Friday, 22 March 2019

Something out of Nothing

There has been a bit of a mission here lately to use up some of our unwanted stuff. There is a new Guide badge book out and my Big girl and I had mixed feelings about it. It is supposed to reflect the modern girl but we were left a bit wanting on the creative side of things.

Rightly, gone are the days where girls are only expected to cook, sew, hostess, flower arrange etc. I was quite a tom boy as a teenager and the guide leader had to specially order the farming and woodwork badges that I achieved in the 1980's. Now badges include: vlogging, your personal brand, campaigning, mixology for non-alcoholic cocktails! To name a few. We were not sure what to think about them. 

We agreed that girls shouldn't think that their role is solely to be a housewife but in our house of creative makers we all like to be engineers, problem solvers and skill builders.

After much discussion about feminism, Big Sis chose the upcycling badge in order to shoe horn in her own interests. She is a keen recycler with green credentials. She decided to turn a shirt into a summer skirt. She had watched the Sewing Bee episode 5 where reusing fabrics was the key theme. 

This was her inspiration as well as a shirt skirt that was now too small, see the tutorial link on the left hand side. This shirt was a wonderfully soft Boden linen mens shirt but it had a tear hole in a prominent place on the sleeve. 

She removed the pocket, and cut it just under the sleeves. She made her own elastic casing and decided to keep the shirt hem shape. 

To add to it she spotted a piece of cotton lace to trim the edge. She reattached the pocket. The look on her face when she thought this was a completely original idea was priceless.

Next she went through her clothes looking for things that she could change. She found a chewing gum coloured t-shirt and remembered she had been given a tie dye kit at Christmas. She dyed the top with her dad and was really pleased with the results.

We love having these skills in our family, it makes us who we are. She is hoping to get her upcycling badge next week and has started on an art apron next. Whittling was a close second so she might start that badge in the summer.

Any thoughts on the new Guide badges? Do you remember one you worked particularly hard on?

Jo xxx


  1. I am stunned by those badges and bowled over by Big Sis' creativity and skill - well done to her! I left the Girl Guides 40 years ago but still have my uniform because I worked bloomin' hard for my armful of badges. I enjoyed all of them - backwoodsman, camper, writer, local history..and all the badges in the Little House emblem. Sigh. x

  2. It doesn't matter who has these 'old' skills, but someone should have them for sure; as being very useful and relevant to the human species. I try not to buy in or out of arguments that crafts are either feminism or oppression, just that they make me an all round capable person because I have useful skills. Such stuff needs no defence.

    I knew a couple of hard-working women in their eighties whose idea of eating well was opening a tin of spaghetti. Totally respectful of all they achieved in their lives (a lot), but they could have learnt to cook too without being debased as women. Someone has to do it don't they, and as an independent women, I like that person to be me. Being a feminist doesn't mean we can't have useful skills. Why denigrate them and find them demeaning for yourself to do, and then work to pay someone else a pittance to do them for you (often other women). Hardly empowering for anyone. Just teach men, women and children how to sew on buttons and make a stew.

    I was a brownie and guide and remember toy-makers badge and cooks badge. Both challenging and fun. What a shame creativity along with utility is not to be rewarded any more. Some of the replacements seem to be absurd and certainly show no progression for the female of the species (or anyone). I cringed at reading mixology and personal branding!

    Well done to your daughter for shoehorning all those skills in. She has done so well and everything looks really good.She will be so pleased to have these skills with her throughout life.

    For my cooks badge, I couldn't read the weights on the old fashioned scales as they had rubbed off. I had to completely guess the measures to make my fairy cakes which turned out beautifully. I also remember being asked about the order of washing up dishes, something no one had taught me so I had to wing it and guess. Again all went well. I was a very timid child and I dare say such encounters did me good.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I really enjoyed reading it. I love being able to look after myself too with all of my skills that I have learnt since being a girl. Lots of people often compliment me about them and say they wished they had them too.

  3. I as a Brownie and then a Guide and as my own three girls became of an age to join I became a leader for both Rainbows and Brownies. My two Grandaughters have recently joined the Rainbows and Brownies so it seems to be a family tradition. My daughter and I recently had a conversation on the new direction of the badges, she is going to bring the badge book with her when she visits so that I can take a look. Your daughter has done an amazing job on the shirt skirt and the tie-dying, well done her. It has taken me an age to get started on a sewing project.

  4. Brownie badges for the modern young girl eh? The boys scouts badges seem to be unchanged as far as I can tell (mine are not keen badge collectors). I am impressed with Big Sis upcycling skills, what a fab skirt she made. x

  5. Personal brand and vlogging! What on earth! To me that's not what the Brownies and Guides are supposed to be about. Things like sewing are so important - even if it is just to sew a button onto something. I can't actually remember where I learnt to do that - it could have been Brownies, my Mum, Home Technology at school - but I'm always amazed when someone says they can't sew a button on! The world's gone mad. Although, I am thankful that there are shows like the Sewing Bee to get people inspired!

  6. Well those badges need another update I think. I like the upcycling one, but vlogging? I wish we were less narcissistic and more helping the earth, people and animals. I think her skirt was a fabulous idea and of course the tye dye was a great idea too. I am all for creating, as you very well know. Just think of what it teaches her, creativity, sewing, making something new from something old, design, and so much more. Well done Big Girl!

  7. I think her choice was very fitting for her and a great project too. I am also not sure what to make of those badges and while there are valuable skills there I don't think creativity should be pushed aside. I'm sure she'll do well with you to guide her, ha! that wasn't intentional ;) x