If you're reading a blog entitled 'Craft and Thrift', then chances are I don't need to tell you about this marvelous new TV show from Channel 4. Kirstie Allsopp's Home Style is a new series from Kirstie (who I have loved since her Location, Location, Location days, we'd be besties in the real world I reckon), where she implores the viewer to recycle, upcycle and craft your way to the perfect home.
In this first of a four-parter, she shows us how to make a simple set of coasters from tiles & paper napkins (plus PVA glue - love it! So Blue Peter), how to paint, distress & reupholster a chair, how to gild a thrifted photo frame and create a personalised doormat (hello, housewarming present). These projects are simple, thrifty and accessible to most normal folk, encouraging and inspiring the regular, non-crafty person to take up a paintbrush and create a lovely, homely nest for you and yours. I love that a lot of the projects can be done with very minimal financial outlay and possibly with objects already in your home, gathering dust in a garage or "under the stairs". Who doesn't have a half-used box of white tiles sitting on a shelf, somewhere in their abode? I personally have half a dozen boxes of gold leaf, mouldering away between my caviar and my quails eggs.
I jest Kirstie, I jest. Please don't come after me with your lacrosse stick...
Unfortunately, the practical, attainable crafts are interspersed with segments where Kirstie takes regular folks (i.e. white, middle class Guardian readers in their 30s/40s) and forces them out of their comfort zone by teaching them New Skillz. One couple spend a pleasant afternoon in a pottery class (a clip from a previous series, please note. I'm watching you Allsopp), making very pretty plates. Another couple try their hands at screenprinting onto a sideboard. I like it, encouraging people to try new things, great, 10 out of 10. However, the next couple, somewhat bizarrely, are forced into a cement-sculpting-light-fitting class. This ain't your gramma's version of craft. I love the pushing-the-boundaries aspect of the concrete class, I don't like how bloody random it is. The dude teaching the class is called Junior and has a dreadlock beard that is so long, I'm surprised he doesn't get it stuck in the cement. Tie back yo'hair Junior! I don't approve of your lax attitude to health and safety. It's a cool idea in theory, but really, how many of us are now lining up at our nearest art school, clamouring for lessons on concrete sculpting? Neither practical, nor attainable. For shame Kirstie, for shame.
Overall though, I love this show. Anything on TV that encourages craft, thrift, recycling, sustainability & liberates the regular person from their Ikea and Primark prison gets two thumbs up from me. Keep 'em coming love. Ooh, and I spy Phil in the teaser for the coming episodes...!