Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy (Almost) New Year!

Here's to a New Year filled with health, wealth, love, friendship and creativity! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

...And God bless us, every one!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Secret Santa Can Suck It

I take part in this wondrous tradition every year. Shadow Manor's Secret Santa Can Suck It is a virtual gift-swap. Since you don't have to spend any money, the sky's the limit.

This year, my giftee is Pixel Pixie, of Cuz I Said Sew. Since she like sewing so much, I thought I'd upgrade her machine to this:
It's only a $9,999.99 super-duper industrial embroidering/sewing machine with all these features:
  • Sewing-and-embroidery machine with LCD touch screen for easy stitch selection and editing
  • 67 built-in stitches, 98 stitch functions, and 10 styles of 1-step automatic buttonholes
  • 70 built-in embroidery designs, 5 monogramming fonts, and 120 frame pattern combinations
  • Automatic needle threader; 15 needle positions; maximum embroidery field of 4 by 4 inches
Then I thought, well, you can't sew without fabric, so I decided she needed an all expense paid trip for two to the L.A. Fashion District! It's the place to go for every imaginable kind of fabric, thread, trim and whatever else a sewing enthusiast could possibly need:
"Welcome to the LA Fashion District, the hub of the Los Angeles Fashion Industry. We have 100 blocks of independently owned retail and wholesale businesses with apparel, accessories, and footwear for the entire family. The district is also home to The LA Flower District – including the LA Flower Market, the largest flower market in the USA, and the California Flower Mall; Santee Alley – the famed downtown open air bazaar; and the LA Fabric District – with the largest selection of fabrics and notions in Southern California.
The district is open to both the public and the trade. Designer showrooms and wholesale business are for the trade-only. However, the Santee Alley and retailers in the surrounding area are open to the public, as are many of the businesses on the west side of the district. Showrooms open to the public on the last Friday of the month for sample sales."
Lastly, but certainly not least, Pixel Pixie and her pal will get a tour of the legendary Western Costume facility!
.
Western Costume has costumed Hollywood since 1912. It is one of the oldest and largest costume companies in the world! Its history is too long to post here, but rest assured, Western Costume has supplied landmark films with the most glorious and iconic costumes ever to grace the silver screen.

Enjoy your gift, Pixel Pixie! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Thrill of Victory --

--And the agony of defeat.
My sieve, and the metal rib I use to push it through
the screen into the bucket of water.
My life is all about the glamor.
So after my adventure with mixing my glazes, it was time to apply them and load up the kiln for a cone 5 firing. Here are some of the results: 
Sometimes, victory is balanced by defeat. I guess it keeps me humble.

Remember that bowl I was working on forever ago? I had layered a bunch of underglazes and carved some flowers into them, revealing the layers.
 
I'd waited until I had a full kiln load for cone 5 before I glazed and fired it.

Epic fail. Bubbles and all manner of ugliness. Honestly, I should have done some test tiles, first, but... Well. I didn't.
 I guess I have a new planter! Soon, though, I'll have the technique down. I have time to play with it now. 

At least the gifts I had made turned out well! Closer shots of those coming soon!

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Easier Pace

In spite of the fact that I'm always busy, regardless of the season, this time of year is a little slower for me where the studio is concerned.

It gives me an opportunity to slow down and play with new techniques and ideas, make a few Christmas gifts and try out some new glazes and glaze combinations.
 Of course, I'm still emotionally and spiritually ready to win a measly $5 million in the lottery, so I can go back to doing this every day, but that's another story!

I made up some dipping glazes this weekend, which is a bit of a rigamarole because the dry ingredients need to be sieved into the water. I do it by hand since I don't yet have the rotary sieve kit, so it takes a while!
And because the powder form of the chemicals and minerals used in glazes are pretty nasty to inhale, I got to wear my sexy NIOSH mask!

I do have a mixing attachment for my drill, which enables me to wear some of my glazes. You know, just to try them on...
I was reminded of the "Distractingly Sexy" Twitter campaign that I saw earlier this year once I took a look at this picture. Because really, this has got to be my sexiest look,ever!

I'll post some pics of the finished pieces, of course.

And at some point, I'll post video of this year's haunt and a bunch of the other stuff I haven't gotten around to posting as of yet.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas at ShellHawk's Creations

 It's time for ornaments and pretty serving plates at the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store!
These make great hostess gifts, stocking stuffers for those who just can't have enough Christmas ornaments, or fun Secret Santa gifts.
Click here for more!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Shop Small Saturday!

Remember that in all the furor of getting the best deal from the big box store, there are craftspeople hand making one-of-a-kind gifts for you and your whole Christmas list, giving you the opportunity to buy from the maker! There are small shop owners in your area who have just the thing you need, too. Making your purchases locally will make their Christmas more successful and keep their doors open so you can continue to buy from them in the coming years.

We appreciate your business. We appreciate your support. Thank you!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Monsterpappa

The wonderful work of Monsterpappa!

More here.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Work Space

It's where some of my heart lives....

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guest Post: DIY Halloween Decorating by Jane Blanchard of Modernize.Com

Thanks to Jane Blanchard of Modernize.com for sending over some alternative decorating ideas!

Much like other holidays, setting up for Halloween can be expensive. The Halloween decoration industry is a multi-million dollar enterprise and since retailers only sell Halloween decorations in the fall, they are aiming to make as much money as possible from their customers.

However, you do have an alternative to boring prepackaged Halloween decorations - you can make them yourself! Not only will you save a pretty penny creating your own do it yourself Halloween decorations you can include the entire family in the process to really get into the Halloween spirit.

Upside Down Bats For Indoor or Outdoor Use

These bats will remind visitors to your home of a creepy bat cave...Batman not included. These construction paper bats are easy to make and add just the right ambiance to your indoor or outdoor Halloween decorating area.

To start out you find a bat shaped template which you can find pretty much anywhere on the web- basically just a black bat printed on a white piece of paper. You then cut the black part out and you have your template. Whatever template you choose will have creases that you will fold over which you hold in place using masking tape. The Halloween.com bats and Martha Stewart Hanging Bats templates are both very popular for this purpose. Once you finish creating the bats using your black construction paper go ahead and hole punch the bottom of the bat and put a Halloween themed string through to hang them up. Many people like black or orange but feel free to go wild.
Indoor/Outdoor Halloween Gravestones
What better way to get guests and trick or treaters in the Halloween spirit than with a creepy crawly set of tombstones on your front lawn? These tombstones are very DIY-friendly and they allow you to show a little bit of your personal humor while creating an unsettling and very Halloween vibe.

The first step is to get some spare wood (try the discount section of your local home improvement store) and have it cut into a tombstone shape. After this you may decorate to your heart's content.

Lots of people like putting some grey paint in paper mache to color the gravestone and then using either sharpie or black paint to imprint the names. Oftentimes people will use humorous sayings on the tombstones such as the name of a rival sports team or the end of a waning fad.

Carved Pumpkins
This is the most common but not necessarily the easiest DIY Halloween decoration. The nice part about DIY pumpkin carving is the fact that you can repeat this decoration year after year likely improving your skills each year. It is also a great activity for the entire family; even if you have young kids who aren’t quite ready to handle the knife, they can help by pulling out all of the ooey gooey pumpkin guts and they will have a blast. 

It is a good idea to pick up a decent quality pumpkin carving set and some carving templates if you want to go beyond the traditional jack-o-lantern. Just put the template over the pumpkin and carve away. There are no ends to what you can achieve carving pumpkins so feel free to experiment.

For more design ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Nightmares

Sculptures by Matthew J. Levin. More of his art here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

364 Days left!

Art by Unkle Pigors of Toxictoons.

I didn't take many pictures this year, but I do have a little video I hope to get to in a few days! Hope your Halloween was wonderful!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Big Show

For us, it's the day of days. Some of us work all year for today. Those of us who don't, often at least think of it all year.
I built my haunt when I had more time, before ceramics came along and gave me a creative outlet I didn't realize I missed having. So it hasn't changed a whole lot over the years. This year was pretty busy, so honestly, I haven't even gotten my projections set up and those may just not happen. Whatever! No one knows but me, right? 
The point is to enjoy the day, the long shadows, the fog, the screams and the giggles of delight. The shouts of, "Trick or treat!" The compliments of the parents on the work you've done. The smell of the candles toasting the jack-o'-lanterns.
Enjoy the show. Don't worry that it's not what you envisioned. It's the tradition you're carrying on that's important!
Happy Hallowe'en, my dears!

Remember the Rules of Halloween!

If you need a refresher course on the rules of Halloween, click on the pic for a YouTube series on the subject. Hit, "Play All," and sit back to watch the fun!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Spider Rider

It turns out I live a few short blocks away from Spider Rider. Looking forward to ambling over to his place to check out his evil works this year...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hauntcast PM - Guy Fawker's Day

The latest Hauntcast is out, and will help get you in the mood for Saturday's Hallowe'en shenanigans!
HAUNTING GURU INTERVIEW: Haunters for life, August & Pandora Rose are a thorn in Chris’ side as the take over the dungeon. 
THEATER OF THE MIND: Everything’s a haunt! Rev gets ready for the annual sci-fi con and observes the universality of obsession, creativity, geekiness, and showmanship. 
GHOULIE GROOVES: Tau Cross burns up the airwaves and the bonfire. 
CHARMED POT: Our Mistress of Mayhem spins a tale of Horror. 
PROP SHOP: Denny adds some texture to your pops during last looks. 
SHOCKTAILS: JT and Chris chug pumpkin ales until the can barely review Editor and Lost after Dark.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Do You Have the Halloween Spirit? Personal Creations Guest Blog

According to Personal Creations' Halloween infographic, over 80% of of Americans stop trick or treating before they turn 14. Can you imagine that each year spending on this holiday reaches about $7 billion? This figure seems to be on the rise too! 

Halloween is a great time for families to get together and celebrate. Some keep it low-key and just hand out candy, while others deck their lawns out in decorations and carved pumpkins. It seems like most households participate on this day, but Personal Creations took a deeper look into the numbers behind it. They even ran their own survey for some of this data! Check out the findings below, or see more Halloween and seasonal posts on their blog.
American Halloween Spirit

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Haunted Mansion

Click on the pic for a nifty article about Disney's Haunted Mansion!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bob Lizarraga Shares Halloween Musings

I'll turn this post over to my talented artist friend, Bob Lizarraga:
As a kid, I’d prepare at least a month in advance (now its 2 months)! Mr. Hyde and The Wolfman were always my favorite monsters, so it was a great excuse to drag my mother to “higher end” shops that offered the wool crepe hair and professional make-up.

Imagining myself a Junior Lon Chaney, I’d spend hours creeping up and down the aisles of the Hollywood Magic Store, or Buddy’s Fun Shop on Lankershim Blvd. Buddy was a kindly old proprietor with one leg shorter than the other, and he’d perform feats of magic for customers— he’d only show you how the trick was done if you made a purchase. Nothing like a dark and mysterious magic shop to fuel the imagination…

Which brings to mind a question I’m asked on occasion: “What scared you as a child?”

I’m pretty jaded as far as “scary stuff” in film, haunts, art, or whatever, but there are some childhood scares that will forever stick in my spine:


1. An episode of TV’s Alfred Hitchcock Presents entitled “The Magic Shop”, of course, about a very peculiar, gifted child. David Opatoshu is the CREEPY proprietor.

2. That FACE in the wall of 1963’s THE HAUNTING.

3. A little person (or child??), dressed as a murderous ventriloquist dummy, in a film called Devil Doll.

4. The guy with his eyes pecked out in Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS, and while we’re at it, Norman’s mother doing her rocking chair spin in PSYCHO.

5. Victor Buono.

6. And finally, a dream I once had of being chased out of my house by a malevolent washing machine, all the way to the local park, where it moved through the sandbox like a shark, its gaping maw lunging at me while my feet sank the more I struggled…

I used to be able to shake myself awake during a nightmare when I was young— I’ve since lost that ability. I’m very lucky I don’t have bad dreams anymore (well, at least hardly ever).

Bob Lizarraga
October, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Les Frission Des Vampires

Beautiful design!

More great horror movie posters here.

And for what's wrong with today's movie posters, click here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Horror

If I saw this staring in my window, I'd be all, "Wow! Great makeup!"

Hat tip to Craig Hoffman!
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