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Mutterings of a Mad Woman

Countdown to Halloween 2012

on October 1, 2012 - 7:27am

Happy October 1st, everyone. And so it begins, another Countdown to Halloween where a large group of folk pledge to try and bring you Halloween-related goodies daily for the month of October. 

To kick off my first post, let me draw your attention to Mad Lab Productions, an animation company who have created fun zombie shorts in the past like Rise of the Zombie Corpse and Springtime Zombie

Now they have a new animated mini-series (cute and kid-friendly) called Vampire Instructionals.

"The premise: a kid vampire takes it upon himself (itself?) to create little instructional animations to school OTHER kid vampires on key aspects of vampire life (unlife?)"

The first is a 30 second tutorial on how to become a bat (which, using kid logic, is actually very simple). They will be releasing a new tutorial every Monday until they feel vampire children have all the basic skills they will need as they work towards becoming better vampires.

If you've ever watched Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, it reminds me of when Grover and Kermit interview children to figure out how Santa comes down the chimney.

Be sure to check out their YouTube video listings to get your Halloween quick fix. 

And to everyone participating in this year's countdown, get posting. Pumpkin flavoured coffee is on me. 


Brushing Up on the Classics

on September 25, 2012 - 8:33am

My VCR died. 

Joke and laugh about my retro entertainment means, but when you have a solid collection of favourite films on VHS and a limited budget, one tends not to be in a rush to convert an entire catalogue of film to DVD. 

I still have one working VCR/TV combo, but I know it's only a matter of time before that fails me as well. 

I didn't realize how often I dip into my VHS collection (especially between September and December when I'm working on holiday items) until my recent loss. I knew I used it, but I used it a lot. And while my modest DVD collection is made up of films I like to watch over and over, I don't want to do so within a week. 

For my viewing pleasure, I have acquired some new films for the Halloween season. Starting from right to left in the photo, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Spencer Tracy (which I had never seen), House of Wax with Vincent Price (which I've always wanted to own), as well as Freaks and The Haunting (both of which I already own on VHS). I burned through that as soon as the package arrived. I do love an inexpensive 4 movie collection of what I consider to be some of the best classics. 

Wicked Halloween Prize Packs

on September 18, 2012 - 10:16am

Got an email tipping me off to a Halloween giveaway from Something wicKED This Way Comes

The contest is running until October 7th.

The prize packs are actually a lot of fun and varied - books, dvds and more.

Be sure to enter. We all like free stuff, and since the neighbours won't like it if you trick or treat as an adult, this is the closest many of us are going to get. 

While you're on the site, check out their haunt pictures from last year.

Labels and Inspiration from the Love Manor

on September 18, 2012 - 9:10am

Came across a blog that had posted some of Johnny Love's Halloween labels without giving credit to him.

To balance the internet universe, I've decided to remind people of the beautiful work he's done. You can see them all here and use them to add some class to your own display this year.

Johnny has also uploaded pictures from last year's haunt.  Take some time to go through his gorgeous photography of decor, food and drink. 

His main website is under construction, but his blog is up and running.

In other news, Misgivings Day Weekend was spent working on my own Halloween items for this year's theme. Actually, most of it was spent running around and getting what art supplies I need for this year's theme. That still counts, doesn't it?

To fuel the hectic pace, I consumed pumpkin coffee, pumpkin loaf, and candy. 

Misgivings Day Project: Paper Mache Bust

on September 14, 2012 - 9:47am

I've been working on casting a form from a mannequin (don't we all have mannequins hanging around?) using paper mache. It's the first prop for my Halloween theme this year, and probably the one that will take the most time. 

Thought I would share the process so far. 

Miss Mannequin gets covered in tinfoil. To help keep the tinfoil in place without actually attaching it to the form, I've put tack adhesive putty on spots around her body (especially around the facial features). I want it to stay in place, but I want to be able to remove the tinfoil and paper mache form fairly easily when I'm done.

Covered Miss M with a layer of newspaper using watered-down white glue. Basically, I rip newspapers into strip, coat them in the glue/water mix, and smooth them over the tinfoil. For a more detailed explanation of my technique, check out my tutorial

Since she is so large, for the first layer I used fairly big pieces of newspaper for the torso. After it was completely dry, I added a second layer of more traditionally small pieces. The smaller pieces tend to give a smoother finish and allow you to work around angles. 

Misgivings Day Weekend is Coming Up!

on September 10, 2012 - 2:33pm

Cool breeze, blue sky. Feels like fall. And it should, becaaaauuuuuuse....

It's that time of year again! Two years ago it was decided there needed to be a holiday weekend to mark the approach of Halloween. It is to Halloween what Thanksgiving is to Christmas.

"It takes place the 7th Sunday before Halloween, which means this coming weekend is Misgivings Day Weekend!

How to celebrate? Well that's easy. Eat as much fall fare (like pumpkin ale, trick or treat candy which is now on sale at the stores, pies both savoury and sweet) as humanly possible. Work on Halloween props, decor and projects. Watch horror movies and break out Halloween cartoons.

3, 2, 1....Contact!

on September 7, 2012 - 10:30am

I said "Contact!"....CONTACT! *hits enter repeatedly*

Turns out my contact form on the site has been broken. 

Yes, people could send me emails and even get a copy for themselves. But they were the only ones getting a copy. 

It's fixed now, but I wanted to apologize to anyone who has tried to contact me via the webform and got no response.

Who knows how long it's been a bust. Did I miss a letter from a long lost relative who can travel through time? An art show opportunity in Japan? A letter from a man in Africa who can get me ten million dollars if I send him a thousand now? 



"Lucky 13" Etsy Sale Starts Today

on September 4, 2012 - 12:44pm

The big question at my last show was "do you have an etsy shop?" to which I sheepishly replied "Yes. A very, very, very neglected one". 

I thought I would rectify the situation. While I do love (and prefer) selling in person and getting to meet those who adopt my critters, I know there are those of you who can't come out to Toronto every time I have a show. This sale is for you. 

It's the Lucky 13 sale. Why the name? Two reasons: 

First, the shop will go back into vacation mode on October 13th, 2012 and I'll be taking leftover items to sell at my next show, the Bazaar of the Bizarre. So that's the 13 part.

The lucky part is that, as part of my penance for being such a bad online shop keeper, I'm offering an olive branch to the faithful who come to the blog and follow me online.

I was sorting through my stock and found 6 of my sculpted Undead Head necklaces. I'd made dozens upon dozens of these in 2010. I do not have any intention of making anymore (some people are suited to making jewelry. I am not). 

SO the first 6 people who buy an item from the shop and mention "ZOMBIE!" (during checkout, but if you forget just email me with the word and your name) will find a surprise undead gift in their package as a token of my appreciation. 

Sullivan and Screecher

on August 31, 2012 - 10:42am

I made this figure in July sometime. He popped up in the middle of my monster madness, an anomaly with no name and no story.

I'm not even sure if he's finished (a hat? more baubles?), but here he is for now.

I've had the owl sculpted for more than a year, waiting for a proper owner. It's actually the owl I fell in love with originally (and why this piece is staying in my personal collection).

Even now, I struggle to know his story. Which is strange.

Sullivan tends to the smaller animals in the forest.

Each day, with the help of Screecher, he scouts the woods for injured beasts in need of help. He tends their wounds, feeds the starving, frees the captured, and returns wandering babes to the safety of their nest, crook, or cave. 

This figure is approximately 10 inches tall.

More images below.

It's interesting being presented with a creation that has absolutely no ties to Halloween or previous styles. And I use the word "presented" because the majority of sculptures reveal themselves as I work rather than being born from an idea or vision. 

I've also noticed a pattern of pieces who I imagine come from the same world or town apart from the other figures. A grander story waiting to be told. When it's more clear, I'll let you know the tale they are trying to tell me. 


Sometimes Weird Creatures Make An Appearance

on August 31, 2012 - 9:43am

Folks who have been hanging around this site long enough may have noticed - especially over the last year - that my creations are changing. Some slightly (like the Minions), and some...well...some seem to come out of nowhere.

I've started an album for these square pegs titled "The Others".  

The Creature in the Corner is one of those figures. Standing at approximately 16 inches tall (longer if you followed the curve of his spine), he towers over all my other figures.

Normally a story follows (or accompanies) a piece's creation. I had this figure on the table at the show without a name or story. It came to me on the last day. Short on details for such a tall character, but enough to let me have a basic understanding of who...or at least is. 

Leaning out of shadows, the Creature in the Corner is usually overlooked.

It does not speak.

It does not walk from place to place.

It simply appears, bending its long body to peer over or around objects. 

Even if someone catches a glimpse of it, by the time they walk to where it was, it has faded away.

More pictures below. 

And more pictures to come of ANOTHER creature who came out of nowhere. I think I may have officially watched Labyrinth and Dark Crystal too many times (if that's possible). Of course, there are worse things in life than making something that reminds you in a distant way of the genius of Brian Froud. Look for that soon.