Friday, 30 September 2011

Here's One I Made Earlier...

With the shocking news that there will be no Blue Peter Annual this year (see the story here) and the iconic children's TV programme having begun broadcasting from its new home in Salford this week (here), I got thinking about the programme and its part in my life.  

The presenters of my childhood

And I came to a realisation that the programme, watched twice weekly throughout my childhood, probably had a big impact on the way I turned out!

How else can I explain the fact that I have a large collection of bottletops, cocoa tins and sturdy boxes, awaiting transformation in to something pretty and useful,  and that when shopping, I am always on the look-out for the packaging that has recycling possibilities?  

Or that I mourn the fact that my Fairy Liquid (Oops! Mustn't mention brand names!) no longer comes in good old-fashioned straight-up-and-down bottles, so useful for turning into all kinds of gifts for Mother's Day, Father's Day and the like?  

And the fact that I have to force myself to put the loo roll tube in the bin instead of keeping it to make some miniature Rapunzel Tower, or a useful desk organiser?

Or that I cannot see a plain wire coat hanger without thinking 'I must get me some tinsel and baubles, for those are destined to be an Advent Crown'?

Blue Peter 'makes' were always the highlight of the programme for me (though the historical stories with the fabulous illustrations - Marie-Antoinette being especially memorable - are right up there too).  But the problem was, you never had the required items hanging around the house, ready for you to begin creating whilst the method was still fresh in your mind.  

For years, I hankered after a 'Jif' lemon... transform into a witch puppet.  If I'd ever got round to it, it would surely have resembled a witch with a very bad case of jaundice!

But the one thing I do remember deciding to make was the 'Four Poster Bed' for Sindy.  (Actually it was probably for my more favoured  Mary Quant 'Daisy' doll...

It must have been the end of the summer holidays, because both my sister and I were going to make one.  The key items were a shoebox (Bingo! New school shoes) and a length of dowel.  Well, we didn't have that handy, but we pooled together our pocket money and headed into the village to buy a length from the ironmongers (for such shops existed in my village when I was a child).

Dowel came in 6ft lengths.  We couldn't afford two, so bought one and headed home to divvy it up and put the junior hacksaw into action.  

But in those days, good though we may have been at computational maths, we had not really been taught to use our divisional skills in practical situations.  And as 6ft into 8 didn't go (without a remainder), so it was that my sister and I ended up with the world's first 3 poster beds!


  1. It was definitely those amazing 'room sets' that did it for me. I'd often covet them in the shops and then make the Blue Peter version at home and where would we be without 'sticky backed plastic'!

  2. Your post made me smile. I loved Blue Peter as a child.

  3. I feel that I grew up with Blue Peter too. I made a " Dougal " ( Magic roundabout dog ) from a Fairy washing up bottle ! Also a sewing kit in an egg box for my Godmother. She used it for years & I wish I'd been given it back when she died.

    When we lived in Mallorca, we were at a Car Boot Sale & I was looking at a heavy frying pan. I then heard a voice from my childhood & got goosebumps... John Noakes !!! I was too Gobsmacked to say anything ! ( but I bought the frying pan )

    I was always useless at making pancakes, so one Shrove Tuesday sat with my children watching Blue Peter & watched the newest presenter make Pancakes ( It was a rite of passage to make them ) and now my pancakes are perfect I'm told ... good old Blue Peter !!!

  4. I loved the advent calendar when I was little. And my dad spent one year making the cone shaped Father Christmas with the ping pong ball for a nose. I loved it so much! Em x

  5. My budget could never run to all that sticky backed plastic so I had to make do with leftover wallpaper!

  6. I loved Blue Peter as a child but rarely made anything cos I never had the required items in the house either! I would have loved to see your 3 poster beds!!

  7. I saw some Blue Peter Annuals at one of my oppies recently Never heard of this show so left them Do you want them if still there?Not sure if they are tho.

  8. My husband cuts Valerie Singletons hair!! but obviously I am sworn to secrecy. Nothing I made ever looked anything like what they had made, but I did love blue peter, it has gone all cool and trendy now and they all call each other pet hate :-) xx

  9. Ah end of an era!
    I made the advent tinsel thingy and also some furniture out of matchboxes for my action girl.
    I could only dream of sticky back plastic!!!!
    Have a fab weekend