Friday, February 15, 2013

When life gives you lemons…

… that look like this!Mutant lemon 1

You can’t help but wonder…


…at the miracles performed by Mother Nature!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine soaps–a quick and fun tutorial

Love heart soap display 2

Will you be my Valentine?

Love heart soap display 4

If you fancy whipping up some sweet scented heart-shaped soaps for those special girlfriends of yours… or for yourself, for that matter, I thought you might like to share in this super quick and easy method!

You will need:

Natural, pure vegetable glycerin soap *

Essential oil of your choice (I used lavender)

Red food colouring

Heart-shaped silicone cupcake moulds, and/or ice-cube moulds

Microwave-safe jug

Silicone or wooden spatula

* I purchased a 2lb brick of Clear Glycerin Soap from my local craft store (Riot Art) for $10.  I only used 1lb of it to make approx. 8 medium-size soaps and 15 small soaps.  Don’t use soap that has additives (such as regular supermarket soap), because it won’t melt properly and will become frothy and unmanageable… I can verify this from recent experience!!

** Just a little note on safety – the heated soap is extremely hot, so do not use metal spoons or spatulas to stir it with as you may burn your hands.  Always supervise young children.



1. Break the glycerin soap in to ice-cube size chunks and place them in to the microwave-safe jug

2. Activate microwave on ‘high’ for two minutes, stopping once to stir. 

3. If the glycerin hasn’t fully melted, heat once again for a maximum of one minute each time, until it has.

4.  Add one or two drops of both the red food colouring and essential oil, and stir until you get a consistent colour throughout.

Melted soap

5.  Carefully pour the molten soap in to the silicone moulds.  Be very careful not to splash yourself as the soap may not look it, but it is extremely hot!


6.  Leave to cool completely for a couple of hours (depending on the temperature in your home!) before gently prizing the individual soaps out of each mould.

7.  Voila!  You are done!

Love heart soap display 3

My daughter and I made these together, she is only young so was carefully supervised, but we had a lot of fun together!  We had various ice-cube moulds in the cupboard, such as star-fish shapes and reindeer heads… so we made some of those as well!  The reindeers are really cute – look how they turned out…


How cute would these be in a wee Christmas parcel, with a spice-based oil added as the scent?! It seems I just can not keep away from Christmas!!!

Happy Valentines lovely people!!! 

Hope you have a wonderful day on Thursday – and I’ll see you again on Friday for some more show and tell!

Big mushy hugs!! Vikki xo

Friday, February 8, 2013

Christmas fun… quilt top finished!

Happy Friday lovely people!

So I know Christmas has recently been and gone… but I am also learning that with each passing year it seems that within a blink of an eye the next one has come around even quicker than the last!

As with most sewing enthusiasts I know, Christmas crafting is my most favourite theme when it comes to creating for the home.  So with the festive spirit still fresh in the house, I set back to work on Lynette Anderson’s cute block of the month named Christmas Fun. 

Christmas fun close up 4

I was part of Lynette’s Button Club, and received both a sweet button and its corresponding ‘block’ over a period of eight months.  It has been my practice needle-turn applique piece, and although I can see my many mistakes, I am absolutely delighted with it! 

Christmas fun close up 1

The little reindeer are my favourites!

Christmas fun quilt top 2

I so enjoyed making the little 3 inch Ohio Star blocks!

Christmas fun close up 3

The blocks are missing their buttons at this stage.  I will baste and quilt it before I add them.  Talking of which – do you have any suggestions on how I could quilt it??  There is so much detail that I am really unsure how to go about it – so any ideas will be gratefully received!! (smile)

Christmas fun quilt top whole

I look forward to showing you the quilt again once it is all complete!

Christmas fun quilt top 1

I will be back on Monday with a sweet last-minute gift you might want to whip up in time for Valentine’s day!

Till then – have a wonderful weekend!

Vikki x0


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The new and improved Studio/Study!

Happy February everyone! 

I know the communications from SEW Useful Designs has been quiet of late… and I wouldn’t be at all  surprised if you had imagined tumble-weed rolling across my studio floor (or bunches of tangled threads!)  But in fact - I have been a busy little beaver - and the SEW Useful Studio has been a hive of activity!

Just before Christmas, Mr SUDs and I took the plunge and re-decorated our shared office/studio space.  I’ve never been brave enough to show photos of the “teenage boys’ den” area (aka the office) before because it honestly wasn’t a pretty sight.  A mish-mash of op-shop desks, shelves that didn’t quite fit on the wall properly and were held up with wood off-cuts… cables, sticky notes, pieces of computer hardware discarded by others and finding their sanctuary under Mr SUDs’ desk (to befriend the dust bunnies)!   You get the picture?  Yep!  Not pretty!

I had a wee make-over just more than a year ago and it has worked well for me in every aspect except for one – storage.  And I really was over the yellow walls!  Our entire house was painted yellow (both the walls and interior doors) when we moved in eight years ago, and we are still in the process of painting it neutral, room by room.  So the new Studio/Study was born!  After lots of measuring, planning, and visits to IKEA, we are delighted with the results.  Let me give you a tour!

Studio desk view 1

Here is my studio space, currently neat and tidy (but don’t let that fool you!!!)  The Expedit bookshelf system from IKEA fitted perfectly in to my storage nook and holds so much more ‘stuff’ than the reclaimed pine sideboard I used to have there.  It’s so much easier to keep organised now that everything has its own place. I even have a box labelled “new fabric” so that I know where to head when I want to fondle my recently acquired goodies.  (I’m sure there is a word for this kind of behaviour… but its maybe a bit rude for the blogosphere?!!!)

Studio desk view 4

Being able to see the floor space makes me feel calm and serene. I guess if you could sum up my style it would be ‘organised clutter’. I like to be able to view lots of things, but they have to look like they should belong where they are.

Studio desk view 3

The lighting over my desk is wonderfully warm and bright.

Studio desk view 2

The door opens out in to our garage, so this room is a through-route which is another good incentive to keep my fabrics from spilling on to the floor!

Studio view 2

The ‘printing station’ (I just made that up – doesn’t it sound posh?!) sits in front of the window, and holds our family files and magazines.  And of course - no room would be complete without an indoor plant!

Studio view 4

Mr SUDs added legs to this Expedit unit so that the heating vent wouldn’t be obstructed, and as they keep telling me on Better Homes & Gardens, having raised furniture gives the illusion of more floor space.  I think I agree with them!

Studio view 3

The office area accommodates Mr SUDs and young Miss Rosie.  But in case you’re wonderin’… yes I did tidy the desks profusely for this photo shoot!!

Studio view 5

I have allowed one shelf of my desk to be just for displaying sweet things… so that I can change it periodically to keep my mojo happy.

Studio desk shot 1

Studio desk shot 2

But this is my favourite place to be…

Studio desk shot 3

… sat at my desk, in front of my sewing machine (smile).   There’s been a lot of action here this past few weeks!  I’ve just completed a quilt top, and have been designing for some magazine commissions, and my mojo has returned with all tails blazing!  I have planned to blog twice a week because I really have missed you guys – so  I  look forward to chatting with you again on Friday with some more show and tell!  In the meantime I’d love to find out what you would consider to be your dream studio?!  What is it like?!!!

Till then!  Vikki x Smile

(ps.  If you are interested in seeing my last studio makeover, check out this post xx)


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