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Blogging Challege : Day 1 – Blog Name

Originally posted in Swinging With Babies , this blogging challenge (which, in turn, came from livelovesimple.com) is going to help me on the days when my brain is not working very well and I can’t think of anything to write, photograph or blog about.  Which is often, these days, let’s be honest.

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So, today’s topic : My Blog’s Name.  Why did I call this blog The Paper Wallflower?  Well, mostly, because the name “The Speckled Egg” was taken, ha ha.  Truly.  I wanted The Speckled Egg as my blog name.  I’m always using eggs (or, at least, pictures of) in my
card-making, and speckled eggs are very popular as a design element/feature, but the name was taken, by a few different blogs, so I moved on.

I obviously favour paper above all other crafty mediums – I use it for card-making and collaging, drawing, painting, journaling, writing etc, so having “paper” in my blog title seemed a given.  Then, I was going to incorporate my favourite flower – violets – into the name but couldn’t make it work, and I didn’t want to have just my name, Violet Annie, as the main heading.  So, I chose a wallflower.  It seemed fitting – I am horribly socially anxious, the absolute prime example of a wallflower (if anyone is sitting on the outskirts of a dance, not dancing, it is me) and the title seemed to work.

So that’s pretty much it.  Not a very exciting story, but there you are 🙂  I’m happy enough with it, as a blog name.  It will do!  I guess I’m stuck with it now anyway.

I should, at this point, while we’re on the topic of names, confess that my real name is not Violet Annie.  It’s my business-if-I-had-a-business name.  It’s actually my Grandmother’s name and, as violets are my favourite flower, I pinched it for my own devices.  I don’t think it’s a great idea to have your real name out there on the internet for all to see.  Even though, in reality, I’m sure it’s easy enough to find.

My Grandmother was an amazing lady – she lived with us for the last 15 or so years of her life, after she emigrated at 80, until she was 95.  No dementia or any real health issues, she was a character alright.  Loving in her own way and, despite being a tad cantankerous at times, she was very grateful for everything we did for her.  My Mum had quite a tough time with her, some days – she wasn’t always easy to deal with – and we all had to care for and look after her on a daily basis.  She was fairly independent, right up until the end, and didn’t ask for much except company and her blessed smokes (sigh…you can’t tell someone who is 95 years old that smoking is bad for them).

I will always remember her last night on this Earth.  She had taken ill in the day (respiratory problems, not surprisingly) and was in hospital.  Mum and I went to visit her in the evening (she’d only been admitted that morning, and was doing quite well, all things considered) and she was sitting up in bed, eating her dinner (pumpkin soup – her favourite) and complaining about the nurses.  She was calm and not frightened or distressed (a huge blessing for my Mum – she didn’t want to leave her if she was upset) and talked about coming home the next day.

But there was no next day for her.  At around 2am, we received a call from our GP.  Nanna had passed away, very peacefully, in her sleep.  The doctors and nurses were all a bit shocked – they had not expected her to go so quickly, although she was not expected to come out of hospital any time soon.  I really believe her spirit just decided it was time to go.  She was warm, her belly full and we were all safe.

So, I guess this blog is dedicated to my Nan.  I hope she is proud of it and me.  She was a mad crafter – knitting was her thing – and so I think she would have liked seeing all the things I make.  One of my favourite memories of her was when she asked me to help her make my Mum a medal.  It still makes my Mum and I teary, even now.  This little tin-foil-covered cardboard medal, with Nan’s writing on it, saying thank you for everything Mum did for her.  That says LOVE right there.  It couldn’t be more valuable if it was made from solid gold.

Have a good day everyone.

 

 

 

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Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

We had a morning tea at work this week, to farewell one of our longest-serving staff members.  For twenty three years TM has worked diligently and cheerfully, always going the extra mile and making sure everything and everyone is organised and looked after.  I have only been at the organisation for just over three years, but in that time she has been such a support to me and I will miss her terribly.  I don’t even want to think about her not being there when I arrive in the mornings.  The place will seem very empty without her presence – even on the days she’s not there, she’s still THERE, you know?

So, as is mandatory for all morning teas, cakes, biscuits, quiches and slices were baked and brought in for everyone to share.  I made my Date & Almond Slice, and also tried a new recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies, which I hadn’t made before.  They turned out really well.  Very moist and moreish and easy to make.  Everyone enjoyed them so I am glad I tried something new, and will make them again.  I tend to make things I shouldn’t really eat (ie things with chocolate or nuts in) – my theory being that I won’t indulge too much myself.  This is a fallacy.  I eat half the batter before it even goes in the tin and then keep taste-testing the baked product.  Pathetic.  I’m sure my kidneys hate me.

Anyway, the brownies were delicious – I did modify the original recipe slightly as I felt it had too much sugar in it (I left out about a 1/3 cup from the chocolate batter, but I am giving you the original amounts here).  The recipe comes from Baking Bites – a lovely foody blog with lots of yummy recipes, baking advice, kitchen gadgets and more.
Please do visit their site – you’ll find lots of inspiration 🙂

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INGREDIENTS

Brownie Batter
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake Batter
8-oz ricotta cheese (I used smooth)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with baking paper.
Prepare brownie batter: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder until well-incorporated. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Stir in flour and salt, mixing until ingredients are just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour into prepared pan and set aside.

Prepare cheesecake batter: In a medium bowl, beat ricotta cheese, sugar, flour, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A sharp knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into small squares (or large squares if you’re a piggy ha ha)

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Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Enjoy!

And to TM, I say a fond farewell – you will be missed more than I can say x

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Sweet Process

Creating a card can be tricky
You start off with papers and thoughts
You fuss and you fiddle and change things around
Probably more than you ought

Then you decide on an image
Something that’s pretty and sweet
You shuffle your papers, add and subtract
And hope it forms something complete

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You ink up the edges carefully
To add some vintage distress
Your fingers are getting quite grubby
And the table is looking a mess

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You position all the pieces
And figure out what will go where
Should they be on an angle somehow
Or centred and straightened with care?

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Pieces all glued together
And suitable text added in
You try some little embellishments
To give it some sparkly bling

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Nothing says cute and jaunty
Like a birdie wearing a hat
You’re finished now, and everything’s done
And that, my friends, is that!

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Ok, so I am no poet… I won’t give up my day job any time soon 🙂
I’ve just come home from celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday – lots of delicious food and lovely company (as all birthdays should focus on!).  Happy Birthday MD 🙂

It’s late but I had to wind down before going to bed (I don’t know about you, but I can’t just go straight to bed after being out…my brain is too hyped up, especially after social occasions which, despite being enjoyable in this case, are stressful and nerve-wracking for me). Why I thought writing a poem would help me, I do not know.

But it’s off to bed now, with a hot water bottle (mandatory), some flannel jammies (very necessary) and strict and stern instructions to myself to get up early
(I have a breakfast to go to – seriously, all I do at the moment is eat).

Hope you’re having a happy weekend x

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Joy

I wasn’t sure about this card, but the more I look at it, the more I kinda like it.  I’m trying to be less critical of myself and my work.  I think the bird has a cheeky look in her eye, as though she is saying “Look what I laid!” Although, judging by the size of that egg, she would probably be thinking “What the heck did I just lay?!”
So maybe a little less “Joy” and a little more “Oy!” (or “Ow!”).
Either way, I think she deserves that little crown and should wear it with pride.

Hope your day has brought you some joy, in one way or another 🙂

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Quote for the Day : What Makes Me Unique

“…The truth is that there are a lot of people like you, us, with strange hobbies or talents or gifts and we try to hide it because we’re afraid that it makes us seem weird or it will turn people off, but that’s a mistake. What makes me unique has brought every person I love into my life…”

— Ned (Pushing Daisies)

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Everything Was Fine

Another attempt at watercolours and a different design.  I’ve been really inspired by Danielle Donaldson‘s work lately (when I say inspired, I mean I’ve been drooling enviously over her work) and have wanted to do something a bit “lighter” in colour and maybe just different to what I usually do, using her beautiful “art girls” as inspiration. I’m not saying mine is anything like Danielle’s, in composition or execution, but hey, it’s alright.

I’ve got a long way to go.  But I’m not totally unhappy with this, if only because I kept going and tried hard to complete it.  I am loving my new white Posca paint pen – as you can see (went a bit overboard with the white dots…) and enjoyed working on this picture, including the funny little balloons, which look a bit like lollipops but never mind!

Everything is not fine right now.  It’s very much meh to be honest.  Work is very stressful and distressing and I am worrying about a million things, most of which are out of my control, which makes worrying somewhat pointless, but there you are.  Mostly I am just very tired and a bit soul sick.  But I am hoping things will be ok again soon, or at least show signs of getting there eventually, so I can hang on a bit longer and not be so whingy and party-pooping.  Especially on my blog.  Nobody likes a whingy, party-pooping blogger!

Hope everything is fine with you.  Thank you for stopping by x

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