Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Snapshots of Christmas 2014...

A covered diary for Rosie's teacher using some cute Tanya Wheelan fabric.  Did you ever give your teacher an apple?  I'm not sure that I did... but I do remember giving her poems.

I have always loved this design by Jenny (of elefantz), and stitched it for a lovely new Church friend I made this year.  It's something I've not ventured to talk about on my blog, or much anywhere else for that matter... but this year I trusted and gave myself to Jesus for the very first time, it's a relationship that has accelerated rapidly and liberated and healed me through the months that followed.  Just when you think it impossible to fit any more love in to your heart... so it opens and receives in abundance... which means there's more to give!  Yay!!

Decorating with vintage ice skates this year... loved this vignette.  A sweet friend gifted me some child's vintage ice skates too, which I then hung above the adult version... too cute!

I collected the pine cones back in Autumn when I was walking the dog (I got some very strange looks off people!); and then more recently sprayed them with fake snow.  I also sprayed some old plastic tree branches to include in the scene.  The white sprigs in the boot were an op-shop find and I made laces from jute twine.

We had a fun Christmas party earlier on in the month, my friends are a bit shy with sharing photos... but my children are quite happy to - so here's a couple of pics of them, growing up too fast!

Well, a new year dawns for us all in a few hours time... wishing you a fun, relaxing, restful evening - whichever your preference may be!  I'm off to watch a Hobbit movie with Mr SUDs before we quietly see in the New Year together.  With love and blessing to each and every one of you!

Vikki xoxo

Monday, November 10, 2014

Did you ever wonder what a Skating Angel looks like?

Then look no further...

This gorgeous Skating Angel is one of many glorious projects by the fabulous Tone Finnanger, from her Tilda's Winter Delights book.

She was a pleasure to make!  I fell in love with the faux fur when I made this doll and that's what spurred me on to design some projects using the same material.  But it is a little trickier to sew with than my usual cotton choices.  It tends to slip and slide around, so getting seams to match up is challenging.  But I can live with that knowing how soft and luxurious it both feels and looks on the finished project!

I've just ordered Tone's latest book, Tilda Homemade and Happy,  and have seen projects from it popping up all over social media... so I can't wait until it arrives!!

Are you a Tilda fan?  If so, what's your favourite project or book?  I bet that's really difficult to answer - not sure that I could - there are just too many aren't there?!  What I love about the books isn't only the stunning projects, but the photographs and illustrations are sublime as well, it makes a really good coffee-table book (unless you're a sports car fan, then maybe not so much?!)  Do I have any sports car fans reading my blog?!  he he he... you never know!

I am chomping at the bitt to get my Christmas decorations out, but hubby wants to refrain until the end of the month!  I do have a sweet friend who has indeed got her tree up and displays looking all pretty!  (Deb - you have me drooling!  Are you going to put some photos up on your blog? xx)

Until next time - happy sewing!
Vikki xoxo

Friday, November 7, 2014

Simply Shabbilicious Christmas magazine

It has been a very exciting week for this Christmas-crazed-gal...

Because... (drum roll please)

...This week welcomed the release of Kerryanne English's Christmas 2014 issue of Simply Shabbilicious magazine!  You're in for a real treat.  There are pages full of inspiration to get your seasonal mojo happening with articles featuring the most amazing shabby homes with the most jaw-dropping vignettes,  by some very talented bloggers.

There is an awesome tutorial by a guest contributor for how to make chalkboard tags, and a recipe for festive-flavoured macaroons that will have your mouth watering.  All this and more, and the magazine is free to download.  How generous is Kerryanne?  You also have the option to purchase a digital copy or a printed paper version, all details are over at the Shabby Art Boutique.

There is another design in the magazine that I hope you will like!  I was delighted when Kerryanne asked me if I'd like to contribute a project, and I decided to follow my inspiration for snowmen... well, more accurately, snow ladies!

The Snowlady Festive tag fits in rather nicely with her big sister, Mademoiselle Snow, don't you think?  The tag is made from felt and faux white fur and is really quick and easy to whip up with minimal sewing.  There are so many uses for this sweet tag - decorate your tree - add to a wrapped parcel to add an extra touch, or include in one of your own Christmas displays.

Another exciting thing this week is that Kerryanne is running Simply Christmas!

My friends and I have found the guest posts, ideas and tutorials so valuable during previous seasons, so I'm really looking forward to getting my daily dose of inspiration again this year.  (smile)

If you're still reading to this end... then I'm very impressed by your staying power!  I'm sure most would have nicked on over to the Shabby Art Boutique by now!  (giggle)  I don't blame them!  Are you like me in that you do not sneak peeks of pressies?!!

Till next time... let the merriment begin!
Vikki xoxo

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Christmas pattern - Mademoiselle Snow

There’s nothing that gets my mojo going as much as designing for Christmas… and I figured, the shops have their festive displays happening, so why not decorate my blog early too?!  Do you like my new banner?

I have been busy working on Christmas projects too, and am very happy to introduce you to Mademoiselle Snow…

She’s a little shabby chic, and if you look closely, she’s a little sparkly too, loving to adorn herself with bling when the stardust falls from the sky on those cold crisp nights!

This sweet mademoiselle measures 20cm x 9cm (8in x 3.5in) and is constructed with minimal sewing.  I only used my sewing machine to stitch three straight lines and the rest was done by hand in no time at all.  Which leaves more time for the fun bit – embellishing!

The pattern is available for Mademoiselle Snow as a PDF from my Craftsy store here, or as a paper pattern in my shop here,  for just $10USD (inc. P&P if purchasing a paper version). 

I had it in mind to make some pretty pastel Christmas decorations and was inspired to create this first one when I started sewing with faux fur.  I used fur by Tilda ™, and purchased it from Shabby Art Boutique.  You only need a fat eighth to create one snow-lady… but can you just stop at one?  I couldn’t!

I hope you have a fantastic day!  I’ll be back tomorrow with some more news!!

Until then – snowy hugs!

Vikki xoxo

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sneak peeks anyone?

The studio has been a hive of activity over the past few weeks, and now it's time for a big tidy-up.  I think us creative souls are mostly similar when it comes down to designing or making a project, do you?  

At first it all starts with an idea... which then becomes a rough sketch... and then all manner of fabrics, threads and embellishments get pulled out on to the desk, which then overflows on to the floor. Does that sound familiar?  Are you like me in that you have to have a completely clean desk and fresh slate before you start something new?

I've been juggling four projects these last few weeks, which has been fun but rather messy!  But I will have some results to show you soon!  In the meantime would you like a few sneak peeks?

I'm very excited about this one - for those of you with shabby chic hearts - I think you might just like it too!  It will be released as a pattern in just a few short days!

... another teaser!  All will be revealed soon :-)

Plus I have another project on the go... it debuted on paper earlier this year and took quite some time for me to decide on a colour pallet before continuing... but the work is now almost complete...

How many projects have you got on the go at the moment?  

Hugs! Vikki xo

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nibbles and Nature's gifts by Petals & Patches!

Just a couple of posts ago I was chatting about what inspires my designs and it got me thinking a bit more... and I realised that more often than not, animals take centre stage in my designs.  

It all started with Rosetta Rabbit, and then there was Deer Cabin, and now there is Nibbles...

Nibbles was designed in memory of my daughter's first pet - a wee mouse that loved to be held, and was the cutest little thing.  This is how I envision her up in mouse heaven, with her little suitcase loaded with sunflowers as she ventures on her safe journey through the golden fields!

I used hanky linen for both the stitchery and for the panels on the back of the cushion, just love its texture.  I used one mini charm pack (2.5in squares) for the border.

You can find the Nibbles cushion in this month's issue of Country Threads magazine, Vol 15 No 8.

I have a lot of friends partial to designing animals, and I've been meaning to post about this project for a while now!  This gorgeous BOM quilt named Nature's Gifts was designed by my lovely friend Leanne Knell over at Petals & Patches.  I've seen it in "real life" and it's gorgeous!

The animals are so divine, so delicately drawn with thread...

Don't you just love the outline quilting, too?

Of course this next block is very close to my heart with that cute mouse among the wheat grasses...

Just love this quilt so much!  If you'd like to learn more about it or sign up for the ongoing BOM, please contact Leanne at Petals & Patches.  I'm sure she'd love to hear from you!

Hmmm... so I wonder what animal will be next on the horizon?  Any requests?

Till next time!
Vikki xo

Friday, September 12, 2014

Inspired for Christmas

Like many of my friends and other crafty ladies I know, Christmas is never far from my mind when it comes to getting stuck in to a new project!

Are you making anything with a festive theme at the moment??

My friend, Alisha, and I caught up last week for a Christmas crafting day...  I didn't take any photos but I can tell you that we had a fabulous time!  I made Turkey and cranberry rolls for lunch, we drank spiced chai tea while the carols were playing in the background.... and the clove-scented candle filled my home with its promise of a white Christmas... heavenly!

Okay so I'll 'fess up... we didn't get any sewing done!  But we DID talk a lot about sewing!!  Does that count?  I aired the Santa doll that I began making around (ahem.....) ten (cough) years ago.  Oops!  I literally did have to dust him down as his feet were sticking out of the top of a bag, the black fabric boots looked like they'd been walking in a foot of snow!!

He's quite a big fella this one measuring in at a completed 34 inches tall.  Here's a close up picture:

He's named Folkart Santa by Cotton Way.  I started collecting bits and pieces to make him when I lived in England during 2003!  The little knitted stocking still has the purchase price ticket on it, in Pounds Sterling!

Little quilt blocks all made up ready for the border on his substantially country winter coat... packaged up (thank goodness) and "snow" free.

I do plan to get him finished before Christmas this year... I think he's been very patient, don't you?

It's sometimes hard to finish something though, when there are some delicious new projects on the horizon... like this 'hot of the press' set by Jenny of Elefantz...namely, Holly Bird Designs!  Let me introduce you...

Oh gosh, which one to make first?

The table runner?  Isn't that Holly Bird divine??

Or this Holly Bird sampler?  Lovely as a wall-hanging, or perhaps even a cushion front?

Okay - another close up from another project just because they're all so gorgeous and I can't stop myself!!

There are six separate patterns in this set and they're at a reduced price until 17 September... if you're drooling as much as I am head on over here to Jenny's shop to order yours!  I just love them to bits!

So along with Jenny's projects I also have this gorgeous Little Robin Red Vest designed by the lovely Simone over at May Blossom.  I saw a photo last year on Simone's blog that featured this little treasure decorating her Christmas table in centre stage, and I fell in love.

Isn't he gorgeous?!!  This pattern is available through Creative Abundance or on the May Blossom website.  Oh my, if you haven't already visited Simon'e website you're in for a real treat!  Even the home page is pure eye candy in itself... she's so clever!

Do you like my little green vintage cabinet door?  I'd been after one for ages, at a good price of course, and finally discovered twin doors at the Waverley Antiques and Collectibles Bazaar in Melbourne.  So this is my current vignette...

The gorgeous plant 'bauble' was gifted to me by Alisha as a belated birthday treat.  She planted it out with succulents and a wee porcelain bunny rabbit which is so shy it's hiding in this next picture!

Okay my lovely friends, I have one more Christmas idea to tempt you with and a cute stitch-along designed and offered by the sweet Wendy of Sugarlane Designs.  Here is the latest block - head over and visit Wendy here to view her other blocks and join in the festive fun!

Ooh!  (Squeal) It's beginning to get exciting now isn't it?!!  I am a Christmas addict, it's true.

Lots of love to you all!

Catch you round like a fruit loop!

Vikki xo

Monday, September 8, 2014

The comprehensive making of Coraline! A soft-doll story

Have you seen this movie

Do you share my love for it? 

I absolutely ADORE this movie, it is completely animated and the first of its kind to be filmed in 3D.  I love the set, it’s overcast gloominess that has such depth and character… and then Coraline herself, a face full of expression… a spirited girl with courage and a desire for justice.  In fact, all of the characters are quirky, crazy or eccentric in their own right, and the soundtrack wraps the whole movie up in a dramatic and haunting bow.  It gets a bit dark nearing the end so not advisable for young ones, always best to watch it yourself first if you have any doubts.  (You can see the trailer here).  My Rosie has just turned Nine and has been watching it for the past year, and it was at her request that I made a Coraline doll.

There were so many facial expressions to choose from!  
Which to pick?!

I searched the Net for some inspiration and came across this post at Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.  Elizabeth made her daughter a Coraline doll and has a free pattern available on her site.  I decided I wanted to make a smaller version (10” tall, about the same as a Barbie doll), so I used Elizabeth’s pattern for the front of the face, ears, body and coat.  I created my own patterns for the legs, arms and other clothing.  I started with the face…

Don’t you love the sticky-out ears?  They’re not so obvious when her hair is attached.  I used Prismacolour pencils to colour her face, with a brown fine-point permanent marker (Zig 005) for the outline of her eyes, eyebrows and freckles.  Then to create the whiteness of her eyes I used a white gel pen.  (I’m sorry about the blurry photo!)

I gave Coraline a couple of dimples at the end of her smile.  I did this by starting behind the ear, out at the corner of the mouth taking a small stitch and then returning to the starting position behind the ear and tying off.  You can just about make it out in the above photo.  She has a wooden dowel in her neck to support her rather large head.  (Again this is in Elizabeth’s instructions)

Next up, time to make some skinny jeans…

You’ll notice in the above photo that I’ve stuffed the legs and feet?  Well, yeah, the feet would not fit through the skinny jeans so I had to insert each leg through the bottom opening of the jeans leg, and then sew both the jeans and the top of the legs to the body at the same time.  It was a bit tricky!  I put some more stuffing in her derriere as well, as it was looking kinda flat!

Next up, I made her top.  I found the perfect knit fabric colour-wise by the way of a summer jumper hanging on the $2 rack of clothing in my Coles supermarket.  So I made my purchase and cut it up for my wee doll.  I used the draping method.  I cut some fabric utilising the seam as the ‘turtleneck’ for Coraline’s jumper, and then pinned around her.  I then sewed around her arms and body ensuring that there was a sufficient seam allowance and that the jumper would still fit well once it was turned the right side out.

I was pleased with the result, and sewed up the opening on the reverse of the jumper which was also a handy finished seam already on the up cycled garment!  Then we move on to Coat country…

I couldn’t get hold of vinyl material for the coat but it might have been tricky to sew with at such a small scale anyhow.  I purchased this faux suede at my local Spotlight and it had the right worn-in grungy kinda look which really appealed to me.  I zig-zagged the seams first, and did a lot of the sewing by hand.

Then up for some fun!  Completion!  In hindsight I wish I’d have used Elizabeth’s complete head pattern as the additional gusset would have given my doll a flatter head which is a significant feature.  But none-the-less, our wee Coraline sprouted locks (I used Pure wool entwine 8ply colour no 58 made for Spotlight pty ltd - Just to be thorough… ha ha!)

She still does not have welly boots (gum boots) or a bag… but she’s very happy bare-foot for now!

Okay – so here are some interesting links!!  This first one blows me away!  There’s an artist in the UK who knits in miniature!!!!  Her knitting needles are the size of embroidery needles!!!!  Check out the following video to behold how she knits so small - your jaw will drop!

Then there is this video link to get an insight in to how much time, talent and effort goes in to just the hair of these little characters, alone:

Then there is this video to see how the movie was made – you really get a good idea of the scale and complexity of the project. 

I hope you enjoyed my ‘making of’ post!  Have you made any/many dolls yourself?

Be back soon!

Vikki xo

Stop press:  For those of you who were interested in my posting about sensory defensiveness, I have not forgotten.  I just needed to take some time out from thinking about the whole thing – after I completed the therapy I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I’m rebuilding my strength and interest in so many things that I’d put to one side… so it won’t be too much longer before I’m ready to share more (smile).


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