Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Adventures in chippy paint

 At least 3 years ago I hauled this chest home on foot from an inorganic roadside rubbish collection, I know what you are thinking, I have ZERO shame! I had my preschooler son with me and we tried to balance it on his balance bike on the walk home from preschool. He thought it was the funniest thing ever and was not at all interested in balancing it with me and zoomed off ahead of me. So I carried it home. Many stops later, (cause it's heavy) and just as I was at my driveway a car pulled up and asked if I wanted a hand! Garage space is currently at a premium and it's now or never to give it a makeover.

I've slowly been building up confidence in upcycling or making over furniture with Voodoo Molly Vintage paint. I decided that although I went to a huge effort to retrieve this piece that I wasn't worried in how it turned out, giving me a chance to experiment. Enter - the chippy paint technique!

So here are the progress shots and a quick explanation of it's transformation and final results. I'm not entirely convinced it's how I want to paint every piece of furniture I own, but everything is worth trying at least once right?!

 First step a light sand, you can easily see the difference, it was really just a light sand to remove the flaky old varnish.

As the wood was quite light I added some dark stain to the edges and other parts I might be sanding back. It also helped cover up some damage around one handle in the front.

Then I added colour to show through at the end, I used small amounts that I had left over from other projects, Green Tea, Dragonfly, Pistachio, you can find the paint here.

 Then I applied some Vintage wax with a palette knife in the areas I wanted the colours to show through, the edges mainly. It allows larger chunks of paint to peel off, leaving it looking more worn than if you just sanded back without wax.I must admit I had trouble trying to do it randomly, I'm perhaps not suited to this style of painting!

 Then a coat of white over it all! Then I just sanded back over the waxed areas.

Complete! It looks worn and weather-beaten and I'm not precious about it being bumped or knocked around, perfect style of painting if you have children!

I finished it off with a light buff of Vintage Wax to protect the surface.

If you are looking to try it, check out this quick how to video from Voodoo Molly, I love the look of brightly coloured chippy paint. Perhaps for the next blanket box I carry home?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Twig + Tale - A blog tour

Now you might not of heard of Twig + Tale but if you've been reading my blog for any length of time you will know of "Big Little". Big Little has gone through a little transformation and is relaunching as Twig + Tale, same great patterns just a new name and a new place to get inspiration! 

I love these patterns so much, in fact I could bore you with how much I love their patterns, but I think Twig + Tale sum it up perfectly. 

"Twig +Tale is a place where imagination runs wild and is for everyone who shares a love of creativity and an adventurous spirit—beginner sewers especially! It's a celebration of the innocence of childhood and the wonder of nature. It's about comfy clothes and warm things like hugs and capes and coats. It's about handmade, love, and imaginary play—featuring classic, simple patterns that inspire us all to tell a story".

I've long admired the Wild things coat, but the climate here means the number of days a full Winter coat are needed are few and far between. So combining the Wild Things features with the Pathfinder vest is the perfect combo, I'm not alone in thinking it is a great combo, you can actually buy that pattern combo !

My daughter decided that a fox was the "wild thing" she wanted for a vest. The very next day I spied a large woollen lightweight wool shirt at my local thrift store. It seemed perfect, I just hoped that it was going to yield enough fabric! 

Spot the tail! 

Fortunately there was just enough. I carefully cut around the pockets and reattached them in a new position. The only compromise was a join in the front of the band of the hood. 

Twig + Tale have also released a free Dragon add on for the Wild Things patterns, cool wings, tail and horns. Click here to download Free Wild Things Dragon add-on . It's super cute and might just be the next version I try perfect for a Pete's Dragon fan! 

You might have noticed the beautiful lining fabric, Art Gallery Fabrics has generously sponsored the Twig + Tale blog tour. I had such a hard time choosing something from the Art Gallery Fabrics collection, so many beautiful fabrics! In the end I went with this beautiful print from the Forest Floor collection, Nature Study Ridge. I don't often work with new fabrics so it was a real treat, thank you Art Gallery Fabrics! 

What would a Blog Tour be without a giveaway!

Art Gallery Fabrics is kindly sponsoring 2 yards of Art Gallery fabric of your choice. To make the prize extra sweet, we are also adding a collection of 5 Twig + Tale patterns of your choice.
International entries are very welcome. Our bloggers come from every corner of the world to celebrate the global nature of Twig +Tale too.
Enter using the rafflecopter below.
(The winning entry will be checked to ensure all criteria are met).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do check out the other Bloggers taking part in the tour, I've seen their finished projects. So many stunning versions of Twig + Tale patterns and it really shows that the patterns are just the beginning - let your imagination run wild! 

make it merry!

I think most people fall into two camps, either they love the lead up to Christmas, or loathe it. I think I actually fall in the middle, though I used to love it perhaps it has something to do with how organised I am. 

A few months ago when Christmas felt a million months away, I was invited to take part in a media launch of Spotlight's 2016 Christmas range.  

The room was decked out beautifully! Just like an European Christmas market, think mulled wine, fur trees and all those good things.  It made me nostalgic for my one Christmas in Germany. There was biscuit decorating, flower arranging, gift wrapping and my "stall"of card making. The guests got a chance to have a go at creating too! So much fun having free reign with crafting supplies and I loved watching the different ideas come together.

Melissa from The Best Nest was my neighbour and came up with some easy ideas for making your presents look fab under the tree.

Now I'm armed with ideas for decorated biscuits, artful flower arrangements and handmade cards. Now just to find the energy to make it all! Make it merry!

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!