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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Zombie Ornament Sets

on August 24, 2011 - 12:18pm

It's my last day of madness before the big show tomorrow. I'm covered in paint, a bit twitchy, and making last minute decisions about what pieces and plans are to be sacrificed to ensure others are achieved.

Had a little fun with some packaging for a set of zombie ornaments. The plan is to get some proper boxes, but I've recycled these display boxes for now, adding new backgrounds, ribbon and such.

I'm sorry to those of you who've left me comments on the blog recently to which I haven't replied. I've read them and appreciated the kindness, humour and encouragement contained in their sentiments. I honestly haven't had breaks more than 20 minutes long the past two weeks where I wasn't doing anything. If I'm watching a movie, I'm painting. If I'm having coffee on the porch, I'm also reviewing my to-do list. I even went to a friends cottage and - you guessed it - brought a box of items to work on (and I did work on them the entire time, taking a break now and then to sit on the deck among the trees).

Even now, I'm taking this break to blog because I'm waiting for 7 plants to dry so I can add the next layers of paint. They should almost be ready, which means I need to go.

Blackout Schmackout, I'm on a Deadline

on August 22, 2011 - 8:27am

Storms raged across Ontario yesterday afternoon. Yetch and I were running errands when "tornado activity" was being reported. I'd looked up at the heavy, purple-grey clouds as we were pulling into a parking lot and said "Those look ominous". Turned out I was right.

By the time we were ready to head back to the car, the rain was falling in sheets, slamming into the storefront.

Thunder boomed, sending vibrations through the car as we made our way home. The rain thinned, but you got a sense of how much rain was dropped on the city all at once. Every five minutes we were faced with flooded patches of road where the water tickled the door frame of the car. Branches littered the roads everywhere in our neighbourhood, and even a large tree had been toppled.

We arrived home safe and sound, the sky sunny and blue once more, with only the scattered debris on the roads as evidence of the sudden storm.

That and the fact the power was out across the east end of the city for more than 5 hours.

What does a ghoul on a deadline with a huge show on the horizon do in a blackout? She gathers more than 20 candles to light up her office like a shrine, and does paper mache.

Just me, the work, and my little monkey radio playing commercial-free jazz.

It was actually quite nice, and took some of the pressure off from my looming deadline.

Of course, if it happens again between now and Thursday, I may have a breakdown.

Little Minions: Neville

on August 19, 2011 - 11:43am

Here I am, rushing around, trying to get ready for next week's convention, and I realize I haven't introduced you to a couple of minions that will grace my table. I've taken a moment out of the madness to post one of them.

Neville loves the smell of burning jack o'lanterns, and the sound of rattling candy in pillowcases.

"Trick or Treat", he grunts as he walks along the sidewalk on Halloween night.

Passing children laugh and point to him, exclaiming "Look at HIS costume, Mommy!".

Neville smiles, careful not to show his teeth, and continues on with his pumpkin lantern lighting the way.

Toronto FanExpo Update

on August 14, 2011 - 9:58am

August 25th is fast approaching.

Including today, I have 11 days left to get ready for Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear at FanExpo in Toronto.

They've officially announced the Horror schedule and the floor-plan for retailers, special guests, and people like me in Artist Alley.

I will be at table A248 which is in the back right corner of the convention. For whatever reason, they've separated the horror artists in the Alley from the rest of the horror section (we're not only a row back from them, but actually far to the right of where the horror retailers will be). Between us and our brethren will be huge corporate exhibits for video game companies.

The concern of course is that horror fans who aren't interested in visiting EB Games or Xbox will simply skip our little corner all together. They will see the video games section and assume there's no more horror goodness to be found.

No use worrying about it too much, I suppose. There's little to be done about it at this point.

Why Are My Feet Wet?

on August 9, 2011 - 9:03pm

It was the start to every haunter's nightmare.

Toronto finally got some serious rain today. So much rain, in fact, that many places around the city had serious flooding. Luckily, in my area, I didn't go outside to find my car submerged like some poor folks did.

Blissfully unaware of what awaited me in the basement, I headed downstairs to retrieve a box from the storage room which houses all of my Halloween props, decorations and even some supplies. I was distracted by my remarkable ability to actually walk down the stairs (albeit very carefully and clutching both rail and wall as I gingerly manoeuvred the injured ankle). I was smiling at the partial return of mobility. I was happy for the first time in a long day of ridiculous mishaps. I wasn't expecting the universe to play one more joke on me before bedtime.

I felt it before I saw it.

Barefoot on the cold tile. Two steps in.


Mini Carnivorous Plants

on August 4, 2011 - 9:32am

My foot actually looks like a foot now (if you can ignore the rainbow hues of healing), and I'm at the point where I can get around with the help of a cane. This is good news since I have less than 3 weeks until the big show, and I am in desperate need of some art supplies.

While hobbling around the house, I did manage to get some pieces finished. Six mini carnivorous plants have been sprouted. One went to friends visiting from out of the country, but the remaining five will make their debut at Rue Morgue's Festival of Fear.

I'll still have some of the eyeball plants for sale, but less than usual. So if you're coming to the show with the hope of buying one, pick it up early!

Good Thing I'm Not a Horse

on July 27, 2011 - 8:07am

Sunday night I managed to mangle my right ankle. Have spent the days since on the couch, saving up energy to wheel myself around the house to get whatever I need while riding my trusty-dusty office chair. I have crutches but can't carry anything with them, and besides, they cause their own pains and aches. I save them for when I have to do the really fun stuff, like stairs.

Plus my poor left knee, that bore the brunt of the fall once my ankle gave out, has its own nasty scrape.

I'm almost a rainbow: my knee with its reds and browns and yellows, and my ankle which right now is only a single shade of blue (but I predict brilliant purples and greens to come).

Needless to say, I have been less than productive. Or cheerful.

Having to take time off work (that I really can't afford), and not being able to work on a proper project for upcoming shows, just adds insult to injury.

Yesterday, though, I was able to paint some mini carnivorous plants I'd built on Sunday. They still need touch ups and final details, but at least that's something.

How did it happen? Well, it's been suggested to me that I stick to a zombie story. Ninja zombies, to be precise. Make up your own plot details as needed.

I'm off to ice the ankle. Hopefully I will be back by the weekend with happier news of progress!

Sugar and Spice, and Everything Vice

on July 19, 2011 - 10:04am

snake in a jar
To round out my jar project, here are some specimen (or ingredient) jars.

I haven't finished putting them all together, but you get a sense of where I'm going with this.

How are they made? Simple. I coated the inside with watered down white glue and let them dry. Then the fun part begins: figuring out what I have around the house that could be creepy ingredients.

The cool thing about the glue-haze is it allows me to use items I might shy away from normally, because the grimy-screen blots out the details of the item inside. For example, the tiny rubber snake (pictured right) would not strike fear in a four-year old, but placed in the jar, and carefully glued into place with a little epoxy at certain angles, it suddenly looks a little more plausible that my critter is alive.

Jar Lanterns

on July 16, 2011 - 5:37pm

The second project with the jars was to make simple lanterns (or candle holders, if you prefer). Pictures and a quick how-to below.

Sundays Are For Candle Making

on July 11, 2011 - 9:34am

I spent most of my hot and humid Sunday hidden away in my office, trying to forget the heat outside. The best way I know to do that is to make things for Halloween.

A total of 19 candle stubs are ready for their part in my jar project. They are made with hot glue, acrylic paint, toilet paper rolls, and LED candles.

If you're waiting to see the final product of the jars, it'll be posted soon (not quite done). If you'd like to learn more about how I made these, I've included some pictures and basic instructions below.