Saturday, July 30, 2016

draws or drawers?

I belong to a couple of "freecycle" and "buy and sell" pages on Facebook. I've lost count of the times I've seen people offer up draws" for sale or for free. I get a tiny little "grammar twitch" inside every time! Yet this time it's kind of accurate, these drawers have actually been drawn on!

So this is what I started with, not great. I can see why someone decided to put them out on the roadside rubbish collection, but  my eagle eye could spot the Rimu sides and Oak fronts and the potential! They are solidly built and are perfect for the transformation I had in mind.

I nailed and glued them together off centre from each other, creating an ever so slight zigzag effect. I found some little wooden legs on Trademe and my husband helped me get them screwed in the right spot. A quick sand and filled in some Borer holes (the Borer long since departed!). It's not perfect, the sides/ends of the drawers were not designed to be viewed and I could have spent hours trying to get them looking perfect, but as an upcycled piece I don't think perfection is really a factor!

Choosing the colour for the interior panels was a tough choice, in the end I chose Voodoo Molly Pistashio with my favourite Classic White for the rest. I painted the interior first, then decided that it would be nice to keep the wooden edges of the drawers unpainted, keeping the beautiful tones of the Rimu and the lighter tone of the Oak. I finished the wood with Voodoo Molly Vintage Clearcoat (low sheen) it's waterbased and gives such a lovely finish.

I'm really glad I kept the natural wood edges, it blends in well with my Punga Vase collection and is a nice little reminder to their original state!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


So yesterday I shared the Pathfinder vest I made for my son, today I'm sharing the one I made for my daughter. I find my children don't like to be too hot and the climate here means that big bulky jackets have very limited wear (if at all!). These vests seem to be the perfect compromise. I chose the longer length for both of them, keeping their lower backs warm as the climb tress and run about. 

I was part of the pattern testing group, and for this vest I chose the "Crossroads"front option. It's not actually part of the Pathfinder Vest pattern, but a free add on for Big Little Newsletter subscribers. You can sign up here. 

I've had this woollen blanket for a number of years, quite thin and a bit stained on one side, perfect to transform into a cozy vest. I chose the pleated back and I'm kicking myself that I didn't line up the darker stripe with the middle - but you probably didn't notice till I pointed it out!

My daughter has had her eyes on these buttons for ages in my stash (yes I seem to be a crafting hoarder) and they matched the colours in the vest perfectly. She arranged them artfully and I stitched them down. I love the "crossroads"front as it gives a extra layer of warmth across the chest, perfect for the windy weather. I'd quite like one in my size!

Want to make your own Pathfinder Vest? You can find the pattern here, Make sure you sign up to the newsletter to get the Crossroads front option! I can see many more in my sewing future!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pathfinder Vest - Pattern release

I love sewing for children, not just my own, but making small clothes is so satisfying don't you think? They take very little fabric, often fast to sew and they seem to fit so much better than trying to sew for an adult body!

I recently was a pattern tester for Big Little, testing this fabulous and versatile pattern. Let me introduce you to -

The Pathfinder Vest from Big Little! 

Mix and match styles to achieve over 70 stunning combinations, for both girls and boys.

Curved Dropped back option - keep those kidneys warm
Yoked Pleated Back optionTwo lengths - Classic & Extended for extra warmthFlutter sleevePixie hood & Classic Round hoodCollarV-neck & Round neck2 Pocket stylesOptional overlapping button standNumerous options for closures!

I'm known for my love of upcycling and try not to buy too much new fabric so it will be no surprise that I made this Pathfinder vest for my son using a wool suit jacket that I thrifted for just $3.It was lovely and light weight wool, more suited to our mild climate than a thicker wool. Keeping to the thrifted theme, I used a men's shirt for the lining. I kept the original pockets from the jacket, cutting the pattern pieces out carefully. The pockets were so skillfully sewed that it seemed a waste not to use them!

In my haste of cutting out I didn't quite line the pockets up on either side, so I added some applique to hide that a little and distract the eye from my glaring mistake! The applique has actually turned out to be my favourite part! 

It was hard to choose a pattern combo from all the different options, but for this one I chose a Pixie Hood, a curved drop back for added warmth and a pleated back so it wasn't too tight and straight.

The verdict is that it's an instant favourite! We were away for the weekend and it was hardly taken off. Perfect for exploring the Red Wood forest.  He seemed quite at home like a woodland pixie.

For a limited time the pattern is on sale, you can find the pattern here at Big Little

I also made a vest for my daughter and I'll share that one tomorrow! Once I can workout how to get the photos onto my new computer. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sunday Shawl

Sunday Shawl is a crochet pattern by Alia Bland, The little Bee. I started seeing them popping up all over the place on Instagram and thought I'd like to give one a try, not really thinking how much yarn it would use! Cue a mild panic attack. Luckily (but not really) our local yarn store was closing down and I got a great deal on some Paton's Jet a lovely mix of wool and Alpaca. The yarn was 12ply a bit thicker than the pattern called for so I changed some of the stitches to shorter ones, the pattern calls for a few more colour changes but my choices were limited so I repeated some colours. So it's not a faithful version of a Sunday Shawl. Lucky I made the changes too as it ate up a wee bit more yarn than I thought and I ended up with very little left over.

That awkward moment that you forget to move your daughter's shoes!
 It works up extremely quickly, I'd happily make another if I could find some budget friendly yarn, I've got my eyes peeled!

The weather has taken a turn for the cooler, after what must have been the warmest Autumn ever, it makes it the perfect time to snuggle up with a shawl. I thought my Nana might need something cozy for her shoulders, turns out it was very well received!

Any snugly knits on your needles, or on you hook? You can find out more about The Little Bee here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A transformation!

I dragged this poor chair home from down the road in our last inorganic collection. It screamed potential to me, but it screamed "Put it back out!" to my husband. I strongly believe he struggled to see it's potential, but he will tell you that the garage was already full with projects that "screamed potential" to me! He might have had a point, but I think I've shown him the light. 

I started with a quick sand of the chair, I think it may have been out in the weather and most of it's varnish was already gone so a light sanding was all it took. I'm kicking myself that I didn't take a photo of the back plywood panel before I started. Let me tell you it was all splitting and looking like it might have to be replaced. I squirted a generous amount of PVA down all the cracks and used some strong clips to hold the edges together. It worked a treat and I didn't end up replacing it at all. 

Voodoo Molly Vintage paint in Antique white was my paint of choice, transforming it. The turned legs really came to life! 

Next up I tackled the chair back. I love this fabric from Umbrella Prints, it's my favourite shade of green and perfect for my lounge (where the chair now resides). A layer of Mod podge on the wood and I eased the fabric on. Once dry I trimmed it with a scalpel. Then about four coats of Voodoo Molly Vintage Clearcoat. I love that it's waterbased and so easy to apply and clean up! 

The Umbrella prints fabric is only quilting weight and not designed to be used in upholstery type projects. As the chair is not in everyday use, it resides in my lounge ready to pull to our small dining table if an extra guest comes so I just ironed on some very thick Vilene on the reverse side. This meant I could upholster the seat without the fabric stretching. If I was going to use it everyday, I could have used that clear plastic tablecloth type stuff that they have at fabric stores to protect the fabric and make it easily washable.

So there you have it! A total transformation! I'm pretty smitten with how easy it is to use the products from Voodoo Molly , watch this space as I transform some more unloved items and give my husband back some garage space!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"I will always write back"

I will always write back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda first landed in my hands last year. As I started reading I was transfixed by the story that unfolded in it's pages. It's a story of two pen pals, Caitlin an all American teenager and Martin a top of his class student in Zimbabwe. The lives that they lived couldn't be more different, yet they develop a bond over their letters that changes both their lives forever.

I don't want to give too much of the story away, but it's a tale of stark contrasts. The carefree life of Caitlin is in contrast to Martin's life that is a constant struggle. After reading it I thought it would be the perfect book to read aloud to my children (7 &10). I'm always looking for ways to open their eyes to how others live, not to take for granted what they have. They hung on every word, listening to the life that Martin lead they couldn't quite believe how different it was to their own. They were engrossed in the story and the lives of Caitlin and Martin, by the end of the book they felt like friends. I did edit a few passages as Caitlin mentions a few teenage topics that weren't quite the messages I wanted to give to my children, like hopping into a car with a stranger and lying to her mum! I don't think these few passages detract from the overall heartwarming story or the true life outcome of these amazing people - just a warning if you plan on reading aloud to your children.

It's a story that needs to be told and held up as example of if everyone helped someone just a little bit, how amazing the world could be! Little good deeds are often easy to dish out and make a big difference! It's certainly made my family look at little ways that we can help others. It's a fabulous read!

Sunday, April 24, 2016


A year ago we were preparing for Centenary commemorations of the Gallipoli landings. I crocheted what seemed to be a ton of poppies to give to friends who wanted something a bit more than the bought ones. I took a wee project bag of them with me all over the place, stealing a few moments here and there. It's possibly the only way to complete anything these days! Also pretty satisfying to see how those stolen moments add up.

My son was also invited to an Army themed party on Anzac day. I had some "jungle green" pants in my "upcycling" collection of clothes and I scaled them down using a pattern from Melissa Wastney's Book - Sweet and Simple Handmade. I cut the pattern pieces out making good use of existing details, like pockets etc. The pattern is so easy they were whipped up the day before in an hour or so.

Lest we forget.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I have a problem with bringing things home that I think are a quick and easy fix or restyle and then they sit forlorn waiting for their turn to be transformed. I have been trying hard to either make those fixes/restyles or let them go. This little project actually was quite quick and easy once I put my mind to it, like always leaving me wondering why I hadn't done it sooner!

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it would well as a mosaic paver. I just so happened to have some white tiles (rescued from a local inorganic collection) and a large concrete paver. Keeping it simple, with a 9 year old helper we just marked off a grid pattern and filled the squares with broken white tile,easy! We spray painted some little stones to use as counters and a steamer was a happy thrifted find for a few cents to keep the stones in without keeping in the rain!

It was a great meeting place in the garden over Summer with a few fierce battles taking place. If mosaic isn't your thing, perhaps this one might be more your style?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

2015, 52 and 2016

I want to put my hand up and say that I struggled my way through 2015, and without going into detail, I'm really pleased it's behind me! Hello 2016, yes I do realise that we are almost a quarter of the way through!

Things I haven't finished often weigh heavy on my mind and it's been bugging me that I stopped blogging my "52 things I've made". I did actually make 52 things last year, actually the number was much greater! But I struggled to get back into this space to blog about it. I'm hoping to share some making highlights over the coming weeks and just get back into blogging in general, for no other reason than to record the little things I've made and the things we've done. After looking way back deep into the archives I've discovered things I'd long forgotten and realised that it's something I really want to continue doing.

My garden is undergoing a wee make over of sorts, I've been busy pulling out box hedging and other "high maintenance" plants, going for a more simple plan with as many edibles as I can squeeze in. We've had the best fig season I can remember and I've squirreled many blackberries away for Winter apple and blackberry pies which are a family favourite!

So join me as I endeavor to return to this space more often, I've missed you!