Monday, 22 October 2012

Works in progress

A few little works in progress...



I'm half thinking of attempting a little challenge, 5 tops in 10 days.  I've got 10 days off soon and I think it might help give me a kick up the bum to get back to sewing clothes.  Watch this space to see if I manage it...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Knitted egg cosies

I made these on request from a nurse at work and given that I've accidentally stabbed her twice whilst she's been helping me inject various animals, I felt I couldn't really say no.


I used Coordinating Egg Cosies by Lindsay Mudd off Ravelry and I must say, it was a super fast make and a great little stash bust.  I made two this time, but I could see myself getting slightly addicted to these, especially when the chickies eventually come to live with me.  You could make them in so many different style and colour combinations!


They would make great little stocking fillers, for those of you, like me, who are anal enough to be planning your Christmas presents in September.


They also fit nicely onto sleeping puppy ears, if you happen to own a mongrel with radar ears...


Sunday, 14 October 2012

Baking delicious disasters

I'm sure like many folks reading this, I LOVE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF.  There, I said it.  I'm going to be properly gutted when it's done and if cute Scottish James, with all his fairisle wonderness doesn't win, it'll be the saddest thing ever. 


He just eats constantly.  The whole way through each episode.  It's amazing.  In fact, it would make a great drinking game, take a shot every time James puts something in his mouth.  You'd be wasted by 12 minutes in.


If nothing else, it's really inspired me to get baking.  I baked a loaf of bread after the bread episode and was surprised to find it's way easier than you think it's going to be.  Plus kneading is super satisfying and once the dough has risen, you kind of what to put your face in it, it's so smooth and perfect.


See?  It's like a doughy pillow

Unfortunately, my baking is not always a success.  I guess like knitting and sewing, practice makes perfect and I can hardly expect to bake once every few weeks and be as good as Brendan.  I baked the Chocolate Mousse Cake from Green and Black's Chocolate Recipe book for Andrew's birthday last weekend and whilst it tasted amazing, it haemorraged out of the spring clip tin whilst baking and the herniated part burnt onto the sides and base of the tin, meaning I couldn't get the tin open to get it out.  In fact, I broke the clip, it was that burnt on.  Never fear, I thought to myself, I'll just slip a knife around the edges and turn it out instead.  Cue sticky hot chocolately goodness falling out of the tin in several lumps, causing me to curse loudly and spend the next 10 minutes trying to stick it back together.


As you can see, sticking it back together made very little difference, sad face.

So, I cunningly went out and bought a silicone cake tin to try again for Cake Friday at work (my new plan to a) make friends, b) make up for the fact that 70% of the time I don't know what I'm doing and c) apologise for Badger shitting on the mat in dispensary at least once a day), thinking it would solve both the haemorrhage and inability to get it out of the tin in one fell swoop.  How wrong I was.  Yes, it didn't herniate but sadly it still fell to pieces when I tried to get it out, silicone cake tins are not as easy to use as the label makes out.


This is before I attempted removal, look how beautiful it is.  Although I'm sure Paul and Mary would have something to say about the cracks and slight burnination.  I don't have an after photo this time, it's too depressing.  Though it was gone by 11am so clearly folk weren't fussed by its ugliness.  I'm determined to master this recipe, it's so easy and could be a real staple.  Because everyone needs a staple chocolate cake recipe, right?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

We interrupt this programme...

...for a bit of an advertisement.  Has anyone in Edinburgh been to Marchmont Gallery?  If you haven't yet, you should.  It's an adorable little shop (emphasis on 'little'), tucked away in Marchmont, about 5 minutes walk from the Meadows.  It's the perfect place for a Saturday afternoon dog walk, followed by half an hour of poking round the shop, oohing and aahing at the lovely things on offer.  After that, you can fill up on fish 'n' chips from the amazing Marchmont Takeaway round the corner, which is part of Hugh's Fish Fight, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (of River Cottage fame)'s campaign for sustainable fishing in Britain.  All in all, a very middle class Marchmont afternoon of delight!


I only mention it because it occurred to me the other day, as I purchased my third gift for family, I've never featured this lovely little shop on my blog and I should, because it's awesome.  In the past I've bought Harris Tweed tea cosies from here (with sheep on the front!) and plan to own one myself one day (with a Highland cow...hint hint...).  My recent purchase was this lovely little mixed media brooch for my Mum, isn't it pretty?  You can see a few more on the website here.


I had to add a pretentious artsy filter to hide the fact that the colour of the brooch messed up my camera and everything came out blue.  Or something.

It even came in a lovely box.  I know you shouldn't get suckered in by packaging, but golly, that's pretty.


Go forth, Edinburgh peops.  Go forth and browse at the lovely Marchmont Gallery.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Getting back my sewing vibe

I've been out of the sewing loop for a wee whilie now, I got a bit disheartened, especially about sewing clothes.  There's nothing more frustrating than spending a valuable spare few hours sewing, only to find that what you produce is a) ugly, b) doesn't fit, c) doesn't make you look like the amazing quirky starlet à la Zooey Deschanel that you imagined it would. 

It's silly really, with baking and knitting I have a very gung ho approach, I take liberties with recipes, don't quite follow patterns, interpret and reinvent as I see fit.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and I'm OK with that.  Not so with sewing though, oh no.  With sewing I get very frustrated if things don't turn out exactly the way I wanted them to.  I don't know what the difference is, other than I feel quite confident about knitting and have the knowledge and skills to be able to picture where a pattern is taking me and adjust as necessary.  I don't have that ability with sewing, so I find I spend a lot of time feeling out of control and floundering from one step to the next.  I don't know enough about material or patterns to be able to judge how a minor alteration might change the whole look of an outfit and I can't adjust a pattern to suit my figure, meaning half the time things come out too long/short/tight/loose/sack-like.


Since I'm in York for the next 6 months and have my weekday evenings to myself, I've decided to teach myself to sew clothes.  There are so many good sewalongs out there at the moment and so many nice patterns (I want to master Sewaholic's Renfrew and Colette's Clover amongst many others!), it seems a good opportunity to sit down in the evenings and really get to grips with the basics.  I'm leaving actual patterns sewing until after my first paycheque is in (got to get out of my overdraft first really before I splash out on patterns!) although I do have the Sorbetto to master, with some awesome fabric purchases over the summer I've yet to share with you all.


In the meantime, these two pictures are some simple clothing alterations to get me started.  The green cable cardigan I bought last summer from a vintage shop in Glasgow whose name escapes me, it was a bargain at £15 because it needed a few holes sewing up.  It was also a good few sizes too big but an hour on the sofa with the X Files and some vintage leather buttons later and it's now my new winter indoor jumper.  I moved the buttons over by about 3 inches and added some hooks and eyes on the inside to stop the inner flap flappin' so it now fastens asymmetrically.  It's super warm and snuggly and perfect for throwing on over anything to take the dog out to the garden.  

The dress is a work in progress I'll reveal soon but it's an alteration of another vintage find.  Keen eyed readers might recognise it from an earlier post but I'll do a before and after post once I finish it properly.  Baby steps right?  Got to get my confidence back!

Monday, 1 October 2012

I'm in York!

Just a quick one to assure you all that I'm still alive and craftin' (it's the nerd version of 'alive and kicking') after a ridiculously busy week of packing, driving, unpacking, starting a new job and generally experiencing a 'stop the world, I want to get off' feeling.

I'm still hard at work crafting though, the picture above is from my Instagram (I'm 'secondfiddle' by the way, in case anyone wants to follow me! Equally leave your name and I'll follow you!) and is the start of Mum's owl jumper from my last post. It's knitting up super fast so far, the chunky yarn is brilliant for that. I'm loving the colour too! Can't wait to knit one for myself!

I'm currently planning a few changes to the blog, I'm investigating getting my own website and restarting my Etsy shop so watch this space! Just got to get my York-life sorted first...