Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's Raining Books

I don't buy books often these days, as I already have three bookcases full of the paper beauties, but in this last month or so have bought almost a dozen. And we don't count the spinning and knitting magazines, do we? Oh, good.

Today I did buy two new books from a local book store, with a very specific purpose - writing help. As previously mentioned, I have been brainstorming, imagining, playing with ideas of a story, and was
unsure about the format - novel or screenplay. So I bought a book for each path:
  • "Screenwriting for Dummies", by Laura Schellhardt (this came recommended by several people on Amazon.ca).
  • "Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in SixMonths", by John Dufresne (not that I have a burning desire to write my first novel in six months, but I'll see how he walks me through it).
This is going to seriously side-track me from Julie, Julia and French Cooking, but I don't think they'll mind. I want to have both of these read before my summer time-off, so that the real writing can

In the crafty department, my hoodie is moving along just fine. I'm almost at the ribbing of the bottom of the body, then all I need to do is the sleeves. Hoping to have this done soon.

And I've resurrected my new-but-hibernating loom (have I mentioned that I now own a small table-top "Knitter's Loom"?) and am in the process of finishing a "table-runner"-style altar cloth in blues and
silver, in silk and cashmere. No liquids on this baby, please!

On the home front, we've been watching Mason bees emerge from cocoons in the last couple of weeks. It's been great for my boys to see these little blue and black non-honey bees come into the world, ready to pollinate our fruit trees and bushes, and make their nests in the special wooden house we've bought for them. Though the weather has been a mixed bag lately, we've had some really beautiful days and have been out in our yard, my boys with their sidewalk chalk, me with my gardening gloves and pruning shears.

The three male members of the household have all been sick this last week too. It went from youngest to oldest and my husband is still pretty run down and sniffly. I have yet to feel anything cold-ish
coming. Do I jinx myself just by mentioning it "out loud" here? Eep!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Why I love my mail-carrier

When I returned home from an outing with my boys this afternoon, a delicious box of books was waiting for me.  Yes, my Julie and Julia books.  They are:
  • My Life In France, by Julia Child, 2006.
  • Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child, 2000.
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, by Julia Child, with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, 1961.
  • Julie & Julia, my year of cooking Dangerously, by Julie Powell, 2005.
The large cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1 was opened first, and wouldn't you know it, the first recipe I happened to flip to was Boeuf Bourguignon, one of the classic recipes featured in the Julie & Julia movie.  It is a beef stew of sorts, and reminds me a little of my own beef stew recipe, but lots more red wine.  And bacon.  Hm, bacon could be good.

Will explore all four books more in depth over the coming weeks.  Will even attempt to cook some of the recipes.  Will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Early Days

I'm brainstorming.  This is good. 

A lot of unknowns.  This is not good.

But then, that's part of the adventure, no?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On Procrastination

I am doing it again - putting off work.  I need to wind many cones of yarn into skeins of yarn.  But I am resisting.  I want to knit or write or try a new yoga routine. 

So, compromise time.  Brain, we will do 20-30 minutes of winding, then you can do something fun, okay?

Oh, and I've been looking into learning about screenplay writing.  Other than scribbling random ideas and scenes, I need to find some structure.  So, I might as well learn the necessary structure in which to insert the ideas.

Off to wind...

When Inspiration comes...

...it comes in spades.  In rushes.  In unending spirals.  In flooded banks, washed with colour.

Well, if I'm lucky it does.  And in the last 24 hours, it has.

The "writer juices" were initially sparked by watching, as mentioned in the previous post, the film "Julie & Julia".  Then last night, while my husband did Day 1 of his new 60-day workout challenge, I was knitting a lace scarf (details to come), and listening to one of my favourite knitting podcasts (yes, I listen to knitting podcasts while I'm knitting - I'm a geek, I know) called "Cast On", a song came on that blew me away.

The song is called "Kolysanka" (from what I have read, means "lullaby" or "cradle song" in Polish) by the indie British band "3 Blind Mice".  It's hard to describe - iTunes has the song and the albums of this band if you would like to hear part of the song.  It's sweet, but sad, driving and melodic.  The lyrics are a bit sad too, and sound very much like a bittersweet lullaby. 

Besides being a beautiful, powerful song that has been haunting me since I heard the opening vocals, it put me in mind of a secret little project I've had in my head for over a year now.  A story, either to become a novel, or a screenplay.  This song, "Kolysanka", told me it wanted to be part of the story, somehow.  Which means that a screenplay is more likely.  And really, as I have very clear visuals of many scenes and the majority of the plot laid out - hell, I even have the leading man picked out - how could it not be a movie?

Yes, I know, avid movie-maker that I am, this all should be breeze, right?  Ah, a girl can dream.  And this one does...

More on this as it unfolds.

But now for a bit of knitting.  What am I working on?  Besides having more WIPs (Works in Progress) than I care to admit to, I'm focusing on two main projects right now.  One is a hoodie pullover, knit in one piece, top-down, in a worsted BFL (Blue-Face Leicester) wool called "QED" from The Sanguine Gryphon (an indie dyer like me, but much bigger than me).  The yarn was a light brown with pink undertones, which I didn't care for, so I overdyed the lot in a deep, warm mahogany.  I am now working my way across the chest.  It's basic stockinette stitch and wonderful mindless when I want to not think about my knitting too much.

When I do want to (need to?) focus on the pattern and knitting, I turn to my other WIP - a lace scarf, called "la Novia" by Anne Hanson, worked in a DK-weight yarn.  I'm using, surprise, surprise, another Sanguine Gryphon yarn called "Free Range".  It's a soft, organic merino and is working up really nicely in this pattern.  This is definitely a pattern that I have to pay attention to - the six-row repeat of lace have different instructions from each other, but just subtly enough that a slip up of "what row am I on?" can muck things up.  I've only had to rip back 1 1/2 rows once so far when things didn't line up.  I think I missed a YO (yarn over).

So from stockinette to lace, I've enough to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks.  Then I get to move on to the many sock projects that lie waiting for me in that "hibernating projects" wicker basket in the corner of my living room.  I can feel them all, the single socks, scowling at me and wanting to know when their perfect mates will be created.  If I give up sleep for the next three months to just knit, do you think anyone will notice?

Monday, April 19, 2010

On "Julie & Julia", sort of.

In case you haven't seen or heard of it, "Julie & Julia" is a movie based on the true stories of American chef Julia Child (who learned to cook in Paris) and Julie Powell, a New York woman who took on the cooking (and blogging about) of all of the recipes in Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in 2002-03 (blog link on this project in sidebar).

I saw this movie last night, while knitting my BFL worsted Hoodie (my lastest main project), and found myself enchanted by it.  My mother had told me that the film was lovely.  Well, she likely didn't use the word "lovely", but that was spirit of it.  I had heard plenty of great reviews as well, so was prepared to like it.  And I did.  What I was not prepared for was... inspiration.  The film really sparked up the creative juices in me.  I also felt envious of the great idea - cooking and blogging which then led to a book and a film - good work, Julie!

Why does it often feel like it's all been done?  What's new for us who need to be creative?  How do we find ideas that haven't been explored?

Still, I'm going to explore this creative spark, alongside the yarn & fibre dyeing and knitting.  Something non-fibre, or somewhat fibre-based.  Hmm.

In the meantime, I will have both the books of Julie and Julia to read in the next month.  I may even try to cook a few of the recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Side-Blog

Just because.  That's why I am starting a second blog.  My main blog is for Gaia's Colours Fibre Arts, my hand-dyed yarn & spinning fibre home business, but this one is for other adventures in knitting, cooking, gardening, parenting, and life.  A place for non-business musings and silliness.  More to come....