I have been struggling to find any time to blog the last few weeks due to the development of the new community shop on the island. Now that it is up and running I can take a step back and catch up on the rest of my life. Life, for me, is all about balance. I served my time in a high pressured senior role in a university for over 10 years and when I walked away I vowed to establish a better balance in life and it has become my mantra.
I am the eternal butterfly as I move between different projects but it is important for to give the best that I can to everything I do so sometimes the balance is challenged for a while. That said I waved goodbye to the need to be in control of everything in my 20s when I realised it had become a problem so that makes maintaining a healthy balance of activities easier to achieve.
What you can absolutely rely on is that I always have something else brewing and my latest plan might be quite long term but it is no less exciting for it. I have been crafting forever and within that domain I have always upcycled as a way of making a positive contribution to the massive problem of waste in modern life. The creative challenge is something I relish almost daily. The new community shop on the island is also embracing a culture of upcycling and this is very rewarding for all of us involved in the project. Having spent a large part of the last few weeks working in the shop and communicating to islanders and visitors I am heartened by just how many people are getting behind the idea of upcycling or repurposing as a clear strategy to limit waste. That said, I am also aware that some people are only just encountering the concept. That was the seed of my new plan.
Scottish island mum will be, in time, taking her upcycled wares and sharing the concept with as many people that might be interested. The plan, although embryonic, is already leading to creative and exciting discussions as Pete and I flesh out just how this might be achieved. We have decided on a caravan that dates from the 1960s/70s as our vehicle of choice. The intention is to repurpose the wee caravan so that it might allow us to sleep in it while on the road but it might also double up as a wee travelling shop.
The travelling shop via the vintage caravan will begin touring Scotland in the first instance before venturing to other areas of the UK. This is not a new idea but it is about taking an old idea and changing it to fit modern living. In the awning of the caravan we want to run short workshops at the events we visit where people can ‘make a bag in an hour’ for example. It is my experience that many people would like to sew but they don’t always have the confidence to give it a try. When they see how simple projects can be achieved in a short amount of time I hope this will encourage them to do more. Of course all our materials will be from our upcycling criteria and there lies the second bit of the plan.
The same vintage caravan can be used to visit large car boot sales in search of items that we can upcycle. Our little caravan will return from trips full of items to work on through the quieter winter months ready for the next season of travelling. With three children living at home we know this to be a slightly more long term plan but we will need plenty of time to source the right caravan and do the necessary refurbishment. I have tinkered around the edges of upholstery for years so this will be my chance to learn new skills relevant to this task.
Let us be clear this is not a big commercial enterprise. It is a project that Pete and I feel is right for us as part of sharing our passion for upcycling. In my experience it is so important not to preach. Our message will be gently shared at some well chosen events and we hope to learn as much from our visitors as they will from us. I am hoping to persuade Pete to champion some of his skills working with wooden pallets. Pete and Max share a fascination for woodwork and are getting quite skilled at creating something very useful out of waste wood that would otherwise be burnt. I feel a wee range of bird houses and feeders coming on… don’t let on to Pete though!
You might just laugh at me when I tell you that some 1970s Tupperware came into the shop the other day and I bought it immediately. This little range of Tupperware goods is the start of my vintage and retro remake……we just have to find the right caravan now. So all the profits from my wares that are selling so well in the community shop will be set aside for Project Caravan. The summer markets start soon as well and then there are all the individual summer events on the island before the very busy Christmas schedule. So we have plenty of opportunities on the island to sell and now we have a plan of where that money may take us. Once on the road if the profits allow for the trip and cover the expenses at home we shall be delighted.
Of course, I will update you all as often as I can and ultimately a new page will appear on the site but that is for the future. Meantime you might want to check out my Pinterest Board to get a better idea of where this idea is heading.
Signing off as one excited Scottish island mum.
Speak soon. xx