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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

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.

*squish*

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.

A Fine Specimen

on July 10, 2011 - 9:02am


Generally speaking, I don't do a lot of gore in my Halloween themes. This year, I need a bit of it for the story I'm going to tell. This was project one of the glass jars (the other plans are much less gross).

What I did was take a few of the jars from yesterday that had been glazed with watery glue. I mixed red and brown paints, watered them down, and mixed them with a touch of glue as well. I poured it into the bottom of the jars and swirled them around.

Then, I dipped my paint brush into the paint mix and splattered it on the insides of the jar.

I took my organs - 2 hearts, a nose, a brain, an ear, lips, fingers, eyeballs, tongue - and painted them as well to give them a more realistic aged look before placing them in the jars.

50 Empty Jars

on July 9, 2011 - 10:58am

I have slowly been collecting jars and bottles over the last year or so. Hoarding them away one at a time, I've hidden them in drawers, piled them into boxes, and even rolled them underneath furniture.

Last night, having realized I didn't have the materials I needed to continue working on pieces for upcoming shows, I decided to round up all the bottles and jars from their spots around the house. I've been saving them for a Halloween idea.

Imagine my surprise and delight when the tally hit 50. What, you can't imagine it? Well, perhaps it would help to know it takes a shockingly long time to polish off a jar of relish or honey, or to use up the last of the oyster sauce on the weekend stir-fry.

The jars will have various purposes, but all of them needed to have that hazy look. Kind of ironic since I spent so much time soaking and scrubbing them to make sure they were clean (I like fake mold in my work, thank you).

As I was getting ready to start hazing them, I was reminded of elementary school when we made stained-glass lanterns by covering the outside of the jars with pieces of tissue paper and coating them with white glue. Anyone else do this? It's actually a neat final effect.

All I did to give them a grimy coat was pour about a 1/8 to 1/4 cup water into the bottom of the jar, added a squeeze of glue, stirred, and then rolled the jars to coat the sides. Then I poured the glue mix from one jar to another, turning each one.

I have three different plans for the jars at this time. We'll see if it comes to fruition.

Look Who's Back

on July 8, 2011 - 9:48am

It's been a while since I've seen these figures grace my worktable. Perhaps that's why Series 7 of my Plague Doctor collection has 9 figures in total instead of 4 or 5.

They still need touch ups, and when that's done, I'll add them to the Art Ghoullery so those who'd like a closer look can take a peek.

Little Minions: Brimston

on July 4, 2011 - 1:11pm


Brimston straddles the line between bat and demon. While he was not born of the deepest fiery depths (else he may have been named Brimstone with an e), he still has some nasty personality traits.

He constantly produces a slime - from his nose, eyes, and mouth - that inevitably coats everything he comes in contact with. This includes his trusty staff from which he displays the day's trophies. The slime is like a pheromone-signature: one sniff and other creatures know he owns a particular item (or has at least made a claim on something).

Brimston spends his day collecting: shiny objects; squishy objects; smelly objects; foul objects. Generally speaking, if it's shiny or gross, Brimston must have it. And if it's both? Even better.

He prefers to travel at night, but has been known to venture out in the daylight when he's on the trail of a particularly coveted target.

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