The awesome gryphon is there year-round. As are the vases in the background you shouldn’t be looking at. So, here we have the countdown calendar I got at the craft fair, the famous Blingkin, and some other sparkly odds and ends. I wanted this to be a glittery table.
Only one link today. I was cruising through the other countdown blogs and found Retroween via 2nd Street Cemetery. I know a lot of folks like the retro-look paper decorations, and this is the place to get ’em.
And now, a little animation from Michael Dougherty, maker of the modern Halloween classic Trick-r-Treat:
I’ve collected a lot of gorgeous Halloween and Dia de los Muertos beads and charms this year. What to do, what to do…oh wait, I’ve had this charm bracelet kit sitting around for years! I think these beads are from my awestruck trip to Shipwreck Beads. If you are within, say, six hours of this place, it’s worth the trip. While I’ve seen the skulls everywhere this season, I’ve only seen the little coffins there.
You can’t see it, but there’s a fearsome witch behind us. That’s me in the back, our friend Anna in front, and Bill (The Spousal Unit) over on the right. We are at the witch house at the Wenzel Farms Fantasy Trail.
Every Halloween and Christmas, Wenzel Farms transforms over 1000 feet of trail into a holiday funhouse.
The trail is especially great for kids, with slides and kid-sized attractions. It was exactly what I was in the mood for, and we had a great time.
After the Farm, we headed off for our annual pilgrimage to the Davis Graveyard.
This year’s big new thing was the build-out of the Abbey. You can’t tell from my blah picture, but everything looks amazing. And that guy to the right gave me guff when I put a donation in the box. Called me Scottish. If the shoe fits…
The Halloween countdown calendar is by Kimzey Kreations. The front is a changeable plate, and I will definitely want a new plate for Christmas. Sadly, she doesn’t yet have an online presence, but if you’re desperate to have one of these gorgeous calendars for yourself, ask me and I’ll send you her email address.
The cards are by Deana of Cusp Designs. We spent a few minutes talking about Artfire, which I noticed when they first launched, then kinda forgot about. She loves them as a venue, so I think I’ll have a poke around.
The wonderful cuff I’m just going to mumble about, because I have no idea who I bought it from. I’m so ashamed. I just put on the cuff, and I loved it so much I held out my wrist and said “you cut off the tag, and I will give you money.” I had two people complain that they wanted that cuff. Too bad. All mine.
Finally, get a load of that teeny mummy zombie. I don’t even like zombies, and I think he’s adorkable. He was made by my friend Tina, of CFL Creates. She has a ton of them in her store right now. They are so much cuter in person than in my inadequate photo. I mean, lookit his widdle eyeballs hangin’ out.
Something I’ve noticed about most scary movies I’ve watched: there’s always at least one moment of sheer stupidity. I’m not talking about the coed exploring the basement at night, when the electricity is out, and she’s just heard a strange noise, and most of her friends have been killed. I’m talking about lazy writing so dumb it almost seems deliberate.
In the relentlessly unfrightening Ring Around The Rosie, Karen is packing up her grandparents’ home. A home so beautiful and bright, I doubt Wes Craven could make it seem menacing. Near the beginning of the movie, Karen and her boyfriend are entering the house. Down a hallway, there’s an obvious portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The boyfriend straightens it. “Is that your granddad?” He asks. “Yeah,” our heroine replies. No, no I’m afraid that’s FDR, but no one could be arsed to get a more appropriate prop.
One of the most egregious and oft-used spots for lazy writing is that golden moment when a character looks something up on the internet. It’s an easy way to replace a sage-like character who answers questions, but the results are often laughable. In Paranormal Activity 2, which I actually enjoyed, the daugher, Ali, looks up hauntings and demons on the internet, and concludes that since the phenomena are “persistent” it must be a demon. Firstly, any idiot who has ever read a book about ghosts knows that hauntings are persistent. I suspect most idiots who haven’t read anything about ghosts are pretty sure hauntings are persistent. Secondly, if you google “ghost”, you get 479 million hits. Demon, by comparison, gets a measly 179 million. And since neither exist, you can bet there is a stunning amount of contradictory bullshit in those millions of entries. This is why I cringe whenever a character in horror gets on the intertubes. Okay, except for Willow, who always gets a pass.
My last example I totally suspect of being half-arsed on purpose, because they obviously had tongue firmly in cheek for the entire movie. The thoroughly enjoyable Insidious had all my favorite haunt film tropes, from Karen Black to seances to geeks with equipment. There is a moment with the latter where one of them pulls out a couple of army action figures from a packing box and says “Star Trek, first series. You should have kept them in the packaging.” No, seriously, they were army figures. Little guys in fatigues and helmets. I’d say that no one could be arsed to get a more appropriate prop, but it was actually pretty funny.
I’ll be watching more horror movies as the month moves along. In the hopper are Priest, The Rite, Excorcismus, and anything else I can dig up that strikes my fancy. No doubt each of them will have a special, stupid, can’t-be-arsed moment.
Yesterday, I discovered the existence of The Peculiarium. Naturally, I had to get there as quickly as possible. The door says “Est 1972”, but who really knows. What I do know is it’s a delightful little shop. There you can get a hot dog and some ice cream, as well as big foot candy and all sorts of other oddities.
There are horror scenes set throughout the store–devil babies in cribs and the ashy remains of a spontaneous combustion victim, to name a few. I should have taken pictures of some of those.
Instead, I couldn’t resist snapping a pic of bigfoot. The place is also filled with Halloween masks, and tons of offbeat art. It was Gesine Kratzner’sblog (she also has an Etsy shop!) that led me there. I was also taken with pieces by Dusty Genard.
Ultimately, I ended up taking home two things I can’t show you just yet. One is a birthday gift for a friend who reads this blog, and the other is a bottle of Bat Sweat, which will go with another project. I loved this little shop, and plan on dragging unsuspecting friends there. Or even suspecting friends.
Me: I prefer to think of it as an evil pumpkin overlord and its minions.
Him: Of course you do.
So I’m a little late posting. Forgive? I think these adorable little pumpykins are worth it. I had this beautiful wool/alpaca mix from a sheep farm in Nehalem that was just begging to be felted into pumpkins. I don’t do a lot of sculptural felting (as in, this is the first time), so pumpkins were a good, simple project.
For the smaller pumpkin, I didn’t use filling, but for the large (3-1/2″) and medium pumpkins, I pulled some alpaca out of this huge bag I got for a song. Illustrations are from the making of the medium pumpkin.
Here’s the wad of alpaca wool that became the center of the medium pumpkin. I wound it in an approximate pumpkin shape, then I started poking.
Once it was compressed a little and in the shape I wanted, I wrapped the armature in my colored roving.
Then the poking, and the poking, and the poking. I go at least three rounds, compressing and shaping. I used a multi-needle tool on the ends to really smoosh them down, as they were stubborn.
Once the pumpkin was compressed and shaped, I added indentations by poking in a straight line.
When the lines were done, I added a wisp of brown roving to accentuate, then I trimmed off the fuzzy edges and poked in what was left.
I gathered some variegated green roving for a stem, in a roughly stem-like shape.
I poked and poked, mostly against my foam block so the small stem was easier to work with. Sides, then top, then all over again, leaving the bit of roving I was holding unfelted. This is the part of the process where I usually poke myself. When the stem is in good shape, I trim a bit off the end I’m holding, and spread it out like an octopus. I use this bottom part to attach the stem to the pumpkin.
For you paper-folders (I have never had the patience or dexterity), here are a bunch of Halloween patterns from Origami Club. I like the setup–you can view either a diagram or an animation for instructions.
For my birthday, my wonderful Spousal Unit bought me one of these:
I managed to wait a few days, but soon, I couldn’t help but play. So here is my first piece of handmade paper!
So how to make that spooky…
How about a little dry-brushing with off-white paint, then cut out as many large (4″) hearts as I can manage:
Wait, what? Hearts?! I’m not supposed to be making hearts for months! But there is a method to my madness. Cut those cute little hearts in half:
Then give them some shape. I usually just go wild with the scissors, but here I’ve drawn in the shape to show you what I’m doing:
In case you’re still wondering, it’s a little ghostie! Next, the ghosties get cute faces:
Then they get two little holes in their heads. They find this quite upsetting:
I had a dozen ghosties, so I cut off about 60″ of 3/8″-wide orange ribbon, and fray-checked the ends. While you can do without, this is much easier with a ribbon needle. String the first ghost starting from the back, then gently move it down the ribbon until it’s about 10″ from the end. Use all this moving to manipulate the ribbon so it stays shiny-side front.
String the other ghosts, moving them gently, and keeping the ribbon shiny-side front, until they’re about 2″ from the ghost in front of them. All this moving is why you need a nice, heavy paper. Now string ’em up!
Webspinstress collects a bunch of adorable bat treats.
I’ve been looking all over for this! If you’re in the Portland area and in the mood for something kinda sweet and kitschy, head for Wenzel Farms Fantasy Trail. They do Christmas, too! I went a few years ago, and am in the mood to go again this year. I think that and Davis Graveyard will be my haunts for 2011.
Again via Art of Darkness, whose links I steal with utmost affection, comes Tim Burton’s first short film, based upon, and narrated by, his lifelong hero.