#86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog

Witch's cauldren brewing an ampersand
 #86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog
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So, what’s for dinner?

Eye of newt, & toe of frog,
Wool of bat, & tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, & blind-​worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, & owlet’s wing,—
For a charm of pow­er­ful trou­ble,
Like a hell-​broth boil & bub­ble.
Dou­ble, dou­ble toil & trou­ble;
Fire burn, & cal­dron bubble.

This line, uttered by the three ugly witch­es in Shake­speare’s Mac­beth as they stir their boil­ing caul­dron*, is one of the most famil­iar phras­es asso­ci­at­ed with tra­di­tion­al witchcraft.


witch and shutterbomb smoking pumpkin

Brew up eerie smoke & fog for your Halloween photos

Spook up your Hal­loween pho­tos with awe­some smoke effects. I don’t mean pho­to­shop­ping it in, but using real smoke. It’s excit­ing & fun & far more real­is­tic, plus any mod­els in the shoot have a blast. 

Grab your caul­dron & brew this witch’s recipe into an eerie fog. Or if you don’t hap­pen to have any eyes of newt or frog toes in your pantry, there’s a much sim­pler way to achieve a bewitch­ing Hal­loween smoke effect & it looks even spookier.

Shutter Bombs — no cauldron required

Recent­ly I came across Shut­ter Bombs, a com­pa­ny that spe­cial­izes in mak­ing sen­sa­tion­al smoke bombs specif­i­cal­ly for pho­tog­ra­phers. Their range of smoke effects & col­ors is amaz­ing & so is their cus­tomer ser­vice. Cre­ate ghast­ly Hal­loween effects with Shut­ter Bombs, like this:

Vis­it shut​ter​bombs​.com

Witch’s Brew Recipe & Shopping list

Here’s the modern-​day gro­cery list of what’s real­ly in Shake­speare’s caul­dron. You might have to seek out a spe­cial­ty shop for some of these items, but they do exist. I’ve added a spe­cial ingre­di­ent too, but that one’s real­ly hard to find:

  • Eye of newt — mus­tard seed
  • Toe of frog — buttercup
  • Wool of bat — hol­ly leaves
  • Tongue of dog — houndstongue
  • Adders fork — adders tongue
  • Blind-​worm — an actu­al tiny snake thought to be venomous
  • Tail of amper­sand — a curly lit­tle friend of ours (You don’t mind, do you, Bill?)

Throw every­thing into your caul­dron, fill with liq­uid, & boil. Dis­tilled spir­its works best, of course.

Casting the spell

When prac­tic­ing black mag­ic, mus­tard seeds (par­tic­u­lar­ly the black seeds) cast a spell of strife, con­fu­sion, dis­cord & dis­rup­tion. Inter­est­ing­ly enough, though, oth­er types of mus­tard seeds are thought to pro­vide pro­tec­tion against witch­es. Leg­end goes that witch­es are pre­dis­posed to count­ing & pick­ing up things, so if you scat­ter mus­tard seeds around your front door, bed & prop­er­ty, the witch will nev­er have time to get to you as she will be busy count­ing mus­tard seeds.


About that newt — is there such a thing? Were there poor lit­tle crit­ters hop­ping about with­out eyes?

Actu­al­ly, all of the ingre­di­ents in the witch­es brew are ancient terms for herbs, flow­ers & plants. Some say witch­es gave these items gross & dis­turb­ing names to deter oth­er peo­ple from prac­tic­ing witchcraft.

It turns out “eye of newt” is sim­ply the seeds for a pop­u­lar hot dog mus­tard. How­ev­er, the clas­sic scene from Mac­beth just would­n’t be the same if his char­ac­ters spoke of boil­ing mus­tard seeds, but­ter­cups & hol­ly leaves.  Adapt­ed from http://​peo​ple​.how​stuff​works​.com/​i​s​-​e​y​e​-​o​f​-​n​e​w​t​-​r​e​a​l​-​t​h​i​n​g​.​htm


Speak­ing of spell, note the spelling of “cal­dron” in the work of Shake­speare, in con­trast to the Amer­i­can Eng­lish “caul­dron.” Sans-“u” is also com­mon among British. Ear­li­er, how­ev­er, there was no “l” either: in Mid­dle Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture c. 1250 – 1300 you’ll read “caud­eron.” Basi­cal­ly, it means “warm” from the Late Latin “caldāria.”

Ghosts & Gob­lins (2011)
Bats Rats & Black Cats (2012)
Deep Dark & Mys­te­ri­ous (2013)
Creak & Quake (2014)
Creepy & Crawly (2015)

Production notes for #86 Eye of Newt & Toe of Frog:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Program: Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Wilhelm Klingspor Gotisch, Park Avenue, Arnold Böcklin
Ampersand: Arnold Böcklin
Images: dream​stime​.com (manipulated)
You may repost the image. Please credit Amper​Art​.com.
To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

Desimone Design

Chaz sez...
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Rants & raves mostly about design, sometimes about the universe.
An occasional bit of useful advice.
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#80 Believe & Achieve in 2016 — Happy New Year!


#80 Believe & Achieve
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Happy New Year

First, have a blast cel­e­brat­ing 2015! Then use these tips to keep your New Year’s resolutions.

If you haven’t made any res­o­lu­tions yet—because you know they are so excru­ci­at­ing­ly hard to keep—read this won­der­ful advice from a friend, Tam­mi Bran­nan. You might even want to rethink your New Year’s res­o­lu­tions and actu­al­ly look for­ward to keep­ing them in 2016!

When choos­ing New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions that you want to achieve, make sure you do these 3 things:

  1. Iden­ti­fy 2 – 3 areas in your life you’d like to improve.
  2. Pick one action item for each area that you can do now to exact change.
  3. For 5 min­utes, 3 times a day focus on each action item, whether you’re say­ing it to your­self as a promise or you’re tak­ing steps towards accom­plish­ing that action.

The 2 rea­sons why folks fail when it comes to their New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions is because they:

  1. Pick Res­o­lu­tions they don’t care too much about achiev­ing, and…
  2. Sit by in hopes their New Year’s Res­o­lu­tion will come to them, instead of tak­ing active steps to achieve them.

If find­ing the per­fect occu­pa­tion or busi­ness is one of your 2016 goals, Tam­mi Bran­nan offers career devel­op­ment coach­ing for indi­vid­u­als & teams. She says, “Live a life that is truer to you.” You’ll find lots of insight­ful videos & arti­cles at her web­site, Instinc​tiveLife​.com. I endorse Tam­mi as a per­son of high integri­ty & gen­uine con­cern for individuals.

To Do & To Don’t List


fea­tur­ing the Pan­tone Col­ors of the Year for 2016

Here’s a TO DO LIST guar­an­teed to sim­pli­fy your life. It’s actu­al­ly my spe­cial­ly designed TO DO & TO DON’T list. This is brand-​new art­work in the two Pan­tone Col­ors of the Year for 2016: Rose Quartz & Seren­i­ty. Down­load the TO DO & TO DON’T list here and print out sev­er­al copies for your friends.

chaz sez ...

My favorite quote about dreams & pos­si­bil­i­ties is by Walt Dis­ney, who real­ly accom­plished some aston­ish­ing feats. (Did you know Dis­ney­land was built in less then one year from ground­break­ing to open­ing day?) Walt said:

 “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

And he did. Birdies sing & flow­ers croon.

Read More

#95 Apples & Oranges

#95 Apples & Oranges
Click to view full-​size or download hi-​rez image for gallery-​quality printing and framing.
This is a high-​resolution pdf & may take a few minutes to download.
Find printing tips & framing ideas here.

Although Amper­Art #95 is titled Apples & Oranges, it was inspired by an inci­dent I could have called Apples & Peach­es. You see, the oth­er day I went to the mar­ket for three pounds of peach­es. I had pur­chased just one the day before & it was so sweet I went back to stock up. Okay, I admit it was also the last day of the sale. These deli­cious peach­es were only 69 cents a pound.

I brought my few items — three pounds of peach­es & maybe one pound of every­thing else — up to the check­er & she rang me up for $20 & change. Seemed like a lot for just peach­es, a head of let­tuce & two cans of tuna (cat treats — if I ate that stuff I’d prob­a­bly be healthy). When I got to the car I real­ized it was indeed way too much mon­ey for those few items. So I checked the receipt & sure enough, she rang up three pounds of organ­ic Fuji apples at 4.75/lb.! There’s a big dif­fer­ence between apples & peach­es — just like there’s a tremen­dous dif­fer­ence between apples & oranges — but not when they look alike, I guess.


Judg­ing from this, she could have rung me up for three pounds of organ­ic heir­loom toma­toes on the vine at $7.50/lb.

If you, my reg­u­lar read­er, are won­der­ing if this is the same store that sold me a box of 50 peanut but­ter cook­ies that turned out to actu­al­ly be cinnamon-​apple cook­ies (dis­gust­ing!) — and the box was short by three cook­ies, no less — nope, it was the rival around the cor­ner. Seems like they’re com­pet­ing for incompetence.


chaz sez ...

applebiteThis has been an app­li­cious month. Besides the inci­dent at the store which inspired Apples & Oranges, I cre­at­ed a new busi­ness card and relat­ed mate­ri­als for my very good friend, Jim Bar­row, who is all about Apple and actu­al­ly taught me how to plug in my first Mac. He’s been a Mac guru since 1984. His web­site is even called ihatepc​.com!

If you’re in the Los Ange­les or out­ly­ing area (includ­ing Orange) and you need help with Mac installs, train­ing, upgrades, net­work­ing or soft­ware, Jim’s your guy. Go to ihatepc​.com. You’ll love Jim.

Production notes for #95 Apples & Oranges:
Original size: 20x30 inches
Programs: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
Fonts: Apple Garamond, Futura
Ampersand: hand-drawn
Credits for #95 Apples & Oranges:
Peach: imlov​ingth​is​.com
Apple: wisegeek​.com
Tomato: incred​i​ble​seeds​.ca

For pro­fes­sion­al graph­ic design, please vis­it Des­i­mone Design.

Desimone? Damn good!