Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Eve

Absolut New Year © Sisterbatik 2011
For high resolution image purchase or licensing contact sisterbatik@yahoo.com

How are you spending New Year's Eve?

They say who you spend NYE with, you will spend the rest of the year with.......

The Harbour Master Cruise was not for us, so we jumped off, just as the passage to land was about to be lifted away and the ship's handler was unwrapping the ropes to cast the ship to sea; he smiled, a polite smile. He had seen it all before.

We both dawdled, didn't speak, looked anywhere but at each other.  The dark Bajan sky falling heavy on us and no one else around to take us away from ourselves.  His fists were clenched, I noticed.  His feet took him in small circles until they purposefully took the direction of the sound of traffic and the main road.  He hailed a taxi and we both jumped in, glad to be sped away from the emotional wreckage we had made for ourselves and our own sapping disappointment.  I gave the driver instructions to our hotel on the other side of the island.  The driver was polite and then quiet, it was double the normal fare - it was New Year's Eve, and a long drive was good.  The windows were lowered and the island breeze gushed in to fill the spaces and we drifted. 

There was a bar back at the hotel, it would be quiet with all the guests away celebrating, but perhaps we would sit there for a short while and not care, the pianist would play to us only, we might wait until midnight, cheer a small glass of fizz with the barman and then call it a night, like any other.  There might be a chance we would be conciliatory, retrieve some small peace.

I looked over, then grabbed and squeezed his hand.  He took it away.  A short while later, he muttered more to himself "I'll never be good enough for you".  I felt guilty that was how I had made him feel, or perhaps it was his insecurity and he was playing on my guilt, it all depends on how you see this.  The driver, impartial, in his rear view mirror, I knew, had looked at me. The drive was long.

We had to make a stop at a petrol station and he left the car, while the driver sat quietly with me.  Then he said in his Bajan twang "Not all men know how a woman likes to be treated".  He said it so straight, more like an explanation and I knew he meant no discourtesy.  I didn't say a word.  It was almost 11pm.  "Where's the party for New Year's Eve?" I asked.  "There's only ONE party on this island, it's a street party in St James, Second Street" he said.  He had returned to the car.  "Take us there."  "We are going to a street party" I said offering an olive branch*.

As the car rolled into St James, we were glad when the chaotic sounds of celebration built up to white noise and the revellers surrounded us.  Women poured into tight hourglass dresses, men in polished holiday Abercrombie & Fitch and Polo, as we stepped out at the start of Second Street which had been sealed for the party.  We agreed a time for the driver to return to pick us up.

Second street was alive, lined with wine bars and fancy restaurants with open facades, revellers pouring out of bars, onto the street and into the next bar.  The street was one big open atmosphere.  The night was perfectly dark and warm.  It was easy to mingle with the crowd and we did, never being alone with each other.  We were thrust into the crowd on the street as the countdown began, brief fireworks exploded in the distance at midnight, like neon spiders across the night sky.  Followed by something I had never seen before, hundreds of white doves released into the air.  In a rush for their freedom.

The best laid plans with the best intentions, can come to nothing. What a waste of a life to be trapped. We kissed each other. The party was over and our driver was waiting.


*The olive branch derived from the customs of  ancient Greece, symbolizes peace or victory and was worn by brides.

Eternity

He who binds to himself a joy 
Does the winged life destroy
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise

William Blake 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

New Public Library - Canada Water @CZWG

 kirstonian.posterous.com

Sitting in a park in Paris, France 
Reading the news and it's all bad
They won't give peace a chance
It was just a dream that some of us had.
                                                                         Joni Mitchell, "California" 1971
Perhaps because it is winter and that the end of the year is drawing in, it seems even more so that nothing is growing, or there is few that is new to be optimistic for.  So, I was really happy, finally, for the new public provision of a library in Canade Water, Southwark, London to be unveiled.  Local libraries are a huge resource to a community; knowledge and literature for all age groups, computing and job searching facilities and a community space. What makes this library even more innovative is its design by the acclaimed architects CZWG ; I love the outstanding shape and how the space wraps around like open arms to form a well meaning arena.
 CZWG also designed this beautiful "tree-house" structure - Maggie's Centre for cancer care in Nottingham.


My affinity for CZWG design also stems from the little appartment I have called home for the last few years. The building was an ealier design by CZWG. I moved into the appartment after a tumultuous time in my personal life and it provided me with alot of light and wide windows and doors that allowed me to breathe.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Sale all the way to Christmas



 We are happy to announce that we are extending our Sale all the way to Christmas - Happy! Happy!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas - Shipping Deadlines

The Holidays are coming and we hope you are looking forward to them with lots of cheer!  We would love SisterBatik to be a part of your festivities, whether looking for that gift for someone special or decorating and making your home lovely and lively!

Just a gentle reminder that we ship from the UK.  If you are planning to make purchases as gifts, be sure to beat the Christmas rush, and order before the recommended last shipping dates:

Airmail to US & Canada : Friday 9th December
Airmail Western Europe : Monday 12th December
Airmail Rest of the world: Monday 5th December
Within UK: Wednesday 14th December

Premium tracked shipping can be sent as late as Monday 19th December.  Please purchase here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/83251337/premium-shipping-for-sisterbatik-10-usd

I will do my best to provide the swiftest preparation of items for shipping and catch each days post - running very fast if need be : ) We appreciate your patience and understanding under the seasonal strain on all services. We cannot guarantee or be responsible for delays that might occur outside of our control. For the greatest assurance I would suggest purchasing the premium shipping option.

If you have a custom request, I would be more than happy to work as best as I can to make sure that this is possible for you - just ask me as soon as possible, as I hate to disappoint.

And remember - Happy Holidays ahead! Wahey!!!!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Cave of Forgotten Dreams: Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is incomparable in his transcendent style of narration; steeped in existential figuring.

In this fascinating documentary, he leads a small film crew along side scientists, art historians and a master perfumer into the sealed Chauvet caves in southern France, in a rare opportunity to witness with wonderment and attempt to demystify the oldest known paintings by human kind, carbon dated back 32,000 years.  With the help of the inquiring minds of experts in each of their fields and projecting his own impression that these represent the "awakening of the human soul" and in another instance "proto-cinema", I was drawn into it's quiet and inarticulate space.  The dawn of art is exerted as a spiritual path, lacking self-awareness, as there are no portrayals of human figures, only a single primitive female lower body dominated by the upper body of a bison (consider Picasso's modern artist's motif of the minatour as his representation of sexual appetite) - but what could it entail for the artist in a prehistoric context?

He ends with a 10 minute long meditation, simply to music, through the images captured along the length of the cave, which will never be open to the public and will be the closest, as viewers, we will get to standing within it's secret climate controlled confines to gaze upon the earliest artwork of our predecesors.


Available on Amazon

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Indian Ink Bindi on Pale Blue Wash

 Available on Etsy : indian-ink-bindi-throw-pillow

Using batik wax print on crisp 100% cotton.  Stunning pale blue colour with a an Indian bindi pattern.  Concealed zip at base.  Professionally serged/ overlocked.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

New Patchwork Pillow


 Available on Etsy: decorative-patchwork-pillow-cover

I am sorry that I have not been updating this blog as much.  I have been busy with a new gig and challenge!  Be sure that I love you always and grateful for your ongoing support in tough times!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Dream Bag


I became a little obsessed when making this cosmetic bag - I really hope you will love it?

Handmade is about consummate dedication, time given over to craft and unique inspiration that is not repeated by anyone else - it took me over a week of obsessively returning, between other work, to the patchworking (using 7 different designs of 100% Dutch wax print cotton), and then the embroidery embellished by hand or machine, to provide the three panels which come together to make this bag. 

This is a SisterBatik one of a kind patchwork boho bag for all your cosmetics, brushes and fragrances for somebody special xx

Available on Etsy now: dream-boho-cosmetic-make-up-bag-genuine

Copita, D'arblay Street, Soho

 Image from londoneater who loved the place.

The tradition and style of standing at the bar with a "copita", small tulip glass of something, something while sharing small eats/ plates is a fantastic way to enjoy two of life's good things and throw your palate into an effusive whirlwind that you forget any existence beyond the morsel of food in your mouth.  I love it so much, see here, here , here and here this year.  So how can a tapas bar pull the heart and soul from this manner of eating? 1) by shrinking the portions to unappetising effect; I also eat with my eyes and our poor pathetic looking portion of squab pigeon made my stomach grumble and let's not mention the mouse size cheese board and 2) inject so much pretension you rightly feel nowhere near your memories of tapas or Spain.

The menu sounded enlightened with nouveau fusions of flavours and it had so much promise that I hate to be disappointed : (  But their own made butifarra was very good!  The design and decor kept true to the tapas bars of Spain which I also liked.

Nobody will really care about my opinion anyway so I can be darn right honest : )

Monday, 31 October 2011

New Patchwork Pillows

Available on Etsy: daydreamer-ooak-pillow-cover

We specialize in patchwork pillows which combine 100% Dutch wax print batik cotton in exotic designs and colours with simple traveller hand embroidery and added textures of claret and lilac velvet ribbon to create our wanderlust range - those hours spent daydreaming with our hands.......come to this.....

All pillows are professionally serged/ overlocked and lined with neutral cotton for superb quality.

Thank you for supporting independent handmade!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Perfect Teal - Set of Two Pillows


Both Teal sets offer ooak pillow creations which perfectly compliment eachother - we loved putting these together and hope you will too xx

Chicken My Way


I was once invited round to dinner by a French man.  An excellent cook (via maman), who was serving overtime on the charm offensive with his cheeky self-titled Poulet a ma fa├žon which translates as Chicken My Way (I really liked it).  This is not what he cooked, but by way of an explanantion for my bestowing his title on my own rustic roast chicken for a cold and damp day like today in London - for your loved ones : )
Everyone who enjoys making roast chicken has a recipe or ingredients they swear by.  Chicken "my way" is a combination I trust of a thyme butter used in a recipe that was self-deprecatingly called "The best roast chicken EVER"  on youtube and my thing for lemons (in this case I use poussin - a smaller chicken).  Serve whole or halved with roasted baby potatoes and boiled kale.
For two poussin:

75g cold butter (left to soften at room temp so it is pliable)
30g fresh thyme
3 lemons
1/2 chicken stock cube

Preheat the oven to 200'C.

Finely chop 15g of thyme and mix with cold butter till well combined.  Chop one lemon into thin slices, and halve the other two lemons.

Loosen the skin over the breast and legs.  Under the skin, stuff with nuggets of the thyme butter and lemon slices, so these are evenly spread and gently flattened.  Stuff the lemon halves into the main cavities of each poussin.

Crumb the stock cube and season, rubbing these fairly evenly over the skin of both.  Dress with remaining thyme for a rustic look.  Roast between 45-50minutes - juices should run clear (or follow instructions for temperature and timing on meat packaging, temperature setting may also vary according to your oven).

Make sure to rest the roast chicken for optimum 30minutes after removing from the oven.

The juices that run off from roasting should be collected, the top layer of fat removed.  I simmer the remaining juice and thicken with a little flour.

For dessert try my favourite comforting apple strudle and custard recipe Food tonight - done!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New Pillows

Available on Etsy: teal-peacock-floral-pillow


Thanks for loving our pillows xx

Skylon SouthBank


That evening, we crossed from where we had dinner to the Royal Festival Hall in anticipation of cocktails at Skylon.  We had enjoyed a brief window of Indian summer, but now summer was well and truly over and though I don't think it was raining, the chill wind in my eyes and empty bank-side, or the feeling deep down in my heart, gave the illusion of damp pavements - as I turned up the collar on my cigar tone overcoat. 

The first floor doorway non descript and sullen opened onto a lofty space.  The fine dining restaurant and the brasserie Grill divided by a central bar were both slowly emptying, leaving a collective feeling of the end of a weekday night still conspiring to linger. And beyond this were panoramic glass panes with uninterrupted views across the River Thames.  Our seats by the window looked out onto still night.  The riverfront tables and chairs that had been laid out were slightly quaking which made you reflect on the change in season.  The once bustle and breeze of summer along the South Bank, and its bevvy of culture vultures, pre-theatre buzz and after-work loosening of ties.  The street performers that juggled or stood like statues, the second hand book stall under the bridge where I found a copy of the Old man and the sea, and being reminded of the movie Last Chance Harvey (which begins on the South Bank).  Returning to the room, something about the pristine matching uniform of the orderly staff made me think the place insipid, and when we were automatically brought glasses of water at the start, it felt like part of the pretense and the space quickly started to feel vacuous.  Then a solitary worker began in his weighted system to clear away the outside tables and chairs under darkness.

I think the cocktails or mixologist at Skylon may have an accolade - I cannot be sure.  I went for something called Aromatic Pear on the recommended list.  When it comes to cocktails my taste buds are tuned to 70% spirits and 30% other flavours - what do you think?  I don't speak as a connoisseur, just my own palate.  Too often it is tipped too far the way of 30:70, so it becomes too sweet or limp and in some cities such as Hong Kong or Munich, it is tipped too far in the other, more like 90:10 - "hard spirited for the hard working".  There are some places, you expect too much; the Long Bar at Raffles in Singapore and others where you had no expectation at all (Casa, Soho) but loved and began frequenting.  Unfortunately, Skylon felt lacking and I am afraid a once-off for me.

The Edward Hopper stillness compounded the feeling that you were maybe one of those on the inside being looked at, whilst on the inside, the best part was looking out at the magnificent city view.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Sense of an Ending: Man Booker Prize Winner 2011


I currently have 5 books on the go (all having been started and with my promise to return) - a terrible habit.   But I couldn't help a 150 page novella by Julian Barnes and winner of this year's Man Booker Prize, sneaking in for a couple of hours.  A short and absorbing read but loses none of the sense of length with consumed meditation; on memory, of a life spent fooling oneself and remorse in later years.

Have you read it?  What are your thoughts and do you find the ending frustrating?  Perhaps some of the brevity in characterisation left you wanting?  I think sometimes that a writer of command write's exactly as he wants to and not necessarily for the comfort of the audience.  Never spoonfeeding exacting details to leave room for your own interaction and interpretation.  Or perhaps intentionally, embedding the sense of continued misunderstanding and inevitability of never knowing everything of the whole truth.

The prose at certain points is so concise and beautiful, you feel both swept away by the mind of the protagonist and yet knowing precisely how it feels - turning windmills in your mind or blowing through cobwebs.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Giveaway Winner!


random.org generated the number 42!  Entry number 42 below (skip out my comments) is........Robin - Yay!  I will be in touch : )


Saturday, 15 October 2011

Tea Salon

Silk cloth woven for Marie Antoinette for the summer furnishings of her own room at Versailles, 1785
Salon de Venus of Versailles
 nytimes.com

Taking inspiration for the Tea salon look.