Sunday, October 25, 2009

2009's Party at the Dead End

The story goes pretty much the same as last year, only this year we had only 14 guests actually show up.  I finally got into the spirit of things, late, but I did it... with only 2 weeks to go, I got the house ready.  I spent 2 days working on last minute stuff, food prep ALL day long on Saturday... all while being sick and in pain, even having to call out from work because I felt so bad.  But I kept going, just to throw this party together because I had already committed to it.  Had so many people, AGAIN this year, begging for invites, telling me how much they look forward to it, yadda yadda... that I didn't wanna disappoint anyone by canceling.

I did not enjoy the party at all.  I will not be throwing one next year.  I am very thankful to those friends who did come; they are good sports to stick around the completely boring party that was going on.  It was a lot of work, a lot of stress, for not much enjoyment.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finally a bit o' fall inthe air!

Last night, we opened some of the windows in the house before going to bed.  The fresh air smelled good coming into the house and you could feel the slightest bit of a coolness on the breeze.  Yes, folks, autumn has finally come to Florida!  Last night's low was around 58° here in the Jacksonville metro area and was a PERFECT companion for the annual bringing down of the Halloween boxes from the attic.  All the main decorating boxes have been stacked with care in the main living areas of the house and now we have to weave through the  maze of them to get around.  I'm excited to finally get the gossamer up on the walls today and transform the beiges and tans in the house to the Halloween blacks, grays and reds.  It's crunch time, and I've only just started, but I'm hoping that the cooling off from our 90°+ weather helps to speed me along in my attempt to "git 'r dun" in the 24 days I have left until the party.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Images, images and more images!

I found a lot more images today on my quest for graphics to use with my invitations.  There is one site that stands out in particular, mainly because of its HUGE collection of public domain images that deal with religion, ancient signs and symbols, medical reference (skeletal charts), literary images, tarot, and so much more.

I could peruse this site for hours!

http://karenswhimsy.com/public-domain-images/


Printables for Halloween

While I was perusing the interweb today for some vintage graphics for my Halloween party invitations, I stumbled upon a nifty craft blog with some links for images that you can print out for your bottles and jars for Halloween displays.  A couple of the sites listed I was already aware of, but some new ones were on there that  I really enjoyed.  This image from Love Manor was the one that caught my eye:

 
Image source:  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3293/2782116590_3275791a85.jpg?v=0


Take a gander at Free Printable Fun:

http://freeprintablefun.org/2008/09/free-printable-halloween-potion-bottle.html

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dollar Tree's offerings for 2009

I decided to get in the spirit of Halloween by visiting the closest Dollar Tree today with my daughter and we picked a few things out to bring home with us.  They had some usable new stuff, a lot of the same boring stuff as every year, and some really cutesy stuff that I totally passed right on by.  I saw a few painted signs I liked, so I grabbed them to put in my kitchen:

 
They had some of those small resin tombstones again as well, but I only snagged two of those that I didn't already have:

There were some small crows, so I picked up a few of them.  I wish they'd had these small skeletons last year when I needed them.  I paid like 5 bucks a sheet for 8 of them last year at WalMart, when this year they are a buck for a sheet of 4 at Dollar Tree.  I plan on making some of Willy's Fairy Art with them, so I bought a few sheets of them.  I also got a small black sparkle skull too... dunno why.  It looks more like it's coated with tar than glitter, but that's fine by me.  :)


I found some bottle labels that looked alright too.  I have about 50 wine bottles that I picked up off someone via FreeCycle, so I can use them for some of those.  I thought about using the wine bottles as invitations and making my own labels... but I decided against it.  Anyway, there are 8 labels in the package, 4 different types - 2 of each.

 
  
  
  
And I totally could not resist these socks!  

Bugs, bugs, bugs... and other things

I love my children. :) Chips off the ol' block for sure. My daughters are always on the look out for interesting things for me to use in my witch bottles and other assorted Halloween projects. Two days ago, my youngest daughter brought me a gift that she and her sister found out in the driveway:
They also bring me cicadas when they find them, knowing that they used to be called "tree nymphs" back in the old days because of their "singing".
They keep an eye out for spiders as well, since I have a nice jar 'o arachnids that I'm collecting. This particular beauty is one that my husband found in our bathroom and called me to come retrieve:
I've just decided to start using our beach findings in the display as well. I found a really nice sea urchin skeleton on our last trip to the beach:

I love mermaid's purses as well, I remember the first time I found one at Little Talbot Island. They're actually shark/skate/ray egg cases and are also called Devil's purses. They sound gross, but they're lightweight and dry somewhat hard. I was thinking of making a papier mache "Devil's Purse" on a much larger scale to add to the display. This one is from our last trip out to Talbot and is about 3 inches long:



I think a walk around the yard is in order now...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Invitation inspiration














FINALLY! I have been inspired! I was perusing the party section of Halloweenforum.com, and I came across this thread:

http://www.halloweenforum.com/party-ideas-experiences-recipes/80428-spell-book-party-invitations-pics.html

I absolutely LOVE these invites (Cover shot pictured above)! Kudos to BevAnn for coming up with these fun little spell books. Very creative, and lots of room for individualizing them. The more I think about what I want to do for my own invites for this year's party, the more I really am leaning toward doing something like these little gems. I have been really getting annoyed, because my mind just is not cooperating with me in the Halloween sense lately, and seeing these mini spell books totally jolted me into creative mode. Exactly what I needed!

So, I was thinking, if I did something like these, of how I would give them an overall look. I'm leaning toward the usual tea-staining (I really love tea-staining, the whole process is fun to me) and maybe aging with paint like I did on my foam witch spell book. (Pictured below)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wow... September already!

Time is certainly flying right by. I can't believe that it is September already and that Labor Day is almost upon us. I have not done a single thing toward this year's haunt. Not one. I think I lost almost all of my "mojo" as my husband put it on our way home from lunch yesterday. As with last year, I am just not feeling it. I'm hoping that will the annual "get it down from the attic" day next Wednesday will spark some kind of inspiration.

Anyway, on to better topics! A few weeks ago in August, my daughters were out with their father on their weekly "Day with Daddy" and my 12-year-old, Taylor managed to talk him into visiting the pet store, and subsequently the Dollar Tree next door to the pet store. Apparently, the Dollar Tree had some Halloween goodies out, and she bought me a little gift to start the season. I love my girls, they always know what Mom will enjoy:


My son, Brandon, was looking at some really cool masks for air-soft safety back in July, and came across some really cool ones in interesting shapes with wicked designs, flames and other assorted cool-as-hell paint jobs. Then he wondered if he could make his own, not necessarily for use during games, but just to have. So we busted out the papier mache and he learned to make his own masks. So far, he's only done three of them:





He painted them all by hand, doing a black base coat, then dry brushing and accenting. Not too bad for the first attempts. To make the paint jobs a little more interesting and fun, he decided he wanted to learn airbrushing. Yesterday, we busted out the compressor and the air brush kit and I let him have some fun with it. He practiced for about an hour, then decided to do a practice mural on a sheet of styrofoam that I had sitting in the garage. He calls it "Bowling with Bananas". I think he'll be pretty awesome with the air brush:

I'm looking forward to seeing his progress... and using his talent to paint my Halloween stuff... lol

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An interview on Hauntcast...

Chris Baker of Hauntcast.net asked me to consent to an interview with him for an episode of Hauntcast, and I agreed. Now, most people know by now that I am very VERY shy, and I think everyone knows how nervous I was about doing the interview. I've done written interviews before, but I can backspace as much as I want and edit as much as I want with those before sending them back for approval, so this was a difficult thing for me to do as there's no backspace key on my mouth! Being the first female to do the show was daunting as well... but I'm a sucker for a funny guy and Chris is no doubt hilarious. Thankfully, he's also easy to talk to, so I think it went well, especially given that my palms were sweating and I was on pins and needles until he told me it was over and we chit-chatted off the record. My husband, who was in the room at the time, said my whole demeanor changed at that point and I relaxed. Wish I coulda done that in the first place!!

Chris and the rest of the crew created another fantastic episode for our listening pleasure... And, without further ado... here it is, in all its whackiness:

http://hauntcast.net

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Evil Doll

So, back around the "other" holiday, my sister and I were working in the toy section of our store, and there was this baby doll that a customer squeezed and it GROWLED! We played with that doll half the night, and I said I wanted one for Halloween. Well, I got one for the "other" holiday - as a gift from my sister! This doll is a trip... the laugh it does is really cute, but that growl thing it does is downright perfect for a haunted nursery type display. I plan on painting her and making her "special". Anyway, here's a short video of her little sounds. The growl is at the end of the video. I wish there was a way to have ONLY the growl play and not the other two segments of laughter.

video

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Skeletons for the Bathroom

My sister bought some really cool skeleton things for her bathroom last year, but never got around to using them. She has since decided she's never gonna use them, and thought I'd like them. Well DUH!! I would have to replace the original porcelain pieces in the hall bathroom with removable metal ones so that I could change them out for these during "the season", but I think I can handle that.




I'm going to Iron Stock!!!!!!

On my Florida Haunters Forum, my friends and I were discussing IronStock for this year. It is the LAST IronStock and I have never been once in its 9 year history, but I always wanted to attend. This year is the 10th anniversary of this event and subsequently my only chance to go. For those of you who do not know what the hell I'm talking about, IronStock is a yearly gathering for haunters up in Tell City Indiana. There are demos, games, activities, contests, and all sorts of fun stuff going on the whole weekend. It starts off with a meet 'n greet on Friday evening, then all day Saturday is spent at the fairgrounds for all the fun stuff, with the day ending at the Weasel Ball costume party, which includes a fashion show by some of our talented costume makers, and Sunday marks the end of the fun with some more demos and such. This is a total haunter's social paradise in my eyes and I can't think of a way to meet more of my peers in one spot.

Anyway, I was chit-chatting about it on the forum, kidding that I was going to sell a kidney or one of my kids to go this year. My husband later asked me if I wanted to go for real, then told me that I was going. Apparently, his boss informed him that he was getting a bonus, so he decided to use part of it for my trip to IronStock! He knows how much it means to me to go and wanted to make it happen. So, now I'm going to IronStock this year and I gotta say, I am STOKED!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day - Florida Haunters Style!!

What a day!!!! Our Florida Haunters group planned our first Make and Take of the year for Valentine's Day. I have to say, it was probably the best M&T I've had the pleasure of attending so far. It was a good day for a M&T too, especially since it enabled Andy to attend a RC Fly-In in Deland while I was with my haunters. His friends couldn't believe he was allowed out on Valentine's DAy... and asked, why would they schedule a gathering on that day?? Well, why would a bunch of RC guys schedule a fly-in on V-Day?

I had to work Friday night and didn't get home until 8 AM that morning, so I was already running late. Several issues slowed me down (rain, not being able to find things, etc.), so I didn't get to leave until 10 AM. My son spent the night with his dad, so that left me with my 2 daughters, Taylor and Emily. We loaded up the Suburban, forgetting several things of course, and started our trip to Edgewater in the rain. By the time we hit the Palatka exits, the clouds parted and the sun shone and the day was looking brighter. We ended up with a beautiful sunny day, in the high 70s and sunburns!

We pulled into Edgewater just after noon and were greeted by a winged Blucky creature on the front lawn and one of my favorite haunters - Coda! We made our way into the back yard of our super hosts, CylonFrogQueen (CFQ) and Hamm, and there were our Florida Haunters, building away! My friends, IshWitch, Maureen, Spyder and Hamm... and I finally got to meet my new friends CFQ and Hamm. What a great couple they are - so gracious!! They had everything set up very well for the M&T - plenty of room for the build and for show-and-tell props. You can really tell that they are the consummate hosts! We laughed and had so much fun, Coda really kept his trademark one-liners coming and Spyder with his very unassuming self would pitch in and leave me with the giggles. Maureen is an amazing and skilled prop-builder and was really quick in getting her shiatsu prop going. I would LOVE to have her for a next door neighbor. Her daughter Stephanie is always a treat to be around, such a pleasant and fun demeanor, just a really great kid. IshWitch ended up with a good movement on her prop - and man she has some GREAT stories from work to tell us! Her specimen jars were a trip and her Valentine's Day cards were great. I always enjoy being around both of these women, great personalities and talent!

Spyder is such a shy man, but he is so smart and talented... and FUNNY! He tends to be quiet most of the time, but every once in a while he comes out with a line that just cracks me up. His props are amazing and I'm glad he brought some of them for show and tell. He even let me take one of them home! My girls REALLY liked his hacked RC car ground-breaker prop, and he offered it up to me, so I took it gladly. I'd like to make some more of these using his method... they're really cool. His spider jumper was fantastic and I could definitely see one of those gracing my haunt. I really am glad he loves so close to me, I need to get his help when I really get into pneumatics.

Coda- well, what to say about Coda... He is a TRIP! Oh man, he just NEVER stops, his mind is always sharp as a tack. He is so funny and so quick with his wit. I love being around him, absolutely LOVE it! He's also so helpful and generous. He brings his "garage on wheels" with him to our M&Ts and has everything you could possibly need to make a prop with him. I can't even begin to tell y'all what a gifted man he is (gifted in the good way, not the "short bus" way...lol). His props are amazing... every single one of them. I especially loved his "Brutus", which is just fantastic. He's another that is really talented at everything he does. His deviled eggs were yummy! I could go on and on, but that'd make his head swell up!

Brushe - what a wonderful man! He's another really talented haunter - his props were outstanding! I love his pneumatic works, and I'm kinda partial to the gator. :) I can't believe they packed all those props in their motorhome. They had several of them, and these aren't small props! They brought their dogs too, Kong and Dixie, and the kids LOVED them. Beautiful animals.. I am so glad that he and his wonderful wife Becky made the trip all the way from North Carolina. Such nice people!! They are our "Honorary Florida Haunters". I truly wish they lived in Florida. I hope to see them in the future and consider them part of our Florida Haunter family. Becky made a terrific Kahlua gelatin "body part" mold, which was DELICIOUS! I wish I could have had more of it, but having to drive kept me from doing more than tasting it. (I very well could have devoured the entire thing!!) The sweet potato biscuits were to die for as well... and that bread pudding? OMG - SO good, I had TWO helpings! I wish I could have stayed longer to hear Brushe sing and hang out with them both more. Maybe one day I'll get that opportunity. I'm very thankful for the Fairy art that Brushe gave to me... I absolutely LOVE it. I thought he did a wonderful job on the ones he did (Versions of VoodooWilly's originals on HalloweenForum) and was blown away when he said this one is mine.



CFQ and Hamm- Sharron is a really genuinely GREAT person. With all she had going on with sickness in her family, she still managed to pull off being such a gracious hostess. I can't believe how creative and kind she was - even making up some parting gifts for all of us. She went to Home Depot and charmed some of the essentials that we haunters use out of them and made up some really cool gifts for us to take home. My personal favorite is the FloridaHaunters tool belt pouch. She even made up certificates for everyone! The food was great, everything was great... and this was her and hamm's first personal encounter with our group. They outdid themselves. Hamm's butt (a forum joke) was so tender and delicious!!!! Everything was delicious for that matter. And Hamm is such a funny and kind person. They are a great couple and great haunters. I wanted to stay and hang out some, but that long drive and no sleep was such a party pooper. Thanks to Hamilton, I was able to actually leave. Apparently, someone (probably kids) hit the interior light button, so with the back door open all day on the Suburban, my battery was dead. Thanks to Hamm and Coda, it was back up and running in no time - and now Coda can say he had the opportunity to "jump" me! :-D

We left after 6 and got home just after 8. Taylor kept me awake by playing the "Worst Case Scenario" questions game with me and we made the stupid incorrect answers into a story line. When I got home, Andy was waiting for us. I read my Valentine's Day card from him and opened up that box of chocolates I knew was waiting for me, and we settled in for the season opener of Survivor on On-Demand. After that and a nice hot shower, I was SO ready for bed. Once my head hit that pillow, I was gone into oblivion and slept for 12 straight hours.

I just can't thank everyone enough for the day we had yesterday. Even though my day started off kinda on the wrong foot, I forgot half my supplies, I ran really late and didn't even get to make my prop, I STILL had one of the best M&T days ever. Thank you, to my friends, my haunter family... you guys and gals ROCK!!!

Our Florida Haunters, left to right:
Back row: Maureen, Becky, Coda, Brushe, Hamm and Spyder
Front row: Ghostess, IshWitch and CylonFrogQueen

Photo courtesy CylonFrogQueen

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy New Year

Greetings, friends (and non-friends). I'd like to start off by wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

A short recap from my last post to now:

Halloween was nice. A bit more quiet than past years, but nice all the same. My mom and her fiance were in town and she got to see my display for the first time. Both of my sisters came over and my best friend and her mom came by as well, so it was a cool night. I didn't go all out like I normally do, just as the party went, but to everyone else it was impressive. For once, I didn't stress out over last minute details. I even was in full zombie make-up by 4PM, which is AMAZING for me. Usually, it's dark before I can get a minute to get into costume. We had a lot less ToTs than previous years. Got in a couple of good scares, but it's hard to scare people when your nephews are giving away your location by talking to you. :)



Scary, huh? Even had maggots in my scars. :)

It took me several weeks to take everything down and get it all packed away. Some of it didn't even get taken down until after New Years. Call me lazy, I just didn't feel like bothering with it.

Thanksgiving was good. My sisters and their families came over. Yes, this year I had gravy. We had SO much food. It was a good time.

That "other" holiday was very low-key for us. We just chilled at home, no big dinner, nothing special. Sometimes, ya just gotta have an "off" year.

New Year's Eve was pretty tame as well. Andy and I went out to eat, and then headed to bed around 10. I was too tired to stay up for the countdown and all that mess after being awake for 26 hours straight.

My youngest had her birthday as well. She's 7 now, but thinks she's 37.

Last weekend, we all went to Savannah, Georgia. Visited Fort Pulaski and the Bonaventure Cemetery. Andy and I will go back to the cemetery at another time WITHOUT the kids. They kinda ruined the trip for me, just by being their usual "there's nothing in this for me" selves. I did get some great pictures though.











And that should be it as far as catching up goes. Work is still okay, I still enjoy my job - just not all the people I work around. I'm trying to catch up on all my forums and groups and working on updates for the websites. Looking forward to our next Florida Haunters make and take on Valentines Day - what a way to say I love you!!! Making props!!!!

Until next time, haunt on!