Saturday, 30 July 2011

1940s Turban Headpiece Tutorial

This is a great vintage way to cover up a hairdo that's past its best or a head full of rollers or pincurls while they dry! I was inspired by the Carmen Miranda look while creating this turban.

My head full of rollers! You can of course just do this style on tied or pinned up hair, and it'll work with or without a fringe (bangs).

Take a large scarf or square of fabric, mine was about 30", and fold it diagonally into a triangle. Place it so the long side is at your neckline, scoop forward covering your hair and tie the long ends at the front of your head as pictured, over rather than behind the ears, tucking the sides in as you tie.

Fold the point to the back of your head, and push in a couple of bobby pins to secure it in position to your hair. Double knot the long ends over the top, or the turban will work loose over time.

Take a long scarf, fold it in half, then fold into an 's' shape as pictured. Grasp all layers of the 's' at the centre.

Place the folded second scarf on top of the knot of the first scarf, and knot again to secure it.

Fluff and fan out the folded looped sections of the second scarf.

Bring the back point and loose ends of the first scarf up, tucking them in wherever you think looks best, I used the black ends to create more loops to contrast with the green.

Arrange the loops however you like, and add a flower or fruit clip or jewelled brooch for extra 40s flair! For an authentic 40s look, contrasting plain coloured scarves or a plain one mixed with a wartime or floral print would look great.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Queen of Hearts

I've been working on a couple of fabulous made-to-order hats for bridal customers recently. This design is for the bride to wear at her wedding reception, and is based on the scene in Disney's Alice in Wonderland where the cards are painting all the white roses in the Queen's garden with red paint, lest they lose their heads!

I popped it on to model the design, and was rather enamoured of it. It's a red satin heart-shaped pillbox style embellished with hand painted roses, foliage, playing cards and paintbrushes. By the way, this is what my hair looks like if it is allowed to dry naturally - a cross between Doc Brown from 'Back to the Future' and some outcast from A Flock of Seagulls.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Holiday Sale!

I'm heading to Rebellion Punk Festival on the 4th of August, and need some extra funds. This is the only holiday we ever take, so support us on our trip to smelly old Blackpool by buying one of my glorious designs with 15% off! Sale starts at 6.30pm BST tonight.

Kalandra Jane Designs eBay Shop Here! All these beauties and many more are in the sale. You can also 'like' my business page on facebook!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Art Deco Beauties

When I first moved into my flat, there were three framed prints in the hallway waiting to be thrown out. I saved them, of course, and they have languished in a corner ever since. During a cleaning frenzy the other day, I decided to take a closer look at them. One of the frames is coming apart a little, so I managed to take a peek beneath the backing paper.

The pictures are artwork prints given away by the Pompeian Beauty Company, and date from 1924! The glass needs a good clean, I think they'll look considerably brighter once they've had a good polish as I suspect the yellowish cast is nicotine staining on the surface - hopefully the paper itself has been protected by the sealed frames.

One of the prints sold on eBay this week for £34.49 (here), as you can see it has the Pompeian Beauty logo at the bottom with the artist's name, Gene Pressler. This part is cut off on my prints, obviously whoever framed them didn't like the branding on there so cut it off rather than folding it under, which is unfortunate.

Information on the company is fairly scarce online, but I came across this small article on Massage Magazine's website, about the history of Pompeian massage cream which has a little of the company's history. Though much of the available information relates to the brand's Canadian roots, it was in fact an international company, with its British headquarters in Leeds.

"The Pompeian Manufacturing Company began in a small drugstore on the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, in the late 19th century. Among its product line, the Pompeian Massage Cream was a favorite with barbers around the world - even though it was promoted to men and women alike.

Pharmacist Fred W. Stecher, the son of a German immigrant, created the soothing after-shave massage cream in the back room of his small drugstore on the west side of Cleveland. But it was Otto F. Leopold, who after Stecher's death would become president of the company, who led the creation of its famous "Pompeian Beauty of the Year" contest. Film star Mary Pickford was one of the first Pompeian beauties to grace the advertisements of the company, and helped Leopold to become one of America's early cosmetic tycoons.

In 1927 the Pompeian Manufacturing Company was sold to Colgate Palmolive Peet for $1 million. Six months later the entire Pompeian line of products was discontinued and the legacy of Pompeian Massage Cream and its "Pompeian Beauty" ended. But the legacy was the first great advertising campaign using the word massage in its product name. From the examples shown here you can get an idea of the broad approach the company took in marketing its Pompeian Massage Cream product.

Today the Pompeian Massage Cream jars, sample tins, ads and posters are considered collectable antiques."

-Robert Noah Calvert

There is also a more thorough history of the company and its products on the Collecting Vintage Compacts blog, which is full of interesting bits about vintage cosmetics and has some lovely Pompeian advertising pictures.

I had a chuckle at this inscription which is at the top on the back of the panel, hopefully he married her for more reasons than just her 'lasting youth and girlish loveliness'.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Brandy Basket Peach Melba!

We have just enjoyed these for our dessert! Makes 2, but you can easily multiply the recipe.

Brandy Snap Baskets:

1tbsp. Golden syrup
25g / 1oz. vegan spread (or butter, if you eat dairy)
25g / 1oz. vanilla sugar (made by adding a split vanilla pod to a jar of sugar, or you can just use plain sugar and add 1/2tsp of vanilla extract)
2tsp. Brandy
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
25g / 1oz. plain flour, plus 1 heaped tsp.
Small pinch of salt

Melt the first three ingredients together over a medium heat and simmer for a few minutes to combine, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Sift in the flour, ground ginger and salt, and mix. Leave to cool for about ten minutes, the mixture will be a thick golden liquid. Preheat the oven to 180C while you're waiting for the mixture to cool, and line a baking tray with baking parchment / greaseproof paper.

Drop two blobs of mixture onto the tray, dividing it equally between them. Leave about four inches between the blobs as they spread considerably during cooking. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, keep checking after the first 5-7 mins as they can burn and cooking time will depend on your oven. They are done when they're bubbly, spread out and chestnut brown.

After removing them from the oven, let them cool for a minute, and as soon as you can stand to pick them up, peel them off the baking paper and form the baskets. You can either press them over an upturned ramekin or push them into the bottom of a mug, and they will set firm within a minute. If they harden too quickly, pop them back into the oven to soften for a minute.

For the Peach Melba:

50g/2oz. Raspberries
1 heaped tbsp. icing (confectioner's) sugar
2 peaches, not over ripe or they will turn to mush when you skin them
2 scoops vanilla ice cream (I used Swedish Glace vegan ice cream)

To skin the peaches, place them in a pan or heatproof bowl, and cover with just-boiled water. Leave for one minute, then drain and rinse under a cold tap. Slice them in half, remove the stones and slip off the skins.

For the raspberry sauce, simply push the raspberries through a sieve to remove the seeds, and sift the icing sugar into the puréed berries. If there are any lumps, just leave it a few minutes and they will dissolve.

To assemble, place a brandy snap basket onto a plate, add two peach halves, a scoop of ice cream and drizzle with raspberry sauce. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds, if you like. Devour!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Hilda, Curvy Pinup Queen of the 1950s

Some people on the vintage scene would have you believe that ladies in the 1950s were all tiny, that nobody fancied fat girls, and that Gil Elvgren or George Petty were the be-all and end-all when it came to pinup art. These people are wrong, and to them I would like to introduce Hilda.

Hilda was the creation of artist Duane Bryers, and was the subject of calendars produced by printers Brown & Bigelow from 1958 until about 1970, and apparently some of the paintings were re-used by the company on calendars for many years afterwards. It is unfortunate that Bryers' early work is something of a footnote when it comes to pinup history, as his talent was easily equal to that of the more well-known artists and his subject matter utterly endearing. However, he worked as a professional artist for many years, as his calendar paintings were always in demand and he has in later life gained excellent recognition for his Western paintings. To my knowledge he is still alive and painting to this day - if so, he is one hundred years old this year. One of his recent paintings, of an Apache on horseback, was sold in Texas just six weeks ago.

The best resource on the internet for Hilda images and information is Les Toil's Hilda Page, lovingly created by modern plus-size pinup artist Les as a tribute to Bryers' work and to Hilda herself (it is also where I have stolen most of these pictures from, so go take a look, maybe commission a painting!)

Hilda was the first mainstream plus-sized pinup. Vintage erotic photographs from the 1900s-era often features slightly larger-than-average girls, but in my view those girls were the norm for erotica of the time, just average, slightly plump women from a time when there was no real body prejudice in the fledgling photographic titillation industry, and when the practise of making pictures of semi-nude women was regarded as highly scandalous. By the 1950s however, the pinup was a part of the national consciousness of America, a cultural icon that hung in every garage, was used to advertise everything from soft drinks to plumbing supplies, and had accompanied airmen to war on the noses of WWII bombers. She was regarded as the ideal all-American girl and though still slightly risqué, pinup art was not considered rude.

Elvgren famously considered the ideal subject for a pinup painting to have the face of a fifteen year old on the body of a twenty-five year old, but Hilda was no girl - she was all woman. Whereas Elvgren's girls were beautiful, imaginary dolls with tiny waists, Hilda was a huge step away from the typical pinup art of the day, embodying the Botticellian ideal of a flame-haired, buxom sprite, at ease with her curves in full celebration of her soft, rounded womanhood.

My favourite thing about the Duane Bryers' work is that whereas occasionally Hilda would be seen doing something silly such as being chased by bees after her flower bikini or sweeping dirt under the rug, she was never portrayed in any situation which made fun of her full figure - she was always happy, frolicking and contented whilst getting into scrapes, relaxing by the fire in her red long-Johns, or enjoying the great outdoors with her little pup. Bryers loved his plus-sized pinup, just as many people do today. Here is my meagre Hilda collection - two playing cards, and the original first Hilda calendar, from 1958. Bryers considers the cover painting to be his Hilda masterpiece, and I'm proud to own a copy of it.

This is the picture for November and December - Hilda playing the saw. I bought a vintage saw for this purpose after having a go at playing my friend's here, but haven't gotten myself a violin bow yet. What's the betting I won't look as carefree as Hilda while I'm wailing away at it?

Hilda paved the way for decades of plus-sized erotica, and though some of it is distinctly unpalatable there are plenty of big, sassy girls out there doing what Hilda did best in a climate where images of stick-thin models or silicone-stuffed porn stars are the only things regarded by the media as attractive. My favourite buxom beauties are the beautiful April Flores and burlesque queen Eva Von Slut, who is also the singer in the all-girl psychobilly band Thee Merry Widows.