At the end of last year, I was lucky enough to attend a soap-making workshop at the gorgeous Perfect Potion. In the style of a true crafter, I went out and bought every single ingredient I could ever possibly need to make soap... then stashed it away in my horde and stared lovingly at it for a few months.

Last month, I finally concluded that I wasn't simply lazy- instead, I was intimidated by the soap-making process. And who wouldn't be? There are dangerous chemicals and two heating elements and so much potential for everything to go wrong! It was time to suck it up and use one of my lifelines, so I called in a great crafty friend of mine. We set a date for the Official Soap Making Day, and I let my stash know it was finally going to be used.

Official Soap Making Day arrived, and I carefully unpacked my box of goodies and my instructions. Together, my friend and I decided to create two varieties- a luscious combination of frangipani, Australian red clay and Macadamia Oil, and a delicious concoction of lemon myrtle, Australian green clay and exfoliating sugar beads. We were drooling already!

We carefully followed the instructions, and, with lots of giggling thrown in, managed to produced our first bar of soap. I can't tell you how exciting it was! We whipped up the second batch with ease, then followed our instructions by wrapping our babies up in warm towels and tucking them into bed. Aww!

My friend and I ended up having a fantastic time and creating two gorgeous sets of handmade soaps; the best part, however, was gaining the confidence and the feeling of being able to achieve anything. As with many new crafts, it can be intimidating to start up and give things a go, but you know what? Every talented crafter who is out there selling things that inspire the world started somewhere- and perhaps it was in her kitchen, with a friend, a set of instructions and the courage to give something new a go.

Here's to trying new things... and here's the tutorial to get you started!

P.S. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have left comments- it's made me feel right at home in blogland!

As a sewing newbie, I'm still gathering all of those nifty little gadgets that make life easier when creating things. One of the items I needed desperately was a pincushion- and of course, what better project to take on as a beginner? They seem relatively simple- two pieces of fabric, some stuffing, and a little decoration. What could go wrong?

Well, obviously I had to make it more complicated than it needed to be. Inspired by these stunning pincushions over at Carina's Craftblog, I decided to step outside of a few 'beginner' guidelines- my pincushion would be round instead of square, would have a vintage feel due to a lace trimming, and would be stuffed with Malamute hair. What's that, I hear you ask? That, my friends, is hair from my gorgeous puppy, Manhattan:

She is a wild, shedding, howling beast of an Alaskan Malamute who is more than delighted to share her monstrous fluff with me. I brushed her, washed her hair, dried it and ended up with a gorgeous batch of soft, fluffy puppy stuffing. So far, so good.

Next, I sewed my pincushion together, and quickly figured out that circles are a pain in the butt to sew- especially in a first project! Once I'd learned to tame my slightly-out-of-control foot, I became friends with the pedal and figured out how to slow down my machine. This definitely helped the process.

It came time to stuff the cushion, so in went Manhattan. Then came the interesting part... sewing the pincushion shut. I inspected other stuffed items that I had lying around, and could not for the life of me figure out how they were sewn closed. A google search didn't help, either. I was on my own! I went ahead with a tiny stitch very close to the edge, which, due to my (obsessively) perfectionist nature, took as long to do as the rest of the project- but at least it was closed! Soon after, I learnt about the invisible/ladder stitch, but that's another story.

Finally, I got creative with my lace and added a lace bobble to the top of the cushion. Ta-da! Done. But... hang on a moment... what's the strange pointy thing sticking out of the top? And the side? And the bottom? And the other side... uh-oh. That's Manhattan. To be more exact, that's Manhattan's fur, and it's escaping from it's new home with the fervour of an Alcatraz inmate. It turns out that unfelted puppy filling is not the way to go!

The pincushion, however, is finished; it now sits proudly on my desk, malting alongside the cats that insist on sitting on my stunning (and expensive!) fabric collection. Together, we all live in our happy, fluffy crafting wonderland.

I figure if you're going to read my blog, curiosity may strike and you'll want to know a little bit about me. Just for you, therefore, here is my story-in-a-nutshell!

I was born 24 years' ago to a wonderful mother in the spectacular city of Melbourne. I grew up in a world of my own, reading, crafting, building cubbies and climbing trees. My mother instilled in me the importance of creating handmade, loving presents that celebrated the people around me, which directly resulted in the passion that I have for crafting all things wonderful.

When I was 14, my mother passed away and I was left alone in the world. I spent the next four years being tossed around foster homes, where I experienced things that I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I survived, however, and emerged into the world a stronger, braver and wiser person.

I spent the next few years completing my Degree in Gender and Cultural Studies and travelling the world. I have been fortunate enough to explore some of the world's most bewitching countries- from Belize and Guyana to Iceland and Fiji. I have journeyed through 26 countries thus far, and this year will wondering through a further 3; I can't get enough of the world!

I live in a gorgeous home in the suburbs of Melbourne with my amazing partner, Sharon, and four little critters: Tango, the fabulous little Bichon; Manhattan, the giant cheeky Malamute; Monsieur, the handsome ginger cat; and Coconut, the gorgeous fluffy kitten. These five beings complete my world and ensure that my life is sensational in every way.

I have recently returned to my crafting roots, and am currently spending my days rediscovering old talents whilst also learning new skills. My existing crafty talents include graphic design, digital scrapbooking, chocolate making, papercrafts, and jewellery making; my newest crafty passions are sewing, soft-toy making, bookbinding, patchwork, rubber stamp carving, lip balm making and recycled crafts; and the list of crafts I'd like to try include candle making, soap making, paper making and bottle gardening.

My aim in the near future is to spend my days creating beautiful works of craft and connecting with other crafters. Down the track, I would like to start selling my creations... but let's start small!

Finally, here are some random facts about me:
- I am a sweet-toothed, gourmet-food-obsessed vegan;
- My absolutely favourite colour in the world is purple;
- I speak two languages: English (fluently) and Polish (vaguely!);
- I dream of my own organic veggie garden, moving to Manhattan and living in Paris;
- I am a 100% certified, computer-loving nerd;
- I spent the last three years performing in a circus, and am trained in aerials, contortion and acrobalance;
- I swing dance on Sundays; and
- My favourite view is of a glimmering city skyline.

Now it's your turn: tell me about yourself! What are your crafty passions?

After many months of delay, the time has finally arrived to start my crafty blog.

Why now, you may ask? Well, I have just spent the most marvellous four days at the Melbourne Stitches and Craft Show. There, I attended endless brilliant workshops, bought a ridiculous amount of crafty goods, and, most importantly, met dozens of inspiring crafters- including the charming Cathy from Audrey & Maude; the zany Jodie from Vintage Ric-Rac; the talented Kirsten from Kirsten Doran Design; and the incredible threesome from Ink & Spindle. Between them, they gave me the encouragement and confidence-boost I needed to get my bum into gear, get crafting and get online.

So, here we are! Welcome to Pepperberry & Co., a crafty world where I will blog about all of my adventures as a crafter. There will be tantalising tutorials, inspiring ideas, provocative photos, luscious links and titillating tales to keep you entertained. I hope you will join me on my journey!