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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Friday the 13th and Paper Mache Pumpkins

on March 13, 2009 - 11:54am

Making paper mache pumpkins
Happy Friday the 13th, boils and ghouls. What better way to celebrate the day than with a marathon of pumpkin paper mache? That's what I say, anyway.

I realized that I've never created items traditionally associated with Halloween. I think an army of jack o' lanterns should solve that.

As a base, I'm starting with a technique touted by fellow paper mache com padre (lots of rhyming in today's blog. Unintentional, but amusing) Stolloween.

It's simple. You take plastic bags, stuff them with crumpled newspaper, close them up and pull string tightly around the outside of the bags to create grooves (defining the pumpkin's shape).

Scott suggests using tape over the string for further definition, but I've found this is only necessary when the string wasn't as tight as I wanted it to be. In that case, I would place the end of a long but thin strip of tape at the bottom of the pumpkin along the string, pull the tape tight against a length of the pumpkin/string, then press the tape in place before continuing.

Gator Heads and Fish Bait

on March 12, 2009 - 10:15am

Pickles cut to look like gatorsHaven't posted noxious nosh in a while so here's a Halloween recipe idea from


6 ounces assorted frozen clam strips, breaded fish pieces or breaded shrimp

3 to 5 drops green food colouring

1 cup tartar sauce

6 (6-inch) bamboo skewers

6 dill pickles

2 pepperoni pieces, cut into 3 strips each

6 to 8 pimiento-stuffed green olives


Haunted Hot Sauce

on March 11, 2009 - 8:52am

Zombie Hot Sauce Party Pack
Quick, simple blog today. This little ghoul's a bit blue this morning, so I thought I'd share a website that made me smile.

Haunted Hot Sauce, a collection of zombie-themed homemade sauces, was created by Victor "The Undertaker" Ives. He packs each order - whether it's Ghoul Drool, Flesh Feast, Undertaker's Undead or Mortician's Mold - in it's own coffin.

Each recipe is carefully prepared by hand, each bottle is filled and labelled by hand and I personally build each and every coffin by hand. is a manifestation of my love for quality spicy food products and my lifetime infatuation with the Halloween/Horror genre.

It's a nice looking website and a handsome product. How does it taste? I couldn't tell you (I'm most curious about the Ghoul Drool). But if Victor puts as much care into his sauces as he does in presentation and packaging, I'd guess that's one tasty sauce.

Even if you're not interested in making a purchase, I encourage you to play in his Drag & Drop Checkout. Don't forget to click on the radio.

New Website Section: Brains vs. Coffee

on March 10, 2009 - 12:23pm

Brains Vs. Coffee logo
I wanted to direct your attention to the new section on the website called Brains vs. Coffee. It started on on Feb 20, 2009 when I typed the following tweet:

"Coffee...*stumble*...coooffee...*stumble*...braiiins *shakes head* COFFEE.."

I found myself starting the day addressing the same question: Brains or Coffee? What's a ghoul to do? Can coffee really help me resist the urge for brains as I wake in a zombified state?

And now I'm posting these ponderings (containing 140 characters or less) daily to the website. The most recent post will be displayed in the block to the right. If you miss a couple or want to see all of them, click on the "more" link or the picture of the brain itself.

Hopefully some of you will get a kick out of it.

Oh Vincent Price

on March 9, 2009 - 11:22am

Lots of art being posted lately, so here's some frighteningly frivolous fun.

Presenting Vincent Price in a commercial for "Tilex".


Here's something more enjoyable: Vincent Price hosts the Muppet show (Part 1).

Ahhh. Much better.

Watch Part 2.

Watch Part 3.

The Macabre Mind of Joe Vaux

on March 8, 2009 - 12:05pm

Joe Vaux Art: Meeting in the mind
For all my creepy kittens and ghoulish guys, I happily present the work of Joe Vaux.

First, a tiny complaint. What is it with artists and hip designers making their entire site flash-based? While flash-flooded sites are entertaining for a moment (I did enjoy the little critters waving at me on Vaux's site), it can make for tedious navigation (terrible from an accessibility standpoint). Tip for when you visit his site: the barely-visible button to turn off the sound is in the top left corner.

All this was forgiven once I got to the good stuff: his art.

Vaux's work reminds me of Salvador Dali meets Disney's Night on Bald Mountain. There's loads going on visually and so many characters to discover in one piece.

The Art of Mike Mitchell

on March 7, 2009 - 1:01pm

Mike Mitchell's King Skully
Lighthearted, pretty and fun. Those are the words I would use to describe the art of Mike Mitchell (or Sir Mitchell, or Sir Mike of Mitchell as he sometimes calls himself).

I'm drawn to the warm tones used and the overall softness of the images. I always enjoy when an artist knows how to effectively use shadow without making it feel too dark or sinister.

Little to be found bio-wise, with the exception that he's male, 26, from the States and was born close to Halloween.

I can tell you he has a blog and an etsy shop.

Currently, it doesn't look like you can buy King Skully (pictured left) or Little Pilot Skullington (pictured below).

But if you're determined to purchase something and are looking for gift ideas (I like to pretend everyone wants to buy me presents), I'll take the limited print of Their Day Will Come showcasing a wine-swigging cockroach atop a skull, exclaiming "Marvellous!".

Marmota Monax: Debating When a Prop is Done

on March 6, 2009 - 11:22am

Marmot prop. Paper mache, clay and fur
While my props don't usually see the light of day, I make it a point to bring them outside near the end of completion. Sunshine is an unapologetic critic; it shows all the warts (and not the good kind like you find on witches).

It's amazing how different a prop looks in the daylight.

I use this time to scrutinize him. I note elements that worked in low light but fail when spotlighted. I then decide how much I will adjust it.

I am over the moon with how the dog fur looks on him. I think it's the best idea I've ever had. Hands down. While I'm sure it's been done before, I've never seen anyone else use this technique, so there was an undercurrent of hesitation under my enthusiasm as I glued the pieces on. I promise to include more pictures that showcase his fur.

I don't want to ruin how he looks in darker environments, but I want him to hold up when there's no hiding in shadow. This is especially true for Marmota Monax because I think he'll be living a lot of his life in the light.

Painting for the dark is very different from painting for the light.

David MacDowell: A New Look at Atticus Finch

on March 5, 2009 - 12:54pm

David MacDowell art - Parents Just Don't Understand
David MacDowell describes his art as a fun-loving poke at consumerism, pop culture and the cult of personality. His newest show is called The Sins of Atticus Finch, and I love the piece "Parents Just Don't Understand" (pictured right).

Note the mockingbirds on his tie, and the ad on the back of the book he's reading. Details, folks, it's all in the details.

Most of his subjects are from the media - various movies and celebrities. It's a very entertaining portfolio to peruse.

Loved to Death: Taxidermy Art

on March 3, 2009 - 7:54am

Victorian Top Hat with Squirrel tail, hands and heart
Step right up and pick a door on the Loved to Death website.

Who likes a good riddle? Tell me, which door leads to taxidermy: the one labelled "art", "antiques", "jewelry" or "taxidermy"?

If you said all of them, you win!

Let's start with the 1930's vintage top hat (pictured right). The hat is described as such:

A Victorian inspired framed squirrel taxidermy memento mori piece on the side with a genuine preserved squirrel tail accent in place of a traditional feather. The frame is set on a blood red burgundy velvet backing with genuine taxidermy squirrel feet, a gold genuine squirrel heart and handmade calalily flowers.