Saturday, April 28, 2012

Busy, Busy!

It's been pretty loony around here! School is winding down, so I've been sweating getting projects done before the end of the semester. My school has a type of kiln I don't have, and it's unlikely I will have one of my own any time soon, so I'm taking advantage of my access while I can!

The clock is ticking down to the El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire, too. I truly don't feel like I have enough to sell, there, and there's a sculpture that  I was hoping to finish that will likely not be ready in time; I should be drying it already and I'm just barely halfway through building it. If I push it, I may wind up with another exploded sculpture, and that just hurts way too much! I'll probably do better to focus on my faster projects and just get back to that when I can, but I may do a marathon session to get it done and play it by ear.

I'm heading back into teaching, too, so after this weekend, I have to sit down and re-vamp a couple of lectures. I just finished my segment for Hauntcast and sent it off to Chris, too, all while being in Los Angeles for my nephew/godson's First Communion. I was such a good girl, I was even editing my segment on the plane!

Guy of House Bloodthorn has been kind enough to design a new banner and postcard for me, one that will be good for the "rest of the year," i.e. not Hallowe'en. I'm going to finalize my insurance this week, and it turns out I have to contact the State Board of Equalization (California's sinkhole of cash for the struggling small business owner, who make you buy all sorts of permits on top of your re-seller's license!) and let them know I'm going to be selling at that fair. California is a terrible place for small business, I have to say! It's that whole lemonade stand effect, cubed!

In any case, it may be a little quiet around here for a little bit, though I will try to check in with some Hallowe'en goodies from time to time!

And please, if you're in the area, stop by my booth on the bridge at the E.D.H. Art and Wine Affaire on May 12th and 13th. I won't have my Hallowe'en stuff there, as I'm saving it for the West Coast Haunters Convention, but I'll have some great things there, and there will be live music and lots of great food and wine to sample!

Well, off I go, to sit through two hours of mass! Oh, boy! ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

420=Shocktail Hour's Latest Ep!

Amazing Shocktail Hour Banner by the incredibly talented Felix LaFlamme
Yes, two things that should never be together have done so: Shocktail Hour and 420 are here!

For those who haven't subscribed to Hauntcast and still want a little taste before they make the leap, there's a 30-minute teaser of this episode of Shocktail Hour available on the Shocktail Hour page.

Enjoy your mid-month fix, my fiends! Love you! Love your show! ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

He Did the Mash

He did the Monster Mash so very well. Click on the pic to watch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Being a Grown-up

-is so over rated!
As you all know, I've been prepping for the El Dorado Hills Art & Wine Affaire that's coming up Mother's Day Weekend. One of the things I've been told is that I need liability insurance, and while I'm glad I was told (I live in a freakishly litigious state, and for some reason it just never occurred to me), the process of tracking down the right kind of insurance is a real time-killer! I spent a couple of hours on that yesterday, when the plan had been to get into the studio first thing!

Additionally, doing the research made me realize that -duh- theft insurance is a must, too. I was reading this post from a gal whose entire trailer was stolen during the big hot air balloon show they hold in New Mexico every year, and it was very sobering. 

And when you post a story like that, everyone comes out of the woodwork to let you know their stories, how bad some hotel chains are about helping you out when your stuff gets ripped off, how FedEx and UPS might be ripping your stuff off, too, and on and on, ad infinitum.

Don't get me wrong; I needed to see this, since I'll be doing more outdoor art fairs in the future, and I suffer from thinking the best of people, while simultaneously not liking them (I'm a complex person. What can I say?). My go-to website, Art Fair Insiders, has been a wealth of all kinds of good information from people who have been selling at art fairs for a number of years, so at least I won't be a complete noob. (I never even thought I would need insurance for my stuff while in transit from my home to a show, but it turns out, I do!)

It just reinforces how shitty people, hotel chains, and lying insurance companies can be. *sigh* Humans are so disappointing, sometimes.

The down side of going to this site is getting sucked in to a couple of the ads. I am now convinced that I must have some of Pedestal Express's product. My current booth furniture takes up too much storage space, taking away from Hallowe'en prop storage, and we all know that therein lies madness. If I could stuff a bunch of lightweight pedestals into a box, and it will make my booth look more legit? That would be just the bee's knees, and worth every penny.

Now, will I actually buy them this year? Probably not. But those pedestals are on the list. A long, ever-growing list. After insurance.

Oh, well.

Have I mentioned how over rated being a grown up is?

Monday, April 16, 2012


Via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. The best part: it's remote control, baby! Follow the link for the how-to.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Hafodunos Hall, Wales
Via phill.d's photostream on Flickr.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Noms

Since Mr. ShellHawk and I came back from Cancun on the Thursday before Easter, we really didn't feel like hosting a big dinner as per usual. I did, however, make a special dinner with Mr. ShellHawk, which included this recipe for Tajine D'Agneau Mrouzia, a Moroccan lamb stew traditionally made for "Feast of the Lamb." This recipe makes enough for six to eight people, and even people who don't like lamb love this dish. You can usually ask for lamb shoulder at the butcher counter at your local grocery store.

3 lbs. lamb shoulder
5 oz. black seedless raisins
5 oz. white seedless raisins
8 oz whole blanched and toasted almonds
2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
1TB of a mixture of the following (known in Morocco as Ras el Hanout)
4 parts mace4 parts nutmeg (I grind mine fresh)1 part allspice2 parts paprika
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. saffron
2 tsp. cinnamon
8 oz. butter
1/2 cup honey


Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut meat into pieces about 5 oz. each. Mix the Ras el Hanout with the ginger, saffron and pepper, and 1 cup water. Take half the mixture and in a separate dish, dip the meat into it, putting each piece in an oven-safe cooking pot. Salt to taste, add butter, almonds and onions and cover with water. Put in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, marinate all raisins in the remaining 1/2 of the spice mixture. One hour before the meat is done, add the honey, raisins and cinnamon. 

From this point on, you'll need to watch the mix closely and stir every 10-15 minutes, as when the honey reduces it can stick and burn in the bottom of the pot. I sometimes add a little water if needed, but not enough to make the mix watery.

Remove from the oven when the meat falls apart easily. If it's too watery, reduce it over a hot flame until it becomes syrupy.

Place meat on a platter, top with raisins, almonds and sauce.

I serve it with couscous and dried fruit and a nice butter lettuce and cilantro salad. The salad is really satisfying and tasty this time of year, as it's in season.

I took some leftovers to school with me the other night, and like most stews, it's even better a day or two after cooking!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Catching Up

No, this is not Photo-shopped. I took this at the duty-free store in the
Cancun International Airport!
Spring break, for me, at least, is over. School will be out shortly, and I'm trying to make up for all the days I missed when I was sick. I am also prepping for the El Dorado Hills Art and Wine Affaire (you can tell it's special, because it has the "e" at the end. ;o)), so I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off!

In addition to that, I'm finally being forced to get my act together and start fixing my official (currently crappy) website. The Mitchells were kind enough to put my web address in "How to Haunt Your House, Book 3," and I really need for it to look more professional. I've been complaining about this for literally years, now, and it's time to pony up the cash and get 'er done.

I'm migrating my site and my domain away from Go Daddy, because I really don't like the C.E.O. because of the now-infamous video of the elephant slaughter in which he took part, and used as an opportunity to plug his company. (Wow. I wonder who told him that would be good for business?) Fortunately, my friend owns Ballistic Designs and will be helping me to "focus my marketing statement," which apparently needs to be more sophisticated than, "I make stuff and you need to buy it." Who knew? He's also going to help me find someone to design a logo, inexpensively, and one that can be used for my fine art as well as (maybe) another one for the Hallowe'en end of things.

Well, anyway, enough of that. Vacation was fantastic. All of us had a great time and got some relaxing and beach time in, which is great as we're expecting four or so days of cold and rain here.

Below is a dead guy.
He showed up on one of the few English-language channels we were able to access, and stayed there for two-and-a-half days. We don't know why. Every so often one of us would ask, "Is the dead guy still there?" and the other would reply, "I don't know. Let's check." Was it Mexico's Zombie Apocalypse Alert?
We were vacationing with our neighbors, and neighbor V talked me into getting the shirt with her and her daughter. They didn't have one in Chris Aype's size, unfortunately. He made up for it by conquering the ruins on the hotel's property for all of ape-dom.
 These two nice gentlemen were our guides at "Hidden Worlds," which is what they call an adventure park. We had a blast! I went snorkeling in a small series of caves (the whole cave system, they told us, would take us an entire week to get through, and we'd need to be scuba certified). The best part was all the fruit bats that were in there with us. As always, I was the only one who said "Bats! Cool!" Everyone else (except Mr. ShellHawk the biologist) was freaked out about them.
We headed over to Senor Frog's at the request of one of the kids. Three words: overpriced, crappy food. If you ever head a little off the typical tourist traps, there's a great restaurant inside Market 28: Veracruz Restaurant. It's family-owned and the food is fantastic, cheap, and plentiful. They actually bring the bottle of tequila out to fill up your margarita tableside. Yum!

Only go to Market 28 if you don't mind seriously aggressive sales tactics by the natives, by the way. I didn't mind, but it can be a bit intimidating to those who aren't accustomed to it.
Of course, there was plenty of time to lay by the pool. Ape and his little friend, Val, worked hard on their tans and helped me with reading the big words on my Kindle.

Of course, I brought home some Day of the Dead booty. I may have to make a few more buying trips to Mexico to bring back more...
Yes. All in all, it was a great trip!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Tradition

Happy Easter, everyone! Enjoy the inappropriate bunny. ;o)

Friday, April 6, 2012

We Are BAAAAAAAACK! And Other Headlines

As if you didn't know! Hauntcast is back with new segments and a new look on the website, so head over and download the show. If you haven't subscribed, go to the Hauntcast subscription page and do it now! You really don't want to miss the latest news and segments, and if you haven't listened to the show since season one or two, you are really, really missing out!

In other news, I'm back from Cancun with a bit of a tan, a slight hangover, and some goodies to bring to West Coast Haunters Convention to sell to you lucky haunters and fans of El Dia De Los Muertos!
I just can't wait to get back in the studio and get to work on my next items, and into the other studio to start researching for my next segment!

Oh, 'tis good to be back!

Monday, April 2, 2012


Scaring fish in Cancun right now. Be back soon! Hasta luego!