Monday, 26 December 2011

Gingerbread from Hell

Looking for presents that will fit into Santa's Christmas stocking, for Christmas Eve, can sometimes be a trial. They must be not only be inexpensive, but of course the aim is to fill up as much space as possible in the stocking, thereby reducing the remaining xmas shopping trips necessary. The other ulterior motive here is that originality of ideas aren't too taxing for the brain, as that stress level has already been achieved, by the all important main present, waiting beautifully wrapped under the Christmas tree. 

Although my son is actually no longer a 'believer' in Santa, he is still young enough, where, if he pulls the baby-eyed 'pleazzzz, can I have a stocking?' I will still oblige (In a couple more years, I'll be able to extricate myself from that obligation totally).

With this in mind, I was delighted by one stocking present I came across, which happened to be a DIY Gingerbread House Kit, complete with, yes you guessed it, gingerbread, icing and little kitsch and brightly-coloured icing-sugar decorations, in the forms of a gingerbread man, a gift, a Christmas tree, a festive wreath and coloured dots. Assembly seemed fairly straight forward, 'Fun to Make' was emblazoned on the front, and the end result looked picturesque.

Christmas morning duly arrived as is its wont, and the stocking was enthusiastically unpacked, wrapping paper tossed aside on the floor, treasures revealed. Of course once opened the DIY gingerbread house was top of the agenda, and, had to be made. What could I say...'sure, go for it, don't expect me to join in, and let me finish my tea in peace, please... ' 

In the first instance everything went fine, the pieces of gingerbread and coloured sugar icing deco's were taken out of their packaging and laid out carefully, in anticipation. The minuscule text of the instructions on the back of the box was read, and the images viewed, whilst the packet of icing (for the glue and snow decor) was softened in a bowl of hot water.

Simple procedure - no chance - the aforementioned icing softened but instantly solidified again before ever reaching the gingerbread pieces! This meant my tea and I parted company, as I was roped into holding various walls and roof bits, whilst the sugary 'glue' supposedly set. No joy. So, we decided to make our own (from icing sugar and water, what else?). This was certainly a more appetizing mixture to look at, but would it stick... Hell No! Was I covered in icing by the end? Yup. 

As if the above trials and tribulations weren't enough, downside no. 2 was taste. If asked to rate this culinary ruin as to its edibility, I can say without a doubt that is the  most disgusting 'gingerbread' I have ever tasted! Not only was it rock hard but scented with what can only be described as lavender toilet freshener. The icing sugar deco's were the same too, equally inedible and tooth-breakers.

As a result, the demolition team was called for, and, amid peals of laughter, the walls were well and truly brought down, and the ruins relegated to the bin!

So, be warned, not every gingerbread house is going to end up looking like the picture on the box it came in, and, as for tasty, unless, you are a witch, or named Hansel or Gretel, there's no guarantee there either!

Bombs Away!

The cosy version of graffiti, and sometimes referred to as 'Grandma Graffiti,' Yarn Bombing/Guerilla Crochet originated in 2005, in the USA and is said to have been the brain-child of Magda Sayeg, from Houston. Since then it has become a worldwide indie-art happening.

With a  similar philosophy to graffiti, this art form includes the decoration of urban spaces, buildings and found objects, with a view to  enhancing their cold, sterile and mundane appearance, but without the socio-political commentary. 

Decoration is by using leftovers from previous knitting/crochet projects, or specially created pieces . The difference is that this artwork is not permanent, but for some reason is still classed, although often isn't prosecuted, under the same 'graffiti' law  as a offence!

Fun  Fact: Since June 2011, the first international Yarn Bombing Day, has been observed.

For more examples of Yarn Bombing/Guerrilla Crochet take a look: here.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Almost Alice

'I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, Sir, because I'm not myself you see.'
- Lewis Carroll

A few examples from the Almost Alice collection by digital artist,
Maggie Taylor. For the rest of the series look here 

More about the artist, take a look at her fabulous website, here.

Strawberry Snowballs

For a seasonal looking snack, dip strawberries in yoghurt and freeze
- et voila! 
A simple but yummy snack. 
From Cool Hunter

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Little Mix

Girl band: Little Mix, for a who's who retrospective article, on the contestants from the ever popular British show, the X-Factor

First published December 2011 in Amelia's Magazine.

© Alison Day Designs

The Futures Interview

Alison Day. Photo by Carol Govaert

Alison Day Designs is a multi-faceted company. Alison is a graphic designer and creative artist, as well as editor of an expatriate magazine, ‘Connections,’ in The Northern Netherlands.
Her art is her passion, but she also writes articles of interest, illustrate, translate (Dutch – English) and, as a voice actress, her voice can be heard in many a museum, schools language courses and the odd advert.  
She has created an illustration for the ?!X Futures Project, bringing to life David Hawksworth’s Future, one that is “creative, connected, cultured, with less consumption and waste” 

?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?

AD: The future I would choose and the world in which I would like to live, involves the use of the world’s remaining resources in a more thoughtful and ecologically sound manner. One where a life philosophy of “re-cycle, re-use, re-invent” becomes an active voice as opposed to a passive motto. All too often, we take for granted and under estimate the fragility of life on our planet; animal, vegetable or mineral, all is slowly being eroded away towards an inevitable extinction, and we are following hot on their heels. It’s time to look up from our automated worlds, open eyes and hearts, appreciate what is around and make the necessary changes before it is too late.

?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create this future?
The existence of rubbish dumps and polluting land fills, stress the importance of the need to minimize our production of waste. It doesn’t make sense to continually produce packaging/containers etc that ultimately become obsolete after only one use; if you do use it why not recycle it and re-use it in another form?

?!X: What’s an ‘act’ to create the future you choose
AD: People should be encouraged to only purchase products with biodegradable wrapping, or none at all; remove the demand to stop the supply. Instead of plastic, why not treat yourself an original and long lasting shopping bag in cotton with a fun design: Society6
?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?
By donating what you no longer need to the Red Cross (or any other charitable organization), you also help this humanitarian organization in aiding people in distress worldwide.

?!X: Future Soundtrack – What song would you take with you into the future? 
AD: Fitz and The Tantrums – ‘Money Grabber’:

?!X: Can you share with us up to 5 weblinks that you find interesting and inspiring?
Follow Alison on Twitter @AlisonDayDesigns
How can we Create the Future you Choose? Take part here.
Love the Futures Interviews? Help Create Our Collaborative Book - The Futures Project (donate or get involved!) 

Other Links:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Funky Chunky but Blue

...Mosaic Blue Bracelet; an original Alison Day Designs.
Centre stage, my eco buzz-word ethics have been used in the
making of this accessory : 'Re-cycle, Re-use, Re-invent'

Want to know more, see more, own one? ...

Well follow the cyber trail along this route ...
& find out more: here
All Designs:  © Alison Day Designs

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Brazillian Bombshell

From the outside, the delights of the interior of this house
not immediately apparent...

A really stylish place, to call home which, is in an
neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

I particularly like the open plan, where inside flows over into 
outside, whilst the interior decoration is left minimalist; 
a blank canvas for the owner to add their personal style.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bow Berlin

Love this! - Funky jewellery and leather fashion boutique.
Here re-cycled car tyres are used for interior dressing and display.

For the whole article from The Cool Hunter: Bow Berlin

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Breaking with Convention

'Duramen is a series of handmade wooden sculptures. Born of a simple impulse, the one to break with conventional ways of exhibiting.'
For more examples visit: here