Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Out with the Old, In with the New ...

The phrase “out with the old” obviously referring to one's yearly ritual - The Tossing of the Christmas Poinsettia - which is pretty much as done as 2014 will be in about five hours ...

It did make a lovely backdrop for the coyote skull
while it was still alive though ...

The poinsettia not the coyote.

And as she sits in front of the computer debating whether it's too early to have yet another of her new favourite holiday drink (Eggnog Paralyzer), she also contemplated whether to make any New Year's Resolutions. Should she get on the bandwagon and join Bat Fit 2015, as she has so often thought of doing in the past? And decided, although her goals are quite different from most of the participants, that yes - there is always room for improvement in one's life. In no particular order, here are the insomniac's  Bat Fit 2015 goals:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-JY2-BrdW_R8/VFVJVDEE6gI/AAAAAAAADpo/ko1oIRDyBks/s265/batfit%2B2015.jpg

  1. Be a better blogger. No actual commitment (in writing anyway) on how many times a month she'll post, but definitely more frequently than 2014's pathetic record of seven times during the entire year.
  2. Finish Nightwind's coat, promised to him last winter. Which still isn't done. And is weighing rather heavily on the insomniac's  mind, so should probably be moved up to Number One.
  3. Take the camera off the Automatic setting and actually learn how to use it properly.
  4. Start baking bread again.
  5. Learn how to knit cables.
  6. Spend more time in the Four Seasons Sunroom, drinking coffee and watching wildlife.

You'll notice there are no resolutions of weight loss or exercise plans, because at the end of 2015, the insomniac  would like to be able to truthfully say she met all of her goals. But more importantly, because in 2015 she will turn sixty and has decided this will be the year she will cease to worry about how she looks and what people think of her, and will concentrate instead on remaining as content as she feels right this very minute. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the Eggnog Paralyzers. Well, maybe just a little ...

To her faithful readers who are still here after yet another year of reading her drivel, a wonderful 2015 to you all. Blessed be.

See Goal Number 3 ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Hallowe'en from the Spooky Forest!

Earlier this week, the insomniac  braved the bowels of the Little Gothic Cottage's basement to ferret out the Hallowe'en decorations, in order to participate in the Curious Professor Z's monthly homework assignment “Halloween at Home”. Although the furnishings and boxes containing all our worldly goods arrived at the cottage September 25th, very little progress has been made in their unpacking to date.

And this is only a small portion of the basement.

There is STILL SO MUCH MORE than the eye can see ...

Because the owl was large and easy to spot, it was one of the first items put out for display. That plus a glittery garland purchased just this year from Michaels - also easy to find, still in its Michaels bag and laying exactly where it had been tossed a month ago ... on top of the freezer. Having spent a good forty minutes vacuuming up glitter from the front entryway, it will most likely be packed away in one of those boxes in the basement tomorrow, never to see the light of day again.

Meh.

But just wait until next year, once the spiderweb
hinges have been installed.

THEN it will be more impressive. 

Three white mini pumpkins were purchased for the mantel, just 'specially to go with the newest addition to the Taxidermy Family - a bleached jackdaw. Just because a person's been living in a hotel for six months doesn't mean they can't keep collecting more stuff. Seriously, what else can a person do in a hotel besides shop on eBay? Frequenting the saloon at 10:00 a.m. every day gets old after a while ...

And they all make a lovely display when paired with the
Drunken Man Clutching a Lamp Post ornament,
originally belonging to the insomniac's  grandfather.

Because Hallowe'en isn't just for children, you know ...

Immediately after taking this photograph, the jackdaw will return to its hiding place in the Gothic Bench, which is rather scary itself, what with all those cobwebs inside. Funny what happens to one's furniture after having been in storage for almost a year, isn't it?

None of the taxidermy will be brought out for display until after the cottage passes Final Inspection - in case the inspector isn't a big fan of dead stuffed things. Having already gotten a few raised eyebrows and comments along the lines of, “Well this is different, isn't it?”, it seems prudent not to rock the boat any more than absolutely necessary.

Not too much longer now, my pretties ...

The Dark Sow, a gift from the lovely Linnea Maria last fall, and which has travelled with us in the Box Full of Important Stuff (like income tax papers) from the Gothic Mansion to the Boring Beige Rental to the Rockyview Hotel and finally to our new home, has been nestled in its permanent location - a dark corner of the kitchen cabinets.

The Dark Sow - a symbol of the darkness, and an expression of mysticism and magic.

An appropriate decoration for Hallowe'en ... and any other time of year.

In anticipation of the hoards of children who would undoubtedly descend upon the Little Gothic Cottage this Hallowe'en night, a selection of toys and games and candy - and a beautiful card by Creepy Glowbugg - were set out in the hallway.

Yeah, hoards. Hoping for maybe six ... just like the old days.

And at 9:02 p.m., having had only one solitary child appear at our door (after a very insistent email to her mother demanding she be brought over), it would appear that Hallowe'en night for the insomniac  is destined to be even more dismal out here in the country than it was in the city. Because if little children were afraid to come down the long, dark alleyway to the Gothic Mansion on Hallowe'en night, then what child in their right mind would come down a long, dark country road to trick-or-treat at the Little Gothic Cottage?

Standing there with the door wide open just long enough to take this picture was enough to give the insomniac  the creeps ...

Complete and utter darkness. With howling coyotes.

That is Scary.

The insomniac  apologizes for her rather sad attempt at decorating this year, and hopes she doesn't get a failing grade on the Professor's assignment. She promises to do much better next year - after all, now there's an entire forest to decorate - and that couldn't possibly go badly.

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!



Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

Friday, August 8, 2014

Horror Con 2014 or Your Money's No Good Here, Mrs. Insomniac ...

Having not done a trade show of any kind for roughly fourteen years now (because THAT statement doesn't make the insomniac  feel as old as dirt), she decided to apply for a couple of local juried markets this past spring and was advised she didn't quite meet the criteria. “Please don't look too closely at the website.”, she pleaded. “I'll only bring items that fit in with the Shabby Vintage vibe you're going for. The stuff on the website is more for those with a darker aesthetic. I promise I won't bring any taxidermy or skulls.” And yet, despite her grovelling and pathetic attempt to fit in, the answer remained an unequivocal NO, thank you!! But please feel free to try again next year. Smiley face.

Then, at the end of April when it was time to have the winter tires removed from her vehicle, the service technician suggested Calgary Horror Con might be a good fit for Insomniac's Attic. And remembering the organizers of the Zombie Survivor Run had suggested the very same thing last year, the insomniac  had an epiphany of sorts ... maybe  she should apply for a spot at Horror Con. The phrase “Not too quick on the uptake” immediately springs to mind ...

And Dan Doherty, CEO and Founder of Horror Con, felt it might be a good fit as well. And so it came to pass - last weekend the insomniac  had the pleasure of being one of the vendors, and also managed to browbeat the youngest into helping by forcing her to book time off from her paying jobs to assist her Sainted Mother with one that didn't. Pay, that is.

Upon arriving at the Clarion Hotel Friday evening to set up, it was a thrill to park one's little wannabe hearse next to five real ones, and was the first indication the insomniac  had been accepted at a venue that was, indeed, right up her alley.

When the HHR finally craps out,
the next vehicle is definitely gonna be a hearse ...

Although by the time that sturdy little HHR dies,
its owner may have also expired ...

After having given up working on the tiny tablet, the website has been sadly neglected for the past three and a half months, and many of the products shown are not available online yet. Only another one (or maybe two) months and the Little Gothic Cottage should be ready, at which time all shall be put in order ... our lives included.

One definitely overestimated how much a 4x8 table actually holds ...

... explaining the number of completely unpacked boxes beneath the table.

At this point, the insomniac  - who was absolutely positive she'd gotten enough acceptable photos and videos to write this post but who really hadn't - would like to thank Lee Kempster of   ilikebadmovies  for graciously allowing her to use some of his. All the Really Good pictures are the property of Lee and do not bear the IA watermark, in case you're having difficulty determining which ones belong to whom. And if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably wouldn't.

The insomniac  arrived at the event bright and early Saturday morning, giddy with excitement and more than a little apprehensive at being around that many people all at once. The youngest straggled in roughly two hours later; rightfully so, as she'd worked until 4:00 a.m.

It was ill-advised to lower one's head for even a second, whether to look for more items to add to the table or check one's iPhone for messages, for fear of being confronted by something horrific when one finally came up for air.

The youngest said these two were from Silent Hill.

Yet another movie the insomniac  wasn't able to watch all the way through ...

He seems blissfully unaware he has not just one but TWO
Vicious Predators looking over his shoulders ...

Eeeep!

 Eeeeeeeeeep!!

There were some really excellent costumes ...

Our table was directly across from Joseph Turkel, Lynn Lowry and Tony Moran. Mr. Turkel was a warm and funny man who spent a great deal of time talking with each individual who approached his table; Ms. Lowry was a soft-spoken woman who kindly came over and introduced herself, as the insomniac  was too shy to approach her; and Mr. Moran kept us entertained all weekend by making amusing faces and going outside for a smoke with the youngest when she got bored.

It was an honour to be seated near these famous actors, and to witness just how much they enjoyed interacting with their fans ...

Tony Moran interacting with fan ...


Lynn Lowry and crazed fans with very bad dental hygiene ...

Joseph Turkel being utterly charming ...

Lloyd Kaufman being frightened by a really scary guy with a mop ...

Because she felt somewhat guilty about dragging the youngest out of bed so early, she purchased an autographed picture and photo for her.


She's pleased with the autograph ...

... perhaps not so much with the photo. Try and guess who took that one.

Down the aisle from us was Gory Props, who kept us on the edge of our seats all weekend. On Saturday with this gentleman, who tirelessly flung himself from his coffin every five minutes:

video

On Sunday with this gentleman, who died a rather energetic death. Over. And over. And. Over.

video

And the insomniac's  personal favourite, the Grim Reaper of Death and Pestilence and Mayhem and Destruction. Although one might have gotten his name slightly wrong as we were never formally introduced - he always being rather preoccupied with either the pretty nurse or the pretty clown.

video

He looks pretty happy for a Grim Reaper of Death and
Pestilence and Mayhem and Destruction, doesn't he?

Over the weekend, the insomniac did manage to sneak in a few purchases of her own. Although there were many things that could have come to live with us in our hotel room, the words of the eldest from just a few weeks' previous kept echoing in her head (Now that you're getting ready to move into your new house, please don't start hoarding again, Mum.) and so she kept them to a minimum.

Still, it's always a good idea to stock up on black t-shirts
whenever an opportunity presents itself ...

Simply because she lives in a world of men with “epic” beards.

And because Mammoth Beard Co.
It's funny.

Who could resist having a copy of this amazing print by
Nat Jones hanging in their new sewing room.

And who, in turn, purchased a cobweb pin and Memento Mori
beer opener from the insomniac's  table ...

Fortunately she never saw this, or the wise words of her eldest
would likely have flown right out of her head ...

There were a few sad moments ... even though it's quite evident Steve's new owner will love him just as much as the insomniac  did, it was a bittersweet sale. Further proof one shouldn't become too attached to one's taxidermy.

Goodbye, Steve!

** sniff sniff **

And because she kept waffling about whether to purchase a picture of  Mr. Turkel as Lloyd the Bartender in The Shining, autographed with “Your money is no good here, Mrs. Insomniac. Orders of the house.” by the time she finally decided to ignore the words of the eldest and add just one more item to her purchases, the show was over and it was too late.

Despite these two tiny regrets, Horror Con 2014 was a perfect weekend, and one is quite sure she never would have heard either of the following statements uttered at any of the Shabby Vintage markets, had she even been accepted:

1. I ADORE taxidermy!
2. This would look FABULOUS in my hearse.

As she was packing up at the end of the show, one of the Gory Props guys asked, “Are you going to Comic Con next month?” And for someone who has a hard time dealing with more than five people at one time, the thought of a convention with close to 100,000 in attendance was almost enough to induce heart failure.

Perhaps the possibility of having a hearse of one's own isn't so far-fetched after all ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

So Long (for Now) ...

Come Saturday, we will be vacating the Boring Beige Rental, which only just recently (and one would never have thought it possible) is now being referred to as the Beautiful Beige Rental, often used in combination with these entirely unexpected sentences ... “I love it here! Please don't make me leave!!!”

Has it been six months already?

Time flies when you're sitting around knitting endless pairs of socks in a comfy recliner.
And having hot showers and doing laundry whenever you please.

The behemoth of a computer and printer cannot come with us, and is being packed up for storage tomorrow.

Blatant self promotion. Sorry.

We will be moving to this quaint hotel, built in 1904 and having rather sketchy wi-fi service. Thank heaven there's a saloon. 

Thursday, April 16th.

Is that a sprinkling of snow?
Why yes. It is.

While there, the insomniac  will be following your blogs on a much tinier tablet; if she refrains from commenting on your posts, it's because she's having difficulty typing on it. And if she does attempt a comment, please cut her some slack for the multitude of typos she will most assuredly make.

Haven't quite mastered the whole Touch Screen thing ...

And once it finally quits snowing (we're hoping by late June) and we're not up to our hips in mud, we will relocate back to the Crappy Little Trailer in the Spooky Forest. But clearly not until we figure out where to put all the stuff we have jammed inside ... just in case you thought that was an exaggeration.

Words fail ...

And by that time, she will be reduced to conducting her business from this miniscule and extremely difficult-to-see device, and probably won't even be reading blogs any more since Canadian cell phone prices are the highest in the world.

Not to mention, a person needs a magnifying glass to see anything ...

Hopefully not too long afterwards, we will relocate to our Final Destination. It had better not be too long. Neither of us are particularly excited about getting reacquainted with Mr. P. Potty.

Or maybe we'll have to move into the Carriage House
before the Little Gothic Cottage ...

What's one more move, after all?

The Attic will remain open during all this shuffling from here to there and back again. Shipping days have now been changed to twice weekly - Mondays and Thursdays - to avoid endless trips from here to there and back again, trying to figure out where the items being purchased have been stored.

Friday, April 17th.

Obviously, this was the day we moved the Attic stock ...

EVERYONE is tired of it ...

During these tumultuous times, be prepared for even fewer blog posts than the already dismal schedule of one per month you've been experiencing since our move from the Gothic Mansion. But also consider yourself fortunate you won't be subjected to endless posts on topics such as furnaces, rough-in plumbing, wiring, insulating, septic systems and all the things being eliminated due to the dwindling bank account.

Necessary, yes. Exciting to write about - not so much ...

The insomniac  hopes to return to blogging in the fall, after we've settled in, with infinitely more riveting topics along the lines of, “How to Mix 20 Different Colours of Wood Stain to Get Your Kitchen Cabinets to Match the Exact Colour You're Seeing Inside of Your Head.” Now there's something to look forward to, eh?

So until we meet again, the insomniac  wishes you endless nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties. I'll miss you all.

IA

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Four Seasons Sunroom of our Dreams

Back in the Olden Days, before such incredibly helpful things as Pinterest had been invented, the insomniac  had a scrapbook of pictures she'd clipped from magazines and scotch taped into The Book of Inspiring Decorating Ideas she hoped to incorporate into her dream home one day. And in that book were more than just a few photos of conservatories, the following being the greatest of them all, and therefore having bestowed upon it the grandiose title of The Conservatory of One's Dreams.

If you look closely, you can still see the remnants of tape in the corners ...

So when we chose our house plans, much of that decision was based on the fact it had a conservatory. “Finally!”, we shouted gleefully. “A conservatory of our very own!”

The insomniac  excitedly emailed a company for a quote on an exact duplicate of that conservatory. And being quite out of touch with how much construction prices have skyrocketed over the last quarter century and upon discovering it would cost roughly one-third of our entire budget, we forlornly concluded a conservatory was not going to happen in this lifetime.

Cherlyn and Tristram took one look at our mopey little faces when we told them our intentions of having a conservatory would have to be scrapped, and started looking around for other options. They set up a meeting with Jeff at Four Seasons Sun Rooms, thinking he might have something more suited to our budget. How one is growing to loathe that six-letter word Budget ...

Seated around the table with Jeff in one of their sample sunrooms, the first question the insomniac  had as we were discussing the various styles was, “Do any of them come in black?” Jeff replied that black was not an option, but they did have a lovely bronze colour.

He then went on to tell us important details about the UV glass they use which reduces sun damage to carpets and upholstery, but the insomniac  missed that part because she found it necessary to interrupt Jeff to ask, “Isn't there any way we can get one in black?” Jeff then went on to mention the energy efficiency of the windows which allow one to sit in the sunroom even when the outside temperature dips to well below freezing blah blah blah, but the insomniac  sort of missed that information too, because she was still trying to wrap her head around the fact it wasn't available in black. He then told us about the maintenance-free exterior ... the phrase “maintenance-free” did actually manage to catch her attention.

And while the spouse was sitting at the table during our meeting also ignoring all the important details Jeff was imparting unto us, but was instead visualizing himself in the sunroom gazing up at the stars in the night sky, the insomniac  was also visualizing herself in that same sunroom nervously staring out into the Spooky Forest at the glowing red eyes of the carnivorous beasts staring back at us. And so we decided on the Hybrid Victorian Conservatory, which is built on a half wall and elevated off the ground, which seems slightly safer but is also not available in black.

During a brief respite in the weather, the guys came out to install our Hybrid Victorian Conservatory and worked diligently through -20C weather until it was completed. Except for that one day it was in the -30's, and really, who can blame them.

Mindaugas hails from Lithuania ... where it's also cold.

Nazar is from the Ukraine ... cold there, too.

It looks right out into the Spooky Forest ...

Quite excited about that little piece of Victorian roof cresting ...

Mindaugas and Nazar did an awesome job, keeping the worksite extremely clean. Rather than tossing the scraps of wood to the ground, they would hand-deliver them to the spouse at his burning barrel, thereby helping us save money on bin fees. And one day, in a sudden fit of divine inspiration, it occurred to the insomniac  that maybe she didn't want to stain the fir trim in the conservatory in Minwax Jacobean to match the rest of the house and would instead like to stain it a weathered grey, so she texted the spouse and asked him to save a few pieces of that trim to use for test samples.

And wouldn't you know, he'd already squirreled away a goodly portion of those scrap pieces into the back of his truck under the pretense of saving it to make more birdhouses. We haven't even moved in yet and already the hoarding has begun. Uh oh.

Look at how neat they kept the work area ...

View from the rear ...

Mindaugas adding a few finishing touches,
not even pausing work long enough to take a decent smoke break ...

Packing up ...

Finished conservatory ... except for the stucco and stuff.

You can hardly tell it's bronze ...

Probably didn't need to make such a big stink about it needing to be black.

All that lovely fir trim that will require getting up on a scaffold to stain ... sigh.

This is how we're visualizing the floor will look after we install some Victorian geometric tiles, but suspect we will be living with an equally delightful plywood floor for quite some time. 

Photo via Original Style ...

If you want a beautiful conservatory suitable for use during all four seasons (or two seasons, if you happen to live in Alberta and can pretty much lump spring, summer and fall into an all-too-brief four month period), get in touch with Jeff at Four Seasons Sun Rooms and tell him the insomniac  sent you. You may want to avoid asking him whether whatever style you happen to choose is available in black though.

Jeff

He was going to the Trade Show afterwards.
That's why he didn't have sensible winter boots on.
Or a balaclava. Or mittens.

Although building a four seasons sunroom guarantees one a “beautiful space in which to host parties”, ours isn't nearly big enough to hold everyone we plan on inviting to our End of Build Party to celebrate all the wonderful people who are helping make our dream come true. See you guys in the summer ... be sure to bring lots of beer and a Designated Driver! Or at the very least a tent, so you can spend the night.  

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.

IA


Apologies to Mindaugas and Nazar for the length of time it took to write this post, since you finished our sunroom well over a week ago ... it seemed prudent to pay for it first before writing about it. Now you can contact the family overseas and let them know you're semi-famous! :)