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.