Category Archives: craft

the final post…

Your recent post: Nov 2014

Oh my.

My neglect of “This Girl has Knits” has been playing on my mind for a long time. While it may have been very quiet for me here in blog-land, it has been anything BUT quiet behind the scenes.

If you’ve read my blog before, I’m sure you know that I love to create. Create anything, really. I knit, crochet, sew, paint, draw… I love pencils and crayons. And yarn. OH MY, the yarn! For so long, these endeavours have only been a hobby, something I do with my spare time (ahem… the time I should be cleaning the house..).

Until a few months ago. While sitting at my desk at work, daydreaming of sewing, I made a decision. I wanted to learn how to make clothing patterns. All the in’s and out’s of fashion, how to make a jacket, how to fit a pair of pants, the best curve for a set in sleeve… All of it! Luckly, I know a very talented lady who has been drawing patterns her entire life, for some of the best known lables (Cue, Seafolly, Bec & Bridge… the list goes on), and she was more than willing to teach me all the tricks of the trade!

I arranged with work to take one day off a week, to go and study Pattern Making and Fashion Design. The last 4 months have been so amazing, I have learnt so much, and I have loved every minute of it.

But wait, you say, when did this go from being a hobby, to something more?

I thought the best way for me to really understand how my patterns work as actual clothing, was to make clothing from them! So I have opened an Etsy store, where you can purchase my hand-made clothing and homewares! (I’ll put all of the links at the end of this post)

Alice Skirt

The “Alice” skirt, hand-made by me, and available on the Made by Mitty Etsy Store!

I have a new website, a Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook.. All of the social media’s! I’ll also be starting a new blog, which is why this post is titled “the final post…”, on this blog, at least!

“Seigaiha in Maroon” cushion cover, available on the Etsy Store!

I’ll miss posting under the name This Girl has Knits, but if you’d still like to hear what I’m up to (including the upcoming making of a very special white dress!), please feel free to follow me under Made by Mitty!

Fiori Colorado Double Georgette Silk tie, available on the Etsy Store!

Fiori Colorado Double Georgette Silk tie, available on the Etsy Store!

I’m also making mens accessories (ties, pocket squares and bow ties), so the man in your life doesn’t feel left out!

I hope to see you soon at Made by Mitty!

watercolour washes…

It has been so long since I’ve sat down and painted, I honestly can’t remember the last time I did. I’ve always liked watercolours, and while on Pinterest lately, I’ve been drawn in by the beautiful, flowing, and organic works I’ve found.

I decided to give it a go for myself. I bought this sketchers’ pocket set of watercolours by Winson & Newton. The little set is nice and compact, and comes with 12 colours and a little paint brush. I was so excited to try it out, I just couldn’t wait!

 

I created a few colour charts first off, to really get to know my new paints. Even thought this set is classed as Student Grade, I was really impressed by how much pigment there was in the washes.

Then I watched a few YouTube tutorials. There are so many to choose from, but I particularly like this one by The Frugal Crafter, and these ones by Elizabeth Pontivik.

My work is so stiff, compared to what I generally like, but I’m sure with a bit of practice, I’ll loosen up a bit. Today I’ve planned to go on a picnic with Reags, I want to take my watercolours along and paint “in the field”. Maybe that will help me find the free flowing style that I like so much!

chalk paint refurbishment…

Chalk paint has been all over Pinterest for a while now, and everyone raves about how easy it is to use, and the gorgeous results it gives. I’ve wanted to do-over my bed side tables for a while now, and I thought this was the perfect project for a first-time-chalk-painter!

This is was I started with. Two, very generic, bed side tables. First, all of the hard-wear was removed, including the doors, handles, and those little disks.

Even though I’ve read over and over that you don’t have to sand your item before you paint it, I did give mine a light sand, and a good scrubbing with a brush and some warm sugar-soapy water.

The next step, I have to credit to my wonderful dad! Behind the door was just one big open cavity, which I found completely useless for storing stuff. I thought adding a shelf would give me more storage options. I bought a sheet of MDF, and gave dad puppy-dog eyes until he agreed to build me some shelves (thanks dad!).

He used the above tools.. I’m taking a stab in the dark here, and am going to call them “air-compressing nail gun” and “drop saw”.

Here are the two shelves which dad put grooves in to match the sides of my tables.. and the shelf positioned in it’s new home.

Now, onto the fun part! Although I searched, I couldn’t find a retailer that could sell me chalk paint, let alone the colour I wanted. Then I stumbled across Marilyn’s Chalk Paint, which is an Australian company that sells chalk paint powder! This stuff is amazing! Basically, you add it to any low sheen or matte acrylic paint, give it a good shake, and BAM! It will turn it into thick chalk paint! It comes with instructions and measurements, so you’ll never get it wrong!

I added the chalk paint mix to my low sheen acrylic paint (in Aqua Chiffon [T10 50B-1] from Taubmans) I started with the shelves, the drawers, and then moved onto the tables. Reags helped me to do a second coat, once the first was completely dry.

I felt like the inside of the draws needed a bit of love. My mum has this book full of gorgeous Paisley wrapping paper, which I knew would be perfect! Using regular-old wood glue, I stuck strips of paper over the joins inside the draw, then measured rectangles of paper to cover the sides and bottom.

I let everything sit overnight, to make sure it was 100% dry. Then I took to all the edges with some fine sand paper, to give a nice distressed look. This is where the chalk paint starts to shine! There is a small amount of texture to the dried paint, so the sand paper took off small bits at a time. It was really easy to control how much distressing there was.

After a quick dusting, we sealed the tables with clear wax, which you can also get from Marilyn’s. You just apply a thin, even layer of wax to any surface you want to seal. Let it “set” for at least 10 minutes, then get to buffing! I found small, circular motions worked best. The wax is buffed when the surface is silky smooth and shiny.

Then it was just a matter of adding the new hard-wear, and inserting the draws.

Just like everyone before me has said, chalk paint is super easy, there is little (to no) sanding required, and the results are wonderful! Sealing the paint with the clear wax gives a finish that looks and feels very professional. And how cute are those crystal handles? If you’ve every wanted to try chalk paint, I really encourage you to give it a go, you’ll love it!

jazz ’em up…

A while ago I got a set of bamboo knitting needles from Aldi (of all places), and I just used them for the first time the other day. As nice as they are to use, they were a little boring to look at.

So, I grabbed some acrylic paint, and painted the bobbles on the ends of the needles. Each set got the same colour, so I could easily grab a matching pair in a hurry.

After the paint dried, I added little white dots, using the head of a pin. I left them overnight to make sure that the thicker dots would dry out completely. The next morning, I gave them a coat of clear nail polish, to protect their new paint job, and make them glossy!

No longer boring!

sock monkeys and babies…

Over Easter, Reags and I went to visit a few new additions to the family. I couldn’t go empty handed, so I made each of the new babies a sock monkey. I’ve been making these for a while now, they are super easy and don’t take long to whip up. One monkey uses a pair of knee high socks, some stuffing, and a little felt to make the eyes. I’ve found that these are great first present for babies, they are soft and squishy, easy to hold onto, and don’t have any hard bits that could fall off. Also, machine washable, which is brilliant!

Here is 12 week old Bubba D with his monkey. Apparently, stripes are his favourite thing at the moment, so monkey couldn’t be more perfect. Bubba D was squeeling and giggling when I was playing with him and the monkey, which made me squeel and giggle. He sucked on his nose and drooled all over him, which made me very happy.

The other two monkeys were for 10 day old twin girls, Bubba S and Bubba A. I’m feeding Bubba S in the picture, and you can see that the monkey is much bigger than her at the moment! I missed getting a picture of Bubba A with her monkey, the time just flew by without me noticing. However, I did snap this cute picture of Bubba S, which makes me laugh!

vintage print cushions…

Our poor lounge has been in want of some cushions, and Reags has been bugging asking me to make some for ages now. We had a lazy-Sunday-at-home planned, so I thought I’d drag my sewing machine out and make them!

I started by making a simple 3 piece pattern in the measurements below . My cushion inserts are 46cm square, and I wanted them to fit snug inside the covers, so I made the finished size 45cm square (adding a 1cm seam allowance to each side).

a = front, b = back top, c = back bottom

I made the back in two pieces so I could add a zipper for easy insert-removal. With the zipper in, I stitched the front and back together, with right sides facing. Turn it right size out through the zipper hole, shove the insert in, and DONE!

The backs

The backs

These were so quick and so simple to make. They add a great burts of colour to our loungeroom, and I’ve actually had one behind my back while writing this post! I can report, super comfy!

can upholster…

I don’t think this is strickly classed as upholstering, but I recovered our dining room chairs a few weeks ago. We got them off GumTree, $100 for the four! I was going to strip them back and paint them white (I seem to be doing this a lot lately..), but it turns out they are cedar chairs! So we just gave them a light stain, and are yet to put a bees wax sealer on.

The chair on the left is the ‘before’ and the other is the ‘after’. Recovering the seats was so easy! Basically, I just ripped out all of the old staples, and used the fabric as a template for the new cover. The padding and foam was in really good condition, so I didn’t even have to replace it! I used an electric stapler (kindly borrowed from my mother) to attach the new cover. I think I have pulled the fabric a little too tight in places, see how you can see a bit of tention across the front of the seat? Honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much, but I will try to keep it a little even when I do the last two chairs.

While I was in the mood, I also recovered my sewing chair in a really awesome fabric I found at Spotlight. It was 40% off too! The staples holding the original fabric on were pushed in really far, so I found it difficult to pull them out. I ended up just going straight over the top of the old stuff, as it was cotton in a creamy colour, and wouldn’t interfer with the new pattern at all.

This is a really simple way to give an old chair a new look! I like my sewing chair so much more now, it fills me with sewing inspiration and drive, which is just what I need!