Thursday, 15 August 2013


Remember to add my new blog, Craft and Thrift, on your blog reader to make sure you're getting the most up to date posts!

2 new posts up this week, read all about my plans for the new blog and a finished knitted hat for autumn!

See you over there!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Hello and goodbye

Hello dedicated Second Fiddle readers!

I feel I should explain my prolonged absence.  After much deliberation, I've decided to close Second Fiddle's doors for good.  It's taken me through the last 5 years of my life, through graduating from Zoology, vet school, moving in with Andrew, graduation again, getting engaged, moving away for my first many major events in my life.  I feel the time has come for a fresh start, a clean slate, for me to take the lessons I've learned from Second Fiddle and start again for this new, exciting period in my life.

I've never been entirely happy with the name 'Second Fiddle'.  I chose it because my Mum came up with it and she seemed so delighted to have helped me with my new hobby-business-venture that I just went with it.  To be fair, it's done me well, I've had a busy little Etsy shop that kept me in pocket money as a student under this name, and my wee corner of the blogosphere has thrived (over 23,000 page views!  I know that's not much by bigger blogs' standards but I'm pleased with it!).  I just feel that the time has come to move on.

But fear not!  The blogging will still be continuing, under a new name.  I've finally settled on the name Craft and Thrift and have registered a new blogspot account with that title.  I've started the process of setting up the new blog, it'll be pretty much the same layout as this one, right down to the same banner, but with new content and posting schedule.  I'm going to do the next one right, more regular posting, no long gaps in between posts, better photos, more links.  Basically amalgamating all the lessons I've picked up along the way to do it properly this time.

I very much hope you can all join me over at Craft and Thrift.  It'll be starting afresh very soon and I would love to see you all over there!  Things to look forward to in the coming year include wedding related crafts, new house DIYs, knitted jumpers, thrifted clothes refashions, learning many awesome things to share with you!

In the meantime however, goodnight Second Fiddle.  You've served me well.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Thrifted sheets to cushion covers

I made these for a colleague for her birthday.  She is constantly helping me at work and she's just moved house so it seemed like the perfect moment to repay the favour!  I've had the fabric for years, the continual stash busting continues, its really satisfying to see something that's been languishing in the cupboard for years turned into something pretty for a friend.


The cushion inners were from Ikea, I know I shouldn't but I do love that place, the market place is especially brilliant for projects like this.


Got to love the little Second Fiddle labels, they make them look so much more professional.


The fabric scraps were useful to turn this White Company box into a hamper for another friend's birthday present.  You could see the White Company logo through the fabric but I didn't have any plain cotton or interfacing to back the fabric, so I ended up backing it with kitchen roll!  It worked a treat and made it stick really well onto the box.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Train crafting

I've just come back from a lovely weekend in Devon with my two favourite lady friends.  It was great to just relax, craft, eat, drink and chat about anything and everything.  I came back feeling refreshed and keen to craft.  In fact, on the train on the way back I whipped up this little number for Isaac's first birthday. 



It's hard to model a kid's hat with ear flaps flat on the floor so here's a snapshot of a ball of wool modelling a small child's hat.  This is what I do in my lunch hour. 


The grey band along the bottom involves picking up stitches and knitting 3 rows.  It was probably my best attempt at picking up stitches to date but still not ideal, you can see that the band is tighter than the rest of the hat.  I really hope this won't be a problem for Isaac!  I didn't have a handy child to try it on so I had to send it off into the maw of Royal Mail and keep fingers crossed...

Monday, 18 March 2013

Slowly regaining my craftiness

I know I've been moaning a lot recently about my lack of crafty vibes.  I've had a few mishaps on recent projects, coupled with my sewing machine being in Edinburgh and me being in York.  The whole York-Edinburgh situation is getting me down and I've been losing my motivation to create.  Plus between not finishing work until 7pm and fitting in running and job applications, I've not got a huge amount of time left to do fun stuff.


But!  No more moaning!  I've decided to be proactive and bring my sewing machine down to York.  I've got 2 sorbetto tops planned and since I entered Karen's (of Did you make that? ) 2013 Sewlutions, I really need to get a move on.  I pledged to make myself 6 items of clothing this year, with the thought that one item every other month would be manageable.  Well, we're now halfway through March and I have items.  But!  In a positive light, I only need to make one item of clothing and I'll be back on track.  Sorbetto top, here we come!


These little guys had to be made for a guy at work who changed my flat tyre a few weeks back.  I was going to bake him some pasties as a thank you, but then developed a stonking cold so didn't want to bake germ-riddled food items.  In the spirit of rekindling creativity (and saving money and using up stash!) I went with the old Christmas favourite, the monsters.  He's off on paternity leave after having his second baby so there's a bigger monster for his 2 year old and a smaller monster for the wee one.  I can feel my crafting mojo slowing returning...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Thoughts on wedding dresses

I haven't really started wedding planning yet, I occasionally browse pinterest, then get annoyed after 10 minutes when I can't find exactly what I'm looking for.  We've (almost) settled on a date, looked at 1 venue (which wasn't quite right) and I've (kind of) picked a photographer.  The one thing I do want to start shopping for though is my dress!

Love the dress, hate the expression

I think at the moment that I want something green and vintage.  I love the idea of making my own dress like Suzannah from Adventures in Dressmaking or Zoe from So Zo but if I'm honest, I don't have the skillz.  I don't want to look at photos of myself in the future and see how the zipper isn't lined up properly or the pleats are wonky. 

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

Love the colour

I've been browsing pinterest for inspiration, with the thought that when I do start vintage shopping, I'll have a vague idea in mind.  I guess that could make it both easier and harder at the same time, since if you've already set your heart on something, invariably nothing lives up to it, but then equally when faced with a large volume of vintage to rifle through, it's definitely easier to be able to automatically filter on the basis of style or colour. 

This is a beautiful but quite revealing dress.  I'd rather not pop out a nipple in front of my Grandad to be honest

I've tried a few actual wedding dress sites and holy cow wedding dresses are expensive.  I want to look pretty but equally I want to buy a house and it would seem that you have to hand over a signficant chunk of a house deposit to buy some wisps of lace and silk you'll wear for approximately 12 hours.  Fuck. That. Shit.  I want to wear my wedding dress again so green vintage it shall be!  I'll keep you guys posted...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Crafting funk and failures

I've been in a bit of a crafting funk recently, I haven't really had the motivation to sew or knit.  You know it's bad when I lose the will to knit, I think of knitting as like rumination in cows, once they stop ruminating its a serious situation that all too often leads to an intra-cranial lead injection.  Or something like that.  There's a reason I didn't go into farm medicine.

Here are a few recent failures that have brought my knitting to a standstill.  Sewing, on the other hand, has halted almost entirely since moving to York and only having access to my sewing machine and stash 2 weekends a month.  I had a grand plan to do loads of sewing this weekend past but ended up in the pub for lunch both days and going for a late afternoon/early evening nap so most of the day was wasted in a drunken, sleepy stupor.  I'm not going to lie, it was most pleasant, curled up in bed with the dog in my nook and Outnumbered on catch up.  Not terribly productive though.

This is a lovely pattern, Oaked by Alicia Plummer.  The plan was to use up a gorgeous ball of alpaca silk DK by Debbie Bliss that has been languishing in my stash for years (the only posh ball of yarn in my stash right now).  Unfortunately I ran out halfway through, as you can see in the photo.  The maths was just too hard for me, having to look up the yardage requirement in the pattern and then compare it to the yardage of the skein.  No wonder I got confused.


That blue yarn is another one from my stash, not as nice but not bad and should be soft enough for a hat without being itchy.  I'm going to frog the first one and try again with the second.  I'm just worried the alpaca silk will fall to pieces as it unravels.  I'm also at a bit of a loss to know what to do with it if there's not enough for a hat.  It'll probably end up as a baby cardigan to be honest.


This next one is the Still Light Tunic that I started...lets see now...before finals so probably this time last year or thereabouts.  I've got as far as splitting for the front pleats and realised that this pattern is going to look ridiculous on my short-and-slightly-dumpy frame, it's going to drown what little figure I have and make me look like I'm wearing a sack.  Since the yarn is 4ply and so the thought of pulling it out is enough to make me want to give up knitting altogether and go back to World of Warcraft, I've decided instead to turn the nicely fitted bust I've knitted into a basic pullover.  I need more of these in my wardrobe anyway, since all my jumpers seem to have comedy animals or wacky fairisle patterns.  It'll involve a certain amount of winging it when it comes to increases/decreases around the hips and waist but I'm sure I'll muddle through somehow.  The great thing about top-down knitting is I can try on as I go, then get too excited to put my clothes back on and end up knitting topless, standing up in my lounge.  Which is what happened on Valentine's night.


This isn't knitting (obviously) but a rather frustrating lesson in WASHING TROUSERS BEFORE TURNING THEM UP.  Turned them up, washed them, they shrank, turned them down, turned them back up again.  Or at least I've done that with one pair, the second has been languishing on my coffee table for 2 weeks now.

So, between these 3 failures, I've not been feeling much like crafting recently.  I've even hit a roadbump on my new running regime, sore legs.  I'm taking this week off to ease back into it and I'm going to start interspersing swimming with running.  I feel like I'm failing at life at the moment, I can't even put one foot in front of the other successfully!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Last of the Christmas presents

Here we are finally, the last of the Christmas presents.  This one was embarrassingly late because I ordered the second pair of needles (with plenty of time to spare, might I add)...then got them sent to Edinburgh instead of York.  Suffice to say, by the time the needles arrived in the correct city Christmas had passed and since it was going to be late anyway, I figured I might as well go whole hog and keep it until my next Edinburgh weekend (when I have access to my sewing machine and fabric hoard stash) and sew up a lining.  I'm getting really annoyed with this whole to-ing and fro-ing between Edinburgh and York, never having what I need where I need it.


The skirt in all its bad-winter-light-photo-hurry-up-and-take-a-picture-so-you-can-wrap-it-and-post-it glory


The back.  Very dull to knit but actually a nice relief from the 'WTF...I swear I've already done this row...wait a second...shit...if only I wasn't watching New Girl drinking wine whilst knitting this very complicated pattern' of the front panel

Partly this is why it's taken me 2 weeks to blog again, I'm now officially job hunting back up north.  Job applications take ages don't they?  Even when you're sending pretty much the same letter to everyone.  I've had one interview so far, which was a nice confidence boost, but in the wrong part of Scotland to be feasible with commuting so a no-go.



The lining was made from some red satin-stuff lurking in my stash.  Ideally I wanted a pretty printed cotton to please small-child-Amy but then sensible-adult-Amy decided to go for something slippery to make the skirt easier to wear with tights.  Because lets face it, if its cold enough for a wool skirt, its cold enough for tights, right?  Cotton sitcks and catches on tights, satin slips on and off easily.  Not that I'm implying that I designed this skirt to be easy to slip off...wait...hang on...I'm coming across all wrong....

I'm not much of a note-maker, but if you want to see my Ravelry post about this skirt, my username is Second Fiddle.

For some reason Flickr or Blogger has seen fit to alter the size of some of these photos, even though I altered them to be the correct size.  If anyone knows why this might be, please feel free to drop me a line!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Handmade cards

I haven't made cards for a while but since I'm on a money saving kick at the moment, I thought I'd make the most of my crafty skillz and hoard collection of pretty collected scrap papers. I bought the plain card backs and matching envelopes off Ebay years ago now, for about £3 for 12 I seem to remember.  Bargain!


Chicken from recycled wrapping paper for Mary Jane from Paper Blossom Stationary.  You should definitely check out her Etsy shop, she's got some super cute stationary over there!


First birthday card from recycled Where's Wally books for Heather's baby, Alma.  I sewed the balloon with wool from my stash.


New home card for Victoria from work.  Maybe it's a bit morbid using vintage Cluedo cards on a new home card? 


And as always, my crafting buddy.  Nothing gets done without his nose being involved.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Christmas presents - the penultimate chapter

I think this is the second-to-last installment of the Christmas presents posts, the last one will be Vicky's skirt but I can't do the big reveal until she's opened the parcel (it's winging it's way to you even as we speak love!). 

These were made for 3 of my friends' babies, I managed to catch these little guys on camera before they flew the coop to meet their new little buddies.  They were another stash make, which is always satisfying, though I think in the future using real felt, rather than felted jumpers, is the better option for the facial features.  Real felt gives a much cleaner edge, you can see the first monster's features are a bit more 'fluffy' round the edges.




See those fluffy edges?

You can tell the difference between photographs, I made the first guy back in September when the sun shone every so often!  Also the difference between taking time to make and photograph presents when you're organised and starting months beforehand vs. rushing to photograph and wrap before instantly giving away when you leave it to the last minute.


This little dude has a pocket, for all his monster possessions


This guy's face looks a bit Clockwork Orange, don't you think?

So far I've had good feedback, apparently the babies like to rub their faces on them, which was kind of my idea, I thought they might appreciate the soft, fluffy fake fur.  It made me want to rub my face on it to be honest!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Christmas presents part 5

This was an upcycling make, turning a friend's final year vet jacket into a coat for her dog.  Alison graduated and went back to the States, so was limited in what she could take back with her.  I fished this jacket out of the charity shop pile, thinking it would be too sentimental to give away but with no fixed plan of what to do with it.  After a month or two of pondering, I settled on a dog coat for Pickle.  I already had a template I knew would fit her since I traced one of her coats to make Badger's rain jacket.


I stupidly didn't take a 'before' picture, but the coat was almost identical to this one, with the logos and name tags across the chest.



We each had the option to buy them in final year, it's sort of a badge of honour as only final years get them, but I'll be honest, I didn't like mine at all.  It's that horrid blousy design that makes me look short and fat, it basically only looked good on tall slim guys so most of us looked ridiculous in them.  I'm keeping mine because I'm silly and sentimental but it's definitely going to be a 'throw on to take the compost out' type jacket, I won't be wearing it outside of the house any time soon.


The dog helped by licking his wanger on top of the jacket while I was trying to cut it out



I'm pleased with how this turned out, the waterproof material was a complete bitch to sew, it kept slipping around all over the place but at the same time, kept sticking to the needle and machine so it wouldn't go through smoothly.  There are a few slightly bodged areas but nothing too horrendous and since it's for a dog, I'm sure Pickle won't notice!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Christmas presents part 4

These are some terrible photos, so apologies, but I finished this one and had to instantly wrap it for Christmas.  It's based on Adventures in Dressmaking's faux fur snood tutorial, it's super simple to make and I'm pleased with the results!


I made this one smaller than the original, with the thought that it could be worn as a snood or headband.  I'm a bit worried it might be a bit small for the intended recepient, it was a bit snug on me but I think I have a reasonably chunky head.  All those brains or something...


I'd like to make one for myself, it would be great for walking the dog in style.  Especially since I got fancy Hunters for Christmas!


I like that you could make this in a range of colours, I really liked Suzannah's original in leopard print!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

We got engaged!

Just a quick announcement as it's Andrew's last day in York for a little while...we got engaged!  He proposed on New Year's Eve at midnight and I burst into tears and said yes before he even got the chance to get the words out.  It was a lovely start to 2013.

Just so it's not a completely picture-less post (let's face it, none of you are here for the quality journalism), here are a few inspiration pictures I've been hoarding as potential wedding dresses.  I'm hoping to buy something vintage so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled over the next 18 months or so, we're hoping to get married in autumn of 2014.

I'm so delighted!  Although it's a strange thought to think I'll be Mrs Amy Dyce, 'Mrs Dyce' is his mum's name...