Sunday, October 31, 2010


I had a meeting with a screenwriting mentor today, who I have been working a little with via email for the last month.  We met for two hours to really tack down the plotline/acts of my story and I feel great about it!  It's starting to come together, starting to feel *real*.

Just excited.  Had to share :-)

P.S. Steps to throw me over the moon about this project:
1) complete the story/script to professional industry standards
2) have the screenplay bought
3) have it made into an actual movie (!!!)
4) be able to be a part of the moviemaking process or at least be able to visit the set
5) see my name in the credits on the big screen.

Ah, a girl can dream, right?  And perhaps work towards achieving that dream?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recipes: Hot Cocoa

I've been meaning to start this for ages - a weekly recipe.  Sometimes complex, sometimes simple.  Usually my own, or an adaptation, or borrowed (with permission) from a friend.

This first week is that cold-weather classic - Hot Cocoa.  It comes from a long time friend (yarnsalad on blogger), and is one of my favourite winter treats.

Now, please keep in mind that I often don't measure, unless for baking.  I go by taste, so these are suggestions - you'll need to taste yours as you go to make sure it's okay.

Ursa's Hot Cocoa:
  •  3-4 heaping tablespoons pure cocoa powder (I find Dutch-processed the best)
  •  2-4 level teaspoons of pure maple syrup (you can use honey or raw sugar or maple sugar, if you prefer)
  •  pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
  •  boiling water
  •  milk (cow's, or rice, or almond or soy, your preference); for an extra rich treat, use cream :-)
  •  few drop pure vanilla extract
How to:

In a mug, add the cocoa powder and cinnamon powder, then the maple syrup (add half - you can add more after, if it's not sweet enough).  With a spoon (I prefer a wee whisk), add about 3-4 tablespoons of boiling water.  Mix with cocoa and maple syrup to make a thinnish paste.  Add more boiling water, stirring while pouring, until you are about 2/3 to the top of your mug.  Then add the milk/cream (I sometime heat my milk first so that it doesn't cool the temperature of the hot cocoa too much) to fill the rest of the mug.  Add the drops of the vanilla extract.  Stir and taste.  Add more maple syrup, if needed.  Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This week on the needles, October 24th

My apologies!  I missed posting about my knitting three weeks in a row.  I had a good reason.  I was trying to decide if I would start the podcasting, and if so, I would be telling you about what I was working on, and it would be silly to blog about the same thing.  And I ended up doing neither! 

I'll now bring you up to speed on what the WIPs and FOs are for the past few weeks, starting with the FOs (finished objects).

The Pogona shawl, by Stephen West, in the Sanguine Gryphon yarn Bugga!, in the "Orchard Spider" colourway, with a trim of my own hand-dyed Heithrun Sock, in the "Mere-Ama" colourway.  I really enjoyed knitting this crescent-shaped scarf/shawl, though the teal/orange colorway is quite variegated and a little loud - not sure what I'll wear it with.  I'll likely knit this pattern again sometime, with a more subtle variegated yarn, or a semi-solid.  I hadn't intended to add the teal trim, but I ran out of the Bugga! yarn at 12 inches, so wanted to make it a little longer (it's supposed to be about 15 inches).  I've yet to block it.

My new yellow mittens, the SnapDragon Flip-top mittens (pattern by Ysolda Teagues), are knit out of the The Sanguine Gryphon's QED BFL worsted.  I was originally going to use the Madelinetosh Vintage worsted (more like a DK), but the gauge was off.  So I grabbed a skein of a skein of the QED, in a semi-solid bright yellow over-layed with an egg-yolk yellow gold.  I used less that the full skein (168 yards per 4oz) for the two mitts, which was great - I love being able to use such a little bit of yarn for a full project.  I liked the pattern, though the cabled detail on the lower hand and wrist were challenging for one with little cabling experience.  The row by row instructions seemed a bit different than reading the chart, so I followed the chart, though that was confusing as well.    I also changed the mittens from a flip-top (which is handy, but it looked like a pain to knit), so I went the easy path and made them as regular mittens.  I love how they've turned out and can't wait to have cold enough mornings to wear them.  I may knit a second pair, but out of my own hand-dyed Heithrun DK yarn.

Speaking of the Heithrun DK yarn, I have just finished a Saroyan scarf using two full skeins of this really squishy, soft merino/cashmere/nylon blend.  I love this yarn!  I had dyed up the two skeins together in the blue-purple (with touches of pink when it hits the light) in the same pot and they were so close in dyeing that I ended up being able to knit one skein, then the other, instead of alternating skeins, and I can't even tell where one ends and the other begins.  So nice.  Hand-dyed yarn can be tricky to do this with, as skeins often don't match, even the solid colours.  When I dye for my own knitting use, I try to get the skeins as close as possible so that I don't have to alternate, or only minimally.  The scarf itself is narrow at both ends and grows to a subtle crescent shape, with leaves running along the curved side.  Very pretty and simple.

In case you noticed, yes, I have been starting new projects when I still have WIPs.  Bad knitter!  But I so wanted/needed the new pieces!  Well, it was the mittens I needed the most.

And the WIPs?  The lace scarf from organic merino that I've mentioned before (and shown a photo) with the zig-zag pattern.  Aye, that project is still on the needles.  I know.  It's the damn scarf that never seems to end.  Sigh.  I am determined to finish it though.

A new WIP that I started just this past friday is a wee cardigan for my youngest son.  It's called "Yokester" and is a top-down, seamless sweater.  I'm knitting it out of a DK-weight superwash hand-dyed wool called "Traveller", by The Sanguine Gryphon.  The yarn reminds me a lot of my own hand-dyed superwash DK wool called "Pales Fluffy DK", though I find my own softer than the Traveller, which seems a bit squeaky and not terribly soft.  Odd, as I didn't notice this when I used the Traveller yarn for a pair of socks for my husband.  Those socks are really good, and wear really well, even with going into the washer and dryer.  I plan to make socks for myself with this yarn eventually.  The cardigan is going really well, even with the yarn feeling funny.  My son got to choose what colours he wanted - some blues/greens with touches of purple.

These two (scarf and sweater) should keep me busy for a few more weeks.  And oh, those WIP socks - eventually I'll get back to them, and will let you know what they are and when I'm working on them again.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Debating with myself

I know I've mentioned in a few previous posts the idea of starting a podcast.  And yes, I do really like the idea, however, as I think on it longer, I am not sure if I'll be able to start soon.  For those of you who have been reading (or read back) since the start of this podcast this past May, I stated in there somewhere that I tend to over commit myself.  I bring on many projects at the same time, and spread myself too thin, and then grow exhausted and grumpy.  This time I would like to keep my schedule fairly simple, with only a few things on the go.  I need to re-stock my online store (Gaia's Colours), but will be doing this somewhat slowly, and I need to get moving on my screenplay story (it's time has come, I think).  Starting and maintaining a podcasting will be taking a backseat, for the time being.  It's still there though, and I will continue to play around with ideas, good sound quality, etc.

So this is to keep you updated, just in case you wondered about the podcast, and what was happening with me.  I'm busy, as always, and trying my best to be creative and still enjoy the process.

I've got other posts to write soon, but for now, I'm off to an appointment, then dinner and my weekly knit night.