I am giddy with excitement at the prospect of introducing the first of two new contributors to our team this month, please welcome our new Things to Make and Do Editor – Catherine de Lange! I will let Cat introduce herself,  her story is more full of whimsy and fun than I could ever muster up in one introduction. Over to you Cat…

Cat Intro

Cat

Hello everyone! I am so excited to be joining the team here at The Beat That My Heart Skipped and to begin sharing my craft ideas with you all! Here is my story…

My wonderful grandma was a beautician in her heyday. When she retired, and decided to try her hand at a new hobby – painting – she made the unusual decision to use all her left over makeup to paint with!

Since then, she’s carried on painting and moved on to acrylics when the war paint ran out, but her creativity was a real inspiration for me when I was growing up; and also showed me that it’s worth just getting experimental, regardless of fancy equipment or worrying too much about the results. [Oh, and in case you were wondering, she’s now 91 but still paints and makes all her own birthday cards - I only hope I’m as creative as her at that age.]

Being experimental is one of the things I love most about crafts; not quite knowing how it’ll turn out means it’s so much more exciting when the finished product is a success. Of course, there are the times when it doesn’t work, but even then I’ll find I’ve learned something – even if it’s how not to do it in the future.

At school I got practical with art, and became really keen on pottery and carpentry. I was the only girl in the woodwork class, but it didn’t put me off [actually it might even have been an extra reason to keep it up!]. My pride and joy was this box, but I never would have guessed I’d still be keeping my letters in it so many years later…

Cat Intro

Later on, at university, I used to run arts and crafts classes for three little girls on a Saturday afternoon, which so much fun. And they certainly came up with the kookiest of ideas!

We did a lot of paper crafts, which I still enjoy now. Recently I’ve been decorating old boxes with traditional paper I brought in Japan.

Cat Intro

Actually, travel has been a good source of inspiration for all things arty, and I’ve been fortunate enough to move around a fair bit when I was working making props for science television programmes for kids.That took me to Japan twice, Korea and Brazil [my favourite country so far].

Making things for television must be the truest test of DIY skills, because it isn’t good enough for it to look nice when handled with care – the props need to survive countless rehearsals and children playing with them, often live on TV, which can be nerve-wracking!

The weirdest prop I ever made was a contraption to blow up a pig stomach, but most of the time they usually involved supersizing things for the set – enormous cakes [see first image!] and giant chess boards, for example.

Cat Intro

Nowadays I really enjoy working on projects for my flat, which so far has meant a lot of painting, wallpapering [I especially love the Linda barker designed silver and green paper from Graham and Brown I put up in my bedroom] and sourcing old furniture to transform.

At the moment I’m working on a decoupage project with these lovely bird illustrations, which I found recently in a newspaper supplement. The plan is decorate a picture frame, although – in true DIY spirit – I’m still trying to figure out quite how I’m going to make that happen…

Cat Intro

In the meantime though, with Valentines Day on the horizon, my first post couldn’t be anything but romance related! Next up is a sweet and simple DIY to make with paper that is bound to put your nearest and dearest in a good mood for a nice lazy Sunday Valentine…

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