Jan 27, 2013

Envy is a word

"Tall and angular as a gravedigger's spade, she considered herself an expert in the crafting of bitter sorrows.  Her hair was long, black, and as rigid as piano wire."

How's that for a description?  In just a very few words you know pretty much everything you need to know about Emilina the Witch.  This is from page 2 of The Witches' Kitchen by Allen Williams.  I hope my novella will glow with well-crafted passages like that! 

Be inspired!!!

Awesome dog!  Awesome human! What a pair and what an inspiring video!  Um, no, Willow and I are NOwhere near anything like this but I'm inspired!  Thank you, Dodo, for finding and sharing this!

Jan 26, 2013

reaching Port

I finished the mini Emily Farmer bear!  After about 15 years, "Port" was finally born! 
He doesn't look so much like Emily's version but he sure is cute.  I'm pretty sure the bear in the photo has longer fur for starters and try as I might my bear insisted on being unique...
I also added a tail with scraps of left-over fabric.  Finally, my Port is jointed on all 5 points, I just couldn't make him in a fixed position or use ordinary string jointing so I used washers and strong plastic beads to devise a very sturdy and more mobile string joint in his arms and neck.  The legs got full screw-and-nut-joints.
He's named Port because I was listening to The Watch that Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf while making him.  Boy, did it ever make the hours pass quickly!  An incredibly well-read book with multiple readers, this new version of the Titanic's only voyage is told by about 17 characters in the first person, very personal and touching.  The author was as historically accurate as possible, keeping to the facts while fleshing out the lives of his chosen voices.  The most unusual character is one of the ship's rats and the most beautifully and imaginatively wrought is the iceberg!  Yes, the ice is given a voice and it's incredible the beauty and calm relentless poetry it weaves with its words.  The entire book is like a poem but the ice is perfection!  I highly recommend this book on CD. 
 So Port is named so because finally the survivors reach their port in New York, their journey is completed.  And so is Port! 

Jan 24, 2013


From the awesomely spooky book Halloween A B C by Eve Merriam, illustrated by Lane Smith (yes, there is an A-B-C book even for us Hallowe'ers!) comes "Pet".  I would love to create a pet as innocent and menacing as this little one!

And I've had this ad since 2005; especially when I contemplate my novella I think of it and how our pages keep filling and new sheets started whether we've seized control or not. 

 Here's to a million possibilities! 

Jan 23, 2013

Reality check

Because Hallowe'en CAN be celebrated 365 days of the year! 
(Remember to take the time to enjoy the little things that make life worthwhile...) 

Jan 18, 2013

What I'll do for a good rat, I mean read!

I finished a book! Woooow... It took 5 months... Don't misunderstand, I read a lot of stuff, just very rarely do I find/make the time to read a novel for pleasure. However, when I discovered that the movie "Willard" (and its sequel "Ben") were based on a book published in 1969 called Ratman's Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert I had to hunt down a copy!  This was an excellent read, with almost nothing supernatural and just a very bizarre and believable relationship between a man and his basement-full of rats. 

But what I really wanted to share with you, what I really think is blog-worthy, is how I "saved" this book.  I purchased it online through abebooks and when it arrived I knew there was trouble: opening the packet released a musty, damp basement smell.  Upon inspection, and removing the dust jacket I discovered white "clouds" on the black fabric cover: mold.  No, no, no!!!  I wanted not only to read it, but also add it to my collection of rat books!  What to do?  After asking around and reading online, I devised my "recipe" for book rescue:

First, I threw it into the freezer, for about two weeks while I researched but it probably only needed 48 hours.  Then, I rubbed it down with rubbing alcohol (using a cloth I then discarded), getting the cover saturated but not overly wet.  After thoroughly drying outside in the sun and wind, the book went back into the freezer, 48 hours.  Finally, I wiped it down again with rubbing alcohol and again let it dry in a very well ventilated area.  The end result:  there appears to be no more mold and the book has just that pleasant old book smell.  Now, after 5 months there is still no sign of any growth and I feel that I can safely place the book with the rest of the collection, although I think laying it on top of the shelved items so it's still well ventilated and gets the occasional check to make sure nothing has changed. 

So, there you are, a book rescue remedy!  If you've ever experienced this kind of literary emergency and created your own recipe, I'd love to know about it! 

Not so shabby Shaggy Bear

So here we are: this is Shaggy a little while ago, an Emily Farmer kit gifted to me and started about 15 years ago... I think his name should be Patience!!!

I don't remember why I stopped, probably because of eye-strain! These little bears are very hard on the eyes.  I have more and more respect for all the incredible artists who work in miniature!  By the way, the kit is really nice and if you want to try one visit Emily here.
And here we are last Monday:  ted now has completed arms and legs and the head is coming along very nicely, quite a sweet fellow!  One ear is done... and then I ran out of time, light and eye-ball power!  So, as we stand on the starting line of a new weekend I hope to give birth! 
  Even though this little one is not my own design, it's been wonderful to work on a furry critter again and remind myself how much I enjoy it, and successfully do a face which I always approach with a lump of dread in my throat. 
  Have a great weekend and I hope you get to do something creative and fun too!!!

Jan 13, 2013

Our addiction to each other

We're addicted to the internet, to Facebook, twitter, blogging, all of it. We're uber-connected and yet have never been more isolated. So why do we spend hours on Facebook, etc..., sending our thoughts out into the web? Who do we think is reading our stuff, who cares about what we have to say? Why am I writing this, why do I feel committed to it and why does it feel good? Maybe because we crave "positive transactions": 
"In the 1960s, psychiatrist Eric Berne introduced a new model of psychology that he ultimately called Transactional Analysis. It has many components, but the simplest is this: Our days and nights are filled with small and large "transactions" between people. A quick hello from a friend is a small, positive transaction, while a dirty look from another driver is a negative one. A deep conversation with a lover is a large transaction — it might be positive or negative, depending on the outcome. Berne believed that people's happiness was a function of how these transactions went, and how many positive interactions a person piled up during the day. He believed that positive transactions were as important to mental health as water and food are to physical health. Chart a few days of your interactions with people, and I think you'll become convinced that Berne was onto something." --from Bob Sullivan's post at http://animaltracks.today.com/_news/2012/09/12/13825121-when-my-dog-lucky-died-i-disappeared-too

So here I am, sending my thoughts out into the great void, waiting for a positive reply to drift back and reaffirm my existence... It's kinda sad.  I think I'll go play with my Willow.  I think she's got a better handle on things than I do!

Stay focused!

Staying focused... it's hard!  But this mind-map is clever and useful, and it's from  http://mlkshk.com/p/6ONF

You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.             -- Joe E. Lewis

Jan 11, 2013

Waking up

 So my "exile" is over, I am once again fully connected to the web but our relationship will be better, much more balanced.  As I said, I achieved a lot of things while off-line, tidying, tossing out and cleaning up and am so glad I finally got around to these lingering messes... tossing papers from 2005, for example!!! 
  I also re-started two projects that have lingered a LLOONNGG time:  years ago (maybe 15?) I received an Emily Farmer miniature Teddy Bear kit which I started and then put aside.  That poor bear... well, I once again have him out and on my studio table and his legs are already finished!
  Dearer to my heart, I have blown the dust off my novella.  Wow, it's been 10 years since I last really looked at it and last night I went to a "Getting Your Book Published" panel discussion with my novella in mind.  Years ago, we had travelled so far as to actually have the attention of a small press, only to have that small press radically change its mission and decide it would only publish poetry.  So we lost our publisher, and I have to admit after a pile of rejection letters I was rather disheartened.  Well, time has passed and the whole publishing thing is SO different now:  I can self publish and hearing the authors on this panel speak, R. J. Anderson, Terry Griggs, Ruth Barrett and moderator Deborah Cooke (a.k.a. Claire Delacroix) was inspiring!  (Check out http://stratfordauthors.ca for more about this growing group).
  Of course, at this time, blogger is having issues with uploading photos... gesh ("Chrome" works though, if you have it.)  Couldn't have happened while I was off-line, of course.  ;}

Jan 6, 2013

Off-line and loving it!

I've been without internet at home since Friday, Dec. 28th and hope to be hooked up again Jan. 9th.  It's a matter of not informing all involved companies (and not knowing that I needed to contact them) when switching from one phone provider to the other!  Ooops!  Who knew!?  Not us...
  ANYWAY, I've been without access to the web from home and on withdrawal... and then realizing what freedom I've been granted!  What a gift!!!  It's amazing how poorly I managed my time and how the computer somehow stole itself such a high priority on my list of things to do.  So now that I have been made aware of how things can be, there will be much more balance in my days.  And you should see how tidy and organized my work spaces are!  I went through and put away 4 years worth of Hallowe'en Studio Tour papers, all my bat information and all my Hallowe'en printouts are organized and sorted into categories!  Potentially I could FIND what I seek now, wow! 
  Also, we dived into sorting photographs to be printed and placed into albums, all of 2012.  It feels great to review the year in this fashion, all the new things we took part in and places we visited. 
  Anyway, I have to keep this short, so HAPPY NEW YEAR!  and do yourself a favour:  turn off the computer!!!