Craft Kit Challenge – Part One

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Craft Kit From Guidecentral –

 Learn Something New!

craft kit
So excited to get my Guidecentral Parcel!

Craft kit chaos hit my house this month when I received my much-anticipated kit from Guidecentral. When I say chaos, I don’t mean the general kind I find myself in when I am in the middle of a project. No, this chaos was confined to my brain when I opened the Guidecentral craft kit box and realized I needed some very basic math skills to get going with it.

Give me words to deal with every day of the week and I am in heaven. Give me numbers and I can feel the flames licking at my toes as I descend to that other place. When Catherine at Guidecentral asked me if I would review a craft kit, I had the whole gorgeous range to choose from. So naturally, I chose the multi-faceted cardboard lamp because it was going to be the most challenging. That’s me all over.

craft kit
Pic Courtesy of Maker Linda Rose and Guidecentral

Do not misunderstand me here – this craft kit is not difficult to make – if you can do simple division without crying. Unfortunately, math is a form of torture for me. It makes me frown, swear and cry as my smallish brain begs me to break out the glitter and make something frivolous.

More Than Just a Craft Kit To Me!

When the craft kit arrived, it was all done up in brown paper and it felt exciting.  I was very tempted to rip the paper off, like a child on Christmas morning, to get at my lovely new kit. However, I realized the packaging of this kit presented me with some wonderful resources to use for other crafts. So I was very careful. I treated all the packaging with as much care as the actual craft kit. You will probably only understand this if you are a frugal Maker/Crafter but I was thrilled to have a load more ‘stuff’ to add to my resource box. I am already dreaming about what I will make with it all. And it comes free with the kit!

craft kit
Added bonus – lovely craft resources!

So, there I was with it all out of the box and buzzing with crafty energy. I spent a few minutes just feeling the cardboard and being really impressed with the quality of it. Again, you’d probably only understand that if you are a Maker/Crafter. Everything in the box is really good quality down to the pencil they give you to make your lines.

Superb Kit parts from Guidecentral
Superb Kit parts from Guidecentral

And that was where the craft kit began to defeat me. Ah yes, the lines. Such a simple little task really. Divide the 19cm square cardboard pieces into eight frames and one tiny square and cut them out. I cried quite early on in the process. I also took some paracetamol for the headache I developed when banging my head against the craft room table. My reasoning was, that if you needed to divide the squares into nine other squares to give you frames of equal thickness but diminishing size, then you needed to divide 19cm by nine. That was 2.1cm (remainder 0.1 of course, but no-one is that pernickety surely).

Anyway, I measured it all out very carefully. I marked out 2.1 cm sections along all the edges of a piece of paper 19cm square. I didn’t dare work on the precious cardboard until I had it all worked out perfectly.

This is what I got. Sloped lines. Yes I know. Sad isn’t it.

This is why my geometry teacher ran away to sea.
This is why my geometry teacher ran away to sea.

This Craft Kit Will Not Defeat Me!

All my old maths demons from school came back to laugh at me as I surveyed the lines all sloping off to the left. I remembered poor Mr. Prosser having to go off and have a lie down after trying to teach me how to mark off points and join them up. I have now concluded that I am very special because no one else I know has this kind of talent for screwing up simple measurements. And yet I can do it without even trying.

Having committed myself to writing a review for this craft kit. I dried my eyes, blew my nose and tried again. I dug out my geometry set, bought recently in Poundland, and used the pointy divider things to take more accurate measurements off the ruler. However, being the quality you would expect from a 15 piece set costing £1, the dividers kept moving. This is what I got. As my dad later pointed out – “Your markings are not equal!!!!!’ Er, yeah – I know.

craft kit

As I sat rocking backwards and forwards waiting for the men in white coats to come and get me, I wondered how I had got through life unable to do something as simple as divide a square into eight frames. After managing to mark off my nine sections reasonably equally (don’t look too closely!) and join them up with straight(ish) lines, I was confounded to find it only gave me four frames and one small square. I screamed so loudly my neighbour called the police.

They couldn’t help and advised me to try Facebook. So I put out an emergency plea for help and to my delight, I had three responses from intelligent people who obviously did not bunk off school to play pinball in the local cafe like I did. Sadly, they may as well have been speaking Martian because I still didn’t understand enough to do what they said. They all said something different and an argument was brewing on my timeline. So that was cool.

I then turned to my 89 year old dad who has a proper technical drawing geometry set that I probably should have learned how to use 48 years ago when he first offered. Telling him to shove it, as a moody teenager, has finally come back to haunt me. This craft kit would have been much easier to make if I had bothered to learn basic math while at school. But my pinball skills are rather awesome and you can’t have everything. Looking back at my school reports from the 60s and 70s, I can see it’s never been any different.

This extract below from one of my junior school reports describes me as ‘careless’, ‘slapdash’ and ‘finds it difficult’ (for arithmetic as it was called back then) – well guess what – nothing has changed!

craft kit
Gimme the dunce’s cap!

Looking at my second disastrous template, it was obvious to me that I needed to draw more lines to get my eight frames and one small square but I couldn’t figure out why dividing by nine wasn’t working.

craft kit
Not Enough Frames

Then my husband, who I had thought had fallen asleep, suddenly piped up and explained to me why dividing 19 cm by nine won’t work. It is, he said very casually, because the frames are 2.1 cm wide on all sides which means you need to divide 19 by 18 which is 1.055555556. Great. My dad sat there frowning and started talking about Vernier scales and slide rules. At that point I stood up and said “for goodness sake, it’s only a bleeping cardboard lamp!!!!” My mother winced at such language and asked whether I might consider going home to sleep on it.

So that is what I did. And guess what? I woke up the next morning with the answer. The computer! Of course, this was a very simple job to do in  design software using the grid tool.

I leapt out of bed and went into the office. Within 30 minutes it was all done and my template was printed off with perfect measurements and lines. It was a challenge for me to work out how to set it all up but I did it. As the template came off the printer, I felt like I had climbed a mountain.

craft kit
Never give up!

When choosing the craft kit to review, I am so glad I decided on the multifaceted cardboard lamp. I have learned a lot already and I am only at Step 1. That’s what Making and Crafting is all about, challenging yourself and learning new things. I will post here again in a few days with news of how the next stage goes. I have worked out how I can use my lovely template on the cardboard to make accurate cuts. Will it work? We’ll see. I cannot wait until my beautiful lamp is finished.

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