15 December 2009

Blue Moon Atelier December News

Blue Moon Atelier - The Art of Mary Layton


15 December 2009


Here's the latest news from Blue Moon Atelier:

Holiday Shipping:
This Friday, 18 December, is the last day to order to ensure shipping in time to arrive before Christmas (continental US only - we cannot guarantee Christmas delivery outside the US)!

New Artwork:
New art is now available in the Fantasy Gallery - new Yule-themed paintings entitled "Yule Masque" and "Bringing Yuletide Magic", and the highly anticipated "Mistress of the Key". This is one of Mary's most popular artworks to date, and heeding feedback received after the earlier releases at DeviantArt and the Blue Moon Atelier Facebook page, "Mistress of the Key" is available in the original graphite version, as well as the enhanced sepia-toned version.

Also available is "Christmas Cardinals", which can be found in the Miscellaneous Gallery. The Yule-themed paintings, and the sepia-toned "Mistress of the Key" are also available as Single Cards and Card Sets.

New Digital Stickers:
5 New Winter Holiday Tubes are available at FantasyScraps.com

Photographic Art:
Thanks to all who came out for Mary's nature-themed photo art debut at Wild Birds Unlimited in High Point on the 21st of November! Photographic art prints are now available on the web site in the Photo Art Gallery

Newsletter subscribers got a special discount code! Want to subscribe? Go here: http://www.marylayton.net/newsletter.php.

"Bask in the moonlight,
commune with the animals,
and dance with the faeries!"

Blue Moon Atelier - The artwork of Mary Layton

05 November 2009

Remember, remember...

Today is the 5th of November, and for those in the UK (and for our household here in the States) it is Guy Fawkes Day, or "Bonfire Night". It is also the anniversary of my Mother's death. As you can imagine, that means this day is a mix of happy and sad. Happy memories of spending Bonfire Nights with family in the UK, and sad memories of losing my Mother.

However, this is also an opportunity to remember the happy times while my Mother was still alive. The silly things, the infuriating things, and such memories that come with a lifetime of someone in your life who raised you, taught you, whom you depended upon, and who depended upon you. I've recently been reading a book called "The Meme Machine", and it occurred to me that I have acquired a few "Mom Memes". Mainly phrases that she used that have now become a part of our vocabulary, because of their amusing nature (sometimes intended, sometimes unintended). There are many, but here are a few of our favourites:

"Helleuwwww" - this is a bit of an exaggeration. Mom, being a southerner, had a bit of a southern drawl, and in particular, this seemed to have really come out in the form of a drawn out 'Hello' when answering the phone. My husband first mentioned it, as it was particularly noticeable to him, having come from England and having a 'different' dialect himself.

"Whadjaget?" - This phrase accompanied the arrival of mail for me...especially if it was a package. Graham once suggested sending me a "naughty" gift in the mail - I begged him not to, or to at least send it by way of a friend so I wouldn't have to do the show and tell. This phrase has haunted me since childhood - any time I was the recipient of a gift, whether Mom knew what it was or not, I was confronted with "whadjaget?" On Christmas mornings, as I was crawling under the tree to see what Father Christmas had left, I was serenaded with "whadjaget?" When it was time to look in the stocking (which, no matter how many times I told Santa that I didn't like walnuts ALWAYS contained a handful of unshelled walnuts), its being handed to me was accompanied by "whadjaget?"

"Floor it!" and "Goooooooo!" - Whenever Mom was a passenger in the car, and the light changed, one of those two phrases inevitably passed her lips. Less frequently, but no less passionately, "blow 'em off the road" was uttered if we found ourselves driving behind someone moving slower than Mom thought they should be.

Those are our favourites, and we say them to each other often when the situation permits, in fond remembrance of my Mother. So, although she's in my thoughts especially today, she always comes to mind when an occasion arises to use one of her 'Nancyisms'.

Tonight, we shall pour a glass of wine and say a toast to her in remembrance. We haven't any fireworks for celebrating Bonfire Night, but maybe we'll pop off a few of our favourite "Nancyisms" and allow them to spark the memories.

16 September 2009

Steampunk Goodness!

Great Steampunky things are to be had this week. I shall tell you of some of them.

Firstly, Daniel Proulx, maker of outstanding jewellery, has created a video to tell the story of his work. It's lovely, and spooky, much like his jewellery (which can be purchased on Etsy)

Nextly, friend Brigid has updated her progress on the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Diptych - do swing by and have a look!

Lastly - if you are a fan of Steampunk, why haven't you ordered your I <3 Steampunk shirt yet?! Whatever are you waiting for?

Pardon? Oh, me? What am I up to? Well, I'm currently working on a Samhain/Hallowe'en painting (preview below), and have ideas for another (which I hope to find time to actually create before next month). Yes, the full colour Mistress of the Key is coming soon, and since you asked so nicely, yes, I will be offering the sepia-toned version as prints, too. There is an inked version available to license for tattoos at Enchanted Tattoo, and if you have it inked on you - I wanna see! :)


01 September 2009

Outer Alliance Pride Day

As a member of the Outer Alliance, I advocate for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish and support it, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity. I make sure this is reflected in my actions and my work.

This is an artwork in progress in support of The Outer Alliance on its inaugural Pride Day, and in support of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender rights in general:

22 June 2009

I haz a tattoo

Yesterday was the Solstice and since my friend Wendy was appearing at the Greensboro Solstice Celebration I toddled along and got myself a tattoo. A henna one, that is. Wendy made me a lovely fae creature to wear for a couple of weeks and glittered it up for me:

When I scraped the paste off, it was a very light pumpkin orange, almost too light to make out, but henna darkens over time. Here is how it looked this morning:

I have been working on the Mistress of the Key some more - how about another progress shot? The blobs at the top are my palette for her hair colour:

I have since begun working on the flowers in her hair, so will hopefully finish her this week. Yes, I know a web site update is due - I'm on it! :P

14 June 2009

Tiling and Art!

Just a quickie (oo-er!)

I got a screenshot of 'Mistress of the Key', currently in painting progress in Painter X:

And we've been working at tiling the en suite:

Yes, that is a bog roll in the upper left corner - we've been using it to wipe up mortar spillage. Hubby says I should have a new toilet by Labour Day! W00t, innit! :P

05 June 2009

Finished drawing and other rambles

In case you hadn't noticed, Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are dating. I first went 'hmmmmmmmmm' when I noticed them sharing a glass of wine during last autumn's Party on the Internet at Neil's place, but was in no doubt after seeing this photo by Kyle Freaking Cassidy last week on Neil's blog:

I mean, really. LOOK at that face - it's all right there! One of my favourite authors dating one of my favourite singer/songwriters. Good things will (and some have already) come of this.

I finished the pencil art I was working on. This is "Mistress of the Key", unless someone suggests a better name for her:

I am currently playing around painting her in Painter, so there will be this original graphite version as well as a colour version. Another sketch is in progress and will probably be rendered in watercolour:

No name for her yet, although I have some ideas.

I currently have no toilet. In my en suite, that is. Luckily, our house has 2 1/2 baths, so I'm not completely without recourse to toilet facilities. We discovered, a few days before going on holiday (photos of that event will be forthcoming), that we had a leak. About 6" of drywall above the floor had to be removed and replaced, and the linoleum was pretty shot as well. So, my husband removed the bog, tore up the lino, sanded the floor, and we are about to re-do that bathroom. I kinda wanted real tile anyway, so now's our chance.

I had to catch up all my season-ender shows online since we were in the UK when they aired, and watching very little telly. Of Lost, I have this to say: Dude! WTF?!!!!1111oneoneoneone!!!eleventyaarkvark

24 May 2009

Back and working

Back from the UK and had a lovely time visiting with family. We took lots of photos, and I shall post some next week sometime - I've still got to download and sort them.

In the meanwhilst, I posted a sketch of the new work in progress in my last entry, and I've been working more on it this week, so I'm posting an update of the work:

First, this is further progress after a chat session with some stellar artist acquaintances where the ladies shared some critique and ideas for making it a better piece.

Here is the piece in it's current state. I think all that's left is to finish the border, and do some touch-ups if needed.

Prints will be available, and there may be a coloured version as well at some point.

Went to see the new Star Trek film on Friday and quite liked it. VERY action-packed, though - almost too much so. Hubby and I have decided that we may need to see it a second time. :P

Happy Memorial Day - don't forget to take some time out to think of those in the armed forces who gave their lives in battle, and send out some positive vibes to those who are still in harm's way.

28 April 2009

Working for the weekend

I've got a new work in progress. I had such fun with the Amanda Palmer portrait, working in graphite, that I'm doing another pencil piece. Here is the current work in progress:

No title yet. I'll have to think of one. Maybe I'll do a contest or something. I've got another sketch started, but it's not far enough along to be of interest yet.

6 more sleeps until my UK holiday! This weekend, we're going over to Yorkshire to visit with family. I'll be taking the sketchbook, but will be without computer for 2 weeks. Well, technically I'll have access to a computer, but I'm going to try to stay away from it!

I've been playing around with shoe designs in the Zazzle shop:

Friend Selina is having a buy one get one free sale because she's moving house and wants to find happy homes for stock instead of packing it and moving it - she ships worldwide and is known to throw in neat freebies with orders:

21 April 2009

This week, I are been mostly blogging sketches

I thought it might be fun to post some sketches. These are a few pages from one of my sketchbooks. Click to embiggen!



There's not been a lot of arting this week, as I've been working on the Blue Moon Atelier web site. It is to be a portal for all sites related to my art, and will include links to the retail site, a wholesale site, and a portfolio that just showcases stuff I've done. Currently, the link to the retail site and the link to the portfolio are up and active. The wholesale site will be up by the end of the month - coding skillz permitting! You can check it out here: Blue Moon Atelier. Critiques are welcome!

01 April 2009

Random thoughts and a recipe

But first, this is quite possibly the funniest thing I've read since 9am:

Fiction World Rocked as Woman Claims No Sexual Attraction to Neil Gaiman http://short.to/3d0u

Just thought I'd share some random thoughts that occurred to me whilst browsing a freelance site:

Dude - you're only offering $5 for several hours of someone's time and you wonder why no one's bidding?

What are you people thinking - bidding on "clone PayPal/Western Union/etc. site" jobs? Are things so desperate for you that you'll accept payment for helping rob others of money/identity?

When you say you need a 'Simple static web site' in your posting title, and then say you want "Flash start page/e-commerce cart/database/full backend" - you do realize you're contradicting yourself, don't you?

There. Snark over.

It occurs to me that I once indicated that I'd post recipes on the blog occasionally - when I make something up and it seems to work, or when I find something everyone should know about, sort of thing. Well, I sort of made this one up - based on something my husband sort of made up. He usually baked his version, whilst I like my chicken pan-fried (but - not, you know, clog-yer-arteries-at-a-glance deep-frying, like). So, here's my lime-garlic chicken recipe:

Zesty Lime-Garlic Chicken
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Juice of 1 medium lime
Garlic Powder
Sea Salt to taste
Ground Pepper to taste
Red Pepper (Cayenne) to taste

This can be marinated ahead of cooking, or just pop the spices on right before plunking it in a pan.

1. Place chicken breasts on a plate, or shallow dish. Squeeze lime juice over pieces. Add a pinch (or more to taste) of sea salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper powder. Turn breasts and repeat.

2. Heat extra-virgin olive oil to medium heat in a non-stick pan, using just enough to coat the surface of the pan (sometimes I use part olive oil, part butter for extra flavour and enhanced searing).

3. Place chicken (what would be) skin-side down in pan. Cook chicken breasts for about 8-10 minutes per side (depending on thickness), reducing heat to medium-low after the first 3-4 minutes of searing (the lime juice caramelizes a bit making for a nice browning).

It's very tasty, and relatively low-fat providing you don't go crazy with the olive oil or oil/butter blend.

I'll be updating the web site over the next several days - watch this space for news!

27 March 2009

One more original artwork added to Etsy-that's it for today! I promise! http://ping.fm/PmrAS
I've added an original ACEO to my Etsy shop: http://ping.fm/D6zJy

Neil Gaiman's 100K Twitter Contest

Since TwitPic seems to be broken, I'm posting my entry in Neil Gaiman's 100K Twitter Contest here. Details about the comp can be found on Neil himself's blog here: The 100K Contest

Here's my entry, in which I borrow from a childhood movie favourite to blend with some Gaiman goodness:

25 March 2009

Original Art for sale on Etsy

Framed original art work just added to my Etsy shop! http://ping.fm/wYYDn

"Queen Rose":

and "Faery Bride" & "Faery Groom" (actually two art works, framed together, but could be re-framed individually)":

16 March 2009

Recession? We don't need no stinking recession!

We're not participating in the recession, and we don't think you should either!

Instead, we're having a 50% off sale! Just enter the coupon code SPRINGCLEAN09 into the discount coupon field of your shopping cart and click 'recalculate'. Discount does not apply to PSP tube sets or other off-site products.

Sale lasts til the end of the month!


07 March 2009

Help me fundraise for Red Nose Day!

Art for charity! I've created a Red Nose Day fund-raising page, and anyone who donates (no matter how small the amount) will get art from me - either an original sketch, inked or full-colour artwork, jewellery, or hand-embellished print. I'll surprise you - but it will either be created from scratch (artwork or jewellery), or a hand-embellished print.

To visit my Red Nose Day Giving page and sponsor me, click on the link below:


For more information about Red Nose Day visit www.rednoseday.com.

Thanks for your support!

06 March 2009

Tubes 'n' Tags, and becoming a better blogger

Tubes 'n' Tags

I am thrilled to be plugging FantasyScraps.com. I'm licensed there, and it is the only official source for images of mine to be used in PSP tubes and tags. Fantasy Scraps also features artwork by LA Williams, Brigid Ashwood, Jane Starr Weils, Ash Evans, Ruth Thompson, and Bill Plank. There will also be extensive digital scrapbooking collections to come! If you are a tuber, spread the word about this fantastic new site!

Becoming a better blogger
Yeah...like that's really going to happen. Well, maybe it will. See, it's about Ping.fm. Ping.fm allows me to update several social networks at once. Which means, I can blog, and have it on my personal blog (more on this to follow), LiveJournal, and MySpace in one step, instead of typing up a blog in one place and copy/pasting it to up to three other places. I'll still have to copy into Enchanted Folk and Deviant Art, if I want my blogs there, though - as Ping.fm doesn't update those services. I've got my LiveJournal posting into my Facebook page, so that one's covered, at least.

For my "official" journal - linked to my web site, I'd been using Movable Type, but customizing was a nightmare. I'd had a Blogger account for about 4 years, but had signed up only to comment on my friends blogs. Recently, I decided to play around with it and see if I could make it look like it belonged to me, sort of thing. I wound up customizing it and liking the look, so I started thinking of having it be the "official" blog, since I wouldn't (hopefully) have to re-design the bloody layout after every software update. Unfortunately, I can't incorporate it into my site as designed on the blogger site as it's considered an 'upgraded' template. I know folks have personalized blogger-driven blogs on their own web sites, without needing to dedicate a whole domain to it (Neil Gaiman and his PA Fabulous Lorraine, for example), but I'm not sure how they managed it, and without a nice step-by-step tutorial on doing that (which I've yet to find), I'm leaving the blog on the blogger (or, blogspot, more accurately) site and linking to it from my personal web site. At least the blog now looks like part of my web site! I'm keeping my LiveJournal as well - thanks to Ping.fm, I can update it at the same time with posts to my personal blog as well, and still keep super-personal posts at LJ for friends-only. I've also got a feedburner account, which means one can subscribe to receive my bloggings via email, if they like. So, official blog is now at http://ping.fm/NkaHS LJ for super-personal friends-only stuff, and the MySpace blog will just mirror the 'official' posts (when it works - it's a bit hit and miss for ping.fm to manage a MySpace blog posting for some reason).

02 March 2009

Snowy photies!

It's become a rare occurrence, but once in a while, we get a nice snowfall in NC. Last night, around 7pm, the snow began after a day of mostly rain, and freezing rain, occasionally mixed with sleet. I'm one of those folks who like the snow, so first thing this morning, I grabbed the camera and took some shots (clickening for embiggening where permitted):

A Yellow-rumped Warbler came to visit

Me, posing with the pretty snowy tree (a Bradford Pear)

A nice shot of the pretty snowy tree.

What's this on my roof? Could it be.....

a footprint?!

A lovely, picturesque line of trees out back.

25 February 2009

Damn, bugger, and blast

Also: arse, and poo, and shagging wanksticks! It would seem that I can't have my shiny new Blogger blog (http://ping.fm/j9d0y) on my own personal web site unless I purchase a whole domain for it, or unless I use their screamingly boring bog-standard "classic" template, wherein I would be able to use the ftp thingummy option. Damn it Marjorie!!!!

24 February 2009

Ooooh, pretty Blogger!

I've prettied up my Blogger and found it far more easily customizable than the Movable Type I'm using currently on my web site. If I work out how to import the feed onto my web site's journal page, I think I might like it better. I do know there's a way to publish it under your own domain name, but that involves changing dns records and such if I'm reading the info correctly, and I just want it to occupy one page - not take up the entire domain. I'll keep reading and pester some of my friends who use blogger to see if I can make it work somehow.

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