Monthly Archives: October 2011

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I've been in hardcore spook mode since mid-September, and now that the day has arrived, it's...quiet. No trick-or-treaters come to our door, so Halloweens in our current home lacks that anticipation. Also, ironically, by the time The Day arrives, I tend to be a little burned out. That's okay, because I've had a ghoulishly good time these past weeks, making things and blogging about my favorite holiday.

So tonight I'm going to curl up on the couch with the Spousal Unit, and light all the little lights in my Halloween displays, and just chill.

Have a safe, spooky holiday.

Punkinland

We have an antique Chinese cabinet that is murder to photograph. Naturally, that's where I like to set up holiday displays. This is the top shelf of three, where I put most of the pumpkins. And, no, I didn't make that zombie thing on the end (see it better here). I found that at a craft mall. Sadly, I don't really know who made it, but her stuff is cool.

So what does WILLIAM SHATNER (may his name always be in caps, amen) have to do with Halloween?  Well, with the movie, quite a bit, and totally by accident:

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jars-dark

I've been wanting to make some jar lanterns since I saw Ghoul Friday's tutorial. Mostly, I followed it. Okay, I followed it a little. What I wanted was something I could stuff a string of LED lights into, and have vague shapes show through. You'll see five jars in the work-in-progress. The last one is taking a little longer, and didn't make it into the final shots.

jars-begin

Since I didn't have any interesting jars sitting around to recycle, I spent a few quid* at Dollar Tree. I brought home not only the jars, but some creepy crawlers and skulls to put inside.

jars-milk

I coated the inside with diluted Elmer's glue. One coat plain, then another with some paint. The black paint didn't mix in well, so I ended up with chunks, which I thought was pretty cool. The jars now looked like dirty chocolate-milk glasses. That was fine, but I wanted more.

jars-mica

I wondered what would happen if I poured a little Pearl Ex into the mostly-dry jars and shook it around. Ooh, mama like. Of course that left them impossibly messy inside, so I sprayed the heck out of them with matte sealer.

jars-black

Next, going back to the tutorial, I used paint to blacken the top of the jars. The cotton balls came off in the paint a bit, giving it more yummy texture.

For one of the large jars, I darkened some cheesecloth and tied it on with orange twine, then did a little more painting. I first stuffed that jar with orange lights and skulls. The second large jar turned out to be a bit opaque, so I took some creepies and put them right up against the glass, again stuffing it with a string of lights. I removed the rubber seal around the lid so there was room to sneak the cord and controller out the back of the jar.

Even though I'd prepped the lids, I decided to leave them off the little jars. They got LED candles, and something creepy against the glass.

jars-light

This was great fun, and I'm chuffed with the results. I think these are creepy enough to make the Spousal Unit shiver and give me that "I tolerate this because I love you" look. He gives me that look a lot this time of year.

* I have no real idea what a quid is. It just sounded good.

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I know, this has nothing to do with Halloween, but I just couldn't get this out of my head. I wanted to make a needle-felted box, so I did.

Felted box, open

It is tiny. That's my wedding ring in there.

Felted box, closed

I haven't decided if I'm happy with it yet. I want it to be crisper, but felt doesn't exactly lend itself to hard edges. I used the technique I found on several sites, where you felt a shape around a core, then cut them apart, remove some of the core, and shape the top and bottom.  I couldn't let go of the idea of a fitted lid, so I added a bit of core color to the inside of the lid and shaped it. That part turned out well. I think I may try to do the top and bottom separately next time, as the scissors did a lot of damage that was difficult to repair on so small an object. Also, that would give me more control.

It's a video day! First, just two little links:

  • I know this guy's brother! I've tumbled a little of Daniel Danger's work, but I thought linking the whole lovely, spooky thing would be nice.
  • Nope, we can't get through a Halloween season without at least one link to awesome pumpkin carvings.

Okay, the first video is just some really easy ideas for spooky decor. Even though this is two years old, the templates are still available at Kristine Mckay's site.

Next, very pretty paper pumpkins. I've surely been on a pumpkin kick this year. These look like the kind of thing you could make masses of for party decorations.

And now, a little Coop:

Keep Halloween Alive!

In the mood for Victorian vampires? Here's a treat: the original web series, Blood and Bone China.

'It is 1897 and a city is in turmoil. In the smoky, dirty depths of middle England, the people are terrified. The once bustling streets of Stoke are empty, the silence is only broken by the whispers of devils, demons and vampires. Poor souls are being taken, vanishing without a trace.'

Also, the theme song is pretty good. Here's the opening chapter. You can get caught up at their site--the final chapter is coming soon!

Delicious has been having serious growing pains lately. The whole service is being re-vamped, meaning feeds are broken, and a lot of things we loved about the old Delicious haven't been put in yet. When they do get something updated, they tend to over-reach. And that's what happened to my poor browser.

I'd noticed the Firefox had been mad slow lately. I actually ran a full virus check, cleaned up my already-clean computer, and was left scratching my head. Thing was, there was this bar in the lower left of my browser that said "syncing bookmarks". Clicking on it didn't help. I couldn't tell if it was coming from FF or an add-on. Finally, I went looking.

First, I found this hapless fella with the same problem. Luckily, the Powers that Be knew which add-on was causing the problem. Really, I shoulda guessed. Delicious decided that everyone should have all their bookmarks imported into Firefox, and they made it darned hard to turn off. I mean, holy crap, do you know how many bookmarks I have in Delicious? I'll tell you: 4,472. And I can't imagine that's a particularly high number for a long-time user. So yeah, it was grinding Firefox to a halt.

I disabled my Delicious add-on, but then I had the same problem as the fella: I still want to use my add-on! So, after a teensy bit more searching, I found this. More than halfway down the page is the header Control Delicious Add-On Options, where I discovered Classic Mode. I could get to those options via the Tools menu in FF. Wait, the what? The "helpful" new FF menu doesn't have tools. *sigh* A little more searching and I found I can bring up the old menu with Alt or F10.

So, the bottom line: hit F10, go to Tools-->Delicious Options, and follow the directions here to unhinder your browser. We really should be able to turn off syncing without losing all the other new things, but that's the way it is for now.

La Catrina

La Catrina takes first prize

This cloudy Saturday found us at Portland Nursery's Apple Tasting. I can't believe I'd never been there. Man, that place is huge for being right in the city.

Line at apple tasting

The line to get to the apples

We tasted a few dozen varieties of apples and pears, then bought some for the tasty price of .99/lb. We met some nice people, too! Of course, the reason I wanted to go was the scarecrows.


Scarlette O'Hayra Edgar Allen Crow

On our way out to the fest, we saw something intriguing along Stark St., so I had to go back and have a look. Turns out it was Scare Hollow, a home haunt that has grown over the last five years from a few animatronic props to a full-blown walk-thru with actors. This year, it's all about a futuristic town gone bad. They open on Wednesday. I think I have to go.

Scare Hollow

Scare Hollow

The other thing we did on the way back is check out the house on Long Street, otherwise known as Lonesomeville Pottery. Every year they put up great scarecrows, and dozens and dozens of pumpkins, both carved and ceramic. You simply must see this place at night. But even better, their Autumn Sale is next Friday.  They have seasonal items, which I'm hoping means I can grab a pumpkin or two!

I keep running into fun things on the intertubes.

Online image-editing site Picnik has tons of cool goodies for Halloween editing. A lot of it is premium. The service is great, and if I used it more often, I would totally upgrade. As it is, I stuck to the free stuff when I vamped up myself and the Spousal Unit.

When Edmund Stone, host of The Score, went to Ireland and Scotland on an Earthbound Expeditions trip with a bunch of All Classical listeners, I was filled with envy. Especially when I found out those listeners got to sit by the fire in an old inn and listen to Edmund tell ghost stories. He has a great voice for it. Now you can listen too, as he's put up two Poe stories on the Score website.

 

Persephone Costume Idea

I'm not much of a costume person. Last year I went to a party as a lolcat, and nobody got it. And I got the font right and everything! Sigh. That's pretty typical of my costuming experience, so this geeky girl doesn't go there. Take Back Halloween almost makes me reconsider. Sadly, most of the costumes still have to be explained (never a good thing), but they are still cool ideas. Note: this is not a costume retailer, just an idea source. Kinda wish they did sell these things!

2nd Street Cemetery, which is fast becoming a favorite spookblog, has introduced me to the new tradition of Booing. I vaguely remember doing something like this when I worked in an office several years ago. Can't remember if it was Christmas or Halloween. Either way, sounds like fun in an office or a neighborhood.  Get Booing.!

Oh man, do I ever wish these were sugar-free. So cute I'm tempted anyway, these are Krispy Skremes, available for the season from Krispy Kreme. There's also other cute stuff on the website.

Via Art of Darkness comes Hide, by Andrew Shouldice. A very creepy little game for PC and Mac. I got killed in about two minutes. The graphics are old-skool, which is actually refreshing. It manages to be plenty spooky, trust me.

Okay, I think I'm done, except for one last treat, again via Art of Darkness: