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!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Small Request

For those of you out there who own one of my hand-made jack-o'-lanterns: I'd love some pictures of them in their new homes.

I have this dream of revamping my website and including a gallery of past jacks in their new homes. If you have any pictures with you and your new jack, that's even better! (We'll call it "New Jack City." Get it? Har.) At the very least, I'll upload them to a new Flickr gallery as they come in. Send them to shellhawksnest dawt yahoo dawt com. And keep your spam and viruses to yourself!

And don't worry, you don't have to take a pic with them if you're shy.

Thanks, All!

Oh, and if you're in the area, I'm up at Jack Russell Farm Brewery again this weekend, selling my "normal" ceramics, most of which I still need to post on Etsy.  Oh, well. In my next lifetime, I'll be more organized and have the two clones I need to carry out my work.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


It's been a crazy, mixed bag around here since the first of October, but now that things have settled down a little bit (very little! I'm returning to Jack Russell Brewery this weekend to sell my "normal" art), I thought I'd share some things about photography with you.

First, I want to share that I'm not a photographer! I'm just someone with a Canon Powershot that's a few years old, and that I really love. I have to confess that I've barely cracked open the operating manual, that I have no clue what an F-stop actually is or why it needs to stop Fs, and that I'm just starting to figure out the whole macro thing. Even so, I've managed to take some pretty good pictures!

I figured out pretty quickly that showing daylight pictures of my jack-o'-lanterns wasn't getting much interest, and wasn't showing them fulfilling their true purpose. So I started to set them up with candles glowing inside to entice people to see them as they were meant to be seen in their homes.
Don't get me wrong, now. I'm not under the impression that I'm Ansel Adams, by any stretch of the imagination. I have much to learn, there's no doubt! What I did learn straight away-and this is where it gets useful for you haunters who want to take pics of your props next October 31st-is to turn the damn flash off and use a tripod!  (Click Tripods for your camera to search for the right tripod for you. You can search for Digital cameras, too, if you need one. Don't forget, that other holiday is coming soon, so you may be able to get Santa to bring you one.)

We spend our time creating the best lighting our budget allows for the ToTs to come through the atmosphere we decide to create for them, and then we try to take flash pictures to show it off. It just doesn't work. The shadows are destroyed, the lovely red or green floods disappear, and you can just forget about that led pin spot on your favorite mourner.

Getting back to photographing my jacks for a moment, I believe I shared with you that taking the photos of them lit, in a nighttime setting, nicely framed, and displaying them in my booth, plumped up my sales enormously. Not only that, but people actually started to ask me how much the photos were! Because of that, I started to list the photos in my Etsy store and brought a bunch of matted photos with me to the booth, as well as having several framed sets ready for people to hang on their walls.

One of the best things I did was to sign up for my Etsy newsletters. It seems like at least once a month, there are some tips on photographing your products. While Product Photography for Beginners and Give Props: How to Style Your Photos may seem off-topic, their other posts on photography [be sure to scroll down] helps you learn how to run your camera and see your shot setups in a more creative way. You can easily translate this to your haunter's needs, and it may even change the way you set up and light your haunt next year.

For night photography tips for beginners, there's always the "Dummies" series on YouTube. I found a good article here, too. Obviously, doing a Google search will turn up oodles of results.

You can get all crazy and find Books on How To Photograph at Night on Amazon, too. I'd recommend it if you want your haunt pics to look their best next year! I'd recommend Skull and Bones's lighting tutorial for your haunt, too.

If you're like me and do better with someone actually helping you out, you might consider ponying up for a workshop. I don't know anything about this person, but I have to say that taking night pics at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is so tempting! There are sure to be some workshops closer to where you live if you do a little research.

So, go forth and educate thyself! You've got a whole year to practice. Just keep at it, and you'll be amazed at how much you improve.

Monday, November 7, 2011


My dad sent this over to me and I thought I'd share. Be sure to watch past the credits!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

And Yet More

I honestly debated whether to post more pics, as aside from Leota and the change in the front room, there haven't been any changes to the graveyard. The witch is still substandard in looks and no new tombstones have been added. I was just too damn busy this year. 
The hand-blown spider jar looked quite at home on the apothecary shelf, I must say.
I brought out my trusty tarot deck for a prop. I'm sure someone will be offended by that, but oh, well. And, oh, my dog found and tore up that lovely zombie head the next day. Bad dog!
My last-second costume decision. I was feeling a little dark that day, I guess. Had to pose by my favorite Pumpkinrot treasure.
Even though this is a bit out of focus, I thought it looked pretty decent. The fog was very cooperative that night.
 Stewie always looks so deceptively sweet amongst the roses. We'd had an unusually warm October, and they rewarded us with one last lovely bloom.
I hope to cut together the Leota footage this week. My back has been giving me a helluva time, so it doesn't look like rearranging the studio is on the list and sitting on the couch is.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Just to Keep You in the Loop

Just so fans of Hauntcast are aware, we're pushing back the new show until (we hope) Friday the 11th.

Clearly, Chis and the boys are still suffering from Hallowe'en hangovers and need the extra time to pull everything together! (Just kidding, guys...)

Tune in next week!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Remains of the Day

I was leaving the garage to take a break from putting Hallowe'en away in the attic when I noticed I left a light on. Thought it was kind of cool and creepy, all at once.

Damn, it went by fast.

Just realized that it's the three-year anniversary of this blog. (Again, damn, it went by fast!) Spooky Blue was the first one to ever post a comment, and on my first post, too! He is still a great inspiration to me, and I'm sure to you all as well.

So, to all of you who have come back again and again to read my rants and ramblings, and glean that occasional pearl among the dross, I humbly thank you.

Happy New Year.

Swamp Foetus

If you haven't had a chance to get over to Pumpkinrot's blog, now is absolutely the time!

Each year, Rot and his lovely bride, Bean, create Hallowe'en in their own unique style. Both are artists in their own rights, with the artist's attention to detail and the moods they wish to evoke in their viewers. Rot usually has a video of the year's special project, and the video always wows. This year is no exception.

Swamp Foetus. It even made it onto the Dread Central website.

Congrats, Rot. You and Bean really outdid yourselves this time!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Few More

Did some packing up of the outside today (plus laundry put-away duty, plus returning costume bits, plus...), as we're expecting a huge rainstorm tomorrow. Gotta get Stewie covered up! So I haven't had time to compile things appropriately, as of yet. (I guess it's called having a life! Who knew?)
 More soon...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just a Few

More soon.