Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zombies, for Fun and Profit (part 2)

So now that you've gathered your supplies, it's on to the fun stuff: production. This article will focus on prosthetics, both off and on the skin.

The above walking corpse is a combination of both methods -- on and off skin prosthetics. The heavy textured pieces visible on the cheeks is done via the off skin method, the rest, directly on the face.

Let's start with some general prosthetics.

If you did manage to get some liquid latex, great. If not, you don't HAVE to have it, it just makes the process of removing pre-made prosthetics from glass a little easier. Yes, you need a sheet of glass for this part.

Sheet of glass (small) -- must be slick on one side. Don't worry, it'll come clean afterwards. A mirror will work as well. You just need enough surface to pre-make a few sections, depending on how many zombies you need to create.
Liquid latex or Elmer's
Texture additives of choice (oatmeal, birdseed, breadcrumbs, etc). -- you can use your toilet paper or paper towel on this step, but it's much easier to do those directly on skin.
Cornstarch baby powder

-- Slather a thin layer of your goop on the glass. Start out thin, or it'll take forever to dry. The shape is up to you, but remember to keep it to a size that will FIT on your victim. This is your base.
-- Let dry.
-- Powder lightly, dust and blow off.
-- Add another, thinner layer, just to get the surface wet.
-- Carefully add in your texture. A mix of items works well, just remember to keep it thin, otherwise, it won't stick.
-- Lightly pat with fingers to make sure it's stuck, then let dry.
-- Powder again, making sure to get all excess off.
-- Add another layer of goop to seal, spreading as necessary. This gives a good foundation to add makeup on.
-- Let dry. Powder and remove excess.

When ready to use, just peel from the glass -- use a razor blade if you have it to prevent curl-ups on the edges that will make it harder to apply.

The powder is necessary for several reasons. First, these prosthetics will stick to each other without it. Second, the makeup will adhere better when the surface isn't perfectly slick.

You can apply these via spirit gum, but really, you don't need it. Use what you have. The back will still be slick and smooth from the glass, making it easier to apply, and if you use as adhesive the same goop you used to make it, it will stick better. Yes, you can use Elmer's for this, too.

Now, return to look at the top image. See the nose, forehead, and chin? That's all direct to skin. And easy easy easy, to get a nasty peeling skin look. The supply list is impossibly simple: Elmer's. Or your peel off masque, if you have it. Me, I stick with Elmer's, because I always have it.

There's several different ways to handle application. You can stretch skin as tight as possible, then apply -- but then you have to hold that skin taut till it drys. This can be a pain, especially if you have to do more than one zombie. Besides, you can get wrinkles other ways, like using tissue, so don't sweat it.

Direct to skin prosthetic rot.

The above picture is the same general method as the preformed prosthetic skin on glass, only direct to skin. This works well for odd areas, areas that might take longer to dry on glass, and areas bigger than the glass you have to work with. It's also relatively fast if you're working a zombie assembly line, as you can apply to one, and be letting it dry while you work on another.

Basic Peeling Skin: This applies to all exposed skin--face, hands, feet, etc.
-- Apply a smooth, relatively thin layer of Elmer's. You want it not entirely clear, but not thick white either. Do it somewhat at random, especially near muscles, so that the peeling is more natural. You don't need to cover the entire area.
-- Let dry. For thinner peels, stop at this step.
-- Add another layer. Let dry.
-- Yep, one more layer, focusing on the middles of the sections and ignoring the edges. It's necessary for details.
-- Let dry.
-- Gently start to peel at the edges, just to get loose skin flaps. Don't get carried away.
-- Using fingernails (the safest), start to tug and tear in the thicker areas. Create holes, slices -- whatever look you want. You can even fake bullet holes this way, just make sure they aren't on the head -- after all, that kills a zombie, and dead undead aren't any fun!!

Nasty Blisters:
Once you've popped a hole in the glue skin, use a little more glue and run it inside the deepest parts of the hole to puff it out. Apply a spare amount, you don't want it to run.
-- Let dry.
-- Repeat, if necessary, to get it puffy.
-- If you want, add a glue spot for a gross pustule in the center. Repeat to get the height you want.
-- If you're going for really gross, now's the time to make pus. Since you'll be dealing with blood, which is already sticky, you can just tint the glue and use it for pus, and while it won't run, it'll be nastily effective.
-- Elmer's is tintable. Use your cream makeup, and mix in some green, as well as some of the yellow from the bruise kit. Mix carefully, and apply with the end of a paintbrush to the blister.

After that, all that remains is the makeup.

More Detailed Effects: You can fake nearly all commercial appliances with this method, for next to nothing in cost, except for things like intestines falling out of the abdomen.
-- Start with the layer of Elmer's again. Have torn pieces of toilet paper or paper towel ready to go: you don't want to try tearing after your hands are slimy. If you're lucky, you can have your victim working on this.
-- Don't let dry this time. Instead, start to apply the tissue to the goop. Scrunch, crinkle at will.
-- If you want to be able to cut sections open for wounds, leave big, deep folds in your tissue, and make sure there's a good amount folded into the space, no matter how small you crunch down the fold.
-- Seal over it with more glue.
-- Let dry.
-- Add another layer of glue. This will give you a good, stiff base to work with, and will help protect the tissue when you get to gore, keeping it from disintigrating on you.
-- Once dry, tear or cut the folds into the shape you want. If you plan your folds carefully, you can do bite marks, claw marks, blade cuts, bullet holes -- imagination is your only limit. Even slashed throats can be done this way.

Again, all that remains is the makeup. God is in the details, and those details will matter with these faked prosthetics. Done right, they'll look far better than commercial appliances. Done wrong, they'll still look more natural than latex sheets.

Here's a place where your theatrical blood is well used. The torn spots will be stiff, and not precisely natural. Once the makeup and blood are applied, however, they'll soften down to realism. And the theatrical blood gels and dries, so it won't disintigrate your hard work.

Next time: On to the makeup!!

Movie Review: Dead and Breakfast

Oh. My. God. SciFi aired Dead and Breakfast the other night. I'd heard about this movie for a while, but never found it on DVD or on any other channel. So no, I've never managed to see this uncut. Yet. I WILL own this movie.

After all, I've got a huge collection of zombie films, both originals and remakes. Clearly, I need to add more.

I damn near hurt myself laughing. This is Zombie Cheese splatter comedy at its finest, along the lines of Army of Darkness meets Peter Jackson's Dead/Alive (BrainDead for the lucky folks over the pond).

Over the top ridiculous gore (gouting fountains of blood, anyone?), a script that never once took itself too seriously, zombies galore, David Carradine, prerequisite characters that do Really Odd Things, like the vegetarian that apparently can speak any and all languages, as well as ASL, and the one who, when the shit hits the fan, starts building her own shotguns because they have shells but nothing to fire them (played by Carradine's niece), the completely nerdy and slightly creepy guy, the mysterious stranger, David Fucking Carradine!, and a country singer/gas station attendant that narrates the movie, both before and after his zombiedom.

The opening credits alone are awesome -- black, white, and red drawings, very comic book style -- and these show up throughout the movie as it shifts from one setting to another. The actors aren't complete unknowns, and some may even be familiar to viewers.

Look for deliberate Cheese Moments: zombies doing the Thriller Dance, an Evil Dead poster, and a Buffy reference.

It ain't Oscar-winning cinema, and it's not for true horror fans, or those that believe all zombie movies should be deadly serious, but it's a damn fun way to spend two hours.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Zombies, for Fun and Profit

"That's too much work!" Oh, please.
"It's too expensive to do it right." Give me a break.

Next in Pooka's Craft Circle: Zombies, for Fun and Profit

It doesn't take a lot of work (just a bit of practice and willing victims -- I mean, subjects), or a lot of money to turn out some quality zombification. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for some of my victims to send on their own photos (and you know how slow the mail is when graveyards are involved), because my own cameraperson was apparently inconvenienced by gravity and oxygen, thus leaving me with a precious few pictures to illustrate my point.

I'll help show you how to do it CHEAP, and still get a quality look that will hold up even if your event is in daylight.

Forget most commercial accessories. You only need a few of these. The "realistic" FX tricks come through items you probably already have around your house. Ready? Let's go ...


Cream Makeup:
(Greasepaint is complicated, requires powder-setting or it Will Not Dry and smudges everywhere, and is more expensive. Avoid it.)
(Optional colours with a bigger budget: brown, yellow, blue. Different types of zombies need different colours, obviously.)

Detail Makeup:
A bruise kit -- These cream makeups can be bought separately, as a kit of four, or as part of a prosthetic kit, which is obviously more expensive. DO choose costume makeup for this, or you won't get the same effect. They also have a different consistency from the cream tubes, so I consider them necessary.
The colours required: yellow, red-brown, brown, black (or deep purple).
An assortment of makeup pencils for deep lines (brown, black, green, purple, you can get these under a buck each).

Blood: If you do buy commercial, make sure to get theatrical blood that will dry as well as mouth blood or blood capsules. They're not interchangeable, and you Do Not Want regular theatrical blood in your mouth or eyes.

Blood, however, is easy enough to make. If you do go for making your own, I'd still recommend picking up a tube of theatrical blood. The homemade stuff is sticky, and while edible, can get really messy over the course of your zombie stomp. There's a huge number of blood recipes on the net, so I won't post any of them here. Has a pretty good list of multiple methods for homemade blood.

Home Supplies: Many of these are optional according to how decayed your zombie is and the look you're going for.

For Texture:
Rotting Skin:
Oatmeal -- two piles, whole and well-crumbled but not powdered.
Breadcrumbs -- Different types create different effects. If using oatmeal as well, try Panko breadcrumbs for a finer texture.
Birdseed -- also great for road rash, without the weight of rock. If you have a mixed wild seed bag, it's perfect. Just take out the sunflower seeds (you can use them elsewhere).

Tears, rips, and further texture:
Toilet paper -- only use the cheap stuff you don't want anywhere near your butt. 2-ply ultrasoft is a pain to use. If it's all you have, opt for ...
Paper towels -- Type and quality doesn't matter.
Cotton balls -- just pull and tear till you get closer to a sheet of fluff. Also good for bloody hair sliding free of skin.

Peeling, shedding skin: A lot of people have latex allergies these days -- my method avoids that.
A Peel-Off Face Masque -- is great for rotten, peeling skin. If you don't already have it, don't worry about buying it, unless one of your victims has sensitive skin.
Elmer's School Glue -- yes, good old Elmer's. Come on, you remember doing this back in school. You spread the stuff on your skin, wait for it to dry, peel it off. Here, it serves multiple purposes. Not only do you get the peeling flesh, but you can build up several layers, then tear it open in select spots to create gaping congealed holes and open blisters, plus, it serves to attach your texture items to the skin.
***Yes, it's skin safe. You wouldn't be wearing it long enough for it to be a problem, IF it was a problem. I have ridiculously sensitive skin, and I sat all day yesterday while doing makeup for a Halloween event with my hand gored up, using Elmer's as the base for the makeup, and was just fine.
*** Yes, cream makeup goes on just fine over it --yes, I said OVER, clear zombie skin is not convincing -- and mostly stays put unless you start rubbing it off deliberately. Once the cream sets, you're fine, AND the colour will then come off with the glue, making cleanup easier.

Application: Not required unless they have a *, but useful if you already have them.
Sea sponge for makeup -- good for mottling without a lot of effort and time.
* Cosmetic sponges -- you don't want to use fingers. Not only is it messy, it won't apply well and will be streaky.
Wide-holed textured makeup sponge -- these are usually a sort of mesh, but you can fake one if you look around the house. Awesome for mildew spots on your zombie. Personally, I'd consider this a requirement, but that's just me.
Saran Wrap -- bunched up, this can take the place of other sponges when used to apply makeup, or to further texture the glue skin.
* Q-Tips, small makeup applicators, detail brushes (soft paintbrushes work) -- necessary around eyes, and for facial creases unless you're really good at small detail with a big sponge.
* Powder puff or big makeup brush -- needed to apply powder.
* Cornstarch baby powder -- I prefer cornstarch over regular. Will help set makeup, especially in heat, will further pale up skin, and can help give your zombie a dusty look.

The Costume:
For a zombie, the costume is already in your closet. Everyone has a few items that they don't care about getting destroyed. Here's the time to make good use of them.
Always remember to tear, not cut. Cuts are too clean, you want to look like you've been in a fight for your life, and lost. Seams are a good place to make your outfit look worn and ragged. Scrape, slice (to start a hole) and tear, use sandpaper -- just make it worn. DO NOT get carried away with this. A little goes a long way, and too much looks silly. Make it believable damage.
Also, when doing your cutting and tearing, DO IT WHILE THE COSTUME IS ON. Otherwise, you may end up with holes in places that are awkward and may break local decency laws or dress codes. Not that a zombie would worry about that, but you know.
Important: Keep in mind that any visible skin will need makeup as well. This includes hands, the neck, and anything else clothing isn't covering. Plan accordingly for the amount of time you want to spend doing the makeup.
Lose a shoe, if you can stand being partially barefoot. A zombie isn't going to stop and put a shoe back on if it comes off, and it looks good. Don't forget to tear holes in your sock if you do (and if you're wearing them). Toes don't really need makeup, they just need dirt, and lots of it.

The last thing needed is simple: Dirt. Yes, dirt. Make sure it's clean, free of any animal debris (ew), but doesn't have to be free of assorted sticks, grass, and other plant life. This also adds texture and realism, especially if your zombie just crawled from its grave.

-- Grind some dirt into clothes, getting it as filthy as possible.
Mix mud. This covers a multitude of cheap sins, including too new clothing, means you don't need a wig (Yes, rub the mud in your hair -- it washes out easily, saving you from trying to colour it), and skin areas you didn't have time to do makeup on. Plus, it crumbles nicely, and creates more texture.

Mixing mud: Go for wet. Really wet. Standing water should be in your bucket. Then you can dig the mud out, and it's easier to apply.
Mud dries lighter, however, and you may want your zombie to stay looking, well ... moist. Mix your mud, then, with your liquid half and half between water and corn syrup or vegetable oil. A corn syrup mixture will be stickier, of course, while vegetable oil will have a slimier texture.

Notice what is missing from the supply list. There's no liquid latex, no spirit gum, no appliances or prosthetics. You don't need em. If you've got the budget, buy some liquid latex anyway -- if you have time to go with your budget, you can make your own custom appliances on a sheet of glass to cut down the time actually putting the zombification into action, using the texture goodies mentioned above in the list. But you don't NEED it.


The above zombies were created using only the supplies I've mentioned in the list. That's it. No commercial prosthetics. Granted, their makeup jobs looked much better before they went a little crazy with the mud (note: never let your creations do their own mud job).

You can see some of the peeling and rotten skin in this picture without a closeup, but trust me, it was Seriously effective in person.

NEXT TIME: How put those supplies into action.

Happy hauntings.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Glad I kept my supplies for 20 years ...

So, on short notice, having NOT been reminded by a very naughty Thing 1, I have to spend the rest of tonight practicing to channel my inner Tom Savini.

Yep. Tomorrow I get hauled out to a haunted hayride set to do the makeup for the "Thriller" zombie squad.

If all the goobers involved had reminded me earlier, I could have given them an appropriate shopping list. Now, I'm going to be scavenging in the kitchen for oats and breadcrumbs and trying to get rice cooked for some maggots to go in fleshy wounds. I really hope I have a few bottles of Elmers around, because apparently they forgot to get one of the absolutely important special effects basics -- liquid latex. Nor do they have more than a few measly prosthetics. Kids -- eesh.

Now I gotta get creative.

Man, it's been AGES since I've had to do anything like this.

At least since part of their routine is the Thriller dance, I only have to do SERIOUS makeup jobs on those in the front. Problem is, the distance from the crowd will only be 2-3 feet at some points, so it's got to be very well done for those kids.

Mercifully, I fully believe in one of Savini's classic theories: You can never have too much blood.

Clever, Crafty, and Frugal Cards

Ah, the clearance aisles and bins. I love em. Love love love them. My kids jokingly (I HOPE they're joking!) call me the Clearance Queen. I can spend hours digging through them for something useful, and while I may not use them at the time, they always get used eventually.

We make cards because we love to. We know that they'll mean more to the person receiving them, and there's something gratifying about doing it yourself and making it personal, rather than just grabbing something off a rack.

Card making and scrapping can get expensive, what with all the neat and nifty tools, special papers and embellishments, and all the other goodies. But they don't HAVE to be expensive. Here's some tips and tricks for not only shopping those clearance sections, but how to use the treasures found. This also applies to garage sales, estate sales, online auctions, and anywhere else you can find a really good bargain.

-- Never forget the precious finds at dollar stores. They always have wrapping paper, ribbon, cards, and gift bags that you can cut up and alter, and for a buck each, you can't beat that. (It's also a GREAT place to look for fancy tissue paper.)

-- Look for pads of writing paper with nifty designs. You get multiple pages of coordinated designs that can be cut out and applied elsewhere.

-- Look for cheap stationary. Even if it's just paper and envelopes that you find on sale, they coordinate and make a good base for embellishing to make them your own.

-- Basic notecard sets don't have to stay that way. When you can get 4-8 for a buck or so, you're already ahead, and then you don't have to worry about finding the right size envelope once you're done altering the card, and you don't even have to fold the cardstock!

-- Shop outside your crafting comfort zone. You may just make cards and not scrapbook, but that doesn't mean that clearance price scrapbook kits aren't perfect to alter into cards. You may not make jewelry, but check their clearance for charms and beads and fibers you can add to your projects.

-- Seasonal craft items can be grabbed after holidays for next to nothing, and they don't take up much space if you shop carefully. Just make a box for each season, and tuck them away till you're ready to work.

-- Lace, buttons, and ribbons are always on clearance somewhere. Check remnant bins as well. These are also easy to find at estate sales, and you could just wind up with some fabulous vintage pieces and antiques out of the deal.

-- Dig, dig, dig. Clearance sections are rarely neat, and if you just skim, you're going to miss things. Take time -- it's like digging for buried treasure.

-- Then go back later. Often, clearance items that haven't cleared out are marked down even further. Patience is your friend.

-- If you MUST have something not on clearance or sale, look around before buying. There are always coupons, and many places will accept competitor coupons, and not every store sells at list price. Some mark up, and others mark down.

-- When using the internet to shop, always shop around. Comparing prices is just the start. Shipping is where you can get taken to the cleaners if you aren't careful. Always check shipping prices and add this to your purchases, then do the same at other places, and go with the cheapest. It may take time, but your wallet will thank you. In addition, many places offer free shipping over a certain price, so if you don't need something immediately, wait until you can spend the money to pick up other items you want all at once.

-- Be wary of "too good to be true" online auction prices. The price of the actual item may make you reach for your wallet, but check shipping carefully. You may end up paying three times the actual list price once shipping is added in.

-- Get on mailing lists. For Joann's, you not only get paper coupons in the mail, but they send coupons via email for not only the store, but the website. Michaels will only take paper coupons, not printed ones, from other stores, so use ones you print at the store that issued them, and save the mailed paper for other places. Hobby Lobby doesn't mail coupons, you have to check their site weekly, and print them out. They're always different, and not always general, but they're worth looking at.

-- Consider style as well as price. A particular item might be more expensive than you want to pay, but if it's unique, or rare, and can't generally be found anywhere but from the creator, it might just be worth it to have something that will make the recipient boggle over how neat it is. "Wow, I've never seen that before!!" is a great response.

-- Walk outside the box, and look around. Anything, and I mean anything, can be used for neat and clever crafting. Dove Promises wrappers are perfect for cards -- just smooth out the foil, and there's a neat shiny saying inside. Candy wrappers are a great start, with nicely coloured and printed foils. Hershey, with their speciality Kisses, has some fabulous foils (look for the Cherry Cordial Creams -- the foil is red and black tiger stripe!!!). Security envelope liners can be fascinating papers -- save them!

Now that you have all these items, what do you do with them?

-- For a neat card set, look at those stationary pads. Many of them have multiple images per page, all in easy to cut shapes. You can die-cut or use punches, or edging scissors to give them a more interesting look. And don't forget that the paper itself coordinates, so cut it up too, and find a way to use it.

With very little time and money spent, you can get an entire set of matching notecards to either use, or package up with a pen and envelopes and give as a gift.

-- Don't like boring gift bags? No problem. Buy cheap plain bags (or origami fold your own bags out of 12x12 or wrapping paper, just make sure the paper is square), then embellish as you like with your goodies. If you've made your own card, embellish the bag to match! You'd spend ridiculous amounts to get a nice card and bag that matches in a store, especially for embellished sets.

-- If you have the space, save cardboard boxes, like cereal or other small containers (not shipping boxes, though those are wonderfully reusable as well). Then, when you're getting a gift set of stationary together, find a box that's just the right size. Decorate it to match as well, and your gift just got even better.

-- Start your seasonal cards early. Make cards whenever you have the time, and save them for when you need them. It never hurts to have a ready stock of generic cards that you can add the appropriate text to as needed. Same for birthday cards: just design some generic birthday, male, female, and kid cards, and you're never at a loss when a birthday takes you by surprise. The plastic boxes designed for CDs (which you can often find on sale) are perfect for storing standard size cards. Just make appropriate dividers for each type, and finding them is easy when you need them.

You don't have to spend a fortune to create quality, personal cards and gifts. It's the effort and love you put into making them that counts, not what you spent on your supplies.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wubba wubba wubba -- what?

DG is off and running to a rig again. While the timing wasn't great for kid reasons, we need the money desperately, so it's copacetic. Of course, he got the phone call while he was cooking dinner, and was told to leave Now. They gave him an hour to finish up and get repacked.

Thing 1 just turned 15 this Monday. Who's feeling old? Yes, yes, that's me (and probably a dozen or so folks that knew her when she was a baby). Today was Goblin Day at her school, and thus full costumes were allowed (barring the usual Bible Belt rules of no cross-play (no guys dressing as girls -- but of course, if a girl dressed as a male character, they wouldn't say a bloody thing -- UGH), had to stay in school dress code, if you wanted to wear a hat or partial mask you had to pay for the privilege, etc. Those of you with weak hearts don't want to see the pics when I get them posted. Trust me.

I have little skin left on my fingers from finishing her wings. At least now they're definitely asbestos-skinned towards heat. I so love a good glue gun. Or even a crappy one. Mmm, adhesive!!

And the dd with her wings for her Halloween costume.


My computer is definitely temporarily D-E-D. Half Life 2 was not its friend, and the video card has gone kaboom. Unless anyone out there has a spare PCI-E video card they aren't using and don't mind sending along, I'm stuck without a machine for quite a while.

The fridge, which had croaked, I managed to kick (and had the bruise to show for it) back into something resembling function, but not function that I would trust. However, our doctor neighbor that has saved my butt a few times on weekends with meds is moving (and this makes me not happy) and was getting rid of everything she could. Networking is your friend. So I asked about the side-by-side fridge in their garage.

It's now sitting in my garage, waiting for some muscle to help me switch them out. Free. Frankly, it's much nicer than ours EVER was. Free.

I also managed to get bunk beds from them, and while they don't have mattresses, there's at least one set of box springs, and they're old sturdy hardwood bunk beds that can be assembled separately. Both Things have decided they no longer want to sleep on futons, so this was good timing. Just have to figure out a sleeping surface before we put them in their rooms.

The weather has been nice, finally. 50s or so at night. I finally needed something other than just a sheet last night for the first time, and the AC wasn't even on. About time, considering our electric bills. It's actually 60* out there right now, at 11 am. Shiny. Of course, this led to DG leaving windows open, which led to me and tubby cat not being able to breathe. This fresh air stuff, clearly, it's not good for you.

Still out of ridiculous amounts of medication, which isn't good for me either. At least I still have some Lidoderm patches, and my seizure meds, and my bp drugs finally, but everything else -- newp. And of course none of the ones I need are on WalMart's $4 formulary. Figures, huh?

Ah, the familiar sounds of annoyed barking in the backyard. Zoe's after the squirrels again. She LOOOOOVES chasing squirrels. The squirrels? Not so much love. We tried to tell her about the mob of Russian squirrels mauling that other dog, but she didn't seem to care too much. The dog is also much happier now that the weather is cooler, and no longer minds going outside. She's like me, she hates heat. It's odd, because it's not like she has long fur to deal with -- she's got the sleek Heeler coat, on that Corgi body -- but even the idea of going outside when it was 100* made her whimper and try to refuse. Now, she'll stay outside for hours, just to get to chase the squirrels as they race back and forth above her head.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

48 Hours

Just hit 48 hours with No Nicotene At All. No cigarettes for a while -- heck, I couldn't breathe to begin with, much less if I tried to smoke. Bleh!

Not even the patches. None. Nada. Zip. No Nicotene. Of course, no patches is because we can't afford em.

No one is dead ... yet.

I'm still feeling the twitches and wanting a cigarette, but it's pretty much all psychological now, and not physical craving. My brain wants a cigarette. Habit wants a cigarette. Body doesn't NEED one, so this is progress.

.... still waiting for the "you'll feel SO much better once you quit" part, though. Clearly, the cigarettes had nothing to do with my being unable to regularly breathe through my nose -- ah, I love ragweed. With the pleurisy, I'm still hacking and wheezing, in fact worse than I did when I was smoking normally and not sick.

And worst of all, my nose, which is horribly over-sensitive, now REALLY works. I can smell things from blocks away. This is not good when a cat does something foul in a litter box. And food ... oh man, eating is difficult with the nose. ANY smell that isn't Totally Perfect, and I can't eat it. Seafood is now totally out, because even normal fishy smells are too strong for my nose to handle.

I'd forgotten how sensitive my nose was, and forgot that was part of WHY smoking was "good" -- the honker didn't sniff as much.

Heck, I gagged opening my ink box today. All the chemical-y smells of the ink, in an enclosed plastic box ... yep, almost hurled.

It DOES get better ... right???

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Scrapbookers are N.U.T.S

My mother was looking for an apple stamp, a very tiny one. I found two, plus bought her one of the long Sizzix dies, the complete train one (my dad does model trains in a big big way).

I handmade the bag they all went in, origami gift bag folding (thank you, Karen Thomas). I didn't glue it down, so my mother, who has to reverse-engineer projects, could use it as a template for folding more. And of course, I made the card (Autumn's Daughter, in the card gallery).

I also sent one for my dad -- his birthday was yesterday, Mom's was in late August, but I had to wait till I found all the pieces I wanted for her.

Did she say anything about the presents? Or the bag? Or that I remembered her thing about wanting templates and instructions?


What's she focused on?

How to get the birthday card into a scrapbook page.