The fungus-carrying meteor has officially crash-landed in my front yard!

Fungusoutside
The neighborhood is doomed! Doomed, I tell you!

But this is just the beginning. Soon, tendrils of fungus-y alien membrane will crawl across the ground, shoot into the trees, and begin swallowing everything in its path–including my family!

A lot has been happening in my studio this week to make these things happen (sometimes aliens need a little help from earthlings), and I’ll be working right up until trick-or-treat kicks off in two days.

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

I used the same spray foam insulation and whirled it onto some nitrile gloves we already had in the garage. I also purchased some heavy duty elastic from a craft store, and sprayed foam onto it, to create the chunks of alien fungus we’ll wear as part of the makeups. I’ll tie or pin the elastic strands around our shoulders, arms, wherever.

bodyparts
I am the queen of “use what I’ve already got”. I found gloves. I used them.

I painted basically the same techniques from the meteor onto the body parts, except instead of rock colors, I used flesh tones to make it appear as though our skin itself is bound up in the blobs of disfigurement taking place. I also made some green nurnies.

bodypartsandnurnies.jpg
Starbucks green tea latte is optional.

Wait, what the heck are nurnies, you ask? More about that if you keep scrolling!

But I wanted to give the meteor every chance at surviving long-term, plus I wanted a shiny, gooey finish on the fungus parts, so I hit them with a glossy clear coat.

weatherproof
I’m sure alien fungus can survive a Georgia rain shower, but why take a chance?

And then it was time to remove the beach ball innards! Swirling lights will go inside to give it a glow, so I had to make room. First, I deflated the beach ball. I’m sure you’ve noticed that in our modern day inflatables, there’s a little flap inside the plug that keeps air from sneaking out involuntarily. Handy. But also tricky, when one wants to deflate on purpose! So I inserted a screwdriver to hold the flap open, and just pressed, and waited, and waited, and waited…until the beach ball was small enough.

deflateinnards
That safety flap in inflatables seemed like a good idea at the time.

Then I gently peeled the beach ball away from the foam, and, Voila! No more beach ball, and room for lights!

removeinnards
I have a video on my Facebook page of the beach ball coming out with a soft plop that is kind of satisfying to watch, if you’re curious: here.

But let’s get back to nurnies.

That’s the term for bits of stretchy, mangled, latex ropey blobs that are usually stored in a sandwich baggie in a makeup kit for adding texture or other interesting things. They tend to look like tendons or cartilage, and can be bitten and torn to add some realism to the ripping away of body bits by zombies or monsters.

They’re super easy to make, but I’ve added my own twist of using yarn, as well, because I want long, swinging, membrane-like tendrils to drape from the meteor and the trees, and all over my family.

Makeup suppliers like Kryolan have skin-safe latex (be aware, some people have latex allergies), but you can also get the same stuff from places like Spirit Halloween or costume shops. Since I am using so much for many tendrils, I’m using the stuff I got from the Halloween store. I also chose green yarn I already had, with dark spots and light spots, to really sell the creepy factor.

teaandlatex
Cup of English breakfast tea is optional.

Here is my step-by-step, nurnie-like technique for creating drapey, icky alien tendrils.

Paint out a strip of latex onto a smooth surface.

paintlatex
Nothing to it.

Let the latex dry. Or, if you are like me, and don’t have patience for the natural method, hit that strip with a blowdryer. It will turn clear. Add one more coat of latex, and dry it again.

drylatex
See it turning clear? Clear = dry.

Then lay a long strand of yarn across the dry latex, and start rolling your hands (and the yarn) back and forth. The latex will peel up, and stick to itself, and to the yarn…

rollyarnlatex
It’s hard to show hands moving during a still photo.

… and you’ll get wobbly, bobbly, pieces of ick!

Disgusting. Perfect!

I’ve only made a few, but I need SO MANY MORE, so that’s what I’ll be doing for a couple days. Plus, I’m going to experiment by dragging these things through some homemade slime to see how I like that, too.

As always, you can keep an eye on my Facebook page for daily(ish) quick videos in between my more detailed, weekly blogs.

I hope your Halloween is out-of-this-world! Hey, don’t wait, create! Get out there, and turn it loose.

Today is raining the kind of warm, thoughtful rain that makes its way into the bones, and encourages you to pull the covers up, roll over, and press that snooze button. And I wanted to, this morning. I really did.

But I have things I want to do. And Humphrey, my #WonderDog, needed to go outside. He didn’t want to go outside, but he had to. We both got drenched. He did not like it.

 

dubiousHumphs
Humphrey is dubious of our relationship.

But more than that, Halloween is coming up in a mere week, and I have a space invasion to orchestrate!

I’ve been posting teaser videos on my Facebook page, and having some fun learning my way around my smart phone with it. If you haven’t visited me there, you should! I keep it chock full of daily(ish) quick bites right here.

On this blog, though, I’ll go into a little more detail about what I’m working on.

For now, I’m making a fungus-infested space rock, that will soon crash land into my front yard, and, just in time for trick-or-treating, will disfigure my family into fungus-infested zombies. Yay!

First, I started with the biggest beach ball I could find, and cans of spray-foam insulation. Gloves are super important when spraying this stuff! Trust me. I found out the hard way.

22528857_1457331834350376_7737486523321402102_o
My son, Ben, gives me a hand coating our soon-to-be-meteor.

This particular meteor took about five cans.

I gave it some extra loop-de-loops to give it plenty of texture and viney, retro-monster-alien blobs. I had to let it set, turn it to a fresh patch, spray again, and let set again, slowly working my way around the ball for a couple days, so it wouldn’t just slide right off the plastic.

Then, I coated it with a dark paint I already owned, that happened to have some metallic sheen to it, to really bring out those textures. Again, I went bit by bit, first brushing it on, then after a few seconds, wiping it back off, leaving it in the crinkles and wrinkles.

meteorshadowpaint
Gray metallic paint leftover from another project. Coconut water is optional.
wipeon
Coating it on. Pretty easy.
wipeoff
Wiping it off. Also easy.

It really makes a difference in giving textures depth and shadow.

 

Next, time for color! I like the green and yellows of the classic monster types, plus they’re the color of slime and ick.

meteorpalette
Coconut water is still optional.
meteorcloseupjpg
Base coat with green on the creepy fungus vines, and then a dry-brush layer of yellow over that.

 

I’ll be adding more extra detail for a day or so with more paints:

meteorpaints1
Peach paint for highlights, and the metallic brown and umber for the rock texture.
meteorcloseup2
Now I’m really getting somewhere. This thing wants to eat your face!

 

So far, so good! I have a couple more days of detail paints to work on the space rock, but then, I’ll be repeating the process in smaller patches.

nextstep
These will be growths as part of the makeup effects on my family.

More of that next week!

In the meantime, we have been stocking up on candy in the hopes of having many victims–er, I mean, neighborhood kids.

And I’ll be working in my studio, hunched on the Fuf (like a beanbag chair, only better), with a space rock held between my knees, and Humphrey The Wonder Dog cuddled against me. Pretty much like this:

girlandherdog

Ain’t the creative life grand?

Find out what being creative can do for your life! Take a chance. Write a poem, paint a rock, knit a placemat–anything you’ve been wanting to try, but have been putting off.

Don’t wait. Create.

Turn it loose!

The Persistent Corner is no more.

Well, there’s still a corner in the room, but it’s full of things I intentionally placed there, instead of the random “what do I do with this?” menagerie that has plagued me since we moved in.

I’m tired. I’m sweaty, despite the chill in the Autumn air. And I have cobwebs in my hair, and on my clothes, with dead bugs wrapped in the silky threads that dangle and smell funny. But the space is crisp with possibilities and freshly ready for all my VBP (very big plans).

From overwhelming (and this is even after a lot of progress!):

studiobefore

To under control:

studioundercontrol

And I’ve even begun the painstaking process of repair and prep, to get ready for the repaint!

studiorepairbegins

But I won’t be waiting for the room to be “finished” before I dig in and start being truly “creative on the loose!” I’ve got a meteorite to make (see beach ball in the “under control” photo) for Halloween decorations, and zombie prosthetics to make and paint, and so many projects!

Stay tuned; I’ll be blogging every step of the way.

Don’t you wait, either! Go do something creative, and have fun!

I have been working diligently, over time, on transforming a large section of my garage into a creativity studio. I hit it here and there, on weekends, or between other chores and tasks, and some days I really see a difference. On other days, not so much.

One thing that has remained virtually untouched and unchanged, however, is the little bit of space I call “The Persistent Corner.” Now and again, I pull open a flap to a box and peek in to see the contents, and then, because I haven’t the foggiest idea what to do with it, I close the flap and go somewhere else to work.

It’s the subconscious of my studio’s soul. It’s the blackness, the crowded emptiness I don’t want to have to look at, sift through, or deal with, to get to the place where I’m trying to go.

It is, very nearly, the last patch of unknown out there, blocking me from moving into the better stuff: organizing, repairing, and painting it with fresh colors and bright energy.

I realized today that I don’t have to wait until I’m ready to face the whole monster.

On tv shows advertising DIY projects, or weight-loss programs, or workouts, or other overwhelming goals, they always make it look so easy, don’t they? From being a smashed-out shell of a kitchen makeover to polished, matching cupboards and sparkling counters in 30 seconds. A blink of an eye. Practically effortless.

My monsters don’t usually conquer themselves like that. Especially not my “Persistent Corner”:

persist1

Ugh.

But, as I realized, I don’t need to face the whole thing at once. As long as I keep at it, little by little, each step is progress. Today, I decided I would get rid of the cardboard boxes on the floor, at least.

And I did!

persist2

That was it. Three little boxes, ready for recycling.

I also put away the opened umbrella, swept the webs and leaves outside, and pushed together what was left to clear more floor space.

And that was enough for today.

persist3

Not a dramatic, 30-second version of a makeover, by any means. But that corner got a lesson in just who’s the boss around here.

I’ll take it.

When we moved into our new house, we were left a gift by the previous owners; years-old, separated, rancid paints.
excess old paint

Now, I go through a lot of paint, myself, so I understand the drudgery of discarding the old stuff. I’m sure you all have leftover cans stacked somewhere, like me, because you know you’re not supposed to put uncured paint into the bin for the landfill–it’s not safe for the environment.

Dried paint, though, specifically latex (water-based) paint, is perfectly safe to discard in the trash bin! Here’s my tip for getting your old paints dry and safe, as quickly and easily as possible.

REMEMBER – this applies to latex paints ONLY. Do NOT discard oil-based paints into landfill garbage.

Kitty litter is your friend! Get the cheap stuff, it actually works better. Plain clay, non-clumping, store-brand cheap. This ginormous bag was about 4 bucks.

kitty litter discard paint

You’ll use the same amount of kitty litter as you do paint. Is that a 50/50 ratio? Hey, I’m an artist (kinda), not a math whiz.

I used a bucket larger than a gallon, because I needed the room to mix properly.

Pour the litter in, give it some serious stirring and mixing, and then set it aside for about an hour.

kitty litter into paintkitty litter mix paintmixed paint kitty litter

Easy-peasy!

I dumped mine over into a box lined with a garbage bag, because I didn’t want to leave the dried paint glob in my multi-function bucket.

dried paint discard

You may choose to do the same, or just leave the whole shebang right in the old can. When set, dump it right into the trash!

If you have a hugely large amount of old paint, or oil-based stuff, you can contact a local recycling location to deal with it. Here’s one for Atlanta-based folks like me:

https://www.atlantapaintdisposal.com/index.html

For those of you elsewhere, a little Googling will help you find a place.

Now there’s no reason not to paint the town! When you’re done, you can safely dispose of the leftovers.