Saturday, 19 September 2015

It's a Washi-out - DIY photo frame tutorial

Massive apologies for the neglect and woefully late updates. Moving house (well, flat) has been a challenge with some pitfalls and, shall we say, technical issues (when you own a place, everything about it is all yours - and your problem). I'm also not due internet access for another week so that too has had to be outsourced.

Logistical barriers aside, it thankfully hasn't stopped me from creating and customising (in preparation for when I finally have to devote less spare time to making the place functional, leaving more for making it beautiful). Expect many a project and update on my recent home d├ęcor efforts over the next few weeks. My latest project involves a pane of glass I salvaged from a second-hand picture frame (which, incidentally, I bought for £8 from a market to use for another project).

You will need...

A pane of glass or clear plastic

Sticky back plastic (N.B. It has to have a grid printed on the backing)

2-3 differently patterned rolls of Washi tape


Tape measure (optional)

Masking tape


Very easy

A classic case of cut, stick 'n' colour, without the skill of colouring in required!


1-2 hours, depending on how many squares you want to cut (as I'll detail later).

Get the picture(s)

Decide how many photos you want your frame to hold. I chose 12 because I had quite a big pane of glass.

Use the grid on the backing of your sticky back plastic to decide what size you would like your  photo sleeves to be before cutting them out. I made mine 12x12cm (i.e. 6x6 squares according to the grid).

Using the grid on your sticky back plastic, peel and fold back a certain amount of backing along the bottom and on the two sides.

Cut away the excess backing.

Once you have cut out all the photo sleeves, you need to plan out where you are going to put them. Try to leave an equal amount of space between the photographs and the edges. I tackled this by  placing masking tape along the bottom.

I then placed another row of masking tape directly above it and removed the tape along the bottom.

I stuck my first sleeve on the opposite side to the tape so that I could align the bottom of the tape with the bottom of the sleeve.

I also used the same masking tape process to leave an equal amount of space between the rows.

Going back to more direct instructions, you might want to measure the glass pane to calculate where to put the sleeves so that they are the same distance apart from each other.

Once you've finished sticking your sleeves down, the final step is to remove all masking tape and, on the opposite side of the pane to the sleeves, stick some Washi tape frames around the 'white' areas of your sleeves.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Trends on Thursday: Pony up

Is it semiotics, semantics or simply snobbery that sets 'school-bully hair’ apart from the 'Croydon Facelift’?

croydon facelift chic


A  Guardian fashion-endorsed hair trend to watch out for this autumn is what they’re calling “school-bully hair” and everyone else once called the Croydon Facelift. While it is very Prada to take a fashion faux pas from yesteryear, recycle it in the slick packaging of fashion show styling and sell it as a challenge to conventional taste (or “the good taste of bad taste” in Miuccia Prada's words), I remain unconvinced that I can stop myself thinking “Council House And Violent” at the sight of it. Maybe time is on Prada’s side – and crucially less so on mine – when it comes to associations with Vicky Pollard and the stereotype that goes with her. I always admired Ms Prada’s ability to take away the right-twice-a-day transience of fad items and reinvent them in a timeless way but she’s got her work cut out convincing me.

Can we still say ‘chav’? What a difference a decade makes! After all, there’s surely no more mortifying a way to show your age than by parroting views that are no longer considered socially acceptable (“shh! You can’t say that any more, granddad! The correct term is…”) The quintessentially noughties chav trope and the backlash that came with it was a reaction to the obnoxiousness of lad and ladette culture that dominated in the ‘90s. More to the point, it came at a time when we weren’t in recession, dreams were dreams and it was socially acceptable to listen to emo. My point? Having once worked a stop-gap job in a government initiative centre designed to get people off the dole, I can verify that there were people who were simply work-shy. Also, having spent many a euphoric Friday night at one of the only rock clubs in the country I know of, stories of rock fans being attacked for their dress sense and music taste by chavs after closing time at the pub next door culminated in feelings of fear and disgust towards our belligerent, Burberry-toting brethren. That was Coventry, 2007.

Fast forward to the present day (perchance, skip the track if we’re to use remotely up-to-date technology analogies. It sure as hell feels more like a track skip when I think of how quickly the time has passed!) in the age of recession, zero-hours contracts, the poverty wages that necessitate the majority of benefits claims and austerity, and the term, ‘dole-dossing scum’ does not fly (so I like to think – I’m a Guardian reader, go figure). The feminist in me also likes to think we’re also too savvy to trot out the equally offensive chavette stereotype of the fecklessly fecund gym slip mum and the social stigma – not to mention ignorance of personal circumstances – that goes with it. Even those who do continue to tow a right-wing line where chavism is concerned, are sounding more tired than the exhausted downtrodden folk they've chosen to blame for their problems, however many miles the latter have travelled.

Back on the subject of headache-inducing ponytails, could this latest incarnation be doomed to meet the same fate as its notoriously tacky noughties and eighties counterparts? What makes a trend pass the aesthetic threshold that makes it socially acceptable? Nicer materials? Prettier models? Good enough fortune or PR to keep negative associations at bay? Surely Prada’s bejewelled efforts are a separate entity to their sink estate look-alikes?

Well, yeah… but no.

You could argue that visually, a scraped-back ponytail holds a different sartorial meaning when coupled with shoddy bleaching efforts, hoop earrings and a tracksuit to when it’s teamed with a power trenchcoat and diamond brooches. Maybe Prada’s stylists are doing high ponytails in a slightly different cheekbone-enhancing way (could I get a beauty vlogger's take on this?) or maybe, in terms of meaning conveyed, they’re not so different.

Think of the power clothes, in fact any personal styling, has as an expression – and extension – of ourselves. By extension, I’m referring to the grandiose and imposing silhouettes we create and armour ourselves with sartorially. Like the power dressing potential of shoulder pads, it’s the imposing height of the pony tail, like the arch of a cat’s back before a fight, that soars like a searing battle cry. It commands with authority and imposes with purpose, whether you’re a card-carrying school bitch or the scariest mum on the estate. They’re fierce in every sense; combine that with facial tautness, and you’ve got the perfect zen for fashion.