There comes a time, once every year, when magick fills the air.

When fairies dance, and sprinkle dust, and glitter sparkles in their hair.

'Tis also the time, when Witches come out, to celebrate their New Year,

And all over the world, come shouts of joy: 'Pepperberry's Ghoulish Giveaway is 'ere!'

And so to win, this beautiful prize, of a Halloween Paper Pack,

You must visit the shoppe, of Papers By Pepperberry, and then you must come back.
Once you are here, you must share with me, your ideas for further themes,

For packs of paper, that fill you with joy, and fulfill all your paper dreams!

To enter this Ghoulish Giveaway and win a Halloween Paper Pack, leave a comment sharing your idea for a new Themed Paper Pack that could be created from the papers stocked at Papers By Pepperberry.

You may then have an extra entry for each of the following:

- Leave another comment listing the nine specific papers you would put in your Themed Paper Pack;
- Heart the Papers By Pepperberry store on Etsy (or tell me if you already have!);
- Become a fan of Pepperberry & Co. on Facebook (or tell me if you already are!);
- Blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link;
- Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link;
- Post on Facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link.

This giveaway will close at midnight, Melbourne time, on Wednesday the 21st of October and a winner will be drawn soon after! Thank you to the wonderfully creative and vibrant Vanessa of A Fanciful Twist for hosting yet another fabulous Halloween Party.

Hello to all of my gorgeous Pepperberrians!

I cannot even begin to thank you for the touching, heartwarming, supportive, loving and generous comments that you all left on my previous post. It truly meant the world to me to read each and every word you left for me, to share in your journeys, to learn that my words had made a difference in your lives, and to feel the love that flowed in from every corner of the globe. Thank you. I am slowly making my way through your incredible comments and will reply to each one of you personally over the next week or so.

A lot has been happening in the world of Pepperberry & Co., and it is high time I updated you on the goings on- or is it going ons?! Either way, here goes:

I spent Saturday at the best market I've ever done- Northside Maker's in Northcote. It was brimming with lovely, super-talented stallholders, ridiculously friendly and supportive visitors, and a wonderful community vibe. If you didn't go, you missed out on a spectacular day! The next one is on November the 28th, so mark your diaries in fat red pen and be there.

My next market is tomorrow, at the 1st Birthday celebration of Melbourne's Multicultural Hub. There will be performances by the Burundi, Assyrian-Chaldean, Japanese, Bhutanese and Chinese communities, an amazing variety of handmade craft stalls, and lots of fun activities for all ages. I would love to see you there, so come along for a great day and say hi! All the details are in my sidebar on the right.


As some of you may know, Sharon and I were lucky enough to buy a big, beautiful block of bush land earlier this year. We settle on the land in December and are hoping to move there in February, so there's lots going on to make that happen! Our house is one giant renovation site, our garden is about to undergo a makeover, and our cats are getting used to the fact that all the walls/shelves/doors they used to take for granted might not be there next time they go past. Endless hours of fun!

The Pepperberry & Co. shop is looking a bit stale, but fear not! I have over 50 new products to add, including a new product range that I'm almost ready to launch- so stay tuned. There will be plenty of goodies up in time for your handmade Christmas shopping!

Papers By Pepperberry has had a flying start, and there are many beautiful things being created with all of the papers as we speak. The gorgeous Jen from A Red Pumpkin Studio has just launched her first product featuring Pepperberry papers, and it is a simply stunning handmade art book:

I'm making a few changes around here to recognise that over-committing to things does not do wonders for my health! So, if you don't mind, the Tuesday Tales will now be a monthly (instead of weekly) feature, held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. I will, also, 100% post the second half of the Product Photography tutorial as soon as I can.

Thank you to all the wonderful entrants in Daniella's Happy Bee Giveaway, and thank you especially for your patience with the unusual delay. The winner, as drawn using the old names-in-the-hat method, is Jade from The Sewing Greenie. Congratulations!

That's it from me for today! I will see you all again on Sunday, when the Ghoulish Halloween Giveaway will be happening. Get your brooms out and your hats on!

Two years ago, on an average day in March, I woke up crying. I didn't stop crying for the next 3 months.

With the tears came an overwhelming inability to do the things I was so accustomed to doing. At first, I found I couldn't do the big things in life, like catching up with friends, going out, participating in the classes I was in, or doing craft projects.

Slowly, however, even the little things became too overwhelming, and soon I couldn't even watch TV, read books, play on the internet, brush my hair or play with my cats and dogs. I would start to have a shower and collapse in a heap on the floor, sobbing until the water ran out. I would attempt to get out of bed and, half an hour later, find myself curled up on the floor next to it with tears gushing down my face. I just couldn't do anything; not a single thing. I was sick.

In early May of 2007, I was diagnosed with Chronic Depression. What was happening to me wasn't simply a bad day, a sad moment, or a reaction of grief. It was physical, chemical; something had short-circuited in my brain and now life was too hard to live.

What I faced then was like nothing I had faced before; even after my mother died when I was 14 and even whilst I was being thrown around and abused in Australia's horrid Foster Care system, I had not faced such irrational, uncontrollable sadness.

The darkness that Depression brings cannot be explained in words, and cannot ever be defined for those who have not experienced it; it is, quite simply, a petrifying journey through the darkest, emptiest corners of the human mind.

From day one, however, I knew I was going to survive. I knew that this disease could not, and would not, beat me. I had a life to live, and even during the days, weeks and months that I forgot about what that life looked like, I held onto the fragment of hope that one day I would get better.

Thanks to a fantastic counselor, well-suited medication, and the endless, constant, and ridiculously selfless love of Sharon and my furry bunch, I did survive. I made it to the other end of the darkness, and now Depression is just something that I have, rather than something that defines me.

Just as my life was getting back on track, and just as I was getting comfortable with pushing my boundaries by working, socialising, playing and laughing, another setback happened. This one was slow, creeping; nothing like the suddenness I had experienced with Depression.

The first feeling I remember experiencing was numbness. Pure, empty numbness. I suddenly had no feeling, no care for anything in the world; things that were sad, or touching, or inspiring just washed over me.

This was followed by a gradually increasing sense of fear. Within a month, this fear was debilitating; I would wake up and feel so monstrously overwhelmed by the thought of making breakfast, and all of the decision-making that that involved, that I would stay in bed until the afternoon.

Pretty soon, I couldn't leave the house. The thought of seeing people, of having to interact, was too much to bear. I lost the ability to make my much-loved spreadsheets full of my goals; the ability to create anything remotely crafty; and the ability to make any kinds of decisions. I was powerless; helpless.

Everything I knew about myself- every element of strength, independence, and resilience- was gone. I had changed from a vocal, overly-opinionated, strong person to a quiet, overwhelmed and frightened one.

Luckily, what I was experiencing had a name, and that name was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is exceedingly common in survivors of mental, physical and sexual trauma, and mine had simply hidden itself until the right trigger (my abusive boss) came along.

Once I had a name, I could start to understand what was happening to me, and why I was suddenly finding such mundane things so terribly difficult to accomplish. Having this understanding gave me power back in a situation where I felt powerless, and life slowly started to improve again.

Step by step, Sharon and I worked to overcome my PTSD symptoms. I quit my job and focussed on getting better. Sharon and I would leave the house for an hour at a time, so as to not overwhelm me. We made dramatically shortened to-do lists, and I worked on achieving what was on them every day. I would make decisions about little, silly things in order to get used to having that power again.

One day in March of this year, two years after my journey with Mental Health issues began, I heard about a little thing called the Stitches & Craft Show. I had not really left the house for more than an hour at a time for more than three months, and I most certainly hadn't been somewhere on my own. But something about this show called me; I was itching to get back into crafting, and I felt I was ready for the challenge it would bring.

I attended the Show, and never looked back. During those four days, I did so much more than simply learn how to sew, or embroider, or blog, or start a business. I regained a confidence that I had not had in over two years; started, again, to believe that I could achieve anything I set my mind to; and met people who touched my life in ways they will never fully understand. I became myself again; the Sandra that I knew. And so a new journey began, and Pepperberry & Co. was born.

I tell you this because it is something I have been wanting to share for a while, but it has not felt right until today. Mental Health issues, which are something I once scoffed at, are now a part of my daily life. I still have to wake up each morning and battle at least a few demons before I can start sewing, and I still have days when I break down completely and sit paralysed on the couch, wondering what the point of life is.

Just last week I had a few of those days: days during which the regular list of things to be done was an overwhelming, impossible mountain I had to climb, and days during which my fear and my sadness far outweighed my rational ability to function. Thank you to all of you who left loving comments; sent worried emails; and got in touch via Facebook and Twitter to see if I was ok.

I am ok, and thanks to Sharon, my furry family, and all of you who have been such a loving and supportive part of my crafty, businessy, bloggy journey, I will continue to be ok. I may not always be able to post Tuesday Tales when they are due; I may not always be able to respond to emails as soon as I'd like; and I may not always have what it takes to blog during Blogtoberfest, but at least I know that I have survived and that there is love for me in this world. So thank you.

Hello lovelies!

Those of you who follow religiously will know that right now is about the time that a brand new Tuesday Tale should be showing up in your Blog Reader. Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling too well today, so there is a slight delay in the post. I'm going to try my best to have it to you, fresh and juicy and full of inspiration and giveaway goodness, tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I feel better!

Thanks for your understanding.

xx Sandra


I wanted to share something beautiful with you today- a blog that truly inspires me each and every time I visit. Although it's not directly craft-related, the magic and beauty in each post really gets my creative juices flowing.

The blog is called Stuck In Customs, and it's a celebration of the absolute magnificence of nature, cities, history and the world we live in.

Using a photographic process called HDR, or High Dynamic Range (for which you'll find a tutorial here), photographer Trey Ratcliff manages to capture elements of the world in a way I would never see.

I adore visiting this site and getting a good kick up the creative butt, and I hope you will too!

Ok, Pepperberrians, strap on your seatbelts, hack into your neighbour's wireless connection, and get ready to be addicted.

I was recently checking out the lovely blog of Margaret of Konstant Kaos fame, and she had shared a link to a great little website that generates... wait for it...




With anything you want on them!

Needless to say, I have since spent many hours creating absolutely useless and ridiculously fun cards with very random things on them. I therefore thought it was only fair enough that I spread this addiction to my lovely readers, like some sort of Mad Craft Disease.


Welcome to day 2 of Pepperberry & Co.'s Blogtoberfest!

Today, I have a creative challenge for you to fire up those neurons before we begin the coming week. Are you ready?

Your mission is to solve the mystery behind this photo, which was taken 2 night's ago:

What is happening? Why is Tango the Bichon wearing Pajamas? Why is Sandra wearing socks up to her knees and pants up to her chest? Why are she and Sharon pointing faux guns?

Here are your clues:

- The lawn was not mowed for 3 months
- This photo is followed by a minor violation of the law
- The dead of the night is involved

So, Creative Sleuths, it's over to you! What is happening?

Well, I've gone mad. Officially. But this is what happens when Sharon's out mowing the back lawn and I'm left inside to my own devices.

Now, I'm about to tell you something, but you can't tell Sharon. She'll pop. Why? Well, we returned from overseas the day before yesterday. We settle on our new land in early December. Between now and then, we have to renovate our house, sell it, and organise for accommodation to be built on our new property (the little details, you know?).

Oh, and we also have to run these two businesses I happen to own, get ready for and be at no less than eight markets, and do the other 117 things on our to-do list. No, that is not a number I pulled out of my hoo-ha. We actually have that many things to do, according to the very sexy spreadsheet I've created (go on, bring on the nerd comments!).

So that is why this thing that I've done is madness, absolute madness. I've (cover your eyes, Sharon) signed up for Blogtoberfest.

Blogtoberfest! A Blogging Party! An October Party! A festival of all things blogging and craft-related. What this means for you is that every single day in October, you will be spoilt with a treat from Pepperberry & Co. It may mean a giveaway; it may mean a tutorial; it may mean some fun crafty links; it may mean a gorgeous photo. But I make no promises that it will be anything more than a ramble from me, and a potentially nonsensical ramble at that!

I have so many new followers now (Hi! And welcome!) that I'm actually looking forward to using this as a way of getting to know you all. So please, don't be shy- leave a comment! Tell me what you think about what I've posted, or a new crafty project you're working on, or the bad day you're having. Blogtoberfest to me is an opportunity to connect with my fellow crafters and bloggers, so speak up!


P.S. Thanks to the super-talented Tinniegirl for her Blogtoberfest organising!
What do you get when you combine World Vegetarian Day with a whole group of Etsy craft fanatics?

Delicious recipes, handmade heaven, and stupendous savings, that's what!

As some of you may know, today is
World Vegetarian Day- and it's also the start of World Vegetarian Month. My gorgeous EtsyVeg Team and I are celebrating with special sales and a collective sharing of vegetarian and vegan recipes on the web.

Today, I wanted to share with you a special recipe I learnt how to cook whilst living in Thailand- Gai Pat Met Mamua. It was taught to me by one of my favourite ladies of all time, Miss Ning, who looked after Sharon and I whilst we were living with her as though we were her own daughters. May the delicious flavours and scents of Miss Ning's food bring joy to your home also!


15 minutes ~ Cooking: 10 minutes ~ Serves: 4-6

6 tablespoons Mushroom Sauce
2 tablespoons Medium-Hot Chilli Sauce

2 tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 tablespoon Corn Flour
1/4 cup of Olive Oil

1 large Red Onion, chopped roughly

3 cloves of Garlic, skinned and crushed

1 large Carrot, sliced or julienned
2 cups of Mushrooms, sliced (Oyster, Shitake, and Straw Mushrooms are particularly good)
1 packet Firm Silken Tofu, sliced into chunks
3 medium Capsicums/Bell Peppers (one red, one yellow and one green), chopped roughly
1 cup of roasted/fried cashew nuts

1 cup of water

6 cups of steamed rice


In a bowl, thoroughly mix Mushroom Sauce, Chilli Sauce, Brown Sugar and Corn Flour. Set aside.

2. Place Olive Oil, Onions and Garlic in a wok or a large frying pan and toss until the Onion and Garlic are translucent and a pale golden-brown.

Add a Tablespoon of water and the Carrots to the pan and continue tossing all the vegetables until the Carrots begin to soften.

Add the Mushrooms to the mix, and another tablespoon of water if the pan is dry. Cook until Mushrooms begin to shrink and turn brown.

Add Tofu and toss the mixture until the Tofu begins to brown.

Add another tablespoon of water and all of the Capsicums/Bell Peppers. Cook until the Peppers begin to soften.

7. Add a further tablespoon of water and pour in the Mushroom/Chilli sauce combination. Stir through thoroughly until all of the vegetables are coated.

Add cashew nuts and continue cooking for a further two minutes.

Remove from heat and serve over steamed rice.

10. Enjoy!

While you're munching away, you can head over to my handmade store,
Pepperberry & Co., and my beautiful paper store, Papers By Pepperberry, where I'm celebrating World Vegetarian Day by offering 10% off all of my items from now until the end of this weekend (Sunday, 4th of October). Simply add 'World Veg Day' in the Message to Seller during checkout and I'll refund you via PayPal!

You can also head to the EtsyVeg blog for the yummy details of today's celebrations, including links to original recipes and a list of all the crafty shops offering great savings. Oh, and don't forget to hug every Vegetarian/Vegan you know and thank them for doing the world a favour!