Friday, 30 August 2013

Kirstie Allsopp enjoys sausage

Ohemgee, the last episode of Kirstie Allsopp's Homestyle was HILARIOUS!!  I was slightly on the fence about whether or not Kirstie and I would get on in the real world (I adore her, but am slightly intimidated by her jolly-hockeysticks-competitive-head-girl demeanour, as the nerdy kid of the class I think she would have ignored me at school), but no more I say!


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After this episode, which saw me almost crying with laughter while she made sausages, I'm sure we'd be firm friends in no time.  As soon as they introduced the 'making sausages' segment of the programme, my brain erupted in a flurry of inappropriate jokes for that time of night before the watershed.  I mean, come on, you can't use words like 'meat', 'length', 'girth' without attracting some raised eyebrows.  Or in my case, mischievous, school girl giggling.  Watching Kirstie attempt to squeeze sauasage meat (tee hee) into long, girthy tubes of pig intestine (hahaha) whilst simultaneously trying to keep her hair out of her face, her cheeks going pink with the effort of holding in the laughter....HAHAHAHA, I can't keep it in, even as I type this!

Ahem.  Rearranges self.


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There were some lovely recipes in this episode.  The Christmas Ham is definitely one I'm going to try as soon as possible, no way am I waiting for Christmas to cook that bad boy.  Sure, I'm going to try a smaller scale, less expensive version for 2 people instead of 12 but my mouth is watering even as we speak, thinking about it.


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I'd also love to try the mulled cider recipe from this episode.  Especially if I can make it outside over a camp stove "like a witch" in the lovely lady's own words.  This would be perfect for autumn, there's already a nip in the air after all.  I had my first port of the season this weekend...any excuse for a tipple to be honest.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Gotta love some papercraft

I love buying cards.  There are so many pretty, unique, eye-catching cards out there.  Some of them are little works of art, I actually have a folder of 'things to frame' for when we own a house and I'm allowed to put nails in the walls and a lot of them are cards I've been given over the years.  But, unless you're giving a card to a person with similar pack-rat tendancies, you can pretty much guarantee it will sit on the mantlepiece for a couple of weeks, then be filed in a box (if you're the sentimental type...again, like me.  I'm going to end up on one of those Channel 4 hoarding documentaries in the future), or (more likely), end up in the recycling bin.


Cards aren't cheap either, a good card could be anywhere between £2.50 and £5.00 easily and if you've got a couple to buy at the same time (bloody people having babies, I'm looking at you), you could end up spending more on cards than you did on the present.


The obvious, thrifty option?  Make your cards!  I buy a pack of 30 plain, cream cards with matching envelopes from an Ebay seller every 6 months or so for about £4, then make cards as and when I need them.  So much thriftier than buying cards from the shop!  I always aim to make a batch in advance, but what usually happens is I end up making them just as I need them, often in a bit of a rush.  Hence the slightly amateur or overly simplified look of these cards!  I tried one recently with sewing and it was 50% disaster, 50% success.  That's a pass by vet school standards.


Still, they do the job.  I always write a good long sentiment in a card, it's more about the words than the picture on the front, amirite?  Or maybe that's what failed papercrafters tell themselves...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Work in progress Wednesday

Oops.  Wrote this yesterday but I'm working nights this week so don't have a lot of time during the day to post as I have to sleep.  I thought I would post it at work during my midnight break but didn't end up getting one so no posting on Wednesday! (though I guess by midnight it would technically have been Thursday anyway).  Not a lot of time for crafting either this week, though I have just finished off a house warming present that shall be revealed next week when I give it to it's recepient!


Anyway, I've been working on this jumper for a while now, it started off as a jumper dress (Still Light Tunic by Veera Välimäki), before I realised the pattern was going to drown my petite-tending-to-dumpy figure.  I'd got as far as the armpits and was starting to increase for the pleats so decided to frog back a bit and use the top raglan yoke & arm patterns but just make it up from the bottom of the yoke downwards with increases & decreases to shape the waist (loosely based on the waist shaping for Owls from Kate Davies, which I have made twice and thoroughly recommend.  I've got another one queued up for me in a lovely forest green).


So far I'm pretty pleased with it, it fits well and I've only got 1 sleeve left to go.  There is however a WHAT THE FUCK?! moment coming...



I think I decreased for my waist shaping too drastically, I should have gone more gradually.  I'm hoping a shit-tonne of blocking will help and may try a small stitch on the inside if necessary.  But what the hell, they're on the back, no one will notice, right...

It's all a learning experience after all!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Kirstie Allsopp's Home Style

If you're reading a blog entitled 'Craft and Thrift', then chances are I don't need to tell you about this marvelous new TV show from Channel 4.  Kirstie Allsopp's Home Style is a new series from Kirstie (who I have loved since her Location, Location, Location days, we'd be besties in the real world I reckon), where she implores the viewer to recycle, upcycle and craft your way to the perfect home.


In this first of a four-parter, she shows us how to make a simple set of coasters from tiles & paper napkins (plus PVA glue - love it! So Blue Peter), how to paint, distress & reupholster a chair, how to gild a thrifted photo frame and create a personalised doormat (hello, housewarming present).  These projects are simple, thrifty and accessible to most normal folk, encouraging and inspiring the regular, non-crafty person to take up a paintbrush and create a lovely, homely nest for you and yours.  I love that a lot of the projects can be done with very minimal financial outlay and possibly with objects already in your home, gathering dust in a garage or "under the stairs".  Who doesn't have a half-used box of white tiles sitting on a shelf, somewhere in their abode?  I personally have half a dozen boxes of gold leaf, mouldering away between my caviar and my quails eggs.  

I jest Kirstie, I jest.  Please don't come after me with your lacrosse stick...


Unfortunately, the practical, attainable crafts are interspersed with segments where Kirstie takes regular folks (i.e. white, middle class Guardian readers in their 30s/40s) and forces them out of their comfort zone by teaching them New Skillz.  One couple spend a pleasant afternoon in a pottery class (a clip from a previous series, please note.  I'm watching you Allsopp), making very pretty plates.  Another couple try their hands at screenprinting onto a sideboard.  I like it, encouraging people to try new things, great, 10 out of 10.  However, the next couple, somewhat bizarrely, are forced into a cement-sculpting-light-fitting class.  This ain't your gramma's version of craft.  I love the pushing-the-boundaries aspect of the concrete class, I don't like how bloody random it is.  The dude teaching the class is called Junior and has a dreadlock beard that is so long, I'm surprised he doesn't get it stuck in the cement.  Tie back yo'hair Junior!  I don't approve of your lax attitude to health and safety.  It's a cool idea in theory, but really, how many of us are now lining up at our nearest art school, clamouring for lessons on concrete sculpting?  Neither practical, nor attainable.  For shame Kirstie, for shame.

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Overall though, I love this show.  Anything on TV that encourages craft, thrift, recycling, sustainability & liberates the regular person from their Ikea and Primark prison gets two thumbs up from me.  Keep 'em coming love.  Ooh, and I spy Phil in the teaser for the coming episodes...!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Autumnal hat

I finished knitting this months ago, in preparation for autumn.  Now, Scotland being Scotland, I've actually had quite a lot of use out of it over the summer.  It's a pattern called Oaked by Alicia Plummer and it covers all sizes from small baby right through to adult.  It would be so cute knitted up for a baby!



Regular readers of Second Fiddle may recall the first attempt I made of this pattern, which ended up a bit of a disaster because the basic maths of 'compare the yardage requirement of the pattern to that of the ball of yarn' failed me somewhat, meaning I got about two thirds of the way through before I ran out of wool.  Epic fail.  It was a super nice Debbie Bliss alpaca silk as well (thrifted, naturally).  I'm saving it for a future baby project, several of my friends are creating sprogs at the moment so I know it'll get used at some point in the future.



This is a great pattern though, simple enough to do whilst watching TV (hello, Mindy Project on catch up) but complicated enough to keep your interest and push yourself slightly.  The lovely blue yarn was something I was given when I did a rather dodgy craft course in Glasgow a while back.  I love the colour, it goes with so many of the clothes in my wardrobe!   

Oh, in case anyone's wondering, the photos of me were taken back in May.  That's right, May.  Check out that fog and damp.  Still, at least I've got a cute hate to wear, right?!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Welcome to Craft and Thrift!

Hello fellow Thifters!  Friendly Crafters!  Passing-by Knitters, Crocheters and Sewists!  

 Welcome to my new blog, Craft and Thrift.


Some of you may have been reading my online witterings for a while, under my first blog Second Fiddle Crafts.  You'll have seen me through my first degree in Zoology in Aberdeen, through graduation and starting Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh.  You'll have watched while I moved in with my then-boyfriend, now fiancé, Andrew.  You may have awww'd your way through photos of our sadly-no-longer-with-us pygmy hedgehogs and now deliquent puppy.  Well, I'm now a qualified vet, working in Edinburgh and thrifting my way (slowly) towards The Good Life.


Throughout all these ups and downs, crafting has been a constant source of calm, relaxation, anger, joy and sadness in my life.  The beautiful moment your finished cushion cover slips perfectly into place, all plump and inviting.  That fateful day you realise the top you've been slaving over for so long is unlikely to fit a 7 year old, let alone your slightly plump, 27 year old self.  The fourth time you forget to change the needle position on your sewing machine, leading the needle to hit the foot at speed, shear in two and come flying at your eye at blinding speed.  Ah, the joys of crafting.


So, dear readers, new and old.  These are the joys I will share with you on this journey we undertake together.  You'll laugh.  You'll cry.  You'll question my choice of sentence structure.  The photos dotting this post are but a snippet of what's to come.  

Intrigued?  Then read on, Macduff...