Hello and Welcome

Hunting in the deep dark woods and further creative ventures

5.31.2012

Facebook

I've been leery of Facebook for a while, but for simplicity sake, I continue to use it. As a tool, it is very useful and valuable, but for a while it has become increasingly... uncertain? At least I have become of Facebook. One thing that I need to improve is following news, and being entirely aware of the world around me. I have too much of habit of creating my own niche world, which is relatively closed to outside influences. Of course, I am influenced by different things, but they are usually events and people and things that existed decades ago... Not up to date news.

With Facebook become publicly traded, it makes me nervous. This mostly sprouts from minor paranoia to begin with, and a desperate need for privacy. The idea of people "following" me or "tagging" me or "liking" things I post... it kind of freaks me out. And the idea of all of my life being available to the world... Ughh.... not sure.

"But...You post about your life regularly, and seem to be fine with it. In fact, you're posting about your life right now" is what you, as the reader, are probably thinking. Personally, I'm more comfortable with exposing aspects of my life on a global scale when I'm fully aware that everything can be accessed by anyone. The same goes for my personal websites, Etsy, and even Pinterest. With such sites, I understand that the point is to create a community with random strangers, and have random strangers like my things, share what I'm doing, and so on. Even having a page on Facebook for people to 'Like' is more clearly understood. 

When did privacy become so complicated? It's kind of like the party lines of the early days of the telephone. Someone could pick up that phone at any time and hear your conversation... You just hoped desperately that they wouldn't.


5.30.2012

Steampowered

Steampunk is something that has become a major part of my everyday life. In researching the 19th century, in listening to music created by other steampunks, and in reading graphic novels and books... and more. It all sprouted from meeting an exceptionally lovely steampunk artisan (whom is responsible for AtticRaiders)... well, it sprouted well before then, but after going to this year's Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo and meeting a good range of heavily invested steampunks, I became dedicated to creating my own character, learning more, and getting involved. Funny what happens when you get a bizarre amount of attention from people because of how you are dressed (putting one's own spin on styles is wonderful!).

International Steampunk Day is a mere two weeks away. The date is June 14th, placed on H.G. Wells' would-be birthday. This has only heightened my desire to learn and create, and create and learn. 

I've decided to share with you two wonderful Steampunk related things. One is a musical group, and the other is a comic.

First of all, Steam Powered Giraffe. These are some very, very, talented automatons. They started as a trio of street performers, who would don turn of the last century clothing and fashion themselves into humanoid robots, and sing. The harmonies are absolutely beautiful. Some of their lyrics are quirky and amusing, while others are heartfelt and beautiful. Their performance adds to the experience, and almost makes it. I love harmonies to begin with, but when those harmonizing have turned themselves into automatons... WELL!
Here's a taste...


As for reading material... Recently I learned of the comic series Girl Genius. Needless to say, you have to start from the beginning, and keep reading and reading and reading. It's highly addictive, and wonderful. It has so many great aspects. Clockwork robots, airships, mad science, bizarre creatures, smart girls... and more. I shan't give any more away. 
This is the first page from the comic. I didn't want to choose an arbitrary page or just a general image. Hopefully it will entice you...

Enjoy and enjoy further. If you have any knowledge of steampunk literature, art, music, anything, please share! I'm always delighted to hear and see what other people are finding. 

5.27.2012

How To Defeat Boredom and Other Delicious Treats


I can't stress enough how happy I am to be indoors.
Today, it decided to snow. Being Canada, it can usually be predicted that it will inevitably snow somewhere between April and July (y'know, those months when it's supposed to be getting sunny and warm). Due to the fact the ground is still relatively warm, the snow simply melts, turning the outside world into a delightful soggy mess. Especially gravel and dirt roads. Yum.

Due to being "stuck" (I could go outside... I just don't want to), I started feeling quite bored. This led to some shopping on Etsy, arbitrary browsing, and eventually I decided to make cookies. 

Delicious. Nom nom nom.
Since we've been living camping style in our guest house, we are without the majority of our cookbooks. This means that any baking I do has to be through recipes on the internet. Not an issue, but it tends to be a bit of a hit or miss. Usually a hit... especially if there are reviews. Along with not having cook books, we don't have all of the same ingredients that we normally do. If we do, I'm having trouble finding them. The result? Least adventurous recipe I could have possibly attempted. Chocolate chip cookies!

Now, I am without the time consuming task of baking delicious chocolate chip cookies (which do not have many chocolate chips in them on purpose), which means that I'll have to find something else to do. This means... another Etsy adventure! And tea, I think.

And a picture of one of our dogs. Always a picture of a dog.
Due to the fact that I've been sleeping with a fox pelt every night (super warmth and cuddliness. I love my Talbot), I decided to do my theme on foxes (yet again!). I'm pretty sure that this is my second or third fox themed Etsy collection. It's mostly because they are my favourite animal, I'm absolutely enamoured with them, and if I could completely surround myself with adorable fox things I would. Also, I have seen at least three foxes in the past week (I love living in the prairie!).

Sophie Parker
Locketfox
Teva Gallery
Little Rhymes
Scatterbrain Ties

5.26.2012

Web Logging

Cat in a dryer!
To begin, I don't know where this image comes from. I do, but, being me, I didn't want to commit to reading a blog, and I just wanted a semi-quirky image of a cat. Apparently that's what I do when I'm trying to make up for lack of blogging/posting.

I'm never really sure how many people actually keep up with my blog, or keenly check it every single day in hope of something new. Personally, there are very few blogs that I do that with myself, simply because I have better things to do. Y'know. Like not posting in my own blog. I used to check some semi-frequently, mostly because I'd be waiting for class and there would be nothing better to do. Eventually, I got to the point of finding other stuff to do, like embroidering or sewing small things or anything remotely useful and tactile, really. It seemed like, and really is, a better use of my time.

Of late, I do spend quite a bit of time on the internet, but I'm being a bit secretive about the things I find. Why? Well, it's a secret.

Seriously, though, I'm doing a bunch of research for a potential comic/graphic novel series, and I don't want to give away all of these super amazing cool phenomenous (trademark!) things that I'm learning about. I'm kind of a horrible person, that way. I have this thing about always knowing more than other people (and being able to show it), but I never want to share what I learn with people. That is why all of my cool sculptural art effects that I know will likely go to the grave with me. I only fleetingly mention how-to to people who ask, and even then, I tend to leave out crucial details. Apparently researching is like that. I'll give small tid-bits, and then get weirdly defensive when the person I told starts looking into it more. I mean, sure, the information is out there, but I found it first.

Again with the cats. LOLCATS!

Then again, "first" is kind of a general and relative term. I guess I found it first among the people I know. I just have issues with people looking into things that I told them about. It seems that this would be primarily because of the fact that there is very little information that I get from other people that I look into extensively. The only cases when I do are the times when I'm fairly certain that I know something (and the person is wrong about it), so I read it into extensively until I can ask them difficult questions, thus testing them.

I just realized, that I have no idea where this long rant came from. I started with excusing myself for not being very good about being consistent with blogging daily. I have a job now, okay?!

Fun fact: Zombie Awareness Month is almost over, and I really haven't kept up with my promise of giving daily zombie tid-bits. However, I will say that I did find the flaw in most individuals' zombie apocalypse survival plans. I'll dig that up later and show it. Probably on the 30th or whatever the last day of this month is.

5.23.2012

Goggles

Once again, steam-powering up my life. Ish. Today's activity, after going outside and fixing some fences, was making a pair of goggles. I didn't really plan any of it out, except for the lenses, which I already knew would fit the end of some brass pieces that I had. The goggles ended up being asymmetrical, with lots of decorative brass pieces, including dangling chain.
The materials included: Deer hide, cut brass, brass chain, brass jump rings, brass wire,  blue plastic lenses, black elastic.


I'm not really sure what I was going for in terms of the aesthetic qualities. Right now it strikes me as kind of courtesan type thing, at least with the dangling chain. There are a few flaws in the eye pieces, just based on trial and error (and the lenses getting really dirty), but for wearing they are quite good. I am pleased!

5.22.2012

Snakesnakesnakesnakesnake

I think that snakes are one of the coolest things ever. Today, I came home to this particular specimen trying to get into our house. It was curled up against our front step, and occasionally leaping up in a snake like way attempting to get in. Evidently, it could feel the fact that the house was warm. Being a snake, it probably would have much rather been inside a warm house, instead of the cold wind. Eventually, I tried to herd it towards the grass, so that it might at least be protected by something other than our house.

Have you ever watched snakes move? It's terribly neat.

For a garter snake, this one was pretty big. It was about an inch or so thick, and quite long. The blue is our door, and it comes to almost the middle. Pretty little thing.

5.20.2012

This is the yeast of my worries

Since last winter, I've started making more bread items. I've slowly been getting better (but then again,  it's kind of impossible to mess up if you follow the recipe exactly), and making more. Today, I decided to make cocktail buns (a Chinese bun with coconut filling). More on that later. Right now, I want to talk about something that makes bread come alive. Yeast.


Yes, yeast. Now, yeast is one of those things that, for me, makes making bread seem like the single most barbaric activity known to man. As far as (presumably) insentient lifeforms go. Yeast are eukaryotic micro organisms. They belong to the kingdom fungi, and unicellular things that reproduce via mitosis (though some reproduce via "budding", but it depends on the species). These little guys are busy little things that multiply to make bread rise, and whatever else yeast happens to do (I'm NOT reading up on 1,500 species). Now, while I might be fine with wearing fur pelts and poking around with dead things in anatomy labs and biology class, I feel an overwhelming pang of guilt when baking bread. Let me count the reasons why.

1. They are creating a colonies, and the baker is their god.
I know. It's just a little bit blasphemous, but I can't help it. Now, not only is the baker their god, but the baker is a vengeful god. They give the little yeast beings life, allowing them to flourish and grow. Then, out of nowhere, the god reaches down from the heavens, and releases their wrath. Pounding on them, flattening them to smithereens, destroying their livelihood. I know that it's just getting rid of gases (isn't science neat?), but it still seems horrible. If I were part of the yeast colony, I would be picturing this:
And questioning what we did wrong. Later, the vengeful baker again poses judgement day, but sending the yeast colony into the fiery hell of The Oven.

2. Try picturing yeast as adorable little fluff balls that make high pitched singing noises.
In reality, baker's yeast looks like this (on a microscopic level)...
I picture the little yeast as something like this...

Apparently I have a huge number of issues. I'm kind of shocked that I eat bread.

Taxidermy

As it's probably been mentioned several times, I adore taxidermy. There's something about the careful preservation of dead animals that I find very lovely. The only times where I don't is if the animal is made to look like they're doing people things.

For some bizarre reason, I've always been fascinated with dead things, and in recent years taxidermy has become a large part of that. Today's adventures in Etsy is taxidermy. I've gathered a couple selections of specimens, some of which are beautiful in their presentations, others which are beautiful in their bizarreness.

BelovedNYCxx
coffinhunter13
realtaxidermy
Yellow Sister Moon
shrunkenheaddotcom

I do apologize to anyone who might be offended or disgusted by taxidermy. I do not agree with killing animals for killing sake, but I am a firm believer in appreciating a wonderful creature for what it once was, as well as making use of anything already taken.

5.19.2012

One person's boredom is another's entertainment (ish)

Hard at work. Notice the blank web page. Something is loading!

As I'm sure you're dying to know, I've decided to reveal what is that Grimm possibly does on the computer, leading to all of these amazing and fascinating finds, as well as (I assume) gloriously wonderful creations and whatever else I happen to do. For simplicity sake (and because I like pie), I will present this information as a pie chart.


Who am I kidding. This isn't accurate at all.

5.18.2012

Old West #1

One of my bigger projects has been researching and scouring the world of the Old West. Outlaws, brothels, Civil War soldiers, gold prospectors... everything. I've become fascinated with this history, and it's an intention of mine to write a graphic novel set in the Old West, particularly Montana.

Thus far, I've found some outrageously fantastic people. Not necessarily good people in some cases, but overall....

Today's individual is Jim Miller (a.k.a. Killer Jim, Killer Miller, Deacon Jim). He was a bad seed from a young age, and ended up being a hired killer. He earned the nickname Deacon Jim after becoming a devout Methodist, and was quite liked in his community. He never smoked, never drank, never swore, and was very well-mannered. Despite this, he asked $100 per murder, and wore a black frock coat which he never removed. The frock coat happened to disguise steel plates, which saved his life from bullet shots on more than one occasion. This man was... very interesting. And... as one source puts it... A wolf in sheep's clothing.

I wrote a mock up comic about his early childhood. A bit morbid, but it did happen. Essentially, when Miller was quite young, his parents died and he was sent to live with his grandparents. His grandparents were found murdered in their home. 8-year-old Miller was arrested but never tried or convicted. Many believe that he was in fact responsible. The scene below roughly depicts that, along with a transition into his later life.  The drawings make Miller look a bit older than 8, and they're not that continuous. It is only a rough sketch after all, which is why there also isn't any text.


5.16.2012

What dreams are made of

A couple mornings ago, I kept waking up and falling back to sleep. This is mostly because I don't have actual curtains, so I kept being awoken by sunshine. Not a bad way to be woken up. Just... maybe not at eight in the morning (after staying up until 12 o'clock). During this time, I kept capturing snippets of bizarre dreams. One of these dreams was nothing but the faces of well known fairy tale princesses, only their faces kept morphing into weird monster masks. Masks like these ones (and miscellaneous other tribal masks. Not just Chinese):


Due to silliness and tiredness and overall laziness, I didn't sketch out any of my dream images or ideas. Later, I wrote it down, but it didn't seem as pure. It didn't even seem worth doing anything with. That is when I doodled this:

It's still not really what I had in mind, and I need to do more thinking and research. As it was in the dream, it seemed like a fantastic idea, and sure to take shape. It's in desperate need of more time and thinking.

Perhaps dreaming as well... And with that. To bed!

5.15.2012

Kodak Discovery

This afternoon I've been packing up my bedroom. During this time, I happened to pick up my 1898 Kodak folding pocket camera (j'adore), and noticed that the viewfinder still works. It uses mirrors and a lense to create an image of what you're seeing (and what you'll be taking a photo of). The image is still flipped, but only horizontally. Upon learning this, I took to the streets (by which, I mean my front step), and took some photos of the image created.
Red Car

Driveway/Parking lot

Self portrait (upside down)
It thrills me that there's a potential possibility to use this somehow. Along with the fact that if I make the camera light-tight and create a pinhole to go behind the original lens, I could use it as a pinhole camera. Quite fitting or the projects I have in mind....

Speaker-ing of...

For my 20th birthday, my brother gave me new speakers (I know, right?!?!). I was a bit stunned and confused, but overall completely thrilled. Today, I finally cracked them open and gave the speaker set a spin.

I didn't take this picture, but it expresses my feelings towards the speakers.
The speakers themselves are Logitech, and they're a four-part system. It even has a subwoofer. I have DREAMED of owning a subwoofer. With the plugins available, I can use the speakers on my computer (as I am right now), CD player, or my MP3 player. I could even plug my earphones into the control pod. Not sure why, but hey, maybe it makes the sound even better.

video

To be really cool (and to test my skills in terms of directly uploading unedited films), I filmed the speakers playing, to give an idea of the great sound. Ironically (ish), filming on a camera gives the worst sound ever, so you really can't tell that there's anything overly special happening. HOWEVER, I will say that the sound is incredible, and feeling vibrations on my floor is the greatest thing ever.

For good measure, the song being played is 'Hounds of Love' by The Futureheads.

It's so great!

5.14.2012

A little eclectic...

Interesting factoid... or is it a realization?

I look like this...

While listening to this...

While reading about Bannack, Montana.

Huh...

5.13.2012

Baking With Grimm

The title of this blog is kind of a misnomer, but I really couldn't think of a better name, so we are stuck with it (unless someone wants to offer a better name, but that's not really worth it).

Today is May 13th and is Mother's Day. I feel rather grown up, because I gave my own mother some lovely flowers. I am also making/cooking supper. Part of that is dessert. The request was strawberries and ice cream, with good n' fudgey pie.

Since I've been wanting to for a while, I decided to document the baking of (HA. There's the pun we've been waiting for... Kind of). 

Step 1: Learn that there isn't enough soft butter, so you have to use frozen. Soft problem by dicing 1/2 cup of frozen butter with a large knife, and put into metal bowl. Put into oven so that it can melt while oven heats up (325 degrees Fahrenheit).

Step 2: While your frozen butter is melting, gather your other ingredients. 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and one pinch of salt.

Oven should be heated up and butter fully melted in 10 minutes. I put mine in at 11 o'clock sharp (kind of happened that way). It is now 11:10 AM. Featured here with a lovely distorted mirror image of my kitchen.

Step 3: Pour sugar into bowl with melted butter. Mix until completely blended.

Step 4: Add eggs. Your eggs may not be this glorious shade of yellow. The eggs we get are from a neighbour, and his a free range and super happy farm chickens. Therefore... Everything is a pretty yellow! Mix the eggs fully into the sugar/butter, until fully blended.

Step 5: Add all other ingredients. I used more than a pinch of salt (oops), but it's okay. I think it might actually ask for 1/4 teaspoon. Or I'm thinking of something else. Whatevah.... Um.
Mix until completely combined together.

Step 6: It should look something like this. A delicious chocolate-y batter. Make sure all sides are scraped and everything is mixed. In an ideal world, you should beat it with one of those fancy mechanical egg beater things. Ours doesn't work, and the only other option is an old school crankhandle egg beater, which tends to jam and then explodes everywhere. I decided to skip it, since I didn't want to get chocolate everywhere.

Step 7: Grease a small pie pan (approximately 8-12" diameter), and pour in all batter. Smooth it a bit (not necessary, because it will settle in the oven. I just happen to like smoothing out cake and brownie batter).

Step 8: Put pie pan into the oven (which is now conveniently at the temperature you needed), and set timer for 30 minutes. In all of the dozens and dozens of times that I've made this, it has never been happy at less than 30 minutes, and apparently it's the magic time.

Once it is finished baking, let cool and enjoy! It will not taste like a pie. It's more of a brownie thing (a.k.a. purely delicious goodness which will vanish in no more than 48 hours).

Right now mine is in the oven (real time documentation!), so I will *hopefully* photograph the finished dessert this evening! Until then... Enjoy!
(p.s. I realize that I didn't give the actual recipe. If you really want it, comment below and I will hook you up. I'm kind of secretive about my recipes, so I don't give them out unless someone specifically asks. This is the closest I've ever come to giving someone a recipe. It's just... a bit less concise.)

5.12.2012

Artist of the Day (No. 2)

Two of my favourite things are steampunk culture and taxidermy. In general, I'm overly fond of taxidermy, whether it be bits of dead animals, or fully mounted pieces. I don't believe in killing for the heck of it, and there's certain types of fur that I won't wear or use, but I adore the appearance of the textures found in animals. Having grown up in the foothills of a mountain and then moving to the vast prairie, I have an appreciation for all beasts, big and small. I admit, I have a weird way of showing it. At least I vastly learn about different animals and have seen a lot of them in nature.

Cutting to the chase. I'm not really intending on having an actual artist of the day, but it just happened that I found this amazing artist. I was reading some posts on a Steampunk group site that I'm part of, and found the page about Steampunk Animals. Intrigued by the combination of two of my greatest adorations, I clicked and followed, and ended up finding the full portfolio of an artist named Lisa Black. She is a New Zealand artist, and combines the aesthetics and ideals of steampunk with taxidermy. The result? Behold.

Fixed - Fawn
Black uses two main components: Natural taxidermy and metal pieces (including watch parts and miscellaneous hardware). Truly stunning work.

And for good measure, here is her official website (I'm sharing it here because it took a lot of digging and clicking to find it).

5.11.2012

Artist of the Day

In my practice, I am primarily a fibre and textiles artist. I'm quite fond of textiles, mostly because of the time and work that goes into creating something so beautiful. It doesn't hurt that I'm a very tactile person, and enjoy touching things that look like they have amazing textures. Fibre is great because general people are okay with you stroking and enjoying the fabric and wonderful details.

This evening, I watched the majority of an episode of Craft In America on PBS. The episode was about weaving and quilting (both of which are crafts I enjoy very much). One artist caught my ears and eyes.

Portrait of a Textile Worker

This piece is a quilt made by artist Terese Agnew. It is made entirely out of fabric labels from inside articles of clothing. Hundreds upon thousands of cloth tags, sewn together into a massive quilt. It took Agnew approximately three years to make. All of her quilts take a hugely extensive amount of time to make, and always try to push a message to change a way of thought, or cause new thought. I like it.

Beautiful.

5.10.2012

Graphic Study

One of my goals for the summer is to write at least one part of a graphic novel. The idea is to write something steampunk/smokepunk related. Being me, I will have to invest a lot of research time, but so far I'm just sketching ideas for characters, and seeing who I like. I decided to share a short comic study that I did. I got the idea while driving home in the rain, and passing the nearby cemetery. The rain made me think of mud, and the mud made me think of people reaching up and grabbing passerbys... Not my opinion of graveyards, yet that's what I thought of.


 Click for larger image. If need be, open in a new window. It's a really rough job. Personally, I think I need to get better at continuity in faces and everything in general. Though I'm relatively pleased with my line work in the second page.