I know you all are eagerly awaiting new posts from me. This is not one of them. Sorry. Will try to post more soon.
And now to blog about it…
Literary adventures in baking!
Hey everyone, we’ve got a fantastic competition for you. As some of you are aware, James and I devour books as well as having a love of baking. And after the success of the last of the last competition (and me being on a diet, thus needing to live vicariously through you all… ) we decided to do another one.
This one is going to be literary themed. That’s right. Baked goods based off of books.
We are allowing items inspired by movies as well, as long as the movie was based off of a book.
The competition is running from June 1st, through till June 30th (I’m going to say PST that way people to the West of me don’t get ticked off about loosing an hour). At which point we will randomly draw a winner from the submissions. The more items you bake, the more entries you have.
If you blog about it, you get an entry. (Make sure you link the blog to us otherwise we won’t know)
If you tweet about it, you get an entry. (Again, make sure you post that you tweeted, with a link to the tweet. Otherwise we will not know.)
If you get a friend to join the group, you get an entry. (Make sure that we know that the person joined because of you!)
You must tell us what inspired your entry. Come on people, get creative. Will you be making bubbly pies in honor of Pern? Scones fit for Sherlock? Lembas bread? Golden Snitch truffles?
Sweet or Savory, it doesn’t matter. But it must be baked. ( After all, this is Baking after Midnight. So no Lucky charms in a cereal bowl claiming it was inspired by Flitwick’s class in Harry Potter. Now, you could use lucky charms to decorate cupcakes that way if you desire… if you want… Sorry, on a Potter kick at the moment.)
We have prizes for 2 winners. – Do you guys want to know what the prizes are? Or do you want to be surprised?
And just because I’m feeling generous… we might even do a “most awesome litabaked item” (yes, I just made that term up.) This is your chance to dazzle us. Make something fabulous. Or make something mundane. But either way, get your baking on. 🙂
Yeah… I’m a big old geek.
This has been an interesting year. I never win anything. I always want to win things.. but I never do. This year though, I have won 2 things. A book (Which I still haven’t read), and now a pair of custom made earrings by the fabulous designer Alena from Alena’s Originals.
I discovered her jewelry in a quest to find jewelry inspired by the tv show Bones. I love the necklaces that the main character of Bones (Based off the novels by Kathy Reichs) wore in the beginning seasons. I had found the actual designer many years ago, but her necklaces were going for thousands of dollars… and I’ve lost that link.
I ran into Alena’s shop once again in my quest for the necklaces.
With this set of earrings that I won, it was entirely up to me to pick what I wanted. Well, I didn’t know what I wanted so I told Alena to be creative. Just to give me something organic and earthy looking. I think she did an amazing job. I LOVE them. Wooden beads, A Walnut see, and Silver. Lovely, just absolutely lovely. And so light weight!
I love to look at pretty things. I can’t necessarily buy pretty things right now, but I can look at pretties and also send my “likes” to the hubs2be who is now terrified to buy me pretties because the only jewelry taste he is familiar with, of course is his Mothers, and his Sister. I am going to attempt to put this as delicately as possible.
I have the direct and total opposite taste in jewelry than my future Mother in Law.
She freely admits to loving the Bling.
I love things that are more organic and delicate. I do not love the bling. Guy has tried to show me things that he wanted to buy me. Thank gods he didn’t surprise me with pieces because quite frankly… I had not been happy with his choices.
OF course if he had bought me something, I would have loved it and loved him for buying it for me. Even if I thought it was the ugliest thing in the world. You do that for your spouse.
But he and I communicate with each other. He’s starting to learn what I like. When he and I are finally cohabitating, he’ll finely be able to see what I like, and not just hear what I like.
Well, I like Alena’s work.
And I was absolutely floored when I won a pair of custom earrings made by her. Even though I’m allergic to sterling silver (Though my ears aren’t hurting right now after wearing them for a few hours yesterday) I wasn’t going to mention it since these were free. If they had been less than SS, I would have offered to pay the difference so that I could actually wear them. Even with the SS, I chose a wire style that would allow me to change the wires out if absolutely necessary down the road.
Yesterday I had a photoshoot with Rebecca. We used the church of Grace and St. Stevens in Colorado Springs. That is my mother’s church, so while we were photographing, she was working in the garden. The reason we chose to have the photoshoot there was because the administrative offices are is in this amazing building next door. It is called the McWilliams House, and it is an old Victorian.
Now I shouldn’t be showing these photos yet, as there is a certain one that is for something very specific… but I’m going to risk it.
We had fun doing the photoshoot. I borrowed my mum’s hat for it, as I don’t have one of my own at the moment.
I have many more photos, but they aren’t ready yet.
I have quite a headache, so I’m going to leave it here for now.
Oh, and stay tuned for more information about that pretty scarf I’m wearing. In a few days you’ll get to hear all about it with some detailed photos!
Well.. it’s taken some tinkering, but I think I’ve finally decided on a look for the blog that I like.
Let me know what you all think? Anything I need to change and what not.
I’ve got many ideas and plans for 2011, and now that I’m not cranky and depressed I’m starting to focus on those.
I can’t tell you about all the plans, simply because there are some meanie heads (yes, that was being polite when I really want to call those people (and I’m using a plural to be polite) a certain 4 letter “C” word that I never never never use and generally want to punch a person in the face when they use it. But these “people” deserve the label.) will attempt to steal the ideas.
But yes, I’ve got very big plans for this year. And I’m not talking about the move or supposed wedding!
In regards to the wedding and move, I’m not making any plans. To make plans would be to tempt fate once again.
It’s been a tense couple of days between me and My Guy. Moving brings out the worst in people, finding suitable housing always makes me cranky. I hate searching for places. The UK also makes it very difficult for apartment searches. They don’t believe in renting over there, the mind set is “to own”. Well, that is all fine and dandy if you are one who not just wants to own, but can own. So you are lucky if you get a crappy image of the outside of the building when it comes to rental properties. Oh, and that is the only image. No floor plan, no measurements. Nothing. Just a crappy outside image.
So it gets frustrating. And My Guy is wonderful, but the worst when it comes to searching for housing. He’s picky to say the least.
As I was typing this up though, I checked my email and found that a deposit has been put down on a place.
My Guy sent me the link yesterday, with photos from his viewing. And after the big upset that had happened over the last “promising place”, I was certainly nervous opening the email. (The argument had not been pretty.) I will say I let out the breath I had been holding. There was light.
One of my big things was fear of living in a dark cramped little closet. I get depressed. I suffer a bit from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). Also moving to a new country, with weird customs, and no friends close by… All while not being able to work for the first 6 months… in my mind is a recipe for severe depression.
This little place has light. It has a galley style kitchen (only it doesn’t go through to anything other a Juliet Balcony).
It has a black stovetop which is good if I ever dye. Woodgrain countertops, and though the sink is smaller than I’d like (and only a 1 basin sink) I’ll manage somehow.
The bathroom is downstairs, with a window. Which makes me happy so that I can get the steam out and not have a mildew covered bathroom.
The bedroom is upstairs. That is the only problem that I really see (other than just general size of the little place.. but can’t do much about that on our budget right now). I can just see me with my bad knees having to go pee at 2am and going down those stairs. Oh well, if there is a problem, it might mean I finally get the second knee surgery I need lol.
It’s over a shop, which is weird to me. I’ve never lived over a shop. I might go mad during those first 6 months. Or it means I’ll spend my days at the pub next door, with my laptop working on the novel. The pub is literally down the stairs next door. It’s called The Seven Red Roses. I rather like that name for what will be “my local”. The post office is also literally right next door. As well as a Curves (which I’ve never gone to curves, but if it’s the closest gym, I might give it a go). There is also a pilates studio, that has the machines. I might give that a go, I know I can’t just do the floor routine for pilates, not with my back the way it is, and I haven’t had the chance to try the pilates machines.
I still do not know if I will be allowed to run my business during the first 6 months of living in the UK. I understand the reason for the “not allowed to work”, as they don’t want people just marrying for the Green Card. Wait, to they call it a Green Card in the UK? You know what I mean though. I think there should be an exception for owning your own business though. *shrugs* we’ll find out, and if I’m not allowed to run the business, I won’t. (Hear that government people? I won’t work during those 6 months. If I dye, it’ll be for my own personal use, and that is all.)
I started a diet at the end of last year. And since the 2nd of January, I have lost 14.4lbs. To put it in British terms, I have lost just over a “stone“.
I don’t know if it’s simply because of the diet, or if it’s just the universe telling me something I should be doing with my life (beyond dyeing yarn)… but I have been dreaming and fantasizing about owning a bakery for the past few weeks now.
Colorado has far too strict laws in regards to food sales, so sadly all my plotting and planning will have to wait till after I move to the UK. I have someone researching the laws in the UK, but I believe they are slightly more relaxed.
But just because I cannot sell my wares right now (once my diet is over of course, I’m not going to tempt myself like that) doesn’t mean I can’t bake them and perfect them. I’ve already got a menu of items to perfect. I can also test an idea I have in regards to keeping things fresh and shipping them, not just across the country but across the pond.
This little baking dream I’ve been having has actually done a wonderful thing. My big brother Merlin and I have reconnected over it. Baking and cooking was a very magical thing in our house growing up. All of us kids did it, and we enjoyed doing it. Whether it was grilling a piece of fish on a tiny grill hanging off the back of the boat, or if it was a Chocolate cake with Peppermint Frosting (pink even!) for a sleepover. We are a family of foodies.
In my comments about this dream on Facebook, he encouraged me. Since I haven’t actually seen Merlin since… Wow, I want to say 10 years ago now… this is a big deal to me that we’ve reconnected. I didn’t get to see him at the engagement party, that he and his now fiancée flew out for. (They got engaged the night before the engagement party, but didn’t tell anyone until afterwards because they didn’t want to take away from my “thunder” well, considering I wasn’t even at the engagement party, I would have been pleased as punch for them to announce it then as then it would have been a REAL engagement party. lol)
Stories I am working on this year:
Nope, haven’t dropped this one. Still working on it. While I was in England I did a little artwork to get myself inspired.
That is an idea for Vesper Ravenwood. I enjoyed playing with it.
And here is a logo for the HMAES Valerian, the ship that takes them oh so far amongst the clouds.
Then there of course is still the Unnamed Blitz Novella. I don’t think it’ll get a name till it’s done, and I cannot finish it till I get into England and can take a walk or two. I am not giving this one up at all, because I really like it.
Mind you, the image for the Blitz Novella isn’t pretty. It was thrown together without the aid of photoshop. Someday I’ll clean it up when I have photoshop again (meaning after the move as the main computer of the house has it)
And then of course there is the new little short story project that I am working on. I announced it in the last blog.
Can’t really give you the title at this time, but you’ll know it has to do with the mysterious person named “Bliss Leigh Happy”. I cannot wait till this one is ready for public consumption. It shall be quite fun!
I’ve been working my ass off the past couple of days dyeing yarn. I’m exhausted. Today I’m going to edit some photos and put listings up in the shop, and I might do a bit more dyeing, but I’m certainly not going to do as much as I did the other day.
The Sherlock Holmes Yarn Club has been a hit! People are expressing that they enjoy the yarns and the swag they’ve received, which makes me quite happy. I was nervous about my yarn babies going off into the world.
Books I’m currently reading:
Tekwar by William Shatner (haven’t actually touched this one in a while)
Two for the Dough by Janet Evonovich
and I just got from the library (haven’t opened them up yet but I will later today):
Death Masks by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #5)
The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson (#2)
I guess I’m done yammering. I should go make some lunch and then get to work on what I was going to work on.
Bugs and Hisses everyone.
Hello world. No, I am not dead. I just have been slightly dead. I know I should have been posting about my trip to England, which I will do… eventually. I was sick while I was in England, and then I got sick once I got home. So I have now been sick going on a month. Not fun.
I’ve also had lots of dyeing to do. I’m gearing up for my big Sherlock Holmes Yarn Club, which starts this January. And when I say starts this January, I mean for the clients. For me.. it started back in September. I’ve been buying yarn and swag, and designing things, and knitting etc. I’ve spent the last 2 days dyeing up over 30 skeins of yarn which is only HALF the first month’s shipment.
I’ve got more to dye today once I finish this blog. I tell ya, once I’m done with this club, and the Big Ass Order that I’ve got at the same time… I might have to take a break lol. No, I won’t. But I am working on some Super Sekret Projeckts (yes, technical spelling there).
But today I’m going to talk to you about a friend and her book. I am honestly proud of her because she is finally publishing her book. She is going the self publish route, and she has personally given me lots and lots to chew over. She shares her experiences in the back end of the business, to which I find invaluable.
If you are ever interested in her tips, you can read them at her blog here: To Publish or Not To.
Because she has chosen to go the Self Publishing route, a route that I my self might be headed in… that falls to us to help her out.
I’m going to steal her own words now, as it’ll give you a tiny idea of her writing style.
“But word of mouth is powerful, and it’s a good book. If you like darkly comic fantasy with lots of sex, complex characters and moral situations, and multi-layered world building, this one is for you. If you read 100 pages of Twilight and decided the characters were just too damn painful to deal with, if you loved Harry Potter until JKR went off the rails in Deathly Hallows, if you really, really loved some of the fantastic adult oriented fan fiction that Harry Potter inspired, if you wanted to shoot Lev Grossman in the head for inflicting The Magicians on us because nothing happens in the book and the main character is a whiny twit, give Sylvianna a read. I wrote Sylvianna with those things in mind, creating a book for people who love fantasy and want an intelligent, grown-up version to sink into.”
She is offering her book for free. Yes, for FREE.
Simply go to this link: Sylvianna by Keryl Raist on Smashwords and use this code: EN72N
That code is good until January 21st 2011. (whoa, almost wrote 2010… can we tell I’m not ready for it to be the end of the year yet?)
Even if you have NO intention of reading the book, please please download it anyway.
The more downloads a book gets, the higher in ranking it goes. Then the more people who see it, the more likely it is to sell. Feel free to pass the code around and give it to anyone you want. She is looking for as many downloads and reads as possible right now.
If you want a physical copy of the book, there is a little widget on the side of my blog. Now if you click through that link, I get a bit of money. And since I’m a not quite, but almost starving artist(writer) trying to finish my own novel… CLICK IT!
Alright, it’s time for me to do the dishes, then get back to dyeing… I’ve got a lot to do in not a lot of time and I still hate being sick.
I will try to get back to a more regularly scheduled blogging. I am also attempting to actually finish my novel and the Super Sekret Projeckt. Those are my goals for 2011.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and for those celebrating today a Wonderful Boxing Day.
I myself did not really celebrate, the presents are still under the tree. We are waiting on Mum coming home from dog sitting before we open anything.
I did however, make pumpkin bread for our brekkie, tuna steaks with spinach and sweet potatoes for our dinner, and we had a Japanese chicken noodle soup as well.
Oh, and there was no snow. How about that… not a white Christmas. It kind of amused me.
So today I was actually up and out of bed when I wanted, and I was at the gym at like… 7:03… roughly.
Now as I’ve said before, I’ve never been one for exercise. I’ve never found that elation that comes with it. I still haven’t. But today something happened that I had never thought would happen.
I got on that hellish elliptical machine, set my timer for 4 minutes (remember I’ve been building up in 30 second increments) and before I knew it the 4 minutes were over! How the hell did that happen? I wasn’t dying, I wasn’t coughing, there was no burning sensation in my lungs. Sure, my legs felt it, they had since I stepped on it, but I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse.
Shocked is certainly an understatement.
Feeling good, and still having plenty of time I did a few of the machines. Not much on those, then I moved over to the rowing machine. I did a whole 30 minutes on that. Oooh boy. It didn’t kill me.
After that it was time for the bike, and I did my 20 minutes.
Aqua class time, this time it was a killer. You know those 30 minutes I just spent on the rowing machine? Well, our (sweet) instructor decided to have us do quite a few movements that were mimics of that action.
After class I headed across the street to Barnes and Nobel. Now this was completely a research trip. I had originally no plans on buying anything. Damn it just happened to be payday as well. And I have no willpower.
The trip was to look at Moleskine journals so that I could go online later and know exactly what size etc that I wanted.
There I was drooling over the leather bound copies of Wicked, and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a few others… I was a good girl though and did not get any of those.
Though, there was one thing I did end up buying. I couldn’t resist it.
It’s called “A Sorcerer’s Cookbook” and it is something that made my inner Foodie, and not so inner Witch go “Buy. Now.”
When the move happens, I won’t be taking my 5 Anne Rice books (4 paperbacks, and 1 hardback), I won’t be taking any of the LKH books, I won’t need most of the paperbacks I have upstairs, so having 1 more book that I will actually read again and enjoy shall have space in my moving boxes. (Speaking of Anne Rice, if I do ever replace my Vampire Chronicles that I mentioned above, it shall be the nice leather bound all in one set that yes… is also from Barnes and Noble)
I skipped down the parking lot to Whole Foods, and once again spent too much money, but in my defense I bought flour and honey, and those two items took up a third of my bill and won’t run out for a good long while. (Well… the flour I can use up rather quickly with my bagel making.. but the honey… Will last)
Another third was taken up by my apparent need for fish. Perhaps it is because I’ve stopped taking Fish Oil and my body is finally protesting that… But this week I have been absolutely craving fish. Monday I found myself contemplating buying some crab meat (real not imitation) as it was just on my mind. I resisted. I was a good girl (it also helped that Monday I was absolutely broke waiting for my paycheck). But then today as I was in Whole Foods, they taunted me. Jones’ Crab Claws for 5.99 a pound. Now these claws are the big ones with lots a meat.
Yeah… I got them. I mean 1 pound gave me like 7 claws. I shall be having me some yummy crab tomorrow.
The downside to today, is that all of the awesome workout I had this morning must have pinched something. My left thumb which has been giving me lotsa problems this winter, is bugging me again. Can’t tell where the pain is actually originating from, but my thumb clicks and feels tight, and depending on how I move it, I feel it in my wrist, or all the way up to my elbow.
This is horrific to a writer and a knitter.
I did work on my knitting today even with the pain. Got 4 rows knitted on the Doomsday Cardi.
This evening I amused myself by putting myself on Neil Gaiman’s website. It is his blogiversary of 9 years. He put a call out to fans to submit photos of themselves, with something to do with the number 9. My submission was not clever simply because I had a slight headache from damp hair being in a bun all afternoon and the wrist/thumb issue. (Alright, I was downright cranky from it) I was photo #361. And all the submissions can be seen here.
If you don’t want to check out the page and see all the awesome submissions, here is my image that I put up: (which, it’s very neat seeing all the different fans, from young to old)
The photos will most likely be made into a collage at some point in the future as he did with another event.
Oh, and I just realized it’s Wednesday, which means I should be doing a Wordless Wednesday… Oh well, it’s hard for me to do Wordless Wednesdays since Wednesday is one of my busy days, whereas Tuesdays and Thursdays are not.
Well it’s time for bed now. There was something I wanted to mention, but I’ve completely forgotten it.
Today started with me not wanting to get out of bed.
Slept in for nearly an hour even. Well, I did kick my ass at the gym yesterday.
20 minutes on the sit down bike.
2 minutes on the elliptical machine.
45 minute Aqua class.
5 minutes (??) on the rowing machine.
I will admit I enjoyed the rowing machine, but I am not entirely sure if I was doing it correctly. I’ll find out soon enough. If I was, I’ll keep doing it.
So all in all, it was quite a busy day at the gym and I was quite sore but sore in the good way. This meant for really not wanting to get out of bed this morning.
But out of bed I did get. Dressed and off to Einsteins did we go. Thanks to facebook, Mother of Mine and I had free shmears.
After that, the grocery store and then the library.. (Which I still managed to forget to pick up a movie… oh well, it’s not like I won’t be there soon enough)
I finished a Super Sekret Projekt today. Nope, still can’t talk about it yet. Not till I block it, photograph it, and stick it in the mail to the person it needs to go to.
I also decided that even with it being snowy and cold, I was going to take photos of my new yarn.
Unfortunately my photographer snobbish side was only happy with how one of the yarns photographed. (I’m having such problems with purples and blues right now! New camera please?!)
Now, for some time now… well.. pretty much since I started yarn dyeing people have been asking me if I were going to dye some Harry Potter yarns.
Harry Potter yarns have been done… often. So my response has always been “If I am inspired.” As I really didn’t want to do what everyone else has done.
So when I do Harry Potter yarns, it is probably not going to be the “main trio” or the very obvious ones.
Bellatrix was a request. That request was not “I want a yarn inspired by Bellatrix” no… it was “I want yarn dyed in these colors so I can finally do my Bellatrix socks”. It just turned out that the color I did reminded me of Bellatrix from Harry Potter.
There is still another Bellatrix to be shown as when I imagined her, there was just a bit more to her than what had been requested. (Her photo shall come soon)
But today I shall speak of Felix.
Liquid Luck for those in the know.
Now, for weeks now I’ve been imagining a hat made out of yarn like this. Specifically the Snapdragon tam by Ysolda Teague.
I really do not wear yellow. Yellow is pretty much one of my least favorite colors. But I just cannot imagine the Snapdragon in any other color at the moment. Most likely I would make the hat, and then give it to someone who would actually wear the color.
As I finished the Super Sekret Projekt, I need to get back to my Doomsday Cardi… This will require me quite literally getting my mind back in the project, it shall take much concentration on my part till I get back in the rhythm. But I get to transfer it on to my new Zephyr Needles from Knitpicks. We’ll see how they go.
Finished reading “M is for Magic” by Neil Gaiman last night. It is a collection of short stories and they were quite good. One of them in particular had me bawling like a baby as it was about the cats that have decided to call his house home, and I happened to start reading it the day that he blogged about putting one of his cats (Zoe the blind attic cat) to sleep. This is the 3rd cat he has lost in the last year. Zoe was the youngest at 14. Hermione and Pod were about 18 if my memory serves. So reading a short story involving his cats just quite literally had me bawling all over again. (This past week it had been posts about Zoe leading up to her final day.)
Tonight I start reading Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs.
On the writing front, I have had a wonderfully productive week thanks to my friend Hatter. It started with a text message at 11pm at night. He is one of the few friends that I can text that late and not worry about waking up. I sent him a text of “Need your help. Need a idea for a ____ from South America.”
I was shocked when I didn’t get a text back from him immediately.
Next day at about 11pm again I get a phone call from him going “Holy crap you texted. I’m sorry.. My phone sucks and didn’t tell me… here’s my thoughts on what you need.”
So thankfully, my fear about him not texting back immediately was simply a mechanical failure on his phones part. Phew.
For the next hour we chit chat back and forth bouncing ideas. He is a writer, but he is also someone who I can trust to bounce ideas off of. He also understands Steampunk like some of my other idea people don’t. -He is also someone who I don’t mind squeeing like a fan girl with about certain things… Like Anthony Stewart Head singing… Vampires… bloody scalpels etc… Sigh. I’m gonna miss My Hatter.
Anyway, the hour long convo he and I have totally gives me a direction to go in, something I had been lacking. Don’t get me wrong, I had the basics started, but I was hesitant. Now my direction is clear. (Well, at least this section) It allowed me to finish that chapter and start the next. Which, when it’s the first chapter of the book (or chapter equivalent), it is quite important to feel good about finishing that chapter and moving on to the next. If you are wishy washy about it, then it’s going to haunt you the rest of the book. My characters are making their personalities and presence known, and the world which I am creating is becoming much more apparent to me.
And on that note, I leave you for the night. Tomorrow is the gym once more, then apparently a busy weekend after that. The snow is still going on, and I have a feeling that tomorrow morning shall be a “oooh it’s warm in bed, I don’t wanna get up and go out!”
Oh.. last note… according to the scale at the gym on Wednesday… I lost 1/2 a pound from last week. Which doesn’t necessarily mean a thing since I was on my period last week. I guess we’ll see next week.