Thursday, September 30, 2010

Callson Manor

In the wilds of Roseville, California, at the Placer County Fairgrounds, there is a haunted house so dark, so terrifying, that you may lose what little mind you have left!

Callson Manor. The very name elicits fear and a manic urge to buy tickets to this very cool professional haunted house. 
I'll let them say it in their words: 
Welcome to Callson Manor, a Haunted Attraction of a higher caliber in the Sacramento area. Located in Roseville at the Placer County Fairgrounds, we offer a total immersion of your senses in our environment. We are not a fright factory with black walls and kids in rubber masks like other haunted houses in Sacramento. Owned and operated by a professional animatronics prop designer, we strive to give you the best in entertainment. Our professional set designers, make-up and special effects artists' attention to detail is focused to keep you funneled into our world. All 5 of your senses will be teased as you wander through our courtyard and attractions.

Visit the Callson Manor Funeral Home and look forward to seeing real caskets and embalming equipment from the turn of the century. Gravesites, tombs, crematoriums and body lockers are just the start. Take a trip in The Afterlife where demons, zombies, imps, spirits, apparitions and ghosts will visit your fears and dreams.
Callson Manor is the largest pro haunted house in the Sacramento area. I'm told by owner/operator/mad scientist Bryan Patterson of SacFX that this year, they have some very cool things planned.
(Click on the kitty to watch the trailer)
Obsidian Butterfly, an amazing dance troupe (Ooo! They play with FIRE!), will be performing for ten nightsT.O.T.S Halloween is coming on October 23rd, 24th, 30th, and 31st. Miner's Revenge is their new baby, the largest haunt they have ever built, and the scariest. 
They open October 8th. I can't wait! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Well, the pity party is still hanging on, but I'm going to set it aside to let you know some of the cool things that will be hitting ShellHawk's Nest in the month of October!

In the tradition of the wonderful anthology, October Dreams, I contacted some of my fellow bloggers and Halloween enthusiasts and asked them to guest blog for me. They will be sharing their favorite Halloween memories, starting October 1st. The Bloodshed Brothers were gracious enough to agree to kick off the Season with a special vlog to share their memories, and it's fantastic! I am eagerly awaiting other guest bloggers' posts, and they'll be sprinkled into the October stew throughout the month. Stay tuned, because the awesomeness is on its way!

As always, I'll be part of the Cryptkeeper's Countdown to Halloween, so I hope to live up to the deal with fun content every day.

It's almost here, Creeps! Are you excited?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

News From the Nest

To say that last week was a mixed bag of roses and absolute crap (and when I say crap, I mean steer manure!) is to make a pretty hefty understatement.

I started back to teaching last week, with a 9:00AM Raku class. It's the first time I've gotten anything resembling a lecture together, and I think it went fairly well. The students seem enthused, and I knew several of them from the senior class I taught over the summer. I really love the Raku process, so teaching this class is a thrill for me. I wish I had more videos about the process as it is done in Japan, but maybe next time. I left at noon, came back at 4:30 for the open studio, and left at 9:00PM, after the beginning ceramics class I was teaching was over.

School came and went, with some nice progress on my entry for the Davis Graveyard Spiderfest. I got the two pieces of the body attached; now all I have to do is figure out how to get the legs to stay in place and in the right position while they dry, and sacrifice a chicken to the kiln god so they aren't broken.

Wednesday, I dutifully headed out to Sacramento to file for my fictitious business license. I popped by my other college to talk with my old clay instructor (who isn't at all old, btw). I headed home after, already planning my afternoon in my studio to get caught up on projects for my upcoming stint at the brewery.

When I got there, my dog was limping badly.

He was fine when I left that morning, of course, so I was surprised to find him that way. For a split second, I thought it was a temporary injury, as he and his girlfriend play rough all the time. Because they're getting a little older, sometimes one or the other overdoes their Superdog impression and gets a little achy for a day or so. No big deal.

This time, no such luck.

I took a closer look a the leg and my heart sank. Though I knew it wasn't broken, I also knew he had a serious injury. I called the vet and made an appointment for that afternoon.

After waiting a bit (turns out four spaniels had been brought in that had been in a bad car accident with their owner, who had been flown to the hospital) the doctor-not our usual one-came in and did the exam. I told her I thought he'd torn the ligament in his knee. She thought so, too, but took him back for x-rays. We were right; he'd torn the cruciate ligament (like the human ACL).
She let me know the surgery would be $4000.00, and implied that there was no other choice. After she told me there would be a four-month recovery period, with the first three weeks in a kennel, drugged to the gills, my brain shut down. Oh, except for the part where she said he had a 60% chance of blowing out his other knee within a year.

The dog is nine years old. Why on earth would I put him through all that?

Mr. ShellHawk and I spent the next few days worrying we would be forced to put the dog down. I skipped school on Thursday, and spent Friday gathering my things to take up to Apple Hill on Saturday and wincing every time my dog tried to get up and walk. I truly hate seeing him in pain and not racing around like the lovable maniac he is.

Mr. ShellHawk came with me to set up my booth on Saturday morning, after having tranquilized the dog so he wouldn't be up and further injuring himself while we were gone. When he got home, he did some online research and discovered that not all vets agree that the surgery is effective, not doing the surgery and letting it heal on its own (with heavy restrictions on the dog's activity, of course) did not make you an evil bastard. Mr. ShellHawk called me with the news, and let me tell you, it was welcome news.

The down side is that because Mr. ShellHawk is the breadwinner and can't suddenly work from home all the time, I have to quit school for now to take care of El Doggo (not his real name). Though it makes me sound bad and selfish, I really am disappointed it has to go this way. I have a number of projects at school that depended on a certain type of firing process that I can't do here at home, and through the school, an opportunity to get into a juried show at the Crocker Art Museum. Granted, there was no guarantee my piece or pieces would have been picked for the show, but I was really working towards it and was hopeful to be chosen. Not only would it have looked great on a resume, but it would have made it easier to bear the whispers of the spoiled housewives who say that my pots are too expensive and they can get the same thing at Wal-Mart for much less.

I could have been a contendah!

Yes, I realize there will be other opportunities, and that everything happens for a reason, blah, blah, blah. It still sucks and I decree that I am allowed to be upset about it.

I suppose the up side is that I may have time to get a couple of tombstones done. "My Education" could be engraved on one of them, for sure!

*heavy sigh*

Friday, September 24, 2010

Now Playing: Hauntcast!

Comin' at ya: the Scream Team! Tune in to Haunt Cast because the new one is up featuring the most drunken Thunder segment evah!

Wish Me Luck!

I'm starting to sell my stuff at the Jack Russell Brewery this weekend. If you're local, drive up the Apple Hill trail and come to see me. I'm in the booth next to the guy who sells German food (MMMMMmmmm! German food!)

You can also start picking out your pumpkins and stuff yourself with fresh apple everything while you're up there. Hit Lava Cap Winery and Madrona Vineyards while you're there, too. Their wines are amazing!

See ya there!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mr. ShellHawk's Halloween

It's entirely possible that Mr. ShellHawk will be Good, Bad and Ugly on Halloween. I believe he will look even sexier than old Clint, here, if he chooses this costume.
Click on the pic for a random treat.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Zombie Workout

I was talking with BFF Ghoul Friday last week, and the topic rolled around to zombies. She'd had a convo with a teenageer regarding surviving The Zombie Apocalypse (maybe she'll share that with you one day...) and I mentioned the Zombie Workout.
I subscribe to Wired Magazine, and had been flipping through a couple of months back when I ran across this article on ZombieFit, a workout program in St. Charles, Illinois. (If you click on the link, the little numbers in the picture will make sense.)

Since I've just started an X-Bike workout program a couple of times a week, I was enthralled with an exercise regime that may actually prove useful one day. I mean, all of us know that fatties are the first to go from watching our informative zombie apocalypse movies, and I just am not for being a chunk of zombie nosh. If this program came to my gym, I would sign up instantly, and actually show up consistently.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Avast, Scurvy Dogs! It's National Talk Like a Pirate Day!

It's here again, folks! National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

What started as a fun quirk among friends has become a nationally noted day, complete with its own instruction book. Join in the fun if you can, and spread this silliness in a world that needs it!

To get you in the mood, click here for a more modern pirate flick, then click on "play all!"

Yahoo's article on pirates.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Click the image to watch.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Martha Follow-Up #1: The Auto-Generated Response Note

Thank you for contacting Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
We appreciate your interest in the Martha Stewart Omnimedia family of

We value your feedback. We have shared your message with the Martha
Stewart Omnimedia editorial team.

We have also forwarded your message to Martha Stewart.

Thank you once again for taking a moment to share your thoughts.


MSLO Customer Relations

O.K. You gotta give them full props for extreme politeness, a quality far too often bypassed in today's society.
We shall see if this is the only response I get. I truly do not expect anything else.

Mood Music

Click on the picture to listen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Etsy Treasuries

Not to toot my horn overmuch, but my pumpkins are in a couple of treasuries I didn't know about!

Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night!
Got Jack?
Illuminate the October Night.

I'm really grateful to be included!

Martha, Revisited

I just wanted to let everyone know, I'm sending my note of disappointment in to Martha Stewart on Friday. If you wish to comment on my original post about the latest Halloween edition of Martha Stewart Living, please do so in the next couple of days. I'm hoping a few more of you will post your opinions, either good or bad, before I send off my note, so that maybe next year, we can look forward to an actual new Halloween edition, rather than the recycled drek we've been getting the last few years.

My "I Tilt At Windmills" bumper sticker will be arriving in the mail shortly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lucky You

I'm too busy to change the shipping profile on my Etsy items, so enjoy free shipping until Sunday the 19th.

Come on. You know you want one!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I think I'm not far off in guessing that most haunters build a humanoid figure at one point or another in their haunting careers. I also think I'm not far off in guessing that most of us have problems with having an end product that looks "right." Our perception of a person's beauty is based on proportion and symmetry of both body and facial features, so it's important to design and build with this in mind.

Sometimes, it's hard to get the proportions right because some animatronics or pneumatics need to be hidden inside the prop, so we're limited by the size requirements of the mechanical bits (my stirring witch is one of those.) Sometimes, the head we use is what's available to us in the eleventh hour, and is not the right size for the body (also my stirring witch!). All that aside, let's assume we're starting from the ground up and we're not pressed for time. (Like that's ever going to happen at this time of year!)

I went hunting for some images of both male and female figures and their proper proportions. Here's the male figure:

Here's the female:

From these images, you can get a very good idea of how the body is divided up into eight head units, and you can see that the hand, from heel to fingertip, should be able to cover the face.

Now that we are aware of perfect facial proportions, we can mess around with them to make monster faces, like Dick Smith's mask of Quasimodo, here:
It goes without saying that we can alter body proportions to make it anywhere from subtly disturbing (in a "something's off about that, but I can't put my finger on it" way), to creepily deformed.
O.K. I included that last one to see if you were paying attention. But you get the point. Elongate one arm or one finger of the hand to longer than the others, and you're sending the message that this creature is evil and your victims should be scared of it.

Then, there is something called "heroic proportions:"
Heroic proportions for both male and female are based on nine head heights.

For a more in-depth look at proportions, go here! Hope that helps!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shop News!

Just wanted to let you all know I'm offering free shipping in my Etsy shop this weekend only, so please! Take advantage of me!

Oh, and while you're scouting around my Etsy store, take a minute to head over to the Davis Graveyard's new Etsy shop for your tombstone needs!

My Graveyard Delights Treasury on Etsy.
My Skulls and Bones Treasury on Etsy.
My Cocktails, Anyone? Treasury on Etsy.

New Sculpt

I've been working on this project at school, and finished in (for me) record time. The lash of my teacher's urgings ("I want to see this done by Thursday. Just put the head on and be done with it.") spurred me on a bit, because I know I am slow in the sculpting department, and I knew I had to speed up a bit. But the other part of me was saying, "Not my vision. Sorry."

So here was my vision:
It's about a foot high, and not fired yet. I'll be smoothing down the ridges after it dries a bit, so it will be nice and smooth.

 I always take pics, nowadays, in case of horrible kiln accidents. One of my  fellow students told me it was so delicate, I should re-do it in porcelain clay. I might do that after Halloween. Right now, I am out of time!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Life Attack!

I have officially been attacked by life today, so I can't write a decent post. Check out this Etsy Treasury I put together of cool and creepy Hallows things, instead!

Will post soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Great Things!

This weekend was filled with fun, which I'll likely share with you tomorrow. I will tell you that my booth space in Rancho Cordova is now up and running, so if you're local, please stop by and check it out!

I also may have booth space on Apple Hill at the Jack Russell Brewery for the next couple of months. I'm waiting to hear back from a friend to see if he wants to go in with me on that one so I can actually take bathroom breaks!

More updates tomorrow! Now, it's off to school!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Martha, I am VERY Disappointed in You!

Stewart, casting a "Look! It's Elvis" spell, and taking your money while you're distracted.
During Friday's shopping marathon for my new shop space in Rancho Cordova, I, at last, spied Martha Stewart Living's Halloween Edition. Although I am not an avid follower of Martha Stewart, I eagerly look forward to this edition every year, and have used some of the ideas to good and creepy effect in my haunt.

This year, though, I was warned. Mr. Macabre's post, aptly titled: Nooooooo! Betrayed! I've Been Betrayed! Martha Stewart Living Halloween Handbook Review revealed Stewart's dastardly plan to re-package old ideas in a new cover and call it good. So I took a moment to page through the magazine.

I could have wept, I was so disappointed.

While there were a few (very few) new (to me; they may have been from issues I haven't seen, yet) ideas, about 98% had been regurgitated from Stewart's Halloween archives. If I were to be charitable, I would say that the magazine was aimed at catching new readers who had never seen the old issues. The fact that she completely abandoned us, the Halloween aficionados and her Halloween followers, makes me feel used and abandoned. And angry. After all, we know she has minions to search the web to rip our ideas off the boards and blogs, so what gives?

Generally, when I get angry, I rant at Mr. ShellHawk for awhile, and he either offers suggestions or (wisely) makes sympathetic noises and nods in the appropriate places. This time, I've decided to take action.

I would like ALL of my readers who are familiar with past issues of Stewart's Halloween Magazine (and as someone once said to me, "All means ALL, that's all all means!") both followers and lurkers alike to go out and look at this magazine on the rack. Leaf through it, and make up your own mind.

If you agree that the bulk of this edition is recycled content from old issues, I want you to do four things:

1) Leave a comment expressing your disappointment in the Halloween issue on this post. Please, keep it classy and only about the Halloween issue! I intend to write a letter in a week or so and include the link to this post. I would like Martha's minions to see a lot of comments! Hundreds would be good. Seriously. It only takes a minute, and you can leave your comment anonymously.

2) If you have a blog of your own, please blog about your disappointment and leave a link to that post here in my comments section. Please let your readers know about this post and include a link for them to follow, so they can join in and comment, too. Make sure to tag your post with Martha Stewart and The Best of Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook, as well as any other useful tags so that if others do a search, they'll see your post and not waste their money. I'll include a list of blogs in the letter I intend to write to Martha.

3) "Digg," Tweet, Buzz up or otherwise promote this post, so it starts to create a buzz.

4) Write a letter to Martha, expressing your disappointment and letting her know that we will not have the wool pulled over our eyes. Again, keep it articulate and classy. (No, "Martha! You suck!" Okay?) Use your spellcheck and grammar check, so we all look intelligent! ;o) Here's the email page link:

Yes, I am aware there are more important issues in the world to be upset about, and I'll post about one of those very soon.

Humor me, anyway!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Running Around

Like a proverbial chicken with my head cut off, I've been doing a lot of running around the last couple of days. One of my fellow students turned me on to a place in Rancho Cordova called, "The Market Place." It's basically an artist's co-op in a big old warehouse in an industrial area of town, and they are brand new and looking for artists. I popped by to check the place out after school on Thursday, and walked out with a space of my own and some heart palpitations.

So, yesterday was spent running around, looking for shelving and whatnot to set up a booth. Since what I have now is a space marked with duct tape on the floor (read: no walls) I had to pick something up to delineate my space. I wanted to get one of those privacy screens that has photo frames on it, but, or course, what I saw millions of a few weeks ago can't be found for love nor money. I had to go to a number of different stores, looking for other shelving options that were still cheap, since I didn't want to spend loads of money when I don't know how long I'll be in this space.

I still had my camera in my purse from taking photos of my new creations at school, so I was able to snap some pics of the Halloween displays around my town.

First off, I want to complain bitterly to Target that not having all the Halloween merchandise up by September 1st is lame! There were so many huge gaps in their shelves, it looked like a dental continuing education course on the effects of meth! I say, again: LAME! I didn't even bother to snap any photos.

Here are the others, starting with Orchard Supply Hardware:
Oh, the horror of inflatables and sparkly pipe-cleaner black cats!

One for the Frog Queen!

After Osh, I headed over to Michael's.

Then it was over to Marshall's, still with no shelves or anything to show for all my hard shopping!

Then, off to Pier 1.

Spiders seem to be popular this year; another sign that our Frog Queen is a trend-setter!

Next was Cost Plus World Market.

Looks like this year's trend is towards reproduction vintage Halloween. SO much better than sparkly black cats!

I finally toddled home with some shelves and a couple of funky looking barstools that I'll make into special shelving. I'll have to get some photos of my lit jackos framed and stick them in the booth so people can see how great they look when they're lit.

An artist's work is never done!