Crafty Christmas? Stuff that

21 Dec

Every single one of these baubles was purchased. In a shop.

Do you know what is really annoying me this season? TV shows featuring ‘personalities’ at home in their picturesque country piles, lavishly adorned with rustic Christmas decorations and roaring fires, chirruping away about how easy and perfectly darling it is to “make” the festivities all by oneself.

Last night we had a whole hour dedicated to the Devonshire homestead of Kirstie Allsopp, an aristocratic estate agent turned TV presenter who now seems fixated on becoming the next Nigella Lawson.

I missed most of her introduction, I was too busy being blinded by her lipstick, but the gist was that you too can transform your Wolverhampton semi-detached into the set of the Downton Abbey Christmas Special with the help of a few window stencils and a strategically placed snow globe or two. All of which you’ve made yourself, of course.

It wasn’t quite clear when you’re supposed to do this. Before or after work? Perhaps you could knock out a few gingerbread tree decorations in your lunch break, or after you’ve got home and put the kids to bed.

You don’t even need to go Christmas shopping, Kirstie trilled – your relatives will be absolutely thrilled by this easy-to-do seasonal gift of homemade soap.

Homemade soap?

Kirstie has obviously never met my family. My dad asked every year for a motorbike, my mum for ‘peace and quiet – or that perfume with the diamonds we tried on in Duty-Free’, my semi-vegan sister will happily accept anything from Planet Organic (yes, it is every bit as poncy as it sounds) and my movie-buff husband is currently trying to pretend he doesn’t really want a Harry Potter blu-ray box set. And if he does it is only because it will be a neat legacy for our six month old son.

Let’s be honest – homemade soap has never ever made it onto anybody’s wish list.

That aside, Kirstie’s soap “recipe” involves caustic soda, or sodium hydroxide, a nasty little ingredient to have around the home. “Solid sodium hydroxide or solutions of sodium hydroxide may cause chemical burns, permanent injury or scarring if it contacts unprotected human, or other animal, tissue. It may cause blindness if it contacts the eye” says Wikipedia.

That doesn’t get me in the mood to rock around the Christmas tree. And it’s not exactly an economy either. Don’t get me wrong, these days I am all about thrift. But what does a bar of soap cost? Two quid? Okay, if you really push the boat out, a fiver.

The cheapest I can find a job lot of caustic soda online for is £2.50. Personally I’d happily spend twice as much just to avoid having it quietly decomposing in the cupboard under the kitchen sink until the next time I need to unblock the drains, or dispose of a dead body.

And even if you do decide to take your life in your hands and make the damned soap, it says on the website you have to wait six weeks before you can decorate the thing. So five days before Christmas perhaps not the best time to suggest it.

Thanks anyway Kirstie.


8 Responses to “Crafty Christmas? Stuff that”

  1. The Coffee Table Years December 22, 2011 at 5:11 am #

    Hilarious. I am expecting you to give me a handmade soap for my birthday. You have until July. x

    • zskdorset December 22, 2011 at 7:21 am #

      Only if I get a lifesized gingerbread house for mine 😉

  2. Suw December 22, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    I utterly love the aesthetic that Kirstie is going for (except with the lippy), and I think Kirstie herself is probably a nice lass, but there was a distinct chasm in her show between her pronouncements that she wanted to save money and how she proposed to do so. Making your own hand-blown glass tree ornaments, for example, is very likely to cost significantly more than getting an entire tree’s worth from Ikea for £4.99. And in our household, glass things do no last long. (I managed the other day to put a wine bottle through a wine glass *from the top* :/)

    But I thought that as I have decided to take a couple of weeks off this Christmas (first holiday since 6 days in York in May!), I thought I’d make some Chrimbo decorations. The paper chain was easy, but as it’s made of white paper (all I had lying around that I was willing to sacrifice), a bit dull. The snowflake looks fab, but was so much hard work I only made one. And the nice octahedron made out of an old Christmas card is easy but very time consuming.

    So frankly, I’m off out to buy a bunch of cheap shiny shit from the one pound store. It might only last a year, but it means I can sit and watch telly instead.

    • zskdorset December 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      exactly! it’s just not… practical. well done on the snowflake though. pic please!

  3. MLH December 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    Totally with you on “Ms Allsopp’s” misplaced and misguided Christmas frippery! I’m supposing you won’t be wanting the present I’ve wrapped (home-made paper at that, potato printing has never look so um…. bad). Here’s a clue to what I got you, lol!

    Now where do I keep that sodium hydroxide……..

  4. Mrs Pop December 22, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    I have barely had time to get on Twitter in the past week, much less make crap from scratch. Homemade soap goes into a cabinet until I find the time to clean out said cabinet, find the homemade soap, and throw it out. No thanks.

    I am trying to find a moment to make cinnamon rolls from scratch. Still haven’t found it, but had to comment.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! Enjoy Baby’s First Christmas! He won’t remember it at all, but you sure will. 🙂

    • zskdorset December 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      I’m not sure anyone has ever given me handmade soap. I guess they won’t now 😉 Merry xmas to you and yours too, Mrs Pop x

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