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Merimask's Ball Of Wax
(Or, "how I've found yet another way to spend more quality time with myself"
16th-Jan-2012 12:28 pm - Kiba's snowy romp...
I took a few movies of Kiba while hiking on a snowy trail in Grand Island yesterday. The poor dog has been waiting ALL WINTER for a little snow to play in. We only got a few inches but it was enough to make him happy.

So here is proof that you ~can~ let a smart, somewhat obedient husky off leash. Though if there are other dogs around to play with, forget it.

Also, I never realized; I call my dog back to me the same way Kate Winslett calls for help when she's drowning after the Titanic sinks. Right down to the weak whistle. Unintentional and totally hilarious. "come back...come back".

This last one is super short but cute. At the end of the trail is a marsh with a mound and a snowy overlook (great place to watch migrating birds). Kiba loves to run up there and run back, because there's a big log perfect for jumping over.

13th-Jan-2012 08:34 am - Finally, winter.
It's been one weird winter so far this year. We've had five inches of snow all season. Five! Normally by now we should have had more like fifty.

Well, we finally got some snow today. Yesterday I actually had to throw extra mulch on my garden, to protect all the bulbs that were sprouting. No one who lives as far north as I do should be mulching their garden in January. :/

It will be more enjoyable when the wind dies down (gusting over 50mph out there), and then Kiba and I can go for a nice wintry hike in the woods...something I have had to avoid so far due to excessive mud.

Meanwhile, last night at 2am as I was finishing carving on some mask orders, I was struck by SUCH an awesome idea for a mask design that I had to drop everything and go online to buy the materials I need to build it. It was so maddening to not be able to actually start making it. Like an itch you can't scratch. Gah. It is killing me not to talk about it, but I'm so tired of having ideas usurped that I think I'll wait until I finish it to share. It is going to be very very cool...that's all I can say.
9th-Jan-2012 11:54 pm - Goldfish Salvation
Everyone, take a Zen break and look at this amazing video. It has to be seen to be believed. I love this man. I think we are probably very similar people. He's found a new way to paint goldfish and I just...every time I watch it, it makes me cry a little. So beautiful.
I've been knocking myself out, making these augmented mixed-media masks...so far it's being a smashing success.  The cat below is still in my shop but drawing hits and visits every day.

The funny thing about raising the bar; it creeps into other aspects of my maskmaking. 
Tentacles and scales...Collapse )

So far, every single Steampunk "critter" mask I've made has gone viral on DevArt, almost within an hour of posting it.  I have almost 7,000 hits on "Draco" and it was never a Daily Deviation.  I've had over 4 million impressions on that design since Thursday.  All this free publicity can't be bad.

Taking things to the next level, here. 

1st-Jan-2012 11:38 am - Neiges perfume photo shoot
This is so cool. Remember back in June, I was talking about an interesting opportunity? This is it. Lise Watier Cosmetiques used my wolf masks for a Neiges perfume ad campaign. Here are some behind the scenes videos of the shoot, which happened in Toronto.

The production company contacted me on a Tuesday, the shoot was on Saturday, and I had all four white Direwolf masks finished and delivered by Friday. It was intense and pretty cool!

It's so neat to see those beautiful people wearing my masks on a set. :)
29th-Dec-2011 10:25 am - Steampunk Wolf...
I'm calling it "All The Better To See You With".

Having waaaaay too much fun with this theme.  :)  Just like real wolves, I am intending to do many different color/marking/design/goggle versions of this mask, so this is only "version 1" of several to follow.

I'm getting good with fittings and customization.

I found a place on Etsy that sells cogs and gears and stuff, which are perfect for decorations...

...I just ordered some cogs in stainless steel, so I can do silver and pewter-toned stuff too (all I have right now is brass).  Also getting some lenses in amber, green, and blue.  I think a cat with a green goggle eye would be totally cool.

Currently working on a Steampunk dragon (which promises to be epic) and a Steampunk tentacle-like-mask.  Would someone tell me why tentacles are so huge lately, and why they go with Steampunk?  Is it a Victorian era horror thing, like Poe and Lovecraft?  That's my best guess.

Anyway I'm pandering to the market (and having fun playing), so, tentacles ahoy.
27th-Dec-2011 10:32 am - Cog-monocle Steampunk Foxes
Been so busy!  Christmas was a nice affair this year and I bought great gifts for everyone (which means I win!), but my new Steampunk goggle-mask project is so much fun that I've been compelled to MAKE STUFF at a perhaps unhealthy rate.  No matter; this "figuring it out" phase is the most fun and I think my enthusiasm can be forgiven. 

I made this fox last week...

Read more...Collapse )

So I'm busy playing with new mask designs and ideas.  How cool would a CogMonocle Steampunk Raven be, for example?  ;)
20th-Dec-2011 01:07 pm - Fun with goggles!
Okay, so I've been collecting some old antique Bakelite goggles and they're SO much fun to play with.

Initially I was buying them for use in my new steampunk mask designs, but I was so impressed by the design and sturdiness that it seems a shame to break up the pairs for use on a mask.  They're antiques and they shouldn't be messed with (in fact I'm keeping that pair I'm wearing above...they are just SO darn cute.  I'm getting some brown tinted prescription lenses fitted for them, replacing the strap, and just keeping them because they are awesome).

Ogling goggles...Collapse )

So I'm having a bit too much fun with my goggles (old and new) lately.  :)
14th-Dec-2011 02:42 pm - Industry, science and technology!
Whew...I haven't updated in quite a while.  I've been so busy finishing holiday orders for customers and getting ready to start making some new designs.  Here's my first installment, as far as really NEW stuff goes:

...well, new and old at the same time.  I'm doing mixed media; incorporating vintage goggles with my steampunk masks.

Read more...Collapse )

So!  That's my newest idea.  :)  Halfgear is my sister's Christmas present (she loves steampunk so she's going to totally flip when she sees them).
Fullsteam and Halfsteam are available in my shop right now (just click the pics for links).
Fullsteam Vintage Goggle Edition.

HalfSteam Half-Goggle Edition.


9th-Dec-2011 01:33 pm - Boo! :(
Waah!  We were supposed to get a whack of lake snow.  Instead we got about two inches of mushy slush...just enough to squish all my pretty ornamental grasses flat.  Yuck.  I went out and bought all kinds of lights for the front of the house and now I'm afraid to turn them on, because of all the wet.  :/  I want to slap my weatherman for getting my hopes up.

Also, did you guys know there's a new Three Stooges movie that's about to be released?  I'm horrified.  The cast of "Jersey Shore" makes an appearance, if that helps you wrap your minds around the hellishness of this movie.  That sound you hear is my inner child sobbing.   Some things need to be left the heck alone, Hollywood.
30th-Nov-2011 02:10 am - High gear...
Determined Kyoko
New rules.Collapse )
25th-Nov-2011 01:27 am - Thanksgiving
Read more...Collapse )

I really am an odd duck I guess.
17th-Nov-2011 11:10 pm - All the news...
My entries have devolved into pure crap lately.  *shrug*  Well let's see.

Read more about my tiny little life...Collapse )
14th-Nov-2011 04:01 pm - Fall has fallen
Wow...every darn leaf on my street decided to give up the ghost over the weekend.  Add wind and rain and you have a mess that just kept...happening and happening.  Over and over again.  I raked the lawn and cleared the drive at least five times, six if you include the touch up I had to do today.  Well, at least it appears to be done.

I've been so busy with new masks that I haven't been sharing here in LJ Land.  My bad!  Here's a custom order for a Black & White Persian Cat that I finished over the weekend (between raking sessions).

This is the first Persian Cat I've ever done in b & w. I have to say it is the most time-consuming color combination I do; it takes SO long to paint because not only does white need extra coats, but the lines have to be exactly perfect. Mistakes are hard to cover up.

As long as I had to do a Persian Cat for a custom order, I decided to do another for my shop. 

I love it in brown/gold/bronze/black.  It seems exotic.  I added Swarovski crystals to both the cats, for a little extra sparkle.  The trick with the crystals (I have learned) is to not overdo it! A few are elegant, but too many look like Elvis's Vegas Pantsuit.

The brown cat is in my shop right now...here.

Meanwhile, in other news, I'm trying to get ready for Thanksgiving.  Charlotte is coming home and I badly need to organize and clean her room.  It's still just as she left it when she went to college.  I've actually decided to hire help to do this thing.  Greg will not help, and every time I go up there and confront the mess, I feel like crying.  It's mostly a matter of consolidating her clothes (which carpet the floor) and throwing away or storing several years-worth of junk.  What was supposed to be her closet is actually unapproachable because there is so much clutter that it has formed an impenetrable drift.  It's an ongoing issue that I've failed to deal with effectively for years now...mainly because I respect her privacy but also because I figured if she wanted to live that way, it was her business.  But yeah, now that she's living mostly somewhere else, why should I have such a mess up there?  It makes no sense.

So, I don't know.  Merry Maids, maybe, or whoever cleans houses for hoarders.  :/  Cost is no object.  It must be done, and I can't do it alone.  Whoever I get had better not be squeamish about snakes because Ka gets curious and slinks all around her tank whenever anyone goes upstairs. 

10th-Nov-2011 12:46 pm - Hahahaha what?
Okay, normally I try not to get too political here in LJ Land (really...I try!  You guys have no idea how many times I bite my tongue)...but I just have to say this.

Rick Perry has taken the inherent buffoonery evident in other important right wing politicians (say, for example; George W. "too many OB-GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country" Bush, and Dan "What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is"  Quayle), and raised it to a whole new level.

Did you see the debate last night?  Here, just FYI, is about a minute of Rick Perry for your reading and viewing pleasure.

“It’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone — Commerce, Education and the um, what’s the third one there? Let’s see. Oh five — Commerce, Education and the um, um,” Perry said. 

“Seriously?” CNBC moderator John Harwood pressed. “But you can’t name the third one?”

“The third agency of government I would do away with – the education, the uh, the commerce and let’s see. I can’t — the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” 

So there.  See what you get when you do away with education?  More Texas politicians who don't know their ass from their elbow.  Texas ranks 44th nationally (2009-2010) in education funding per pupil, by the way.  You can see the glorious results of that little experiment here.

If it was a national debate instead of a candidate debate, his opponent would only have to say "You just made my point for me" and walk away from that encounter, victorious.

Seriously.  I mean, what??  I don't even understand how he can be a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America.  He has no idea what might come out of his mouth every time he opens it.  While he apparently doesn't advocate secession, he also doesn't freaking understand history or what secession is about, or what it even means, and yet he throws those terms around freely and loosely whenever the Tea Party folks are within earshot.  It just...it hurts.  

It hurts my brain.

We are witnessing the "dumbing down" of America.  It'd be funnier if it wasn't so tragic. 
7th-Nov-2011 01:02 am - Better...
Kiba seems to have recovered from his terrible tooth-cleaning ordeal.  It took more than 48 hours, and I think much of the problem was psychological.  He still gets worried when I'm out of sight, and he's still a bit more sensitive than usual (I freaked him out unintentionally with an umbrella today), but he's definitely more like his old self.

Knowing what I now know, I intend to brush his teeth at least once a week from now on. 

The basement is clean and sparkly...I don't think it's ever been so clean!  I love it!  I should have had it done a long time ago.  The small local company that did it charged about one tenth what Servepro wanted to charge me and they finished in three hours.  If we ever get flood damage or anything like that, I'm definitely calling them again.  I bought some long rubber-backed carpet runners for the laundry area and everything is SO much nicer now.    I'm just tickled with my clean new basement.

So, the unfortunate events of last week (Kiba's poor teeth, the backed-up drain) have actually led to great improvements ( Kiba's sparkly clean teeth and no more doggy breath, and a new sparkly basement).  I'm much happier now.  It's always darkest before the dawn I guess. 

I've been busy making custom orders...

...holiday orders are pouring in already.  I'm also using this opportunity (after three months of Halloween Order Mayhem) to make a few new designs.  I'm working on a new color version of my Dire Wolf mask, a new Persian Fox mask, and (finally!) that Fu Dog idea that's been knirping for attention for over a year now.    Pictures of the Dire Wolf soon...others to follow sometime after that.

Odd warmish autumn weather means I've been enjoying wonderful autumn kayak trips.  Somehow these brisk crisp ventures are the most precious because the beauty is so fleeting and temporary and I know it.   Some of the pictures I snapped with my iPhone on my last trip out were so beautiful they hardly look real.

Everything is my favorite color combination right now (as Charlotte said when I texted this picture to  her, right from the water...modern technology means no one ever has to be alone and lonely in the world anywhere, anymore).  All the leaves will surely be gone in another week but for now, sunsets on the river light the shores up like fireworks, and everything is beyond beautiful.  I'm very happy out there. 

Just to add to my happy mood, I received a package from golden_meliades</lj> on Saturday; the most beautiful pendant!  It's a glass bead with silver fittings, etched so it almost looks like a bit of stone, in lovely ivory and brown tones...the perfect fall necklace.  I've been wearing it all weekend.  It suits me perfectly.  :)  I'm so lucky to have such a good friend who knows exactly what I like.

3rd-Nov-2011 09:12 pm - Rough day
Well, Kiba had his teeth cleaned.  They took him in at 8AM, his procedure was at 9AM, they called by noon to say he was awake and okay.   They told me I could pick him up at 4PM...he still wasn't walking very well.  :(

It's 9PM and he hasn't moved from his bed.  He wags his tail, one time, when I give him pets and tell him he's a good dog, but otherwise he won't move...not even an ear twitch.  He sort of whistle-cries when I talk to him.  The vet shaved his leg for the needle and it looks like something took a bite out of him.  They used isoflurane...the vet admitted he had trouble breathing, though he swears he's just fine now. 

I am never going to get his teeth cleaned again.   My poor poor dog.  :( 

Meanwhile the rest of my day went thusly:

*Discovered basement full of graywater...sewer line blocked again.

*Had line snaked out: $130

*Called for basement-cleaning estimates (servepro is hella crazy expensive...do not do), got a good one from local guy who will clean it tomorrow (yay): $200

*Went to the wake of an old friend who, I found out this morning, passed away on Tuesday.

*Picked up my poor zombie dog who is a shambling crying mess.  Tooth cleaning: $580

So today cost me over $900 and all I have is a basement that smells poopy and a very unhappy husky with nice teeth but no will to live.

It's just...one of those days. 

3rd-Nov-2011 09:07 am - Waaaah!
So Kiba is getting his teeth cleaned, which is an expensive proposition to begin with (not to mention worrisome...I hate the idea of anesthesia for my dear doggie). 

And NOW I go downstairs to find the basement full of water, because the main line is (again) clogged (thank you neighbors, for having a gigantic maple tree right next to our main sewer line).

Plumber has been called.  They won't be here until some time this afternoon.

This is shaping up to be a very expensive day for me.

EDIT:  Plumber is here now, actually.  9:30AM so yay team go rah rah.  I hope he hurries because I HAVE TO PEE.
2nd-Nov-2011 12:55 pm - Birthday and Halloween 2011
Well I had my birthday on Saturday and it was a really nice day.  :)

Charlotte arranged to have a birthday cake made for me.  She knows my favorite cake is from a bakery in Amherst called "The Dessert Deli"...they made our wedding cake.  They do a cake called a "Neopolitan", like the ice cream.  It's a layer of white cake, a layer of chocolate, another layer of white cake, all separated with strawberry buttercream with real strawberries in it.  And then they frost the whole thing with vanilla buttercream icing and coat it with a thin layer of real dark chocolate.  Oh...it's heavenly I assure you.

So Char ordered one from college and had her boyfriend Joe (who lives here) deliver it...

And I sent her this iPhone picture of me with my cake.   :)  And then we sat and had cake with Joe and later we watched my favorite MST3K episode ("The Day The Earth Froze").  It was a very nice way to turn 46.

All my Halloween orders were sent out on time too...yay!  So, for me, Halloween is actually a nice chance to take a deep breath and relax for a few days, before the Holiday orders start piling in.  I decorated the front yard with spooky stuff this year...

Styrofoam gravestones + great garden mums = perhaps not all that spooky.

Kiba is terribly curious about Halloween...

He waits by the door and is happy to stuff his head into all the bags when the kids open them.  He doesn't take anything; he just stuffs his head in the bag because he is curious (and, I swear, because he thinks it's funny).

We had so many children this year...cute little wee ones.  The neighborhood is rejuvenated again with small children.  Char's generation has moved on to college and a new crop of little ones start the cycle again.

I thought I'd be sad without Char here for Halloween and my birthday...but I was not.  Maybe there's something wrong with me.  I'm just so darn happy that she's in college and doing so well there (she got 99% on her mid-term paper for Sociology...99%!), I'm not even sad at all.  Sometimes I miss her but only in the same way I missed her while she still lived here; I miss the twelve-year-old Charlotte who went for bike rides with me, or the nine-year-old Charlotte who liked to go to museums and the zoo with me.  I miss my little Charlotte, and I probably always will.  But I'm very proud of my adult Charlotte who is doing so well, so far from home.  She's exactly where she needs to be, and I think that's great.

Another fun fact; having Char gone has been an adjustment, but not as hard as you'd think.  Basically I'm getting back in touch with the person I was before I had Char.  I'm re-learning how to be selfish and think only of myself (sort of the way I was when I was twenty-something) and it's been very liberating.  Becoming a mother is a process of learning to put yourself and your needs secondary to your child's needs, and I got very good at that.  But now that she doesn't need that kind of maintenance, it's so refreshing to wake up in the morning and say to myself  "What do I want to do today?"

We are having a nice week of warmish weather and I'm using every opportunity to go out in my kayak or away for a nice trail ride on my bike.  Really...I don't feel forty-six at all.
29th-Oct-2011 02:57 am - Holy crap I am so over the hill...

Yeeeesh.  Another year gone by.  The good news is; I still don't look 46.  The bad news is; I feel sorta 64-ish lately.  O_o

It's all this not-sleeping BS...have to cut that out.

Good news!  Greg passed his Project Management Certification test on Friday...wooo!  I'm very proud of him, he's very relieved, and this is a good, proactive step for him.   Hopefully he can find something that pays well and won't suck his soul dry.  That will be a good thing.

Cold!  Snowy to the east of us, but not here.  We always seem to be just west enough of these nasty winter nor'easters that keep messing with the...well, northeast.  *shrug*  Hopefully you LJ friends to the east of me will stay safe and not lose power.  Charlotte's bound to see some of the white stuff where she is.

I just watched the saddest movie ever.   "Melancholia" .  Beautiful but sad sad sad...bleak.   *sigh*  Not a good idea.

I took Kiba to the vet for his check up and shots...my poor doggie has bad gums!  :(  He needs a tooth cleaning, an extraction, and gum treatment.  Since this means he'll need to be knocked out for the procedure, it isn't going to be cheap.  But, he's my buddy so, I already scheduled and paid 50%, and he's going in next Thursday.  Poor guy.  I thought eating dry dog food was supposed to keep his teeth and gums healthy but no, I guess not.  I'm not sure what I can do about it.  Brushing his fur is already a chore (he likes to run away halfway through the process...thinks it's hilarious to grab up mouthfulls of his own fur before he dashes off, then spits it all over the house)...I can't imagine what trying to brush his teeth daily would be like.  A major foaming dogtastrophe, no doubt.

Anyway, masks are finished for the night and I really ought to get to bed.  I have a long day of being freshly 46 ahead of me.  ;)

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