called Mistletoe Lane, and made various-sized pockets, some with gussets, and a few little 'sacks'... then hung the little tags from different-sized red buttons.  It turned out super-cute, although I would like to add some applique Christmas shapes to it before next December comes around.



      I also made an advent for my son, but in a modern masculine style which he loved...


      I decorated my bedroom for Christmas this year, which is a first for me.  With it being newly-decorated I couldn't resist any longer.  I purchased the most gorgeous shabby-chic cushions designed by my super-talented friend, Kerryanne, over at Shabby Art Boutique.  The colours couldn't be a more perfect fit!  The little tree belonged to my parents-in-law.  I'd never seen it before as they never decorated for Christmas - but my husband brought it in from the garage and has enjoyed giving it a new lease of life.


      This blog post has no rhyme or reason, it's a complete brain-dump for which I am sorry!  I'm so late in telling you about my latest published design - a Christmas stitchery in the December issue of Homespun magazine.


      The project is called 'Christmas shelf stitchery' and features a row of apothecary jars and a gumball machine containing various seasonal scenes.  I used some gorgeous metallic Aurifil thread which sews beautifully!  I'm not a big fan of metalics usually because they always seem to snag, but the Aurifil threads are a dream to work with.  If you live overseas and would like a copy of the magazine you can by a digital version online.  It's a really cute issue!  I'm currently working on another project for Homespun but it won't be printed until next September!







      Christmas day was the hottest it's been in 17 years - a whopping 37 degrees and super-humid!  We don't have air-con or window-blinds in our kitchen, so cooking this roast was a labour of love indeed! What was it like in your part of the world?


      Well, as this year draws to a close I'd like to wish you and your family the most happy and prosperous New Year, with good health and blessings in abundance!

      See you in 2017 dear friends!

      Much love, Vikki xoxo

      Tuesday, October 11, 2016

      Master bedroom makeover









      Hubby took a week off work during the school holidays and we set to redecorating our bedroom - the last room in the house to still have the canary-yellow painted walls that we moved in with - 11 years ago!

      Just before my little family emigrated to Australia 12 years ago, I did a big shop at IKEA, thinking it would be my last chance for a long time to stock up on essential household items. I came home with a car-full of floral bed linen - and hubby was really confused - not only did I go and buy a heap of stuff to squeeze in to the container that we were shipping overseas - but apparently - Australia has IKEA too!!  Who knew?!!

      The range I purchased was known as Rosali.  Some years later it made another debut for Cath Kidston, this time being named, Antique Rose.  The background tone may be a little more ivory than white, but it's the same print.  So I bought two rolls of wallpaper and had them shipped from England, three years ago.  I obviously don't like to rush my interior design decisions!  Ha ha!

      Well, I had underestimated the amount of wallpaper I needed, and was off by about ten inches. Because I'd purchased it so long ago it was going to be near-on impossible to get the same batch number, not to mention the expense.  A friend suggested putting a decorative rail up on the feature wall  - using less wallpaper and adding another design element in to the mix.  It worked out really well. We are both really  happy with the room and I had to take some photos before the boxes went back under the bed, and the piles of laundry made their way back on to the sofa... you know how it is?  The first night we slept in the completed room, hubby left a can of fly spray on his bedside table - which I promptly swept up and put in the bathroom cupboard - I just wanted ONE night of the room looking like it was perfect!  He laughed and rolled his eyes!  Just like he did 12 years ago when I had a car full of bedding!!

      I hope you are having a good week. lovelies?
      Till next time!  Hugs! Vikki xoxo

      Monday, August 29, 2016

      Strawberry Delight - my latest project in Homespun magazine.

      We are counting down the days to the start of Spring in the southern hemisphere and nature has treated us already to some bouts of warm weather and sunshine - a deposit of what is to come!

      The inspiration to get out in the garden is overwhelming, while daydreams of picnics at the park and lazing on the beaches fill every spare moment!

      It was with Spring and Summer in mind that I designed this strawberry-themed bag for Homespun magazine.  With just a few days until the September issue hits the newsstands, I thought I'd share some pics of my project... it's rather juicy!  (Oh groan, these dad's jokes have got to stop!!!!)







      The bag is different on both sides.  Side A features ruffles with faux piping, while Side B has a rouched panel and showcases the Vintage Picnic fabric range by Bonnie & Camille.  Both bag sides feature pockets with cross-stitched strawberries.  I share my method for cross-stitching on to tightly woven cotton fabrics, in the publication.

      The bag is secured with a metal clasp at the top, and has inside pockets and a key fob (which features another cross-stitched strawberry).  It's just the kind of bag you want to take out on a summer's picnic with you!

      There are some beautiful projects in this issue of Homespun!  If you live overseas and find it difficult to get hold of a hard copy,  it is also available for digital download at Zinio, here.

      Now I can't wait to get strawberry picking!  What do you enjoy most about Summer?

      Till next time!
      Vikki xoxo

      Sunday, August 7, 2016

      Eloise Elephant - an adventure in mohair!

      I took myself off to the Melbourne Craft & Quilt Fair last week with a view to buying myself a kit to make a mohair animal.  After Umming and Aahing over the hedgehogs, meer cats and teddies, I decided on a kit for a performing elephant, named Eloise; and wasted no time at all in getting my mojo on...








      The pattern and kit came from Teddy's Bits and I intend on making a couple more once I replenish my supplies.  I did make a mistake when I attached the body and limbs together, I had the body facing in the opposite direction which meant that I had to make a dart in the back so this little lady doesn't have a lovely wide tummy as the pattern called for... she would have looked a bit strange if she had a lovely round back, which is why I had to take it in!  Never mind... only I (and now you) know, and I'll remember for next time as I do rather like her cuddly tummy!

      So, I have a question to ask you - have you made any bears yourself?  Jointed critters?  Mohair mayhems?!  As I was making this little cutie it brought back memories of when I first made a jointed mohair cat... some 12 years ago now when I was living in England.  I didn't own or even know how to use a sewing machine back then so it was all worked by hand, and after asking for advice from the lady I bought the kit from, I winged it.  So this got me to thinking... if you have never made a jointed bear but would like to give it a try - would you like me to write a blog post on the basics?  The tools of the trade?  Little tips to help you on your way?  I'm not an expert by any means, but I remember the questions I needed answering back then!  Let me know...

      Here are a few progress shots I took along the journey:


      Getting all the pattern pieces on to the mohair was a really tight squeeze.  It would have been really helpful to have a pattern piece layout, similar to those you find in dressmaking patterns for cutting out.  You need the pattern pieces running in the correct position depending on the direction of the fur pile, and I couldn't quite fit them all so had to have one pattern piece (the back of a leg so it wasn't conspicuous) with the fur direction off at an angle.


      Eloise is half-sewn... I managed to do it all by machine which really surprised me, even the tiny head gusset behaved nicely!


      Semi-stuffed... and all without breakfast!  Here you can see the pattern in the background... and you'll know what I mean about that gorgeous squidgy tummy!


      The original Eloise is coloured with a dark brown Copic marker to give her that vintage, aged look.  I didn't have one to hand and to be honest, was a bit nervous about using such a dark ink, simply because I've never done it before and any mistakes would be permanent.  So I opted to use my Prismacolour pencils so I could build the colour.  I used three shades in khaki brown, nut brown and peach.


      This last pic shows how I blind-stitched the hat on top of Eloise's head.  I use fine curved beading needles manufactured by John James when I'm sewing irregular shapes together. They're a bit of a bugger to work with initially, but you get used to them given time. The thread is a silk one that I use for applique and blind-stitching bias binding on to quilts.  It's so fine that it's virtually invisible.

      I fell in love with a family of mohair meer cats designed and made by Bears by Annie, and bought the pattern for making the adults, it's called Sascha and Dimitri.


      I have the mohair for this already and plan to make it as a surprise gift for my little Rosebud this Christmas!  She loves meer cats and we are regular visitors to The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne where there is a whole family of meer cats residing - it's always a highlight of our visit!

      I hope you've enjoyed reading about my little 'bear' romance!  What have you been up to this past week?

      Till next time!
      Vikki xoxoxo

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