Strawberry Fair

Here are some photos of the group at Strawberry Fair

DSCN7525_4211Rod showing off some of the things we made

DSCN7540_4226Rod doing some tai chi (And check out our bunting up above them!)

DSCN7538_4224More tai chi

DSCN7532_4218Sarah relaxing

DSCN7543_4229People stopping to knit at the Knitter’s Arms

This is what the guys thought of their visit to the Strawberry Fair:

Rod Says:  “Dear Strawberry Fair I like going to the fair. I enjoy the strawberry Fair.  My favourite bit was doing tai chi.”

Sarah Says:  “My favourite part was the food.  I had chicken, rice and coleslaw.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Annual Christmas Crap Competition, Starting…Now!

It’s that time of year again!  We’ve finished feasting and opening presents, and most of us will have a few days before bin collections–plenty of time to contemplate the massive amount of packaging waste the holiday season creates.  So, what are you going to do about yours?  If you need a little inspiration or incentive to cut it down a bit, we’ve got ideas for you here.

If your kids are anything like mine, you may find the boxes are more fun than the stuff that came in them.  So we celebrate Boxing day by making something fun out of some of the leftover cardboard boxes.  Last year it was a cardboard robot.  This year… well, I’m going to have to see when the kids tear themselves away from watching School of Rock on the sofa.  If you’d like to try out some cardboard construction of your own, check out Red Ted Art’s Blog for 40 different ideas to create with your own cardboard boxes.

When you’ve finished playing with your cardboard, you can cut this year’s Christmas Cards into next year’s gift tags and maybe cut some of your prettier packaging into garlands for parties later in the year:

january 007

If you still have any energy after all that, don’t forget you can send some of your extra packaging our way!  Check out our donations page for items we can upcycle into cool jewellery and accessories.  As an added bonus (and because we really need the materials) we’re running a “Christmas Crap Competition” from now until 30th January!

The competition is in two parts:

Christmas Crap Conversion:
All readers are encouraged to try their hand at upcycling by converting some of their own packaging and Christmas Crap into something useful, beautiful, or just generally kick-ass.  Email your amazing creations or post links in the comments.  The best creation (chosen by most likes on our facebook page) wins:

etsy 020

A ring-pull bracelet in the colour of your choice.

Christmas Crap Donations:

Once again, we’re in need of materials to work with. (We can’t eat all the Quality Street ourselves, you know!) So check out our Donate Materials page, rifle through your recycling bins, and get that stuff in the post!  (Or better yet, if you live in Cambridge, pop in!)  It doesn’t matter if it’s ring pulls, Quality Street Wrappers, or even bike chains…  Send us what you can, and we’ll keep it out of landfill and turn it to something cool.  The reader who sends us the most materials by 30th January will win:

sweet wrapper bracelets

A Quality Street Wrapper Bracelet in your colour choice.

You’ve got your mission–now see if you can’t cut down that mess of packaging before the bin men get here!

Oh, it is SO on! (buttoneering website launch)

Say, remember in my previous posts I mentioned the upcoming buttoneering website launch?  Well…

Hallelujah, People!

The time has come!  Today is the day!   But what the heck are we talking about?

Buttoneering is what happens when you round-up Stacy & Jacqui’s wildly acclaimed* Upcycling and Sensory parties, The Re-Creations team who brought you Wedstival 2012, and the can-do attitude from Mel and Lou of The YouCan Hub…  And then shake them all up and stick a button on it.  (these guys really like buttons…)

Buttoneering means you can have events you want in the way you want, however far off the beaten track it may be.  (Keeping within the laws of physics and current UK legislation, of course!)

Fancy dress wedding, or bride & groom want to splash down the aisle on a slip and slide?  Seems Legit.  Need a Starship Enterprise shaped pinata for your baby shower?  Of course, why wouldn’t you?  Maybe you’ve got big ideas for your kid’s birthday, but you’re not sure how to pull it off? We have lots of coffee and few inhibitions–get in touch!

The best part (IMO) is that all the proceeds from these amazing shindigs will help fund the work of TheYouCanHub and Re-Creations Project.  So while you’re partying down, you’ll also be supporting social enterprise and helping others achieve their goals–everybody wins.

So, in addition to the awesome upcycling you’ve come to expect from Re-Creations Project, you can also check out the Buttoneering Blog for how-to’s and posts on how to make your events as awesome as is humanly possible.  I’ll be offering my two cents worth on “Tutorial  Tuesdays” full of caffeine and sometimes messy DIY.  So without further ado…

Go check it out.  Follow the group on twitter, Like it on facebook and enter the launch competition for a chance to win one of 4 bodacious prizes!

Why social media vacations stink.

OK, so the blog posts have been nonexistent thin on the ground for a couple of months while I focused on some real-life issues.  The assumption was that by devoting less time to social media, I could be more physically present and get stuff done.  I could see it all: my house would be cleaner, I’d make lots of stuff, generate more income, and become a model of efficiency.  The reality?  Yeah, not so much.

A cleaner house?  See, when I envisioned all the free time I would have available for housework, I failed to account for one thing:  Procrastination.  85% of my domestic chores are completed when I’m actually trying to come up with a blog post, compose an email or some other online task.  Take away that “thinking time” when I’m physically cleaning the house, organizing uniforms and packing lunches and the housework disappears with it.  Instead I’ll fill the time by “doing stuff” which generally creates more mess.

Making more stuff? A really awful thing happened as soon as I started my blog vacation.  Crafter’s Block.  It seems that if I’m not blogging, reading blogs, commenting and linking to other crafting blogs, the ideas just dry up.  I turn into Chandler when he had to make a Valentine’s present.  

Generate more income? Well, yes and no.  I have picked up more shift work, which is helpful.  But shop wise, less blogging and less crafting means less traffic and fewer sales.  Not cool.

So overall, the blog hiatus has not had the desired outcome.  But perhaps the worst effect has been psychological.  When something happens in my life, good or bad, it passes through a sort of positive mental filter as I post about it.

For example, say my eldest oversleeps and mopes about, is late for school and at pick-up time I get a meaningful look and a note home in her bookbag– This is the kind of thing that  leaves me stressed, frazzled, and generally sure that I’m the worst parent in Reception year.  Then I tweet: “Doh! Last in the school gate again #caseofthemondays”.  Then I can post to the reception year parent’s facebook page: “We were even later than XXXX (tag) today–Do you think Mrs D will give me lines or the cane?”  (comment, comment, etc).  And by the time I blog about it, I can reveal the full contents of the note:

“When the class changed for PE, we discovered that in her haste to get to school, A forgot to take off her pyjama bottoms before putting on her uniform.  Please find enclosed.  PS: she’s not the first and won’t be the last! 🙂 “

So by thinking and writing about it, I actually manage to lift my own perceptions of the event by finding the funny side.  I may make someone laugh and in return I get to connect with other stressed out mums who have been there.  My siblings get (another) excuse to poke fun at me, and as long as I’m posting my mom knows I’m ok.

So I’ve learned my lesson.  Instead of abstaining from social media, I’ll be gradually ramping up the tweets & posts until next week and <drumroll> the Buttoneering Launch

That’s right peeps.  In addition to blogging for Re-Creations Project, I’ll be bringing our awesome upcycling action to the team at Buttoneering, creating more awesome events like Wedstival 2012. So stay tuned and keep your eyes open for Tutorial Tuesdays, where I’ll be showing you how to re-create some of our awesome stuff at home!

Creatures & Features!

Oooh, it’s been an exciting week!  Not just because of the closing Olympic extravaganza. And not just because I watched a 200 pound German Shepherd hurdle through my 8 foot fence in a desperate smash-and-grab attempt on foster dog’s squeaky toy.

For us, it’s been a big week because our Fairy Godmother in Berlin* has been waving around some magic pixie dust on our behalf and gotten us features!

If you check out our newest piece of flair over here ————————-> We’re wearing a “Roadkill Rescue” badge!  That’s right, baby!  Our Sweet Wrapper Lanterns  are sitting pretty on the front page over at Roadkill Rescue.  (Amongst a whole legion of other  kick-ass ideas which are well worth a visit!)

And if that wasn’t enough, It’s also sitting in the Craft section over atLove All Blogs. (Which, incidentally, seems to be just the app I need to keep all of my blog reading in order!)  These features make one thing clear:  Sheri from Awesomesauce & Asshattery has a lot to teach us about exposing ourselves to the wider public! 😉

In other news this week, we’ve been going nuts with wine bottle lanterns, including these creepy creatures:

Imagine those guys peeking out from your wine rack this Halloween!  Here are a couple of action shots from the group this week:

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We’ll update with more photos when the lanterns are finished.  In the meantime, I’ve been road-testing a new online sales venue!  So if you fancy getting your mitts on some fancy bits like the ones I made for Wedstival 2012, come visit the shop on DaWanda, where more items are listed each day.  And stay tuned for our upcoming upcycling tutorials of wonder!

 

 

Wedstival 2012 Photos!

I know, we’ve been teasing you with previews of the wedding for ages.  And now its finally time for some of the photos from Wedstival 2012 to emerge!  The ones with the bride and groom are going to have to wait until they come back from honeymoon, but in the meantime we can walk you through the setup and shamelessly boast about all the prettiful things we made. What we love about this whole celebration and all the decorations is that it’s handmade, eco-friendly, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.  The cost was more in terms of time and effort than money, so it’s an effect that anybody could achieve.

For starters, here’s the view as you walk up the drive towards the Pavillion:

Check out all that lovely bunting, courtesy of our very own nimble fingers!  As you reach  the top of the drive, you begin to encounter some funky signs put together by the bride and groom:And some helpful instructions about what you should be doing:

And then you might go inside to check out the Pavillion.  And wow.  The first thing to discover inside is the amazing catering display. I’m not sure which was more incredible–the smell of all the amazing tea and cakes or their collection of vintage teacups!

We had a few tables set up inside, complete with the group’s handmade chair garlands and table flowers.

upcycled fabric flowers

Each of the flowers was upcycled from the same scrap fabric as the bunting and garlands, then attached to a brooch back or hair clip so they could be worn away as favours–beautiful and eco-chic!   The Pavillion was also the place where guests could place their cards and presents.

But one of my favourite views from inside the Pavillion, was actually the ceremony spot where the bride and groom would look out over their assembled guests:

I love the picnic blanket seating for the ceremony, and the “altar” made from apple crates that were borrowed from the awesome Ruth of the YouCanBike  project fame.  Exiting the Pavillion, one of the most noticeable attractions was Andy’s beautiful vintage photo booth. 

It would have been churlish not to have a go! On the beautifully papered walls, you can spot a selection of frames that were sourced and revamped by the fine folk at the Wednesday group.  And next there was a Polaroid “guest book” table where visitors could take photos of themselves with all the available props and pin them up with their advice and wishes for the bride and groom.There was a great under-cover chillout space next door where you could lounge underneath the fabulous bike-tire chandelier, and even more miles of bunting!

From there, you could watch the other partygoers try out some fun carnival games.

Or sit down to watch the ceremony with a lovely cup of tea.

And here are some of my favourite views and details from the day:

The Ceremony Spot

Andy’s funky leg planters

The garden party in the sunshine

guitar pick buttonhole, plectrum flower

The guitar-pick flowers we made for the groomsmen to wear, and

The miles and miles of upcycled bunting!

If you’re planning a celebration of your own and like any of the decorations or ideas you see here, there’s good news!  Follow @buttoneering on Twitter or Pinterest for news about the launch of a spanking new wedding/events service with workshops, tutorials,  prop hire, and custom-made swag for a party that reflects your own personal style.  Keep watching–this is going to be good!

Wedstival 2012 Teaser…

I know, I know.  Wedstival 2012 wound up almost 36 hours ago and we haven’t posted yet.  Did it rain, did we have enough bunting?  Were there really man-eating chickens?

We promised there would be photos.  And there will be, we promise.  At the moment we’re just sorting through the hundreds of fantastic shots to bring you the best of the best from that splendiferous day.  And there will be tutorials, top tips and the trials and tribulations of handmade weddings to come.  But right now we’re a little tired.  So to keep you occupied while you wait, here are some shots of the Wedstival setup from the fantastic Nick Dennis, whose website you can see here

(In addition to helping us hang several miles of bunting, Nick joined the gang of self-proclaimed “burly men”* who erected the marquee and graciously allowed us to share his photos and link to his page despite the fact that we spent all of Friday calling him by the wrong name and quizzing him about his choice in footwear.  Thanks Nick!)

Upcycled fabric buntingThat’s our bunting decorating the gate, along with a sign made by the bride and groom themselves!

upcycled teapot, teapot flowerpotThat’s one of the teapots that we scoured the county to find.

scrap chair garlandOne of the chair garlands our group made, wafting nicely in the breeze…

upcycled photoboothThe famous (infamous) photo booth, where you may spot a few items from my previous posts–the tin sign, the bike tire mirror, and several frames revamped by our group members!

Nick pauses to check, “Does my lens look big in this?”

One of my favourite images, of the props next to the photobooth.

upcycled tea cupsThe bride and groom’s glasses for the toast.  I already loved these, but I loved them even more after we showed them to a pair of 7-year-old girls who were helping us set up.  Their response:  “But, will the bride and groom have jam with their toast?”. Awesome.

You’ll have to wait for more photos until we’ve selected the best ones (and carefully edited out any that show me in an unflattering light) but to answer the burning questions:

Did they like the decorations?  In the bride’s words, they were “Amazing.  Like, rock star awesome.”  And obviously we wouldn’t dream of arguing with the bride on her special day.

Were there really man-eating chickens?  Well, there were definitely chickens.  And several guests were, in fact, missing from the morning-after clean up session.  So I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Do Re-Creations do weddings? In light of the evidence, I would have to say yes.  Yes, indeed we do!

*The self-proclaimed “burly men” did appear to be as advertised–a strapping bunch of guys!

How do you like them apples?

Say, remember our buddy Sheri from Awesomesauce and Asshattery?  By total random coincidence I just happened on to this. Not only does Sheri have nimble fingers, she’s only gone and written herself a book!  Can you believe that? Somebody I know has a book that we can actually buy.  It also reminds me that behind the wedding scenes we’ve been amassing a set of Re-Creations goodies to send off to her in Berlin.

And in the meantime we’ve been crafting furiously for Wedstival 2012–only 2 days left to go!  Here are a couple more sneak previews for you while we lay on some coffee and get ready for the big event

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Wedstival 2012: A week in Photos

OK, in the week running up to the event of the year (Olympics, pfft!  Wedstival 2012 is where it’s at!) we have no time to write a proper post.  But we’re so proud of what we’ve all achieved that we have to share it!  So enjoy these and rest assured there are lots of stories, tutorials and news coming up when the big day is done.

These are some custom upcycled photo frames for the photobooth (before and after tutorials coming later):

This is an “old tin sign” for the photobooth, made from an upcycled baking tray.

 

 

Upcycled bottle lamps:

Chair garlands are clearly a serious business:

Teapot planters trying to soak up some sun:

repurposed teapots

And my favourite so far, the teacup wine glasses!

teacup wine glass, repurposed chinaAnd all these are only the beginning!  This is going to be the coolest wedding since ours!

(Kidding actually.  This wedding is much cooler than ours was!)