Today’s guest post is from Christina Douglas of My Little Caravan. Christina has been a long time readers of the blog and I was lucky enough to meet her in person at the clothes swap I had last year (I actually ended up with a dress and skirt that was Christina’s!).
My Little Caravan is a beautifully renovated 1960’s caravan located in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne named Mabel. In Mabel Christina runs crafternoons and parties for kids and adults too. I loved the idea and so did my daughter who had her 11th birthday party there. I will write a bit more about that another time, but here are a couple of sneak peak photos:
I have 3 sons…currently ages 5, 9 and 12-and so there’s a lot of testosterone in our house! I’m often asked (as the owner of the craft business for children, My Little Caravan) if I’ve got any suggestions for not-too-messy crafts with boys. Here’s one that’s great for boys and girls of all ages.
Popular to experiment with in My Little Caravan, is washi tape. But just what is washi tape anyway…and why is everyone so in love with it? Well, be prepared, because your washi tape obsession is about to begin!
What is washi tape?
There have been many times in the caravan, that I’ve heard it called “wasabi” tape by mistake, and although washi tape does originate from Japan, it has nothing to do with the spicy condiment that you eat with your sushi! It means “Japanese paper tape”, and the best way to describe washi tape is that it feels and tears like masking tape- very, very pretty masking tape…but it’s made of paper. It comes in patterns and designs that will make you swoon, and varies in widths so you can use it in as many ways as your imagination can come up with.
Washi tape is typically made from natural fibres, such as bamboo, but most commonly from the bark of trees that are native to Japan- the mulberry, the mitsumata shrub or the gampi tree. Most washi tapes are strong, and functional as well as pretty, making them wonderful for practical as well as decorative use.
Where to buy is washi tape?
I need some now! Tell me where to get it! Well…the good news is- just about anywhere! Last year, after Christmas, I found rolls of it in places like Kmart and Big W for less than $1 for a pkt of 4 rolls! (Amongst the Santas and Christmas tree patterns- there were polka dots and stripes) You can get fancier and pick it up in homeware boutique stores (the most you’ll ever pay is still less than $5 a roll) and at around 5mts in length…that’s a whole lotta washi tape fun you can have for not very much of your hard earned. I’ve seen it at Officeworks, and Mozi as well of course as etsy stores. Even Costco has it (by the 30 roll of course) and they give you a fancy little holder to keep it all in.
What to do with washi tape?
OK, so now you’ve got your washi tape…what are you supposed to do with it? If you’re feeling “craft challenged” I’m sending you straight to Pinterest. (Do not pass go. Do not collect $200) and never look back. You’ll be busy for hours looking at all the projects people have used washi tape for.
But to get you started, here are some things I’ve done:
Recently, the youngest, cutest, man in my house was at a loose end and wanted to make something. So…we looked and we found: wooden pegs, a polkadot paper bowl, the Christmas washi tape rolls I’d bought last year (because 2 more great washi tape facts are that they don’t take up much space and don’t have an expiry date!) and a piece of ribbon. This is what he made- all…by…himself! (Ok- I tied the ribbon)
Then I needed to buy myself a new paper diary for my work in 2015. I really wanted a $79 gorgeous leather pale blue beauty from Kikki K, but couldn’t justify the price. So, I “recrafted” this ugliest-diary-in-the-world ($16 at Kmart) with a bit of washi tape magic…and (would you believe) a sweet little paper bag that came from the Cath Kidston store in London, with a gift I received from a friend. (I just KNEW that would come in handy one day!)
…and that I did it on a recent plane trip, because washi tape is also very light and portable! On the same plane trip, I also whipped out the washi tape and popped some on top of the otherwise black trolley bag to help with identification at the baggage carousel. (I know I know…I was channelling my inner “MacGyver” )
So I hope that’s inspired you to buy a few rolls for the kiddos…(and justified some for yourself!) It’s cheap, long lasting, can be time consuming (and not in a digital way… think school book cover decorating activitites) not messy, and beautiful to look at. And at the end of the day…YOU…made…it. There is something unfathomably satisfying about a creative accomplishment.
About My Little Caravan
About Christina: Midway through 2012, Christina saw an ad for a gorgeous vintage caravan- a perfect space for a craft room…one problem- it was in England, and she lived in Melbourne, Australia. It was only 2000 pounds and was completely decorated with a Cath Kidston touch! Even included a tin of biscuits with the sale! Sigh. So serious was she about the cuteness factor of this van that she looked into shipping it over. Another 3800 pounds. Bigger sigh. That’s when she showed her sister who instantly replied. “Oh you could SO do that yourself!” And so, began the search for “Mabel”…in Australia. Mabel is a 1960’s Viscount Ambassador. Are you wondering how Mabel got her name? It’s after Christina’s fondly remembered Nana, who was born in Liverpool.
Mabel is a compact vintage caravan at only 10ft long. She is complete with two single beds and a table that can set up in between, and a kitchenette with fridge. She is now “parked” in Christina’s backyard.
To support her washi tape obsession Christina opens up Mabel and invites children and teens to join her for “crafternoons” on Saturday afternoons. Mabel is open during the upcoming Summer school holidays if you’re planning a staycation and in need of activities to do with crafty ones. She can also run “Crafternoon Tea” parties for birthdays and other special events.
- Wednesday 14th 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
- Thursday 15th 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up) All Booked
- Friday 16th Squishy Class 11am-12pm
- Friday 16th Crafternoon 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
- Monday 19th 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
- Tuesday 20th 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
- Wednesday 21st 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
- Thursday 22nd 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
- Friday 23rd Squishy Class 11am-12pm
- Friday 23rd Crafternoon 2-3:30 (under 12 yrs) or 4-5:30 (12yrs & up)
Class availability was correct at the time of writing but they are booking out fast, so click here to make a booking before the spots are all snapped up.
Have you been crafting these school holidays?