"Betty Leopard": December 2010

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

On a happier note

I didn't want to write twice in one day, but I wanted to take away the morbid after taste of my last two posts and I've also been meaning to post some things for a while and if I don't do it soon I may never get round to it!
As part of my festive preparations I undertook some baking. I very much enjoy baking, part of my love of creating and my massive sweet tooth :) Due to the fact that a few of my friends are vegan and Pete doesn't eat dairy, I usually bake vegan. It's not as hard as it sounds and certainly doesn't detract from the quality of the finished products. I have a number of vegan baking books, mostly cupcakes and cookies. My most recent acquisition was The Vegan Cookie Connisseur by Kelly Peloza, a vast collection of cookie recipes ranging from the traditional to the novel. My fovourites so far, and I'm far from having tried all the recipes, are the Carrot Cake Cookies.
Grated carrot and sugar.

Carrot and sugar with vegtable oil and molasses added. Vegetable oil is used as a butter replacement, some recipes also use vegan margarine (Pure or Vitalite are both dairy free).

 Adding flour and ground flaxseed brings the mixture together to a dough. Ground flazseed is often used in vegan baking as an egg replacer to bind a dough together.

The dough can then be shaped and placed on baking trays to be cooked :)

 When I first made these cookies I got around 13 out of the batch. As I wanted enough to cover a couple of festive occassions I doubled the recipe this time and ended up with about 32 cookies!

The carrot cake cookies are usually wonderfully chewy but are crisp on the outside. I must have not stored them properly this time as they went quite dry quite quickly, although they aren't stale and are still perfectly edible, they aren't as gooey and delicious as before. The recipe actually recommends making them into sandwich cookies with cream cheese frosting. So far I have not taken this advice for two reasons 1) because I really don't think they need the extra calories and 2) because vegan cream cheese isn't the easiest thing to come by in the UK (it is available online but that would require much forward planning in my baking).

I also made gingerbread men, but as this is already quite a lengthy post, I think I'll leave that for another time.


While I'm not very good with a totally structured routine, complete lack of any structure does throw me a little off course. Christmas time is probably the ultimate in unstructured living. While staying at my parents I was sleeping til 10 or 11, staying up til 1, napping in the middle of the afternoon, eating when I pleased and showering at all times of day. The inset of my malaise hasn't helped any, with long amounts of time spent doing little but laying down. Today has been a day of nothing, feeling low and unwell I have only been out of bed for a few hours and eaten mostly chocolate. Needless to say, I feel completely out of sorts. However, I do not want to use this as a forum for my bad moods.
New Year is rapidly approaching, and it has never been my favorite time of year, athough in recent years I have tried to make the best of it, planning ahead and hoping for positive changes. Bright futures. I have a number of resolutions I want to make, and I will write a post on those closer to the time. Most importantly I need to remain hopeful and positive, because without that then everything else is pointless. If I feel better about myself then I should be more confident and I'll be able to do anything and everything I want.
I need to live life more, not worry about it or make plans that I never see through. We only get these chances once ;)

Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Come-down

I've been suffering a bit today with post-festivity related malaise. Too much enjoyment and indulgence has given way to the reality of returning home and getting back to real life.
We're leaving Wales tomorrow, travelling home for brief stop before heading up to Pete's parents again for a few days. I'm not sure how much I actually want to go up to see them, not because of them, I'm just not feeling jolly enough to sit and be happy with people. Even put off the idea of New Year celebrations at the moment.
It's a shame feeling this way as I've had a very nice Christmas period. New Year has never been a favourite time of ine though. Hopefully I can snap myself out of this and get back to work without too much turmoil. Don't fancy wasting too much time feeling sorry for myself.
Here's hoping,

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Making space

I really need to make more time and space in my life for things like posting here. Although, my lack of posting isn't always due to lack of time or even lack of ideas. There are plenty of things I intend to write about but always put off for no good reason. I suppose my excuse of late is that I've been caught up in the xmas build up and am now away at my parents for a week for the festivities. Maybe part of my problem is that I'm not convinced I've actually got anything worth saying, or at least, nothing that anyone is interested in hearing.
Maybe it should be a New Years Resolution, could even make a post out of my resolutions. We'll see how this goes.

Monday, 6 December 2010

That Festive Feeling

It's finally hit me. With all the snow and the ever-present countdown on eBay, Christmas is coming. I'm sure my sister would be glad to hear me say that. Traditionally she's the sugar-plum fairy spreading Christmas-ness with gusto from the 1st of December and I'm a bit of a bah-humbug type, refusing to acknowledge the holiday season until the last possible moment. So me feeling festive by the 6th is quite impressive. The snow and cold have definitely contributed, and the fact that I've got into my crafting again quite heavily and have spent several days creating fancy felt things to hang on the tree. I was quite impressed with them in the end, it's amazing what you can do with some felt, sequins and PVA glue. They weren't particularly difficult to make, other than getting covered in glue, which I figure is a small price to pay. I thought about sewing them but glue was easier in the end, might look into using the sewing maching in future for a more professional finish. These are the results.....

Stencil shapes on felt. I used biro as it was easiest and most visible but might have to use something less bold next time as you could see some of the ink when the pieces were glued together :/
Hand applied sequin embellishment. I started small.

Once I got started, I made quite a lot and some of the designs got fancier

This is one of my favorites even though it's simple

How can that not make you feel festive? Come on! If you're still resisting then check them out on the tree....

Well I'm impressed. Could maybe do with some lights though. I made far too many for our tiny little tree, so I have some left over which may end up being given away, although that is assuming that other people will want my decorations. If not, I'm thinking of attaching them to some ribbon as a garland to hang above a doorway, then it's only me and Pete who have to look at them.
I've also been doing some baking, making cookies from a new book I purchased. But I'll save those for another time, there probably is such a thing as too much homely, festive cheer in one post.
Ta Ta,

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow Day

So I never got round to updating you after my big moan on Monday. Partly, I didn't want to re-read what I wrote. So much for the positive thinking I've been reading about. My second excuse would be the crippling headache/migrane that struck me late on Monday overnight into Tuesday.

I did nap after my last post. Then woke up and got on with my presentation. It wasn't that hard to do in the end. Got it finished but was too cold to go out to buy craft stuff. Annoyingly, as a result of the headache I never got to present the products of my labours. Spent Tuesday in bed, in the dark with a blanket wrapped round my head, sound hurt, light hurt and food made me feel ill. Not one of my better days. Felt better on Wednesday, got some work done and went to Hobbycraft to stock up on glue, felt, glitter and sequins.

Then Wednesday evening, the snow came. It was actually pretty exciting. Didn't notice until I went to lock the door at about 11, but we still went out into it. Everything was so still and perfect. The puppy loved it, he's never been in snow before. He ran round and round and round. I could have stood and looked at the snow for hours, but I didn't, it got too cold.

Today we got up and the snow was 5 inches deep. Apart from one car having left the car park, the snow was completely untouched, it was smooth and flat and white and perfect. That is, until the pup got out there. If he was hyped up when we went out in the night, he was insane during the day. He ran so much, in circles and up and down the car tracks. He even tried eating some snow but that made him cough. We threw snow balls for him that he, obviously, never found. Pete and I went walking, with the pup in his jacket, to find space where other people hadn't been. Making snow angels and running with the dog. It was so much fun. It was cold but I was wrapped up warm so much that I didn't notice the temperature, or maybe I just didn't care because I was having so much fun. I got to wear my hat!! It kept my ears warm and looked amazing. Score :) Took some pseudo-arty pics of snow covered trees. Not that I wish it snowed everyday, but I wish the world was more like it is on a snow day. Everything is quieter, calmer, less hurried. There are fewer cars. More people are outside enjoying themselves, and they are happier and friendlier. The pup in his jacket definitely made a lot of people smile.

Had to come home eventually and spent the rest of today making more xmas decorations. I was going to write about that but I got a bit carried away with the snow talk. I will save the decorations and craft talk for tomorrow.
Hope you are watm wherever you are.