Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Does This Tombstone Make My Butt Look Big?

This past weekend, I was overjoyed to find that I had no homework assignments due at school (Sure I had an essay to start researching, but it's not due for a couple of weeks), so I spent nearly every waking moment in the Garage of Doom, working on Beloved and other stuff. Above, Beloved has her Drylok on. I did the tea-staining step a couple of days before. In Terra's tombstone tutorial, she recommends you take a small amount of paint on your brush and dip it in water before you apply it to the tombstone. I like this approach, and I also tried something a little different, just to play around with another technique. I took a brush and wet down the tombstone, then took a brush with a bit of dark gray paint on it and swiped it over the watered area. When done right, the paint spreads over the area in a sort of watercolor fashion. The bleed looks good, you just have to keep an eye out for water drips. After I did the paint swipe, I went back over the area with a watered-down fan brush if the paint looked too dark and stripey.
A couple of days later, I started the dry-brushing part of Beloved's paint job. This is that part where you take lightly grayed paint , load your brush, wipe most of the paint off on a paper towel, and go to town. This really gives a prop dimension.
Dry-brush step: complete!One thing I am concerned about is the fact that I couldn't fit any paper towels into the holes in her hair, because I laid her hair out very closely. I can only hope that no rain gets in there and starts to melt her. That would be a major pisser.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Love Boat

In keeping with the silliness of the other day... Yes, I promise I'll get back to Halloween soon!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just a Couple of Hours Left

Less watching. More buying! Just two hours left to catch the jacko joy! Click on the pic on the upper right to be taken to the page of pumpkins. Good luck!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Will You Be

...a day late and a dollar short? Pumpkins on their last day on eBay. Free shipping, $15-$20. How could you not want one?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Convo at the Nest

ShellHawk shuts off the DVD player after watching the "Extras" at the end of Young Frankenstein.

ShellHawk: Honey?
Mr. ShellHawk: Yeah, Sweetheart.
ShellHawk: Do you think we could make a Tesla Coil for next year?
Mr. ShellHawk: We'd have to figure out how to create a vacuum...

ShellHawk: We've got one of those food-sucker things. That's the same thing, right?
Mr. ShellHawk: (grunts)

You wish You Were Me

And this is why... Tonight, after hours of prop building, I will go to Montoliva Vineyard, with my sweetheart at my side. We will sample a new wine, have some pizza, and watch, outdoors, one of the all-time best films: Young Frankenstein.
The temperature at night only drops into the 60s at around 3:00 A.M., and it's been in the 100s off and on for weeks. Tonight should be perfect. Hubby and I have been so busy, it's just been a kiss goodnight and we're asleep, so it'll be nice to have a date night and have some face time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a Silly Place

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Qualified Helper!

This is the year the cemetery fence has to go up. I simply can't have people poking, kicking, tripping over (and suing), etc., my props. Also, it at least serves as a mild deterrent to thievery, too. So Saturday, as the mercury in the garage hung around 100 degrees, a brave guy from my CalHaunts group showed up to help me with that, and also a prop1 controller setup for my zombie groundbreaker. (Thank all the gods for that. I would have NO clue how to set that up!)

It was up to me to start cutting pipe, and up to him to start measuring the cross beams for where to drill the holes for the PVC. I realized that drilling and cutting couldn't happen at the same time, and my buddy had to head for home at 2:00p.m. I called a neighbor to beg for drilling help. He came by and said the magic words: "I have a drill press. Let me take these over to the house to get them done." After he was done, he also loaned me his brad nail gun, which cut my labor in half. I would have had to drill pilot holes, than screw in a bunch of screws to hold the pipes to the furring strips. What a pain in the royal behind that would have been! What a guy! I really need to bake him some brownies...

My husband actually came out at one point, found out I had the neighbor drilling, and asked, "How the Hell do you get people to do this stuff for you?" Just charming, I guess...
Another friend, pictured below, stopped by to help. He's great with the spray paint.
Here's a somewhat finished fence panel, next to one that needs some finishing. It does need a patina treatment, but we'll have to see how the time goes. It may have to stay plain black this year. I picked up the finials at King Architectural Metals for pretty cheap, so if you need some, that's the place to go. I took the brad nail gun to the finials, as well, so I didn't have to screw them on. Since the nails poked out the other side, I cut the poky ends with wire cutters, so at least any vandals won't cut themselves and sue me.

The fence is going to look fantastic with the fog, etc, that I have planned for the yard. Tonight, which is the unofficial Cocktail Night in the Garage of Doom, there will be some more extra hands to help out. Maybe it'll cool off to 90 degrees by then...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Jim Shore Witch

A few months ago, a girlfriend of mine came up from L.A. for a visit. As we were walking along Sutter Street in Old Town Folsom, we came across this store. It's one of those places that sells the country-style tchotchkes that pretty much would never see the light of day in my house. Since we were just having a stroll and chatting, we went in.

It's one of those places that has Christmas decorations for sale year round. (BTW, my local Home Depot has already removed Halloween and put up Christmas. Ick.)

Imagine my surprise when I saw this little beauty. Sorry for the photo quality. It was taken by my friend's cell phone. Love the bats on her cape. If she hadn't been over $100, I would have bought her in a heartbeat.

Perhaps one day, in all my copious amounts of spare time, I'll make one for our roof topper... Maybe I should start the campaign with Mr. ShellHawk now, about how logical the project would be, since there's nothing on the roof right now...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ghoul Friday

Many of you know I make ceramic pumpkins and sell them on eBay. I sent one off to Ghoul Friday a little while back, and she was kind enough to post it on her site. Doesn't he look cute? Like he's lurking among the other ceramics with slightly evil intent on his mind...

Thanks, G.F. We Halloween enthusiasts have to stick together!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jackos For Sale

I have new listings for my jack-o-lanterns on eBay! I also have a few new hanging jackos that just came out of the kiln that I will be listing later this week, so do check back! Just click on the pumpkin pic on the upper right hand side of this page and you'll be taken to the listings.

Thanks! And good luck in your bidding!

Mr. ShellHawk is a Patient Man

Shocking as it seems, some of us are married to folks who aren't as into Halloween as we are. I have seen and heard of people whose spouses and significant others are actually hostile to the hobby, which I think is kind of rotten to do to someone you claim to love. I mean, as Super Chicken used to say, "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred."

Oops. I got distracted for a second there...

What I was going to say was how lucky I am that I do not have a Halloween hater in my home. Actually, Mr. ShellHawk is pretty supportive and accepting of my very definite obsession/quirks.

Case in point: I was inspired by the grapevines I brought home from a wine-tasting trip we went on earlier this year. I knew I could make something out of them, but I'd have to soften them up a bit first. So I stuck some in the guest bathroom's bathtub and covered them with water.

A day or two later, Mr. ShellHawk wanders in to use the bathroom. When he comes out, he says, "There are grape vines in the tub."

"Yup," I answer.

"Do I want to know?"

"Probably not."

"O.K. Just wondering."

That's it. No hollering or anything. The guy is just a good sport, and very tolerant.

If you have a family member who is not into Halloween, and they're good sports, too, take a minute to thank them. They'll appreciate it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


as you slave away with Igor in your laboratories this weekend: You've got a friend!
I get to build cemetery fence today with a buddy, who will also help me with my Casa Fear groundbreaker. Nice to know I've got friends who will give me a hand:

Friday, September 18, 2009

1929 Hearse

I found this posted on eBay through the guys from the Garage of Evil. I would love to have this! I mean, how often is there an opportunity to buy a 1929 Hearse?
It's really obvious that there was still a strong influence from the horse-drawn hearse days. It almost reminds me of the one they used in Disney's The Haunted Mansion.
I love the detail on the back end of this. It feels so elegant, yet so Flash Gordon at the same time.If only I had the $55k lying around! I'm sure I could convince Mr. ShellHawk that we needed this to park out front on Halloween! That's an easy sell, right?


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beloved, by Terra

Terra makes a helluva tombstone. Her Beloved tutorial is the model I'm using for my Beloved tombstone, so you really should take a look.

Honestly, if you want a really great showstopper tombstone, Terra's is fantastic!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Fog Revisited

You know by now that one of my all-time favorite horror movies is the 1980 version of John Carpenter's The Fog. Since I have to be a grown-up today and finish an essay due tomorrow morning, I thought I'd give you a quick post with not only one of my fave flicks, but one of the greatest actors of our time: John Houseman. Man, can that guy tell a story!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bram Stoker's Dracula, Part 2

Bram Stoker's Dracula. Collector's Edition. Blu-Ray. Costco, $14.99.

Beautiful. Be sure to watch the making of the movie. Absolutely fantastic!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Brains Vs. Coffee

Where I live, we have rural mailboxes. Not that we don't live two and a half seconds away from Costco, Home Depot and Trader Joe's. Nope. We just have rural mailboxes. So Saturday, in preparation for my daily trek of one block, I grab my keys and slide on my flip-flops to shuffle down to the mailbox. I say to Mr. ShellHawk, "I should be getting my book from Ghoul Friday any day now."

"Oh," he says, not knowing what I'm talking about. I shrug and head out.

As I open the mailbox, there it is, right on top, Ghoul Friday's neat handwriting announcing the arrival of my latest and most joyful indulgence: Brains vs. Coffee. Back in the house, I jumped up and down and crowed with happiness. I got a raised eyebrow from Mr. ShellHawk until I handed him the book. He read a couple of entries and laughed.

You can't possibly live without this book. You. Just. Can't.

In Ghoul Friday's own words:

"Many of us find ourselves in a zombified state, secretly craving brains. Being upstanding citizens, we recognize the need for a substitute: coffee.
Everyday we must choose between our secret desire for brains and the more socially acceptable cup of coffee.
Brains vs. Coffee: The Daily Debate of the Urban Undead chronicles my struggle as I weigh the pros and cons to consuming, storing, preparing, enjoying and disposing of each product."

I was taking a break from toiling in my Garage of Doom, reading my new book, when neighbor V walked across the street for a visit, coffee in hand. I silently handed her the book. She laughed out loud at the title, then read a few excerpts out loud. We laughed our asses off. A friend arrived to help out with prop building. She read a few and wanted to know where to purchase the book. I told her, and I'm sure she'll order it.

The book, itself, I realized, is like a zombie, nipping and biting, infecting people one by one with its wit. People who, in turn, infect others with the need for brai-I mean, the need to have this book on their bookshelf. I hope you appreciate this bite, because after all, I don't bite just anybody!

Brains vs. Coffee will make a fantastic "Great Pumpkin" gift. If that's not a good opportunity for gift-giving, grab a few copies to give out for that other holiday. You won't regret it.

Thanks, Ghoul Friday! Now, where's the brai- um, coffee?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creepy L.A.

Los Angeles is filled with odd and creepy things. It is rumored that part of the set of the 1928 production of The Phantom of the Opera still stands, and that each studio head must sign a contract never to tear it down because of the fatalities that have occurred in the past when attempts were made to remove the set. (The Ghost, you know.)The Manson murders happened in Laurel Canyon. Lots of strange stuff has gone on and continues to go on.

Now you can find out where it's happening. Head over to Creepy L.A. for the latest odd events and unusual spending opportunities.
For instance: you can spend a nice chunk of change to be encrypted, upside down, on top of Marilyn Monroe. Or you can find out about Haunted Hollywood, and maybe discover a few odd places around town. There will be updates of different Halloween events as the day gets closer, so if you plan to be in the area, check out the blog for fun stuff to do while you're there.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Creative Mess

I am about to reveal to you a secret: I am not perfect.

I know it's shocking, and that you're horribly disappointed, but there it is.

Witness my house, in disarray in every corner, because of the multitudes of projects I have going on for the Halloween season.
Let's see... Glaze for the last of this season's jack-o-lantern pots. Beads, chain, wire and jump rings to finish some of the hanging pots from the last firing. Wig head being modified with leds for the eyes for the stirring witch project. Vintage postcard reproductions for my save-the-date postcards going out this week. Last night's glass of wine and remote controls from watching The Haunted Mansion while glazing pots. This morning's cup of coffee.
Garage of Doom has exploded. Stewie in the way (as usual), a number of pvc candles in the process of being made into candles, small fog machine for the witch's cauldron awaiting the new fog machine timer I ordered. Large mache pumpkin waiting to be put together, small mache pumpkins waiting for faces and the old shop towel and carpet glue treatment, PVC dummy, who may not see the light of day this year if I don't get some help in the Garage, pneumatic groundbreaker that needs finishing, plus all the accoutrements that go with making a gazillion projects with different materials lists.
In short, Halloween in the making.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Munsters Pilot

I hadn't seen this one. Apparently this pilot was never aired. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Haunter's Nightstand

Just a few things I'm reading, in addition to schoolwork. I try to clear off my nightstand once in a while, but the books just keep showing up!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crow Repair

Among last year's casualties were several of the crows I put up in our tree, as Stewie's accessories. We had an unexpected rain on Halloween night, a downpour, really. I went out the next morning to start tearing down the haunt and discovered that several of my crows had no beaks. I looked around on the ground for them, and only found black mush that used to be beak-shaped. I contacted the gal I bought the crows from, but she was unable to replace the beaks. Apparently, they just aren't sold by themselves. Since I need them for the haunt again this year, I had to figure out how to make some myself. Enter Sculpey.

It already comes in black, so all I had to do was form it into beak shapes and sort of mold it around the faces of the crows so the beak would stick properly.While not the most perfect sculpting job ever, I did manage to turn out some serviceable beaks. A dab of hot glue, and ta-da! Beaks! While I was at it, I touched up the faded feathers of the crows with black fabric paint. Much better!
I keep reminding myself that they will be seen from a distance, and at night. For those purposes, I think they look fine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tombstone Progress

As usual, there are more projects than time left before showtime. I'm just now starting on tombstones, the most complex first so if I don't get them all done, at least the ones done will be really cool!

For this one, I used a quote from Father Malone's grandfather's journal from the 1980 version of The Fog, which is my favorite version of the movie. (Thank you, Frog Queen, for the help!) Since this epitaph is detailed, I used the treasured pink foam for it. I do wish I had bought more to play with! Anyway, I cut the smaller parts of the font out with a fresh Xacto blade after I had used the transfer paper to tranfer my epitaph onto the foam.
Then I took my Dremel and a smaller attachment to clean out the larger parts.That seemed to make relatively short work of the job. I did go in with my Xacto blade to touch up the sharper lines, though. After that, I marked out the curve of the tombstone using a string and a marker for a compass. This really should be done first, but it's been a bass-ackwards kind of weekend, so it got done after the carving. I used the scoring technique Steve-O recommended for straight cuts. Though it doesn't work as well on curved cuts, it works well enough. I took my power sander to it afterwards to even it up.I also used the power sander to give the tombstone some dings and weathering. If you decide to do this, make sure to have a good grip on your sander! After I was done with the sander, I hit the tombstone with some cheap black spray paint to age it a little more. Of course, since I made my monster mud for the Beloved tombstone, I'm out of gray paint and will have to pick up a gallon. At least I have a $5 coupon!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Pumpkin Auction

My little guys are on their last day on eBay. I won't list any of the others this week, so if you want these guys soon, please place a bid!

Happy Labor Day

I'm taking the weekend off from blogging to get yet more work done in the Garage of Doom, plus do the homework assigned to me. On a holiday weekend. Which happens to kind of celebrate the end of Summer. Sheesh!

Have I mentioned that sometimes I hate being a responsible adult?

Now, live, and in English:

Happy Labor Day, All!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Steve-O is a Know-It-All Smarty-Pants

There's been a thread on the Garage of Evil's Yahoo Groups that had proven helpful, but too late for my Beloved tombstone. Someone asked about what is the best method for cutting pink foam board. Lots of answers came in. Some lucky dog had a table saw and gave his advice about that. Someone had a hot wire foam cutter they suggested be used. I used a jigsaw, which doesn't work well if you have 2" foam. Come to think of it, it doesn't work that great because you have to sand things down and hope for the best.
Please note massive gap, later filled in by Great Stuff.So after we had all pretty much proven we didn't know what the Hell we were talking about (in great detail, by the way) Steve-O from the Garage of Evil put his freakin' two cents in:

"For long straight cuts I have really good success marking out the line,then I have a sharp (don't laugh it works great) lock knife. I run itsorta lightly down the line, more interested in getting a perfect linethan cutting deep. With about 3-4 successive cuts the blade will gosmoothly through, deeper each time. You'll be surprised how well thisworks. After 3-4 scores thinner foam will just separate, the 2" stuffyou can then snap like you would drywall/wallboard.Try it on some scrap, you'll be surprised how quick and clean it is."

Even though I had already made my ugly cuts for Beloved, I had a bunch of boards (both pink and white beadfoam) left to cut for tombstones, so I tried it late on Sunday. To thoroughly test the ease of use of this technique, I had a gin martini first. Now as fun as power tools and alcohol, but I figured a sharp blade would run a close second.

It worked like a champ on both types of board. While it may take longer, it is by far the best result for straight cuts.

Freakin' smart-ass. Oh, and thanks, Steve-O.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Helpers, not "Bananas"

Saturday brought some help to the Garage of Doom. In spite of the 105 degree heat, several kids showed up to help, which meant I actually had to close up the garage door and turn on the small air conditioner in addition to the fans I normally use to try to cool the place down a little. It maybe brought it down to 98 degrees, but the kids were troopers, anyway.

It's interesting, as a childless adult, to listen to teenagers talk about each other, once they've forgotten you're around. The one behind me in this picture looks like a younger version of Drew Barrymore, and is fun to have around. Even though I urged her to go home because of the heat, she protested, "I'm not going to abandon you!" She's so sweet!Neighbor V's daughter (on the right) was mugging for the camera, and had this interesting expression immortalized on this blog for her shenanigans. That'll learn her to make faces around me!
She's another one who is super-helpful, though, and is more detail oriented than one might expect. I was really glad to have them all there, that's for sure!
There's a tentative work party planned for Friday night, with a few of the teachers from the high school I'm donating to coming to lend a hand. I can't wait! All the parts I have ordered should be in by then, and maybe Mr. ShellHawk can wire up my witch's eyes with lights so we can move on to sculpting her head. I also ordered the finials for my cemetery fence from King Architectural metals, and they should be here any day. Their plastic finials seem to be very reasonably priced, and I like the styles they have available.

I just have that sinking feeling that I'm forgetting something!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hand Job

I've been working on the stirring witch for what seems like forever, now. Since I'm not working, I'm trying not to spend more money than I have to, so I'm trying to make some good looking hands with what I have. Neighbor V was kind enough to sit and have a plaster cast made from her hands. I had the idea to take the casting, pour in hot glue and add wires for poseable hands that were realistic-looking. So much for bright ideas.While theoretically a good idea, this was a pretty big fail. I used vaseline as a release, and some wire lying around in the shop. Before you say it, I know they said to use thicker wire in How to Haunt Your House. I was lazy and didn't want to wrestle my wire hangers, so it's my own damn fault.I have limited experience with casting, so I expected there might be unforseen problems. I expected to have to clean up the seams, because this was plaster and not a professional silicone or rubbery mold I was using. Long story short, I had to break the cast to get the hands out, and I couldn't even pose them because the wire was wrong. Doesn't the picture look promising, though?
Oh, well. I'm sure I can paint them and have them coming up out of the ground in the graveyard. Bummer, though. The were really detailed and pretty.