Saturday, December 25, 2010

I will admit it

I am always looking for a way to tie-in Halloween to just about anything.
I think it makes me feel better about the fact that there are skulls all sorts for spooky stuff all over the house 365 days a year.

Who am I kidding...I know I am nuts.

So you might have heard that we were over in the UK last month. And they are very into Christmas over there.....all kinds of fun. I was in Bath right before we left and it is always a pretty city, but with the lovely snow on the hills and the lights and shops decorated, it was positively heavenly. Made you feel warm and fuzzy.

And you all know that I can only handle so much of that.  I needed something orange and black and dark and spooky.....

Then like magic, I read a magazine article and found something that just warmed my little Halloween heart.

Did you know that from 1971 through 1978 and in 2005, the BBC ran a Christmas Eve special they called a "Ghost Story for Christmas"

I kid you not; I am so living in the wrong part of the globe.

This came from the Victorian tradition of telling ghost stories at Christmas time. You know, back before TV and video games.....had to do something for entertainment. It appears that there were several books published with ghost stories to be told after dinner. And one of the more popular writers was MR James, he wrote four collections of ghost stories and considered to be the grandfather of antiquarianism (post gothic) ghost stories.

That made him perfect for the BBC project. Of the eight specials that they filmed the first five were MR James stories.

When I originally heard this idea, I was all over it....then I got home and saw how long the stories were and how little time I had before Christmas to make 50+ books and find something to put in the cards. I waffled back and forth on a few ideas, since we had just been to Cornwall - The Mousehole Cat - was my next choice, but in my heart I really, really loved the idea of a ghost story for Christmas.

So back to the idea I went, thinking I would just start with the first story of the series....and then it happened. I read The Ash Tree, and knew I HAD to do this one.

The story involves spiders.

As it is famously known, I hate spiders so I would normally run screaming from this the draw?

Spiderfest 2010 of course!  I kind of took that as a sign - or at least and idea to further continue pull along the Spiderfest idea to those who knew about the project.

So to writing the card I went. It needed work, so husband edited, and although I hate it when he is right.....he was, again.

The part I had in there about tying it to Spiderfest was wasted on 90% of the people getting the should really go.

So I edited it out.

It felt like the project now had a big hole in it. *

A whole that most people would not see.....but still. :(

And then the spiders I ordered did not show up in time......maybe this was not the perfect idea.

But what is a frog queen to do - something is better than nothing.

So I told the story of ghost stories for Christmas from Victorian times, and the series of books or "chapbooks" (the small versions of the books that I made for the cards) that were published and the BBC specials and how everyone knows we like Halloween and the UK - so this was perfect for us. Oh and sans the spiders....but until this post no one even knew they were supposed to be in there :D

........but no mention of the horde of spiders collected from around the Halloween community that hung in the willow in the yard and were actually the main inspiration for the card.

This is why, I am not a creative person, or should I say create (as a form of expression) for a living.....this compromise to make things "vanilla" or easier for the masses, not at all unfamiliar to me, as in my day job it happens every day.....really takes the fun out of it.  But it is all good.

Sorry, got a bit serious there for a second.

Truth of the matter is, that now, what I really have is a splendid inside joke - something "between us" for all of those that got the card and knew why I picked the story.

For you people, I cannot see the slight smile on your face, or the little giggle. But I know it is there and thank you, you made me very happy.

Merry Christmas!

* Before anyone jumps all over husband for having me edit it. Let me explain. He loves what I do and all he is trying to do is to not waste my creativity on people that will not appreciate it. He know that most of our family knows we do this "Halloween" thing...but are not into it and well, he is right, they don't care or will not care why I am excited by the idea - and might likely give them more ammo for committing me :D  And no matter, I love that man to pieces.......

BTW - there is even a further inside smile regarding the seal used on the cards....the crew knows it, but they are sworn to secrecy!. :)


  1. Merry Christmas, your amphibious majesty.

    Wish the boy a Merry Christmas from me too ;)

  2. There is a gorgeous animated short film of The Mousehole Cat -- I saw it on TV around Christmas one year. When I clicked on your link to the book (book? I didn't know it was based on a book!), I saw that the DVD is listed at too. Hmmm, I think I'll put both on my Christmas list for NEXT year!!

    Christmas blessings to you and yours!

  3. A late Merry Christmas but an on time Happy Boxing Day to you and yours.


Blog Archive