So, I avoided the looney bin, not sure about keeping sanity though because I need to brave the shops once again tomorrow. Probably after making some gingerbreads and eating them so I become nice again.
I am now about to brave the outdoors. By outdoors I mean the malls and other assorted shops in search for Christmas gifts. If nobody hears from me in a week, please check with the local looney bin where I will most likely be sitting wagging to and fro mumbling something about jingle bells and long lines.
It is cold outside and I do NOT look forward to going outside. But I have to. I mean, there's not much point in giving Christmas presents if you haven't bothered to buy any right?
Maybe I'll be in a better mood when I get back home. Right now I feel a tad depressed at the thought of the hordes of people getting the exact same idea as me and going shopping this very minute. I'm also debating on how to dress. It is cold outside, mittens-and-hat cold that is. I won't be wearing any of it. Because in the mall there will be steaming hot and I do not like the idea of carrying stuff around just because I can't wear it.
Okay, vent over. Time to go.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way...
This is the front of the blue three-part card. Pretty snowflakes. Thank you Heather! Stamped with bright blue shimmering ink from Panduro. Very hard to wash from the stamps though. Anyway, I figured I'd write something or stamp something more there. If I have the time or think of something funny.
Since last year's missing gingerbreadmen card was appreciated I decided to make one this year too. It actually looks like gingerbreaddough. I got a really good brown hue on the paper this year.
And of course, the hugging snowcouple! Aren't they cute? Silver lace, silver glitter glue for the text. It's a bit wobbly because being a leftie I have to start writing with the stuff from the wrong end of the word to not smear it and get it all over myself. The snowcouple is glittery too, which makes the paper really messy to cut into. Glitter EVERYWHERE!!
For some reason I found this hilaiously funny! Now, who to send this to? Oh and I got this gingerbread stamp from Heather too. Very generous person that Heather. Thank you!
Speaking of generous, I kinda swiped the layout and the inspiration for this card from Heather. For those of you interested you can see it here.
First I made a simple card using circles and red ribbon. Kinda effectful though. Maybe I should've put some of those dots (which is silver glitter glue) underneath the circles also. The dots are supposed to be stars, it looks much nicer IRL. Which is true for all the cards btw.
Here I played around with a stamp I got from friend Heather. Remember this one? Anyway, it took a while to color all those little dots and stripes and stuff. The santa in the middle is a sticker.
I used the ridiculously expensive "God Jul"-paper I bought last year before I realized I could make my own using the fonts of Word and a printer. Oh well, I have paper to use for a long time at least. Coupled with a family of gingerbreadmen it looks quite nice. The gingerbreadman is a clearstamp I got from Heather last year. I still love it! The "buttons" on the men are made of glitter glue in different colours.
A simple white card with a gingerbreadhouse on it. Stamp from Heather. It was fun colouring, but it took a while. The greeting is stamped in gold and retouched with a gold pen.
The first one was the old fake virus warning about the Hallmark e-cards. *sigh* I thought that one expired it's sell by-date like a year or two ago. Apparently not. So I replied that this is a hoax and that there is nothing to worry about. I thought about sending a Hallmark e-card, but I didn't. Maybe I should have.
The second one I got today was one of those even older "send this to XX number of friends within XX minutes and something you wanted for ages will become yours". Ha! Yeah right. There are many varieties of this one. Everything from sending it to three of your closest friends to 20 of the same and that something good will happen to avoiding disaster. Why people spread this garbage is beyond my abilities, but apparently they do. The probability of something good happening by clogging up other people's inboxes with junk like this is about the same as me winning the lottery without buying a ticket. What will happen is that you will have lots and lots of annoyed friends.
So everyone reading this: If there is a virus warning, take the 30 seconds needed to confirm it before sending it to me. I don't forward such warnings without at least trying to verify them first. Never, under any circumstances send e-mails of the kind "send this to 20 of your closest friends and something good will happen/to avoid disaster".
And for everyone who does not send junk to me, I thank you of all my heart for sparing me irritation and wasted energy.
Yesterday I decided it was time to make some cupcakes. I had done careful research and found two decidedly yummy recipes. So, after a trip to the store to get the ingredients for the cupcakes and the icing I got down to business.
Note that it is a very good idea to check there are those paper cups that you make cupcakes in of the right size in your cupboard, BEFORE going to the store. Oh well...
Okay, so I started making chocolate cupcakes. After making the batter, which kinda looked a bit funny, but I managed to bully it into the paper cups and put it into the oven. The recipe said it would be 12 cupcakes, but I only managed to make 9. I guess the cookbook and I have different opinions on the definition of "regular size".
They turned out pretty good anyway.
On to the carrot cake cupcakes.
I made the batter. It looked better than the chocolate cupcake batter. I manged to pour it into the cups for baking. I got 8 of those. By now I did not have any illusions regarding the number of cupcakes yielded by the recipe so I just shrugged and put it into oven.
25 mins later I had made the frosting for the carrot cake cupcakes. That one was easy. It was the frosting for the chocolate cupcakes that made my head hurt.
It was chocolate truffle frosting. I had to boil some cream and then put in some sugar and chopped up chocolate. So far all is well. Recipe said it could be used when cool as frosting for a glazed look on the cupcakes or be whipped when cold to be spritzed onto the cupcakes.
Now, this requires the frosting to actually thicken slightly when cool or even cold.
Not so well... The frosting did not thicken when cooling. Not when I tried to chill the pan in cold water. Nor did it thicken when I put it in the refrigerator... So I put it in the freezer. It thickened and hardened. And became a big blob of frozen chocolate.
It was good, but as soon as I got it out of the freezer it became liquid again.
So, to sum it all up. The chocolate cupcakes turned out great but the frosting was a catastrophe. The carrot cake cupcakes was okay, but the frosting was great. So now I have chocolate cupcakes in the freezer and carrot cake cupcakes in the refrigerator. I don't know what to do with either of them. I'm not supposed to eat since I'm on a diet. *sigh* Oh well.
I guess I'll go for another recipe next time. Or one that I know will work since I initially had planned to bring the cupcakes to a meeting.
I was pondering the concept of happiness today. I realized that moments of pure bliss are just that, moments. Short bursts of happiness. Complete and utter happiness is not a permanent state of mind. My theory is that we all have some sort of baseline happiness in our lives. You know, like when you're looking at a chart and you see the peaks and the valleys and then you see some sort of average line running straight in the middle. That would be our baseline happiness. Sometimes we are happier than average and sometimes we are not.
Does this sound depressing? That we can't handle utter bliss all the time? Well, not to worry, you see, the middle will become higher up if the peaks are more frequent. They do not necessarily have to be really high as long as they are above average.
Right now I'm trying to find more of these smaller peaks of happiness to raise the average level of happiness. Appreciating the smaller things in life. Like the flowers blossoming in the city gardens. Very pretty. A beautiful song. A hug. A smile. You know, all these little things.
This is one of the more important thoughts I've had I think. And one of the most profound insights. I mean, if I am of the opinion that the only way I'm going to be happy is by winning the lottery, then I'd be destined for a life of misery because I very rarely play the lottery. But if I am of the opinion that I should be happy because I have good friends and family and enough sense to appreciate them, then I'm probably more on the track of happiness.
This is not to say that there are issues in my life. As for everyone else there are problems to be dealt with and stress to be handled, but if I just can stop for a while and smell the magnolias and the newly mowed lawn and watch the snail trailing a path (and maybe even save it from certain death by bike) then I don't think I'm a lost cause for happiness.
What do you think?
For everyone out there worried I would not know what day it is, please be reassured. I do have a calendar now. It is even a good one.
I will not say 2008 was a bad year, it was just strange. A lot of good things happened also. I met several new friends that I treasure and I got to spend more time with family. That is always a good thing.
Right now however I have got two essays in linguistics to write so in concordance with my new years resolution to stop fretting about stuff I will now start on writing one of them. Isn't it fun when you get an assignment you can't wait to get started on? I get to watch "Third Rock from the Sun" on youtube and actually feel like I'm doing something useful. I LIKE linguistics! :)