Monday, September 29, 2014

I Am Groot

September is ending which means it's Christmas ornament season!

I cracked out the clay and dental tools and crafted my first idea of the year. (I have one more, that maybe I'll hopefully get to. There are other things on the horizon) It is Groot:
He's got all his presents tucked underneath him and is trying to string some lights.

For an added bit of goofy, I pulled out my glow in the dark paint and wrote I Am Groot around the pot. So you can see his only phrase when the lights go out.

Groot's actually already been sold, and as it's a christmas present for someone, I took my first stab at making a feathered puffy hat.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dwarves in Space - Free Radicals

Here's a little Dwarves in Space preview of a novella I wrote. It's about a group trying to take a space station. The crew are stranded together in different clumps across the station and have to fight to get out alive. In this one my dwarf - Orn, is with one of my elves - Brena.

Free Radicals

He was not a cruel man by nature, or so the therapy sessions insisted, but Orn smiled wickedly as he responded to the Captain’s trap. He may not want to know the details of what she was up to, but he reveled in knowing he could sew a kernel of chaos into the festivities. It only seemed fair; he’d somewhat assisted in the butter acquisition. Well, he didn’t impede it entirely.

Orn put down his PALM and flexed the motors in his typing hand. He’d have preferred to have the chip implanted in his right hand, but the damn device could only run on “body energy” and background MGC. Even going through a gargoyle rep ended in a lot of angry calls about how he didn’t need his stone polished!

His fourth finger froze during his flex and he shook his hand, trying to restart the motors. “Gnome built piece of shit,” he cursed while twisting his finger in ways that would invert the stomachs of most organics. The cold elf eyed him out of curiosity but didn’t turn away. He’d never thought much about Brena aside from the occasional need to accuse his captain of engaging in some illicit affairs with the bard to keep sharp. A warmth never reached those yellow eyes. Sure, you’d get that ice princess schtick off most Dulcens, but once they were out of polite company they could fart and belch as powerfully as any dwarf. Brena was different, in a way that should disquiet Orn if he cared.

Cracking the errant finger, a familiar whirr began below his glove and it curled up with the rest of its brethren. Having solved his problem, Orn scanned the area seeing if anyone else watched him struggle. The upper balcony thinned as people escaped the afternoon doldrums. Only a pair of dwarven girls chattered like mine birds outside a very shiny store. If he was 20 years younger, he’d have felt terrified at their mere existence. Now, with age and wisdom, he tried to block them out entirely.

The elf said something, her eyes peering across the vast expanse of the shopping experience below her. Orn couldn’t make it out through the rising pitch of the teenagers. He took one step closer to her when the world exploded.

The force hit first. Tossed like a tissue in a hurricane, Orn’s body flew back from the balcony. Pain lanced across his spine and around his ribs. Only the sound of waves lapping against a smooth shoreline thundered through his head. He opened stubborn eyes and closed them immediately against the smoke.

Wiping at his face, he tried it again while a small part noted that at least his arm still worked. Broken glass glittered off the metal grating of the floor, silhouetted through the smokey fog. The dwarf put one hand on the ground and tried to rise, the waves fading as a tinny whine filled his ears. His back screamed at him to lay down and forget about this whole surviving thing, but he ignored it, trying to fall back on his haunches. The familiar drip of warm water pooled against the back of his sweater. He tried to reach for the wound, but his ribs screamed at him for trying.

“What the fuck was that?” he shouted, barely able to hear his own words over the dampening waves. “Ah shit,” he placed a finger in his ear and tried out his best curse words, all of which sounded the same with or without the mute.

A hand landed on his shoulder and he twisted, then groaned from the pain. Brena searched his face. Her own wasn’t looking so great. Red scratch marks crisscrossed her cheek as if she’d slithered across a cement floor, her hair ballooned out of that pinning thing she did until half fell while another quarter stuck out at weird angles. Blood dribbled from her mouth where she must have bitten a lip.

“Are you all right?” the elf asked.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cauldron Redux

Yesterday my husband brought home some dry ice.

You can already guess what happened.
Even though my coals were going, it wasn't dark enough to really show them off because either you can see the cauldron or the coals. Not both in pictures.

And for good measure, here's video of the dry ice in action.
Bubble on my Halloween friends.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hot Coals Tutorial

You may remember that cauldron I rusted with some oatmeal and sand back in July. Normally, I put it in the middle of my driveway on top of some sticks and shove a red strobe light underneath to mimic fire.

But this year I wanted something new and fancy for my cauldron to seethe on top of. Enter the hot coals.

It's actually really easy to make this.

All you need is:
  • a board. I used a poster board, but other people use wood, plexiglass, whatever is handy
  • tin foil
  • empty pop bottles
  • a string of orange lights
  • spray insulation foam
  • spray paint
First step is to cut the board to fit your choice of cauldron.

Take the tin foil and wrap it over the board. This'll hopefully increase the light output.

Chop up the bottoms of the pop bottles to varying heights. Hot glue those onto the board. Mine are all clear so they're a wee bit hard to see.
 I didn't take any pictures of the next step because I got excited and thought I did. Take your string of lights and drape them over the board, taping it down where you get it right. I waited for Target to put out a string of flickering orange lights this year, which is why I'm finally making my coals in late September. I plugged the lights in as I worked and put them on top of the bottle bottoms in clusters, all over.

Make sure to leave out the plug or your coals will never light up.

Now for the spray insulation foam. This stuff is the devil, but a devil we know. It sticks to everything, expands into a mess, and is evil. Did I mention the evil? Pretty sure I did.
Evil evil popcorn.

This is what it looks like before I painted it.
But since they moved Daylight Saving, most of the haunted house set up is seen by light and not in the dark. So I had to take away the bright white look with the power of spray paint.
It looks a bit more like the surface of some cheesy sci-fi series set, The Crags of Mars, but it gets the job done.

And, most importantly, it looks like this when lit up in near darkness.
That's how to make your own hot coals to smoulder in grass. No Hogwarts degree required.

Sleepy puppy.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Crow Flies in Midnight

It took a lot of wrenching of garments and gnashing of teeth, but the impossible has finally happened.

Target put its halloween stuff out.

I got my twinkling lights for the last halloween project of the year. I'll explain later.

There's also the griffin statue to protect my yard from any Darkspawn and that adorable crow skeleton.
If I could, I'd skeleton everything. Skeleton cat, skeleton dog, skeleton dragon, skeleton pancakes. Everything must be flayed!

With the kitty from earlier and my horde of skeletons, I decided a little photo set up was in order. So I combined my three skeletons to make this:
If you want a skelekitty or skelecrow, get thee to Target. I predict they will not last long.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lil Boo

Meet Lil Boo.

He's a bit shy but would really like some candy. 'nk you. Twick or Tweat, please.
Where's his head? Well, you can't be a trick or treater ghost with a head, now can you?

Lil Boo was born when I realized I had a ton of monster mud leftover from Angela. So I got to thinking what could I make that was hobbit sized, partly adorable and partly spooky.

He started out the same as Angela; PVC frame, chicken wire, and a fitted sheet draped over him. I wanted it to look like a kid grabbed an ancient sheet and threw it on before hitting the streets.
To make the gaping hole I tried the balloon approach with mixed results.
I had to do him in a bunch of stages, adding the monster mud first to the body, then slopping on the hood and the balloon.

Finally, I painted the whole grey sheet white and added some accents of brown on the trim to make it look stained and old.
After giving him his bucket and flashlight, he was ready for some candy!

This Sunday, because we didn't have enough to do, we decided to make a coffin. It's not a full one, but about a quarter coffin so it looks like it's bursting from the ground, or poorly buried.
The broken ends at the bottom are courtesy of the asshole who ran into our fence and drove off.

I'm trying some ideas to spook it up, like adding a strobe under or we might get a tiny fog machine to shove under it.
Trick or Treaters and coffins, and I still have one more prop I have to finish before Halloween. It'll be coming down to the wire this year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Halloween Treats

It's the exact middle of September, that hazy golden time when all stores finally scrape away the crusty bits of Back To School but two weeks before Christmas begins its tinsel cacophony.

Halloween Time!

I thought for certain that Target would have it's stuff out this second weekend in September. My hopes lit when I saw a few cute little Halloween things in their $1 cheap shit bins.

But the back walls were nothing but picked over pencils and binders no one seemed in the mood to move. You're dead to me Target.

Yet hope springs eternal in the form of Walgreens. They've been more miss than hit the past few years, but Walgreens is always good for things I don't see anywhere else, and they were no exception this go around. A few adorable dancing things, a crap ton of Nightmare Before Christmas Stuff, and this rat.

I've seen the half rat prop before, usually flailing in a trap or gnawing on something undead. I'm not big into gory so it got a meh. But I fell so badly for the rat chewing away on some potato chips.
It's probably because I watched the hell out of Charlotte's Web as a child, but I had to name the rat Templeton. I wish it sounded like Paul Lynde.

The tombstone got a paint job. I liked the base but it needed some help.
On to the food portion of Halloween.

At Shopko I found these suckers that have bones for sticks! A brilliant idea attached to a rather nasty tasting sucker. Oh well. At least I'll have a ton of bones left over when it's done and I can look like I'm gnawing on a fairy as I suffer through them.

The skull I got from Home Depot. Pretty good deal since it was under $18. But the real point of this picture is those Cheetos. Bone Cheetos! Make your own skeleton Cheetos! Who cares about unicorn tear flavored Lays when we have bone cheetos over here people!
I've been busy updating my Zazzle store with some things, so here comes a vast array of ideas I had.

First up, the open grave car mats.
I had the skeleton grave image from a few years back and Zazzle started offering car mats so I combined the two.

On CafePress I created my first ever rug. It's Stairs to Nowhere for people who wants to have a fake basement.

And finally I fixed up some pictures of Hel and put that on things.

That was the Halloween portion of my weekend that didn't involve power tools. Target's still on the list though. You better have your stuff out this weekend, I need the lights to make something.

Damn you, Target!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Isn't That Special

Twitter is not easy to explain to the uninitiated, but here's the short short version. People will type things, occasionally things that will get others to retweet it. Because of that I will see in my corner of the world thoughts from other people. Sometimes I reply to those people as well as my friends who retweeted it.

What occurred yesterday was exactly this. I don't have a screencap of the original "joke" but it was basically asking if the Royal Family was allowed to use Birth Control. IE shaming the Duchess and Duke for daring to have two children. Original, I know.

I responded with a Monty Python reference. Specifically the "We have two kids and we've only had sex twice."

First this person retweeted me so I assumed she got the joke:

But then this quickly followed
I searched for the Monty Python clip and sent that as an explanation. I don't expect everyone to get all my references, so I assumed I was being nice and she'd realize her mistake. But rather than admit she was wrong, she failed to get the joke, she doubled down on being a colossal that thing she assumes I have no idea how to use.
At this point I told her off, pointed out how fucking stupid she was for failing to admit it was a joke. Again, her response instead of admitting she was wrong was:
Now, the best fucking part to me is that this genius put a period before my name which means every single one of her measly followers saw that entire exchange. Which means anyone who knew Python or was at least smart enough to think "Hm, maybe that we had sex twice and have two children is a pretty obvious joke," saw just how off the rails she went.

It didn't end there either. She proceeded to call me all kinda of names and demeaned me with a sweetie.

The cheery on top of the shit sundae of all this is that according to her profile she's an inclusive feminist.


Let's see, in the random exchange you had with me you implied asexuals either don't exist or deserve to be cheated on, and you called a grown woman "Sweetie."

Pretty sure that puts her in the company of most MRA spouting Dudebros, actually.

They say in writing "show, don't tell," but that's also true of life. I could claim I'm a fire breathing dragon, but if I don't dribble napalm from my mouth, buffet leathery wings, or horde gold in my vast caverns, I'm just full of shit.

Calling yourself feminist, welcoming of everyone, accepting of everyone, means technicolor crayola crapola when you use and demean others to belittle someone (you don't even know. I have no fucking idea who this person is.)

Life is all show, don't tell.

Oh, and if you obviously missed a joke, admit your damn mistake. It makes you really pathetic when you dig your heels in and refuse to admit you're an idiot.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My new Kitty

There's someone at the back door, scratching to get in. Will you get her?

I call her Skelena Kyle (at least for now) and got her over the weekend. I've had my eye on the cat skeleton since about July (as well as the other prop later in this post) and I was getting one this year, damn it! Spirits was a bit too pricey for my blood, but Shopko had one. I'm still waiting on Target, like every damn year, but they were in theory supposed to have some as well.
Es isn't certain what to make of the usurper.
The other prop I've wanted and scored was this fire and ice spotlight. I have no idea what the ice part is about, but it handles fire beautifully.

Here I placed it in my dog's food bowl and pointed it at the wall.
Then I tried it against Hel and a prop I haven't quite finished or told you about yet. (All in good time, I promise)

There's a rotating yellow inside the red that gives it, while not quite a perfect flame look, a still spooky burning look. I'm thinking I'll use it on my dragon cave/forest behind it this year.

Since we're still not quite done, I also put up my Halloween Town this year. I didn't add anything new, just put the bits in new places and took pictures. Here are a few of the samplings. If you want to see all of the pieces click here.

How long until Halloween?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

All Hallows Read Posters 2014

EDITED TO ADD: 2015's new crop are up. Come pick 'em while they're fresh!

September is the stepping stone to October and we all know what that means. Time to get ready for All Hallows Read. What better way than with a free poster or four?

This is my fourth year making free posters for anyone to share and use to advertise All Hallows Read. Free!

All you have to do is click on the image. Right click that. Save. And print to your hearts desire.

I don't put a year on any of the posters, so you can reuse any of the old ones you'd like such as:

2013 - Fairy Witch, Tentacle, and others

2012 - Spiders and Bats and Mummies

2011 - Universal Hammer Monsters 

Okay, now to the new ones.

1. How is a Raven like a Library? 

2. The Pool of Reflections - but which way is up?

3. Some Book

4. Light Grave Reading

Once again just click, right click, and save. They're all free for anyone to use for whatever reason you want.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dancing Groot and other painting news

Normally I list a painting, spam the hell out of it on twitter, then blog about it the next day. This isn't a problem as paintings don't fly out of the door...except when they do.

Over the weekend, rather than work on my manuscript and in between bouts of mannequin sawing, I painted something. It was something I had in my head for a few days and wanted to get out onto canvas.
This is when I'd post the etsy listing to buy it, but alas, she's already sold. Sorry to raise your hopes only to crush them underfoot.

I did list for rather cheap one of my planet paintings. It used to live in my kitchen but got replaced by a reaper mirror. You know, just like Martha Stewart.

And now for some weirder painting news. Last week I was contacted by someone asking if I wanted to sell my paintings through their home decor website.

I asked if they were wearing a wire.

It's hard for me to look at my paintings as good. I settle on good enough, and try to sell them so I can have room for more paintings. But I filled out the form and crossed to the next level of third party selling.

There are only two up right now, my forest below painting and an old sunset one. I figured trees were the least likely to scare the normals of the world.

And that's been my week in paintings. Sorry about the baby groot. I have another idea for him involving a christmas ornament. Maybe I'll make it in time.