ideas for washi tape photo framesOk, so I know I only posed about washi tape craft ideas the other week last week, but ummm… I’m kind of addicted already! It’s just so easy to get something from frumpy to fab and it’s relatively cheap too. Yes, I did have a tiny splurge on ebay but my total outlay was only £4 including postage for two gorgeous new tapes which is probably about the same as a glass of wine in a pub and as I can’t drink currently that therefore sounds totally justifiable to me!

To create all three of these washi tape craft ideas took me all of oooohhhh….15 minutes? If that? Which also means that it’s an easy upcycling craft that you can fit into your evening. This is great if, like me, you don’t always get that much time of an evening to do anything! View Post

Wow!

Ok, so I wanted to write a quick post to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone for their support after I posted this earlier this week. And then through the glories of Twitter and Facebook people pointed out to me that my blog had actually crashed due to the sheer amount of traffic aforementioned post had received.

I kind of wasn’t expecting that?!?!

So, this is an update, a thank you and a pick my chin off the floor at the general loveliness of total strangers.

So far the post has received nearly 10 times the traffic I would get on a normal post. It’s been tweeted so many times that I’ve actually lost the ability to thank everyone individually (sorry if I’ve missed you, I did try!) I haven’t yet managed to reply to every comment or email, let alone go and check out the blogs of everyone who commented or check out their ideas, I will get there though, I promise. Obviously this has all coincided with The Toddler getting toncilitus and my life suddenly being pretty much sponsored by calpol, great timing!!

The project, Restore, is one that I would love to be able to properly oversee myself. I write a crafts blog, it’s something I care about, but I’m also booked in for a c-section in ten weeks time and have no childcare for The Toddler. I want this to work and so to be fair to it I know I’m not the ideal person for it. In an ideal world, we will, at some point, find someone else who is willing to give up a couple of hours a week to project manage, encourage, advise and keep it going. In the meantime though I’m going to have a damn quick learning curve and do what I can to try and get it all set up.

We have been blessed with some amazing offers to help from people who really know what they are talking about. I’m going to nip along for a bit if I can to a workshop and try and learn as much as I can, I will probably take The Toddler’s Spiderman notebook with me as this seems to be the only place these days I remember to make any notes (There’s a photography post drafted in there currently!) There’s also offers of furniture, advice on paint, the gorgeous people who I don’t know from Adam who have contacted people, businesses and organisations on my behalf.

I have seen some negative comments that we expected the person to give up their time to set up a rival business but this wasn’t the case. Yes, advice and help was asked for, but we intended at the time to sell online and not really in direct competition to the person we asked for help from. Most people in craft have always seemed to me to be happy to share ideas and, when it comes down to it, in my view you can always say no. You don’t need to be rude about it, that’s all.

So yes, totally overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers and I look forward to sharing in future what is being achieved. In the meantime, we still need everything!! Advice, support, ideas, paint, tools, furniture, stuff that I have forgotten (there’s bound to be loads of that!)

I want to make this work, I want in six months to be able write about how things totally turned around. Thanks to all of you for helping me get this started and here’s to continuing it with the same success and support.

Love kate x

So this is a bit of a tale of two cities, a request for help and a general flicking of fingers at craft and DIY snobs. Any chance of a hand?

I’ve mentioned before that The Husband runs the local foodbank /homeless resource centre / community cafe. They have 5,000 people on their books who get food bags from them, but more than that they try and support people out of poverty, to give them self confidence, to get them out of what can be a pretty rubbish and vicious circle. One of the ideas that they’ve had kicking around recently is that they would like to start a furniture upcycling project. Take some old bits of furniture that are no longer loved, get the people who use the centre to work on them, fix them, make them look lovely again and then, hopefully, sell them and use the money they make to help support feeding the 5,000 and all that. And the people who work on the project learn a new skill and can, hopefully, take that skill and hopefully use it to start thinking about doing that for themselves too.

It was a great idea. We spoke to a furniture upcycling shop in Cornwall and they gave us a few pointers, a bit of advice, they were lovely but too far away. The Husband spoke to a few of the men who use the service and they really wanted to do it. A few of them started work on it, one of the guys I know personally and he lives in a bush in a park nearby. Upskilling, gaining confidence. Great.

But the staff in the centre don’t have much experience or skills in this so they thought they would ask an expert, and today The Husband phoned a local expert who sells shabby chic furniture to ask for a couple of hours help a week or just a bit of advice. If money was needed he would have found it somehow. And would you like to know what she said?

“People like you give shabby chic a bad name.”

It would be laughable it it wasn’t so pathetic. People trying to learn something. People trying to help each other. As if shabby chic is something that people can only do if they have a masters in chalk paint. God forbid that the rest of us should ever try and do anything creative, try and make things look nice. I expect she would hate this blog, I didn’t even do GCSE art, who am I trying to kid?

So, armed with two Annie Sloan books, access to Pinterest and having read a couple of blogs on doing up furniture I’ve said that I’ll help to try and get them started. I have no childcare so The Toddler is coming too, and obviously I’m quite heavily pregnant so I can’t commit to much at the moment either. But while I may not be an expert, at least I can’t see any reason why anyone who wants to try and do something creative shouldn’t be ‘allowed’ to do it.

So if you know of any great blogs should read, tell me about them. If you have any advice on paint schemes that are popular, give me a yell. I’ve started a board on Pinterest of Furniture Upcycling ideas, if you want an invite to pin your stuff or anyone else’s to it just drop me an email at craftsonsea@gmail.com and I’ll love you forever. Share this post! It only takes a few seconds.

If you live in or near South Essex, have ever done anything with furniture and can give an hour or so to help out and share some skills, please do. We have no funding; if you have some spare paint, tools, furniture or anything of use it would be very gratefully received.

No one should be told that they can’t do something, that they aren’t the right kind of people or they haven’t done their years in servitude enough to even give something a try. I would love to somehow make this a success and show this woman that she’s wrong, if you can help me do that it would truly be a marvelous thing.

Messy play in the garden: keeps kids cool too!In the old days I used to love the hot weather. I have Raynaurd’s Disease too which means the times when I feel anything other than freezing can basically be counted on one hand. But six months pregnant? With a toddler? Hmm.

This great idea was something the Pre-school I visited yesterday were doing and when I recreated it at home today my friend told me to take pictures and blog it as it’s such a fab idea. I know that she reads this so I thought I better comply!

I filled the washing up bowl with cold water and a squirt of washing up liquid and chucked in a load of The Toddlers toys. Obviously containing batteries! Toddler and his friend then spent ages looking for toys, taking them out, playing with them, putting them back in the water and, bonus, getting the toys clean at the same time. (I umm..don’t clean toys that often…)

Another added and brill bonus is that the BBC reported this week that one of their tips for cooling down in hot weather is to stick your hands in cold water. Much easier to get a child to do if there’s toys involved! They also encouraged wearing a damp tshirt which I can also report back certainly happened!

How are you keeping you and your kids cool in the hot weather? Any suggestions gratefully received!

washi tape crafts: jam jar storageThis week shall henceforth be known as the week I fell in love with washi tape. Up until now I didn’t get it, it’s selotape, right? And then at an outing to a craft shop I bought a couple of rolls just to see if I could do anything of interest with it.

And it’s brilliant, why have I never bought any before?!

Essentially, washi tape is just pretty selotape, but why have boring stuff when you can make everything in your life look nicer? Plus it’s consistency is more like masking tape, so if you need to move it you can do so without wrecking anything or leaving a mess behind.

My first attempt at crafting with washi tape was this jam jar storage pot. I’ve got some gorgeous vintage sewing reels and I wanted to store them in a way which both showed them off and reminded me to use them! As my tape has see through polka dots I cut a circle of white card to cover the top of the lid and then worked across the lid with the tape, bending the edges under. And yes, it does still do up so hurray for that! Next I cut little triangles out of the tape and then stuck them all round the top, this gives it a cute bunting style look without being too much of a faff to make as obviously I didn’t make them all uniform, hey, it’s supposed to look handmade! washi tape crafts jam jar vase

Feeling very pleased with how it looked my next washi tape craft was inspired by a post from Cara who blogs at Freckles Family in this post that she wrote for the PinAddicts Challenge showcasing a washi taped vase she had made. I had a jam jar, I had washi tape, and within five minutes I had a cute vase to show off some lavender from my garden. Win.

I’m looking forward to covering everything else I own in washi tape and in the meantime I’m storing up ideas on my new Washi Tape Crafts Pinterest board, do come and take a look and follow it, it’s worth it just for the washi taped bike if nothing else!

And if you’re a convert to washi tape, let me know what you’ve made with it, I’d love to see any pictures too!