Thursday, 28 June 2012

Upcycled nest of tables

This project is so simple, it's barely even 'craft'.  We've had this nest of tables for years, they belonged to Andrew's Gran and he has fond memories of them from being a small child so he's set against me doing anything to them.  I, on the other hand, hate this kind of dark wood and would love to take a paint brush to them but apparently that's out so I've had to think of means of upcycling them without damaging them.


The original

The glass tops are removable so I took them off, cleaned them (tea stains galore!) and traced around them onto some paper I had in my stash.  Then just popped the paper back in the table top and placed the glass on top.



Number one: birdies.  Ex-wrapping paper birdies in fact!  Who says being an obsessive hoarder can't pay off?



Number two: a map of Stockholm, stashed for the past 4 years.  That's healthy...right...?  Also, you wouldn't believe it but I spent ages ironing this map.  This is what happens when you store things folded up in boxes, sigh.

I like how they've turned out, it brightens them up a bit.  Ideally in the long run I'd like to do something more like this table, glueing tiles into the recess that currently holds the glass.  The problem with the glass is that it's not fixed in place, so crumbs and liquids can get in and under it.  It's annoying because they're awkward to clean, having to remove the glass each time and clean underneath them, and you can see the crumbs through the glass.  A double whammy of annoyance.  The tiles idea would solve that because there'd be no cracks for the crumbs to get into and under.  I've yet to float this idea to Andrew though, not sure he'll like it...

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Yet more gloves

I was so taken with my stripy nautical gloves for Lydia that I decided to knit myself a pair.  I used the same knitting pattern (Sirdar 5840 for anyone interested) and again used stash yarn, this time purple New Lanark left over from Coraline and blue New Lanark gifted to me from Imogene (hello love if you're reading!).


I'm really pleased with how they've turned out, I didn't have 2 matching buttons of this colour but I liked them both so much individually that I decided to go with them anyway. 



I'm actually quite looking forward to the weather turning cold enough to wear them now!  Which is especially ridiculous given that it's the wettest June since the last ice age.


In other knitting news, I've just started knitting the 'Still Light Tunic' from Veera Välimäki.  I'm struggling a bit with the raglan increases, I seem to have a random selection of small holes, sometimes they're there, other times not.  I've frogged it once though and I'm now going with the 'plough on regardless' method so we'll see how it works out!


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Thrifty wedding veil

What can you do with a lace curtain, a glue gun, an old hairband and an assortment of collected broken jewellery?  Why, make a veil for a hen do of course!


A friend from vet school is getting married in September and her hen do (or batchelorette party for those of you reading abroad!) was last Thursday.  It was a civilised affair as she's quite a religious chick, involving afternoon tea at the Botanic Gardens, followed by a film at Edinburgh's finest independent cinema (we saw The Angel's Share for anyone interested, it was brilliant, I would definitely recommend it!), followed by games and drinks. 


I was in charge of 'pin the trunks on the hunk' and 'pass the parcel' and the veil.  Since I'm rather strapped for cash at the moment (graduating is EXPENSIVE) I decided to have a bash at making one and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.


I removed the fabric covering from an old hairband, hemmed a lace curtain from my stash on 3 sides to stop it fraying and created a tunnel at the top for the hairband to slip through.  I glued that in place with my trusty glue gun and then hand stitched a string of faux pearls from a broken necklace across the band. 


It's so long!

All in all, it worked quite well.  I left the curtain long because I thought it was too pretty to cut but the problem with that plan was that it was quite heavy and kept dragging itself off Louise's head.  Design flaw there.


She seemed pleased though.  I maintain that more penises should have been involved in the whole day but I was shot down.  What can you do, eh?


Monday, 25 June 2012

Babies, babies everywhere...

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...2 more friends had a baby!  Carolyn of the lovely blog Connecting.Love.Carolyn and Owen, my old Zoology buddy, produced the adorable Viola back in May and last week I finally got my act together to go visit them. 


Their present of a crocheted blanket and a knitted lamb were the projects that kept me going through the long, dark days of finals revision and it was lovely to be able to finally give it to them.  They were both great stash busts too, the wool stash is slowly dwindling, I'm very proud of myself.  Of course we'll move house and I'll start all over again but for the moment it's good to feel like I'm clearing out.  Even if in reality it's nothing compared to the vast swathes of fabric taking up numerous boxes around the house...



Viola is all kinds of adorable, when you can look cute whilst holding reconstituted milk sick in your mouth, that's cuteness on a whole new level. 





I'm enjoying friends having babies, I have 2 more to go now, one imminently (present done and photographed) and Elaine, of cartoons and card-craft fame (present yet to be decided upon, I've got until December!).  I think I'm done with blankets and lambs for the moment though, new baby patterns need to be explored and conquered I think.

Monday, 18 June 2012

I've been awarded the Liebster blog award!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I was awarded the Liebster blog award by Mary Jane of Paper Blossom stationary.  This is an award given to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, with the intention of helping fledgling bloggers off to a good start or to help raise the profile of more established bloggers struggling to have their voice heard.  You can see MJ's original post on the award over here.

I love blog awards, they really reflect what a supportive, creative community the blogging world really is.  Craft bloggers seem an especially nice bunch, so far I've seen very little spamming or flaming out there as I peruse my blogroll of a morning (unlike Livejournal back in the day, sheesh...).  Of course you're always going to get the odd bad apple, but on the whole I find the online crafting community to be super lovely.  I'd love to one day meet up with some of the folk whose blogs I so admire, especially Zoe, Tilly, Karen and Debi (who actually resides here in Edinburgh!).  Ooo, and Kate Davies, another Edinburgh resident!

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

But, since none of these fine folks need help with their blogs, without further ado I wish to award my Liebster award to the following peops:

Quidam Ela - Aberdeen zoology graduate turned Publishing Admin turned card maker, Elaine is a hot-shot dog trainer and is currently working on the biggest craft project of them all, a babchick!

Mindless Receptacle - authored by the same Elaine as above, but more focused on her drawings and hilarious, laugh out loud stories about the nightmares of renting and general thoughts on life.

Connecting Love Carolyn - a lovely feel-good blog about life, the universe and everything from my lovely friend Carolyn (another Aberdeen graduate, there's a theme building here...).

Stinging Needle - a knitting blog from another vet student turned craft genius, Imogene.  Imo is my go-to girl whenever I'm stuck with a knitting project, she's only been knitting a couple of years but has already churned out several majorly impressive projects, including this amazing reindeer jumper

Once you've been awarded the...award, you pass it on to another 5 bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.  And so the cycle of nice continues.  I know I've only given it to 4 bloggers, but going through my blogroll I realised that these were the only blogs that had fewer than 200 followers.  Hopefully some nice person out there will have handed it out to 6 people to make up!

And because lets face it, no one reads blogs for the words, I've included some of my not-so-recent Pinterest finds.  I haven't properly been on Pinterest in weeks now, exams got in the way.  I'm ready to get back on that hoss now though!  I've already been experimenting with some new beauty regimes from Emma's everyday styling routine

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Instagram - awesome app or creative crap?

I'm sure by now most of you reading this will be aware of the amazingness that is Instagram.  For those of you who aren't aware, it's a new app that started out on the iPhone and is now available on Android (yay!) where you can take photos and use Instagram's settings to add various filters to your picture to enhance certain colours or give your photo a 'vintage' feel.  You can add borders and highlight certain features and if you so desire, you can also use Instagram to share your photos via Facebook or Twitter.  You can follow friends and see the photos they're posting, you can 'like' photos and comment on photos. 


This is what I've spent the last 8 years doing.  Fingers crossed it's all over now!

I have to admit, I was super jealous of iPhone folks when Instgram came out.  I'm rubbish at taking photos and the idea of being able to click a button and tranform my grainy, out-of-focus picture into some kind of bohemian, creative, mini work-of-art was quite appealing.  Since I've started using it, it's really quite addictive and if any of you folks out there want to follow me, my username is 'secondfiddle'.  I'd love to follow you too!


The view from the window of the hotel by Loch Lomond.  Andrew and I went away for the weekend and enjoyed doing nothing in luxury.

This all got me thinking though, is Instagram really a good thing for photography in general?  I mean, it's amazing from the point of view of letting normally photo-inept folks like myself produce something that is almost passable as a decent photo, but at what cost?  There is part of me that worries that apps like these erode the creativity and skills and dedication that lie behind producing an amazing photo without the use of apps like Instagram.  People spend years of their lives learning about photography and cameras, honing their skills to take amazing photographs of the world around them.  Instagram, whilst its main appeal is how easy and user-friendly it is, almost belittles those skills, by making them available to the mass market with the click of a button.


For the first time in about 6 months, I have time to play with my hair!

For example, I've spent years learning to knit.  I can knit reasonably complicated patterns and produce clothes and accessories that could pass for shop-bought items.  I'm proud of my skills with knitting and I like that it's something that not everybody can do, it makes it 'my' hobby.  Obviously I like sharing that hobby with friends and like-minded folks on the internet or in knitting groups, but if everyone could knit, it would remove some of the sense of achievement, of having worked hard and practiced at a skill to the point where not everyone could reproduce what you can do.


The awesome but creepy wallpaper in our hotel room

If someone tomorrow came up with an app for your phone where you could punch a few buttons and produce a fairisle knitted sweater, I'd be slightly irritated.  I'd feel like what was the point in spending all those years learning and practicing, when I could have just downloaded a free app and produced the same result.  I know you could argue that to the trained eye a sweater 'knitted' by an app I'm sure wouldn't look the same as one knitted by hand, just as I'm sure to those who know what they're looking at (i.e. not me), an Instagram photo looks completely different to one taken 'from scratch' using real photography skills.

I know the two aren't mutually exclusive either, I'm sure there are photography buffs out there who also have fun with Instagram and similar phone apps.  You could argue that these apps are just another part of the diverse field of photography, an addition to a varied and diverse range of techniques.  I don't know enough about photography to know if people are bothered by Instagram or find it fun.  I just know that if someone did something similar with knitting, I'd have something to say about it.


Tron was glad to see us when we got home

In the meantime though, I'm enjoying Instagram and I hope you enjoyed the Instagram photos in this post.  I'll be upgrading my phone soon and plan to take far more photos of my life than I do at the moment and I'm looking forward to putting some of those through Instagram and playing around with the results.  I just wanted to share some thoughts on the process as I went.  Now that vet school is over (for the moment at least, don't want to jinx it!) I'm looking forward to writing some more meaty, possibly thought-provoking posts, as well as the usual crafting, thrifting stuff.

P.S. For those who follow my blog through a reader, I've updated the blog to include links to my Pinterest and Instagram.  Just check out the right hand sidebar!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Trading knitting for thrift

Just a quick one, I'm 4 days away from my first finals exam (terrifying!) and have so much to get through before Thursday, I feel like my head might explode a little.  But, it's Sunday night, it's the Diamond Jubilee and I haven't managed to have any fun so far on this amazing 4 day weekend.  So I've decided I'm taking an hour off tonight to watch The Apprentice and eat some Baileys chocolate cheesecake.


So, whilst I have a few minutes waiting for the kettle to boil, here's a little craft project I've been working on over the past few weeks.  It's for my friend Lydia, who recently gave me an amazing Joules bodywarmer that she found left in her Gran's holiday rental cottage and took for me.  It fits perfectly, it's raspberry pink and goes with everything and I've worn it pretty much every day for the past 4 weeks.  Plus, it's thrifted (kind of, I feel guilty for the poor person who left it behind but apparently it had been there for 6 months and was starting to go mouldy so I don't feel too bad!) so ethical and I didn't have to spend £70, which is how much they are new!


I'm really pleased with how these turned out, they were made with New Lanark yarn leftover from Andrew's Transformers gloves so another wee stash bust as well.


I'm planning a second pair for me, but at the moment I'm working on another knitted lamb.

Ooo, once exams are over, I have a blog award to give out!  Mary Jane, of Paper Blossom Stationary awarded me a blog award, it's given to bloggers with 200 or less followers and I have to pass it on to 5 more people!  So watch this space, I'll be handing out that award soon, thank you MJ! ♥