Posted in special-effects, creativity, art

The Space Invasion Begins

Today is raining the kind of warm, thoughtful rain that makes its way into the bones, and encourages you to pull the covers up, roll over, and press that snooze button. And I wanted to, this morning. I really did.

But I have things I want to do. And Humphrey, my #WonderDog, needed to go outside. He didn’t want to go outside, but he had to. We both got drenched. He did not like it.


Humphrey is dubious of our relationship.

But more than that, Halloween is coming up in a mere week, and I have a space invasion to orchestrate!

I’ve been posting teaser videos on my Facebook page, and having some fun learning my way around my smart phone with it. If you haven’t visited me there, you should! I keep it chock full of daily(ish) quick bites right here.

On this blog, though, I’ll go into a little more detail about what I’m working on.

For now, I’m making a fungus-infested space rock, that will soon crash land into my front yard, and, just in time for trick-or-treating, will disfigure my family into fungus-infested zombies. Yay!

First, I started with the biggest beach ball I could find, and cans of spray-foam insulation. Gloves are super important when spraying this stuff! Trust me. I found out the hard way.

My son, Ben, gives me a hand coating our soon-to-be-meteor.

This particular meteor took about five cans.

I gave it some extra loop-de-loops to give it plenty of texture and viney, retro-monster-alien blobs. I had to let it set, turn it to a fresh patch, spray again, and let set again, slowly working my way around the ball for a couple days, so it wouldn’t just slide right off the plastic.

Then, I coated it with a dark paint I already owned, that happened to have some metallic sheen to it, to really bring out those textures. Again, I went bit by bit, first brushing it on, then after a few seconds, wiping it back off, leaving it in the crinkles and wrinkles.

Gray metallic paint leftover from another project. Coconut water is optional.
Coating it on. Pretty easy.
Wiping it off. Also easy.

It really makes a difference in giving textures depth and shadow.


Next, time for color! I like the green and yellows of the classic monster types, plus they’re the color of slime and ick.

Coconut water is still optional.
Base coat with green on the creepy fungus vines, and then a dry-brush layer of yellow over that.


I’ll be adding more extra detail for a day or so with more paints:

Peach paint for highlights, and the metallic brown and umber for the rock texture.
Now I’m really getting somewhere. This thing wants to eat your face!


So far, so good! I have a couple more days of detail paints to work on the space rock, but then, I’ll be repeating the process in smaller patches.

These will be growths as part of the makeup effects on my family.

More of that next week!

In the meantime, we have been stocking up on candy in the hopes of having many victims–er, I mean, neighborhood kids.

And I’ll be working in my studio, hunched on the Fuf (like a beanbag chair, only better), with a space rock held between my knees, and Humphrey The Wonder Dog cuddled against me. Pretty much like this:


Ain’t the creative life grand?

Find out what being creative can do for your life! Take a chance. Write a poem, paint a rock, knit a placemat–anything you’ve been wanting to try, but have been putting off.

Don’t wait. Create.

Turn it loose!

Posted in Persistence, self-empowerment, special-effects, creativity, art

The Conquering of a Million Little Things

The Persistent Corner is no more.

Well, there’s still a corner in the room, but it’s full of things I intentionally placed there, instead of the random “what do I do with this?” menagerie that has plagued me since we moved in.

I’m tired. I’m sweaty, despite the chill in the Autumn air. And I have cobwebs in my hair, and on my clothes, with dead bugs wrapped in the silky threads that dangle and smell funny. But the space is crisp with possibilities and freshly ready for all my VBP (very big plans).

From overwhelming (and this is even after a lot of progress!):


To under control:


And I’ve even begun the painstaking process of repair and prep, to get ready for the repaint!


But I won’t be waiting for the room to be “finished” before I dig in and start being truly “creative on the loose!” I’ve got a meteorite to make (see beach ball in the “under control” photo) for Halloween decorations, and zombie prosthetics to make and paint, and so many projects!

Stay tuned; I’ll be blogging every step of the way.

Don’t you wait, either! Go do something creative, and have fun!

Posted in Persistence, self-empowerment, special-effects, creativity, art

The Persistent Corner

I have been working diligently, over time, on transforming a large section of my garage into a creativity studio. I hit it here and there, on weekends, or between other chores and tasks, and some days I really see a difference. On other days, not so much.

One thing that has remained virtually untouched and unchanged, however, is the little bit of space I call “The Persistent Corner.” Now and again, I pull open a flap to a box and peek in to see the contents, and then, because I haven’t the foggiest idea what to do with it, I close the flap and go somewhere else to work.

It’s the subconscious of my studio’s soul. It’s the blackness, the crowded emptiness I don’t want to have to look at, sift through, or deal with, to get to the place where I’m trying to go.

It is, very nearly, the last patch of unknown out there, blocking me from moving into the better stuff: organizing, repairing, and painting it with fresh colors and bright energy.

I realized today that I don’t have to wait until I’m ready to face the whole monster.

On tv shows advertising DIY projects, or weight-loss programs, or workouts, or other overwhelming goals, they always make it look so easy, don’t they? From being a smashed-out shell of a kitchen makeover to polished, matching cupboards and sparkling counters in 30 seconds. A blink of an eye. Practically effortless.

My monsters don’t usually conquer themselves like that. Especially not my “Persistent Corner”:



But, as I realized, I don’t need to face the whole thing at once. As long as I keep at it, little by little, each step is progress. Today, I decided I would get rid of the cardboard boxes on the floor, at least.

And I did!


That was it. Three little boxes, ready for recycling.

I also put away the opened umbrella, swept the webs and leaves outside, and pushed together what was left to clear more floor space.

And that was enough for today.


Not a dramatic, 30-second version of a makeover, by any means. But that corner got a lesson in just who’s the boss around here.

I’ll take it.

Posted in how-to, special-effects, creativity, art

A Walk on the Dried Side

When we moved into our new house, we were left a gift by the previous owners; years-old, separated, rancid paints.
excess old paint

Now, I go through a lot of paint, myself, so I understand the drudgery of discarding the old stuff. I’m sure you all have leftover cans stacked somewhere, like me, because you know you’re not supposed to put uncured paint into the bin for the landfill–it’s not safe for the environment.

Dried paint, though, specifically latex (water-based) paint, is perfectly safe to discard in the trash bin! Here’s my tip for getting your old paints dry and safe, as quickly and easily as possible.

REMEMBER – this applies to latex paints ONLY. Do NOT discard oil-based paints into landfill garbage.

Kitty litter is your friend! Get the cheap stuff, it actually works better. Plain clay, non-clumping, store-brand cheap. This ginormous bag was about 4 bucks.

kitty litter discard paint

You’ll use the same amount of kitty litter as you do paint. Is that a 50/50 ratio? Hey, I’m an artist (kinda), not a math whiz.

I used a bucket larger than a gallon, because I needed the room to mix properly.

Pour the litter in, give it some serious stirring and mixing, and then set it aside for about an hour.

kitty litter into paintkitty litter mix paintmixed paint kitty litter


I dumped mine over into a box lined with a garbage bag, because I didn’t want to leave the dried paint glob in my multi-function bucket.

dried paint discard

You may choose to do the same, or just leave the whole shebang right in the old can. When set, dump it right into the trash!

If you have a hugely large amount of old paint, or oil-based stuff, you can contact a local recycling location to deal with it. Here’s one for Atlanta-based folks like me:

For those of you elsewhere, a little Googling will help you find a place.

Now there’s no reason not to paint the town! When you’re done, you can safely dispose of the leftovers.

Posted in Uncategorized

Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Grabbing a minute to chat while my spackle dries. I’ve been dealing with some minor injuries (bum knee, aching shoulder), so I’m not getting as much painting done as I’d like! But it’s a beautiful day, and I have doors and windows open, and my little Doxie-poo, Humphrey the Wonder Dog, has free reign to come and go from our fenced yard. The birds are chittering, filling the bare trees like plumes of smoke, and the air is fresh and just a little bit cool.

Perfect day for catching up on spackling, cutting in, and, maybe, just maybe, I’ll even get the first coat done, all while “Vera” streams on my MacBook.

Painting inside on my house isn’t the same as working in my studio, except in the way I like to feel as though my surroundings feed my creativity and peace of mind, wherever I am. This house is as much “me” as my studio is, and I’m excited to make it a kind of work of art, too.

Wishing you all a very sweet (and hopefully chocolatey) Valentine’s Day!


Posted in Uncategorized

The Naked Truth

A couple weeks ago, I started having recurring dreams about being naked. I know we’ve all had them now and then; the being in a room of people, friends or not, and suddenly all your clothes have vanished; or walking into a room full of other naked people; or visiting a “nature camp” only to discover you can’t get in unless you strip like everyone else–oh, wait. That last one is from the movie “A Shot in the Dark” with Peter Sellers. One of the Pink Panther series.

YOU MUST WATCH IT. As soon as you’re done reading this blog.

Anyway. Naked dreams.

When I say “recurring” I mean, like every night for several nights in a row. I get the feeling my psyche’s trying to tell me something.

New city, again. New house, again. Blowing the dust off old dreams and trying anew, again. It’s a lot of change for this introvert and lover of my comfort zone.

This week has been spent with a lot of back-and-forth between residences, getting stuff moved over, etc. Yesterday was the official moving truck with the biggest load of everything. And then. As my hubby attempted to affix the washer hoses to the hot and cold faucets in the laundry room, we had a…


We’ll call it a mishap. The hot water faucet shot him in the face, his torso, his hands as he scrambled to wrench it off. It wouldn’t wrench closed, and the force was too strong for him to get the washer hose onto it.

Gallons of water drenched him, the walls, the floor; seeped down into the living room and those walls, and down into the crawlspace. There’s no other word for it than chaos, you guys. Utter chaos. Like some kind of scene from a National Lampoon movie, except this was our real life.

Being a brand-new house, we weren’t familiar with important things like where the main water shutoff was located. The good news is; I found it in the crawlspace and we got the water stopped. We’ve also done all the things one does to mitigate: we’ve rented industrial dehumidifiers and have fans and air movers going all over the place. Everything is going to be fine.

The kicker was, and is, that while all this was going on, we had strangers in the house: two guys we hired to unload our moving truck, and the AT&T technician trying to install our internet. Strangers.

There is a certain amount of control I believe we all seek when it comes to presenting ourselves. On the internet, at parties, at business functions, at family gatherings. We want others to perceive us in the way we want them to, whether that’s realistic or not. And with strangers? There’s no precedent with them, right? There’s no history for them to compare with your current behaviors, it’s utterly what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

And last night, while my brain scrambled to function, while I panicked over how to get a plastic bucket fast enough up to my husband, while I watched water pour like Niagara Falls into my beloved house, while I tried to type into my phone “where is main water shutoff” with hands shaking so badly they would NOT type it, and while I dove headfirst under the house shouting “WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR”,  there was no time, energy, or thought to control. I was raw. Scared. In front of strangers.

I was naked.

Later, after the water was stopped, the dehumidifiers were going, and my body ached from head to toe from the stress, I realized I was nearly as traumatized about that, about “being naked”, as I was by the event.

I’ll never know what those strangers thought of me. I have no concept what I must have looked like, sounded like, seemed like. Couldn’t have been good, but it doesn’t matter, I guess. It happened, I reacted, and it is what it is.

I could use a bit more of that in my life, if I’m honest. Just be me, without trying to control what I look like, sound like, seem like. I could use more “being naked”, and being okay with that.

It’s scary, but I’m willing to try.

Without all the water.


Posted in Uncategorized

Everything Old is New Again


This is a napkin. It is a contract; signed by my son, Ben, and my hubby, Dan, and me. Jackie Gamber.

This is a new beginning to an old dream.

A few years ago, I had a kind of secret. I took it out to play now and again, in my mind, in the early mornings or late evenings when no one was looking. It revolved around all the imaginings I could create, for real, someday, if I really, really, believed in myself and really, really threw my energy and resources and passion at it.

But it stayed a secret, because I was taught from a young age that wanting things was selfish and bad. And the best way to deflect from feeling selfish was to share.

So I shared. Over the years, my son, Ben, daughter, Ellen, and hubby, Dan, have created fun and silly and interesting things together. And I loved it! We bonded. We attended conventions together, where I talked about my novels, and helped them write stories, and even my kids won writing contests and sat on panels about creativity and story. We made YouTube videos of how-to, and gaming, and skits. We’ve made short films and commercials (sometimes with other studios). We were Gamber Nation. I wouldn’t trade those times for anything.

But people grow and change, and even in a close-knit family like mine, hobbies and interests diverge. My kids are grown, and building a life of their own, as is the way of things.

But for me, in secret, my passion has only gotten stronger. And I started wanting, really wanting, something all to myself. Just for me. Something to grow and build, and make a name with. I did come up with the name Big Imagine Studio, after all. But even back then, what I really wanted to do with it remained my selfish secret.

Until a few weeks ago, over pizza at Stone Mountain Pizza Cafe. Ben, Dan, and I were discussing our future plans for our YouTube channel, Gamber Nation. We had recently moved to the Atlanta area, quite suddenly, and were re-evaluating our current and future goals.

That’s when I blurted it. My secret. And how I’ve always wanted Big Imagine, free and unfettered, to explore my creative horizon and to plumb my creative depths, just to see what I was really capable of.

My hubby hardly let me finish before he’d grabbed a napkin and wrote out “Big Imagine by Jackie Gamber.” He signed it, handed it to Ben, who also signed it, and then slid it over to me. Guess who had the hardest time signing?

That’s right. Me. Because selfish.

But sign I did. And from that day to this, I’ve had nothing but drive for what I want to do with it. Pedal to the metal. Ready to burn out, instead of fade away.

The universe seems to be indulging me at the moment, because we’ve bought a new house (a year sooner than we ever expected) and with it comes a huge, open space for my studio. Big Imagine Studio. For crafting and filming and teaching (anyone in the Atlanta area want some kick-ass lessons in acting for film?).bigimaginestudio

It’s January 2017, and I am ready to #GoForthAndRock.