Here you go, a post about things I made

This week has been more writing than making, I am trying desperately hard to try and get the first 15,000 words of my novel to the Yeovil Literacy prize at the end of this month. today I managed to revise 2000 words which I’m pretty happy with. However, there are still 13,000 to go.

However whilst procrastinating earlier in the week I finished off my Dottie Angel Frock from simplicity. I’ve been itching to make this for ages and am really happy  with it. although I did loose half of the instructions so the arm holes are a little frayed.

 

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I wore it today and should have posted a photo onto Instagram for me made may.  I;ve been a lax in posting photos of my makes. I was really excited when I had a new item every day to show off, now I’m feeling a little restricted.

I have, however, enjoyed making little crafts.  I made a really cute fish mobile inspired by this month’s Mollie Makes. You can read more on the Crafty Sew & So blog.

 

My motivation seems to be fading somewhat.  It’s been over a month now since I last saw my therapist and I’m beginning to miss the stability she brought me. Maybe I’m just tired. It’s pilates tomorrow, that always makes me feel better.

Tomorrow I will have a day of looking after myself.

 

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I Made It Through

It’s been a tough week, with bad news from the dentist, my last ever appointment with my Doctor at the eating disorder clinic and thinking how on earth I’m going to cope when my comes to an end in April. I’ve been seeing my therapist for over two years and it’s absolutely terrifying thinking about stopping. It’s difficult to remind myself that the reason I’m ending is because I’m so much better than I was two years ago. The very Idea of being ‘better’ is frightening. I’m scared there will be more expectation placed on me and everything will go to hell again.

suffice to say I’ve been feeling somewhat overwhelmed. However I was cheered up no end last night by shouting down a couple of patriarchal idiots and helping out a girl who was being leered at. I wrote about it in a post yesterday.

It hasn’t been a massive making week but I have been enjoying myself with the latest Mollie Makes magazine free gift.
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The embroidery was really relaxing to do, and I learnt a couple of new stitches. The idea is to make them for decorations but I think they would just end up gathering dust in my house. I’m going to embroider the animals onto a piece of fabric and then use that to make a lampshade. The lovely Helen Bunting of Sewphies has a fantastic drum lampshade kit. She has done a couple of workshops at Crafty Sew & So

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I also made a handy carrier bag holder for the shop but I forgot to take a picture. I’m going to make one for my house soon. Today I am going to spend the morning with my in-laws and then a lovely afternoon tea with my mum.

x

Reading List for a Healthy Mind

 

Reading was one of the first things I loved to fall by the wayside. Slowly but surely my love of reading is returning.  Though my brain has yet to wrap around books of any length I am very much enjoying Audio-books and graphic novels.

Recently I’ve discovered a wealth of amazing autobiographical graphic novels, exploring personal journeys of recovery and mental health. Here are a few of my favourites.

Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green

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This is a perfect illustration of living with an eating disorder, particularly if abuse was a key factor in it’s development. Please be aware that this book can be triggering and only read if you are in a healthy place. My husband has also read this book, the poignant illustrations helped him understand the things I cannot explain.

When Anxiety Attacks seeking out therapy even when your problems seem  weird or silly by Terian Koscik

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I stumbled upon this in the Wellcome Collection bookshop. They have a fantastic selection of books concerning mental, as well as physical, health. This short comic feels like a snapshot of the authors life. really useful for anyone who thinks their problems aren’t ‘real’ enough to seek help.

 

Hyperbole and a half by Allie Brosh

Absolutely hilarious and only a little heart breaking. Brosh’s illustrations are so simple yet express a width depth and breadth of emotion. Brosh reveals so much about her life, from her struggles with depression to the, possibly ill-advised, adoption of two dogs. I finished this book then read it all over again. I laughed and I cried, sometimes at the same time.

 

We Can Fix it! A Time Travel Memoir  by Jess Fink

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The author travels back through her past attempting to fix absolutely everything. It is a tempting prospect to go back and change all those humiliating memories. The ones that still creep up on me when I’m in the shower or trying to get to sleep. This is a fantastic tale of accepting yourself by facing up to those memories and being able to move on.

There’s also a couple of non-autobiographical comics I find helpful I think they belong here.

Flimsy’s Guide to Modern Living by Rachael Smith

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Essentially a picture book for adults. Flimsy is a charming character who gives his very best advice on modern living, whilst always holding tight to a glass of wine.  Its a simple reminder of all the lovely things you can do to feel happy. My husband picked this up for me at Leicester Comic con and I have a lovely sketch of flimsy drawn by the author.

The Fox and The Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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I mentioned this stunning book in a previous post. I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Every page is illustrated beautifully. The story takes you through the dark woods, alongside a young fox, in search of his star. It’s a true delight to read and sure to calm any chaotic thoughts racking the mind.

And finally this wonderful advice from Brian Blessed…

 

 

 

30 minute doughnut holes…and difficult choices

I was pretty sceptical about this recipe as the doughnuts I’ve made before I’ve left to prove for a good while.  Never the less I decided to give it a go.

I used Kelly Senyei’s recipe from Just a Taste  

For the doughnuts:
5 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Equipment: Deep-fry thermometer; Small ice cream scoop (I didn’t have one so I used spoons, they weren’t particularly neat but worked fine.)

Add the vegetable oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. (There should be at least 2 inches of oil in the pot and at least 2 inches between the top of the oil and the top of the pot.) Attach the deep-fry thermometer to the pot and begin heating the oil over medium heat to 350 ºF / 180ºC. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and the egg.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir the milk-egg mixture into the dry ingredients, then stir in the melted butter, mixing until a soft dough forms.

The dough is pretty springy  and easy to scoop. I used the whisk instead of the dough hook on my mixer.
The dough is pretty springy and easy to scoop. I used the whisk instead of the dough hook on my mixer.

Once the oil has reached 350ºF / 180ºC use a small ice cream scoop to drop about 1 tablespoon scoops of dough into the oil, careful not to overcrowd the pan (they will puff up). Fry the doughnut holes, flipping them in the oil, for about 2 minutes or until they’re golden brown.

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Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnut holes to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. 

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Kelly uses a glaze but I just rolled them in caster sugar. I found it’s difficult to know when they are cooked all the way through. I’d probably say make the doughnut holes pretty small to avoid doughy centres.

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Lovely misshapen doughnut holes
Lovely misshapen doughnut holes

They smelled delicious, however I struggled to eat them. My last few blogs I’ve been doing a very good job of ignoring my mental illness. Avoidance is all very well until it’s comes back to bite me. It’s with more than a little trepidation i mention it now. (At the bottom of the blog where none but the most dedicated will do more than skim read). That’s enough procrastination…

My anxiety around food has risen a little recently, I’ve taken a few more scary steps, such as restarting driving lessons meeting a friend in town and ordering a toasted tea cake, and attending my sisters baby shower and nibbling at the afternoon tea (awkwardly scraping butter from my scone). Theses activities have pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged what I can and cannot do.

Although it’s been rather liberating and fun it does leave me feeling more vulnerable and anxious. Adding to this anxiety is the fact that for the last couple of months my weight has been steadily rising. I’m weighed every week so my therapist can keep track and check if I’m staying healthy. She assures I am still within the lower bracket for my BMI  but that does little to ease the worry of those rising numbers and the slow change of my body shape. She often describes it as a wack-a-mole scenario. when one thing in my life improves another issue pops it’s ugly face up.  In fact two have popped up recently the first is massive anxiety over talking on the phone and the other is to do with food.

To cut a long, and complicated, story short;  One thing I did when I was suffering severely with my eating disorder was bake for other people and not eat the results myself. This is a unhealthy coping strategy and allowed me to not eat whilst having the satisfaction of providing for others. this almost happened when I made these doughnuts. I displayed them beautifully made a cup of tea and watched them cool without the slightest desire to eat them.

I had a friend round at the time, she ate them happily. I took a deep breath and tried to let the pressure fall away. After managing to relax and reminding myself it was my choice whether I ate or not I was able to enjoy the sugary treats.

They tasted lovely but I think I prefer the traditional method of leaving the dough to prove as the texture is nicer. As a quick treat they work perfectly.