Things are starting to come together

Things are starting to come together over here at the Shadow Lair Manor. I FINALLY finished my biggest prop addition for the year today. My Grim Reaper which I will be hanging from the front window of my house. I’m very psyched and extremely proud of how this prop turned out, so I thought I’d post a pic of it here. :)

I’ll post more when he’s actually out the window, which I think will be tomorrow, but I’m too excited to not post a pic now! Keep in mind that in this pic, The stand that he’s attached to is mounted on a chair, so that’s why he looks so short. lol But, hopefully, he’ll be much more impressive when he’s floating outside the window. :)

I love my air compressor!!

Halloween is coming along great this year! I’m so psyched!!

In previous years, it has taken FOREVER to paint the wall panels for the haunts. To do them I had to lay them out on a really long wallpapering table, and then paint them with a roller. I think I was able to do two at a time eventually, and it would take me about 30 – 45 minutes to paint those two panels. Then, I’d have to wait up to 4 days for those two panels to dry enough to be removed from the table and brought into the house, depending on the temperature and amount of rain. It was a TIRESOME process to say the least!

But today, thanks to my awesome new air compressor, I was able to do TWELVE panels in one day! And I must say they look totally cool. This picture is of the first two panels I did, not the ones I did today, but I thought I’d throw this pic up to give you guys an idea of what they look like. :)

I’m going for a nightmare look, so I wanted blue/black clouds to give the feeling of kinda dreamy atmosphere. This one has a thicker black spot in the middle but, that’s ok, it gave me the idea to make other cool designs in the paint as I was making the other panels. They are all mostly the same style, but some have some images on them, like the outline of a face or person or bat or whatever, and there is one that has nonsense words on it, like when you try to read in a dream and the words don’t make sense. Hehehe

Anyway! Needless to say, I’m totally in love with having an air compressor! 12 panels in ONE day! So cool! And it puts me so far ahead on Halloween when I don’t have to wait so long for panels to dry, because they are all hung up and drying in the breeze. :)

Other than the panels, I got a bunch of other stuff done today/this week too! The gargoyles are fully sculpted now and ready for paint! I got the tops of the columns finished and ready, I cut and applied the top-side trim to one column and the other I’ll do tomorrow. Once the trim is secure, I’ll be able to carve the cracks and then they’ll be ready for paint! Woo!

I got the robe ready for the Grim Reaper too. I still need to do his wings, but that shouldn’t take long. I am waiting for some help with the LEDs I want to put in his eyes, somebody at More-messa’s work is going to help with that next week. After I have those, I’ll be able to sculpt more firm features into the GR’s skull incorporating the LEDs and hiding the wires. Then, all he’ll need is another coat of paint and he’s done! :)

I’m so psyched! Can’t wait! This year is going to ROCK!

Progress Report!

I haven’t updated my blog since June! Man, it’s a good thing nobody reads it anyway! lol :)

I took some time off around the middle of June from Halloween stuff to do some other things for a while, but I’ve been back at it since late July, just haven’t posted anything here.

Unfortunately the sculpt of my gargoyle in my last post did not end well. Instead, I was forced to recall the reason I’ve never used clay before!

Even though I used an air dry clay, if clay doesn’t dry evenly it cracks, which I had forgotten. So, my first attempt at a gargoyle for the graveyard columns ended up cracking and no matter how I attempted to fix it, I just couldn’t save the poor thing.

I have to be honest, this discouraged me a lot, and it was partly for that reason that I took like a month and a half off of working on Halloween stuff.

But anyway! I went on and made an additional gargoyle form and I’ve done some work on the second gargoyle as well, however, I haven’t actually sculpted their faces yet, so I’m not going to post pics of them as there’s not much to see yet.

I’ve also been working on a Grim Reaper that I’m going to put out the front window this year. I am making him over sized because last year, even though I loved the sculpture I did to hang out the front window, she seemed too small to me, and I want this Reaper to appear imposing. :) I still have a LOT of work to do on him, but at the moment, I’ve got the head and basic upper body done as well as the scythe, though I’m going to need to put a few more layers on the scythe, I think, just to keep it sturdy. I haven’t paper mache’d the arms into place yet, so he can’t actually hold the scythe at the moment, but I was able to position everything for this pic to show you guys at least. :)

I still need to make his wings and his cloak, and I’ll need to sculpt his face too, so he looks like he’s scowling threateningly at everybody. I’m also planning on putting some red LEDs in his eyes if I can make that work. More-messa is going to help me with that this weekend I think.

I also had an idea hit me out of the blue a couple weeks ago that I thought was really cool. The theme this year is the end of the world, nightmares arise, so I’ve been thinking about nightmare stuff. And I suddenly thought that it would be super spooky to have hands reaching out from the darkness of the ceiling and walls around the people as they walk through the haunt. I’m going to cover the ceiling with a black material, and then I’m going to put these hands all over the place, reaching out from the shadows… They will probably all be painted black too, maybe with some highlights that will catch the lights in the room just enough to draw attention to them.

I thought I’d share this pic with you, just cuz I find it amusing to think that I’m probably the only person in Sweden who currently has a rack of severed hands drying in her kitchen! lol :)

That’s it for now, I’ll try to keep things up dated as projects near their completions!

First gargoyle coming along nicely!

Normally, I might wait to post pictures until I was done, but I’m rather excited about how well my first gargoyle is turning out, so I wanted to share it with the few of you out there who actually look at my blog. :)

I went and got some regular clay today to use instead of the paper mache clay I normally use. It was much cheaper and kinda easier to use too. So, anyway, this is what the first gargoyle’s head looks like at the moment. I’ll be doing his legs and wings and stuff tomorrow probably, but for now… :)
I couldn’t decide which pic was best, with flash or without, so here is both of them! lol :)

Here’s another update. Didn’t want to do a whole new post for this! :) … Still not done, but the feet turned out pretty good :)

Finally got my bday present!

So today was an excellent day! I got to spend the day with my wonderful hubby (More-messa as I call him, for those of you who don’t know that already. A compliment to my name Mordessa as well as a comment on his crafting style! LOL) at his office, doing some voice acting for the game he’s working on. Then he took some flex time and we left early so we could go to Bau Haus (the Home Depot type store here in Sweden)!

More-messa and his father had gone in together to buy me a birthday present in the beginning of the month that they ordered online. Unfortunately, the company they ordered it from didn’t bother to tell them the item was back ordered and then kept insisting that they were sending it, but never did. So, he requested a refund and got it.

I’m actually really glad because even though they had ordered me this big box of tools, and I was really looking forward to getting them, it was way more fun for me to go and pick out a new tool set for myself today! :)

Look what they got me!

Isn’t it beautiful??? I love it!
Yes, it is a HAPPY DAY for me!! :) …All I need now, I think, is an electric sander and to make myself a new work table, and my workshop will be complete! Yay!! :)

New Columns this year!

I was just about to make a post “updating” the work on my new columns when I realized I haven’t posted anything about my plans for this years props and stuff!

I’ve got a lot of stuff on my agenda for this year, and I’m really hoping I can pull it all off. I started drawing up plans and stuff in February this year, so I’ve already been working on things for a few months.

Some of the things on my list include new cemetery columns with gargoyle toppers, a moving wall (If I can make it work) and a ceiling creeper thing, and a HUGE Grim Reaper for the front window.

So far I’ve only been working on the columns, because it’s not exactly economical for me to buy materials for more than one project at a time. Hehe This is more because I tend to grab things intended for the next project to work on the one I’m currently paying attention to, so, by the time I get to the next project, the materials are all over the place. LOL

Anyway, I’ve been taking tons of pictures so that I’ll be able to put together a good tutorial for the columns, but I thought I’d show anybody who actually bothers reading my tiny little blog here, how they are coming along. :)

I’ve got both columns built already. I’ve built them so that they have doors on the back, which will allow me to make any sort of adjustments I want to later, such as adding a lantern or whatever. This will also let me put sand bags inside if they end up having a problem with tipping over like the last ones did. Adds storage space too for smaller things, like skulls or whatever. (In this pic, the one on the right is up on a little wheeled pallet thing that I have so I can move it around. That’s the only reason it’s taller than the other. They are actually both the same size.) The gargoyles aren’t actually attached to the columns here yet, that’s why the one that’s higher up is facing the back of the column. The tops of the columns are removable, so he’ll be facing the correct direction when it’s all finished. :)

I’ve also already put the foam around the outside of the columns, which will allow me to carve cracks and stuff into them, so that’s what the pink stuff is that you’ll see in the picture below.

Now, I had intended to buy a couple of gargoyles somewhere from a garden shop or something, but when I was discussing this with my friend Desiree she insisted that I was able to make my own gargoyles. I had never actually considered this before, because I’ve never tried such a thing, but, since she said I could do it, I gave it a shot.

I just put the first two layers of paper mache on the second one today, and I must say that so far, they are turning out much better than I expected. I’ve just got the body forms done, as you can see, but that was what I was thinking would be the hardest part, so I’m really happy with the way they are turning out so far!

I’ve got 4 layers of paper mache on the one that’s dry in that picture. The other still needs another two layers, so I’ll have to do that sometime this week. But, now that the first one is dry, I can actually start sculpting!! I’m really excited to start doing that. :)

For the columns I still need to get some trim to put along the tops and bottoms to make them look nicer, but I’m going to Bau Haus tomorrow, so I’ll hopefully be able to find the kind of trim I need without any problems.

So, anyway, I just thought I’d throw an update out there to show ya’ll what I’ve been up to!

Catchya later!

What a wonderful birthday!!

Yesterday was such an awesome birthday!! :)

I spent the morning chatting with my hubby and also some friends online. Hubby warned me that his gift for me might arrive late, as it had to be ordered, so I wasn’t really expecting any gifts or anything. I thought I’d lounge and do some crafting or something during the day until he got home. I was planning on making myself a birthday cake and then working some more in my still rather unorganized workspace on the porch, since it was a beautiful day. But that wasn’t what ended up happening! :)

Normally, even though G loves Halloween too, when I bring up the topic of it, especially this far ahead of time, he’s not all that thrilled about talking about it. But yesterday he made a point of spending as much time as I wanted brain storming and coming up with prop ideas and stuff like that. It was really fun!

THEN! My good friend Nicklas, who I was also chatting with told me to check for his gift, which I wasn’t expecting at all!! I had been talking to him several weeks ago about really wanting a nice set of drawers, like one of those rolling workbench sets for tools and stuff like that, because the only storage I’ve had for my stuff over the past few years has been this broken down set of plastic drawers that is shoved under my work table. But I had pretty much forgotten about the whole conversation, even though he’d hinted at getting me something for my bday, I assumed it was more in jest than anything else. But, Nicklas, being the amazing guy that he is, sent me the money to buy a really nice tool drawer workstation thing! Look how pretty it is!!!

Nicklas's bday gift for me!!

Look how perfectly my air compressor accessories fit!

G and I had been talking about me running over to Bau Haus to get a few crafting supplies, because we’d planned to spend the evening working on Halloween stuff, but it was just an idea, not a plan, until Nicklas’s gift arrived, THEN it was a plan! Woo!! I was so excited!

So, I went to Bau Haus and found that perfect drawer set, and while I was there I looked at the circular saws, which is something else I’ve been wanting for a long time. I found one for 400 SEK! I was expecting them to be at least 1000 SEK, but I found a cheap one, so I used my own money and bought that for myself for my bday! Hehe I’m so sweet, aren’t I? :)

On top of that, I found some shelves which, if they are adjustable as they seem to be on the picture, will make my work space even BETTER! And they were really cheap too, so I got them.

When G got home, he didn’t sit on his computer and ignore me even for a minute! :) We went and got Thai food, and then we came home and he helped me put the wheels on my drawer set, then we played with my air compressor for the first time! I hadn’t even turned it on yet, because I didn’t know how and the instructions didn’t say anything about that. :P So, we played with the air compressor for a bit, attached the different accessories and he recorded the sounds of them. It was fun!

Then he gave me a foot massage while we watched the first episode of “Touch”. (I’ve been trying to get him to watch that one since it started, such a great show so far! :) )

Also, my friend Daniel made a video of himself singing for me, which was so great it got me all teary! :) He’s such a sweetheart!!

And I got SO many happy birthday wishes from so many of my friends… It was just such an amazing birthday! I haven’t felt that loved on my birthday since I was 15 and my friends decorated my locker and made a huge deal of my bday all day long, and I even got kissed in front of everybody by the guy I had a HUGE crush on, and he gave me a rose too! That was my best birthday ever, and yesterday seriously ranks up there with that one!

Thank you everybody for all your wonderful birthday wishes, I can’t tell you how much they mean to me!!

Air compressor irritation!

So, after WEEKS of looking at my new air compressor sitting there in it’s box on the floor, unable to play with it or anything because it was too heavy for me to get out of the box by myself, More-Messa finally helped me pull it from it’s box and get the wheels on it today!

I was so psyched to finally get to look at it! Isn’t it beautiful?

However, having never used an air compressor before, I am not sure exactly where to start and what to do with it. lol I decided the best thing to do was to look through the manual, so I’d know the basics.

As it turns out though, the manual consists of 1 page (back and front) for each of 27 different languages. I thought, “cool, not much to know…” But unfortunately, not only is the bulk of the manual in other languages, but also the pictures in the beginning of the manual which are referenced in the instructions, such as where you can look to check the oil, are for a different model of air compressor! LOL The instructions reference the 3 different pictures showing a dipstick to check the oil. Fortunately, there is a picture on the next page which shows a visual oil gauge on the side of the machine, and I happened to see it, even though that picture was not mentioned in the instructions. LOL

The picture for the on/off switch in the manual doesn’t look exactly like the one on my unit either, though of course it wasn’t difficult to locate it anyway, but there doesn’t seem to be any indicator as to which position is on and which is off. I would assume I’ll figure that out quickly enough when I plug it in, but still! LOL And this is what it says regarding the on/off in the manual: “Operating on the switch of the pressure switch, the compressor starts.” At least, I’m guessing they are talking about the on/off switch! Hehehehe

Along with that minor annoyance, the instructions say to “check for correspondence between the compressor plate data with the actual specifications of the electrical system.” I have NO clue what that means, and other than telling me to do it, the manual gives no indication of how it is done. :D

This unit actually came with a lot of nifty accessories like an air brush, drill, socket gun or whatever it’s called to tighten bolts on car tires, and a few more cool toys. Each of them came in their own little box, and I haven’t gotten them out yet. BUT, there were two other items besides the wheels in the main box, that I don’t recognize at all. I assumed because they were in the main box and not one of the separate boxes containing accessories that they belonged on the compressor itself, but there is no indication of that in any of the pictures, so I’ll just have to wait til I’ve gone through the manuals that came with the other pieces and see if they somehow go with one of them instead. It just would have been nice to have some sort of checklist or something to know right away.

So, I’m going to go to the Halloween Forum and ask for some air compressor advice to see if anybody can help me with what comparing the plate data to electrical system means. THEN maybe I’ll be able to actually plug it in and turn it on! Woo! :P

After that, at least I found a great tutorial online regarding learning how to use an air compressor, with an emphasis on using it for pneumatics! If I knew who to thank for it, I really would, because it’s very well done! I’ll be going through that this week and familiarizing myself with my new toy.

THEN, I’m thinking about checking out new air brush systems so I can lure my friends Desiree and Fredrick back over here to play! :)

The junk yard dogs … errr gods are smiling!

This year I am kind of making it my mission to make my porch into a proper work room for me to build my Halloween props. More-messa and I have been using the porch as our crafting area for several years, but it’s never been set up efficiently. Everything we set up out there has been kind of a “this’ll do for now” sorta deal.

But we’ve been doing big projects for Halloween for so long now that I feel like we need a real working, organized place that we can work in. Ya know, a place that has good and abundant work space, organized places for supplies and tools and all of that, space for things to be able to stand and dry, etc.

I would love to just spend a fortune on the whole thing and trick out the porch entirely, but since that’s not exactly practical at the moment, I’ve been visiting the local second hand store, the recycling center and the junk yard rather frequently. :)

And this last week has been awesome for finding stuff! Yesterday, I went to the second hand store and they were having a half off of everything sale! Score! :) I got this guided hand saw and this table both for 80 SEK. (Around $10)

Pretty great deal, huh? :) That saw is practically brand new! And that table is the perfect kind of table for crafting on!

But the thing I’m most psyched about right now is what I found today at the junk yard.

A little back story here: I have this wonderful friend here in my town who owns a pet store. I stopped in to visit with her last summer and I was telling her about how much trouble I was having finding peg boards. I told her how I was going to make my own by drilling holes in an old metal shelf and hanging it up, but then when I went to find the things I’d be using on my makeshift peg board, like hangers and such, I couldn’t find anything anywhere that used the round holes! Only things I could find were the kind that would fit a flat hook piece into a board with oblong slits, rather than holes!

Being the wonderful friend she is, she graciously donated two slitted peg board panels and a bag full of hooks to my cause. I was so thrilled I couldn’t wait to hang them up and get my tools all organized!

But, when I got home, I realized I didn’t have the brackets to hang the panels up, nor did I have anywhere to hang them, because the walls of our porch are mostly big windows, and hanging the peg board under those windows would not have been ideal for me. So, I was looking for another way to be able to use them. And today I finally found it!! :)

I went to the junk yard today and I found the two side pieces that would make the perfect stand for the peg boards, but there weren’t any bracing bars to keep those side pieces firm and standing, so I scoured the junk yard and finally found two supporting bars that would work for the purpose, even if they didn’t actually go with the other pieces. I didn’t have the exact measurements with me for the panels, so I was doing it all by eyeing the size and hoping it would all fit together. I got the whole set up for about $10, and dragged it home… and Waahlahh!

Now I have a working peg board on a stand!! I’m soooo happy!!! My work area is totally shaping up! Yay!!!

SCORE!!!

It was finally warm enough outside today to do our first official spring cleaning on the porch. I am desperate to have my space back out there so I can start working on Halloween projects that I want to do this year. :)

So, we took a bunch of stuff over to the recycling center and man did we score big while we were there!

Somebody threw out a ton of foam boards! And not just foam boards, but thin foam boards!! I have been looking for this thickness of foam for years here in Sweden and have not been able to find it in any construction stores. The only foam of this type I’ve been able to find has come in big thick, like 6 inches thick, boards that cost around $15 each! And those thick boards are extremely difficult to saw down to the thinner thickness if you don’t have a hot wire knife, which I don’t.

So More-messa and I packed the car FULL of as many foam boards as we could get into it. Look at my loot!

Foam board score