This Christmas, my family agreed to do homemade gifts. It was my idea. I thought it would be fun and a bit more meaningful. Also economical. I have since added ‘exhausting’ and ‘foolishly labour intensive’ to the list of related adjectives. I should have started six months in advance. I worked by day. I worked by night. At first, I was bereft of inspiration. Then I was struck suddenly and randomly by blunt pieces of inspiration. Fragments of ideas that didn’t actually fit together in any useful way. I was not organised, but it came together. My love for the hot glue gun deepened.
Most fantastic were the gifts made by the other members of my family. This post I shall feature only one; my Mother Shirley’s astoundingly clever set of Russian dolls, hand painted, lovingly detailed and bloody hilarious.
Finally, I have my own doll!!!
Imagine how my little face lit up when my mother handed me a (non-lifesize) Russian doll, painted to look like ME. The man trapped inside me turned out to be none other than my brother Joe. I’m feeling a soap opera coming on, because when I looked within Joe; it was our younger brother Stephen that I found! who turned out to be our mother, who was actually my daughter, Mia, who was in fact concealing her small brother Arlo within her personage, who in turn, revealed Maia the cat. This was the coolest gift EVER (albeit a little creepy if you get into it too much. See above). Ma Synnott also made one for my partner Ian, who some of you may know as Dr Glam. Ian is a David Bowie aficionado and glam rock geek. My blogging alter-ego, Carmen Dioxide, will be posting about the amazing ‘Glam Rock Russian Dolls’ shortly on the good Dr’s site.
For now…meet the Synnotts!
Earlier this year, my partner and I undertook a big fat mutha of a project in the form of turning my daughter’s 6th birthday party into a music video shoot for the Dr Glam kid’s song ‘Chocolate Spider’. It sounded simple enough, killing two spiders with one stone. Less expense (snigger) and less work (stage volume belly laugh).
It sounded so easy…and it was SO much work. Having zero budget really exercised my creative muscles. There was the spider costume, which my clever aunt helped me to make. We simply stuffed two pairs of black tights, attached them to my daughter’s black top, and segmented these legs with string. Then I tied the extra legs together with black elastic to give the costume movement and shape. It worked so well. Here’s a still from the shoot:
The set was of major importance and we used a great studio that we were so happy to get for a song, thanks to our friend Virginia. Luckily, there was a green screen already there, so I made a happy woodland picnic scene with branches, twigs, spider web, green fake fur and huge paper blooms. Thank you Martha Stewart for the tutorial!
My daughter Mia and I made an effective production line to create the party favours. These gold noodle boxes were perfect. Mia wrote each friend’s name on a little leaf and added them on at the end.
These chocolate spider cupcakes were the stars of the food table.
I’ll add my best chocolate cupcake recipe when I manage to get my recipe section up and running. They were turned from mild-mannered, plain cupcakes into spiders by adding liquorice legs and spooky, yet comical icing eyes.
The whole day was an amazing adventure for the kids, and some of the fancy dress costumes were truly inspired. Special mention must go to my friend Kate’s homemade costumes; her son was a caterpillar with legs made from stuffed odd socks (now you know what to do with those widowed socks) and her daughter was a penguin complete with peaked cap beak. Ingenius!
Watch this space for the full music video in glorious technicolour…