A “home economics” website which started life as a part-time blog has become a worldwide homemade hub, attracting roughly a million visitors a month.
Cut Out + Keep, which offers tutorials on everything from household wares to cookery, clothing and toy-making, is the brainchild of Kirstie Allsopp-wannabe and Morningside resident Cat Morley, 27, who first began to upload step-by-step guides on how to put together her own handicraft designs while studying at Dundee University in 2003.
The 27-year-old, who runs the website along with childhood sweetheart and fiancé Tom Waddington, said: “Tom and I had moved in together and in my spare time I was decorating our house and teaching myself how to cook. I started to post blogs about it and the readership just seemed to keep growing. People from all over the world were sharing and commenting on my designs, I was quite taken aback.”
As the number of guides uploaded by Cat began to inch over the 200 mark, Tom, who was studying computer science and already had a background in designing websites, decided to make the process of keeping the site up to date a little easier.
Tom, 26, said: “We were still just looking at this as a side-project, and I thought coming up with coding that would make uploading to the site quicker would help me get more experience while giving Cat a little more free time.”
However, after realising the new code could also be used to allow others to contribute to the site, Cut Out + Keep – now with 150,000 users around the world – has become Cat and Tom’s full-time job.
Cat said: “There wasn’t anything else like it on the internet so we suspected it would be popular but we’ve been blown away by the response. The growing interest in homemade handicrafts, coupled with the growth in social media has made a huge impact.”
And it seems the sky is the limit for the pair, with a brand new website and a book deal in the offing.
Cat said: “We went on a six-month tour of the US, visiting every state and many of the site’s contributors along the way.
“We heard so many amazing local tales and got loads of fantastic themed craft ideas so we’re putting them all together in a book, with one chapter for each state, which will be out at the end of next year.”
And their next online venture could see them gaining fans from outside the handicraft world.
Cat explained: “The new site, which is still being developed, is called Look At My Room. Basically we’ll be asking people to post pictures of their homes to inspire others. I have to admit, I love having a nosey at other people’s houses, so I’m sure we’ll have lots of people logging on for that reason too!”
Top five projects
1. T-Shirt Shrug: Inspired by an ICON exhibition in Rotterdam, this garment was created as an inspiring throwback to period fashions.
2. Burlesque Bustle Skirt: This was posted by a dressmaker whose friend had started burlesque lessons, which led them to create their own fashions.
3. Fish to Sushi Plushie: An innovative transforming plush toy that turns from a fish into sushi.
4. Plastic Spoon Rose Pendant: These pendants are made entirely from melted plastic spoons.
5. Jumper Skirt out of a T-shirt: A simple way to transform baggy T-shirts into jumper-skirts (main picture).