Friday, September 30, 2016

Loose ends

Natalie came to visit today and willingly* agreed to help me with some projects.  We actually got a lot done, many of which were things I had been meaning to do for awhile now.  We spray painted the compy eggs with some texture, painted the compys with 2 coats of the polyeurathane clear coat to make them a little more water resistant, Fixed the nest with a grate so that the eggs wouldn't fall through.  Ooh, and we painted the JP sign gray.  I may have to go over the sign with some more glue, but I just wanted at least one coat of paint on it.  Doesn't need to be perfect.  Oh, and we made another rock for the compy scene.  I laid everything out on the driveway for the first time so I could see how far the rocks stretched around the pool (pretty far) and to get a rough idea of how the compys were going to look set against the rocks and nest (pretty cool).  Loved getting all the things wrapped up and loved having company as well--win-win situation.  Oh and I maaaaay have convinced someone to be a dinosaur for Halloween and help scare the kids :D
*I plied her with copious amounts of Chinese food.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jurassic Park Sign

The last part to the JP gate is the big sign with the "Jurassic Park" lettering between the columns.  Today was about getting a lot of that all done.  I had ordered some foam core sheets that I painted yellow to use as the outline.  I printed out each letter separately (Jurassic Park font) in red ink (with some modification--I added a red section in the middle of each letter) and cut them out.

Next, I mod podged the letters onto the sheets of foam core, making sure there was enough of an outline on all sides of each letter.  I did a couple of layers of mod podge, trying to put out any bubbles that cropped up.  Once the last layer was dry, I drew a light pencil outline all around the letters, maybe...1/2 inch or so, maybe a bit less.  Then I took a sharp razor blade knife and cut all around on the outline.  This gave me the classic look of the signage.

Next step was putting together the actual sign.  Based on some measuring I had done when the towers were up, I knew I didn't have a whole lot of wiggle room.  But as I examined the movie gate, I realized that the "J" actually overlaps the sign, and there's a special little section for the "Park" section.  Another problem was that I didn't actually have a piece of styrofoam 6 feet long.  I had some that were 4 feet though.  And I wanted the sign to be pretty sturdy, so I went ahead and made it two inches thick, layering the sections on top of each other to get the length I needed.  I used the 'gripper' wood primer that has been successful so far in adhering together styrofoam.  I set some paint buckets on top to hold it down while it dries at least overnight.  I think I'll also use the heat gun to seal in the edges before painting it--less mess.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nesting instincts

Started on the compy nest tonight.  I made the mistake of making a list of all the undone things that I had yet to even start on...and freaked out a little.  Which resulted in me in my pjs and a coat in the garage at 10 at night (I'm sure my neighbors just adore me) spraying foam all over an inner tube.  I had bought it originally when I was considering doing a jeep photo op and had some notion of making them into tires.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Anyways, it'll make a better nest.  And I have large jumbo easter eggs coming that I'll be spray painting with that stone/speckled texture.  So I got the first layer down tonight so it can set up overnight.  I'll build up the middle and sides a little more once this first layer has set.  Foam can only be pushed so far before it crumples.  You definitely have to wait between applications if you need to build it up.

 **UPDATE**  Second look at the nest and I think it puffed up enough overnight that I don't need to do a second layer, which is great because it meant that I could proceed that much faster to the painting of the whole thing.  Downside--because the inner tube was a cheap $2 knock off, it has deflated quite a bit.  Upside--the foam had already set in place, so like a balloon in paper mache, it isn't really needed all that much.  I went ahead and spray painted it with brown basecoat, some flecks of light and dark green, but then a gentle overlay of yellow.  I wanted it to clearly be a nest rather than just a weird looking pile of rocks.  And maybe the subtlety of the distinction will get lost in the dark but it's different enough for me, so yeah.

The eggs arrived!  Yay!  I found some out of season jumbo (~6") plastic eggs.  Now I just need to spray paint them with some stone texture paint, maybe a little cream paint, and they'll be ready to go into the compy nest...and possibly use as a prop on the porch.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Living room--first draft 2016

Some first draft pictures of the living room.  Totally unfinished and it may totally change...a bit...depending on whether other projects get done.  And minus Bert.  He's been hanging out in the living room cause he's kind of delicate until I properly set him up and secure his base.  But he will actually go on the porch.  And the lighted branches might end up going on the driveway for the party if I need more light out there cause they're battery operated.  Ooh, and the fortune teller orb hasn't been set up yet.  Okay, yeah, totally a first draft.

Archway decor

While at Joann's I picked up some wood trinkets that I sicced Sam on with some glitter and paint.  They turned out gorgeous!  Quite handy with the glitter that one. She gives credit to her old people always wanting glitter on EVERYTHING.  She developed glitter skills out of self-preservation.  And they will adorn the archway of the living room into the kitchen once they've properly dried.

Summoning demons

...and other side projects.  Sam had a wee project and so we made a small trip to Joann's to pick up some proper fabric.  She had found a Ouija board blanket and she wanted a planchette pillow made to scale.  Very easy construction and out of a cheap velvety fabric.  Lou kindly photobombed the photo for scale.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


I've been trying to put together the waterfall bit by bit.  Tonight I was able to try out some of the lights and see what it's going to (very roughly) look like.  So the basic idea is to have blue netting attached from the top of the porch coming down over the bush and towards the bottom to a kiddie pool that mom found me this summer.  I'm going to turn over the kiddie pool so that it doesn't collect water, and the lights will be covered with blue tablecloths to dim the LED brightness of them.  So tonight once it was dark, I played around with how the lights under the kiddie pool and the tablecloths were going to look.  I might need to get one more set of netting to get them fully under the kiddie pool.  Then again, I'm not sure I'll need it if the rocks cover it pretty well.  There may have to be some maneuvering.  Or more rocks.  Probably both.

Initially I thought I could put my blue water gobo light behind it, but once I did, there was not really enough of a difference to make it worthwhile.  So that at least is something gained from doing a dry run.  That and looking at pretty lights.  Which is always a win.

Lou photoboming the waterfall
Not a just kind of looks it.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Quickie Quilt

Quilt from Discount Fabric Warehouse in Kona.
My (much smaller) Halloween interpretation.
I...I made a quilt.  No, not that one I had planned to make (and totally...probably...maybe still will), the one I got it into my head to make at 10 pm last night.  Admittedly not my finest decision making window.  It started when I was looking around at the living room and my eye fell on the bright rainbow quilt of my grandmother's that I hung up when I inherited a bunch of her quilt and wall hangings when she passed away.  Now I like it, but it doesn't exactly scream Halloween decor--in fact it kind of detracts.  I realized it was going to have to come down.  But I couldn't immediately think of anything to put up in its place.  Maybe a not-late-night brain could have come up with something, but what popped into my head was a flash of this quilt I saw in a fabric store in Hawaii recently that because of the way the fabric is laid out, it gives the optical illusion of a woven pattern.  Theirs was much more elaborate, had gradients, and many colors--much more professionally done, but I really liked the woven look.  So I checked what fabric I had that was Halloween esque.  Lots of black, white and orange.  I also looked around for the pattern--a "rail quilt" and got some suggestions for how to measure proportions and such.  I sewed 5 long 2 inch strips together (black, orange, white, orange black) then cut the large strip into 8x8 inch blocks.  I made 24 blocks then just turned them.  Sewed them all up, pretty basic construction.  I lightly quilted it with some straight lines, then bound it with some leftover black bias tape.  I love how it turned out, and while I'm a bit tired, I consider it well worth the lack of sleep.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Jurassic Park Gate (Check back for updates)

Having gotten some of the supplies to start on the big Jurassic Park gate, I went ahead and started the long gluing process.  Long in the sense that liquid nails takes around 7 days to fully dry.  And for all of my careful measurements about how many sheets of styrofoam I would need, I got started only to discover that I had (somewhat stupidly...okay, super stupidly) had only gotten enough supplies for one tower.  Dur.  I mean, one tower at a time will be fine to do.  I just had it in my head that I had ALL the supplies...not half.  *sigh*  ANYways.
 I got started at least on stripping the metallic edges off of the styrofoam so that I could glue the sides together.  Each tower will be about 8 feet high, and in two sections/blocks that will stack on top of each other and be 18x18 at the base, 16x16 at the top. Possibly with bricks in between the sections for weight.  While I was waiting for those to dry a little I also got in some practice time with the brick work and heat gun.  Basically I made the lines for the brick work with a wood burner tool, which gives the basic outline.  Then I went over those lines with a heat gun set on low to widen the lines and to add texture to the "brick".  I like the technique but I haven't technically tried it a whole lot, so I wanted to see what level of difficulty I'd be dealing with.  Turns out, pretty low.  I also painted it with the leftover gray paint I'm intending to use just to see how it's going to look in the end.  I just hope I have enough paint.  It's what I've used on all the gravestones and various projects.  And I've still got half a can left after all of that, so I'm hoping it'll cover everything.  Lots of projects to do in the meantime...and to get the other half of the gate supplies...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Plethora of Pillows

One of my goals over the last few years has been to make some nicer pieces for Halloween with quilting and such; there are so many gorgeous items out there, it's hard not to want to try them all.  So this year's contribution has been the Haunted Hill wall hanging, and now some blocks to go up next to it, along with some pillows/pillowcases to haunt up things a bit.  For this body pillow, I pulled out the old thermobond and adhered some spider silhouettes I found onto some bright fabric.  I picked a spiderweb pattern for the background, adhered the spiders to them, and then sewed it into a pillowcase for one of my body pillows.  Making a pillowcase instead of just a pillow allows for less bulky packing away of things, and it allows me to use things I already have.  That said, I'm also making a bunch of just stuffed pillows, though much smaller than this.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Painting Dinos (Part 5)

Suzie got a paint job today along with some scales.  The scales (aka pieces of foam) went down first with some hot glue.  After that a primer coat of white went on so that the yellow would be bright enough.  With the scales on it started to look pretty reptilian.  So the yellow coat went on so that it would show through the cracks between foam pieces.  The brown coat went on very lightly, mostly trying to catch it on the textures of the foam pieces and the ridges from the great stuff foam.  Started to look pretty cool.  I wanted the whole effect to be not too dark as the porch will be pretty dark, and the foliage will be hiding much of her anyways.  It doesn't hurt to have the dino/color be brighter than I would normally make a dinosaur.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Comic Con 2016

I took a break from Halloween projects and went off to Comic Con for a couple of days.  As is the case every year, being able to interact with wonderfully creative and geeky people is always an incredible, overwhelming and ultimately humbling experience.  I dressed up in my Fawkes costume for Thursday, then had to switch to my Luna Lovegood hat on Friday because EVANNA LYNCH (aka Luna Lovegood) CAME TO COMIC CON!!!!  And her panel was just so lovely and thoughtful and she spoke from the pov of a true HP fan, which was refreshing and *sigh* just swell.  I also went ahead and got her autograph which was a new experience and gave me a chance to actually meet her and chat for a minute or so.  She liked and asked questions about my hat and rubbed the nose affectionately.  Then in our photo op she recognized me and did another pat on the lion snout with a bit of a laugh.  The whole thing was just a huge highlight, especially as I've been going as Luna Lovegood for...4(?) cons and then to meet the embodiment of her was surreal and amazing.

Lots of awesome cosplay to be seen and some great panels.  Saturday I've gotten into the habit of just going in a nerdy shirt and kind of allowing myself to relax, not have to worry about navigating a costume or being stopped every five minutes for a picture (which is an awesome experience, but after two days it gets a little old).  I stayed longer than I intended, but I wasn't completely exhausted when I got back, just a little...needing to regrow the shattered personal bubble.  And definitely needing some quiet after the loud whooping and yelling.