Friday, March 29, 2013

Quick Easter makes

Browsing on-line for some quick Easter makes for young Rosie and I to accomplish this weekend I came across some fun and easy ideas for us adults too.  So what is a girl to do, but share!

Martha Stewart napkins

How about cute Bunny-shape folded napkins for your table? Martha Stewart shows you how, here!

Carrot napkins

Maybe you’re heading on out for a picnic?  Wouldn’t these carrots of cutlery be the perfect compliment? Click here for the how-to as shared by Spoonful.

BHG Easter egg vase

From Better Homes & Gardens, a simple but effective delight to decorate your table, click here for the instructions to make yours.

Now on to the kids… some ideas to get them creative this weekend!


A cute decoration for the pre-schoolers (or indeed, any age!) from Free pre-school Crafts, click here for this and other ideas and how-tos.


How cute are these little guys?  Krokotak even supplies a print-out so that all your littlies have to do is colour in and cut out!  You can find the link here.

How about an activity in the kitchen?


Little hands will enjoy making these cookies as well as bringing them up to their mouths!  You will need cookie-cutters for this one… but I was also thinking that if you didn’t have extra time to bake, you could always make the same cut-outs from freckle-bread.  Belinda Strong at Mums Business shares her recipe here.

Okay, so how about something special for mums and their princesses to do together in the craft room? This beautiful tutu basket is just the thing!  If you haven’t got a stash of organza, I’m sure that you could cut some strips from your scrap basket or get out those ribbons?! Linsey is a gorgeous mum of four and shares wonderful step-by-step photos on her blog for how to create this girlie Easter basket, here.

Tutu easter bag

I’m heading off now to plan the rest of my weekend’s activities!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful day, and I hope too that the rest of your weekend will be a special one!

Till next time – bunny hugs!

Vikki Smile

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rosetta Rabbit kits available…

Thank you so much for your warm response to my latest pattern.  I received my first shipment of fabric today (how exciting!) and have made up a limited number of kits to create this project in the same fabrics and threads that I’ve used in my version.

Rosetta kit photo

The kit contains the hanky linen, Tilda ™ fabric and embroidery threads to create one project.  All you will need to add is your preferred choice of lightweight interfacing and a 10in wooden embroidery hoop.

One kit costs $25.00 and the postage within Australia is just $1.80, plus a low International rate of $6.00.  If you would like to make a purchase please head on over to my sidebar or my shop where you can find the Buy it Now option for both, using PayPal.

Till next time – hugs!

Vikki Smile

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Revealing Rosetta Rabbit… new pattern release!

Good afternoon lovely people!  I’m glad you’ve hopped on over to see me because my shy little friend has re-surfaced… and I’d love for you to meet her! 

This is Rosetta Rabbit…

Easter bunny front cover small

You  might have noticed that “he” has turned in to a “she”?  I  had no way of knowing before when she was tucked away among those embroidery threads (giggle)!!

Easter bunny corrected

I paired hanky linen with some gorgeous Tilda ™ fabric for this project.  Do you like the box pleat trim?  My pattern has step by step photographs showing how to create it.

Rosetta Rabbit close up rabbit

I’m waiting on a bolt of hanky linen to arrive tomorrow so that I can complete the limited number of kits I have available to complete this project.  Each kit will contain a paper pattern with full colour photos, the Tilda ™ floral print, DMC embroidery threads and hanky linen requirements.  To keep the costs down for you I will send half a skein of each embroidery thread which is ample for this project.

Kits cost $25 AUD (approximately $25 USD) plus actual shipping costs.  E-mail me if you would like to reserve your kit!  First in, best dressed! 

Rosetta Rabbit is available as a downloadable PDF pattern in my new Craftsy store, here.   If you prefer paper patterns – please see my side-bar where you can purchase your pattern via PayPal.


Before I hop away, I’d like to say a very sweet thank you to both Jenny and Margaret whose encouragement and inspiration has spurred me to get my patterns up for sale!  Thank you so much lovely ladies!!

Hoppy days!!!

Vikki xo Smile

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A winner and a hoppy little fellow!

Hello lovely people!  Gosh I can’t believe it is the middle of the week already, where do the days go?  I have been busy stitching a new design, bringing this shy little fellow to life:

Easter bunny peek

Don’t you just want to reach out and give him a gentle nurturing  tickle under his chin?  When I was sketching him, Mr SUDS said the bunny reminded him of our dog, Kayla.  It’s funny what influences you as you doodle away isn’t it?  I guess Master bunny is reminiscent our much-loved fluffy pooch!  It’s not so much what she looks like, it’s more the gentle nature that emanates from her.

I have another guest bunny on my blog today – this one is going to announce the winner of Margaret Bucklew’s amazing book giveaway!

Easter bunny ornie 2

Thanks to Google Random Generator for picking our winner!  Drum roll please…  Comment no. 10 from Gloria of Hooked on Quilting! Congratulations!  Gloria said:  “Wow, I'd love to challenge myself for a portrait quilt of my grandchildren...after I try a single portrait!!! Thanks for the great giveaway.”   Well Judy, now you can!!  Please let me have your preferred email address so that I can send you your copy of Margaret’s inspirational eBook!

If you are interested in purchasing Margaret’s book,“Step by step portrait art quilts: Learn to Create Realistic Portrait and Pictorial Quilts”,you can find it in both paperback and eBook versions on Amazon here, and Kobo, here.

Okay, I’m going to hop off the computer (ha ha!) and get back to some stitching!  What are you up to today?

Warm regards!

Vikki xo


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Welcoming Margaret Bucklew, her wonderful new book, and a giveaway!

It is my absolute pleasure today to introduce you to an amazing quilt artist, tutor, and author of “Step by step portrait art quilts: Learn to Create Realistic Portrait and Pictorial Quilts”, Margaret Bucklew.


On this, the second day of Margaret’s book blog tour, she will be introducing you to some ideas on selecting the best photographs for your art quilts.  So I’ll hand on over to this amazing artist and meet up with you again at the end to tell you about her wonderful giveaway!

Which photo will work for a portrait quilt?

Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a portrait quilt, how do you know which photograph will work best for the technique?

Below are a few tips for you to consider when deciding upon the most appropriate photo.

* Don’t use a 6”x4” photograph if a person’s head is smaller than completely filling up that area.

* Use the largest image possible, it’s best if the head is at least 4 inches big in the photo

* Colour and/or black and white are ok

* Look for high contrast images

* Pets work great for this technique, face needs to be large to see features (you can’t improve on black areas of the eyes, if that’s an issue select a different photo)

* It’s ok if you don’t use the entire head

* If image is too dark, look for different photo

* Don’t use photo of two people as your first portrait quilt

You will want to work with the photograph a bit before you separate it into values, so you do have a window of opportunity to make some changes prior to the separations.

If the photo you want to use is flat, meaning not much contrast, you can work with the software to increase contrast overall, or even heighten contrast within certain areas of the image.

You can change the size a bit, but not too much because the software is pixel based and when you enlarge the computer then has to decide where to put the extra pixels. The computer might work faster than you, but it is not smarter than you! It doesn’t always pick the best colours to add.


The image above is the photo that one of my creative students, Meleah Westnidge, used for a portrait quilt of her grandmother. Her beautiful completed quilt is the image on the right. Meleah’s photograph selection was large enough to allow for her grandmother’s features to be fully executed.

We cover this and more in the first chapter of our “Step by Step Portrait Art Quilts: Learn to Create Realistic Portrait and Pictorial Quilts”. The book is both in print or eBook. The book can be purchased and more information found on Amazon, here. An eBook version is also available on Kobo, here.

For a few more tips, please visit the next blogs in the book tour:

Day One     11 March    All about Applique

Day Two     12 March    SEW Useful Designs

Day Three  13 March   A Passion for Applique

Day Four    14 March    Jackie’s Art Quilts

Day Five    15 March    Quilting and Sewing Videos 

Thank you so much Margaret for sharing your tips with us today!  Thank you also for offering one copy of your new eBook to one of my lucky readers!  It has been a real pleasure getting to know you.


So – to all you lovely people out there reading my blog – would you like the opportunity to win a copy of Margaret’s eBook?  All you need to do is leave ONE comment on this post to enter.  I will select a winner by random generator one week from today on Tuesday 19 March, 7pm Melbourne time.  Good luck!

I don’t know about you – but I’m going to be viewing my photographs with a different eye from now on – in anticipation of selecting the perfect portrait of my children to make in to an art quilt.  One for each of them.  I can’t wait to get stuck in to searching for the right fabrics in my scrap basket!

Till next time – have a wonderful day!  And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!!!!!

Vikki xo

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vintage textiles and a SEW Useful piece of history…

Hanky linen rose close up edit

I’ve been collecting some sweet vintage napkins and handkerchiefs…

Hanky and linen 1 retouch

I love all-natural fabrics but cotton lace and cross-stitch linens top my list! I also picked up some vintage hankies, and although they are a less-favoured polyester blend, they brought back happy memories of days-gone-by, when Mum would stick a hanky up the sleeve of my cardigan to take to school with me.  I thought these little retro finds would make great handkerchief skirts for Rosie’s dolls, so that is what they are earmarked for!

Hanky and linen lacy skirt retouch

It’s amazing what you find in op shops, and although I usually browse through clothing to purchase for myself to wear… I couldn’t go past this cute 100 per cent cotton skirt… even though it was four sizes too small for me!  The lace inserts are exquisite.  I don’t usually like to cut up clothing unless there is a fault with it, because I like to think it will go to a home where someone can use it for its intended purpose.  But I couldn’t leave this little beauty behind.  There are about six panels like the one pictured above.  It would look lovely re-made in to a christening gown.  But  I will keep it safe until I discover the perfect project that will display it’s lacy panels in all their glory!

If you are seasoned visitor to my blog you will know that I have a childlike passion for vintage toy sewing machines!  When I visited the Maryborough Flour Mill Gallery & Museum, I fell head over heels in love with a New Home adult-size sewing machine dated circa 1890.  (You can read about it here)  My weekly searches on the Internet and eBay, in particular, led me to uncover this beauty, a New National… the machine I most coveted over any other…

New National matte edges

I still have to pinch myself that I actually found one that was affordable and now resides in my family room!  I’m fascinated with the history… I wonder who first purchased this machine – was it a gift?  Was it a necessity?  I wonder what garments were created?  How many children would have learned to sew on it???  If only it could talk! 

I would sit, listen and indulge it for hours on end!

New National old photo

It is one of my long-term dreams to make a Victorian or Edwardian nightgown using a sewing machine from the same era.  I’d like to research old techniques, use the appropriate sewing feet (that appear to me to look more like antique items of dentistry torture than anything else) to create pin-tucks and ruffles.  One day… one day!  Of course, I’d have to make it from a vintage pattern, so if you know where I could purchase one I’d love to hear from you! 

So what long-term dreams do you hold for the future??

Until next time – happy sewing!

Vikki xo Smile

Friday, March 1, 2013

Holly Rose is published, and a sneak peek!

I have been experimenting with new embroidery stitches and free-motion quilting just recently.  I love playing around on my sewing machine but to be successful with free-motion I know it’s going to take a lot of time, patience and practice – so therefore it’s fun to balance that with something more instantly gratifying – and that’s where the embroidery has worked wonders!  I’ve been looking up stitches in one of my books, but to be honest, checking out You Tube videos has been a much easier way to learn. You just do a Google search on whatever stitch you want to learn, and Bingo!  Bob’s your mother’s brother!

I’m currently in love with Fishbone stitch and have used it in a project I’m about to submit to Creating Country Threads – here’s a sneaky peek photo of some embroidery before I ironed and pieced the project together.

Sneak peek polkadot

I’m really loving the sweet country colours contrasting with a big splash of fresh blue polka-dot goodness!  I wish I could show you more but it would give too much of the design away, but I’ll be sure to share more with you when the project is published.  I think it might be my favourite design, to date!

 Holly Rose close up

However, I can show you my Holly Rose quilt as it’s in the current issue (Vol 13 no 10) of Inspiring Country Threads. 

Holly Rose table topper

This is my first pieced quilt design and I felt a great sense of achievement on completing it.  I added felt rosebuds close to the centre panel, but left the centre square free as I thought it would be a great place to position a plant, fruit bowl or tea tray, if used as a table topper.


I have a very sweet friend named Holly… she really is such a great friend and I love her to bits – so this quilt is dedicated to her and my young daughter Rosie… who is a daily source of inspiration… and lets be honest… exhaustion, too!  Ha ha!  Bless her cottons! 

Holly’s nickname for Rosie is “The little bundle of WOW!”  because Rosie’s playful creative little mind is always running at the speed of light!!  I’ll never forget the day I left Rosie with Holly to mind her for an hour while I went off to collect my son’s school books.  It was a couple of years ago now.  Holly has raised three boys and they were easy going youngsters, either playing on their own quite happily or with each other.  On returning to collect Rosie, poor Holly looked like a stunned rabbit who had been caught in the headlights!  “WOW!”  Holly exclaimed, “She really doesn’t stop interacting does she?”!!!

Talking of WOW

… I’m really excited because I have been asked to host one day of a book tour to share some insight in to a wonderful new book by quilt artist and author, Margaret BucklewWow!  Wow for many reasons! 

WOW because…. have you seen her quilts?!!!!! 


Check out the book cover… has your jaw dropped to the floor?!!!!!  I am blown away by the detail and the essence that is captured and conveyed so beautifully and passionately.  The portrait of the Officer has me entranced… you can read Margaret’s personal account of the quilt here.  It’s a very touching and most beautiful story.

WOW again, because…

Margaret shows you how to make your own portrait and pictorial quilts – and demonstrates that it isn’t as hard as it looks!  Are you kidding me?  Isn’t THAT amazing? 


For more details of the book tour, click on the button above (or in my side bar) and it will take you directly to Margaret’s fabulous blog.  I look forward to sharing more with you on 12 March when it’s my pleasure to host!

Till next time – catch you round like a fruit loop!!

Vikki Smile


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