Pumpkin Spice Goodness

Slept like a log and woke up knowing there was goodness to be had when I reached the kitchen. I gotta say, certainly worth the effort, though the pumpkin spice itself rose to the top and my first sip was rather bitter. Scooped that off the top and everything is heavenly!
Here's the recipe if you want to enjoy the fabulousness of Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Holly Homemaker extension

Tonight I baked Pumpkin cakes and muffins. Why?
Because I found a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and it required 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin only comes in friggin hug and massively huge cans, 2 tablespoons doesn't even make a dent in it, so there'd be so much waste.
$20 later, I have the supplies to bake. I haven't baked since Junior High School. Hell, I made my 3rd batch of Jello the other day for crying out loud.
So anyways, here's some shots of the finished baked good, and a shot of the Spiced Pumpkin Latte mix. I saved it in the fridge for tomorrow.

I have to say that in a few short hours, I managed to clean my kitchen and bathroom top to bottom, clean the hallway and baseboards, bake all that stuff (without ANY 'kitchen power tool', everything I used was hand cranked or wooden spoon....hell, even the allspice was ground in a marble mortar and pestle), clean out my fridge, make a run to the grocery store and the dollar store, change and re-assign the space of the cat's litter box, rip apart, scrubbed down and reassemble my espresso machine (oh my lord she's a'shining!), clean and restock the cat's feeding and watering bowls - silver platter and crystal no less- and change all the garbage in the apartment.
I think I'm gonna sleep well tonight, if not slip into an exhaustion induced coma.

Little Pumpkins

Another fun thing from Halloween I picked up from STOLLOWEEN. A great Paper Mache artist and he offers tutorials for all of his work for anyone with the desire to recreate his work. I can see why people like me do, and the better portion of the planet don't. Paper mache is a messy, time consuming, tedious process that people like me love. To me, it's a meditation and time to myself that I dn't get all that often with my crazy life, made more crazy by the day.

Creepy Portrait Phase 4

Well I was in the zone and didn't take any pictures until it was done. Previously, the 'eyes' that were cut out was really just a piece of paper with 2 dots on it taped to the wall behind the image. After a quick trip to the dollar store, I picked up a few tennis balls (as well as a huge assortment of other things that I *thought* I needed) that I cut in half, sprayed the inside white and then added a quick dot of black to for the pupil. That's the magic of the whole portrait As you move around the room, the eyes seem to follow you around.....ooOOOoooooo scary.
I sprayed down the white wallpaper with a deep red after masking the face (HA HA! Learned a lil sumthin' from before) and darkened it up a bit.....Ok, a lot. Then I masked the background, and rattle can sprayed the head again to blank it out and re-did it. The left side of the face is a bit too pointy for my liking, and as this is still a practice/fuck around stage, I can still tweak it a bit.
The frame I used is an old one I salvaged from a restaurant I used to work at and was being used as an inspiration frame in the bathroom. Basically a collection of magazine clippings and such, held onto chicken wire with clothespins. The problem is that the portrait is about 1 1/2" too narrow for it to fit perfect, so I'm debating either building a new frame from cardboard/coroplast or making a matte *shudder* for this.
Well, at least the wallpaper look is still there, though muted. To realign that would be a pain in the ass, but not all that much work really. I'll look at that and maybe bring it back up a bit.
That left cheek bone is driving me batty, so that's gotta go. Though the right one has a wicked level of shading on it and I'm quite pleased with it.
Perhaps a bit more detailing on the neck/shirt collar portion. I left that area cause my eyes were going crossed.
And finally, around the eyes needs a lot of work. Not so much the surface, which frankly is fine by me for having NO referance photos, but the actual cut edges need to either be cleaned up a bit OR simply painted black and allowed to be rough.

Creepy Portrait Phase 3

At this point, I took a table runner that I had laying around and I put it over top of the portrait and then rattle can sprayed white through it in an attempt to make a 'wallpaper' pattern on the back wall of the portrait. Again, forgot to mask the face, so it's over his face as well.
The amount of paint at this point has hidden the X pattern underneath the paper. We're talking about 8-9 layers of paint including the lace pattern here.
Work in layers.....that way you can keep hiding mistakes.
I suppose for the next piece where I use lace, I'll either really cut the pattern on the repeating edge better or just use one whole piece all at once. I really like the effect, but would like to do more with it.

Creepy Portrait Phase 2

The green was just a lay down for colour. After I saw it, I immediately got tired of it and decided to go with a plain white skull. The aura of the white was bugging me so I took a paint brush to it and cartooned the edges a bit, but alas, paint was too wet and it dripped all over....lesson learned again.
In this picture you can still see the tape used to hold the two pieces together in an X pattern. Also, the little tears and rips that happened were something I couldn't fix, and decided to keep. Though those X lines had to go.
A few layers of paint and the next step would clean that all up as you see in later pics.

Creepy Portrait Phase 1

Inspired from Dave Lowe's Design Blog, I decided to try my hand making one of these. Part airbrushing, part sculpture and memory of aging items, this is a practice in a few skills.
Besides, it's Halloween, the time you get to be a kid again.
I started off with a large format of printer paper (18.5" by 24") that I rescued from work. It comes as part of the packaging for one of the supplies I use weekly and I just can't stand throwing out a piece that large. I also had some old political campaign signs that I had laying around (Part of this project is the PURGING of supplies from my room/studio).
I adhered 2 of the signs (coroplast) together to make a piece large enough for the paper. I then took the crumpled up paper, and simply soaked it in a bowl of water, wrung it out and after applying glue stick to the whole of the coroplast, and applying the paper on it. The wet activated the glue stick and kept the wrinkles. The goal here was to keep it looking aged. After rolling a bottle around on it, I got most of the wrinkles to lay flat and hide the seams and rows from the coroplast.
I then put down a layer of black and sketched out the figure ROUGHLY with conte.
Honestly, at this point, I was 6 beers into my night and now remember why I don't start the line work at this STATE of my night....lol.
I remember liking his goofy grin, but starting to dislike the green.
I got the general idea on the board, and that was the goal.

Creative Little Day

Well, let's see what a Holly Homemaker I was today:
Bought some Popsicle moulds and made some refreshing Cranberry-Blueberry-Cherry Flavoured Energy Drink Ice Pops....a modern twist on an old favourite. Plus, I kinda missed them from being a kid. Paid like $0.50 for it, so no real loss.
Started to make some paper mache Pumpkins ( inspired by STOLLOWEEN ). I'll post pics later when they're a bit more done. At this point they have a single layer of paper mache on them and I have them in the oven. Yes, I'm baking my paper mache. I almost sewed myself an apron today the way I was spinning around in the kitchen.
Picked up some Jello Moulds of Halloween forms and made them in eerie Red Raspberry. Then learned the wonderful lesson of 'materials expand when heated, thus sometimes losing the seal on a mould' lesson. Perhaps this was a contributing factor of them being sold for $0.25.
Either way, my other half is off for training for a week, so I've tried to get myself into the 'home-mode' right off the get go. It'll be a good week for me to get all the little things done around the house. Looking to clean out the house a little bit, pump out a few Halloween decorations/props in the week so I can get a start on a scary house.
Speaking of which , I gotta go get some work done on a skeletal/zombie/who knows what it'll be when I'm done Halloween portrait.
Post those pics later tonight/early morning.


I really just can't describe how happy this picture makes me.......no idea why.......

My expectations ofcommon sense died a little today

After working on a sprained ankle with a strained Achilles Tendon for 3 days, I was finally granted a day off from work to rest it so that I may come back with the strength to perform my duties. My day was an incessant string of calls from people who chose not to think.
What good is a day of rest if it is spent doing what you do, just from somewhere else? Then again, God had a day off, but he spent it around his work too.
But I'll bet you a bucket of chicken he turned his ringer off.

one month, no post.....life is pretty crazy.

Grandfather died. Witnessed a suicide on the way to the funeral. Spent much needed time with my family. Lost a fellow employee. Covered those shifts in a 20 day consecutive working extravaganza. Continue working two positions on my own. Sprained Achilles tendon and ankle. Not during work hours, but rather on my way home from said working hours. Someone bought me a free coffee today. Got a little smile. My boyfriend is one step down from a god for putting up with me during this whole time of change. Bigger smile.