Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Stirring Up Some More Trouble...




Why not indulge in a 'little' retail therapy as you browse the shelves of a magikcal emporium nestled somewhere in the All Hallows Hamlet and linger over the intoxicating array of exclusive notions and potions designed to entice your imagination AND your wallet.

On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop.


Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, each vial is an exclusive (and a somewhat sinister!) remedy ALL freshly brewed from the ancient recipe book belonging to one Claire Eno.




With a pinch of 'This and That' suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world... OR could YOU discover another use for it?


Whatever your plans for this miniature; a unique vial of will find it's way to you beautifully packaged with a collectible 'Thank you' card and a poster from the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium'.

This is a collectible miniature and as such is NOT intended as a toy OR suitable for children.



'Cause It's Witchcraft, Unkind Witchcraft






"When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween." ~ Anon

As the sun disappears on this All Hallows Eve, the folk from the All Hallows Hamlet are excitedly polishing shoes and dusting their finest hats as they dress to impress to celebrate the Festival of Samhain BUT not everyone wants to enjoy this special evening!

Sadly, there is no fabulous frock to wear or a sumptuous banquet to enjoy for Claire Eno this All Hallows Eve as this reclusive and unfriendly crone is busy pottering about and cooking up some rather unusual elixr from inside the Harum Scarum Emporium which is carefully shielded by the prickliest thorn bushes and whispering trees in this bleakest part of the hamlet.



There are no visitors here and Claire's only friend is the ancient book that has been in her family for as long as anyone can remember and it is from within the dusty pages of this HUGE recipe book that she concocts a vast array of nasty potions from the beautiful flowers, nourishing berries and healing plants that she gathers every day at dusk and even though they all gather dust on the cobwebby shelves waiting for the customers who never arrive; Claire is unable to stop weaving her unkind magick.






BUT could a surprise visit from that Little Big Cat change everything?


Silver, Herb, Seed, Root or Werewolf Fur?

You’ve probably read somewhere or seen it on television that the best way to be free of a vampyre would be to arm oneself with a crucifix and a large bottle of Holy water or if you are of a very brave disposition; you could get rid of this fiend by driving a stake through it’s rotten heart before chopping off the head and then having a nice bonfire with what remains.


But did you know that there are many different ways of seeing off a vampyre?


On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop.

Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, these are exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself AND guaranteed to see off the most determined of Vampyres!






With a pinch of 'Silver, Herb, Seed, Root and Werewolf Fur' suspended in resin, labelled in parchment and finished with paper tied with jute, raffia or silver wire- these little vials will add a perfect finishing touch to YOUR fantastical miniature world... OR could YOU discover another use for it?

Whatever your plans for this miniature; a unique vial of will find it's way to you beautifully packaged with a collectible 'Thank you' card and a poster from the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium'.

This is a collectible miniature and as such is NOT intended as a toy OR suitable for children.




A Nightmare Summer? Vampyre Beware!

"Unseelie Dreams Make Unseelie Fae.”~ Luna Lindsey

I love this quotation from Luna’s book Emerald City Dreamer which tells the tale of the faerie hunters who go in search of the creatures that are born of human nightmares and nourished on dreams.

And although my summer was remembered as being the stuff of nightmares with interrupted plans, a twisted spine and torn nerves; it is fortunate that York enjoyed something of an Indian Summer throughout last September and taking advantage of the balmy weather; there was plenty of activity at the end of my garden for with the door to my Den open, I indulged in a dream of mine with the creation of another fantasy structure for the All Hallows Hamlet.

As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary; I was more than a little excited about the creation of this ‘Small World’ for not only will it be an fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind but will also be seeped in ancient folklore and superstition!

And although I did manage to keep the design of my new ‘Small World’ a secret until the sun disappeared last All Hallows Eve, I’d thought I’d share with you the images of this new building in the design process as I began to unleash my creativity armed with newspaper, masking tape, some old pieces of wood and lots of imagination on a gloriously sunny day...


Imagine if you will that you were being troubled by the presence of a vampyre but not in the desperately romantic way of one Edward Cullen from the Twilight saga.

You've probably read somewhere or seen it on television that the best way to be free of a vampyre would be to arm oneself with a crucifix and a large bottle of Holy water or if you are of a very brave disposition; you could get rid of this fiend by driving a stake through it's rotten heart before chopping off the head and then having a nice bonfire with what remains.

But did you know that there are many different ways of seeing off a vampyre?

And so I ask you to imagine that somewhere in our world there exists a little emporium which sells every conceivable tool needed for this task and for those who lack the courage or the knowledge on the best way to bid 'Adieu' to this night walker; imagine also if you could actually hire the services of a real vampyre slayer?


As I have long enjoyed a fascination for the vampyre of folklore and mythology and having designed a fantastical store in 12th scale for the All Hallows Hamlet which offers those essential accoutrements for any discerning hunter of the undead; I wanted to share with you the tale of my creation of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium!

The idea of creating a vampyre slayer's emporium happened as I had been re-watching my Blood Ties box set featuring the glorious Kyle Schmid as the vampyre Henry Fitzroy and in the episode 'Heart of Fire' I fell in love with the idea of a 'Monsignor' hunting down the undead armed only in faith and with his black box.

And as the news was dominated by the antics of the footballer Luis Suárez who had found himself in trouble because he couldn't keep his teeth to himself and had actually bitten another player; the name all but suggested itself!


Using the 'Garden Pavilion Kit' from the Dolls House Emporium and having cut a large hole in the back, I used foam core to cover the gap which had been designed for the large door and shortened the length of the MDF pieces for the garden by some 2 inches which I then placed onto a larger piece of plywood.

As I imagined the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium to be situated on a mound surrounded by a bank of mud and moss and with space for a small stream; I raised the structure with the use of some scrap pieces of cardboard packaging which along with the plywood base helped to keep the weight down!


The large chimney was constructed with the use of some old building blocks which having been smashed and bashed by small hands over the years were now ready to be put to some other use and to which I added two more pieces of balsa wood.

And as a daily reader of a newspaper (I shan't tell you which one as I get enough grief about it from my spouse) I was able to do a little recycling of my own as I tore up strips in which to fashion the shape of the stream and others I crushed into balls of assorted sizes to create the foot of the mound.


As my excitement with this project grew so did my desire to get on with it as fast as I was able to and as you can see from the images below, I created most of it without capturing any of the images to share with you; however, I will try to explain the design process.

The walls of the graveyard, the emporium and chimney were decorated using aquarium gravel, lots of glue and with plenty of time in which to let it all dry!

AND however tempting it may be to pick it up one of these walls to admire it, I speak from bitter experience when I tell you that your efforts will all be in vain if all you hear is the sound of tiny stones crashing to the table.

Please, if you do nothing else, trust me on the stones!

With the aquarium gravel now firmly in place; I finished off with a generous covering of stonework with the use of  my unique recipe which I have shared on my other blog Creating Life in 12th Scale...

The roof 'tiles' were made from a sheet of mount board in a colour that had caught my eye and which I laid strip by tedious strip (I hate roofing!) over strips of paper which helped to give the impression of a 'bumpy' roof.

Having constructed a simple door and the primitive looking porch from balsa wood, I stained these along with the windows and frames in a 'dark oak' colour and added three steps of scrap MDF to the newspaper base and which I finished off with my special mix of stonework.

I also added several burnt stones to the base of the 'stream' which I had snaffled from an obsolete BBQ.


For those of you who are familiar with my 'Small Worlds' you'll know that I love to use 'real' foliage when I can and as an enthusiastic 'harvester' who loves to take advantage of the free pickings from my garden, I selected an assortment of branch cuttings which were then attached to the plywood base with wire and masking tape before the base and fashioned tree 'roots' were sculpted into shape with the use of some ModRoc.

I should add that ModRoc is the brand name for a plaster bandage and one I came to know very well as a child when I had broken my arm!

And with everything safely in place, this is where the fun really began as I coated the newspaper mound and the surrounding area with lashings of papier-mâché.

Papier-mâché has been used for thousands of years in a HUGE variety of ways and there is more than one recipe for making it, however, I prefer to use a bag of pulp to which you simply add water and mix well.

Having tried a number of papier-mâché ready mixes, my favourite is the Creation Station Instant Papier Mâché available on Amazon as is not as dusty as some of the others on the market.


I always try to do my papier-mâché sculpting outside as it can be really messy and I usually end up with the stuff on the floor, my clothes and even in my hair!

However, with patience, time and preferably a sunny day, it is really is a fabulous medium to work with!

To be continued...

However, Before You Leave...

If you've enjoyed this post - why not become one of my Patreon 'Honorary Hens' for even more exclusive access to the world of the Crooked Hen?

As this fantastical world was the inspiration for the trilogy: 'Vampyres, Werewolves and Zombies. Oh My!' for Crooked Hen Productions - you can fly over and relish the tale... if you dare!

And if you've a vampyre to slay...


On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop

Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, these are exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself AND guaranteed to see off the most determined of Vampyres!

A 'Little' Retail Therapy Vampyre?

The best definition I can give of a vampire is a living, mischievous and murderous dead body. A living dead body! The words are idle, contradictory, incomprehensible, but so are vampires."
Scoffern 
Stray leaves of Science and Folk Lore

Vampires, Vampyre, Vampir, Vampyyri, Vampyras, Vampyr, Vampyras, Vampiro... It really makes no difference how the word is spelt for the meaning remains the same the world over, and for as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a fascination with (and a sneaky regard!) for these undead creatures of folklore and mythology.

However, as much as I appreciate that this interest of mine will not be shared by everybody and so in keeping with the ideas of 'mischief' and the 'incomprehensible' that Scoffern has attributed to the Vampyre; I have created something of a fantastical store that seeks to offer those essential accoutrements for any discerning hunter or slayer of the undead.

And so without further ado, I am now going to unlock the door of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium that is located 'Somewhere' in the All Hallows Hamlet…




The design for this fantastical 'Small World' began during the dying days of an Indian summer last year and as I made a real effort to actually remember to photograph the creation of it from dry-build to completion; I am looking forward to sharing this tale with you in a later post.




As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary; I confess that I have been more than a little excited about the creation of this ‘Small World’ for not only is it a fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind and after a lot of meticulous research on my part (any excuse to read, read, read!) really is seeped in all manner of ancient folktale and superstition!




And as the weekend of All Hallows Eve continues to be one of celebration with the festival of Día de Muertos or otherwise known as the Mexican Day of the Dead, I have another sneaky feeling that a certain ‘Small’ feline may be putting in an appearance within this newly inaugurated establishment, along with one or two other folk from the All Hallows Hamlet...




"Oh my!" sighed Tilly Simms as she slowly pushed open the rickety wooden door to Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium in the All Hallows Hamlet...


However, before I disappear for the time being; I shall leave you with a few lines from the poem The Giaour and written by none other than my favourite poet Lord Byron:

But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;
There from thy daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life;
Yet loathe the banquet which perforce
Must feed thy livid living corpse.
Thy victims are they yet expire
Shall know the demon for their sire,
As cursing thee, thou cursing them,
Thy flowers withered on the stem.