Monday, October 31, 2016

A Little Bit of Halloween Fun

Even though we're mostly skipping Halloween this year, because it just reminds us too much of Betty, her fantastic costumes, and integral part of the holiday, I finally got around to starting the Halloween Apothecary I've been collecting and hoarding for over the last couple-few years. It's stashed in the niche above our pantry doors for now, but might just stay there all year.

I had so much fun coming up with the various "ingredients," making the labels, and decorating the bottles that I took two pictures of each. And you lucky so-and-sos get the opportunity to see all of them! If you choose to continue, that is.

Bat Brains, Flying Gunard Dorsal Scales, Scales of Arctic Sea Lion

Dollar store rubbery brains, cheat grass seed heads, pine cone scales.
Mystery Lady and Authentic Bearded Whale Whiskers

Some part of pine cones, seed pods from something in the yard

Patagonian Su Tail Fur and Mummified Lamprey, Whole & Complete

Samara-type seeds and a poppy seed pod.

Cone from Pine of Siam (in a font called "Symbols"), Flutterbi Wings, Scales of This Guy or These Guys

A mutant, double-tipped pine cone that I jarred too soon, so it moldered, pine white butterfly wings found on the ground, pine cones stripped of their scales by the local squirrel gang.

Authentic Lung of Unicorn

The spent seed stalk from the hen & chicks growing in the yard.
Scales of Old Salak, Authentic Mermaid Underarm Hair

Pine bark found on the ground, moss/lichen also found on the ground
The labels were put together in Photoshop using Dover Publishing clip art and downloaded fonts. They're printed on paper with some little bits in it, then tea stained, and decoupaged onto the jars. Various kinds of cloth, mostly also tea stained for the tops, except those that are painted tissue paper. Some are applied with wax, others tied or decoupaged. Watered down acrylic paints are used to further distress the tops, labels, and jars. All the natural things were collected on our property. In fact,I didn't have to buy anything for this project so far, which was pretty satisfying. All the fabric was from scraps, jars from foods we'd finished, wax was from making fire starters, paper has been in my stash for at least a decade! I even already had the clip art and fonts! I think I'm even going to consider this true upcycling, because I think these things are better than were as just jars and just stuff on the ground - maybe all the plants that didn't get to grow would think differently, but they can get their own blog or leave negative comments if they want to.

I have a few more that are alllllmost done to add this season, but these are only about half of the total specimens in jars I have. The rest will have to wait until next year, at least.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Dr. Potter's Medicine Show

HOLY CATS, YOU GUYS! Eric's book is just that much closer to being a real-live book that you can all hold in your hot little hands!

Artist Steven Meyer-Rassow really did an amazing job! Eric is really pleased with this representation of the story and themes.

On October 27, Angry Robot and Barnes & Noble revealed the cover through B&N's Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog! You can read a synopsis as well as some book recommendations from *The Author.

We got to see the cover on the 26th, so I printed it up and taped it to an appropriately sized book from our shelves. Then I put it in the fresh library stack for him to find.

Dr. Potter's Medicine Show will be released in the UK on February 2, 2017 in Trade Paperback & digital formats and in the US on February 7, 2017 in Mass Market Paperback and digital formats. But you don't HAVE to wait, because both Barnes and Noble and Amazon are taking pre-orders! Or, you can give yourself a February Doldrums Pick-me-up and buy from your local bookshop in February. Don't worry, I'll remind you.

Speaking of reminders: If you want to keep up with Eric's books (that's right, plural), events he'll be attending, his various posts to various literary blogs and such, please sign up for his infrequent and brief newsletter. Just scroll down, enter your email, then click the Sign Up button.

*And by "The Author," I mean, Eric: Eric Scott Fischl, Author.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Little Autumn Decoration

I've already painted the moulding and trim that will be replaced, so hopefully in the next week or so the front door update will be done! 

As mentioned previously, we're working on the exterior trim and doors. Mostly that's just painting, but in the case of the front door that means hiring Renaissance Handyman Nick to raise it up so its swing will leave enough clearance over the floor to finally put down a door mat. I was able to get the door itself primed and painted, but am waiting until after all the ruckus before doing the trim and moulding for the most part.

I also added this little wreath hanger! It is actually a small cabinet knob* from a big box store that matches the finish on our lock sets. There was already a hole in the wood door from some other thing at some other time by some other people and it took me awhile to get around to liking the idea of a wreath or other decoration hanging over the diamond-shaped windows, but once the dark, warm grey paint was on there all I could think about was getting something colorful up there to help it all make sense. I must've been inspired by the recent deluge of orange-y pine needles on the ground and the colorful leaves on the deciduous plants and trees around.

I had picked up these wood and foil leaves awhile back, so grabbed a few other supplies on sale and with coupons and whipped up this little autumn wreath last week for a total of $13.47! It gives me a little bit of cheer every time I walk in the front door or spot it from the yard.

* to make the cabinet knob work on our door without having to drill all the way through the door just to have a screw head visible on the inside, I picked up the appropriate sized hanger bolts at the same big box store. Of course, I had to buy package of 8, so now I'm keeping my eyes peeled for other nifty cabinet knobs and pulls to use on other things.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

COMING SOON: Long Winter's Naps

Lately, I've been trying to finish up a few projects and "winterize" our house and lifestyle. These things are all boring tasks like cleaning the curtains in the living and dining rooms while I can still hang them on the line, putting away the deck rug and chairs, finishing up just a few home-improvement projects on my own or with Renaissance Handyman Nick who is keeping quite busy aside from our projects, and getting our firewood deliveries lined up.

Delia is sporting her leafy, orange-y Collar Cozy for that autumn vibe. She gets her ability to be flattered by orange from her papa.

Wood stove season is upon us and Delia is digging it! I have always made the dogs' beds, but she likes propping her chin up and burrowing in whether she's on the sofa, in her kennel, or by the stove, so I have been keeping my eye out for a color-coordinated and budget-friendly dog bed, the kind with a... uh... bumper?, for her. Costco finally came through!

Look how cozy! And so plush and soft! No thank you.

The thing is, she wasn't interested AT ALL. She even chose the sofa in the living room over her usual next-to-the-stove spot when I replaced the other cushion with her luxurious new bed! So I grabbed her favorite blanket to help make the new bed smell familiar. The LAST thing I want is this dingy* and hole-y blankie in my still-new-feeling kitchen, but... she's our sweet, baby girl and we'll do this to help her adjust... to luxury. 

I think it's working!

* Her blankie has been recently laundered, but it's a dog blanket and will just never again look like it's not a dog blanket. Dog people will know what this means.