Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Second snow day!

Well, it's officially still snowing here in Edinburgh, uni is closed again and I'm sat in the flat with the radiators on, keeping warm and catching up with studying. Later I'm planning on walking to meet Andrew after work, though I'm banned from throwing snowballs since he got pissy about it last night. Also I nearly hit a poor girl.

In the meantime though, I thought I'd share these amazing vintage sheepskin mittens with you all. They were my Mum's from when she was at uni so are at least 30 years old and I claimed them last Christmas when I was visiting my folks and had forgotten gloves.



They have been an absolute godsend in the snow, they're thick and warm with the sheep wool inside but the leather outside makes them practically waterproof. I can clear the car without getting freezing fingers and throw badly aimed snowballs without getting frost bite. Two thumbs up to the mittens!

All this snow has got me to thinking about how people pull together in times of need. I know it sounds cheesy but yesterday when I was digging the car out and again when I got it stuck in a drift, people were so friendly and helpful, stopping to check we were OK and offering to give us a push. It seems like during a normal day people walk around with their heads down, not making eye contact with each other, let alone speaking to each other, and yet as soon as something happens to unite us suddenly neighbours are offering help to elderly people in their building or strangers will stop to help you dig out your car. It's nice that behind all those barriers we put up to the world, most of us are happy and willing to reach out to each other when needed. I guess it's just a shame that we can't be more like that on a normal day!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Snow day

I'm sure you're all sick of seeing these blog posts but since I'm stuck in my flat with no other photos to post (and it's too grey and dark to take any!), here's the view from my front window.


Genereally at this time of year you can see from this window all the way to Arthur's Seat, across the Meadows. As you can see, this morning you can barely see to the other side of the road!

I started off to uni but was defeated halfway out and had to turn back (what a shame). We dug the car out of the snow twice and eventually gave up and came home, where I consoled myself with knitting, tea and a home baked muffin from Jessica.

Now to catch up on work, sigh...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Tutorial links

Well, between Andrew's folks visiting and being away this weekend to visit my Grandad, it's been a quiet week on the blogging front. It's also been a quiet week on the studying front and since exams are just over 3 weeks away now, I predict a quiet few weeks for blogging.

Apologies everyone, I'll be back on form in the New Year I promise and obviously updating as much as I can over the next few weeks and then the holidays. If you're new to my little corner of the blogosphere though, please don't let it put you off!

I've been contemplating making a tutorial for a tote bag for a while now, I've got my method sorted and although it's probably not that different from other ways of doing it, I was thinking a tutorial might be handy for some people. I know I would have loved a decent understandable tutorial back in the day when I was trying to work it out for myself!

Since I don't have time at the moment, watch this space. But in the meantime, here are some other adorable tutorials from other creative blogs, possibly good Christmas present ideas?

Make your own reusable fabric napkins with Tasia of Sewaholic. Perfect for the Christmas dinner table and as she points out herself, very environmentally friendly!


Make this gorgeous Pin-up brooch holder with Mena of The Sew Weekly. A great way to organise and display your brooches!


I'll definitely be knocking up some of these Reusable tea bags from Lillyella in the new year. I love loose tea but I hate the tea leaves that invariably end up in the bottom of your mug. Perfectly practical and pretty solution!


Sunday, 21 November 2010

Winter clothing

Goodness, it's been a lazy weekend here at Chez Taylor-Dyce. The in-laws are arriving tomorrow for a 3 day trip so yesterday and today have been spent cleaning the flat, but beyond that nothing much has been happening. I've been working on Mum and Dad's Christmas blanket and some other little presents, watching The West Wing (for the second time) and last night attended a lovely cocktail party at Franca's, of Oranges and Apples fame. First mulled wine of the season!

I should really be cracking on with the studying, it's only 3 and a half weeks until my Christmas exam, but I'm caught up with lectures for the first time in my entire studying life so although I should be starting to go back through my notes in preparation, it's hard to get motivated when there's knitting and an open fire...

Recently I've been feeling the need to get back into sewing clothes, I'm very inspired by Tasia over on Sewaholic.net (and super excited for the impending Pendrell blouse pattern!) and Mena over on The Sew Weekly. Unfortunately I won't be able to indulge this urge until after Christmas but in the meantime, I thought I'd bring you my favourite sewing fixes from Etsy...

I've had Sandmaiden in my favourites for a while now, but when these felted wool leggings popped up I fell head over heels. So warm and snuggly and so comfortable, you could wear them under skirts and dresses or sleep in them or just wear them around the house, so many possibilities. Definitely in my favourites for when I (eventually) have some money!


This asymmetric dress tunic from Linaline also fulfills my criteria of being warm, comfortable and stylish. Perfect for the winter!


What an unusual idea! It's a sweater that can also been worn as a cowl! From Max Melody.


Friday, 19 November 2010

Ellie's birthday tote

I made this for my Gran, Ellie, for her birthday. She used to have a tote with the words 'Shop 'till ewe drop' on it and a picture of a sheep but she lent it to someone and now can't remember who's got it or where it's gone.

Since I'm not entirely convinced that it wasn't me that lost it for her, I thought I'd make her another one for her birthday. I'm not 100% happy with how it turned out, the bag itself is fine but the words and the sheep look quite amateur. This is the problem when you free-hand the cutting rather than making a template. Still, Ellie was pleased with it and I guess that's all that matters!



Added bonus is that it cost me nothing but my time, as I already had all the fabrics in my stash. Stash-bust plus money saving (especially important since I'm currently £1500 overdrawn and managed to spend a small fortune in Sainsbury's today. Sigh.) = awesome project in my book, even if I'm not entirely happy with how it looks!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Shop update

Here are the two latest additions to my Etsy shop, curtesy of thrifting in Musselburgh last week.

I really struggled to get decent photos of these, I used 2 different cameras and took photos on two different days and they kept coming out slightly blurry and grey. When I graduate and start to make more of my Etsy shop, I'll definitely be investing in a decent quality camera. I should really get to grips with photoshop as well, I really like the way Clever Nettle displays her vintage clothing, cut out with a white background, it looks so clean and professional. Her blog is lovely as well, in case you're wanting to read more about vintage clothing!

Anyway, this little cardigan is made in Scotland! I didn't realise until I got it home, but the fairisle pattern has little thistles incorporated into it!


How adorable is this sweater vest? It's got little flower buttons and I love the yellow colour, it would be great for layering!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Here are the buttons I promised you from yesterday's bargain fabric find post. It's such a grey day here I had to lighten it a little so you could see the detail on the black buttons.


The GPO stands for 'General Post Office', which according to Wikipedia has been abolished since 1969, making these little black beauties at least 41 years old! I'll have to save them for something special I think!

I snapped up the leather buttons, you can't seem to buy them actually made of leather any more, it's all fake plastic. The gold one is pretty intriguing, it looks like a crown with a bird (maybe an eagle? Or is that just my over-active imagination?) over the top, I wonder what that represents? EDIT: apparently the gold one is from an RAF uniform, thanks Jennifer!

And all for just 30p!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bargain fabric buy!

I mentioned in a previous post the amazing bargainaceous shop in Musselburgh, Borders Scrap Store. Well, here's my find, along with some buttons which I stupidly forgot to take a photo of and now it's too dark. Oh well, more photos for tomorrow!


I love toile and though I don't think this strictly counts since it's supposed to be a colour on a white background, it's close enough for me!



Monday, 15 November 2010

Itsa me, Mario!

Andrew and I went to a belated Halloween party on Saturday and he went as Mario from Super Mario! I went as an ewok but only one person got my costume so I haven't posted any pictures here :-(

Anyway, I died the overalls blue and made the hats, so I'm pretty pleased with the boys' costumes! They had a whole bit where Greg (Luigi, Andrew's work boyfriend) held the box and Andrew punched it and gold (chocolate!) coins came out, it was very well received. In fact in the only photo of me in my costume, I'm bent double with a plastic beaker of wine in one hand, scrabbling for gold chocolate coins on the floor with the other. That's right, I'm that classy...



Saturday, 13 November 2010

Vintage '70s curtains

How awesome are these 1970's paisley curtains?! I got them in a trade on Thriftstore but in the recent stash bust, it was decided that they should go. I kept them thinking I would cut them up and use the fabric, but actually they look so great as curtains, it would be a shame to cut them up. I hope they go to someone special, if I didn't have huge tenement windows, I would definitely have them hanging in my kitchen!

They'll be over on my Etsy shop tomorrow hopefully, I'm just waiting on a day where it's not pouring with rain to get some nice close-up photos of the pattern.


Also, I've been pondering my Etsy shop recently. When I graduate and get a job, I'd like to spend more time developing my shop, especially the vintage side of things. I've been thinking that I'd like to change the name, since I've never really been 100% happy with 'Second Fiddle'. At the moment I like the idea of 'Thrifty Pony' since I'd like something that would reflect the fact that I would be selling vintage (with the occasional hand-made item) but also a name that is a bit personal to me. I want a name that includes some aspect of who I am in it, and since I'm mad keen on horses, I figured that would be as good a name as any! I'm in no way settling on that for definite, and I have 18 months at least to think about it but it's a start!

How did you guys come up with the names of your blogs/shops?

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Handknitted vintage goodness

I bought this cardigan at the same time as the fairisle jumper that ended up being resized. I feel like I might have to do a similar thing to this cardigan, I love the colour and design around the yoke, but it's a bit baggy round the middle and has the tendency to make me look pregnant!


For the moment though, I'm happy to enjoy it in all it's handknitted, pregnancy-inducing, baggy vintage goodness ♥

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Thrifty norwegian goodness

Check out this amazing Norwegian fairisle cardigan I found in a charity shop for £4!


That's all for today, I just wanted to share the love ♥

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Fairisle resized jumper

I bought this men's fairisle jumper from a vintage and craft fair last year because I love fairisle, without really thinking about whether it would look good on me at all! It was lovely and snuggly warm, but really rather too large so I could only wear it around the house.

So, after the Great Wardrobe Sort of 2010, it was demoted from the wardrobe and into the pile of 'to be altered' clothes. This pile is made up of clothes that are too small, too large, too short, too long...but too nice to just get rid of. So the plan is to gradually fix them up to bring them back into the wardrobe fold.

Here's the before photo. Excuse the crappiness of the photo, it was taken late at night because I wanted to get the jumper in the wash to shrink it so I could work on it the next day. The silly expression is because I was trying to make a sad face to show how sad it is to have pretty jumpers that don't fit you.


And here are the after photos! I'm really pleased with it and have worn it a lot already, it's perfect for the freezing rainy days we seem to be having at the moment.



Monday, 8 November 2010

Found by the bin v.2

Remember the pink box I found by the bin? Well, I finally finished the lid!

I borrowed a staple gun from my Grandad (he also cut me a piece of wood to replace the missing one), stole some of the landlady's paint (she has at least 10 old cans of paint that we have to store in one of the cupboards so I figure it's mine now) and got to work. The foam pad is from an old mattress from Grandad, he was getting rid of it so I cut a rectangle out of it before it disappeared. The material is proper vintage upholstery fabric from Andrew's Gran, it's dated 1980 on the selvedge. It was a toss up between that fabric and the fabric I used to make the cushion covers at the bottom of this post but I'm glad I went with the flowers, I think they're pretty striking.




I've just got to paint the rest of the box now, I'm not looking forward to that since painting the lid was a bit of a pain, I didn't realise how much gloss paint smells. The whole kitchen smelled like paint and white spirit (for cleaning the brushes) for about 2 days after I finished and I keep finding little thumb prints around the house from where I obviously had some on my hands and then went around touching everything. The lid also stuck to the newspaper as it dried, which wasn't a problem this time because the foam pad covered that side, but I'm going to have to be careful with the rest of the box as a side covered in bits of dried-on newspaper wouldn't be that pretty to look at.

Once I've finished I'm going to do a post with all the photos in sequence, so you can see what it looked like before and after. I'm really pleased with how it's coming though!

In other news, I spent the afternoon thrifty shopping in Musselburgh with Carolyn (of wedding cushions fame), she found this amazing shop called Borders Scrap Store so we wandered along to check it out. The website is still under construction, but I've linked it in case anyone reading would like to keep an eye on it for the future! It's a charity that takes cast-off craft materials from businesses and individuals and sells it on to craft groups, school groups, brownie packs and individuals, at vastly reduced prices. It's £7 to join for the year (or £5 if you're a student, yes!) and then you get to buy whatever you like from then. It's a bit disorganised, being just a room in a community centre, but that's part of the fun, it's like a treasure trove, I could have spent hours sorting through everything. It's not so great for wool, though good if you're just wanting bog-standard acrylics etc, but the fabric, oh my goodness! There was SO MUCH fabric and apparently the Selkirk store has 4 times as much as the Musselburgh one. I came away with a large piece of vintage toile (photos to follow) and some lovely buttons, but I could have bought so much more. Now I've got even more of an incentive to visit Carolyn!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Old Etsy items

I've had these two dresses in my Etsy shop for a while now, the silver dress was actually one of the first items I ever listed! The white dress was from a vintage shop on Brick Lane in London (the best vintage shopping area in London in case you ever have the chance to visit!) that I bought for a wedding but decided against in the end (I made my dress instead).

They both get plenty of views and have lots of hearts (well, relatively speaking!) but just don't seem to want to sell. So, in an attempt to boost their buying potential, I thought some photos of them in action might help.

I wanted to get someone else to model these for me but didn't have much luck persuading my friends, so I modelled them myself. Hence the lack of photos from behind, it's difficult to get a decent photo of yourself from behind when you can't see to adjust the dress!

Vintage petite woman/child's cream dress


Electo-style silver body con dress


I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out all the same and hopefully they'll grab someone's attention!

Andrew helped me take a few photos today, so stay tuned for a resized-men's-jumper, the next stage of my found-by-the-bin-box and some more vintage curtains for the Etsy shop!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

New Etsy scarf

Oh my goodness, I'm so in love with this scarf. If it wasn't black, I'd definitely keep it for myself, just everything in my wardrobe is based around brown, not black, so it wouldn't go with anything. Part of me is sad about this, but the other part is excited about it going off to someone new who'll love it as much as me!

I'm not even sure where it came from, I was clearing out my fabric stash (a long and heart-breaking process as I'm sure you'll understand) and I found it in there, nestled beside the green sari silk I decided to part with. I think it might be another one of my Gran's, she was an even bigger hoarder than I am! I guess it's genetic.

Anyway, you can spot it in my Etsy shop over here.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

New Etsy items!

I'm on a roll this week with the Etsy shop, I've just listed 4 vintage parasols (with one more to come) and some more fabric from my stash bust.

For the moment though, here are the parasols...I wish I could keep them all, they're so pretty!

Parasol number 1


Parasol number 2


Parasol number 3


Parasol number 4


The last one already has 2 hearts, which is pretty good for my little corner of the Etsy world! I've kept 4 of them for myself, I'm planning eventually to have them on display in the flat somehow, I'm thinking on top of a bookshelf with a light behind or hanging upside down as a lampshade. Either way, it's going to involve light shining through the paper, they're so pretty in the sun.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Simplicity, really?!

The Simplicity skirt is finally finished! Regular readers might remember me mentioning this skirt, I bought the pattern around 4 months ago, struggled on with it all summer and finally finished it a month or so back.


Learn by my mistake: Always google a review before you buy a pattern!

This one was a bit of a monster for a newbie to patterns like me, I ended up having to take it across to my Gran's to get some help and once I googled the pattern, I realised a lot of other people have had similar problems.


That being said, I like the finished skirt. I wouldn't do it again in a material that needs constant ironing (this skirt was made from an old cotton sheet I dyed blue as an experiment with hand dye), since this one was made in fabric I didn't really care about just to test the pattern it doesn't matter but for the future, I'll definitely be re-making this in a wool-mix or something similar. Something to show off the pleat down the front, without having to iron it everytime I want to wear it. Lazy I know, but such is life. I love the pockets, they're nice and deep and practical without being bulky. I lined this practice version with matching blue gingham, it's nice to have a little surprise there!


I've got some brown wool I got in the bargain bin at my local fabric shop so I'm planning on making this again in brown, possibly with green paisley satin-esque fabric to line the pockets. For my 3rd attempt at sewing, I'm pretty pleased with this one and I'm really glad I did a practice run before trying it on some nice material!