Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Thing

The Thing. John Carpenter. Blu-Ray. Widescreen. Collector's Edition.

I rented it the other day because I hadn't seen it in a very long time, and I remembered good things about it.

I remembered right. The gore has held up pretty well over the years. Some of the effects show as a little cheeseball now, in light of how far CG has come, but I still love the story what I call the "ten little indians" factor. One at a time, people drop, until...

You crap your pants at the next scare!

Can't wait to see the commentary in the extras. Get it here.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Raku Day

As you all know, I've been in a pottery class with an emphasis on the Japanese Raku style. Thursday was the last day of class, and we spent the day glazing and then firing the pieces we had made in the Raku kiln on our teacher's property.
Here's a load of bisque ware waiting to be glazed.
Here's the kiln loaded with glazed pieces.

The firings had to be done in small batches, because the pieces have to be kept at 1800 degrees until they're ready to be taken out of the kiln, one at a time, with a set of tongs, and put into the reduction material.

After it's put into the reduction material (something organic, like hay or leaves), the pieces are then covered with a bucket, or somehow have the oxygen cut off.
The tub that was used for this particular batch was then partially buried to further seal off the oxygen. We then waited for around twenty minutes or so to uncover the pieces.


Though you can't really tell from these pics, or even the video, when the piece is removed from the organic material and cooled a little, the colors begin to react to the oxygen that hits the piece. We could see the colors changing before our eyes as the pieces began to cool.

They were then plunged into a big tub of water while still hot. This is my piece after it came out of the tub and got scrubbed to remove the carbon from the glaze.
Here's the process of removing the red-hot pieces and putting them into the reduction:


And then being removed from the reduction and allowed to cool before plunging them into the water bath.

And here is moi with my finished piece.

What a great experience!

Glidden Giveaway

If you want a free quart of paint, go to Glidden: https://www.glidden.com/promotions/free-paint-giveaway.do

Friday, June 26, 2009

Zombie Shoes: Made For Shambling

Thanks again to style guru Spooky Madison for this badass pair of shoes! For the girl who becomes a zombie, but still wants to have shoes that emphasize her decaying calves and downplay any unsightly scraps of skin that may be hanging down. Whew! Can't wait for a pair of my own!

Get them here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Didn't Know You Were Reading an Award-Winning Blog, Didja?

I received this award from MarZel at The Play of Light and Shadow blog. Wow! Time to pass it on to folks. I'm sure my choices won't shock anyone...

1) Pumpkin Rot, for his endless dedication to Halloween: the images, the props, the atmosphere.
2) SpookyBlue, for his sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, yet always wonderful posts.
3) Dave Lowe Design: The Blog, for Niece Devin updates, and sharing both personal and professional, and cool prop-building ideas.
4) The Shadow Farm, props for some fantastic props!
5) Haunt Style, for finding the coolest stuff that I didn't know I couldn't live without!
6) Badder Homes and Gardens. Because, that's why!
7) The Art of Darkness, for the best link dumps. Ever.

Pass it on, kids.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another for Fire

I made this for class and he's getting fired as we speak. We'll see how he turns out!
If I'd had longer, I would have added wings. The good thing/bad thing about a short/intense class is that I'm not tempted to start huge projects (like poor Gnorman), or add huge amounts of detail.
I think I hear Gnorman rattling around in his bucket in the Garage of Doom. I'll have to start piecing him together soon...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tongues and Noses

Taxidermy has always seemed an odd pasttime to me. I know. Coming from me, that's quite a statement.

Blog bud Dave Lowe sent me the link to this place, Van Dyke's Taxidermy, originally for a horse form on sale (think Headless Horseman). Of course, I had to look around at other stuff while I was there.Yes, you, too can be the proud owner of cougar jaws.


Or wild boar jaws.
Or a coyote nose.

I know I can find a use for these in my props...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Waiting for the Fire

A few pieces I'll be firing soon.

Friday, June 19, 2009

News From the Nest

This week was pretty intense. I'm taking a class in Raku pottery for college credit. I had heard from several students who were in my ceramics class last semester that my teacher was really great with the pottery wheel, and if I wanted to get some good practice and instruction, this was the guy to learn from. They were absolutely right.
Source.
Brian Hayes goes into detail without overwhelming you, and shares his passion for the art and the Japanese culture while encouraging every single student to stretch themselves to do the best work they can do. He taught me a few new throwing techniques this week, and it was like a light went on for me. A large chunk of frustration dropped away, and my wheel work has started to click for me. Give me seven or eight years and a ton of teaching, and I'll be a flippin' awesome potter! Needless to say, I have enjoyed this week's class enormously!

In other news, Mr. ShellHawk and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary. We have both been in pretty poopy relationships before, so we're really grateful to have each other and we enjoy a huge level of peace in our marriage. This anniversary, Mr. ShellHawk surprised me by telling me we are going to Safari West, which is close to the Napa area.

A little chunk of Africa, close to home. I am really looking forward to it! We will be taking our mascot with us for pictures with various critters and patient (and likely, confused-looking) people.

I'll post again on Monday! Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Delivery From Parts Rotten

Most of you by now have noticed my nearly fawning worship of Pumpkin Rot's work. His props, his lighting and control of mood, his attention to detail, (down to the scent of the candles, no less!) are things I admire tremendously. These are not easy elements to master, yet, he has.

I mentioned once in the comment section of someone's blog (goodness knows whose blog it was, 'cause it was a long time ago and I'm too freakin' exhausted from school to locate the exact post) that if I had a windfall of money, I would buy one of Pumpkin Rot's props.

Last week, he posted on his blog that he would be selling some of his creepy door hangers on Etsy. What's a haunted soul and sycophant like me to do? I had to buy one.


The package arrived yesterday. It lurked in the mailbox, huddled in the back to avoid the sun's rays. I reached in to grab it, ignoring the twitch as it lurched into my hand, like Wednesday Addams ignoring the outraged meow and violent kick of the cat she was burying alive. I piled into my car and drove up the block to my house.

Once inside, I cast aside the bills (who cares about the Pacific Gas and Electric bill in the face of dark greatness?!) and reverently laid it on my dining room table. I snatched a knife from the kitchen to cut through the packing tape...
...revealing the dark goodies inside. ("I have pencils! And a sticker! And candy!" I crowed in triumph. My husband and dogs looked at me with that certain forbearing look. I'm sure you know what that look is.) I'm sure Rot's darling Bean packed it, because it's such a gothy-girly touch to include the little skull suckers and other Hallowe'en stuff in a package.I delicately peeled away the charming skeleton sticker from the goth-purple tissue paper...

It was Hallowe'en porn; like getting an advance copy of Trick 'R Treat, but more satisfying.

It was like a burlesque performance for darklings as I savored the slow unwrapping of this self-gifting fun. I almost couldn't hold back from shredding every last tissue to get at my ultimate goal.

Then, finally, the last feather fan dropped away to reveal the art within:

Mr. ShellHawk came and and asked if he could see. He peered into the box, not having to feign interest. "Wow," he said, "That's cool."

When it comes to Hallowe'en stuff, this comment is Mr. ShellHawk's rim of hysteria. I was pleased.

At this point, there was nothing for it but to run to the door, throw it open, and hang the thing. (Thanks, Pumpkin Rot, for such great work!)
And admire it. And take pics to share with you.
Hmm. I feel flushed. I think I need a cigarette.

But wait! I don't even smoke!


Pumpkin Hollow Shop here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

U.K. Hallowe'en

I saw a post over on 'rot's site regarding English pumpkins, and thought I'd rip off a perfectly good idea and do a search on U.K. Hallowe'en. I still think Pumpkinrot is far more classy than I, though. Be that as it may... I came up with this pic from Coolest Homemade Costumes. I think I enjoyed hearing that the U.S. is bigger on Halloween than the U.K. as much as the costume. Kid looks kind of ticked off, huh?This poster for a club rave really caught my eye, as well. This child is smiling because she's happy she doesn't have to be subjugated to "pleasant" office chat at the cooler and satisfy herself that a cube is her destiny. It's obvious this spike through her head has ended it all for her and she is relieved. And she has the bones of her enemies draped around her neck as a caution for anyone who would piss her off. Makes you want to be a zombie, too, she looks so chipper!This pic proves why cousins shouldn't marry. Asterix and Obelix, indeed! This is the U.K.'s version of Deliverance gone wild!
All in all, though, I far prefer the U.S. Halloween. Where else but in Our Nation's Capitol can you see the Drag Queen Drag Race? (I'm pretty sure this is Marilyn...)

I once worked in Hollywood, and my office was on Sunset Boulevard. Every so often, you could see someone walking by in equally intersesting dress. Like this woman:
whom I used to see whizzing down Sunset in her pink Corvette. Yes, in Hollywood, it's Halloween every day.

I do miss the drag queens, though. They were so sweet!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Zombie Hooker Nightmare

WARNING! THIS POST IS COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE FOR THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 18.

Even though they'd probably kick some serious ass at this because they have nothing better to do than play computer games all day long anyway. Zombie Hooker Nightmare is an Adult Swim Game that I've found addictive, and yes, gory and slutty, too. (What can I say? It's an alluring combination.)

Also, go to Mr. Macabre's blog and suck up a little for Southern goodies. A little sucking up never hurt anyone.



Monday, June 15, 2009

Sale!

After I posted yesterday's fog machine sale, (and in honor of my 3000th hit on this blog- who knew?) I decided to go searching for more deals for you all.

Firstly, a deal from my very own little hands, direct to you through the magic of eBay: goggles. I did a paint mod on two sets of brazing goggles so they have a metallic look to them, with just a touch of rust, as if they'd been in use by a mad scientist for a long time.
This set is item #190314381732.
This one is item #190314380952. I'm also donating 10% of the sales to Second Chance Animal Rescue & Adoptions, so when you buy these, you can not only look cool, but be cool for supporting a good charity!

Skeleton Factory is having quite the sale, offering 4th quality Buckys with stand for $135.95 (without stand, $104.95), and first quality with stand for $178.95. You can also get yourself a nice dog or bat skeleton for a doggone (heh!) good deal, too.







If you have always just had to have a set of vampire or werewolf claws, now is your chance! You can get a set for $19.95 from Mostly Dead. And if you're cursed with perfect dentition, you can pick up a set of Moria Orc teeth to make yourself look really ghoulish and give your dentist fits at the same time.




What Reaper would be complete without a scythe? Trouble is, sometimes you can't find them at the local antique store when you want them, and even then, they're heavy or sometimes even inadvisable to use in a haunt setting. Enter the foam scythe from Full Moon Masks. If you can pony up the $186.95. The sale only knocks off $13 from this prop. Looks cool, though...






Lastly, for our furry brethren who are not werewolves (yet) and are being laughed at by all the cool dogs in the 'hood: They will laugh no more when your dog shows up to the graveyard for a howl in his uber-cool, very chic and sexy vampire costume from Bad Planet Costumes. Thank goodness he already comes with his very own fangs.Those pussy pit bulls will have to stand back and acknowledge him as the dominant in the pack/kiss.Let them grovel. (Suck it, Killer!) Your baby deserves a little worship once in a while!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Little of Everything

I was looking around for a fog machine for the stirring witch prop I'm making (please don't tell my husband) when I ran across this great deal at Halloween Effects: a 400 watt fog machine, a pint of fog juice (which I'd get rid of and use my Froggy's Fog instead because it' non-toxic) an 18" black light, and a strobe for $49.99.

Cheap DJ Gear also has a 1/2 price sale
on fog machines, so now might be the time to grab one!

I've been working hard in the Garage of Doom. I've started to throw some pots which will be turned into maniacal pumpkins to sell. Some are already drying before they get fired, though I'll have to make a bunch more before running my kiln, as the electric bill is sure to be horrendous!
I've also been working on my stirring witch project, inspired by the fantastic "Bottle Lady" prop made by Dave the Dead. He told me he based his on the one made by Scare FX, and it's a pretty good tutorial. The only frustration I've been having is the way the instructions are written out. I'm new at building, and I tend to think of project instructions in terms of reading a recipe. Spooky Blue's project how-tos are written like this, and I love them! He lists all your materials first, so you have a list to take with you to the store. Scare FX does not do a materials list to start with, and I usually find I've missed a vital piece of hardware the second I get home from a trip to the hardware store to get materials for this project. Grrrrr! Of course, part of this is being new to building, as my husband has pointed out to me, and part of the learning curve; i.e. if you have to screw something in, you need what size screws and how many? I also discovered I forgot to order an extra power supply and connectors from Monster Guts, so it's time to make another order. *sigh*

Speaking of Monster Guts, I don't think I've mentioned what great service they give. I ordered my wiper motor and my gearhead motor from them for this project, and my order was shipped almost
immediately and at my door before I could blink. I got the "Power Pack," which includes the wiper motor and power supply. Super convenient!

Not only that, but I got a cute skull ring, and my invoice was signed by the owner. What a nice touch! Thanks, Monster Guts!

Well, it's time to drive back to the hardware store for yet more missing parts. Hope you have a great Sunday!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lubatti Designs

I have a habit of prowling the forums for interesting things to share with you, and sometimes, I'm lucky enough to be granted an interview with the most fascinating folks in the haunt world. Today's interview is one of those great strokes of luck in that the fascinating person came to me.
Erich Lubatti is the proprietor of Lubatti Designs Unlimited, and he gets to make masks for a living! Erich, 41, lives in Rancho Cucamonga, California, with his wife,two kids, and a dog and cat. Aside from being amazingly talented in the design and fabrication of masks, Erich also lucked out in marrying a fellow Halloween fanatic.
Erich has been making his own rubber monsters for twenty years, mostly for the Halloween and film industries. He also does special effects.
Erich was put on the haunter's path at a young age. Influenced (as most of us were) by Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, Erich also had a mom who loved horror movies.

"She encouraged me as a little kid to play Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Dracula, etc. My father didn't object, either.
By three years of age, I was acting out scenes from all of the classic Universal horror films! That tiny spark of interest continued to grow naturally as I grew. Halloween was always a major holiday in our house growing up. Around 10, I started decorating the front porch and front yard of the family home."

I asked Erich how he got started in the mask-making field.

"It just seemed like a natural progression from what I was doing strictly for fun as a kid. I learned that there was a market for my skills. So, I just gravitated toward it. I've done what is referred to as "Lab Work" for a few special makeup effects shops. That's where a person performs some of the more menial tasks like mold-making, casting, etc., etc. Some of the films I've directly worked on include: "The Beer Creatures", "Nightwalkers", "Dead Things", "The Road Virus Heads North", "ZMF". And, there are two other films in pre-production right now."
"We also supply a large number of custom masks for numerous actors at Knott's Halloween Haunt every year. A lot of my masks come from what I would like to have seen as a kid. I don't really have a lot of nightmares that provide me with a bunch of potential masks or props. So, I try to stay on top of whatever the current market trends may be. Zombies are a constant. I try not to make many replicas from movie characters. The ones that I do make of popular characters are mainly commissioned by private collectors.""Good old Red Jack [above] is our signature mask. Red Jack is a Burton-esque character with a large, messed up top hat and a wicked grin on his face. He's our mascot, so to speak. He's one of the first original masks I sculpted under the name Lubatti Designs Unlimited."
Erich started his company in 1997, after he stopped working for another company in the same business.

"I wanted to branch out on my own and give the public something different. I hadn't become aware of the Internet, at that time, so I was relatively clueless that there were entire online communities dedicated to collecting high-end monster masks. It's been an amazing journey ever since! Selling mainly direct to the public. "Erich and his family still manage to decorate for Halloween, though they, like some of us, have seen a dropoff in trick-or-treaters.

"
We decorate our home every year for Halloween. But, we haven't made the jump into a full-fledged home haunt, yet. We'd really like to, though! Usually, by the time October 31st comes around, all of our energies have been spent trying to get all orders out in time to reach the customers. For us, October is an awful lot like December at Santa's Workshop -- CRUNCH TIME!!!"

"We saw a MAJOR decline in TOTs last year. It was sad, actually. We took our own kids into a different neighborhood and there were HUNDREDS of people (children, teens and adults) out on the streets! It was the wildest thing."

His neighbors don't seem to mind his masks or his decorating, and he hasn't received any negative feedback from them. "Or they're too afraid to say anything!" he quips.

He keeps his hand in other parts of the haunt world, as well.

"Aside from HauntSpace, I am part of the HHVA (Halloween & Haunt Vendors Association). It's a forum put together by Kevin Alvey, of Gore Galore, for vendors like Lubatti Designs Unlimited, Mr. Skeleton and Gore Galore (among many, many others) to support each other and discuss issues within our industry. Sort of like a union....but not."

Erich is having a sale on his website now through June 21, so if you're looking for a cool mask, now might be the time to pony up for it.

I am working on that stirring witch project... Hmmm.