Monday, 30 July 2012

... to Help Others

Knit or Crochet for Charity
Connections between people build in many ways - personal friendships, relationships, people you know by sight, internet acquaintances, and communities of like-minded people with shared interests.
   I am one of over 3000 people in 35 countries round the globe who are connected, literally, by a thread. And that woollen or acrylic thread may be any one of any number of colours.
   You see, we all knit or crochet for the charity Knit a Square. All our threads form thousands of squares, 8 inches by 8 inches in size, which are posted to South Africa. And all these squares are sewn up by volunteers to make blankets in a kaleidoscope of colours and a riot of patterns for abandoned babies, orphans and other children in need.
   Knit-a-Square post photos on their website showing the children's delight when they are wrapped in their bright blankets, or wearing their beanies or holding their toys this worldwide community of knitters and people who crochet have made for them. Seeing the kids' smiles and knowing that they will be warm and have something special 'just for themselves' brightens my day too.
   You may not knit or crochet, or you might like to help a charity closer to home. So here's my challenge. What can you do to help others?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 Do Something You Love

A Miniature House in 1:160 (N) Scale
I took the time today to do something I love - making miniatures. The sun was shining into the studio, the birds in the garden were singing and in that peaceful setting I quickly got 'in the zone'. I was oblivious to time passing and the problems of the world, completely focussed on making tiny things. 
  I made this little house from a kit set. It is part of a miniature village I am making. I particularly enjoy doing the landscaping, and aiming to make everything look as realistic as possible.
 The hour I spent immersed in my project was greatly enjoyable and satisfying. Creating something is a wonderful way of living in the moment. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

... to See the Sunshine after Rain

A Camellia After the Rain
It's been raining this morning but when it stopped and the sun came out, I saw this camellia glowing in the light, bejewelled with raindrops. It made my heart lift! And I was reminded of the lyrics to a song by Mark Knopfler:

                         There will be laughter after pain,
                         There will be sunshine after rain,
                         These things have always been the same,
                         So why worry now?

That's a comforting thought as well.

Friday, 13 July 2012

... to Make Delicious Hot Chocolate

Thick Hot Chocolate Spanish-Style
Today is such a grey, bitterly cold winter's day that I've been sitting in front of the fire, reading a detective novel and sipping on hot chocolate. 
  This has to be the best hot chocolate (outside of Spain) that I have tasted. In Spain they make the drink so thick you can almost stand your spoon up in it. My recipe replicates that silky smooth consistency. 

Hot Chocolate Spanish-Style

  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup drinking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
  1. Put all in a microwave jug and whisk to combine. 
  2. Microwave on high 2 minutes, stir. 
  3. Microwave 2 minutes.

In fact, as I've been drinking this, I've been imagining myself back in Barcelona, sitting in the sun at a side-walk cafe in the Plaza Real, having hot chocolate and churros. Oh, to dream!

Sunday, 8 July 2012 be Open to Serendipity

Aah, serendipity - the act of finding something delightful by chance.
Looking for 'things' in clouds
Remember when you were a child and lay on your back on the grass, looking up at the clouds and trying to see shapes in them that reminded you of familiar things? Well, I was flicking through a Lonely Planet magazine this morning and found a page of photographs of clouds that looked like things - a shark, a rabbit, and a giant's face were some examples. 
 The photos were from a book put out by the Cloud Appreciation Society. Yes, there really is such a delightfully named organisation! They state that, "We believe clouds are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul." I'd agree with that.
 The next magazine I looked at was Life and Leisure and there to my surprise, was an article about the Cloud Appreciation Society. Reading about it twice in an hour when I hadn't ever heard of it before! 
 I looked out the window at that moment and saw this fantastic cloud. Can you see the 'thing' in it? The dark horse galloping, tossing its head to the side.
  Aah, sweet serendipity!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

... to Look at Old Photographs

Old Photographs Bring Back Memories
I am fascinated by the link between photographs and memory. If we didn't have photos to remind us of people or places or events, would we remember them?
  I've been sitting in front of the fire and looking through a shoe box of old photographs from my early childhood.  Pulling out a handful of the small, deckle-edged, black and white pictures, spreading them out on the floor around me, and remembering funny stories I haven't thought of for many years.
  I was about four years old when this photo was taken. I remember I was at my grandmother's house. She dressed me up in her petticoat and pearls, and pinned a piece of gauzy material over my head as a veil. Voila - a beaming child bride!  
  The hour I've spent with this pile of old photos has been a great way to remember the lovely times of my childhood. It has been a true joy.