No Green Thumb Here…

Nature simply is. She gives and keeps on giving. All She asks for in return is respect.

Somehow I got stuck in the wrong line when they were passing out green thumbs and I ended up with two brown ones. Brown is very nice color in quite a few instances (chocolate comes to mind), but decidedly not when it comes to plants and the like. Usually the opposite in fact, yes? Brown is generally the color of plants when they’re on their journey to the other side.

I’m in good company. My soul sister is also a confirmed brown thumb. Without any sort of devastating sense of failure, I am content with my brown thumb status simply because there are an abundance of wildflowers, parks, trails, and other people’s gardens that I can enjoy.

From the garden of one of my long suffering neighbors. They all now seem to understand that there is no way to get rid of the loony lady with the camera.

From the garden of one of my long suffering neighbors. Though they all (finally!) seem to understand that there is no way to get rid of the loony lady with the camera.

Wildflowers from the hills near our home.

Wildflowers from the hills near our home.

She looks like she's licking her chops to me. Do flowers even have chops? In my world, anything is possible.

She looks like she’s licking her chops to me. Do flowers even have chops? In my world, anything is possible.

Where can you get that shade of delicate pink? As far as I know, only nature can do it.

It's a bit of a green tangled, but nature does it with such grace.

It’s a bit of a green tangle, but they do it with such grace.

There she was in all her tiny gloriousness flourishing away in an empty lot I stumbled upon.

I spotted this fine lady growing in a small garden alongside a gas station. Pretty cool that someone took the time to plant her there.

Another find in a field. I had trouble getting them to sit still for me, but all the same, aren’t they sweet?

Faces

I see faces everywhere I go. Even when there aren’t any people. Is that bad? Oh yeah. That’s bad.

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Spotted Pinocchio here on the way home from one of my rambles.

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Froggy just chilling on a trail up in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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This happy, primitive looking fellow made his home in Hermitage Castle, Hawick. His smiley demeanor is certainly incongruous, considering the bloody history of Hermitage. Of course, maybe he’s just pleased that his gruesome past is behind him.

Hermitage, again. This one's expression is certainly much more what I would expect given that the prison (a glorified hole in the ground) lay just below him.

You can almost hear his groan. Hermitage, again. This one’s expression is actually what I would expect given that the old prison (an un-glorified hole in the ground) lay just below him. Ah, the stories he could tell, eh?

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Climbing up some rocks in Joshua Tree I found these three creatures for the price of one! Actually, it didn’t cost me anything. Unless you count the cost of the climb. Cost or no, it appears they are all getting along famously. I enjoy how the little one, alert and ready for action, is playing piggy-back on one of his larger pals.

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I quietly took this gentleman’s photo while he napped in Joshua Tree Park. I suppose he didn’t have anything interesting going on that day. Can’t say that I blame him. It was freezing weather, which kept the sensible tourists away.

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Another Joshua Tree tenant. He looks much more lively, doesn’t he?

Joshua Tree 121912

This guy seems to be out of breath. Perhaps he’d been running. Or maybe he’s hungry, his mouth open in hopes that I’d give him some food. Cretin that I am, I have no idea what passed-out, fallen over Joshua Trees eat.

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How is that I keep finding these hungry little fallen tree branches?? This one is made from drift wood and he lives in Malibu.

(o_O)

Quieting the Mind

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” 

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Point Dume, Malibu

Point Dume, Malibu

Beach at Point Dume

Beach at Point Dume, Malibu

Faeries Dancing on the Pacific

Faeries Dancing on the Pacific

Some sort of conference was going on down there. I didn't want to get in the middle of it, though. I tip-toed away.

Some sort of conference was going on down there. I didn’t want to get in the middle of it and carefully tip-toed away.

The seaweed looked like a primitive image of the Goddess to me.

The seaweed looked like a primitive image of the Goddess to me.

See what I mean? (Paleolithic, Woman of Willendorf, dated 200,000 -21,000 BCE)

See what I mean?
I found this image on ProProfs Flashcards (Paleolithic, Woman of Willendorf, dated 200,000 -21,000 BCE).

Horizon View

Sitting on the beach after our hike this fellow came by looking for treats. He posed and everything. Sadly, all I had was bottled water.

Sitting on the beach after my hike this fellow came by looking for treats.  Sadly, all I had was bottled water. Next time I’ll come better prepared.

A well-deserved sunset.

A well-deserved sunset.

Wordless Wednesday…

Dead to the World

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Halloween Artist Bazaar is hosting a fabulous giveaway for the spring. The winner will receive a package of indie artisan handcrafted collectibles worth over $200. You can sign up for FREE by clicking on the image below:

Halloween Artist Bazaar...we're not just for Halloween anymore (or ever)

Spring Once Again vs Horticulture

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

~Margaret Atwood, “Bluebeard’s Egg”

If I weren’t a confirmed and *certified Brown Thumb, I might agree with the above quote. I don’t mind the smell of dirt (earth that is); however, it’s the planting of the seeds and then the maintaining of the little sproutlings that trips me up. I’m just no good at it. Since I have other skills (I make a mean lasagna), I do not let it get me down.

When it comes to flowers my preference are of the wild variety. Yeah, just let them sprout wherever they darn well please and grow at their own particular pace. Where do those wildflowers come from? I thought about it. And yes, I do realize there are science thingies called biology and horticulture. “Horticulture,” sounds a little snooty, doesn’t it? But that isn’t why it doesn’t interest me. No offense to any of you horticulturists out there (reading my blog?? Hah!), it just doesn’t interest me.  You may not have noticed, but I am much more fantasy, rather than science, orientated. So, I came up with my own version of what happens at spring.

You can find my tale on the Halloween Artist Bazaar site. Click on this link and it will take you straight to the short story “Spring Once Again.” Enjoy!

*Or was that certifiable? Ah well. Doesn’t really matter, does it?

Creepy Bunny Banner

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Halloween Artist Bazaar is hosting a fabulous giveaway for the spring. The winner will receive a package of indie artisan handcrafted collectibles worth over $200. You can sign up for FREE by clicking on the image below:

Halloween Artist Bazaar...we're not just for Halloween anymore (or ever)

Halloween Artist Bazaar…we’re not just for Halloween anymore (or ever)

A Dilemma: How to Make a Spring Egg Bomb

“Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it.”

~Elwood P. Dowd, from the 1950 movie “Harvey”

Production here has switched over to Spring Time and I’m sure you’ll understand that Twisted Bunny can’t carry a basket filled with jelly beans. That would be ridiculous.

Regular bunny. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National digital Library. I highly recommend this site for images of animals. All free of charge!

Regular bunny.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library. I highly recommend this site for images of animals. All free of charge!

Chocolate bunny. Photo courtesy of Dove Chocolate.

Chocolate bunny.
Photo courtesy of Dove Chocolate.  And I’m always happy to spread the Gospel of Chocolate.

Twisted Bunny.As you can see he is conspicuously different than his brethren above. Photo courtesy of Cards for a Gloomy Day.

Twisted Bunny.
As you can see he is conspicuously different than his brethren above. Photo courtesy of Cards for a Gloomy Day.

My solution? It has to be either a carrot dagger, basket booby trap, or an egg bomb (an Easter Bomb-it. Hah!). I’m thinking egg bomb. Imagine the fun to be had with an Egg Bomb Hunt. Much more exciting than the hard-boiled variety, yes? To up the stakes, we could even set a timer on the egg bombs that way they’ll go off if the little dears aren’t quick enough to find them. Poof! No more long, drawn out egg hunts!

So…the dilemma is how to make an egg bomb without actually damaging anyone. I’m not thinking of making a real bomb. Great Toads of Horniness, how crazy do you think I am? Since there is no good answer to that question, I will just say this: if any Secret Service, Homeland Security, CIA etc are tuning in, not to worry. I could never work with real explosives. I’m way too clumsy for that, official-investigating-danger-and-threats type people.

My work desk. It’s all askew at the moment: desperately scribbled notes, half doodled faces, bits of spring green yarn strewn about, and partially sewn Twisted Bunnies. By the way, I created my very own Twisted Bunny template. Fingers crossed it turns out.

My work desk. It’s all askew at the moment: desperately scribbled notes, half doodled faces, bits of spring green yarn strewn about, and partially sewn Twisted Bunnies. By the way, I created my very own Twisted Bunny template. Fingers crossed it turns out.

Back to the matter at hand…shall I just attach a fuse dealy-bob to the top of a decorated egg of some sort? Would that truly get the point across? Hmm…I suppose that could work as long as I include explicate instructions.

I’ll do my best to keep you updated. In the meantime, it’s back to work for me. No rest for the wicked or small business owners, apparently.

Note: This post is merely a tiny example of the challenges small business owners deal with on a daily basis. Or is that the weirdness I deal with on an hourly basis? I can never keep these things straight.

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Watch for the Halloween Artist Bazaar’s upcoming Easter Hares & Springtime Scares Giveaway! Details soon to be posted on the Halloween Artist Bazaar’s website.

Halloween Artist Bazaar, not just for Halloween any more.

Halloween Artist Bazaar, not just for Halloween any more.

Hearts and Flowers, Blah, Blah

Yeah. I actually wrote a Valentine tale. Weird. By my standards, of course. The tale includes Fiddler-the-Cat (created by Twilight Faerie) and Wilbur. Equipped with a sharp beak (which is uncomfortable when applied repeatedly to your head, especially the way he wields it), Wilbur began pestering me around November last year. Since that time, he’s taken a few different forms. This is what he looks like now:

Wilbur & Betty Bee

My original pen drawing of Wilbur and his latest squeeze, Betty Bee. Yeah. Betty Bee. Things were running slow in my brain that day and that’s the name I came up with.

You won’t find the Valentine tale here. I wrote it for the fabulous artist group I’m lucky enough to be a member of, Halloween Artist Bazaar. Click on this link or the image below and it will take you straight to the short story “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Valentine Dance.”

Enjoy! And a Happy Valentine-Hearts-Flowers-and-Candy Day to you.

Halloween Artist Bazaar

How to Make a (Gingerbread) Zombie Army…

“I sometimes feel that I’m impersonating the dark unconscious of the whole human race. I know this sounds sick, but I love it.”

~ Vincent Price

Some people really seem to relish the notion of an upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. There are a number of reasons for this. Or perhaps there’s only one reason: no more having to be responsible, right? The only thing you will need to do is survive…or not. Becoming a zombie might be the best thing that ever happened to you. No more nine-to-five. No more rent or mortgage to cover. No more boss to put up with. No more car payments. No more worrying about what to wear to the O’Flaherty’s New Year’s Eve party. No more anything…just lovely, ignorant bliss as far as the eyes can see. Ahhhh…..

Personally, I’m of the Zombie School of Thought that we’re in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse right now. The zombies just haven’t got to the actual eating-your-brain stage. Be patient. It will happen. It’s only a matter of time.

Which (in a very round-about-walk-a-crooked-mile sort of way), leads me to this post. You’ve heard of DIY tutorials, yes? For all of you out there who’ve been waiting for it, here it is: How to Make a (Gingerbread) Zombie Army.

I’ve often wondered how to make my very own Gingerbread Zombie Army. This, along with many other worthy questions has kept me up at night. And no offense meant to any of you gingerbread lovers out there, but I’m actually not big on gingerbread. I do, however, love zombies. So, how to create a Gingerbread Zombie Army without making the gingerbread was a puzzle. Until…[insert drum roll here] I ran across this lovely and free pattern:

Looks a bit smiley, doesn't he/she? Not to worry. Upon becoming a Zombie Gingerbread, a smile turns into a grisly grin in no time flat

Looks a bit smiley, doesn’t he/she? Not to worry. Upon becoming a Zombie Gingerbread, a smile turns into a grisly grin in no time flat.

I find a pattern easier to use when it’s a bit firmer, so I glue the paper pattern onto a piece of cardboard.

I printed out my pattern and then glued it to the cardboard from an (empty) box of cereal. We eat a lot of cereal around here. Maybe you eat a lot of Pop Tarts or granola bars. In which case, life will be more difficult for you as the gingerbread pattern is bigger than a Pop Tart box and you will have to glue together 2 pieces of cardboard. Way to much work for me, so I eat cereal.

I printed out my pattern and then glued it to the cardboard from an (empty) box of cereal. We eat a lot of cereal around here. Maybe you eat a lot of Pop Tarts or granola bars. In which case, life will be more difficult for you as the gingerbread pattern is bigger than a Pop Tart box and you will have to glue together 2 pieces of cardboard. Way to much work for me, so I eat cereal.

Nice, eh? It just goes to show that you should never try to force creativity. Let it appear when it is ready. It could appear as a box of cereal. You never know. I do know that both creativity and cereal are worth the wait.

Have I mentioned how much I love glue sticks and scissors? I know I’m not alone in believing that they are the meaning of life. Since the very first time I saw them together, I knew I would never be the same…

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

~William Shakespeare

Glue sticks and scissors aren't really the meaning of Life, but they sure do help it along. It's important to know what to stick with and what cut out of our lives (and our crafts).

Glue sticks and scissors aren’t really the meaning of Life, but they sure do help it along. It’s important to know what to stick with and what to cut out of our lives (and our crafts).

After making your pattern, you can then trace out its shape onto your material.

Trace the pattern on your choice of double-up'd material. If you’re like me, you’ll be doing this in the middle of the night and you might start to see things. Things that aren’t actually there. Like stuff coming to life and dancing around the room. This happens to me a lot. A lot.

If you’re like me, you’ll be doing this in the middle of the night and you might start to see things. Things that aren’t actually there. Like stuff coming to life and dancing around the room. This happens to me a lot. A lot.

The choices of material are endless. My zombies prefer natural fabric, so I go for unbleached, 100% cotton. These zombies do like color though, so I’m branching out into red, green, and black cotton. Got to keep the little buggers happy, otherwise they get restless. Gingerbread or no, restless Zombies are dangerous Zombies.

Now comes the fun part: discovering the Gingerbread Zombies’ personalities and painting them to suit those personalities. They’ll talk to you. They’ll tell you their stories. They’ll scare the living bejeezus (or whatever else they can get their grimy paws into) out of you. Never underestimate small, inanimate creations.

After sewing the material pieces together, paint Gingerbread Zombie's face and clothes, sew on weird curly hair bits, blah, blah, blah, blah...

After sewing the material pieces together, paint the Gingerbread Zombie’s face and clothes (I used acrylics), maybe sew on a couple of buttons for eyes and add on some weird curly hair bits, blah, blah, blah, blah…

Then we stuff our Gingerbread Zombie. You could stuff them full of sweets or extra helpings of mashed potatoes (my preference when it comes to stuffing myself), but you’re probably better off with an 80/20 mix of cotton and polyester.

"Stuffing the Zombie," sounds dirty, doesn't it? I can assure you this is a very clean process.

“Stuffing the Zombie,” sounds dirty, doesn’t it? I can assure you this is a very clean procedure.

After the stuffing process, a bit of surgery is required. We can’t have the stuffing falling out.

After the stuffing a bit of surgery is required. A concept I am (unfortunately) intimately familiar with.

The dreaded, but necessary surgery. A concept I am (unfortunately) intimately familiar with.

A completed side-stitch:

And unlike certain surgeons I've had the displeasure of encountering, I took the time to make certain all the stuffing is tucked back neatly inside and sewn up with lovely, neat stitches.

And unlike certain surgeons I’ve had the displeasure of encountering, I took the time to make certain all the stuffing (and only the stuffing no rogue bits of carpet or plastic pieces) is tucked back neatly inside and sewn up with lovely, neat stitches. Just because they’re Zombies doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be afforded neat stitching.

Ever read Raggedy Ann stories? Well, she was special because along with her cotton filling she was given a candy heart. My Gingerbread Zombie Army soldiers are special because each one of them has been given a candy Booger for a brain. Yep. You read that right. A candy Booger brain. I couldn’t give them heart, could I? They’re zombies.

Tangy, sugary badness!

Tangy, sugary brainy badness!

There you have it: a quick, if weird and perhaps confusing, guide to making Gingerbread Zombies. If you’d rather not bother, but would still enjoy amassing your very own army, I can be persuaded to part with some of mine. Actually, I was out of commission for awhile and all I could do was sew, sew, and sew and I’m afraid I got a bit carried away making them. Erm…they’ve sort of taken over our home. Gaak. I’m doing my best to keep them happy with stale Halloween candy (as much trouble as it gives me at times, I really do need my brain), so if you’d like to adopt one, I’m certain they’d be thrilled. You can find them in my Etsy Shop.

Meet Billy Bob Bodean

Meet Billy Bob Bodean

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Not the mushy, hearts-and-flowers type? The artists of Halloween Artist Bazaar have got your Valentine Day needs covered! Check us out:Halloween Artist Bazaar

Sleepy Blue Stars and Fiddler

Recently, I was asked to write a winter’s tale for the artist group of which I’m proud to be a member: Halloween Artist Bazaar. I decided to write a twist(ed) on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and titled my piece “‘Twas the Eve Before Fiddler-The-Cat.”

Fiddler is Halloween Artist Bazaar’s mascot and his image is our leader, Twilight Faerie’s creation. The perfect mascot for our group, Fiddler is dark and mysterious, playful, and oh-let’s-just-say-it: adorable. Fiddler came to life through Twilight’s fair hand, and as soon as she told me his name it seems that he has had much to impart. This tale may only be the beginning…

I enjoyed writing this short story so much that it inspired me to create the following piece “Three Sleepy Blue Stars.”

“Blue stars,” you ask?

Yep. Blue.

Three Sleepy Blue StarsIK

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Halloween Artist Bazaar is hosting another fabulous giveaway for the Winter Holidays. The winner will receive a package of independent artisan handcrafted ornaments, jewelry, and other holiday fare worth over $200. You can sign up for FREE by clicking on the image below:

WinterGiveAway

Best of luck to you and whatever holidays you celebrate may you thoroughly enjoy yourself!

Seeker of Golden Hearts

“Hear my soul speak. Of the very instant that I saw you,
Did my heart fly at your service.”

~ Shakespeare, The Tempest – Act 3, Scene 1

Foolishly, I am trying to protect my heart; yet, it seems that I have set in motion a Quest. So typically female, it nearly makes me shudder. I’m afraid the Quest is already gaining in speed though. Yes, I am afraid and yet, wickedly aroused at the same time. Oops. Too late, now!

The announcement has been dispatched, “Seeker of Golden Hearts.” Do I really need to have concern? My message is not clear. Very few (if any) will be able to decipher the actual meaning. Sadly though I must ask myself, will I win again? I am a Puzzle Launcher. That is my nature. Don’t know what a Puzzle Launcher is? Hah! Too bad for you then, isn’t it?

I was contacted by a Bruised Knight, his Armor, apparently dented. Curiosity spins me for a loop! So many questions fill my mind. To begin: is there an opening in his dented Armor? One of which I could slip through? It is healing words that I wish to speak to him, a soothing balm, perhaps. I would like to give him a kiss or a thimble. Whatever or whichever, he may desire. But only disappear his sadness, banish his wounds away! These should be ashamed for bringing despair to him. So, off with you! Slither away back into the vapors! That is of course, if an opening indeed exists of which I may slip through. I do not know and it is always difficult to say. But find out, I must.

When I wrote the words “Seeker of Golden Hearts” I really had no conscious mind of what I was about. Had I known, would I have written it? Desire is a tricky matter. This is something for me to ponder, but another time. This tale has already taken enough shape altogether. And not at all what I had expected. Is it enough, that I admit the truth to myself?

Did these words, these few effortless words ease their way into each our subconscious? That back-burner place where sauces do simmer? And sometimes burn, sticking themselves to the pan?

“Bruised Knight…do not be bruised! I would not care to find you hurt! Let me hold you closely to my bosom and kiss it all better!” Mmm, yes, very nice. And should he care to snuggle in more closely to my breast, nuzzling along the way, who would I be to judge? He is my Knight, Sweetest Knight. I will not deny him ease, support, or for that matter sexual release. Why ever would I?

I wanted nothing more than to cry out these words, but I could not. How could I? He will think me a Fool and I get far, far too much of that, already. Ah, but did my thoughts slide their way into his subconscious?

“Yes,” cries he. “I am your Golden Heart! The one you have been seeking! It is me!” And sweeping me into his manly embrace he murmurs with a gruff sexiness, “Press me to your bosom and elsewhere, now. Dear. Sweet. Lady.”

Yeah. Right. All this happens right after Bruised Knight gets home from a hard day at work, just after he shouts,

“Honey, I’m home!”

Yes. Well. I did admit that I am a Fool.

An excerpt from “The Journals of Intricate Knot – Volume 3″

Discarded Card. Hah! I did a better job on the next one.

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For those of you visiting from Jeremy Bates (White Lies, excellent, excellent read!)  Halloween Hop, welcome and a Very Happy Halloween to you!

One of my all time favorite horror movies is the original 1963 version of The Haunting, directed by Robert Wise (American, though the film was British) and staring Julie Harris. If you’re into blood and gore, you won’t find it in The Haunting; however, this classic black and white film delivers disturbing like no other. It is a true ghost story, based on the book The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson.  My costume this year is  Lunatic-Writer-On-The-Edge. Oh, wait. That was last year’s costume. Not to worry, I can pull out my sweatpants and torn tee-shirt again  mwahahaha…

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