Furry McMurray’s, animal pub

Furry McMurray's | Angie Brown

When the zoo closes and all the people go home, the animals clock out from their jobs as species ambassadors and diplomats. Some like to unwind at Furry McMurray’s, an all-animal pub on the north side of the zoo. It is a very chill place.

The sloth arrived 45 minutes ago and has just made her way to the bar. She would like to order a sloe gin fizz please. No rush though—take your time.

And this is what I’ve been working on since my last post, when I wasn’t randomly visiting goat farms, making cheese* or working as an ambassador for my species. I’ve been doodling animals with beverages and animals doing people things for quite a while now, and there’s a bit of a backstory developing. There’s an air hockey table that the otters especially enjoy…

All the random little drawings in my sketchbooks are coalescing into a cohesive Thing. This could be a goal, even… more on that story as it unfolds.

*YASSS, I have acquired the ability to make cheese in my kitchen. #lifechanging
Also more on that—and the goats—later, I’m sure.

Book: The Man in the High Castle

So I’m just gonna come right out and say it—the thing I previously thought impossible, inconceivable, that I cannot believe I am now saying: The show is better than the book.

yeah.

And keep in mind that the book won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1962, and perhaps at the time it was groundbreaking work. Dick draws on his personal experiences with mental breakdowns and fugue states, and there a few passages in the book where he paints the confusion of a disjointed mind in particularly vivid detail. His portrayal of the solo female character—Juliana, however, has not aged very well. She is vain, shallow, superficial, and rather annoying. She’s a 2-dimensional plot device and a pawn, and seems to have no free will or motivations of her own (apart from being pretty).  ugh.

The Amazon original show has done a great job of taking Phillip K. Dick‘s fascinating premise and expanding the characters, weaving in new subplots and further intrigues. In the book, the plot-driving MacGuffin is a novel—a book called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, while in the show, TGLH is instead a series of film reels. ha. I thought was a rather clever twist of artistic license.

PKD had an astounding imagination, and I love the movies based on his work– Total Recall, Minority Report, Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, but this is the first book of his that I’ve read. It’s one of earlier ones, so I’ll try another one soon. Hopefully he learned to write women better, (but given what I know of his relationship history, he probably didn’t) and even so, other elements of his work are strong enough to warrant giving a pass to the ubiquitous and dated sexism of the early 60s.

This has been another installment of my ongoing BookCover Project, begun in late 2015, wherein I endeavor to design covers for every book I read. 

 

Yule Ball

Angie Brown | galacticbloom

Back in early December, our local Barnes & Noble store hosted a Harry Potter-themed Yule Ball event. Being the geeks that we are, we got excited… There was a casual mention of perhaps helping a friend with her baby’s costume. By the end of the week, I had whipped up costumes for the entire family of three… as I do.

The baby (9 months) was the cutest Hedwig you’ve ever seen. Mom dressed as a Cage, as she’d primarily be holding the baby bird all evening. I was only half-joking when I suggested that dad dress as a broom. He objected at first, but after we described how the sleek, aerodynamic Nimbus 2000 was the top-of-the-line in flying technology and the real MVP of the action, he was totally on board.

Costume photos after the jump… 

Continue reading “Yule Ball”

Puffer Reef

Angie Brown | galacticbloom

I enjoy the pufferfish. This here is the porcupine variety, which is an actual thing. The sea floor is made from giftwrap, printed boxes, and a magazine. I made it not really knowing it was a sea floor I was making. Then I saw these fish in my sketchbook and I knew exactly where they should live. A little Photoshop later, and voila!

They look rather happy don’t they?

We might see them again later in other projects…

That’s my jam

Angie Brown

 

I made the most delicious jam from my homegrown serrano peppers. We’re blessed with a long growing season here in the coastal south (high of 77F yesterday), so the serrano bush is still pretty heavily-laden—and here it is first of December! This will probably be our last batch though. *sadface*

I discovered rather late that we might’ve been picking them too young. I peeped the peppers at Publix, and theirs were twice the size of ours. Oh. well, damn.

But mmmmm, they did make a mighty fine jam.

As an Intuitive Cooker, I don’t really measure anything (and often stray far from the recipe unless I’m baking, baking is a science). So I just sort of looked up basic jam-making how-tos online, and then went for it. I used 4 or 5 thingies of berries + about the same amount of peppers + 2 or 3 cups of raw sugar. Roasted half of the peppers first, then blended them into a pulp—seeds and all—with the remaining peppers and berries, and cooked it all down with the sugar. Didn’t even add any pectin and it’s jelled just fine, yielded 3 or 4 little jars.

10/10 would do it all again next year. Need cheaper source of berries tho.

Book: American Gods

For my year-long book cover project, I present these three covers for American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I hear there’s a movie or show being filmed of it now, so I wanted to give it another read. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite storytellers, and this is probably one of his best. I love the way he casually reveals mythology woven into the fabric of reality, picking and pulling at hidden strands ’til they bulge and fray on the surface.

I would definitely read this book again. It’s a keeper.

pencil, digital effects (Photoshop), photo

Up next for the book cover challenge: The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick.

My first garden, yay

garden2016

I successfully grew food this year, and thereby achieved one of my life goals. I’m really rather proud of our results—we lost the squash and taters early on, due mainly to inexperience and beetle larvae—but the eggplant, pepper, and okra were rather prolific… and delicious. I have included in the drawing members of the Organic Defense Team:  two resident lizards, Fred and George (who I never saw again after Hurricane Matthew *sadface*), the toad that visited occasionally, and a representative from the ladybug squad. Oh, and the little orange spots all over the background represent the marigolds.

We even grew a 6′ tall papaya tree; it volunteered from the compost and was 2′ before we identified it. It never bloomed or anything and even if it did, we don’t have a mate for it (papayas have male and female trees, did you know that?)

I learned a lot, had tons o’ fun, and look forward to stepping up my efforts next year, with total self-sufficiency as the end goal. y’know—if the world doesn’t all go up in flames before then.

Sharpie fine points, color pencil, ink/watercolor.

Lifestyles of the sewn and stuffed


We had a bit of fun this weekend, styling some environmental shots with a few of the animals from my Etsy shop, creating little vignettes with props and accoutrements from around ze house. Not uncoincidentally, I also got a lot of dusting done in the process.

This photo set includes a couple of animals from my new series featuring hand-dyed canvas faces. I’m pretty excited about this batch, as I’m finally at a point where I’m bringing together everything I’ve been incubating for the past several years.

Hop over to my shop if you have a minute, and check out the new merch. More owls and sloths coming soon, and then I may make another cat.These are such exciting times we’re living in.