Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Forward the Foundation

There's a run of family birthdays in the middle of October, so it's a good time of year to head West and catch up with everybody at once. My sister-in-law's birthday is sandwiched between my father's 65th (large family gathering) and her eldest's 5th (22 excitable classmates to be catered for) so I wanted to make sure her gift was something really special.

I spent a pleasant afternoon browsing the Norwich Lanes and acquired a range of mustard themed products from the Mustard Museum gift shop for my father and a set of Fireman Sam playing cards for my niece. Finding the right gift for my sister-in-law was a little harder. I had one of those shopping trips where everything you eye up is too similar to something you have bought for that person before. In previous years, I have bought her a yo-yo, a book of modern poetry, a salt themed cookbook and a blue glass objet d'art. Every shop and flea market stall I browsed seemed to be chock full of glass objets d'art.  

Eventually I happened upon a stall selling vintage brass compact mirrors and chose a pretty one that didn't look like it needed too much cleaning up. Fortunately, bartenders can lay their hands on Brasso (other brands of brass cleaning product are available) pretty easily, so I was confident that I could buff the case up to make a shiny present.

Vintage Compact Mirror
I would have left it at that. Perhaps I should have left it at that. But that evening Charlie cast her practised eye over my proudly displayed purchases. She wrinkled her nose at the mustard and lemon soap from the Mustard Museum gift shop. She declined to play a quick game of 'Where's Norman?' with the Fireman Sam playing cards and when she popped open vintage brass compact mirror, she observed, "It's been used."

"I know," I said, "It's vintage. I bought it from a vintage stall selling vintage brass compact mirrors."

"You could put some foundation in it," suggested Charlie. So in a way it was her idea.

What I didn't know is that you can buy foundation refill packs. How was I supposed to know that? Like most boys, I wore a bit of eye-liner from time to time as a teenager, but foundation was a mystery to me. So I looked up the ingredients of an all-natural foundation powder and made my own.

It was really simple. I combined a base of some leftover zinc oxide I had from my crystal growing phase with some cornflour and coloured it with cocoa powder. I mixed these dry ingredients with a bit of rubbing alcohol until they formed a paste. (Actually, I didn't have any rubbing alcohol so I used a very pure vodka I brought back from my honeymoon in Russia.) As the mixture dries and the alcohol evaporates you are left with foundation.

All the ingredients you need to make your own foundation.
My sister-in-law seemed very pleased with her vintage compact mirror. However, I'm not sure I got her colour exactly right as she didn't apply any of the foundation.


No comments:

Post a Comment