Monday, March 31, 2014

Woodland stitching… and sweet pets!

Gosh it’s a lovely day today!  The sun is bright and the sky is blue.  I’m sat at my desk in a cool room being thankful for the perfect temperature! The house is quiet but for the whirring of a grass mower down the street… I’m having one of those “ahhhhh” moments.  Just soaking up the serenity that doesn’t come my way as often as I’d like, but when it does it feels all the sweeter.

I thought you might like to see a sneaky pic of my ‘Deer Cabin’ table-runner design?  It has been sent off to Creating Country Threads magazine and is due to be published in the next month or two.

Deer Cabin sneak

I used some of Lynette Anderson’s ‘Scandinavian Christmas’ fabric… although it is so versatile with its love-hearts, stars and cute little mushrooms, that it needn’t be saved just for Christmas projects alone.  I drew the deer from photographs, and with the woodland theme in mind, thought that Log Cabin blocks would be the ideal choice to accompany them.  I’ll show you the full project when it is published, and will release the pattern at the same time so that if you live overseas and would like to make it, you can do so.  (smile)

Well, the serenity didn’t last for very long people… my little dog is barking her head off at everyone who walks by – and we have a hard rubbish collection on our nature strip (grass verge), so people tend to stop and linger… gosh I love Kayla, and she is doing a very good job of guarding her family… but sheesh, she is driving me nuts!

Kayla 2

Butter wouldn’t melt, hey cutie?!

If you were reading my blog a few months ago you would have been greeted with a sweet pic of my young Rosie’s little pet mouse, Nibbles.  She was such a dear little thing, but she became very ill only three weeks after we brought her home.  I took her to an ‘exotic’ vet as not many vets will treat mice.  Turns out she couldn’t go to the toilet and although she was given medication, she wasn’t given the diagnosis of a good outcome.  The vet thought it was probably an anomaly the young thing was born with.   Little Nibbles lived in my hands for hours at a time, I hand-fed her and gave her medication.  I just sat and cradled her, she must have liked the warmth from my hands as as soon as I tried to put her back in her cage, she would run back on to me.  Just as we thought there might be a chance that she would come good, we lost her.

Both Rosie and I (and dad and brother) were so incredibly upset.  I think there is something about helping an animal to survive… you get so attached.  I was shocked at how tearful I was for two days straight.  Rosie wanted to give Nibbles a good burial, so we decorated a box, and put her inside with her favourite things – some food, a toy, and some toy-stuffing to keep her comfortable.  It was so hard seeing Rosie heartbroken, as we stood out in the rain, in the garden; but in a strange kind of way we also bonded in our grief.  It’s hard to explain, but it felt wholesome. 

We now have two new pets… Cheeky and Tickles.  Rosie didn’t want the late Nibbles to feel like she was being replaced, but I explained that because Rosie was such a good owner, Nibbles would love for some other mice to have the pleasure of being looked after by her.

Cheeky 1

So many of my friends cringe at the thought of owning pet mice.  One friend in particular said she would rather touch a spider than a mouse!  But I think they make amazing pets.  They are so tame.  I must admit, that before we got Nibbles I had my doubts about housing mice, I was so worried about the smell.  But I’m quite happy to clean them out twice-weekly… Rosie helps out and we have special time together.

Tickles and cheeky 1

Cheeky 2 

Anyhow, it’s time I headed off to continue with some stitching!  Ooh – and I’ll set up a photo-shoot with my toy sewing machines as I know a couple of you are interested!

Until next time, hope you get to enjoy some serenity!

Vikki xoxo

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Antique finds

It’s been a busy ole’ week in the SUDs household, but I found a capsule of time sufficient enough to take photographs of the recent vintage finds that I had the good fortune to make. (smile)

Antique cotton spool

First up is this vintage spool that I discovered on my visit to Frances Pilley in Fitzroy, I chatted about it in my last post.  I have been coveting these kind of spools for a very long time but until now, they were just too expensive to justify.  The price in the shop ranged between $15-$25 per spool dependant on size, which I thought was pretty good!  One of the smallest spools came home with me, big enough for my purposes.

Antique stamp stand

Next up are these cute finds from my local antique shop (which is, more often than not either cheaper or offering the same rates as my favourite Op shop!) Doileys, a china tea-cup, and a cast Iron office ‘stand’ – I presume it was for storing inking stamps.  I’m not sure… do you know?  It now sits on my sewing desk.

Antique doileys

I really loved this doiley with its delicate satin-stitched flowers.  Do you ever wonder what – in 30 years time - will be the most sought after hand-made items from our generation?

Antique Peter Pan sewing machine

I’ve had this little Peter Pan toy sewing machine for a while now, but thought it would be a good time to share!  It is missing a few of its parts, but I still love it.  My little collection of antique and vintage toy sewing machines grows gradually, I have 19 all together.  Some are made of Iron, most of metal, and one of plastic.  Would you be interested in seeing them all?  I’ve been thinking for a while that I should write a blog post with a brief on each of them.  Do you collect any sewing memorabilia?

Antique lead light window 

The last item I have to show you is this dilapidated old window.  It has taken me 12 months to find one that I liked, was inexpensive and not too big!  I had originally planned to get a window without glass and just use the weathered frame as a feature piece.  But I came across this find and thought I’d remove the cracked panes and keep the feature glass which is still in good condition.  It needs some bracing to make it safe, but after that I’m not sure where I’m going to display it!  It may end up in the garden if our side-board remains too ‘busy’!!  I’m running out of space in my home.  Does that sound familiar?!

Antique window 2

On the home-front, I’ve spent some time crafting with my sweet young Rosie, and will show you more on that next time, she’s such a creative little soul!  I have been stitching too… lots and lots of stitching! 

What have you been up to?

Warm wishes! Vikki xo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A day out in Fitzroy, Melbourne

In my last post I mentioned about a really fun day I had out in Melbourne!  Well, at last I’ve updated all my photos and gathered my links together to share with you – because if you’re ever in the area there are some GREAT places to go!

The day started out with Wendy, Joy and I meeting up in the foyer of our hotel, waiting for any takers for a day out in Fitzroy.  Call ourselves Billy-no-mates but no-one else turned up – so undeterred - off we went!

We braved the trams… (being the only Melbournian of the three I wasn’t any the wiser for how to board or ‘pay’ for the journey)… but we made it.  We may have been shouted at by a passing motorist… but we made it!

Wendy and Joy on tram

Wendy and I on tram

Here I am with Wendy… all very excited about our pending adventures!

Wendy and Joy cafe

We were headed for Rose Street Market, but needed to take a long walk down Brunswick Street to get there.  We were all gagging for coffee!  Know the feeling?  Joy and I had to lure Wendy away from one rather dodgy-looking watering hole… bless her, our naive Wendy didn’t notice the shady characters hanging around as she was so intent on getting a decent brew (coffee not beer!!!).

We found our way in to the cutest and warmest and most vintage-y-est little cafe called Argos loves Company.  If you look in the above photo you will see silverware and an Art Deco window displayed artfully in the background.  The food was AMAZING and when we saw everyone else's plates full of the most wonderful delicacies, we wished we’d ordered lunch rather than opting for just sweet treats. 


But when the sweet treats arrived we oohed and aahed over the china plates so much we momentarily forgot anything else… except for the coffee of course, one never forgets about the coffee! (wink)

Pug love

Okay, so there are a few things I love more than coffee… and right up there with family and friends is… dogs!  I adore dogs!  I am a crazy-dog-person.  So much so that when I developed pug-love, I just had to ask the owner if I could have a photo!  This adorable little pooch was sat outside our cafe… and his owner kindly fed him some ham off her plate so I could get a good photo – it was win-win for me and the Pug, but his owner was sadly at a loss for ham to go with her eggs!

I can tell you, there were some seriously CUTE dogs on the streets of Fitzroy… but so that Wendy and Joy didn’t disown me for being completely crazy, I refrained myself from asking for any further pics! 

Wendy taking pics

Talking of pics, between the three of us girls, we took A LOT!  There was so many interesting things to see, like the children’s park behind Wendy… that had the cutest Matroyshka sculptures!

Matroyoshka park

And then there were the shops we came across… check out this Lion in the window of Mark Denver Vintage & Industrial:

Day out shop lion

It’s made out of wood that’s been combed from beaches.  We took a look inside the store.  There were quite a few stuffed animal heads on the walls… a giraffe of all things!  I’m not really into taxidermy, but it was an unusual sight.  I LOVED the vintage globes on display everywhere…

Day out globes

We took our time, enjoying the ambience and the sights, and eventually got to the Artists Market…

Wendy and Joy market

Wendy and Joy were admiring the jewellery, while I was admiring…


… the chairs!

Artists market

There were lots of lovely stalls and some delightful people to chat to.  After browsing around (and feeling quite hot with the sunny weather), we decided it was time for lunch, so went to the accompanying cafe, and promptly took a selfie.

Wendy Joy and I at cafe

After enjoying our food and people-watching, we headed out of the market and in to a couple of other quaint shops.  This is one store that we all fell in love with…

Day out shabby shop

It is called Frances Pilley and is full of, as the business card puts it: “Exceptional products chosen for their quality, beauty, uniqueness and luxury”.  And that’s exactly what was inside!

Day out shabby shop 2

Laces and textiles, wooden spools and buttons, mannequins and Victorian clothing, old feed-sacks, chairs and just so much “stuff” that you just wished you could take home with you!

Day out vintage feed sack

Day out shabby shop 3

I made one purchase – I’ll show you next time!

Day out street view

Heading through the streets we saw some amazing graffiti-art.  Wendy has many more photos on her blog that you can see here.

If you look closely at the building facing you in the above picture, there is a gigantean Cupie doll just sat there on the front!  I love the sky… it really has so much character doesn’t it, with those fluffy clouds?

Day out De Vinci art

Day out moped

One thing that really did steal my heart however, was this scooter.  Isn’t it divine? (Should I be calling it something like a moped or a Vespa?!)

As they say, all good things must come to an end.  (Don’t you hate it when “they” say that?!!)

Our feet were aching, our joints were sore from walking… and we all agreed that we felt at peace having enjoyed the most amazing day out. 

Waiting at the tram stop for our journey back to the hotel looked like this:

Day out waiting for tram

My gorgeous companions won’t be seeing Melbourne for a while, but as for me, I don’t plan to go back to Fitzroy any time soon.  The memories created with these two girls are precious and I don’t want to taint them by attempting to repeat the journey.  Does that sound weird?!

However, if the Pug asks me out to join him for a coffee and some ham… how could I resist?!

Till next time!

Vikki xoxoxoxoxo


Stop Press: I have been advised that Joy is the naive one – it was Wendy pushing Joy away from the dodgy cafe!  Oops, I have a weak memory!  (But it’s ok Wendy, although you’re not as naive as our cheeky friend, you are indeed very sweet! x)


Monday, March 17, 2014

My latest project… it’s sew useful!

How do you like to purchase patterns?  Do you prefer the paper variety or do you like the ease and speed of downloading a PDF?  If the answer to your question is the latter… where do you store your printouts? 

My Patterns front cover small

If you are looking for a cute and inspirational storage system… maybe my latest design, the “My Sweet PDFs” album, is just the thing for you. 

My Patterns front cover option small

I released this design at the Let’s get Stitched event last Sunday.  The project involves a small amount of piecing and applique, together with plenty of embroidery and cross-stitch for embellishment.  The two A4 covers are constructed out of firm cardboard, and there are full instructions and step-by-step tutorials for inserting the eyelets.

I really love scrapbook albums, and although I don’t work with paper crafts myself, I wanted to recreate that kind of look with the album rings and ribbons.  But I think the pom-pom trim is my favourite – I love the stuff!  I found this most amazing colour, a pastel turqoise/sea green hue, in my local Spotlight.  It coordinates beautifully with my Tilda fabric, too!

My Patterns small 2

The back cover is very simple:

My Patterns back cover small

… and the inside pages… I attached some hanky linen for writing notes on… notes that i need to refer to regularly like the stitch length on my sewing machine for getting a perfect quarter-of-an-inch seam allowance, for example. (I am yet to write those notes!)

My Patterns small 3

I have a downloadable PDF pattern for sale in my shop, here. But for you paper-pattern lovers (of which I am one!), there are also paper versions available in my shop here.

So, I’m interested to know… do you go to many stitching/workshop events??  Are you hoping to go to one in the future?  Or do you belong to a regular stitching group filled with close friends?

I try to catch up with crafty friends as much as I can, but we find it difficult juggling work, studies and family life so it’s not as regular as any of us would like… and I usually only catch up with one friend at a time.  But the stitching event last Sunday really opened my eyes to catching up with like-minded ladies on a more regular basis.  It was just great looking at everyone’s hand-made projects, their sewing bags, pin-cushions and mug-rugs!  It was like one big show and tell!  It’s always so much more fun to see these gorgeous creations in real life isn’t it?  Photos really don’t do justice, even when those photos are amazing… you wish you could actually fondle the creations in your very own hands!!  But of course, it’s not the creations that make the occasion, but the ladies themselves… I know I’ve said it before, but honestly, you couldn’t have wished for a more lovely bunch of souls to connect with.  I truly felt humbled to share some time with them. 

Another thing that was so sweet about having the whole weekend away (such a rarity for me!) was that my family was so very pleased to see me when I returned!  You’d have thought I’d been away for a month!! 

I had only been gone a day when I returned back home with Jenny, so we could spend some quality time together, and so that Jen could meet my family and see where I live.  Kayla, our pooch, went ballistic!  She didn’t know whether to jump up, roll over or lick… so she attempted all three at once, it was hilarious!

Kayla in car

She is a bit more composed in this photo! One of the things she loves as much as her Mum (and her new Auntie Jen!) is a ride in the car… she gets as excited over the word ‘Car’ as she does over the word “Walkies’!  Bless her!

Jenny and I shared a fabulous day together even though we were both so tired from our 3am bedtime a few hours before-hand!! I’d longed for so long to be able to make her a cup of tea and chat in my sewing space… it was like a dream come true (except I didn’t end up making the tea, the gorgeous Mr SUDs made us coffee!  Love him!)  This is my fave photo of Jenny and I together, taken in the hotel shortly before I said my goodbyes to all the girls…

vikki and jenny

I’ve borrowed the pic from Jenny… she has a fantastic camera… and she gives fantastic cuddles! 

I’ll be back with some more memories of my weekend away… a day out in Fitzroy with two other gorgeous gals… I’ve got some links to share for some interesting vintage and quirky shops! 

It’s past midnight as I write this… the house is quiet and Kayla is at my feet… I think we’ll have a quick cuddle and then I’ll head off upstairs for some shut-eye.

Whether it’s night or day for you right now… sweet dreams my friend!

Vikki xoxo Smile




Friday, March 14, 2014

Let’s get Stitched 2014

My feet haven’t touched the ground since I got home from the most amazing weekend I’ve had in a very long time… the Let’s get Stitched event in Melbourne!

LGS Group shot

See those happy faces?  I enjoyed their smiles from Thursday through to Sunday while the majority of us stayed at Rydges in Preston.  We had days out on Friday and Saturday before commencing our stitching day on the Sunday.  Why haven’t I mentioned it before?  Because I was one of two ‘mystery’ designers and had to keep the secret all to myself… it was hard, I can tell you!!

I was not the only ‘mystery’ to be revealed on the day (that sounds so much more glamorous than intended!), sweet Marilyn Duncan was the second mystery designer, and then who popped out from behind the curtain?  Rosalie Quinlan!  There was a lot of excitement and squealing in the room!  I borrowed this next photo from Jenny (thanks Jen! x)

elefantz LGS designers 2014

From left to right:  The organisers and founders of Lets get Stitched, Dawn, Joy, Vicki and Fee.  Following on is Marilyn, Jenny, me and Rosalie.

I’ve known the majority of these ladies for several years, from our days together in Among the Gum Trees and through blogging… we have chatted on the phone and sent each other gifts… but this was the first time we had all met up at the same time in person!  I was so elated to finally meet a very dear friend of mine, Jenny,and to share a room with her and one of the sweetest gals you could ever hope to meet, Wendy!  We got on like a house on fire and chatted to the wee hours of the morning while sharing cups of tea and witty anecdotes.  Sheesh it was FUN!

The three amigos

Our first selfie together, me, Jenny and Wendy!

I have borrowed these next photos from Jenny as well… they are pics of all the lovely ladies who attended the stitching day.  They travelled the length and breadth of the country… and a couple even made it across the pond from New Zealand (they have the cutest accents!!!)

LGS Elefantz a

LGS Elefantz b

LGS Elefantz c

LGS Elefantz d

LGS Elefantz e

LGS Elefantz f

This was both my first stitching event and my first teaching event… and I was blown away by the kindness, generosity and friendship offered by the wonderful women who attended.  There was a lot of love and support in that room!  I have come away with many more friends and a bigger heart… thank you to ALL of you ladies for making it so special! x

I have some more photos to share of the weekend and of the project I designed for those attending… in the meantime I’m still waiting for my feet to touch the ground!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and take the opportunity to create some precious memories!

Till next time! Vikki xo Smile



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