Wednesday, October 28, 2009


To Little Dead Mommy, the winner of my photo giveaway at Mrs. B's 31 Days of Halloween. Little Dead Mommy, or that Strange Little Stay at Home Mom, writes a very funny blog here, full of weird little finds and conversations with her uterus. Plus, she's pretty. So check it out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Welcome Mrs. B's Followers!

Thank you for visiting my blog and etsy store. I'm really excited to be participating in one of Mrs. B's 31 days of Halloween giveaways - Halloween is my very favorite holiday of the year, and being a part of the 'Mrs. B' community has been so much fun.

The speed dating version of my bio: I have an MFA in photography and a Master's belt in Vietnamese Kung Fu. I live in LA and have traveled to some very interesting places, but my heart belongs to Scotland. And I'm a slave to my cats.

About my art: Like most artists, I can talk for hours about my art! Mostly I'm a photographer, and I also dabble a little in digital based photo illustrations.

The thesis for my MFA was a series of hand made, one of a kind books, based on traditional fairy tales and recontextualized to address the contemporary concerns of women. You will find a few of those in my shop under Grimmer Illustrations.

As for my photography... that's a little harder to define. I'm interested in the moment as we experience it. Making a photograph is a way for me to make something elusive - emotional or simply visual - concrete and permanent. There is a language, a kind of emotive code, at the root of the images I make, and I hope it speaks to the viewer. I'm very interested in folklore, fairy tale, and the still life paintings of the great European masters.

I have also recently opened a second shop, an outlet for my passionate love of all things old and dusty: Falcon and Finch. If you've managed to read through all of my nattering, then let me pass on a prize to you. Anyone purchasing something from either of my shops on Oct. 27 will receive %15 off (as a paypal refund, post purchase) if you enter "Mrs. B sent me" in the message to seller at checkout!

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dear Guy standing in line at the New Beverly Cinema,

Wearing a vintage leather cafe racer jacket does not make less nerdy the fact that you are waiting to buy tickets for a midnight Showing of Conan the Destroyer. #Nerdcamofail

Friday, October 23, 2009

Underbelly of Nature Moment: Ambergris

Whale vomit
Originally uploaded by figgen1st
Recently, the topic of Ambergris has come up in some of the Pagans of Etsy Team chats. Commonly used as a fixative in parfume, it's value is, apparently worth more than gold. I knew this stuff came from Sperm Whales, I just assumed it was some harvested organ or oil. The truth, my friends, is even grosser than that.

Ambergris is a 'biliary concretion,' of the intestines of sperm whales. Scientists aren't 100% sure about what causes it, but they think it may be that "whale's intestine produces the substance as a means of easing the passage of hard, sharp objects that the whale might have inadvertently eaten," - like giant squid beaks!! This led us to some nicknames - "sperm whale hork," or my fave, "sperm whale hairballs." However, according to Wikipedia (I know, I know, font of all things factual and true, right? But still, it's free and it's on the internets,) the Ambergris is MOST OFTEN expressed through sperm whale fecal!! Ah, the sweet smell of Nature.

Oh, and thanks to figgen1st, from whom I stole the picture of an Ambergris 'pearl.'

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Salem Swag

If you aren't following Mrs. B, you should be. 31 days of giveaways, haunted blogs, crafts and spooooooooooky fun! One of todays giveaways is a bag of swag from SALEM, heart of America's witchy Halloween, provided by Jazz from Octoberfarm! Some of the Salem Swag:

a small spell book from Salem
a small handmade broom from Salem
candy from the oldest candy store in the country located in Salem
a small framed print of the famous lobster shack in Rockport, Ma.
pumpkin salt water taffy from Rockport
Maine maple syrup
a pumpkin shaped brownie from Simply Divine Brownies in Freeport

This list is just the tip o' the jackolantern, so to speak.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I'd like to be an astronaut.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

If it ain't broke...

Originally uploaded by brightnewthings
I have one or two preferred methods of image making - cross processing, pinhole, and a digital thing where I make it look cross processed. Ok, so three. I've admired TTV photography but have been too in love with what I was doing to be interested in trying it.

Putting all of my old camera collection on etsy recently, however, made me take a second look at TTV. My duaflex, in particular, has a particularly bright, warped, and seriously filthy viewfinder. Perfect for the kind of messes I like to make.

I'm still working the kinks out. The duaflex doesn't have a hood, so it reflects back all kinds of stuff. I may have to try again with a black cloth over my head, which is almost bordering on too much work. But I like the distortion and the grunge. I had to add some contrast and color, though, to achieve the richness I look for in my work...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Scottish Play, as performed by sock puppets

The following video combines a bunch of stuff I love - Scottish stuff, sock puppets, and witches. Sock witches, that is. The Socks are hilariously entertaining, even if their brogues are sometimes so thick as to be impenetrable. I'm a huge fan, and if you want to see more, just go to you tube and search for the scottish falsetto blah blah blah. I'm sure you know how to search. I present, for your entertainment, Part 1 of the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre performing the Scottish Play (that's theatre jargon for Macbeth, just in case you were not aware.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Falcon and Finch

I've started to offer enough vintage stuff in my etsy store to begin to feel like maybe it should get it's own space. I mean, I'm a serious photographer, right? At least, some of the time I'm a serious photographer. The rest of the time, who knows? Sometimes we are the Falcon, sometimes we are the Finch.

So I've started a new shop, just for vintage - Falcon and Finch. It only has a few things, I'm still working on it. And I haven't decided if I'm going to remove all of the vintage things from Brightnewthings, or just let them expire. Suggestions? Either way, have a look, and tell me what you think!

Here's something I'm offering right now - vintage lotus bowls in blue:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Halloween costume ideas!!!

Oh yeaaaaah! Be the coolest kid on your block. Guys in suits with Viking helmets? Sure. But the raptor costume takes the cake for best costume ever. Sign me up for one!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Beauty and the Beast, for Halloween

I don't normally listen to bands like Lordi, but this video is awesome for two reasons. One, because I love modern interpretations of fairy tale, and this is definitely a beauty and the beast story. Second, it's spooky and weird, there are guys in costumes - what about the guy who looks like he's from the future?? I mean, come on! This has Halloween goodness all over it.

Third. Who doesn't love guys in platform boots?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Witches Brew

When the weather cools and they bring out the pumpkin pie scented candles at Target, I get cravings for things like spiced cider, spiced rum, and this spiced black tea. This is an easy recipe that a friend makes, and I love, so I stoled it!

Brew up a big pot of black tea. While it's steeping, add: a few crushed cinnamon sticks. Allspice - 6 or 8 berries. Whole cloves - 6 or 8. Ginger root - I add 2 slices. 2 whole star anise. 1/4 tsp nutmeg. 4 or 5 whole peppercorns. A bit of yerba buena. A squeeze of fresh lemon. This is all to taste, by the way. Nothing is written in stone. Like how witches do. Let is steep, sweeten with honey, and enjoy. This is my go to for when people are sick. It's full of natural curatives like mint, cinnamon, honey, as well as antioxidants and spicy feel goodness.

Now listen, this tea is for all ages, but it's really the base for something I call Witches Brew. This is the good stuff, my friends, and for adults only:

Fill a jar or other lidded, glass container with a good, dark rum. Not a great rum - nothing with delicate flavors that need to be savored. But nothing too cheap either. I like Goslings Black Seal. Add a tbs of the black tea, and all the spices. Mix it up and let it sit for a few days in a cabinet. When it gets to where you want it, add honey and mix well. If you are a wuss, you can drink this with ginger ale or green ginger wine. Otherwise, it's lovely to nip straight on a cold night.

If you see me at pirate faire or ren faire, this is what is in my flask.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

31 days hath October...

I've never been the kind to have a favorite season. In general, I've liked 'em all - Summer for heat, Winter for wet, Spring for green, Fall for... well, it's Southern Cali, so heat then wet. However, it occurred to me this morning, as I pushed the toddler I nanny on a swing (if I am a nanny, does that make them a nanner?) that I really, REALLY, really like Autumn. Like, a lot. I mean, even here in the SFV I felt a change on the wind. And while that change doesn't mean much here (it's California; I can get Avocados in January. Winter doesn't mean as much when you can get Avocados all year round) it still brought a frisson of excitement. Somewhere, somewhere, it seemed to be saying, leaves are falling in gorgeous drifts from the trees. I could almost smell wood smoke and punkin pie (my parents met at a rodeo; yes, we say punkin in my family.) I suddenly started craving chai tea and ginger cookies. Autumn has arrived.

And with it, my very favorite night of the year: Halloween! Oh, the joy! Jack-o-lanterns and black cats and a fairy land of costumes. I am like a child just thinking about it! When did my fascination with dress up and costumery begin? Who knows. But I remember my mother making the most fabulous costumes for my brother and I. Pirates, witches, fairies. One year, I was Cleopatra a la Elizabeth Taylor and we died my blond hair black but it came out gray. And costumes go hand in hand with folklore and fairy tales and stories told around a candle and I tell you, I just can't wait!

My excitement at the merest thought of Halloween is, apparently, echoed by the AH-mazing Mrs. B. Her blog, Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom will be featuring give aways (one by yours truly, in fact,) recipes, crafts and guest bloggers EVERY SINGLE DAY of October. Every day! I kid you not. This has inspired me to try to do something similar. Of course, we all know I lack momentum in the blog writing dept. I'm really more of a once a week kind of girl. And I certainly don't have her resources (she is a giant in the Pagan blog community,) but I'm going to do the very best I can to force my love of Halloween down your throats every possible moment!! Aren't you excited??? (My minions will tell you that now is a good time to say yes.)

So, hold on to your pointy hats, people, it's going to be a bumpy ride!