Thursday, December 19, 2013

Change

One word can summon up this year for me. “Change.” Tons of if. Tidal waves of it. So much that I feared that insanity would take over, and I would give in and let the waves carry me away. Everything changed. Many of the changes were good. Most of them were stressful. In 2013 I traveled overseas for the first time, conquered my fear and got my driver's license, bought a car, bought my first house, quit the job I had had for six years, got a new one, started sculpting. Yeah, I've been a little busy. Almost every major aspect of the average person's life that could change did. Travel, home, job, car, aspirations. (Okay there IS one more, but we are sooo not going there. Not yet, despite what DH may desire. :p)


And all of this in the wake of my father's passing. I spent a lot of the year feeling like I had dual personalities. One “me” embraced all the change, as a way to distance myself, as a way to prove that good things could still happen to me. The other me wanted to hide, wanted to hide away and curl up in grief. To be honest, that part of me won, a lot. I needed it, I know, but it's an odd feeling. It's almost as if I woke up in October and went,


“Huh, what? Where am I? What just happened?”




As I face the end of the year I feel myself standing on the edge of a cliff. I can see in the distance who I want to be. What I need to be happy. It's so close, but I'm not there yet. All the pieces are there, now I just have to grab those ends and tie them altogether.


The condo is a huge victory. Having our own space is such a positive change, one I am so grateful for. The husband and I will finally be able to be free to be ourselves. “Ourselves” are creative, messy, and often highly inappropriate people, haha. We have been cramped, both physically and emotionally living with the in-laws. And I'm sure that I will be totally happy.... once I am through the exhaustion and stress of renovation. (Surely the anger and desire to smash things into oblivion with a sledgehammer will fade, no?)


It's a difficult thing to “wake up” a year and a half later and not quite know how to process everything, and not quite know who or what you are anymore. It's something I am still working through. It's not necessarily bad, it's just that you can't go through all that without coming out the other side a little different than you were. Thank the gods for my husband, because he has been my rock, and without him I'm not sure I would have made it out in one piece.


In just a few days I will be going home. I think I really need this trip right now. I think it will ground and center me. The last year and 9 months have been absolutely earth shattering for me. Literally from the lowest low, to some pretty high highs. Everything changed, and it's not done with me yet.

Freezing my ass off (while I am mocked for my "thinned blood" with family and friends will remind me of the things that will never change, and I so need that right now. I am so lucky to have so many anchors in my life. To have people that been there during both my happiest and saddest times is a blessing. (Like physically, if I need them, they are there, which I find amazing, considering I now live in a different state, and only see them once a year or so.)


So I don't know what 2014 will bring, who does? More change? Probably. But with the help of all those anchors, I think I will make it through.

By GoblinGal



#change #newyear








Wednesday, December 11, 2013

To Make a Goblin (aka Yule Terror.)

So while I am on this Yuletide goblin kick I thought I'd show you my latest goblin but also how I made her. Curious how a goblin starts out? Well, it looks something like this.


Isn't she lovely? So shiny, so blue..

These here are the pieces of armature (like a skeleton,) that I build the goblin off of. Because it is a pretty small piece I am able to get away with a small, fairly crude armature. Her insides are in fact, aluminum foil and painter's tape. (I usually prefer masking tape, but couldn't find mine atm.) In larger sculptures or dolls, more elaborate armatures with bases and wire are required.

The armature allows you to have basic, solid shape to work off of, rather than clay throughout. You don't want to use all clay because 1)  It's too thick, and  your clay will not bake right. (Think of brownies that are burnt on the outside, but still dough inside.) 2) It wastes clay! Think of all that beautiful clay and the cool faces and outsidey-parts it could be, rather than being buried somewhere in a goblin stomach. (With a number of other unsavory objects, I would imagine.)  

So then I put my lovely armature together.

If this was a post about drawing the pictures wouldn't 
progress, any farther than this. Stick figures, that's all I got.

Yay! That is looking vaguely humanoid! At this point I give the whole thing a covering in goblin-skin tone clay. I could, like many doll makers, use a wire and cloth armature, and sculpt only the head, arms, legs, etc, but at this size, I find that a waste of time. She's quite little so it's just easier, for me anyway, to make her a full sculpture piece.



I get the armature layered in a base coat of clay, adding extra material to the head, since the face will be the most manipulated. Then I positioned her on the ornament to get the pose right. The hands were done first, to get them out of the way, because who likes doing hands? Actually, they aren't as bad as they seem. Take an oval shaped ball, flatten it slightly and then just cut slashes into it to make each finger. Then you use a small brush and clay softener to smooth out the ridges, press the very tip of a knife barely in each finger at the end to make a nail, and "draw" in some knuckles with a pointy clay tool or knife.

The face took me some time. Since the eyes are glass beads, I start working with the eyes first, embedding them and getting eyelids, sockets etc done first.  I wanted a softer look than the first one. So next, I added a triangular chin,  thinking it would look "elegant." The face came out very "grey alien" so I ended up squishing the who face in and making it rounder. I chose a smaller cuter goblin nose, and the ears, well the ears are just fun. 


So this is her finished and baked but before paint or clothes. Paint for a skin tone is added almost like a stain, brown slightly watered down paint is spread on then wiped off with a paper towel.  The clothes are tricky, I'm still getting the hang of them. Mostly I am making them up as I go, but I figure that's probably pretty close to how goblins pick their clothes anyway.

So here she is painted clothed and finished.





Here she is on the tree


Thanks so much for all the love for the new goblins! I am so excited to finally get started in this genre of art and so excited to make more little goblins to terrorize the neighborhood.

~ By Goblin Gal

#Christmas #elf #Goblin #Sculpting Goblins

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Mischief

Recently I set out to stop procrastinating and start sculpting! I am very good with coming up with ideas and not so great at actually getting around to them. I've made a few fae creatures, but I am still very very new to polymer clay, and even sculpting in general. But hey, this blog needs more Goblins! So I made it my mission to actually start and finish a piece. (With a house that needs renovating, and Christmas around the corner, that is actually quite a feat.) With Christmas creeping ever closer, I wanted to make something a little festive. When I thought of what mischievous thing little Goblins would get up to for the yuletide I immediately thought of the Christmas tree. Goblins, much like cats are irresistibly attracted to shiny objects. It didn't take very long for this little guy to pop into my head.


Notice the traditional cat-like pose of  "Ooo shiny!"

Here he is gleefully climbing and playing on this lovely red ornament. I know I still have a lot to learn, but for only my third or so polymer sculpture, I'm quite pleased with how he turned out. He is also the first I used glass eyes for, which made a huge difference in his realism compared to my first two. This was also the first time using a paint wash to get a more complex skin tone.

Here is a shot of him off the tree. (The glue is still drying though.)



I greatly enjoyed making him, and I'm sure more of his friends are on the way very soon. I am very excited to continue sculpting and improve with each try. Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Yule!

~By GoblinGal


#Christmas #elf #christmasgoblin #goblinornament #goblin #polymerclay #fantasyart #souglyitscute

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Matter of Millennials.

And now for a brief angry rant-like detour away from the world of geeks and crafts.



 "A matter of Millennials." written by Goblin Gal (psssst... she's a "millennial.") 



Okay guys, seriously the anti-millennial crap....it's getting old. Even though I know this will surely only get me lectured... I was born in 1986. I am the dreaded millennial..*le gasp* I have had a job since I was 15. Today, I have a great office job, a condo and a car which I pay for all by myself. I am married. By every nuclear 1950's definition of "THIS IS HOW EXACTLY HOW EVERYONE'S LIFE SHOULD BE." I am completely normal.


I put myself through school. My parents DID make me work for things. And no, I am not "the exception." And I am getting really...really tired of this anti millennial trend. Every day I log onto FB my wall is filled with my older friends posting about how terrible we are, how sheltered, how incompetent, how spoiled, how lazy, how immature we are.

"Oh..no, that's not what we are saying" they say in response, after getting repeatedly called "lazy" ruffles my feathers and I finally post back. Or better yet "It's not your fault, it's the way your parent's raised you." As if that makes insulting me better? 

All of my friends my age have jobs, are competent, and mostly well adjusted people who take care of themselves. Some of them are already taking care of themselves AND their baby boomer parents. Do some of us do still live in our parents basement? Yes. Do you know why? Because the three jobs we are holding down at once, still can't pay the rent and current cost of living unless you have 5 roommates. (lazy, lazy me living with the in-laws while I worked 12-14 hour days.) Also, because our college degrees, which we are now in MASSIVE debt for, and which we were promised would land us jobs, are not actually getting us those jobs. Do we whine and cry and sit around jobless as you all seem to think? No..we are out there working anything we can get. And guess what? You are right about one thing. We didn't build that economy. Our parents did. 

I still maintain that this is just the same harrumphing that every generation does about the next. It's new, it's different than yours, and you are likely only to see the bad. Every single generation thinks the next is lazy, less intelligent, more risque..it's just how it is. It's just that thanks to the advent of the internet, I have to see it everyday.

Now get off my lawn.


~ By GoblinGal





#Millennial #generation #millennialgeneration 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Goblins in Europe!

This January I hopped over the pond for the first time ever and took a lovely two week vacation to Europe with my husband. Before this trip I had only really traveled around the US, I had certainly never left the continent before. We spent about 4 days each in London, Paris and Rome. It was so exciting to see all the places I learned about as a child, like the Tower of London (So awesome, by the way) and the Coliseum. I had an amazing time. We saw castles and towers and snow falling on the Eiffel Tower. Beautiful.



I gotta be honest with you folks, I am not an “endurance” kind of gal. High energy short bursts? Can do. Two weeks of walking, hiking, climbing and six story castles? Not so much. By the last day I was pretty much in tears when my husband said “Hey let’s climb to the top of that castle!” (Literally the very top.) We walked everywhere, to monuments, to the subway, to dinner most nights. Of course it was also winter in Europe, so the weather was just fantastic. *voice drips with sarcasm* Most of our trip either rain snowed or hailed (suddenly and violently) on our heads as we walked the streets.

Of course it was on such rainy, blustery days of walking that we discovered them, the European geek stores. Not just one nestled away in some corner, but many! There were comic book shops, game shops, fantasy shops. They frequented corners and marketplaces in much greater numbers than I had ever seen in a single city in the US. The best part, most of them, well they had Goblins, pixies trolls and more! Needless to say I then proceeded to spend a far amount of my “walking around” money to increase my personal collection. 

 


This Goblin warrior came from a shop in Paris called “Jeux Decartes”. It was mostly a game store, but also had a collection of figurines that caught my eye from the window display. The first day we went the store was closed, so we hunted it down later when we had a little free time. http://www.jeux-descartes.fr/

The second shop was this cool collectible shop. I did actually prevent myself from spending any money at this one, but thoroughly enjoyed wasting some time wandering about the shop marveling at their shinies.

The last shop we came across was in Rome. It was called Storia Magia. We found it when were heading towards the Vatican. The weather, as usual, was awful. It was cold and alternating between rain and pelting us with frozen chunks of ice. In fact, my husband actually fell on some stairs outside of the Vatican, it was so slippery. But I digress. We were walking along the street when we noticed a life sized wizard statue pointing into a little plaza of shops. Naturally we followed the wizard to the store.


It was very cool. It was a mixture of so many things. They had replicas and models for basically every major Fantasy genre fandom, swords, d├ęcor etc. They even had a section of beautiful quills and nibs for calligraphy, globes and an astrolabe. The back room, though, was my favorite. It was a room filled with nothing but goblins, trolls and fairies. They had a several foot tall troll end table by NYform trolls. (I didn’t dare even look at the price.) I fell in love with the NYform Trolls. They are Norwegian, and they look just like the trolls in the Finish Moomintroll books my Dad used to read to me. As my dad used to say they're "So ugly they're cute!" (He loved my 90's treasure trolls.)

So I ponied up the dough and got these guys! I love them! I also got this adorable little pixie made by “Le Alps.” (Seen below troll)



Fun fact: People in Rome do NOT like you to touch their merchandise. You know how your mom always used to tell you “Look with your eyes, not with your hands”? It was literally posted in ever shop on every shelf. This store was no exception. DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. I even got in trouble for rotating the price tag so I could read it. Oops. Later we went to a toy store, where the shelves filled with the plastic toys and figurines. A employee yelled at a kid for touching a plastic toy. Now I understood to some extent in the other store, lots of breakables. But a toy store? Definite culture shock. Not that I ran around playing with the stuff in stores as a kid, but they took it seriously!

It was a ton of fun wandering Europe, and it definitely gave me the traveling bug and I can't wait to go on more adventures in new places! Seeing all the sites and history from my books was amazing and it would be awesome to add fantasy art and goblins to my collection from all over the world. Well that's all for todays ramblings! Thanks everyone for reading and sharing in my adventure. And remember, do watch out for your sock drawer Goblins are about!

~ By GoblinGal


#Goblin # Faeries #Europe

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A tribute to my Dad




I have always tried to stay professional and upbeat on this blog. I have also tried not too delve to far into my personal life. However, today is different. Today I find myself wanting to talk about something very close to me. Today marks a date that will live with me the rest of my life, and one I will think about every day for the rest of my life. Today marks the day that my world shattered.

One year ago today my father passed away from pancreatic cancer. It was cruel and swift and took him from our lives in a matter of four very short months. My world was torn apart in a way that can never fully be repaired. He was everything to our little family. He raised 3 teen girls by himself, after my mother passed of breast cancer when I was 12. He remarried and gained 3 more daughters. He was our rock and a shining beacon of positivity. He was always encouraging, always proud of us, and always there to pick us up when we fell.

Why am I telling this to you about this on my craft blog? Well, because without my father, I would not be the proud geek I am today. I would not have this blog, I would not make Link Cats and Goblins.

 My father would have never called himself a geek. The term hadn't been reclaimed yet, when he was young, like it has been now. However, when your father sits dramatically at the piano quoting all of the poem of the “one ring” or runs around the house shouting. “Inconceivable!” it becomes pretty obvious pretty quickly.

It was my father who got me reading in the fantasy genre when I was only eight. I saw a Xanth novel sitting on a shelf with a cool cover, and when I asked him what it was about he simply said “Well I guess you'll have to read it and find out!” He refused to tell me any more details, despite copious begging.  He was the one who raised me on Mel Brooks and The Princess Bride. Dad loved Labyrinth and always wanted to be a muppeteer for Jim Henson.

The two of us used to go the Library in our little town and race each other around the shelves trying to beat each other to the new releases of our favorite series, thus winning the right to read them first. Dad thought everything you did was amazing, whether it be a silly little poem or a paper crane. Truly I have never met a more supportive loving person in my whole life, nor am I likely to again.

My father never even knew the influence he had on us. I remember a few years ago I went to the final showing of “The Producers” in Las Vegas. I was three rows from the stage. At the end of the performance, Mel Brooks came out on stage. I flipped my lid, a true fan girl moment. The first thing I did after the show was call my Dad. His response, “Oh I didn't know you liked him.” I was dumbfounded.

We always had a good relationship. By the time I was a in late high school, we had developed a good base and he treated me like an pretty much like an adult. It allowed us to interact as adults and develop a closer relationship as friends. He was such a positive influence on everyone he touched and he never even realized it. Hell, he would even tell my husband he was proud of him, which is something my husband was sorely lacking in his own life. And who wouldn't love a father in law who insisted, practically begged, to let him dress like Darth Vader at your wedding?

I am in shock and disbelief that almost a year has passed since he left this world. In some ways It feels like time has stopped, the clock frozen on the wall. In a lot of stories, particularly fantasy, you will come across the “tortured soul” archetype. Someone who has lost everything, or lost their family, or the one they cared most about. They are in every story. I will tell you this. Until that day I had never experienced true rage or true agony. It is something you can empathize with, but never truly understand. Not until you feel it coursing through you veins and ripping you apart.

I always think of this quote from “The Princess Bride”

Inigo Montoya: Do you hear that, Fezzik? That is the sound of ultimate suffering. My heart made that sound when Rugen slaughtered my father. The man in black makes it now. “

Don't get me wrong, I go on about life and I strive to be happy. He would be sad to see us languish. He would want us to be happy. I know that. The pain has receded some, but I know that it will never fade entirely. I know he is watching over me. I swear to God some days he is haunting me. (Usually expressed through electronic devices, especially the radio.) And of course I miss him. Every day.

I would always tell him my latest harebrained scheme or costume or art project. He would say “You don't get that from me.” or “The artistic stuff is from your mother,” but without him there would be no world to inspire me. No mercenaries to shout “Inconceivable!” or R.O.U.S's. No Hobbits on long journeys. There would be no trolls in the woods, and no magical worlds with a shape surprisingly similar to Florida. The world would be missing that spark of magic in it. Without him there would be no goblins.

I will always remember our time together, and I will always miss you, Dad.

~ By GoblinGal



#Tribute #geektribute #fcancer