A Creative Peace Of Mind

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Scraps

Paint your own garden...

The completed collage…..

 

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A Fascination For Fascinators

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One day a year ago in July, I was eagerly testing a new sketch app on my telephone, and let my finger do the drawing, at random.

In no time, I was looking at the outline of a girl’s face, framed by curly tendrils of bluish-green hair with charcoal strands.

The lipstick was filled in as carefully as an index finger tip could manage but it went out of the outline, much to my chagrin….but oh that’s alright, I convinced myself… because some of the grand masters painted that way too.

Floral fascinator process

Intent on adding the ‘finishing touch’ to the picture, I found the perfect photo of anthuriums in my media library and fancied it would lend itself to being perched on the girl’s head like a floral fascinator would.

And to make it a floral fascinator worthy of being a VAL Design, there just had to be a sliver of glitz in the form of a gold netting bow tucked in between the flowers. Et Voila!

Since a tender young age of 5 or 6, I have had a fascination for hats which I wore to church on Sundays. That to me, was being dressed in my ‘Sunday best’.

fascinator definitionIn later years, I admired fascinators for their ability to look so striking while being pertly placed on the head. I have created some for myself but I do not have photos of them, regretfully.

Till the next sharing of a creative expression, have a wonderful, blessed day!

Going Bananas…!

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The high-pitched ear-piercing sound of the food processor being used incessantly, filled the air in the last three days, as the ice-cream making bug kept me anchored in the kitchen.

Peeling. Slicing. Freezing. Blending. Tasting… in that frenzied order – bent on whipping up frozen desserts that should resemble ice-cream. All freshly made AND in a jiffy too.

First let me clarify that the ‘ice-cream’ recipe used is none other than that of frozen slices of well-ripened bananas put into the blender or food processor and blended till it resembles soft-serve ice-cream – which should be served and savoured immediately.

To get it to be more store-bought ice-cream-like texture, some recipes say to freeze the soft-serve mixture in a loaf pan, for one hour. Then it scoops out like ice-cream in a box.

Most online recipes using the frozen banana as a basic ingredient have the option of adding a variety of different fresh fruit, coffee or cocoa and nuts…. the list goes on and can be as exciting as your imagination will allow. Hence my ‘experimentation’ which led to quite a few pleasant results.

Banana 'ice cream'.jpg

I am happy to share one of the ‘must serve and savour immediately’ experiments – the Banana Avocado ‘Ice-Cream’. Just natural, wholesome goodness from fresh ingredients. No sugar or dairy additions here.

Banana Avocado ‘Ice-Cream’

Ingredients: (Enough for 2 servings)

1 very ripe banana – cut into slices and frozen overnight

1/2 avocado – sliced and put in the freezer for a while, till cold

A few walnuts

Method:

Put banana and avocado slices into the blender or food processor and blend till creamy. Do not overblend.

Add in the walnuts and blend a bit so that the walnuts remain in small crunchy bits.

Serve immediately as soft serve ‘ice-cream’.

Process
Hubby was on a strict diet so I had to be the lone taster….! Needless to say, I have since gotten rid of the ‘ice-cream bug’ and am happy to go back to my usual ‘routine’ ……..but I still have some mango ice-popsicles left in the freezer to last a few more days!

Toodles…

…And The Winning Pin Is…!

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When I joined Pinterest, about six years ago, it was only possible upon ‘invitation’ by an existing member, and one’s request to join the group would take a while to be approved.

Being an incredibly addictive source of visual discovery, it has led me to collate pictorial information onto two dozen pin boards…thus far.

On a daily basis, updates are received on which pins have been ‘resaved’ and/or ‘liked’ by others…and I am simply amazed at the seemingly everlasting popularity of one image in particular…How To Make Homemade Sugar Scrubs.

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How To Make Homemade Sugar Scrubs – Simple DIY Recipes. Infographic from U Create.

It is mind-boggling to think that out of 2.9k pins distributed throughout my 24 boards, that this particular pinned image seems to be remain as top of the Pins for months on end!

It has been popping up practically on a daily basis as being repinned by 20+ to 30+ other Pinterest users! I know not how that compares to the trending pins on the overall scale of Pinterest, but to me, that is puh-len-ty of repining for one image!!

My interest in home-made lotions and potions began in the early 90’s when I chanced upon a book (I forget its exact title) which focused on hand-me-down recipes from a grandmother. That is when I began concocting my own body powder…and the list goes on. I remember a visitor once commented that “her kitchen is made for concocting potions…not for cooking meals”.

Now, with Pinterest enabling me to collate and ‘hoard’ pins online, I have been able to declutter the stacks of files of preciously collected pages of ‘likes’ over the years, that have been taking up valuable space on my book shelves.

Have a wonderful day! And if you have time, do drop by my pinterest page.

A Precious 26-Year Friendship — Whispers & Fizz

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I met Maja in early 1990 when I first stepped foot on Chinese soil. She was introduced to me by her good friend, Al Wymann, who happened to be my then General Manager. We remained friends through thick and thin, and with the onset of wechat/whatsapp connectivity, we joyfully communicated on a daily basis with the greatest […]

via A Precious 26-Year Friendship — Whispers & Fizz

The post ‘A Precious 26-Year Friendship’ is a short and sweet tribute to the memory of my good friend Maria Boyd, which was written in her blog ‘Whispers & Fizz’.

Sunsets That Van Gogh Would Have Loved To Paint

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super-sunset-1While moon-watchers are a plenty, especially when a SUPER Moon appears once in a blue moon, there are just as many who marvel at the beauty of a setting sun.

Capturing the magical moments on my handy telephone camera, when the sun gracefully bids the world goodnight, is always a joy. It inevitably leaves me wondering how best to use these digital images in ways that will further enhance the magnificence of the golden orangey-red hues that permeate the greying horizon and the surrounding sky in such spell-binding ways.

super-sunset-2If I could master the art of watercolour or oil painting, I would surely be trying to do these sunsets justice that way. However for a quick look-see at how the results could look like without the effort of putting brush to paper or canvas, there is always the handy app to work with, for instant gratification of a curious mind.

super-sunset-3With a click of an app, hey presto, the image takes on the semblance of a …. dare I say……a Van Gogh? (In the sense that the apparent ‘brush stroke’ effects of the sunset especially, rather resemble what could have been Van Gogh-ish?)super-sunset-4
I could not resist converting some of my recent sunset faves into images with ‘oil painting effects’ and sharing it with one and all here. If nothing more than for the satisfaction of studying the ‘effects’ the conversion has had in enhancing the diffusing spread of the magnificent hues of the sunset.

Yes, I could go on about how the details of the images allow me to wax lyrical. Endlessly. But I shall leave it to the ‘eye of the beholder’ to weave one’s own magic!

Thank you Lord, for the beauty of daily sunsets.

Kebaya Chic: Two-Tier Cake Stands

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…..Following up on an earlier post entitled: Kebaya Chic Goes Espresso (please click here to read it)today I share with you the charming two-tier cake stands, each adorned with one of four kebaya floral patterns.

Kebaya Chic - Cake stands

The floral patterns featured are from vintage kebaya tops, designed in a contemporary pattern with a background of complementary hues that hark back to the basic colours of precious Peranakan ware.

Unlike the other items in the whole Kebaya Chic range of new bone china ware which come in sets of four pieces, the two-tier cake stands are sold individually. If undecided as to which of the floral patterns appeals more, why not treat yourself to all four!

I simply adore cake stands. If they did not take up so much shelf space, I would have accumulated a much larger personal collection. One can never have enough of these beauties.

When the suggestion to design two-tier cake stands for the Kebaya Chic range was broached by Luzerne (the Singapore-based premier global ceramics company that commissioned these items), I agreed to the idea immediately before any minds were changed.

When not used to serve cakes or any other food delicacies, they take on a decorative role, whether placed on the shelf or dining, coffee or any table (for that matter).

Part of my potpourri of single-tier cake stands are arranged in descending heights on the kitchen counter and create a pretty picture when arranged with fresh fruit. That is one way to tackle the shortage of storage space challenge!

The Luxury Of Art On Silk

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Art work for Thai restr

Having designed artworks in a variety of sizes, the request for a 320 cm x 80 cm (128 ins x 32 ins) piece certainly was the longest and largest thus far!

It was for the Thai restaurant for which I had done the three works on silk, based on the Chilli theme. To read the post, please click here.

The design brief for this piece was short and sweet:

  • It had to be a contemporary piece on 100% silk twill, to be hung at the reception area of the restaurant.
  • The composition would need to reflect the colourful tastes of Thai cuisine and to incorporate the design elements of the artworks in the private rooms – i.e. chillies and orchids.

When it was finally printed on silk twill, the luxurious touch and sheer size of it, took my breath away!

Framed and hung in place at the restaurant’s entryway, its vivid colours and the 3D effect of the various design elements provide a visually arresting sense of arrival.

While the image above is only as large as this page allows, the real piece is just magical! (Or am I just biased?)

An Officer & A Gentleman

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An Officer and a Gentleman

My darling daddy returned to the Lord on 19 April 2016 at the age of 93. It will be two months since that fateful day, on 19 June 2016 – which coincidentally happens to be Father’s Day.

Every year, I used to create a card for him – one that he would print out and proudly display for all to see at home.  This year, thinking about how to honour him on this day dedicated to Fathers, has brought only sadness at our permanent loss.

Realising that dad would want us to focus on the good times and move forward on a positive note….I decided to highlight his last request for a creative job to me, “Darling Girl, can you please touch up this black and white photo and enlarge it so I can print and frame it?

The photo was taken around the late 60’s or early 70’s – it was his pride and joy and was safely tucked into his wallet for all these years. Each time he opened his wallet, and if someone had caught a glimpse of it and asked to see it, he would proudly show the creased and crumpled but treasured photo of him in a Police mess kit posing with mum.

After several months, I finally got around to touching it up with Photoshop in March 2016.  He was over the moon about the touched up version and promptly printed it out in a variety of sizes (he used to joke – “please do not print more than 1,000 copies”) for mum, himself and for display. By that time, he spent less and less time at his computer and printer so it could well have been his last print and frame project. My only regret was that I had not met his request earlier, as it brought such a brilliant smile to his drawn but still handsome face.

We had a private joke between us that we ran a ‘Lee & Lee Publishing House’ as dad loved to print and bind or frame my creative works (as well as other articles of interest, prayers, health or recipes – for friends and family.)

To all who knew him, my father is fondly remembered in many different ways, but above all, he will always be remembered as ‘an officer (Police) and a gentleman’. To the family, he was our everything and lovingly remains and lives on in our hearts and minds.

Dear God, please wish our darling daddy a Happy Father’s Day and tell him that we miss and love him dearly…although we know he is in a better place with you. Thank you for choosing him as our Father here in this earthly life.

 

1 Chilli, 2 Chillies, 3…

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image

When I received the commission to create three pieces of artwork with chillies as a theme, several ideas came gushing into my mind, each vying for attention. So one can imagine just how I had to gingerly plow through the overlapping thoughts till I settled on the one that seemed to hold most promise!

I put in a hot order for the best chillies from the kitchen…chose them for their colours,sheen and varying degrees of curves. Did some photo shoots…stirred them in a ‘creative pot’ of ideas to come up with three pieces of artwork that I was and still am very pleased with (if I may say so myself).

Printed on 60×60 cm of silk twill each, the set of three works of chilli art was then mounted and now hang (proudly) in a gem of a Thai restaurant.

The client was so pleased with the pieces that they produced coasters that grace the tables of the restaurant. The coasters have been given away to patrons, as souvenirs of their dining experience. Needless to say, I have a mini collection at home too!

I am thankful for the opportunity to explore the art of chillies.

Toodles for now.