Thursday, December 25, 2014

Phoebe's Nightmare Before Christmas!

Wishing happiness to all my Blogland friends over this festive period. And stay safe!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The (Very) Post-Halloweeen Post - 2014

The general all-work-and-no-play theme of 2014 (and yes, it does make Emma a very dull girl indeed) was still pervasive during the Halloween festivities, hence the tardiness of this post.

My decorating usually includes a faux cemetery scene in the living room, as you can see from the photo below of Phoebe playing her role as the "Graveyard Cat".

This year though, with the exception of the Jack-o'-Lantern that I carved (top), lack of time meant that I just made use of bits and pieces that I have out all year long.

I was thrilled to note that this was the first year that Australia had Halloween-appropriate films being screened on television in the lead-up to All Hallows' Eve and on the night itself. Huzzah! We are making progress!

We also had a nice trickle of trick-or-treaters come to the door again this year and the kids all seemed pleased with the little treat bags I had prepared for them.

After a bit of a party dinner, Danny, James, Phoebe and I sat down to enjoy Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow. The last few years, I have carved my pumpkin to look like the Sleepy Hollow Jack-o'-Lantern scarecrow. I had every intention of mixing things up this year and carving a Jack Skellington face... but as you can see (top photo), I couldn't resist sticking with old faithful.

I was also fortunate enough to receive some wonderful Halloween treats from dear friends on the other side of the globe: 

Yvonne of the Winter Moon blog celebrated Neil Gaiman's All Hallows Read (an initiative with the purpose of encouraging the giving of spooky books at Halloween) by generously gifting a number of her buddies here in Blogland with packages that not only contained a delightfully dark novel, but other charmingly macabre goodies. I was the lucky recipient of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, plus a cornucopia of bats, snakes, spiders, creepy chocolates, vintage horror movie postcards and Jessie Larson art cards.

Then Debi of Puddleduck Grange and Easel & Quill blogs sent me one of her beautiful, original paintings.

Thank you both so much lovely ladies!

While we're still on the subject of Yvonne, she has just started selling some of her beautiful photography and artwork as prints and homewares on the Society6 website. She has some fabulous designs, like the ones below, in her Winter Moon shop there.

It seems that Blogland is bursting with excitement and activity at the moment because gorgeous friend Magaly Guerrero released her latest book, Blooming Howls. I have only recently come into possession of a hand-me-down iPad (from sister to parents to me), and Magaly's Blooming Howls was my first ever digital book purchase.

I hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween! And now it is time to brace ourselves for the onslaught of the Yuletide season.

I'll leave you with a cartoon of my beloved Addams Family by Charles "Chas" Addams.

"Suddenly, I have a dreadful urge to be merry." 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!


Wishing everyone a spooktacular All Hallows' Eve!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Halloween Nevermore Rapport P(oe)arty!

Welcome to my little corner of the Halloween Nevermore Rapport Blog Hop co-hosted by author Annie Walls and Black Heart Reviews.

My contribution to the P(oe)arty is a wee raven. I've been playing around with ideas for Little Gothic Crows for a while now and this hop (as is so often the case) gave me  a deadline to finally get one finished. I'm quite pleased with the way he turned out, so I predict there will be more birdy-making in my future.

After his P(oe)arty duties are over, this little birdy will be flying off to the nest of a friend who has been having a bit of a rough time lately. Hopefully this Raven will help to cheer her up... Evermore! ;)

Thank you for visiting with me and please do head on over to Annie's blog for the list of P(oe)arty links, so that you can mingle with the other P(oe)artygoers.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Delightfully Dark Finds: Arsenic and Old Lace Cross-Stitched

Earlier this year, I wrote about the lovely Laura, from The Little Stitcher, after stumbling across a cross-stitch pattern that she had created of The Addams Family (here).

Well, today I discovered that she has designed a new cross-stitch pattern inspired by one of my favourite movies, Arsenic and Old Lace.

Now, I'm not a cross-stitcher, but if anything is going to inspire me to learn, it's Laura's lovely patterns. Plus, I've always got my cross-stitching mother as back-up.

If you already know how to cross-stitch, or are keen to learn, there are several Halloween themed patterns in The Little Stitcher Etsy shop.

There is also a delightful pattern for a cross-stitch Vintage Witch (pictured left) that you can download for free over on Laura's blog (here).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Witches in Fiction 2014… Crafting Blooming Howls

Welcome to my wee contribution to the Witches in Fiction... Crafting Blooming Howls blog party, hosted by the lovely Magaly Guerrero of Pagan Culture blog.

This was not the post I had originally planned for this blog party, but when our magical hostess, Magaly, sent me the wonderful gift of a vintage novel based on The Addams Family television series a few days ago (here), she also included a bag of lavender in the package. It came with an instruction to have her explain the story behind "the purple stuff".  As it turned out, this was no ordinary "purple stuff". No, indeedy! Magaly had picked it while strolling through... *breathes slowly into a paper bag*... Sleepy Hollow Cemetery! Squeal!

So, realizing that I was in possession of some very, very special "purple stuff", I temporarily set aside the project I was working on and instead made a Little Gothic Heart with red and black damask on one side, and bats on the other. And how does this fit with the witchy theme of this blog party? Well, this Little Gothic Heart is stuffed with lavender that was picked by a witch from arguably the most Halloween-y spot on the planet!

As this was a last minute idea, I was only able to make one heart in time for the hop, but I'm planning on making more and will hopefully do a giveaway down the track. Now, please do head on over to Magaly's blog and mingle with the other partygoers.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

'Tis Near Halloween!

I'm going to try and get the whining out of the way before I get to the fun stuff. I'm so guilty of blog neglect that it's getting ridiculous! I came close to a wee meltdown this morning as I've been feeling very overwhelmed lately. Between work, medical appointments and life/family stuff, I'm being pulled in all directions. For that reason, I need to point out to all the strangers who have been emailing and messaging, asking me to promote their projects, that I'm really sorry, but I just simply don't have the time. Please understand that your request is just one of many (sooooooooo many) that I receive, and even taking the time to read through all the appeals and proposals means I've been neglecting my own work.

One little bit of pressure was relieved recently when my 17 year old son finished the short film he made for a local youth film festival. It's a documentary (with a twist of mockumentary) about his tennis club. Pulling something like this together over the last 6 months wasn't straightforward. He had to schedule people for interviews, get release forms signed, film around inclement winter weather conditions, and in the home stretch, lost a couple of weeks battling a nasty virus... all while keeping up with his studies at school.

His filmmaking projects are made under the name Panic Guy Productions (the logo and illustration above were done by my husband) and never a more apt name there was! My husband and I were up half the night with him giving moral support and feedback before the deadline day for entries.... but he made it! Woohoo! Whether his film gets selected is now in the lap of the gods, and he will no doubt be up against older, more experienced film students, but I could not be more pleased for him that he accomplished this challenge he set for himself.

An Addams-tastic Gift from Magaly
On Friday, I received a package in the mail from the gorgeous Magaly of Magaly Guerrero's Pagan Culture blog. It's no secret that I adore The Addams Family, especially the sixties TV series, so you can just imagine how delighted I was to discover she had sent me a vintage novel based on the show. Yes! I did squeal! I now have another treasure to add to my precious collection of Charles Addams/Addams Family books! Thank you so much, lovely Magaly! ❤

Phoebe and her Zombie Bunny

In other news, my beloved kitty Phoebe turned 19 last Monday! She was spoiled and pampered the entire day... which is pretty much situation normal in my household!

Illustration by Matthew Kirscht
Anyhoo, after being in the midst of a mad filmmaking whirl for months and all the other assorted malarkey that has been going on, I've found myself looking around, bleary-eyed, and realizing that it's October. *gulp* I have so much catching up to do and it is now time that I turn my attention to the approaching Halloween festivities, which includes a couple of Halloweenie blog hops being hosted by my bloggy buddies.

Magical Magaly of Magaly Guerrero's Pagan Culture is having a Halloweenie blog party. The idea is to create something for Halloween (writing, art, craft, cooking, etc.) with a theme of witches or magic, then post about it on October 17. If you aren't able to participate, you're invited to just come along and see what the blog hop contributors have created. You can find out more information at Witches in Fiction... Crafting Blooming Howls.

Author Annie Walls and Black Heart Reviews will be co-hosting the Halloween Nevermore Rapport Blog Hop on October 30. You can do any kind of post you fancy as long as it is has an Edgar Allan Poe theme. Once again, if you aren't able to participate, just come along and enjoy the posts. You can find out more information here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Witches of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (June 9, 1888 – June 25, 1960) was an Australian illustrator of children's books.

Working predominantly in pen and ink, and watercolour, Ida's illustrations mostly depicted fairies frolicking in Australian settings, often in the company of Australian native animals.

I first became acquainted with her artwork as a child through one of her books called, The Little World of Elves and Fairies : An Anthology of Verse. I particularly loved the book's cover illustration (pictured above) of a little witch with her black cat, and although her fairy illustrations are truly delightful, I have a particular soft spot for Ida's witches.

Ida collaborated with her sister (Anne Rattray Rentoul), and later her husband (Grenbry Outhwaite), on a number of books during her career.

Her illustrations were also exhibited in Australia, London, and Paris, as well as appearing in periodicals and newspapers of the time.

In 1985, Australia Post honoured Ida Rentoul Outhwaite with a postage stamp featuring the cover witch from Elves and Fairies.

And while we happen to be on the subject of witches...

Magical Magaly of Magaly Guerrero's Pagan Culture is having a Halloweenie blog party. The idea is to create something for Halloween (writing, art, craft, cooking, etc.) with a theme of witches or magic, then post about it on October 17. You can find out more information at Witches in Fiction... Crafting Blooming Howls.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Birthdays, Brilliant Buddies and Back to Blogging!

First up, my poor little blog has been somewhat neglected of late because I've been unwell... again!! I'm sick of being sick, but, of course, I know full well there are souls out there far, far worse off than me, so I'll try and keep the whining to a minimum.

I don't want to bore you, but at the same time, I don't want to be mysterious, so in a nutshell, I have a hiatus hernia. If you're not familiar with the condition, it's when the stomach protrudes up into the chest because of a tear or weakness in the diaphragm. It's actually not uncommon, however some people (bless them) experience no symptoms. I've suffered bad heartburn for years, but over the last 6 months, I've had a whole lot of new and exciting pains, and problems with eating. It's been trial and error with medication, but I am starting to feel a little better, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I had initially been planning an entirely different post to this, but it all got a bit convoluted so I've put that particular idea on the back burner for the time being because I need to thank a couple of wonderful people, and I really don't want to delay that any longer. Plus, I also want to share my Burtonesque cake with you. Yes, I know. I'm stretching the definition of "Burtonesque" outrageously here, but indulge me! ;)

My husband, Danny, had a birthday this week and he requested a Chocolate Ripple Cake. (Did you notice the wee black and white striped candle?!). Despite appearances, this cake is the easiest cake on the planet to make. In fact, it's not really "cake" at all. I'm sure other countries might have their own interpretation of this dessert, but the Aussie version is made by cementing Arnott's Chocolate Ripple biscuits (cookies) together with whipped cream to form a horizontal log. The log is then covered with more whipped cream (I always sprinkle grated chocolate on top too) and then it's refrigerated for at least 6 hours, during which time the cookies soften to the consistency of cake. By cutting the cake diagonally, you get the (Burtonesque) striped pattern. (I also make a Halloweenie version of this dessert by colouring the whipped cream orange.) If you'd like to try it, you can find the recipe here. Even if you can't get hold of the Australian brand of cookies, you may have something local that you can use as a substitute.

Of course, I can't have cake without coffee (mmm... coffee), and I always whip out my cappuccino stencils for special occasions. Danny actually drinks his coffee black, so this photo is from another occasion when I was able to use both of them. I got my skull and bat stencils from the Shape Foundry on Etsy.

For the birthday dinner, I made Japanese Gyoza, which is a favourite in my household. It's also not a difficult recipe, although it is time consuming making all the little dumplings.

Now... to brilliant blog buddies!

Way back during May Monster Madness, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway over at the lovely Yvonne's blog, Winter Moon! The prize was a gorgeous necklace, but as you can see from the photo, my package was filled with lots of adorable little treats. Thank you so much, Yvonne!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received a package in the mail from lovely Stacy of the Magic Love Crow blog. Why? Just because she's a sweetie-pie! If you aren't already acquainted with Stacy, she's an artist who paints delightful crow themed artworks and she sent me one as a surprise. Thank you so much, Stacy!

I'll have more to say about these two charming ladies in future posts. They, and many others of you in Blogland, have unknowingly been my Muses over the last few months. I may have been unwell, but you've all inspired me in many ways, and my brain has been buzzing with creative schemes that I hope to share with you very soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Art: Meritxel Ribas Puigmal

For the 2014 Vampire's Day Soiree, our delightful hostess, Holly B. Strange of Holly's Horrorland blog, promoted the blood-soaked affair with a vampire illustration by Spanish artist, Meritxel Ribas Puigmal. I know that many of us who participated in the Soiree were quite besotted by that illustration, and as I had been unfamiliar with the artist, I made a point of tracking down her website.

Meritxel Ribas Puigmal's entire portfolio of work is absolutely beautiful, but my favourite illustrations are from her Vampiros collection, which I have shared here.

These illustrations are from the book, Vampiros, which is in Spanish, but I gather it is an anthology of famous vampire literature. I wish there was an English edition, but regardless, I'm seriously coveting Vampiros, and have added it to my ever-burgeoning Amazon Wish List.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Gifts from a Wild Fairy

After a stressful 2013, I started the new year by stating here that it was my resolution to stop and smell the roses more, and take a little time to appreciate life's simple pleasures.... What's that saying about the best laid plans?

Things have been more chaotic than ever and the hoped for house move, which has now been dubbed the "Never-Ending Story", has not yet happened because, so far, we've been unable to locate a suitable new abode. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have also been unwell lately, and that, along with a bunch of other little worries, had left me feeling somewhat downhearted. Then a parcel from Ireland arrived at my door.

Sweet Siobhan, from The Wild Fairy blog, had sent me a little package of goodies as a housewarming gift for my future new home, which was the most completely lovely surprise in itself, but the timing couldn't have been more perfect in terms of cheering me up.

Everything was wonderful! First of all, there was a note card with an illustration by artist Mab Graves. Not any illustration, mind you, but my absolute favourite Mab Graves illustration: Tuesday and Wednesday Addams.

Siobhan runs Moonslipper, a small paranormal investigation group based on the south coast of Ireland. The Moonslipper website is just a treasure trove of enchanting things from ghosts to fairies, Chinese Horoscopes to Moon Magic, and tips on clearing clutter and negative energy. Moonslipper also offers spell bottles for sale that are created by Freya, who practices White Magic in the Celtic tradition. They are filled with special herbs and flowers, then sealed to hold their magic for as long as the seal remains unbroken.

Siobhan asked Freya to create some custom spell bottles for me, which are pictured above right. The Little Gothic Delights bottle contains mugwort, honeysuckle and Irish lichen. Morticia's Special Blend contains black rose buds, rose petals, lavender and myrrh. Siobhan tells me that both are "guaranteed to bring love, luck and light into your life"! What could be better than that?!

Pictured above left is the sweetest little Alice necklace that was also included amongst my stash of treats!

Next were six Imp's Ears from the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Imp's Ears are tiny glass vials filled with samples of the most darkly delightful, scented oil blends. If you're not familiar with the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, definitely check out their website when you've got some time. They create hand blended scents "with a dark, romantic Gothic tone", which  "run the aesthetic gamut of magickal, pagan and mythological blends; Renaissance, Medieval and Victorian formulas; and horror/Gothic-themed". They also have scent ranges inspired by authors, artists, books and films.

 And last but not least, Siobhan included an original illustration, from her Fairy and Fantasy Art collection, of an adorable little witch and her cat.

I can't begin to tell you how completely spoilt I feel by these gifts from a Wild Fairy! Thank you so much, Siobhan! ❤