Progress Updates linked under respective yard header.
I've worked my yard for years with bizarre themes and massive scale projects. Now I have 2 other yards to deal with: my brother's and my grandmother's. Each will have a radically different theme and approach.
I'm going with an undersea theme for my yard, with massive critters and some new tricks I haven't tried before.
For my brother's yard, since he now lives in the sticks and actually has to deal with a bear that constantly comes into his yard (codename: Baloo), there will be a reverse hunting theme, with traps gone wrong and a bear (more Yogi in style than National Geographic) literally pulling the strings.
Finally, for my grandmother's yard, it's more of a traditional Halloween feel based off of a greeting card she enjoys:
She runs a window art business and gets all her inspiration from a massive collection of greeting cards, and this one jumped out as a possible collaborative effort. I get to do my wire and light work, while she get to put her stamp on the paint element.
Basically, I taught music, drama, and dance at a local summer camp this year. Their carnival was two days ago, and I was told the day before that I needed to come up with some kind of booth activity for the campers to visit whenever they wanted.
This is a 40x60 1/8" black foam core sheet, three dowels sprayed blue, about 120 neon golf tees, green popsicle sticks, and some green paint to show them where to start. Each player had three tries to roll a ball (red, blue, orange, or yellow) down the board and get it into the green popsicle stick scoring zones. Winners received a fun foam animal sticker that magically held up when they all ran to the waterslide afterwards.
Since it was just golf tees going into the foam core, I could move and adjust the pegs throughout the day depending on who was coming. I made it nearly impossible for the pre-K and kindergarten students to miss, but much more challenging for the 4th and 5th graders to score. Everyone could play until they won, depending on the time available for the group.
It was a huge hit and the line only died down for the snack break halfway through the day.
I've been wanting to try the Gallery Glass fake stained glass paint for a long time and finally built up the courage to do so yesterday. Whenever I try a new craft, I intentionally choose a really ambitious first project so I can really focus on the techniques and figure out what my strengths are.
The project? Recreating the US publicity poster for one of my favorite films: The Eye.
The finished piece:
The free-handed pattern:
The finished piece was painted on a 5x7 top loading metal picture frame, then glued into place using E6000 and sealed on top with a thin layer of Liquid Leading. The side blue panels and top/bottom black sections are finished with the Gallery Glass crackle medium. It's not clear in the picture, but the small white slit in the doorway is one of the glittery paints with crackle medium on top. And the child's skin is a very pale flesh tone, not the same bright white as the surrounding lighted hall.
Other than the text not being clear on the bottom, I'm pretty satisfied.
This is a Christmas gift for my friend obviously inspired by Miss Cuddlefish's wonderful Zen Mario Garden. My friend loves anime and one of her favorites is Sailor Moon. She also likes black and pink. So, it was a clear decision.
The box is stained black, the star is painted bright red/pink, both done with various concentrations of acrylic paint.
The inside cover.
The instructions read: pour in sand, rake, relax
The Sailor Moon characters. Happy accidents in shrinky dinks, I'd say. Somehow, they wound up curved, almost like stones, when I tested the designs. I loved them so much just in black and white that I didn't redo them colored.
Dual-Sided Zen tool: rake side. Made from unfinished icecream spoons and straight pins.
Dual-Sided Zen tool: level side.
The Finished Garden: the sand, decorative floral sand, was dyed pink using a very diluted mixture of acrylic paint and water. Fill the box with as much sand as you want for the garden, then empty into a zip-top bag. Mix in small amounts of watered down acrylic, closing the top and shake/knead until the color is uniform throughout. Keep adding the water/paint until the sand is slightly darker then you'd want - it dries lighter. Empty out onto a foil-covered pan (you can use a flat baking sheet, but sides help when you go to dump it out) and let dry overnight. The floral sand will keep the color without sticking together. The blue stones are just small plastic crystals from the craft store.
I'm going to put the sand in a nice bag when I give it to her so she can empty it out at home. While the box doesn't leak sand when close, it does have a tendency to shift so that when the box is opened, sand falls out.
So, it's been a while since the last update, but it's been very slow going recently. The fly trap is finally wrapped in kraft paper so I can papier mache it and I've started carving some of the other creatures.
covered fly trap
cat bush carving
cat bush carving side detail
Notice how I have claimed the family garage as the new work station. The fly trap barely fit through the door.
Day 7 The weather is cooperating. It's very sunny, but not unbearably so, and there's barely any humidity. It's almost a day where a light jacket would be appropriate.
But the wire armature is finished. Done. No more. Ok, maybe a little more finessing to get it just perfect before I start to cover it, but it came out better than I expected.
It's about 8'6", and was built with only one major incident.
If you look at some of the other pictures on my flickr, you'll see a pool in the background. Of course, even working over four feet away from the pool today, I still somehow managed to drop my wire cutters into the water and had to jump in to rescue them. That water was way too cold to be playing around with today.
blueknitfreak, I know of the haunter conventions, but haven't been able to get to any of them. They are just a little too far away for me.
susankg: it's my house, and people can walk/pose/photograph/film/blog about whatever they want. It's all open to whoever.
The weather's been conspiring against me in many ways: - when it's really, really humid, I can't breathe well enough to work on the 8 foot+ set piece - when it's really, really sunny, I can't see well enough even with really dark glasses to work on this without getting a migraine - when it's raining on and off, I can't get outside and set up fast enough to get anything done.
The wood is coated with a spray polyurethane, so it's holding up well considering the lousy Jersey weather.
There is a lot more planned. Honestly, this is going on the side of the house, where people turned this fine gentleman into a photo op last year.
Here are some loose (very, very loose) sketches of some of the other smaller pieces for the yard:
There will be one really gigantic, but not as tall, set piece in the front yard that I've mentioned in other threads. A lot of nurseries/public gardens have been adding in man made koi/fish ponds on the property. My yard is going to have a (hopefully) self-lit croc pit.
There are going to be ghostly assistants tending to the grounds, which I'm still developing in my head. Ideally, it would be "floating" gloves, tools, hats, etc. with no visible bodies, but it might not work out too well in practice. Add a nice lighting scheme, some LED/mechanical elements, the fog chillers (there will be two this year), and (time permitting) an original soundtrack, and it will be a Halloween to remember. Time permitting, I can always add more. An endless tunnel illusion would be nice, or a labyrinth facade in the back part of the yard made of foam insulation sheets, but those would be added bonuses if everything is set to go by the middle of October. Takes a lot of practice runs to get everything marked out and placed just right.
By the way, with the way the weather's been, I am very, very close to panic. If it's raining tomorrow, I have to start working on polymer clay adornments for various parts of the yard. Ideally, I don't want to have to go run to Michael's at the last minute and clear out the fake flower bins. That would just be tragic.
I'm exhausted. I don't know why I'm exhausted, but I am. So I didn't get as much done as I anticipated, but I'm nowhere near panicking yet. This is the largest, hardest, and most time consuming build for the haunt, so when it's done the rest will be far easier to do.
I did get a good hunk of the wire armature done today though.
stem and a leaf
very core of the bottom jaw
Everything that looks like it might be complete still needs a lot of tweaking, and everything that's empty still needs wire. Lots of wire.