Friday, August 31, 2012

Grow Your Own Basing Material

This little hobby is rather expensive so we might as well cut corners wherever we can. I look at it like this, the less money I spend on terrain and basing, the more money I have for figures. And let's face it, the shiny bits are where it's at.

I was using herbs that I got out of the kitchen cabinet, but it's harvest time so I'm now using the herbs and flowers I've grown in my own gardens.

What you're looking at is lavender (stalks and flowers), sage, oregano (leaves and flowers), peppermint (leaves and flowers),
sedm and allysum.

I wanted to see what I could make just from the items on that plate.  The bush in the right foreground is the top of a lavender stalk.  The little flowers in the center are from perrpermint. The bush in the back is made from a combination of an oregeno flower that hasn't bloomed and a flower from the lavender.  The tree in the back is a dry stalk of oregeno.  All the greenery is from herbs that were dried and crushed.

(pay close attention to the goat!)

There were still some unused items on my plate and so I played around a bit with the rocks and the flowers and came up with this shot.

When the plants flower, it's time to harvest. I just tie a ribbon around mine and hang them on the porch railings. They're beautiful, fragrant and delicious. Hmmm, edible bases, could make me a millionaire. Games run long and when the crips run out just reach for one of Anne's Custom Made Edible baes to nosh on.

And on that bombshell it's time to go. Stay tuned for "How To Use Chocolate To Create Edible Terrain"

It's Friday folks and you've just pissed away another week of your life. So get up off that couch,  do a little dance and make a little love because let's face it, you're not getting any younger.  I know I'm not.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

There But By The Grace Of God Go I

The world economy is bad and it's only going to get worse.  Millions are unemployed and in the coming year, millions more will find themselves in a similar position.  People are going to be hungry and it's going to take those of us who are economically able, to help those who are not.

I have heard a great deal of winging and moaning about "people on the dole" (unemployment) or about people who receive social services and my response to those people is "There but by the Grace of God go I"

While thinking about these things, one song comes to me over and over again. And this song expresses how I was raised by my grandparents to looks at the world and my place in it.

So on this Sunday, be grateful for what you have and more importantly have the good grace to share it with those in need.

This has been a spontaneous "it's Sunday and I can post whatever I want" post.  I'll comment today, but otherwise am still enjoying time out of doors and with my family

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

See You In September

The year is getting on and the days are growing short while Summer rushes headlong into Fall.  While we stand on this pinpoint in time when flowers still bloom and leaves still clothe the trees, I will be out of doors.

Among my flowers, still vibrant after the sun has set.

Watching my Cosmo's catch a silent wind.

While waiting for the colors to fade and the petals to drop, I'll be out of doors watching life live itself out as it does every year in my gardens.

I'll be painting, building scenery and spending time with family too. So, I'll see you in September before the leaves first Fall and Winter comes again.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Wyrm of Connemara

The Wyrm Of Connemara

Trailing into myth
her past flows,
screaming through my veins.
And I like a lover
longing, replete return
to her embrace.

To walk again
the shattered path
of History, torn, stained
by boots on bloodied ground.
                                                                               O'Leary, Anne 01-2012
In tight spaces, cramped with bones that ache, she arches reaching up to light so distant up above. She turns her head and into darkness sees her face familiar looking back towards today.  So sighing, she settles back into the earth and it groans beneath her.

In County Galway the sun rose and smiled as if surprised to see a cloudless day, for in Ireland 'tis always pissing rain.

"Now this is as fine a day as one would expect" Noreen told the ducks she was feeding. "There's nothing on this earth that could ruin a day such as this." she scattered feed on the ground beneath her feet. "Well, there is the one thing that could ruin it and that's for sure. If that husband of mine comes home with one more broken toe..."

"Jaysus but it's hot," said Jay. "Now if only it would rain then I'd be done for the day and it's off to the
pub with me." Putting his shovel down Jay wiped the sweat from his eyes. "But didn't she give me the what for over breakin' a toe. You'd think she'd been happy, I could have torn the feckin' thing clean off, but I didn't. Women...."

But things were not so perfectly mundane. For in a field nearby....

lay a scene of gross destruction yet unseen by human eyes.

But the goat looked on and without worry, for he knew what to do.

It's Friday folks and you might wake up dead on Monday morning. So get out there this weekend and have some fun.  I know I will.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WIP I Could Use A Little Help

Currently I'm working on what will be a rather large project that will require a lot of figures and a lot of terrain building.  And before I get too deeply into this thing, I could use a little advice.

I just built and painted this barn scene using Styrofoam and stirring sticks that I nicked from a coffee shop that shall remain nameless.  I used a weathering technique that I picked up from Thanos when he did a tutorial on building and painting fences but mine didn't turn out as well as his did, but I gave it a go!   Now I have only done that on the red part of the barn, the white's need doing yet.  Can anyone give me some tips on how to make this look better.

I'm also having a devil of a time using flocking and undergrowth. I've never done it before and these little "bushes" look horrid.  If anyone knows of a quick tutorial that would help me with the basics of building things up using these materials I would be grateful.

I'm painting my first figures from Foundry and I love them. They are charming and have so much character. Clearly she is not done yet, but before I finish, I'd like some input on how she's looking now. I freehanded the flowers on her skirt as I want to begin doing more and more of that on my figures in future.

This will be her husband and they both come from the Victoriana collection farmworkers pack. With these figures I have to do something I haven't had to do much of and that is drybrushing. I'm not very confident with the technique yet and could use constructive criticism before I finish the figure off.

This is a picture to show scale. The Dark Sword miniatures run between 30-32mm while the Foundry figures are 28mm.  The difference in scale combined with the difference in sculpt require differences in brushwork and I'm trying to cope with that right now.

I'm posting these on Friday as the first installment of my new story so there's still time for me to improve them. And if I can make it work, I'll be posting my first 'conversion' of sorts on Friday as well.

This is posting at 3:00 a.m. my time so I'm going to grab some shut-eye and come back in a few hours to comment on peoples blogs and to deal with replies.  Thank you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ray Rousell Is The Supreme Master Of The Universe

As much as it galls me to say this, by honor and by right, I must 'Ray beat me in the feckin' paint challenge, but I'm pretty sure he cheated'.  There, I said it now excuse me while I go sick up.

Would you just look at the little bastard smiling there like a boy let out of school for the day. With a final score of 60 to 57 he eked out a win and I bet right now he's sipping champagne and dancing a jig while chanting 'I beat Anne, I beat Anne'

Now Ray may be an arsemonkey, but I learned a lot from this challenge and a lot from following his blog for the past year (feels more like 10) and I'm a better painter because of it. I really am happy that a painter of his skill level would bother with helping out someone like myself (Jesus, I'm going to be sick again, I can taste it).

And Fran, I'm sorry, I tried but the fecker beat me and now you'll likely be getting a sculpt of a pile of shite for your birthday.

But there is good news because I won something different. Ian from A Blog With No Name was doing a giveaway and I won a limited addition resin sculpt of a Barbarian by Degra, who uses some of the finest sculptors in the business.  As soon as he hits 100 followers, Ian is doing another, bigger give-away so get your arses on over there and follow him or you may find yourself on the receiving end of one of my wacky Challenges in the future.

I've got some things coming up that I'm really excited about. I'm doing a story set in Ireland and it's an epic legend with dragons and hero's and villains.

Next week the Hubby is doing a guest post and he's promised me he will reply to the comments. Some of you will finally get the chance to ask him how in the hell he puts up with me and he will tell you.  I'm so fecked.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rousell vs O'Leary-Anne's Epic Painting Challenge

There have been insults and trash talk, but now it's time for two painters to put their mice where their mouths are and let you all vote on who turned in the best paint job.  Will it be Ray Rousell the talented and experienced painter or will it be Anne O'Leary the loud-mouthed Irish upstart who has only painted 10 figures to date.  To the winner goes the title of Supreme Master of The Universe and the pride that goes with defeating their opponent.

But there is something far more important than the pride of these two painters at stake. And that is Fran's birthday gift.  The winner not only gets bragging rights, but also has the right to pick out a figure for the big Irishman and the loser has to paint it.  God  only knows what horror Ray has in store for Fran should he defeat me.

The Mouse Mage figure is from Dark Sword Miniatures, is 32mm scale, cast in pewter and was sculpted by Dave Summer.

Below are the pictures from both painters with labels below them.

This painter give the Mouse Mage a sinister look.

This is a shot taken of the back of the same figure.

This painter did a conversion of the Mouse Mage, creating a Mouse Witch.

This is a picture of the Mouse Witch from behind.

Ray and I have put a great deal of effort into painting these figures and would appreciate it if you would take the time to vote for the figure you think is the best.  You will find a poll located at the top of my right sidebar.  To vote simply click on either the Mouse Mage or the Mouse Witch.  Voting will remain open until Monday August 13th and the winner will be announced on Tuesday August 14th.

I'll be in off and on all day to deal with comments. It's Monday, so let's start out the week with a bit of fun.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In His Own Words-Part 2

Welcome to the final installment of my interview with Dez of The Hollywood Spy.  You may remember that one of the reasons that I chose to do these interviews with Miroslav was to give him an opportunity to tell some of his own story in his own words.

One of the things that I find most striking about Miroslav is his gentle spirit.  As a Serbian, Miroslav survived the horror of the NATO bombings of his country in 1999 and despite this experience he has emerged as a man who is capable of love and who desires peace above all things.

I've had bad days before, bad years even but I have never faced anything like this. So I had to ask him. "What were you doing on the day the bombs began to fall and what was it like to see the world around you destroyed"

Here is his answer.

The bombing itself started suddenly and unexpectedly for us here in Serbia. Most of us didn't even know that somebody was going to be dropping projectiles over our heads.  I was at my first year in College and didn't know that the White House in conjunction with NATO were planning an attack on my country. If someone had told me that this was going to happen, I would not have believed them.

When the first wave of bombs hit I remember people running around scared, screaming in the darkness of the night. They wanted to get home to their children and loved ones.  My friend called me that evening in a panic, begging me to take her to the train station and to go with her to our hometown so that when the bombs killed her, at least she would die with her mother and her sister. The train that evening  was filled not just with hundreds of passengers but also with utter silence and complete darkness. The lights were shut off so that NATO bombers wouldn't see the train and destroy it and kill everyone on board.

The bombing lasted for three or four months and the attacks were always done during the night which was designed to increase our terror.  As soon as darkness would fall, the air raid sirens would be heard and it would be another sleepless night in the bomb shelter for those people who were fortunate enough to have access to one. We lived without electricity for months which meant no lights, no cooking, food rotting in the fridge, no water for bathing, no computer-nothing.

We learned that the bombing campaign had been titled Merciful Angel and to those of us who were living among the dead the name sounded bone chilling and bizarre.  They didn't drop bombs just on roads, bridges and army barracks, but also on schools, hospitals, nurseries and residential homes. Bombs destroyed businesses and factories that employed hundreds of thousands of workers and left them with no way to earn money to feed their children.  I still remember a 3 year old girl who was killed by an American pilot who dropped a bomb on her house while she was sitting on the potty in the early morning hours. I remember a father who was running away from a bomb with a baby in his arms and they were both killed instantly. I remember when NATO dropped a bomb on a train filled with innocent civilians-women, young people, grannies, children, students and parents were massacred in the bombing. These human beings are called "collateral damage".

But it is not over.  Serbia has one of the highest rates of cancer in the world and it is difficult for a woman to carry a pregnancy to full term. This is due to the large number of uranium shells that remain littering the landscape.  And many people from foreign countries who come to visit us are shocked to see the ruins of both modern and ancient buildings standing as silent sentinels to this horror. These buildings have not been repaired because there is no money to repair them and we are still struggling to find economic security for ourselves.

In our previous interview I mentioned that Miroslav is a bakery chef as well and I promised a recipe for one of his cakes.  With anyone else it would seem odd to end an interview about death and destruction with a cake recipe, but not if you know Dez. So let's end this on a positive note with a recipe for his Bombanana cake.

For the batter:  Mix 2 cups of buttermilk (you can substitute with fruit or yogurt or sour cream) with 1/3 cup sugar, 0.6 cups of sunflower oil and a teaspoonful of vanilla.  Mix in 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of baking powder.  Next add 100 grams of melted chocolate.  Pour the mixture into a square baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees. 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Cut the cake lengthwise into two parts.  Crumble and mash one part into fine crumbs and mix this with 3 or 4 ripe mashed bananas. Stir until you get a creamy mixture. Spread the mixture over the remaining half of the cake and top with a layer of banana slices. Place this in the fridge and allow it to cool completely. 

While cooling, prepare the chocolate topping: Melt 100 grams of chocolate with 1 tbspoons of milk and 2 tbspoons of rum.

Pour mixture over the cooled cake.

Dez will be in later today to answer questions. It's Sunday an I have to attend Mass, so I'll be in later as well.  Have a good Sunday all.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

WIP Scratchbuilt House

First things first.  The painting Challenge for the title of Supreme Master of The Universe is being held on Monday, August 6th. In order to make this an unbiased contest Ray and I have come up with the following scheme.

Each of us takes two photographs only-one from the front and one from the back.  Figures will be photographed in front of a white background in order to eliminate visual cues that could indicate whose figure is whose.  A poll will be placed on the right sidebar of my blog so that voting is anonymous. The post will run for one week.

Now all that said, I know that some of you will be able to tell which figure is mine. I want to make it clear to my Hooligans that I do not want you to vote for me out of friendship or sympathy. That would only bring me shame.  Please vote for the figure that is painted the best.

Onto my first scratchbuilt house.

Because I've no real idea of what I'm doing, I am only working on one element at a time. This is the front of the house. I have dwarfs coming in September and I hope to use this house for their town.

I made the stones for the house using really cheap patching plaster and I used kitchen matches to make the windows.

The wall was cut from styrofoam which I then painted gold. To make the stones I used the back end of a paintbrush. Slopped it on and let it dry.

This is a close-up of the door. I wanted it round because this is a fantasy piece and I wanted to embellish it with bright and shiny bits because I'm a girl.  The piece in the middle and the door handle were both made from old earrings that I found in my jewelry box.

I bought little kid modeling clay for one dollar and...

.....used it to make the door bit.  I used a pencil to carve out a simple design then painted it first in metallic black and then highlight with silver.  All the paints I used were cheap acrylics from the hobby store.

I think this turned out well enough to bother with making the rest of the house. I'll learn a lot by trying to make a shingled roof, a chimney and a covered porch on the side.

I've got a lot on the painting table right now which is good, but also bad because I keep going from project to project and now have three going at the same time. And on top of that I keep buying more figures. I'm not sure if this is normal, so if any of you work like this let me know.

I'll be in today to comment and reply but I have to take my computer in for some repairs and the Hubby has a doctors appointment so I may get to some of you late, but I will get there.

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