Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Do you journal?  If so, what form does it take?  Perhaps you like to write in a diary, as I do.  Or perhaps you type away to your heart’s content, entrusting your precious memories to the ever-loyal pc?

Sometimes, all it takes is a few words each day to jog the memory in years to come.  But if you’re not much of a writer, then there’s nothing quite like photographs for switching on the ‘reminiscent switch’ of your mind.  Photo journaling – whether it be digital or paper – is a fantastic way to record those happy moments.

Diary 2014

Since the age of 12 I have kept a diary, I prefer the shop-bought A5 ‘day to a page’ variety.  And I’ve always love this very last day of the calendar year … because I get to open a brand spanking new journal and flick through its pages in anticipation for what might fill them over the coming days and months.  It’s exciting… that our future is yet to be written…


My diary has been a great friend to me over the years, it has helped me to grieve and to get my innermost thoughts out in to the open so that I am better equipped to heal and move forward. 

I always make a paper pocket and adhere it to the inside back cover for the safe keeping of things such as ticket stubs and notes, photos and love letters.

I haven’t read the teenage diaries for YEARS!  In fact, I rarely ever read any of my diaries back.  The early years were too painful to relive, but besides that, I guess it was more the process of keeping a diary that I enjoyed rather than the actual retrieving and reliving of the past.


I haven’t been as prolific in writing as I was as a young woman, where I would tape extra pages in to the diary. I was that addicted to sharing everything.  But then, those were the days when I had spare time on my hands.

Time became a precious commodity after becoming a Mother (as I’m sure many of you can relate!)… and once I settled in to a happy stream of life I guess I was just too tired or busy!  And so, the role of the humble diary has changed for me in recent years.  I enjoy reading back now – about events my family and I have shared – because it’s not just about ‘me’ anymore, it’s about ‘us’.  My diary has morphed from the role of Counsellor to the role of Historian… a keeper of memories for the future Me to enjoy.  A source of knowledge to refer to when I’m too old to remember what “it’s” like – whatever “it” may be!  And a few stories to share with the children so that their own memories are supported by the loving words of their old mum.


On reflection, I realise that chatting with you, in the form of this blog, is as dear to me as my diary.  It’s great to spill over with excitement and share my passions with you, because chances are that if you’re interested in my little world then you share those same passions, too!  I so hope that along the way, I can provide you with a dose of happiness and inspiration.  If I have inspired even one person, then blogging is the best journal ever!

So it is with an excited and joyful heart that I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a happy, loving, prosperous and beautiful New Year.  May your dreams and aspirations become a reality…  because you deserve them to! x

I look forward to sharing my creative journey with you in 2014 my friends!

With much love!  Vikki xo  Smile


Photos source:  www.sxc.hu

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve…

Xmas Eve 2014

The Christmas music is playing while a cinnamon-scented candle fills the air with its spicy aroma… gosh I love this day nearly as much as Christmas itself!

Stocking 1

I only made one gift this year, for a special friend, who needed a stocking to hang in her new home (smile).  Have you got your stockings out ready to be hung this evening?

Stocking collage

My young Rosie is excited beyond compare!  Who can blame her… tonight is the most magical of the year for children isn’t it?  We are making our own Christmas crackers (bon-bons) today.  Rosie is thinking up some jokes for me, so far she has come up with:  “What did the ocean say to the other ocean?”  Drum roll please… “sea ya later!”

We will also be doing a spot of baking, then this evening comes the prepping of the vegetables for a traditional roast dinner tomorrow.  Low key, no big fuss.  Mr SUDs is still at work and young Aaron is off with a couple of his mates playing football (soccer), so Rosie and I are at home happily fluffing the nest!

What are you up to today?

I’d like to take this moment to wish you and your family a safe and happy Christmas, and to thank you for your wonderful visits to my little blog – I always enjoy having you over!  May our friendships continue to blossom in the new year!

With lots of love, Vikki xoxoxo


Vikki Xmas 2009

Friday, December 20, 2013

More Christmas vignettes…

Xmas vignette 2014

I don’t know about you… but I just can’t get enough of they Christmas eye candy that I’m seeing every day on my favourite Facebook pages and blogs.

So here are a couple of my vignettes to add to the mix!  The painted box was gifted to me a few years ago from my gorgeous friend, Kerryanne.  Below are a few of my fave ornies that have either been gifted or collected…

Xmas vignette 2

As for favourite blogs, I have many!  But a daily ‘must’ for me is popping over to the Shabby Art Boutique to visit Kerryanne.  Have you been following her Simply Christmas event this year?  It’s amazing!  I stumble over my words in excitement for what to tell you about it… so I’ll leave it as “Simply Christmas – with shabby bells and whistles on top!”

I’m linking to Kerryanne’s Shabbilicious Friday and Christmas link party this week, to share my Ribbon Wreath tutorial with any newcomers who may be looking for the last-minute touches to their festive homes.  If you have a bare wall or a door shouting out for its own niche of festivity - and have a couple of hours spare this weekend - then this project is for you!

Wreath outdoor 2 writing


 I’ve finished all my gift-making… hoping to get a bit of personal sewing in over the weekend!  How about you?

Till next time!

Hugs! Vikki xo

Xmas vignette 2014 2

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tour of a beautiful garden…

When I moved to Australia (just a few months shy of ten years ago), I inherited a lovely group of friends thanks to my husband.  Our group consists of four couples and we have nine children between us.

Garden 1

Each year we gather together to celebrate Christmas, enjoy delicious food and a drink or two, play cricket with the kids if the weather is good, and laugh at the expense of each other as only good friends can do!

Garden Rosie 2

We celebrated last Sunday in a friend’s garden… and I took lots of photos!  My friends are a bit shy so I haven’t included pics of them, but I thought you’d enjoy a tour of the garden?  It’s set in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges… and I am in love with it!

Garden 2

The vegie-patch is full of interesting shapes and display pieces to add interest. 

Garden 4

I love all the pots, the curved shapes of the vegie beds, and the plant-filled bird cages that are scattered around.

Garden 3

Here, my friend uses an old single bed-stead as a trellis.

Garden 5

And I have a passion for flower-filled wheelbarrows (I have three at home!)

Garden 6

You can just make out Mr SUDs up at the drinks table in this picture.  He’s not much of a drinker… Diet caffeine-free coke is his beverage of choice!  I was drinking a Rose wine.  Hic!

Garden 7

There are interesting lanterns, ornaments and gazebos scattered around… as well as a cubby and tree-swing for the kids.

Garden 8

A very beautiful day was had by all! 

Garden Rosie 1

I adore this picture of Rosie, the sweet little love!

Have you had many Christmas get-togethers’ this year?  Where do you like to celebrate?

Till next time!

Warm wishes!  Vikki xo

Monday, December 16, 2013

Burlap (hessian) wreath tutorial–long post!

I have been admiring Christmas wreaths these past couple of weeks and love all the natural materials that are in vogue at the moment.  Having some left-over hessian ‘ribbon’ (for want of a better word) from my gardening pursuits, I thought I’d design my very own wreath.  Would you like to make one too?

Wreath outdoor 1

It only took a couple of hours to make with limited supplies and very little sewing!  I finished my wreath off with a purchased decoration, but the opportunities are endless.  At the end of this tutorial I will give you some ideas for finishing the wreath in different ways!

Wreath outdoor 2

Vikki’s Hessian ribbon wreath

Wreath indoor 1

Finished size:  22inches (56cm) round

Here is what you will need:

Xmas wreath 1edit

Note:  I purchased the 2in-wide hessian ‘ribbon’ (I’m not sure of its official name) from Bunnings (garden centre).  It is used for tying trees to posts, etc.  It cost in the region of $10-$15 Aussie dollars and came on a 25m roll.  The terms Hessian and Burlap mean the same thing – so for the purpose of this tutorial I will just refer to it as hessian.

Doll needle:  You don’t necessarily need a doll making needle for this project, I have used one for the tutorial as it is more visible in the photos.  You will however, require a needle of sufficient length (2in or more) to travel through several layers of hessian at a given time.

Metal ring:  I purchased the 12in (30cm) ring from Spotlight in Australia, but I’m sure they are available in most craft stores.

Let’s begin!

Xmas wreath 2 edit

I placed a sheet of white paper beneath my quilting ruler to show the markings more clearly.  Unroll the burlap ribbon and place the raw edge at the ‘start point’ as pictured.  Measure to 5in then fold the ribbon back over on itself and back to the start point.

Xmas wreath 3 edit

Then, fold the ribbon on top of itself again and measure to the 3.5in mark.

Xmas wreath 4 edit

Xmas wreath 5 edit

Repeat the same process for the final time, measuring to the 1.5in mark.

Xmas wreath 6 edit

Xmas wreath 7 edit

Xmas wreath 8 edit

Xmas wreath 9 edit

Xmas wreath 10

Carefully hold the folded hessian on the innermost-curl (see photo below), and place the metal ring between the outer and middle ‘curls’.

Xmas wreath 11 edit

Xmas wreath 12

I will now refer to this folded hessian strip as a ‘leaf’.  Secure it to the ring as follows:

Xmas wreath 13 edit

Tip:  You will need a really big knot!  I used doubled thread in my needle just because I didn’t have any stronger thread at the time.  If you are having trouble with your knots pulling through – try this method:  Thread the needle with a long length of thread (14in is a good length).  Double the thread by matching the two ends; knot the tail end.  Then…

Xmas wreath 15 edit

Xmas wreath 16 edit

Xmas wreath 14 edit

Okay, so you have made and secured your first ‘leaf’.  Now to make another 17 more…

Xmas wreath 17 edit

Maybe its time for another gingerbread latte and mince pie????

Xmas wreath 18

All 18 leaves attached – the hard work is done!  Now to give some fullness and structure to the wreath…

Xmas wreath 19

Snip each raw edge evenly just a couple of times, it helps the hessian to splay better.

Xmas wreath 20

Unroll the hessian ribbon and begin threading it through each middle curl.  Continue until you return the start, then overlap and make a cut.

Xmas wreath 21

Overlap the two ends and tuck the uppermost raw end in to the closest ‘curl’.

Xmas wreath 22

Make a few holding stitches with needle and thread…

Xmas wreath 23

Now repeat the same process and thread another round of hessian ribbon through the outermost curls in the same manner.

Xmas wreath 24

Once you are done it is time to attach a hanging loop to the top back.

Xmas wreath 26 edit

Xmas wreath 27 edit


Xmas wreath 30

I personally love a red and white colour scheme with neutrals.  For a quick and easy embellishment you could raid your button stash to decorate.

Xmas wreasth 31

Try out different layouts until you find one you like.  I’m loving the white!  Ooh – snowflake buttons or scrapbook cut-outs would look amazing in little clusters!

Xmas wreath 33

Perhaps you love the country look and opt for stitching or gluing on a berry garland to the centre?

Xmas wreath 32

Or if you’re really short of time, hang a favourite ornament from the top centre of the inner circle?

If you sew (as opposed to gluing) objects on to the wreath, you have the option to remove them and change your design each year!  That’s what I plan to do!

Happy crafting!  Smile

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial? Please send in photos of your finished wreaths as I’d love to see them!  If you decide to share this tutorial or post pictures on your blog, please link back to this post.  Thank you!

Xmas wreath indoor 3

Design and tutorial © Vikki Collumbine, SEW Useful Designs 2014

I have two other Christmas tutorials you may enjoy!  Just click on the images to take you to the tutorials Smile

Provincial stocking

Festive photo album pic


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