My Black Lives Matter post last week was weak; an expansive gesture hiding behind art and it’s many interpretations. Part of the reason is because for me to talk about racism is to hold extra large cartons of organic ducks eggs, one in each hand, whilst attempting to ride a unicycle for the first time; it’s bound to end in a privileged mess. Instead I have watched and listened, and it seems to me, the strongest way forward is through education, re-education, thinking, reading and more listening. Below is a list of available resources, the first three being personal to me – articles and documentaries that first opened my eyes.
Jane Elliott is an American schoolteacher, anti-racism activist, and educator. She is known for her “Blue eyes–Brown eyes” exercise. She first conducted this famous exercise for her class on April 5, 1968, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated; she wanted her pupils to feel the pain of racism. I don’t know when I first watched this documentary – maybe it was shown in a social science class at my secondary school – I do know I have carried it with me ever since. It wasn’t just the shock of segregation along seemingly inconsequential lines, it was the shock that people (in this case children) would not only go along with it, but it would influence their behaviour outside the classroom. It was a brilliant and brutal showcase of human failing, exposing our ever constant need to conform to a perceived power source and the contagion of group think.
White Privilege, ‘Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack’ by Peggy McIntosh, first written in 1989, is an article I only read in the last couple of years. Again, it had a profound effect. Whilst’s Jane’s exercise was about conscious discrimination, this was about the unconscious discrimination we allow without thinking because we just don’t see it, because to notice has been conditioned out of us. She informed me, the word is not equal and there is no thing as meritocracy.
Notice anything about my education? White and female…
There’s not enough space to fill the books, words and videos of Maya Angelou. But with her brilliance, strength, wit and wonder, she remains a huge influence. My Grandmother gave me my first copy of a book by her – I know why the cages bird sings – and I can see it as I type this.
For the following list, I want to thank the High Low podcast, it is the result of their research combine with others such as the New York Times. Please refer back to this link if any of the links below don’t work:
Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite
White Fragility by Robin Diangelo
Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
How To Be Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
The Good Immigrant compiled by Nikesh Shukla
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Women Race and Class by Angela Davis
White Rage by Carol Anderson
Brit-ish by Afua Hirsch
My Name Is Why by Lemn Sissay
Slay In Your Lane by Elizabeth Uviebinené & Yomi Adegoke
A Burst of Light by Audre Lorde
Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
Taking Up Space: The Black Girls Manifesto For Change by Chelsea Kwakye & Ore Ogunbiyi
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad
Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
Natives: Race & Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
Aint I a Woman: Black Women & Feminism by bell hooks
Why You Need To Stop Saying “All Lives Matter” by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle for Harper’s Bazaar https://bit.ly/3gG8rgq
Ibram X. Kendi’s reading list for The New York Times https://nyti.ms/3gKL8lH
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie
Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Ordinary People by Diana Evans
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
On Beauty and White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Citizen: An American Life by Claudia Rankine
I know why the caged Bird sings by Maya Angelou
George Floyd’s Memorial Fund
Black Lives Matter
Black Protest Legal Support UK
Stop Hate UK
The Stephen Lawrence Trust
The Innocence Project
Show Racism The Red Card
Black Visions Collective
Girls Out Loud
Raising White Kids by Jennifer Harvey
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Can Change The World series on Rosa Parks & Harriet Tubman
A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Petition to update GCSE reading list https://bit.ly/2U6foOl
1619 podcast by The NY Times
With thoughts and positivity, Kate x
The Pod will be a 5m x 3m structure at the bottom of a South London garden. But that doesn’t stop the dreaming. And whilst the pull to modern is strong, stronger is the call of the old, timeless, batty and slightly battered, which is possibly best encapsulated in these pictures, a cedar cabin in Wyong Creek, Australia, from The design files.net, the home of Natalie Watson, because pictures always speak.
(All pics The Designfiles.net and Pinterest)
Strength and gentleness. Gentleness and strength. Age and ageing. Peace and quiet.
Simple and honest.
Laters, Kate x
(All pics here)
Mindfulness or madness, it’s happening…the builder has been booked to start on an office-slash-living room in the garden in approx. six weeks time: There’s no time to dodge, designs have to be finalised, visions pulled into reality and decisions made.
The bubble of thoughts has been brewing for a long time, probably now spurred on by lockdown and the possible threat of more – but the main catching point has been the big, overall concept – whether to go modern…or to look to the past and embrace traditional.
(All pics Pinterest)
Which one is it??
Laters, Kate x
I am an avid Pinterest poster. Driven by all things visual, I find it a place I can nail down fleeting thoughts and find substance to inspiration. It’s the workings of my inner mind, but held in aspic so it doesn’t fly away again. It’s also my way to test longevity – a day, a week, a month later, is there still the same reaction? Sometimes things are pinned for the wrong reasons – on one level it’s a sofa, but the real magpie glint is the inspiring colour of the wall. Sometimes there’s a purpose, often there’s not, the intent just to trail a hand in the flow of colour and movement, pick up the scent of future trends. But this post is about what has caught other people’s eyes, what has unexpectedly cut the mustard in the big, wide world? Like this chair, from Ian Snow, has a remarkable 1.6k impressions. Is it the velvet? the flexibility? the squish? Or all three?
It’s summer, the 70’s are becoming a thing. No surprise then that all things rattan are having a moment. Like this light from Etsy, 123 impressions and counting.
This one, again from Etsy. A bargain at £32.53 plus shipping. 104 impressions and rising.
This light is ranking third – from Design Vintage at £110 has 94 impressions.
At 110 impressions, this modern garden pod has caught the imagination. It comes from a photo I took from the Home section of The Times. No details unfortunately.
Is it the bench? Or the cushion? The link was for the cushion – £45 from Dibor – 915 for impressions.
(All picks Pinterest)
The cushion on its own….444 impressions.
It’s a strange old world.
Laters, Kate x
We may be in the midst of a global crisis, but nobody has told my window boxes. They’ve had more love and care than ever before and are responding with abundant height, growth, width and blooms.
There is one cuckoo in the nest; I fear I’ve been cultivating a weed – I thought this plant was a white geranium as it’s first leaves were the same shape and I knew I’d planted some in the area.
But now there’s a clear distinction. I’ve left it a while to see if a flower would bloom – surely a weed is a flower by any other name? I had hopes it might be a foxglove, the seed dropped by a bird, said my romantic heart. But I know it’s a triffid and must go.
On the good news front, the combover tree is proudly displaying the first signs of bum fluff.
But whilst some things, like my garden are benefitting, other areas of the world are facing peril: ‘If the Coronavirus doesn’t kill my workers, then starvation will’ says a factory owner in Bangladesh. A quote that greets you on the first page of Lost Stock.
Lost Stock was set up by Cally Russell, the founder of fashion shopping too Mallzee. It allows shoppers to buy a mystery box of clothing directly from the manufacturers, with almost 40% of the proceeds of each box donated to Bangladesh through a non-profit organisation based in the country. This is enough to feed a Bangladeshi family for a week.
A Lost Stock Box costs £35 plus £3.99 postage and will contain at least three tops with a recommended retail price of £70. It will take time to arrive – between 6-8 weeks, but I think that’s a small price to pay.
In total, an estimated £10bn of clothing has piled up in warehouses during lockdown, much of it destined for landfill, layering crisis upon crisis. This seems a simple solution to help where help is most needed.
Where do I sign?
Laters, Kate x
I’m not here. I’m in a car, driving to Bristol, genuinely quite excited about experiencing a motorway again and moving wider than a 2 mile circle from the house. We’re emptying The Husband’s work flat as he’s going to be in London till at least Christmas; Every cloud. The plan is to make a round trip in a day – normally a ticket to hell, but all of that has been subtly reframed by the thought of travelling at speed, the prospect of a horizon and the promise of new vistas. Aren’t I the lucky one? These pictures were taken today – Sunday afternoon has become a potter time for me – projects to plan, things to do. And this represents the first time I’ve tried to re-make candles.
The first thing was to get rid of the bits of wax left at the end of all the finished candles. I found the best way was to pour in boiling water, which melted the wax, making it rise to the surface to create a wax plug that was then easy to remove.
My eclectic collection of containers, from tins to pots to old candle jars.
The wicks I ordered very cheaply from Ebay.
And stuck down with a dab of glue from a handy glue gun.
This was the super candle that inspired the re-make – a winter candle from the White Company with it’s gorgeous smell that died leaving lots of wax. I melted down in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water. Once the lump of it became soft, I cut it up into smaller bits to speed up the melt. I also added all the remnants of the other candles, because why not? Once everythings melted it’s possible to add various essential oils. As the kitchen already smelt like a tart’s boudoir, I refrained.
Pouring in the liquid wax is not the easiest thing. I recommend a funnel. Then I improvised with tin foil to keep the wicks upright and central.
Highly satisfying and highly recommended.
Laters, Kate x
The title is breakfast, but the truth is I am not a breakfast person – a cup of tea to wet the whistle and I’m good to go. Breakfast for me comes at 11 o’clock, but whilst I know the time I want it, it’s taken me a long time to discover what I want…
These things have made all the difference: Chia seeds. I remember having my first helping in a hyped up cafe where the portions were small, the prices were high and the vintage was new – in this country we like to charge extra for concepts, ideas and ambience, even when the ideas are copied.
It didn’t take long to find the recipe. Welcome to my fridge coconut milk.
To make one kilner jar – or any other storage vessel – fill a quarter with chia seeds, top to the top with coconut milk and give a good shake. Some recipes then add honey or other sweetness – personally, I don’t need this.
Which ends up something like this: Mum’s frogspawn. The benefit of which is nobody else touches it.
Twenty four hours in the fridge and it’s thick, gooey and swollen.
Perfect with muesli, a dash of coconut milk and fresh raspberries.
I would like to say this is on my desk now. But it’s not 11 o’clock.
Think of me then.
Laters, Kate x
According to one blog post, the voluminous dress is the new quarantine. And who am I to disagree? So far, my basic wardrobe has consisted of cropped trousers and long buttoned shirts, double layered when the temperature dipped, as loose coats over t-shirts when the sun shined. But temperatures due to hit 27 degrees this week, I think it’s time to transition to dresses. My favourite summer dress is a dark green, cotton vintage dress made with a deep v in a batik print. I love it. I love the colour, the ease and the print. In fact, I would like more of the same, but I can’t find and….so I’ve been trawling patterns on the web to come up with something similar.
And I’ve found three, and two of them, including the one above, need no pattern at all…and this one even comes with pockets!
This pattern comes This Little Miggy, a fab website with great ideas and a wonderful vibe, I would recommend a virtual tour. The instructions are brilliant; clear, precise and everything you could need.
If you feel comfortable sewing, you may want to move onto this pattern from So Sew Easy – or rather, instructions, because again, this is simple, only measurements, no-pattern sewing.
A finally, if you want to tackle a simple pattern to add sleeves, there’s this beauty from OliverandS
High summer dressing sorted.
Laters, Kate x
I’m not sure if we’re in lockdown in London any more, maybe it’s a strange transition period, like wondering what to wear between seasons? Because, despite the rhetoric, nothing has really changed for us; we’re still spending the majority of time in the house or garden.
But it gives me the time to salute some of my heroes of the past couple of months: The birds…their activity – the magpies that make me laugh, their song – we have a particularly vocal blackbird, their curiosity – yes, I’m speaking to you, unafraid Robin who watches me just a foot away when I’m gardening, the stories they tell – I’m gazing at nearly arrived swallows from my desk heralding the start of summer, and just their continual zest for life: nothing fazes them.
This post celebrates the inventive, simple but attractive ways we can introduce more of their joy into our lives.
(All pics Pinterest)
Which will hopefully lay down strong foundations to repay their gift and help them through the colder winter months.
A circle of life I value.
Laters, Kate x