Friday, October 26, 2012

Poisoned Apple Tree Lights

So because I have the most awesome mother in the world--she was able to recognize these as soon as she saw them whilst shopping at her junk store. They're ice cube lights that are waterproof, freezable, and these particular ones that she found have seven different colors, as well as a setting that rotates through all of them. I've used them for years, but my supply is quickly dwindling because they don't have a replacable battery (due to the waterproofness, you can't crack into them) My sister pointed out that I could put them in the hollow apples that I had hung from the poisoned apple tree and make it really awesome. And so it was:)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Second Night of Carving

Second night of carving. Loki joins the porch.

As well as Captain America 

First Night of Carving

And thus concluded the first night of carving...with a super sore arm. Definitely going to try and get better about gutting in the morning, then allowing several hours to lapse before carving. It might be different if there was someone helping with the gutting by holding the pumpkin. As it is, I make do with propping up the pumpkin upside down in a small wastebasket.

So these two patterns were ones that I was really excited to do--and it just made sense to do them together. I give you Thor! and Mjölnir!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Shopping 2012

Went shopping for pumpkins (and a few other things) today. Found these at Smith's for $.19/lb which isn't the best, but they do have awesome stems, and a couple of white 'ghost' pumpkins which I haven't tried before. I'm thinking I'll do the Avenger's emblem on that one. Also actually remembered to buy the pumpkins first then groceries (I got that mixed up last year) so they didn't even crush the chips.

In other news, I have put back up Audrey II and the Cemetery after the terrible windstorm that knocked down everything. I've used up much duct tape and taking everything down will be a little terrible, but I'm a bit more confident that I won't lose anything to the wind. Also found a strand of battery operated rice lights I put on the fence (with the battery wrapped in a plastic bag and duct taped shut) so I'll see how they look tonight.

Debating about whether or not I want to carve tonight. Ideally they're usually done by carving night, but it's a bit early this year (or rather, far from Halloween) so I could potentially keep a couple to do afterwards. So many to little time...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Audrey II Tweaking

Just a small addition--I keep tweaking and toying with her! Added a plastic severed hand to the mouth, along with a garbage can full of wrapped body parts for 'feeding'. Bit wobbly camera picture--but unfortunately trying to take a picture without the flash results in looking like I'm having a seizure while taking the picture.

Now that it's all finished, a couple of links back to all the makings of posts:

Audrey II Mouth Assembly
Audrey II Parts
Audrey II LIVES!!!
Audrey II (large) Part II
Audrey II (large) Part I

Paper Carving

I've been getting itchy fingers in anticipation of carving this week, so I started a project in an attempt to give them an outlet. I printed out some patterns (most from Zombiepumpkins) I won't be doing this year, but that I've wanted to try, and stapled them onto a black piece of construction paper. I took an exacto knife and cut through the pattern and construction paper onto a piece of cardboard--important not to cut up my desk! These have been very useful in feeling out a pattern before committing a pumpkin to it.

Afterwards, I glued a piece of colored paper underneath for it to show up and put it up on the door--mostly because it was devoid of any other decorations.

Anyway, may have gotten a wee bit carried away, and kind of...kept...going...It's a good thing I'm going pumpkin shopping tomorrow--my finger is now kind of numb from pressing down the exacto knife:(

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Front Yard Display 2012

Couple of updates to the front yard. Creepy cloth and crows on the fence and arch.

And with the inflatable spider up at night

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jack Skellington Plate

A small project, but one that turned out very cool. Another from pinterest. Took a ceramic plate from the dollar store and used a sharpie to put a design on it. Baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to make it permanent. The design was from Zombiepumpkins that I cut out with an exacto knife. There was some leakage from the sharpie, but I took a q-tip and some water and cleaned it up a bit before I put it in the oven. I'm thinking I can make great use of this project for many holidays to come. And hopefully I'll plan a bit better and do a whole set of these for next year's Halloween. For now, I'm content with the one plate:)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

DIY Tombstones

I've been wanting to try these for awhile. They're cool because it doesn't require an exacto knife or cutting into the Styrofoam and making a huge mess. You just have to have some skill with a glue gun.

I found some unused insulation/Styrofoam in a box that was a good size. I cut out the rough shape of a tombstone, and drew some designs on them with a sharpie. The first one was pretty basic--R.I.P. and a couple cracks here and there (Have I mentioned the lack of artistic skill? Yeah--there's none). The second one I tried some Celtic designs, some skull and bones crosses, and a more elaborate outline.

Next step--fired up the glue gun and started tracing over the marker in hot glue. The main thing to remember--especially for the letters, is to go slowly, and squeeze until you have the width you want. This creates a more seamless line, as opposed to going back and forth over the entire length. I made that mistake on the 'R' and it turned out kind of wonky.

The spider on the second one was actually pretty easy--though the skull and bones were a little difficult. The Celtic pattern was very easy, and I was wishing I had done a more elaborate design.

After they had been given time to cool and were firm to the touch, I headed out to the garage to do some spraypainting. Because the insulation was pink, I opted to do a thin layer of (flat) black first. The stone/texture paint doesn't have as good coverage, so it made it easier if I ran out of the paint. Plus, it tends to give it an aged/mottled look.

I just have to attach these to some stakes and they'll be all set to put out on the cemetery.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cemetery Assembly

Finally got up the bulk of the cemetery on the front lawn today. I had previously gotten some wooden letters and spray painted them with a stone/texture paint.  This was after I had an argument with the top on the spray paint can. I won...eventually...after a hammer was brought in for mediation. I also spray painted one of the cheap dollar store skulls--not sure if I'll use it though.

The main difficulty with the fence has been the weight of the metal, so in an attempt to counteract that, I place them so that they're partially leaning on each other, and duct taped together a bit. I ended up only using three of the pieces. The fourth piece was taller than the others and was entirely too heavy to stand up, and kept bringing down the other sides. I eventually ditched it, and just made a somewhat smaller fence. To attach the letters, I strung some string back and forth between the spokes of the archway and put them up with duct tape.

Unfortunately, a wind storm started up just at the point that I had finished putting everything up. So I'll need to go back and make things a little more secure. I'd also like to add on some finishing touches--maybe some creepy cloth, the grave digger prop guy with the zombie mask. I'm still tempted to make the reaper, but I don't think it's in the cards this year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Witch Kitchen 3

The witch kitchen is finally starting to look more finished. Placed a tablecloth underneath, which also serves to hide away the random stuff underneath the table. I also took one of our old stone wall scene setter from years ago and hid the bookcase--looks much better as a backdrop to the witch kitchen. I've also added a few random bottles (oatmeal for 'Ogre dandruff'). I also surrounded the bookcase in the gecko room with the scene setter and placed the large skull on top.

Flower Shop

Got a couple projects done. Mostly just small, wrapping up kind of projects, but they put the final touches on some of the larger ones. One of the main ones was the flowershop stand for the Mushnik's flower shop. I had been herding all of my fake flowers together to put them together onto the garden stand I have set up on the porch. I ended up taking them and taping them down a bit to deter thieves. Also placed the last loose mini Audrey II in a pot among the flowers. I may add a few more bunches of flowers if I can find them in the garage, but this will do if I end up not finding them. I also filled the pot with dirt around the severed hand for a grow-a-zombie plant--though I still need to make the marker.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mantle Lights

Ugh. Finally, FINALLY figured out why the porch lights were being dumb with the timer--turns out, it's a complicated timer. I'm used to the super stupid ones. This one required brain cells. So I sacrificed several in getting it up and running. I think that's all the bugs with them, but the real test will be tomorrow morning to see if they're still on--cross your fingers.

Another electrical project I tackled was the lights for the mantle. They randomly decided to DIE, so I had to unplug them and throw away. Rummaged in the garage in the box o lights and came up with some purple ones. I ended up putting these up higher up to the ceiling for several reasons. The first of which is that the higher they go, the more light they cast in the room. Plus, it lights up the painting I have hanging above the fireplace. I'm also less fearful that the lights are going to pull down the stuff on the mantle which tends to be more breakable and delicate. It would kill me if something happened to my Dracula that my uncle carved for me. And so it's more of a safety issue. I'm generally pleased with the way it is now--though there are still a few things I'd like to add...if I can find them...

Skeleton Baby

Hmmm...this project I'm still deciding on whether or not it was successful. I picked up several plastic
baby dolls at the thrift store and have been musing around with what to do with them. Then I found that someone had taken a doll and painted it entirely black and painted on bones to have a skeleton baby. It looked doable, so I tried it out. Part of the problem was that I was impatient and didn't wait until the black paint dried, so it kept mixing with the white and made gray or not quite covered all the way. I may try to go over it again tomorrow and do a second coat on the white bones. These are the times I wish I had some artistic skill...maybe I can put it in a corner and it can be creepy from afar.

Okay, going to count the skeleton baby as a win--managed to thoroughly scare myself with it. I had moved it into the kitchen to dry, forgot it was there, and nearly gave myself a heart attack later when I went to get a drink of water. I wonder how cool it would look if the bones were done with glow in the dark paint....hmmm...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cemetery Fence

Spent today pruning back some bushes in prep for winter, then working on one of the last major projects; the cemetery fence. The rusty fence was obtained from railing that was being discarded and I've been cutting up pvc pipe for the last week or so and making a 'T' frame with it so that I can get the fence pieces to be freestanding. I've got four pieces of varying height and length, which will make for a bit of a wonky fence, but the first step is to see if I could get them all to stand up. They're heavy, so I made these little 'feet' and duct taped them quite a bit. Here are the results. I shoved some pipe insulation around the bottom of the fence to provide a little more stability, but it was mostly the duct tape that was key here. I'm waiting to spray paint them for now, partly because I want to see if they'll stand for a length of time--I don't want to have to figure out a different method with spray painted pipe.


Oye. May have to come up with something more substantial to prop these up. I went out a couple hours later and they were seriously leaning over. As cool as the fence is, I'm beginning to think it would be easier in the long run to opt for the PVC pipe route and just construct a fence out of that.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fireplace Update

A small project which consisted of dressing up the fireplace a bit. I have a massive cauldron that fits well in the fireplace. I took some c7 led green lights and taped them into the cauldron. The led aspect is important so that they don't melt the plastic. I also shoved one of the half/broken strand of orange lights underneath the grate to simulate coals. I'd still like to add in a strand of red lights I know I have...somewhere. Also found some of the plastic rats from last year and set them up.

Witch Kitchen Setup 2

Got a bit farther on the witch kitchen--partly because I found the box in the garage that had all the leftover stuff from the witch kitchen from last year. The main addition is the music stand I borrowed from Sam--it's the perfect height to hold the spell book. The pot with the hand in it still has to have some dirt added as well as a marker marking it as a growing zombie. Also need to shift some bottles around--most of which dont' fit in the larger shelf, and have to go on the table. I may end up switching around the shelves so that I cam maximize the amount of space for the larger bottles. Still reworking the layout, and definitely need to get something to lay underneath asap.

I also found the cauldron which still had the dehydrated red polymers from last year. I've added water to them to get them hydrated, so they should be ready in about 24 hours or so.


Moved around some of the layout and have gotten it to a fairly workable one.

The polymers in the cauldron have hydrated rather rapidly, but I'll definitely need to replenish them. I remembered, belatedly, that I had used some of them for makeshift icepacks when Sam had her surgery. Then had to throw them away when we were done with them. So will definitely have to get more. 


Audrey II Mouth Assembly

The last of the parts for Audrey II went up. The semi circle in the back acted well as a place to stick the other pieces into--though, because it's light, it might need to be weighed down with...something. Or maybe just duct taped down. The stamen pieces look pretty good, and went easily into the mouth piece. Sam snapped a pic of me doing this. I always forget to take pictures with me in them--so this may be the one of me that I get.

As a side note--measurement wise, from the back to the front of the jaw is about 4 feet, width is just under 3 feet, and from the floor/bottom of bucket to the top of the snout is about 5 feet tall.

Poisoned Apples

So the lovely UPS man brought my oriental trading box today. Among other goodies were the sack of plastic apples to complete the poisoned apple tree. Now, admittedly, they're a bit hokey looking. But I figured they'll fit in well with the tree that's made out of fabric and paper leaves.

I took some brown yarn and wound a piece around the stem of each piece so I can attach them to the branches.
I also added on a skull and bones that I printed on a red piece of paper (though unfortunately they don't match). Again, a little hokey looking, but short of having artistic skill and spending a lot more time on the dozen apples, this is an easy fix.

Have now hung up the apples onto the tree. The apples ended up being a good match to the paper leaves.

Silver Spiders

Found this project on Pinterest (really need to stop going there--I come away with 3 more projects every time I go on it for any length of time). This one involved spray painting dollar store spiders with silver metallic paint. They looked cool, and I had some that I wasn't doing anything in particular with, so I decided to try it. The spiders were fuzzy--I'm wondering if this impeded the ability to get the paint to stick. Will have to see how they dry at this point.

Audrey II Parts

Besides trying to corral all of my Halloween parts into a more organized layout, a side project was devoted to spray painting some projects. First up were some parts for Audrey II. I'm eager to finish off this project and move fully onto the cemetery fence project. I first took some of the expandable foam (I'm gaining more appreciation for this stuff) and made some plant stamin-looking pieces. I first laid down a skewer so that I had the option of posing them at an angle.

I also made a large half circle that I'm hoping will work to attach to the back of the 'throat' and provide something to stick the stamens into--that's the idea in theory anyway.

Spray painted the throat piece with a mix of brown and red, going for a darker hue, but trying to get it to blend in. May have to get creative with how to attach that to the lower jaw...but I'll cross that bridge when I come to a few hours

The stamen pieces were partly just to get some 3d-ness and something besides the tongue going on in the mouth. I painted one half purple, the other side yellow. Not sure how these will look when in the mouth...

The tongue I'm still on the fence about. Initially it was a solid red color, then did a layer of purple in the back, with just a bit of yellow. I kept pushing it back with a bit of red so it didn't overwhelm the mouth, but I'm not sure I succeeded. I think I just have to see it all together.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creepsy Flowers

Not sure how many of these I'll ultimately end up completing, but they're definitely fun to do.

  • Boquet of fake flowers, preferably gerbers, preferably at least two layers of petals
  • Plastic eyeballs (dollar store's finest)
  • Hot glue
  • Pencil
First I pulled off all the flowers and laid them out. These were some old and dusty ones that had spent much of their life buried in a garage, so they needed some dusting off.  Fired up the glue gun, and started by doing a large dollop of glue onto the center of the gerber, then firmly placing the eyeball in the center. I did this with all of them and let them stand to firm up a bit.  Now, I could have left them at this stage--they looked appropriately creepy. But because there were two layers of petals, I continued and did a line of glue around the middle of the eyeball, and taking a pencil, rolled up the petals. The first layer stuck, and the second layer fell back. After they had all cooled, I placed the flower heads back onto the stems.

Poisoned Apple Tree Assembly

I feel as though I should be cackling at this point after building my poisoned apple tree. Perhaps after I've added the apples. It doesn't help that I started reading Chris Colfer's The Wishing Spellthis afternoon, which opens with a visit to the incarcerated evil queen from Snow White and the seven dwarves. This project went up pretty easy. I had done paper trees before, years ago. It was a--I'm going to do with 'pleasant'--surprise to realize that those are skills that come right back. I first took the length of brown fabric and folded over a length of it on the shorter side. I sewed a quick hem about five inches down--I wanted long enough down that moving the soaker hose around wouldn't be a problem. Took a length of some soaker hose I had leftover from the diy petticoat project last year and slid it through the hem. Took some duct tape and secured it into a ring. I took some doubled up yarn and threaded it through the fabric, underneath the soaker hose and made a loop for the 'trunk' to hang from at 4 opposite spots on the ring.

Once I had a rough idea of the diameter of the trunk, I put up hooks on the ceiling and let them stand for a bit. The trunk was then secured by the loops on the hooks. Went very quickly, and the fabric and soaker hose weren't very heavy, so it went up easily.

I cut the fabric just as it touched the ground. Ideally, I would leave some and make twisting roots. But we have cats, and they would take laying fabric as an invitation to...yeah. So aesthetic ceded to practicality. Made it lighter on the hooks, and easier to vacuum/carpet clean--which I still need to some point.

Next I mapped out the leaves. I took a bunch of hooks and the piece of (crocheted chain) yarn I was to use to hold up the 'branches' and made a slightly larger circle around the trunk.

I slid all of the branches onto the yarn, then slid a couple between each hook point. Here it is half done:

And all the way around the tree

The leaves are a little sparse, so I'll work on making some to go in another layer behind the front one, but for the most part, I'm okay with how it turned out. And as soon as the apples come, I'll hang them up (with a skull and bones on them first).