Prelude to Christmas

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa
I have almost reached the end of my Tree of Life and willfeature the completed painting as soon as it is done.  Some small details need a bit of attention.

Last weekend was the art group’s annual “fuddle” – a localdialect word for party, and everyone had to take along a food or drink contribution.  My contribution was a “healthier options” trifle,for which I used tinned fruit in juice, using some of the juice to make up alayer of Hartleys no added sugar (two sachets) jelly, surrounding thefruit.  There were only about 20 caloriesin the jelly, so this layer was relatively healthy.  On top of this was no added sugar instant custard,again 2 sachets. This was topped with “Elmlea Double” a cream substitute, andaround half the calories of normal cream, according to the carton.    Iused one carton, but it could probably have done with two.  I also added some flaked almonds, instead ofanything sugary, toasted first for extra flavour.  I worked out the number of calories and itcame to about half what a normal trifle would be, with no difference in the taste,although a bit lighter than a normal one. If you are planning to make your own version, I recommend letting thecustard cool down a bit before you put it on the jelly.  My jelly melted when I put hot custard ontoit, so I ended up with a pink layer instead of it looking a proper yellowcolour.   Nevertheless, it proved quite popularwith the other members, many of whom try to eat healthily, and these quantitiesmade enough for about 8-10. 

Gill brought her trusty cheese scones, Barbara home mademince pies and John his lemon cake “with a Caribbean twist” – he likes givingthings a twist, as he calls it, and had substituted the lemons for limes.  Some sandwiches and sushi completed theensemble, and we all tucked in and enjoyed one another’s cooking.  Yum.  Ithink we should do this more often.
The bottom layer of this fountain sort of oscillates round.

I took the opportunity of visiting the Winter Gardens in Sheffield this week. This large wooden and glass structure building was opened in 2003, with a hotel on one side and the “Millennium Gallery” on the other. The exotic plants looked a bit small to begin with, but several years on, are beginning to get more established, and there are a couple of interesting water features installed. This one goes round and round, and there is another similar one nearby that stays still. I couldn’t see anything to tell me who they were made but , but I’d guess that the Millennium Gallery had a hand in commissioning them, as they like to collect and feature work from different local artists. Here’s the link to a site that tells you about the Winter Gardens anyway.

My little son loved the outdoor water feature with large silver spheres at the back of the gardens. 

We were interested to see how city living seems to havereally taken off in the Kelham Island area, and the museum and small brewerywith the “Fat Cat” pub and brewery shop seemed to stand as solitary relics of abygone age.  I’ve been to past Christmasfayres at the museum, and they are always well worth going to with many craftsand a great atmosphere.  Today there wasnothing Christmassy, but I was able to give my son an idea of our family’sdistant past, as we are descended partly from people who lived in that area andworked in the steel industry over a century ago.
Although the bus service from Mansfield and therefore,Clowne, has been cut to one every two hours this year, I still like to pop overto Sheffield from time to time, especially as it was my stomping ground for afew years.
10 years of Persistence Works
At Persistence Works, the resident craftspeople werecelebrating the end of their 10 year exhibition today, and I went to see how myfriend Heather was getting on, as she moved there earlier this year.  It wasn’t an open studios event and was heldonly in the foyer, so I wasn’t able to see her, but I hope to feature some ofthe work she had on show in the next week or two.  I didn’t photograph any work as I would haveneeded to ask permission of whoever had produced it, and those people whosework I liked were not in the room at the time, but I hope they had a successfulevent anyway and wish them well.
I bought my young son some candy floss from a stall at theGerman-style Christmas market on Fargate, and the last relics of it are meltingon the desk as I type this, rather like a small frosted pink glacier.  This may be the nearest thing we get to snowthis year as the weather is predicted to stay mild this Christmas, which meanswe should have no difficulty travelling to see the family, or them t us, andthat suits me just fine.  So it onlyremains to wish all readers a Merry Christmas and hope you will rejoin me againsoon for more art and craft related fun.
Finally, I am sharing with you a few photos of houses withChristmas illuminations, something for which Clowne is well known locally.  There are less now than there used to be, ascrime from visitors deterred many would be illuminators, but there are stillmany homes which join in with the Christmas spirit with these colourful displays.   Hope you enjoy these, anyway.

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