Sunday, 9 February 2014

Black Beauty

Where to get a beautiful black doll? That was the question this Christmas.

Necessity being the Mother of Invention I decided to make one for my friends daughter.

I had to overcome an unnatural aversion to teabags, as I had to dye flesh colour fabric, which involves a great many teabags.

I couldn't be happier that I did though, not least because a recent University of Cape Town  survey has found that one in three black women bleach their skin. Get them happy in their skin early on is what I say.

Well once I got started I couldn't stop!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Trick or Treat?

With the exception of the 4th July there could be nothing quite so American as Halloween. My mother was brought up during the 2nd World War, she remembers rationing and being sent to the country for safety. For many British people of her generation America's late entry into the war was what my other half would describe as, goal hanging.

For anyone unfamiliar with the phrase, it refers to participants in a game who don't really contribute until the last, glory, galvanizing moment. Given this perception of Americans and the fact, often repeated in my home, that they (glory hunting Americans) are stealing our language, there was little time for Americans and their culture in my upbringing. So how is it I have taken this celebration of theirs so to heart?

You don't know the new people on your street, what better way to introduce you and yours than dressed as the undead ? No really, in my case at least ,this will prepare them for the vision of loveliness that is me putting the bins out first thing in the morning. Bah humbug to those who describe Trick or Treat as legitimised begging and a big thanks to our American cousins for giving us an excuse to knock on our neighbours.

Community meets confectionery what could be better!?!

Things you'll need for a Frankenstein face

Cameleon - Lime green
Funky Fox - Bright Green
Diamond FX - Black / White
Snazeroo Classic Colours - Bright Red
Loew-Cornell - No.3 round brush
Make up sponge

Available at Face Paints Direct

House Work Do I Have To?

Looking forward to Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners tonight on Channel 4. It might just give me the push I need to attack the housework. If nothing else, I will be left with a satisfying sense of superiority, once Channel 4 has shared the shocking state of disorder in someone else's home. Equally I will be reassured that my lack of any compulsion to clean is clearly healthy, win, win. Now where was I?  Ah yes...

Ground Hog Day!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Check My Draws

Derelict! Imagine a drunk, imagine a building in disrepair and then imagine my sons chest of draws. For the longest time his bedroom has looked like some kind of squat and key to this, apart from his ever expanding collection of limbless super heroes and rarely made bed, were his draws.

Anyone who has ever had to decorate on a budget may too have been tempted by a set of cheap pine draws, ( with metal runners, the devils work) only to have realised the old adage, buy cheap buy twice.

Having dispatched two such sets of draws to the furniture graveyard necessity informed this creation .

All that was needed was a truly undesirable set of draws, at a knock down price, £20 with delivery in this case. Some snazy wrapping paper from Waterstones, ( I have since sourced matching fabric ) some sandpaper, elbow grease and PVA glue. Decoupage and voila!

To decoupage you must create a clean surface to which your paper will adhere. So sand with medium grade sandpaper and wipe down. Allow time for it to dry, apply the glue to the surface of the object being decoupaged, then the paper and over it and apply another layer of glue. For a durable finish add a clear varnish once dry.

Note that the draws do not sit on one another. That kind of arrangement, when over stuffed with kiddie things and regularly left hanging, or slammed closed, falls in on itself like a stack of cards and we're back to squatsville storage

Separated At Birth

Imagine the scenario, a posh white woman, of around forty, a goofy version of Liz Taylor, introduces a mixed race child as her daughter. Is she hers might be a reasonable response in 1970s Britain, but in 2013? Well after all the kiddie trafficking stories in the news recently I was reminded of the way people used to respond to me and my mother when she introduced me as her daughter.

We lived in what was then a small, mainly white and very conservative town and the response was always the same; jaws dropped and a look of confusion was quickly replaced with a look of disapproval. Everyone involved shifted about uncomfortably. My mum would insist that I was indeed her child, but as the flush of quiet rage left her cheeks all that remained was a sadness.

I wonder how important looking like each other is? I was told when pregnant with my first child that mother nature makes sure your first born looks like it's father to make sure they stick around. I'm sure there's many a single mum who can testify to that being a crock. That said I suppose if you asked the parents of the child removed from them for having the wrong coloured eyes, it's very important.

      Praise be a mini me!?!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

My First Princess Cake

For the cake

20cm diameter cake tin and pyrex bowl
grease proof paper

20ml (4 teaspoons) oil
240g (8.46 ounces) margarine or butter
3 cups or 660g (23.28 ounces) sugar
4  1/2 cups or 740g (26.10 ounces) plain flour
7 teaspoons baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups or 624ml milk
2 tablespoon vanilla essence
6 large eggs (59g (2.08 ounces) each)
For the butter creamand decoration
1/2 cup or 120g (4.23 ounces) butter 
2  1/2 cups or 330g (11.64 ounces) icing sugar
1-4 tablespoons of milk or cream
White / Pink ready to roll icing ( Sainsbury's ) 
Go to this You Tube link to find out how to construct