Sunday, October 25, 2015

Carving Night 2015

Oh lots of fun was had last night.  Lots of good friends, food, and some serious carving.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fly my pretties!

I wanted to add a little something to the living room, and after some deliberation, went with something I've seen several variations of on pinterest--the bat swarm.  It was remarkably easy.  Sarah made me a bat template (freehand mind you) that was half a sheet of paper.  I folded black construction paper in half, traced the pattern with a white pencil, then took an exacto knife to it (only because scissors seriously cramp my hand).  I ended up with about 80 or so bats, and it was as easy as putting a bit of double sided tape on the bat, then putting it in a semi swirled pattern on the ceiling, as well as partly on the vertical wall.

Maple leaf runner

Original project page
I'm creating projects now.  It's a bit of a defense against actually finishing established, planned, projects.  I know this.  And yet it still happens.  I was (admittedly) trolling for a project to use some leftover Halloween fabric, and came across this gorgeous project of a maple leaf table runner, and I kind of fell in love with it.  It necessitated digging through my stores and coming up with 3-4 scraps of 2.5" fabric sqaures of about 6 types.  I modified my pattern to include 5 squares (orange, green, red, yellow, and brown) instead of four (longer table).  And tomorrow I'll head to joann's and get some cream fabric along with a border (couldn't find one I liked in my stores) and backing.  Also need some heat bond paper for the applique and some invisible thread for the quilting.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Photo op

I spent about 20 minutes putting together the photo op today.  I had been collecting the parts for it for the last week, but I finally had time to put the thing together.  Pretty basic, just consisting of wiring up the bucky skeleton (after carefully taking off the head) to the scene settered clothes rack.  Took some of the chain and chained him all up after posing him a bit.  Made a decent sized head hole, low enough for children, and with only a bit of a stoop for adults.  And then topped the whole thing off with a Halloween sign made especially for this year with some garden stakes for a real secure feel.  And then posed silly...cause obviously that's how you break in a photo op.

In other news, had to put up "Keep Out!" signs all up around the chain due to some filthies mucking around.  Sam's friend caught some kids running all around in and out of the yard, RIGHT next to Abbadon and the lights.  She thoroughly yelled at them, and they slunk off next door.  So it turns out that they're our new neighbors' kids.  Awesome.  This bodes well...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Stained Glass--final draft

The last few days have had a lot of work directed at the stained glass window.  A couple of things--the white paper behind it went up (ended up using paper vs. garbage bag as the bag didn't get close enough to really highlight the details), and I found a PERFECT lamp for the back.  Initially I was using my standard standing lamp, which created a choice of either keeping the shade on and only getting the lower half lit up, or removing the shade and offending everyone's eyes in the room.  Not ideal.  Then I realized that the old lamp I had bought for last year's Harry Potter could rotate, and had glass on the sides.  So basically, it can project ALL the light I need, with none of the glaringly bright light into the room that I didn't want.  Ideal.  So that all came together, and I could finally move back the furniture and start to really get a handle on putting the living room together.

Alcove lights

Got several things in the mail today, as well as made a stop at Michael's and figured out some lights for the skull window/alcove things.  One of the things I picked up were some battery tea lights (nice bright ones) and I fashioned some candles out of cardstock.  My initial impulse was to do plastic cups, maybe modpodged with tissue paper.  Then the voice inside my head was all "'re overthinking this...totally just tape some paper'll be fiiiiine."  So I did.  I made several candles this way, then taped them all together so they're less likely to blow away.  Tried them out tonight once it was properly dark.  They look waaaay cool.  Pictures aren't great--they just don't pick up what the human eye does, but yeah, cool.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Owl pillow

Made up a larger version of the little owls I made last year, more pillow sized.  Cuteness, if slightly eccentric.  Just wrapping up and tweaking various projects, making sure everything is working the way they're supposed to.  Also put up a bunch of garland on the back porch.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


I finally put out the Abbadon pieces...and *wipes tear* he's BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

2015 Haunt--first draft

Several things went wrong today.  Wind knocked down several pillars and popped the tops off.  So I ended up going to home depot and picking up some bricks to put in them to weigh them all down.  I also worked on the stained glass window and while it's not quite done, it's a lot closer.  The lights got all wired as well, and Mom came over and helped dig a hole for Abbadon to make sure that we didn't hit a sprinkler.  I didn't bring out the gargoyle parts because I was starting to get a little tired and I didn't want to risk him.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Torch light

One of the troubles I always have is deciding on light for the porch, specifically the main porch light.  I have an array of different colored bulbs, but I wanted to try something different this year.  The theme (such as it is) is kind of cathedral/dungeon...y.  So I wanted to do a torch/fire look.  I have several scene setter torches to put up that give the illusion of torches, but I wanted to try and get at least one torch into the actual lighting.

So I first off got a cheap, plain sconce from home depot that was vaguely a narrow-ish shape, and made sure it fit onto the socket.  Next up was to do some squigglies with the great stuff foam. Key here was to do a small controlled stream, and to trail off towards the end (all on a cooking sprayed down garbage bag).  Also to only go so far as my measurements.  My porch light is closer to the rafters, so it couldn't go tooo high.  I waited for the great stuff to set a big--maybe 5-10 minutes?  Then put the sconce on it's side, nestled into it.  The reason to wait a bit is so that the sconce doesn't immediately sink right through to the bottom.  After that, I waited until it was set enough to be moved without losing it's shape.  1/2 hour to an hour, depending on humidity and temperature.  I peeled it off, repeated the process, and nestled the sconce in so that the 'flames' were next to each other.

After it fully dried, I filled in a few gaps, shaved off some unsightly bumps, etc.  Then went over it with spray paint--orange, red and yellow.  Going to try it tonight and see what kind of lighting it results in.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Medusa stands!

I put up a few more props on the front porch, feeling a little safer with the scene setter up.  The caged skeleton went up (going to add a sign that reads "Pumpkin Smasher" later), some scene setters that I had of a door and some torches.  And what is fast becoming my new favorite, a medusa bust that my lovely friend Whit gave me last year.  I made a pillar all her own so that she can stand and greet small children.  I'll probably bring her in except for the Halloween party and Halloween--don't want to risk her!  Also got the outside scene setter windows up.

Drink stand touch up

A few years ago I picked up some cheap mdf and had it cut to the specifications of my garden stand that I've had for years.  It's a 3 tier stand with slats, and it's kind of perfect for putting drinks on...if not for the slats.  At the time, I was too busy to paint the boards, but always meant to go back and finish them.  Today was that day.  Now I'm just waiting for the paint to dry.  I also found the floodlight sockets (Yay!), one of the essentials in setting up the front yard.  Also now have a tentative plan for the lighting and what all is going to be plugged in.  I'm considering putting out the fog machine...possibly.  And in suuuper happy news, I found a thing that I've been looking for forever.  It's basically a water tight cord lock box, for when you're using lots of plugs/outlets outside, and want to keep them waterproof.  So that's awesome. 

And now that the paint dried, and I put the fancier board with the others.  Not bad.  Miiiight go back and do something with the other boards, but for now, this works. 

From start to finish.  Might need some touchups, but it'll also be kind dark, so no big worries. 

Gothic cathedral windows

($800-$990 online...too much)
One of the themes of this year's Halloween is going with a kind of (haunted) gothic cathedral, and I had found a prop online that I wanted, but it was super expensive.  So (of course) I looked at trying to make my own.  I didn't use as many skulls (partly because I prefer fewer, partly because I couldn't find a middle size that I liked), and I made it more of a shelf to give me more options about what to set on it. The basic form I cut out of foamboard, The blue "bricks" are just foam to give it a bit more of a stone/cobbled look.  I added a pile of great stuff foam to the bottom, then nestled in the skulls.  I have stone paint and some gray that I'll play around with once everything is dry.  I'm also thinking a mirrored back, or maybe even aluminum foil...not sure yet.  I've also got a second window ready to go once another batch of skulls arrive, and they'll hang up on the inside of the porch with probably some fake candles or tea lights, depending on the weight the shelf can hold.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dungeon scenes and warning signs

Possibly going to add a fresh grave.
So the scene setter went up today.  I made the mistake of putting it up last year on a windy day.  Worst. Mistake. Ever.  So today was calm, and I actually reviewed some of the tips I wrote down from last year, namely to do the bottom half first, which turned out to work out oh so much better.  I ended up using the new stuff, mostly because it was a lot easier to work with because past Jess was a jerk and didn't fold up the old scene setter in a nice way, just stuffed it into a garbage bag.  DAMN YOU PAST JESS!!


So the scene setter went up and I had immediate nostalgia moments with the Harry Potter of last year.  I also hung the (not quite finished) window alcove things, and they're looking pretty good.  Oh, and the last of it went up about 15 minutes before school let out, so I was sitting in the living room with the door open a bit so that Lou could get her last bits of fresh air before her "punishment month" (as October has become to her as I block off her view), and kids started to notice the scene setter was up.  Overheard things: "Remember last year, they did Harry Potter? And the year before that was underwater?"  "Hey! (screamed) They're doing the Halloween stuff again!!" So that was cute.

And since I'm getting ready to put out the yard props, I wanted to put up a sign of some sort to warn kids off from touching anything.  I mean, they will.  I know they will.  That's just the nature of the process, but I'd like it to be a little more 'hands off' this year than usual cause of Abby.  So I asked for suggestions on facebook and got some good ones.  Land mines, razor wire, a mean dog, and hot wire fencing were all offered.  All reasonable, not at all insane suggestions really.  But I went with Sarah's thought of a gravestone about the last person to touch the props.  The final product ended up pretty well, and I used white lettering with a black background so that it would stand out especially bright.

Not at all what it will finally look like.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Stained glass window

Got a start on the stained glass window I have planned for the front bay window.  I'm 'walling' off either side and leaving the middle open.  Today I did paper cutouts of some generic patterns and put them up today with some cellophane to see what kind of basic look I've got so far.  First glance was underwhelming--the colors just didn't stand out.  Then Mondo suggested putting up a white background behind it--even a garbage bag, or tissue paper--to disperse the light.  Which worked sooo much better, and it was looking much better.  Looks like I won't have to come up with a plan b yet.  The trick will be to figure out how to design the middle to actually look like a stained glass window.  Not sure how yet.  Possibly involving some of the foam, and cobblestone look that I worked on with the archway/alcoves?  Not sure.  Much experimentation needed.  Anyway, with the garbage bag background, it means that I don't have to have super bright light behind it, which is awesome.

Friday, October 2, 2015


I started to pull out Halloween stuff today.  Thought I had accidentally thrown away my dungeon scene setter and had ordered a new one (got a deal), before then finding the stash a few hours later, but not quite in time to cancel the new shipment.  Sooo....I now have looooots of dungeon scene setter.  Which is okay, cause it's a good basic, and it tends to rip/tear/etc.

Very strange to not have a theme--created lots of indecision about the kind of look I was going for.  Definitely minimalist right now (comparatively speaking), and it may be a matter of tweaking and slowly adding bits and pieces here and there.  One of the main (new) pieces I put up was a garlandy thing I made out of some decorative mesh I picked up a couple weeks ago in purple and brown.  It went over the living room doorway with wire and pipecleaners.  Much of what came out of the bins was put up nestled in the folds of the ribbon.  I don't know, still playing around.

One of the biggest impulses I've had to resist is to NOT feel like I have to decorate every inch of the house; the Harry Potter party last year was awesome, but it has definitely made it hard to dial it back this year.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quilt Panels

One of the projects that I had hoped to do (but figured I wouldn't have time for) was to fashion 2 hanging panels out of some of the awesome Halloween fabric I had collected.  I finally sat down a few days ago and just got them both done with a few hours work.  Turned out well.  And I hung them with clip loops so that they could potentially be used as a table runner if I want to change them up a bit.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Comic Con 2015

 Took 3 days off to go off and do Comic Con immersion.  Lots of fun, lots of people.

Hanging out with friends

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pillars and skulls and tombstones, oh my!

Day 1

Today was the day I hunkered down on the pillar project.  I needed a better fence system, and I decided on the concrete tube form with styrafoam topper.  Pretty basic, but I'm planning on adding a couple of skulls, possibly some chains.  Not sure yet.  Maybe dry lock them?  Have to see.  I ended up with 6 of them.  Definitely need at least four for the yard, at least one for the medusa bust on the porch.  Will probably put the last one in the yard, unless needed elsewhere.  Also have to do a bit of a stability check to make sure they're not going to totally tip over in the wind.  I can always add a wood bottom if it's really needed.  I also picked up a pack of black hooks so that I can attach the chains between them--though will probably need another pack if I use more pillars.  Each tube is 8" diameter, 4 feet tall.

Hoping tomorrow to attach the extra stuff and then paint them, as well as the tombstone plaques that just need the gray on them.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Thestral Prop

So I'm going to Comic Con 2015 as Luna again, partly because there will be Harry Potter guests coming, but mostly because it's a cool costume and is an especially good one for a con...and I don't have another inspiration for a different costume.  SO.  Not wanting to be completely lazy, I decided to try and make an addition--a baby thestral!  
This was the face I was using for a model 
by jessburnett at Deviant Art
My first plan involved visions of taping together water bottles and copious amounts of masking tape.  Then Sarah's voice kicked in that it might be easier to try and find a basic horse toy/form first.  So I ended up detouring to Savers today on the off chance they might have something.  This was after doing internet research and finding that a large-ish horse form was going to set me back ~ $40 (no thank you).  But Savers was on my way to the grocery store, so I figured why not stop in, not really expecting to find anything.  

And there it was.  In the toy aisle, smudged, and tossed in the back, was the PERFECT sized horse.  The color didn't matter, as I would be spray-painting it.  It. Was. Perfect.  Even more perfect when I found that it was $1 !!!!

I was stunned that I had found it so quickly.  So tonight was the first round of starting to shape it into a more thestral-like form.  I wish I had taken a before pic, but I was just too excited to get started.  First thing that had to go was all the hair.  Next, I took a piece of long wire to serve as the tail and poked it up into the backside where the tail hair had been, then glued it in there.  Not sure if i'll end up doing paper mache, or masking tape on it, but the length will give me a place to start.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fence score!

Whose mom is the best at finding random things for Halloween?  MINE.  Mine is the answer.  Mom rescued this very Halloweeny looking bed frame from the junk pile.  It's gonna be part of my new cemetery fence.

Friday, September 4, 2015


So this year's (severely cut back) Halloween decorations are going to feature some Gargoyles, and kind of gothic themed elements.  But mostly with the idea of getting back to basic Halloween features, hedging away from a theme really.  That way I can use some of the old Halloween decorations that have had to take a backseat the last couple years.

First up was to make some sketches to try and figure out what kind of look I wanted.  Here were some of the earlier ideas.  (which kind of suck a bit cause I can't really draw, but mostly it was an attempt to figure out what I liked)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sketches 2015

Most Halloweens begin with lots of sketches. This year, the gargoyle project came first. So now I'm scrambling to do a little catch up. I'm trying to lean toward more general so that I can use my old, more generic, decorations. So I'm going for a creepy Gothic cathedral kind of a look. Abaddon will go in the front yard in back of the tombstones.  And I'm thinking of doing a large stained glass in the big bay window with cellophane and black construction paper.
The different colors of cello paper and a new package of black construction paper arrived today. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Halloween couture

Picked up an array of Halloween themed bandanas from Joann's. Shit just got classy.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tombstones 2015

Ahh, gravestones.  Fond memories....of getting inadvertently woozy on the fumes.  But we learn from such things, and now have an ever present fan.  I still have the lovely Harry Potter tombstones, but this year I wanted to go more generic.  So my thought was to make new plaques and to attach them to the opposite side of the tombstone.  Found a couple of funny ones, and went ahead with the first one tonight.  The nice thing about this project is that I can do it inside (WITH a fan) after there's no more light to do larger scale projects.  The lovely saral/transfer paper came in handy yet again as I picked out fonts.  I have a couple different ones I thought I'd use.  This one is "Little Lord Fontleroy"

Dragon Egg Purse

In convincing my friend Natalie to come to Comic Con, we were figuring out what costume she could do, and came up with an (already owned) Daenerys Targaryen costume.  Only trouble was trying to figure out a suitable bag to hold money, id, etc. So we came up with the idea of an egg purse.  The character has these gorgeous dragon eggs, and it seemed the easiest solution.

So I'm starting with a paper mache base (plastic eggs are either not big enough, or super expensive).  The plan is to cut it, do lining, add a hinge, cut out scales out of vinyl (found some appropriate green at Joann's), and figure out a strap.  I'm thinking something close to the dress so that it will kind of blend in, and not look like a purse strap.

First up is to do many (many many) layers on a basic balloon base.  Currently at 3 layers.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

(Surprise) Doctor Who Party

So my family threw me a total surprise Doctor Who birthday party!  I had NO idea--they used several weeks of trickery and deception to distract me and keep me away until the big reveal.  It was AMAZING!!