Feb 28, 2013

My social media "universe"

"When not used efficiently and within an overall marketing plan, they [social media options] turn into time vampires, dementedly sucking away precious hours that otherwise could actually be spent on running your business.  The key is to use only those platforms that lead you most effectively to your end goal:  creating an emotional connection with your followers that will lead to sales." ... "What you don't want to do is stretch yourself too thin within the social media world.  It's better to go with fewer and run deep.... it's better to run two or three well, rather than miss out on opportunities through lack of an engaged and active presence."  p.80, Pinterest Power by Jason Miles and Karen Lacey. 

So the book recommends setting up your social media "universe".  Your website is at the center, your sun.  Then you place your other online sites around this sun:  your blog is close to the sun, your etsy site.  Then you place your Facebook, Pinterest, flickr, etc..., their distance to the sun indicating their importance to you.  Of course, you can change your universe, but this gives you a visual map of where you're active and, more importantly, which should have priority.  So if you've decided Pinterest is important, place it close to your sun and if Facebook is placed far from your sun don't waste your precious time poking around on there, focus on Pinterest. 

Makes sense, so I've mapped out my universe and am going to create a rough schedule to most effectively use the world wide web!

Or else your social world will become a cupcake full of maggots!  Like those in this picture, included in my "Halloween Fun" folder on my Pinterest page!

Feb 24, 2013

The albatross around our necks

I received this in my email (thank you Sylvie) and the first time I watched it I was in tears... It's unimaginable how horrible it must feel to die this way: with a "full" belly and yet starving, or bleeding internally. 
So, can this film change how people live and how we deal with garbage in our day-to-day rush-rush world?  Will we finally learn that there is no magical "away" when we throw things away?  It is ALL our backyard and these birds are our neighbours and our canaries in the cave. 
  One person commented that in Holland they have a special word for "trash thrown away on the street or nature":  they call it "roamtrash" and "it will find its way sooner or later to a river and then to the ocean; the womb of all live." -- Peter Smith

"Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time?" my sister asked, and answered, "I hope so, but think not. Very sad."  I'm a little more optimistic and believe that perhaps this film does have the power to inspire us to change.  I’m hoping so!!   Every living thing on the planet is hoping so!!


Feb 22, 2013

Cold Snap!

This is what happens when a Hallowe'ener needs to create a Library display in the middle of winter:  "Cold Snap of the Soul"!  I have wanted to use Carl Chalupa's awesome photography in a display ever since he gifted this large print to me at Scarefest, and finally I had my chance!  With the photograph as the centerpiece, the books feature wintry landscapes and dead bodies, murder mysteries mostly.  I also squeezed my full small-child skeleton into the case and a few other bony bits, with synthetic furs serving as snow and beads as blood. 

Feb 20, 2013

Eat shit! Please?

Ask a Hallowe'ener to make cupcakes and what do you get:  What Doggies Doo-Doo!

These cupcakes were created for the 2013 National Cupcake Day on February 25th to raise money for the SPCA.  They are chocolate cupcakes with chocolate chips and chocolate ganache centers, smothered under a cream cheese frosting of "grass" and topped each with a doggie doo-doo... because that's life!  Made with Camino fair trade cocoa powder, to make them even nicer!  I'm selling them at work for $2.00 a piece, all of which goes to the SPCA.

So, are they neat?  Gross?  I've entered them on the Facebook contest so please check out all the entries and vote for your favorite! (You can only vote once.) Can you spot mine?  I'm hoping they're the most original!!! Go to the contest, sort by recently added and please vote!

My “bakery” is http://support.ontariospca.ca/site/TR/Events/Cupcake13?px=1094257&pg=personal&fr_id=1120 ; if you can, please donate to support the animals at my local shelter!

Feb 19, 2013

Hallowe'en treat from Teddy Bear and Friends magazine

Incredible news: my review for the 2012 Online Hallowe'en Artists' Studio Trick or Treat is in the current issue of Teddy Bear and Friends!  And they gave us a full page, all in color!  This is such a lovely surprise, I had thought that (when it didn't appear in the last issue) it wasn't accepted but here it is:  big, beautiful and eye-catching!  I'm especially pleased that Amanda Lollar's quote is included and that so many artists' creations cover the page!  Look at it, gorgeous! 

Thank you Teddy Bear and Friends! 
I have to admit that the tour's future is somewhat in jeopardy, but this is a wonderful moral booster and what a boon for the bats! 

Feb 16, 2013


I have wanted to visit Dollirium, London, Ontario's art doll gallery, since October 2011 when Mom and I spotted a poster in a bookshop in London while we roamed the streets before our Lost Soul Stroll ghost tour.  It has taken until now, with the latest poster up on the fridge since last Hallowe'en, but finally we made it!  (Thank you for stopping with the snowing, Mother Nature, much appreciated!)
Dollirium is a sight to behold!  Never before have I seen so many dolls of such variety and in so many mediums, and most with a dark twist or blatantly goth!  The imagination contained in this small gallery is keenly inspiring.  This is a photo of just the front room.

I was in contact with Jacqui Gallant (pictured right) before our visit as I'd wanted to know more about her creation "Jack Frost" so when we arrived it was nice to meet in person and browse the gallery with Jacqui available to answer our questions.  I wish I could remember all the names and information she shared but I was a tad overwhelmed!!  If I had the money and space I would have made a number of artists rather happy!!! 

The piece that was the most awe-striking was "Buddy" the bunny, whom we named the won-ton bunny because his skin looks so much like the rice paper you use for spring rolls... perhaps we should call him Spring Roll instead, suits a bunny!  Like a skinned rabbit, this see-through skin was colored just right and the wrinkling and the ribs sticking out were incredble and the teeth were awesome too! 

Not to everyone's taste, for sure! I suppose our reaction was a bit like looking at road-kill:  there's repulsion and fascination at the same time!  LOL!  Applause to the artist, Melissa Panth!
Another favorite was "Midnight Dance" by Nick McMahon... I really still like this piece but we just didn't connect, or maybe my eyes were so completely enchanted by "Jack Frost" that the zombie didn't stand a chance.    

Jack was beautiful in his photo on the website but seeing him in person... And having the chilling feeling that he was looking back at me... It was love at first sight, but he's just a head and this always was an issue.  Jacqui, however, even though she'll have to ask others for advice (since he'll have to have his skeleton built and head attached after the fact) is going to create his body and make him whole!  I am so happy, and happy knowing that, when she was working on him, she wished that he was to be a whole doll too.  So now it will happen and Jack will come and live with me!  I think he will get along handsomely with the characters in my collection! 

(By the way, Jack's photo and Jacqui's photo are from The Forest City Fashionista's blog:  http://www.forestcityfashionista.com/2012/03/garden-of-hedon-at-dollirium.html and http://www.forestcityfashionista.com/2012/12/the-island-of-misfit-dolls.html  Thank you Shelley!)

Two other pieces that stood out were "Syd Screamer" by Caroline Jones and "Mortal Coil" by Kamilla Meesters, a really spooky piece with, as you can see, a demonic hand pulling the lady back, digging into her perfect flesh:
Unfortunately two of my favorites are not included on Dollirium's site yet, "Elliot" by Michelle Di Pinto and a piece I don't know the name of but the writing on the artwork was "I've dug myself a hole so deep I don't know how to get out" or something very similar and was very striking.  Elliot was a sweet little boy, I almost think I could keep him on my desk at work... but like all things at Dollirium he had a delicious, creepy oddness to him... well, you'll just have to go see for yourself!  The poster with the details is right on top or visit the website.  And tell me what you think!

Feb 14, 2013

Spreading the Contagion

So I'm reading Pinterest Power and I'm starting a chapter called "Strategies for Social Contagion".  Sounds scary.  I think I have more chance getting a zombie apocalypse started or spreading the plague...  After all, I don't even seem to be able to motivate my too-busy friends to comment on this blog (nudge, nudge).
  And then there's this quote:  "At the most basic level, we are wired to be social and to express ourselves.  Along with this is a core drive to contribute to the world and our community -- and then, in return, to be acknowledged for this contribution.  It's literally in our DNA." -- p.55

Social like a rat?  I'm finding the online social network hard to get a handle on.

Oh, and by the way:  Happy Valentine's Day!  My friend and colleague commented that this should be a day when we remember to love better, forgetting the negative flaws and faux pas of the people we care about.  Wise words, thank you Trish.

And thank you for the dinosaurs!
This is the Valentine button I wore on my t-shirt at work today:  yup, Valentine's Day is not a favorite!  Nevertheless, staff and patrons got a laugh at my "Eat your Heart Out"! 
This awesome image is by Carl Chalupa who is a photographic wiz and I'm especially fond of his Hallowe'en material. I mean, who else could offer up such a great Valentine sentiment?  Enjoy seeing more at Room 57. 

Feb 11, 2013

Busy weekend!

Since we're already into February, I decided I had to put the quilling away and get to some pieces for the doll show I hope to be doing in April.  But first I created a few different bat designs:
Three different bodies and wing shapes...
Then I pulled out a project I started last summer: the cat-fish.  This is a lady cat who originally was going to be transformable from a mermaid to a cat lady, with legs that could be interchanged with a tail.  While a neat idea, I don't think anyone would be willing to pay the price for the piece and store the body parts that weren't in use, so I scrapped it.  Instead, she's going to be a cat in a mermaid costume, inspired by Cher's mermaid costume from the movie "Mermaids".  I'm particularly looking forward to making the head-dress, which could incorporate some quilling elements and perhaps paper mache.  First, though, the cat and here are her two tattoos:  on one leg, near the heel, there's a multi-colored fish while on an inside wrist there is the same fish only now it's a skeleton!  Well, she is a cat! 
In other news, we made brioche today, using that super duper yeast!  Yes, it worked incredibly well again and these spinach-bacon-Vodka a la creme brioche are very yummy!  We accidentally forgot to include the cheese, so we ate it on the side.  This dough is so fluffy and tasty we're going to use it with apples, nuts and cinnamon to make a sweet treat.
My brioche don't look as tidy as these, more like volcanic brains! 

Feb 9, 2013

Cupcakes and pins

Here's to an awesome New Year!  The great thing about having another New Year celebration is that you can re-start if you need to! 

I spent the day shovelling snow and then baking oatmeal/almond/raspberry muffins and part of what I'm going to use to make my Baking Competition entry for National Cupcake Day!  I'm helping out so if you'd like to help my local animal shelter please donate through my bakery.
If you live near me and would like a cupcake, please let me know and I'll put one or two aside for you and I'll send you pictures and details of the goodies I've made.
The rest of the day I spent on pinterest.com setting up a pin board for myself, using the book Pinterest Power by Jason Miles and Karen Lacey as a guide.  I've read that pinterest is an incredibly effective way to share your art so I thought to give it a try.  This is my site so far:  http://pinterest.com/clawscratches/  If you have any suggestions, please let me know and if you're on pinterest I'd love to see your site so repin something of mine so I can find you!

Feb 4, 2013

Quilling 101 -- Part 2

This is fun!  Today I made this yellow and orange butterfly flower with 3 leaves!  I also glued together 3 layers of cardboard to use with the stick pins to better hold the bat wing outline for the second attempt. 

Feb 3, 2013

Quilling 101

February is here!  And we had lovely snow and frost-tinselled branches!  I love winter when it's like this:  -10C and sunny.

And indoors I've decided to try something new: quilling.  When you're "stuck" in your usual creative medium, it's supposed to help to shift gears and try something new.  Quilling has lots of advantages over soft sculpture, the biggest being you're allowed to screw up!  So what if you end up throwing away a few strips of paper; not so when you're working with mohair that cost you between $100 and $300/yd!!! 
I remember quilling LLOONNGG ago when I was about 12 years old, so when I spotted this book Thrilling Quilling by Elizabeth Moad I was drawn to it and thought I'd like to try my hand at it again.  My first project?  A flower? No.  A snowflake?  No. 
A bat! 
Not bad for a first try... it would be nice to make some as ornaments for Hallowe'en or even Xmas trees.