I am in a state of creative overdrive at the moment. When life changes fast in ways I have no control over, I often use creativity to distract myself while my brain makes sense of the situation. It also brings me a kind of peace - a break from the landslide of information that seems to fill the days at the moment. I am sure yours are the same!
Since we are all but housebound for the foreseeable future, I wanted to compile a list of resources I use for creative projects. Over the years I have built a fairly extensive library of crafting books, from origami for children to Scandinavian style embroidery projects, I turn to them often for inspiration.
But there are many projects to be found for little to no budget, some that suit children and some for grown up children too. Here are a small selection of them which you may like to try and a few videos too, some behind the scenes, some instructive and some complete nonsense. If you know of any more resources then please do share them in the comments below this post. We may all be here for a while to come...
Not just for children, the humble potato can be used to create patterns on all kinds of surface (I'm thinking of the walls in Miss Stacy's house in Anne with an E on Netflix...). Molly Mahon has shared a brilliant IGTV video to inspire you here. Actually her first video on equipment is worth a watch and I hope there will be more to follow! A brilliant, inexpensive way to create with tools you likely have already at home.
Paint, crochet, weave - it is surprising how many ways you can wrap them up when you delve into it. You can see a few of my mum and my creations here. They don't take long to decorate, a lot of the projects could be done with children. I began to collect a few ideas on Pinterest here which may get you started but honestly, the amount of resources out there is vast and all you really need is some pebbles and a pen to get going...
Another lovely free resource from Unit Twelve Gallery, another brilliant creative project to try with your children (they may need some help depending on their age), you can find and download their instructions here.
Teach yourself to knit. There are so many tutorials and videos out there, it's hard to know where to start. I found the kits from Wool & The Gang were what finally got me knitting with any kind of understanding. Chunky yarn works for me as I can then understand how the knitting works - it is easier to see with big stitches! More on that here. I've knitted several things since though I am definitely still a beginner, but practice makes perfect and all that jazz...
As much as I have had a book on the subject and a plan to try this for myself already, as yet the time has evaded me. Maybe now I will make more of a plan to try it. In the meantime, this video popped into my inbox this week from Kathryn Davey, it's a gentle two minute watch if you'd like a glimpse into her world.
I love making little notebooks. I used to make them when I was little with scraps of paper and one of those long arm staplers (do they still make them?!). Anyway more recently I have been sewing them under the instruction of a beautiful book called Bound by Rachel Hazell. Admittedly this is a project that does require a little more in the way of specialist tools, but they are an investment if you are looking to create a range of books over time.
Oh I love making these. I have been playing with them for a few years, some have been more successful than others. Although I have made them up as I go, there are probably tidier ways than mine to create them and you can find a tutorial using a similar technique to mine here. I do find the more rigid the coil material, the easier it is to make them. Raffia is great. I have made some with thick macrame string (because it was lying around after an attempt at macrame) which can be a little floppy, depending on how tight the binding thread is pulled.
Obviously textiles are often my project of choice, so many of my saved posts and websites involve them. One of my favourites is Flax and Twine, which is filled with predominantly textile based projects and inspiration.
Ann Wood is another amazing creative with plenty of resources on her website. I recently bought a pattern for a textile bird from her Etsy shop - it is a great pattern that is easy to follow if making little fabric birds is for you.
You can also find many posts of all sorts over on 91 Magazine's blog, from crafts and recipes to beautiful interiors and clever makers, it is definitely worth a read if you ask me.
If you are lucky enough to have access to pottery equipment, I love the sound of Kara Leigh Ford's pottery club. I would if I could...
A couple more - slightly random - things for you here...
I have been saving projects and ideas for years on Pinterest, you can find them mainly here. I love a bit of anything and everything, some are just images and some are tutorials. Maybe there is something to inspire you there too?
Admittedly you've probably seen them, but these videos on YouTube are always worth a watch for a 2 minute escape... The Marble Machine which is best on a big screen so you can read all the labels and 2Cellos do Thunderstruck. Utter nonsense, makes me chuckle every time.
My friend Catherine has written a post filled with ways we can help each other - it inspired me to get off my backside and actually put this list together. I've just received her most recent recipe email, mini Victoria sponge cakes, yes please. If I can just find a shop with some eggs in stock...
And finally, do you know Charlie? He writes a weekly newsletter about five good things. You can read one here. It is one of my favourite, positive weekly reads.
just for children
For those of us who find ourselves suddenly homeschool teachers (I am so far from qualified for this, quite happy to know I haven't got to include A level Chemistry in the mix!) here are just a couple of resources.
One of my favourite creatives Abigail Brown is producing free activity sheets on endangered animals to download. I am lucky enough to own one of her beautiful fabric birds - a gift years ago from my husband - which sits on my bookshelves. Anna is completely in love with all animals so this could be part of a lovely project to work on over the coming weeks.
If you haven't seen it yet, Joe Wicks will be sharing kids home workout sessions on his YouTube channel every morning. I plan to set Anna up with this to start each day, at her previous school they did Active8 each morning which she loved, we find it uses up that first thing in the morning energy and helps them to focus a little...
I found this article about helping our children cope without school by the BBC interesting (for the most part), you might too?
For now though I will be putting together a timetable for home learning, I think we are going to need some structure to the day.
I should add that nothing in this post is sponsored, there are no affiliate links. I simply wanted to share a little of what inspires me to craft and create - and that little bit of nonsense too.
Take care in these strange times and remember to look after yourselves too my friends x
As and when I find them...
Paper and Wood creative Zack McLaughlin has shared a pattern for his mini barn owl which is free to download and create. You can find it here. Zack is also sharing video tutorials for making this project, you can find them here.
Lovely free printable colouring in sheets by Kitty McCall here
Free knitting paterns on Purl Soho here
I came across the beautiful work of Nicki Franklin this week and wanted to share it with you too. Nicki creates (amongst other things) embroidery kits which you can find here and currently you will also find a free embroidery pattern on her blog here.
Beautiful patterns by Cakestand Quilts here - one to use all those fabric scraps perhaps, if your stash is a huge as mine...
science for kids
The Dad Lab, brilliant fun experiments for small people. Find them here.