A Chip off the Old Block

   

Many good ideas are born around a kitchen table. That’s the sacred place of home where we bond, confide and bounce ideas off each other.

Our own kitchen table had had its fair share of sticky fingers and all the myriad activity that goes along with school projects and growing up.  After eleven years it certainly looked worn and my husband suggested it was probably time to look for a new one. To me this table was like an old friend and I was reluctant to say goodbye just yet.

As we sat around one day, about a year and half after my surgery, a thought popped into my head and I couldn’t resist entertaining it, even though it seemed rather far-fetched. I was contemplating bringing this table back to life, rather than getting rid of it, and as I shared my thought, everyone gazed at me quite startled. They were rather skeptical of my idea and the thought of me sanding, polishing and varnishing simply did not seem to be worth the effort at all.

I however, was undeterred.  As a child I had witnessed my dad dabbling in a lot of carpentry as a hobby and had been privy to the satisfaction he seemed to derive from his various projects. I could feel the stirring of a similar desire in me and I simply had to follow my inspiration.

In a way, I understood the reluctance my husband and boys felt. I was riding on the heels of my dad’s passion, while they were not. Their path of least resistance was to go out and buy a new table, but mine was to test my own creativity and see whether I could bring my dream to reality—singlehandedly, in every sense of the word. I would need to do everything with my left hand!

It took me nearly two weeks to sand the table to my satisfaction, but I was pleased with my effort. A lot of the initial skepticism my family had had, was quickly fading away as the kitchen counter became our temporary watering hole. I did encounter a few glitches with applying the stain and the epoxy layer but I managed to sort them out, learning a lot through the experience.

My ‘new’ table was a perfect reflection of the thrill I felt at accomplishing quite ably, everything I had set out to do. Unfortunately the chairs now stood out awkwardly, so I had to sand and varnish them as well. This of course took a couple more weeks, but slowly and steadily I worked my way through all of them.

And finally, our kitchen table was recommissioned, happy in its new attire. For me the satisfaction was worth all the time and effort. More than that, the table stands as a tribute to my dad, who had subconsciously sown the seeds of passion and patience in me all those years ago.

And while it’s certainly true that many good ideas are born around a kitchen table, I daresay (tongue-in-cheek of course) that this table was born around a good idea!

© 2018 G.A.I.L

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Turning Thoughts to Things

Things can always germinate from a ‘thought’ into a ‘thing’ if there is enough momentum. And of course momentum is simply Law of Attraction in action.

In my case I love creative stuff, so it’s no wonder that anything remotely smacking of creativity calls out to me in a way I cannot resist.

I see my stubbornness to give up on a desire as a wonderful thing that propels me forward, despite any limitation—for example a paralyzed arm, in my case.

I guess many people find it disconcerting to see me stubbornly intent on reaching for my own personal satisfaction, regardless of any setback. I have to confess that I’m not using ‘Will power’ to prove that I can accomplish something —but rather ‘Wish power’ for the simple reason that  I’m pretty enamoured with whatever it is I’ve conjured up in my imagination and feel the need to see it in its created form.

I think my ‘wish’ or desire to try out some things is so cheerful and devoid of resistance, that I’m open to receiving inspiration to ideas that will help my project along. I’m always buoyed by each thought and this spurs me on to receiving more and more thoughts of similar nature. I always seem to find a creative way of surmounting any hurdle I come across. Well, that’s my understanding of how Law of Attraction works.

For example, some time ago our community club suggested having a piñata for the kids at a Weekend getaway. Given my love for all things creative, I happily volunteered to make one. I thought it would be fun to attempt creating a piñata single-handedly, pun intended. (I’ve made piñatas before – just not with one hand.) For me the challenge was thrilling and exciting!

I guess any task can be broken down into do-able components and working with paper mache has to be the best example;)

I set about making my piñata with shredded strips of newspaper, dipped in a paste of flour and water, layering them patiently—strip by strip, over an extra-large inflated balloon. It was Easter season and I was attempting to make an Easter bunny.

It took me a few days while I waited for the layers to dry, but it was worth the effort as I watched my little creation come to life.

The newspaper encased balloon may not have looked too appealing on its own, but it occurred to me that I could use bits of toilet tissue to dress it up. And along with some  bits of yellow crepe paper that I cut up, my little bunny began to develop cheeks and a little  bit of personality. I drew his eyes and teeth on plain white paper, cut them out and stuck them on. I agree it’s not the easiest thing to cut out little shapes with one hand even with a left-handed scissor… but then I soon discovered that a small bit of Blu Tack can help stabilise the paper on a cutting board, so it becomes easier to  cut around.

Then I shaped out his ears from cardboard, decorated them with crepe paper and pinned them on. A few tassels on the bottom completed the picture I had visualized in my head and I was pretty pleased with my effort. The picture you see above is my own little creation, hanging cheekily from our apricot tree in the backyard.

We filled up our bunny with lots of goodies and waited for the kids to fall upon it. They certainly did— with great glee!

I soon discovered that I had gone a bit overboard with the layering and the bunny turned out to be a tough nut to crack. He literally had to be clobbered to release his goodies but everyone had a good laugh, including me.

And come to think of it, if I can do this with one hand …. surely any ‘bunny’ can!

 

© 2018 G.A.I.L

Drawing on a whim

When I was a kid, I once drew something I thought was pretty good. To my surprise (and chagrin) my teacher did not share my opinion and actually made fun of it.

My feelings were terribly hurt and feisty as I was then, I was quick to retort, ‘Can you draw any better?’ Fortunately it was in private and not in front of the whole class.

Over the years I’ve often thought about sketching  but never got down to it for one reason or another. Life happens… we get busy with parenting and other things and often dreams fall by the wayside. In my case, my right arm became paralysed after my surgery.

But strangely, I soon discovered a certain resilience I never knew I possessed. Some might call it foolishness, but it did not seem to bother me.

I decided I was going to try drawing with my left hand.

So I looked up a picture on the internet that I liked, and copied it free-hand.  I am always appreciative of artists who translate images they see in their mind’s eye and put them on to paper and I couldn’t help feeling grateful to the unnamed artist who had created this particular piece.

Needless to say, I was super thrilled with my efforts! Had I not attempted sketching, I’d never have known I was even capable of doing so with my non-dominant hand!  I suspect  my paralysed arm had  metaphorically opened a door of sorts and I’m pretty sure I’m going  to walk through that door often – and with gay abandon!

Art or not, here I come…

 

© 2018  G.A.I.L

 

 

 

 

Christmas Tree Pavlova

 

Christmas Tree Pavlova

Last Christmas, I felt inspired to tweak the classic Aussie Pavlova into my own wacky version – A Christmas Tree Pavlova.

The meringue base is traditionally round, but I decided to shape mine into the rough outline of a Christmas tree. For good measure I also coloured the mix green – both the base as well as the whipped cream topping.

I then took the liberty of decorating my ‘tree’ with coloured candy (rather than fresh summer fruit) and used a bar of chocolate as the tree trunk.

I’d come across some easy-to-make Strawberry Santas on Pinterest only a few days before, so I simply had to try ‘em out. I made six little Santas, easily enough … to guard my little creation;)

The result was pretty satisfying. The kids fell upon it in glee and my nephew claimed it was the best Pavlova he’d ever eaten.

I reckon candy speaks louder than fruit;)

__________

This is the recipe I used:

INGREDIENTS:

Base:

  • Egg white 225 mls
  • Castor sugar 1 ½ cup
  • Cornflour 2 tsp
  • White vinegar 1 tbsp
  • Vanilla essence 4-5 drops
  • Green food colour

Topping: (Prepare only after meringue base has been baked and cooled.)

  • 600ml Thickened cream
  • 4 tsp castor sugar
  • Green food colour
  • Mini candy

Using an electric beater, whip the cream and sugar until light and fluffy. Set aside  5-6 tablespoons for the Strawberry Santas.

Then add the green colour to the rest of the whipped cream

METHOD:

Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time, while beating constantly at medium to high speed. Continue until all the sugar has been used up. The consistency should be thick and creamy. Make sure that the sugar is completely dissolved, by rubbing a little between thumb and forefinger. If the mixture feels gritty, beat some more until smooth.

Mix cornflour, vinegar, vanilla and green colour until just combined.

Preheat oven to 120° C. Sprinkle some cornflour on a sheet of basking paper to prevent the meringue base from sticking. Then spoon the mixture and shape into the rough outline of a Christmas tree. Bake for 1 hour until the base appears firm. Allow to cool completely before transferring gently to a serving plate (preferably rectangular).

Use a flat spatula to spread the whipped cream topping evenly over the meringue base. Decorate with mini candy and use a rounded bar of chocolate to form the trunk.

STRAWBERRY SANTAS:

Slice the bottom of the strawberry so it has a stable base. Then slice horizontally across and put a bit of white whipped cream between the halves. Use mustard seeds for the eyes and add a bit of cream on the pointed part of the strawberry to form a pompom on the cap.

 

 

 

© 2018  G.A.I.L