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By Francine Holmes
Toners can also be used to remove makeup as well as any residual particles that are blocking your pores. Regular use of facial toners can help to bring back moisture to your skin, in addition to restoring your skin’s protective acid mantle. Those with oily or blemish prone skin will benefit most from toners. Here’s a DIY recipe for oily skin.
In your applicator bottle, pour in the witch hazel, the apple cider vinegar and the black tea. To that mixture add the glycerin and then gently swirl the bottle to mix it.
And finally add the Vodka and again, gently swirl it around to fully blend it and voila! all done. Now to use it, pour a small amount on a cotton pad and apply it to your face, while making sure to avoid your eyes (it will sting like the Dickens!!) leave it to dry then follow with your moisturizer. Have fun making and using this simple recipe!
By Francine Holmes
Tribes of Kin is a fashion design house and a fellow Etsy creative. I had the pleasure to interview owner and designer Valemia Atabong about her journey from inception of Tribes of Kin as well as her creative process. Valemia incorporates vibrant patterns and colors of African fabrics and mostly Ghanaian Kente into western designs to create a vivid cultural visual that can’t help but to grab one’s attention.
FLF: Tell us a bit about Valemia Atabong, who she is and where did Tribes of Kin come from?
VA: I am originally from Cameroon, I immigrated to the U.S at age 12. The love for sewing developed from observing my grandmother on her Singer sewing machine. I was discouraged from learning the craft in place of more practical and conventional studies. Despite that, I would get on her sewing machine when she wasn’t around, I secretly taught myself how to sew.
I did follow the conventional route and obtained a degree in psychology, but I eventually decided to live an authentic life and that meant going after my passion that’s when Tribes Of Kin was born. The name originated out of a desire to form a community of like minded people.
FLF: What do you enjoy most about being a fashion designer and have you noticed a change in your work ethic to accommodate for the demands of this creative process?
VA: My favorite part about being a fashion designer is seeing my designs go from a thought to being brought to life and transformed. Fashion, for me started out as a hobby but it has definitely developed into a full time job now. When it comes to my work ethic, my motto is to be my own cheerleader, which means forcing myself to work even on those days when I would like nothing more than to just sleep in. At the moment I am a one woman show, which involves all aspects of running a business, the administrative and the creative aspects. I have hopes of collaborating and expanding with other artists in the future.
FLF:Your line appears to have strong African influences, describe the overall aesthetic of your brand as well as your targeted audience, if you do have one?
VA:I mostly use the Ghanaian Kente Fabric, It’s the fabric of kings and nobility; It is my favorite print and the most popular of African prints. My overall aesthetic is traditional west African mixed with modern American street fashion. I see fashion as an expression of who I am, where I am from and in what I believe. I am inspired by my world travels and combining my African heritage with a western twist. My targeted audience is anyone who’s not afraid to experiment with their everyday look, I’m especially happy to help give a place for black women who want to connect with their heritage. Through my online store, my designs are available to everyone worldwide who’s looking to express themselves through African culture.
FLF:When designing what do you hope your audience sees or gets from it, at a glance ?
VA: I truly hope that my audience sees a modern style with a cultural connection; whether its a pair of shorts a bathing suit or something more experimental to provide a unique way to express that connection.
FLF: Is your goal to stay current, on top of current fashion trends or to be the trendsetter?
VA: I consider myself a trendsetter because I originated the KenteKini (Kente bikini) trend, I was the first designer to start making bikinis out of kente cloth which has since been copied by others designers.
FLF:What are your plans for the future and what’s next for your Brand?
VA:My plan for the future is to have my designs made in Cameroon and to potentially host other Cameroonian crafters and artists on my website, to bridge the gap and to provide them with a global platform as well to showcase and sell their art.
The current trend for parents is these beautiful swaddles, (pictured right) with hip designs. They are all the rage, celebrities are rocking them which further adds to their appeal. As a first time mother of newborn twins, I wish nothing more than to hang on to any remaining shred of coolness! So in wanting to keep up with the Joneses yet be practical about the demands of two babies, I DIYed the heck out of these swaddles. The brand name swaddle set retails at $45 for a pack of 3. So to provide some cost comparison to our DIY project, that price is representative of the higher end currently on the market.
Gauze or muslin, the names are sometimes interchangeable. There is not much difference between the two fabrics, they are both equal weft plain weave, ultra lightweight, semi-sheer cotton fabric with the exception that gauze is a lighter material.
The muslin I used is sold on Fabric.com for $3.97 a yard, measuring 45 inches x 36 inches. The brand name swaddles are slightly bigger measuring at 47in x 47inches. For my purpose I only needed a yard, you can off course get more than one yard, so let’s get started!
My supplies and cost:
That is a fraction of the the cost for the brand name item, and keep in mind that the paint stamp and brush are a one time cost. When you’re ready to do it this again, you only have to purchase the fabric.So lets get started:
First begin by gathering all of your supplies, it helps to be organized. Find a large surface to work on, place the cardboard on your work station, this is optional but you can use pins or thumbtack to hold the corners. Brush the paint into the stamp and press it on your fabric. And repeat this process until the desired pattern is obtained. Clean up is easy, simply rinse all of your materials with warm water and leave them out to dry and done.
I have found different versions of this recipe, some were creative enough to make it into an alcoholic cocktail, which I never attempted since I prefer it virgin. It is one of those stand alone drinks that just doesn’t need it. A chilled pitcher of Tamarind juice can be quite refreshing and you can toss in slices of lime or lemons for extra freshness. For my recipe, I use Fiji Islands Natural Tamarind ( pictured below) It makes figuring out measurements, water to tamarind/juice ratio so much easier than when using the individual tamarind pods.
Place the tamarind paste into a large bowl or pitcher, then pour in some of the water (10-12oz) gradually while stirring the paste. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes in order for the paste to soften and to completely dissolved.
Using a wooden spoon, break up the paste(if any), continue stirring as you add the remaining water. Using a sieve, filter the mixture to separate the pulp.
Now keep stirring as you add the remaining ingredients: pineapple juice, vanilla, lemon juice and agave. Place in refrigerator to cool or serve chilled with ice.
Enjoy and bon appétit!
By Francine Holmes
I found this gorgeous piece on one of my favorite websites for African clothing. This particular piece is handmade, 100% cotton wax print jumpsuit with two side pockets, a pleated waistline and comes with a detachable sash.