Saturday, December 31, 2011

ShellHawk: Back and Forth

So this is it: the last day of 2011. Looking back, it was something of a mixed bag, as are most years. There were some losses, some gains, and some personal growth-though not enough personal growth in terms of exterminating some of my bad habits. As I've said before, I'll be perfect next life! This one is still a work in progress.
Hauntcast. I've had a couple of eps come up on my iPod over the Christmas season, and found I miss it. The positive that comes out of it is that I'll actually have more time to make things and focus on my business. Being an adult is overrated, though...

I expanded my business this year, though I've been procrastinating on getting my numbers together. I'm getting a better sense of my market and the best methods for my sales: sales shoot through the roof when people can see and touch my art. Note to self: Spring open house is a must, and signing up for more art fairs is also a must.
I expanded my practical/technical knowledge of my craft this year. My pumpkin pots are better than ever, and I have some great new ideas for them for 2012.
"He's just so fluffy!"
Respect of my teacher and clay hero: I was pleasantly surprised my teacher commented that I really deserved my "A" this semester. Coming from him, that's high praise. I still have a long way to go, but at least someone who knows what they're doing thinks I'm on the right track.
My work was shown in an international ceramics show, and was purchased within 10 minutes of the show being open to the public. (Now if only I can get my current sculpture finished in time to submit for this year!)
My new puppy! Lots of joy and frustration (and expenses) involved, but worth it. Though while I was gone for Christmas holiday, he turned utterly evil and started to destroy things and actually decided that digging in the fireplace was a fun new sport. Apologies to my house sitter!

All in all the gains outweighed the losses, and really, that's all you can ask of a year. Indeed, sometimes the things we view as losses turn out to be opportunities in disguise.

Looking forward, I'd have to say that I'm going to be more focused on staying organized this year. I'm expanding the business a little more, so I'll have to actually figure out how to use my new phone's calendar or whatever to stay on top of deadlines. I'll especially have to keep up with the day-to-day bookkeeping, a task of which I've been neglectful because I hate it, pure and simple.
I'll probably have to scale back even more on my Hallowe'en prop building, because I'll need that time to actually make my business go. As I said on the last episode of Hauntcast, "Don't spend productive time on non-productive resources." In other words, if I want to make my business successful, I need to spend the bulk of my productive hours making that happen, not playing on Facebook or building props or whatever. I'll probably be posting less frequently, too. 
Again, being an adult is highly overrated.
There's a frightening sense of responsibility in knowing that my success (or lack of) in 2012 is almost entirely going to be a direct result of my actions.
There's also a growing sense of excitement.
So here's to an exciting (in a good way!) 2012 for all of us. I hope it brings you joy, health and prosperity!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Click to watch, and Merry Christmas, again!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas! God Bless Us, Every One!

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, or whatever Solstice-ish holiday you may celebrate.

I know some of us have had some pretty rough times this year (and the past several years, really), so what my Yuletide wish for us all is a turn of the tide in 2012, toward a brighter, more prosperous future!

God bless us, every one!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Easter. Christmas. Whatever

Click below to watch, and hit "play all".

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New in the Shop!

 New in the ShellHawk's Creations Shop, along with a few other things! Get 'em now in time for Christmas. 
Seriously! I'm putting the shop on vacation tomorrow night and won't be back until after New Year's!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The End

Of the semester, that is!

Just a few pics of some of the stuff that came out of the kiln at school this year.
I made this pitcher for a friend who lost a similar one in a fire. Unfortunately, the pitcher was in a cooler spot in the kiln, so the part that was supposed to be blue turned out purple. I sent her a note to ask if she wants it re-fired next semester, so we have another shot at the blue color, or if maybe she wants a different one made. We'll see what she decides.
I made three pitchers this semester. Well, technically, I made four, but I trashed the other one because it was truly awful.
 I had a lot of fun making this gargoyle pitcher. I'll be making more in the future, for certain!
I like how this one turned out somewhat mossy-looking.
This vase was made from porcelain, then I carved the design into it. The celadon glaze turned out perfectly, which was a blessing, since celadon can be anywhere from blue to pale green. I'm really very pleased with it.

I had a couple of larger plates, too, though I haven't taken pics of them as of yet. One of them really needs to be re-fired, as the glaze fluxed enough to start to flow, but not enough to allow the bubbles to smooth out. When bubbles cool, they can leave tiny shards of glaze that will continue to break off, something you definitely don't want to use for food!

I'll be posting these and one of my plates on my Etsy shop shortly, though if you want them by Christmas, you'll have to order them by Friday, as I'm closing the store for vacation Saturday!

Well, onwards!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lost in the Woods

This would make a great facade for a walk-through...

Image by Chuli-Stock on Deviant Art.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Images by s_kessler.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flower Car Barn Find

This article about Argentinian funeral cars was posted a year ago. It just fascinates me that these were all custom made, hand-carved cars. What an amazing find!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sam Says Goodbye to "The Boys"

And gets his puppy hernia fixed, too.

Did you know that dogs can be born with hernias? I didn't either. It wasn't giving him trouble, so with the vet's recommendation, we waited until his neutering to have it taken care of. Sort of a two-for-one deal.

There's not enormous drama involved with this for us. We don't intend to breed Sam (Can you imagine me taking on one more completely life-hijacking task? Really?), so we did the responsible thing and had him neutered on Tuesday. There was a lot of going back and forth on what age to have it done. Some people say as soon as four months, some people say it should wait until one year. We decided to split the difference at 7 1/2 months. Since I never act stressed at the vet's office, and my vet's office has a great team, Sam was totally relaxed when he was led off by a veterinary tech, and wagged his tail at one and all. Even through the closed door, I could hear them fussing over him and telling him what a good, handsome boy he was. That made me feel good.

It was very gratifying to have one of the vets comment on how stable a dog I have on Tuesday morning when I dropped him off. You have to figure that veterinarians see the full range of dog owners, from the crazy pet hoarders who love their dogs too much and never set any boundaries for them because they think it's mean, to the ones who plainly do not care and either abuse or neglect their dogs to dangerous levels. That compliment made my day, because it means I'm doing my job.

Anyway, I found out my little puppy now weighs in at seventy pounds! Wow, that happened fast, huh? And I found out that though he cried really loudly when they put in the i.v. needles, he didn't nip at anyone or show any signs of aggression. Another good sign. He came out of the sedation well, and they let me know I could come and get him early.

So now, it's Sam's first experience with both pain that doesn't go away in a minute or two, and "The Cone of Shame."
Not surprisingly, Sam hates The Cone of Shame. Whined about it for several hours straight, although he also could have been disoriented by the last of the anesthetic working its way out of his system. That night, he was up and down, bashing the cone into the walls so much that I had to get out of bed and go lie down on the couch to be with him and allow Mr. ShellHawk to get some sleep. Around two a.m., Sam crawled up onto the couch with me (something he never, ever does, because he knows he's not allowed on the furniture without an invitation), and went to sleep. I think he was not only needing his "pack leader's" reassurance and closeness, but was hoping I could make it all better and incidentally take The Cone off. It was a very special moment. I threw an arm over him and managed to go to sleep for a little bit.
He seems better today. Now, all I have to do is keep him from playing with the other dogs. *sigh*

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Donations Needed

Folsom Parks and Recreation Ceramic Department needs your donations!

Most of you know that aside from Halloween, my passion is clay. I started with it a few years ago, and among all the amazing things I've been able to do because of it, I landed a job with my local Parks and Recreation.

Our Parks and Rec doubles as a Senior Center, so the seniors can stay off the streets and out of trouble! ;o) We have a number of different activities for all ages, such as photography, Chinese brush painting, Polynesian dance classes, and of course, various classes teaching techniques with clay.

And, of course, in this economy, Parks and Recreation has suffered budget cutbacks, just like everyone else. The ceramics department has been growing steadily, in spite of the cutbacks, but there are things we just can't cover right now. We're hoping that people local to us will be kind enough to donate the things on our wish list, or perhaps other clay things in good condition. 

If you think you can help us out, please check out our Craigslist ad and contact the City of Folsom Parks and Recreation Department through the ad.

Thanks, All! Public service announcement over!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Obscure Hollow

Just so you know, I seldom recommend blogs unless I really find myself taken with them. It's not that I think I'm the world's greatest expert on blogs. I'm far from it! But I figure you can find them on your own, for the most part, and don't need any guidance from an old podcast has-been like me.
However, if you want a fantastic resource for your haunt set decoration, you really have to head over to The Obscure Hollow.

I've been following this blog since '08, and am so impressed with the amount of spooky film screen shots available to us. For instance, one of the latest posts she did was on Dracula (1979), starring Frank Langella. Pop over there for just a minute and look at the set decoration on that thing! Holy goodnight! The leaves all over the steps. The bazillion candelabras and chandeliers in the dining hall. The costuming. The thousand small details that add up to some seriously creepy atmosphere!

My God, it's beautiful! I mean, this is where our images of angry mobs with torches and pitchforks come from. This is where that ominous, yet opulent castle touches that bone inside that chills us to our very souls. These were the movies that made us haunters, in the first place.

And the entire blog is filled with these amazing tidbits! It's like listening to Theater of the Mind, but with your eyes. It's an amazing journey into the history of spooky cinema, too. I know for certain, there are films listen that I have never seen or heard of, and that I need to put in my Netflix cue or on my Amazon wish list. Maybe, before next Halloween's planning meeting, they should go on yours, too.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The New Desk

I took the day off from shoveling through the strata in my office, but I thought I'd post pics of the new desk.
As you can see, it was made by the Huntley Simmons Furniture Company. From what little information I've been able to gather, it was likely made between 1929 and 1935. It's not in fantastic condition; it's gathered a few scratches and dings along its way to my office. Overall, though, it's still a pretty piece.

It's been great to actually have a drawer for my pencils instead of a pull-out shelf for a keyboard. I can't tell you how happy I am to have that option. You really can't find old-school desks like that in  Office Depot anymore, you know? The only regret I have is that it doesn't have a file drawer in the modern sense, but there's still some space for that in the back of Mr. ShellHawk's desk!

It really is a monument to when people actually sat down and hand-wrote letters to one another. I just love it.
Now all I need is to be able to afford one of Datamancer's nifty Nagy Magical-Moveable-Type Pixello-Dynamotronic Computational Engine thingies. I think it would go perfectly with the desk, don't you?

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Pigsty-I Mean, Home Office

Just to remind you that I am far from perfect, I thought I'd post a couple of pretty horrifying pictures.

Admittedly, I have been going a hundred miles an hour since August, and things like cleaning and organizing my office got firmly shoved to the bottom of my ever-lengthening "to-do" list. Sixty hours went to the last three episodes of The Charmed Pot. Other hours went to school and teaching, many went to packing and unpacking my booth for the Jack Russell Brewery. Not nearly enough went to sleeping.

So when I came home from one thing or another, whatever boxes I had got chucked into my office and the door was firmly shut. And so these are my wages of sin:
Mind you, I'm actually not a hoarder. I'm just over-freaking-committed! 

The good news is that things have slowed down a bit, and--I finally found the perfect desk for me. (Will post pics later!) Many of the things you see lying around are now in either the trash or the donation pile. A woodworking neighbor is going to build a bookshelf that doesn't hide the faux limestone block walls I spent forever painting, so not one but two bookshelves are going away. Loads of papers are going into either the trash or their appropriate files as I get ready for my joyous tax-filing day. Books I know I'll never read again are getting donated. I'm passing on a couple of nifty pieces of movie memorabilia to a couple of folks whom I know will appreciate them.

I feel so virtuous, it's sickening.

As I was going through the cabinet in the top picture, I found my old autograph book, and among the signatures of the entire "Happy Days" cast, as well as one or two from the M*A*S*H series, was this signature:
He signed my book during the Screen Actor's Guild strike in 1980, and at the time, I had no idea who he was. Now, I have Inspector Kemp's autograph (plus all the other amazing characters he played in his long career), and I'm glad to have it.

I've uncovered a few things left over from grade school days, and while I really should just throw them in the garbage, I can't quite part with them as of yet. After all, I don't have kids, so to whom would they go? And wouldn't they throw these pieces out, anyway?

Well, maybe next major purge, I'll get to it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Have You Seen--

This tiny little puppy?
Because someone stole him and replaced him with this monster!
Can you believe he's seven months old already?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wine + Buellton = Elvira???

Turns out our very favorite Mistress of the Macabre is catwalking onto the wine maker's runway come December 3rd.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark is working with Sort This Out Cellars in developing some new wines, and is having a wine signing party on December 3rd from 12-3 to launch the first wine: Elvira's Macabrenet. (It's a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and will retail for $25.00.)

The event is being held at Avant Tapas and Wine, 35 Industrial Way, in Buellton, CA (home of Andersen's Pea Soup!). Their number is (805) 686-9400. I really wish I were closer than 6 1/2 hours away, because I would be there, for sure!

Check out Elvira's official website for other details and to catch up with all her doings.

A big thank you to big (by that I mean freakin' tall!) brother, Johnny Thunder, for the heads-up!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dark Music

I love the soundtrack to Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's dramatic, symphonic, and the bass notes just seem to resonate in your chest and grab your mood. I use it in the graveyard on Hallowe'en night to spook the kids. 

If you don't have the soundtrack, I'd suggest you go here to listen to some samples and perhaps pick up a copy for yourself.

You can click on the pic to pick up a copy of the collector's edition of the movie.

And if you're something of a movie geek, like I am, you can see the making of Bram Stoker's Dracula on YouTube. I made a playlist, so just hit "play all." It's a fun watch, even though the sound isn't synced right...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Small Business Saturday: A Shameless Plug for My Business

It seems like yesterday, it was Hallowe'en, but here it is, two days after Thanksgiving! (I just can't believe it!) That means the "other holiday" is just around the corner.
In celebration thereof, I'd like to thank the guy who came up with the concept of Small Business Saturday, whomever he (or she, come to think of it) is. What a great idea! Take a minute out of your Christmas buying frenzy and buy something from a small business. Like ShellHawk's Creations, for instance. Just throwin' it out there...

Seriously, though, although the big corporations employ a lot of people and are helping to keep the economy afloat by manufacturing bunches of stuff for us to buy, I think it's important to support small businesses who are run by people like you and me. Why? Because for the most part, we still make great products and don't want to use the consumer as quality control. Because when you buy from us, you're supporting people who still buy their own groceries rather than send "their people" out to do it for them, and are coaching their kids' soccer teams. You're supporting people just like you. And that's pretty darn cool.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cars for the Apocalypse

In the event you are one of those folks who, like me, are looking for a new vehicle, you may be overwhelmed by all the considerations and options of said new vehicle.

Four wheel drive or all wheel drive? Automatic or standard? Hybrid? Truck?

Since you're upgrading, anyway, why not just be prepared for anything? Use this as your opportunity to prep for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse!

AOL has a handy article to aid you in choosing your post-apocalyptic ride.
From the article:
To find the five best cars for surviving the zombie apocalypse, we looked at cars with good performance (for outrunning zombie hordes), maximum ground clearance (for plowing through zombie mobs without getting stuck), decent gas mileage (fuel will be scarce when society collapses), strong reliability ratings (try getting your car serviced when your mechanic is feasting on your brains), nice interiors (outrunning zombies is stressful and you’ll want good lumbar support) and maximum defensive capabilities (zombies will rip through a ragtop and devour you in no time). We’ve also pointed out cars that may seem like good options, but could end up turning you into the main course at a zombie buffet faster than you can scream, “Rick! Behind you!”
I've kind of had my heart set on a GPS, but I'm pretty sure the satellite connections would be screwed up, too. Oh, well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I was just on Facebook, scanning the home page while sipping my first morning cup of coffee, when I came across a link to this post: I'm Christian Unless You're Gay. I read it, and the powerful responses post that came afterwards, and I'm just blown away by the guts of this guy.

I've never read his blog before, but I'm particularly glad I took the time to do so this time. Yes, I know I'm from California, so of course, I'd love this blog post, right? (People who live in California are sort of a joke to folks who don't live here, because of our notoriously screwy politics and overly liberal ideas. Heck, I feel that way sometimes!) But the fact is, I think most people who read it will be affected by it, either positively or negatively, and it's not just one of those "California things." 

It's not about gay rights; it's about loving people who are different from us. It's a great observation of the human condition, and our nearly psychotic need to isolate "our people" from "those people." I've done it myself, and so have you. For instance, how many haunters have gotten bent with a local church group who has tried to shut them down, and painted the entire Christian faith with the same brush?

I have. I know some of you have, too. We're not perfect, right? (Next lifetime, I keep telling myself. This one, I'm still working on it...)

In any case, read the post if you like. My rambling here will make more sense afterwards. Please feel free to comment, here, either positively or negatively. If you're moved to do so, please post on his blog, as well.

I hope his post creates a lasting change for the better in all of our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Catch you next week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Witch of Rose Hill 2011

It's not perfect, but it'll do for now. Click on the pic to watch...

Vintage Creepy

Via All Hallows Design blog.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Haunted Halloween at Blackstone Cemetery

 More images here. Be careful of Cthulu, though. He seems to be lurking...

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Haunting Grounds

More pics of this lovely haunt here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Post-Mortem Elegance

Via Retrorides.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hauntcast, R.I.P.

Click on the pic to listen to our last episode.

For those of you (and you know who you are) who have supported Hauntcast with your time, efforts and cash, we all humbly thank you as we lay the show to rest.

Bloody kisses, darklings!