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11  Not 1, Not 2, but 3 Yards to Decorate: House Haunt 2008 in Halloween Decor and Parties by TrentSketch on: September 15, 2008 06:04:01 AM
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.

Hunter Caught in Own Trap*NEW

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.

Pumpkin Patch Wire Work & First Covered Pumpkin
Pumpkin Patch Pre-Preservation, Unlit, w/Vines
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12  Homemade Carnival Game in Completed Projects by TrentSketch on: August 06, 2008 05:44:16 PM
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 the result:

Bottom View - clearer picture of the board

Top View - what the player sees

Video - the game in action

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.
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13  Re: I told you it was a weekend project in Completed Projects by TrentSketch on: May 17, 2008 02:11:17 PM
I just covered my mini guitar amp in red toile.

And the close-up

I hadn't finished off the back and replaced the last for corners when the photo was taken.

Now I do want to do it for the massive keyboard amp, but I'll have to find a very subtle black fabric to do it with.

Thanks again for the awesome idea.
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14  First Gallery Glass/"Stained Glass" Project: The Eye in Glass Crafts: Completed Projects by TrentSketch on: December 28, 2007 08:13:44 PM
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.
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15  Class Final: Pitch a Film - Watercolor Crayon, Pen in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by TrentSketch on: December 17, 2007 01:36:14 PM
For a final, I had to pitch a film using at least 8-10 images.  Naturally, I went over the top and well beyond the scope of the project using pencil, pen, and watercolor crayon.

What I proposed was an anthology horror film with five distinct sections.  These are the main sets done in watercolor crayon with pen outlining:

Stage for an Open Call:

House in the Mountains:

Damp Basement:

Endless Loft:

Expressionist Living Room:

There were also two particularly interesting effects shots (among many others):

Destroyed screen door:

Make-up schematic:

Did I mention it was my first time working with watercolor crayon?  I think I like it.
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16  Zen Garden, Sailor Moon Style in Completed Projects by TrentSketch on: December 13, 2007 07:28:04 AM
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.
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17  Re: House Haunt 2007: The Eternal Garden of Midnight in Halloween Decor and Parties by TrentSketch on: October 01, 2007 07:05:50 AM
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.
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18  Re: House Haunt 2007: The Eternal Garden of Midnight in Halloween Decor and Parties by TrentSketch on: September 12, 2007 11:45:18 AM
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. 
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19  Re: House Haunt 2007: The Eternal Garden of Midnight in Halloween Decor and Parties by TrentSketch on: September 11, 2007 07:29:29 PM
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.
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20  Re: House Haunt 2007: The Eternal Garden of Midnight in Halloween Decor and Parties by TrentSketch on: September 07, 2007 02:49:48 PM
Day 2:

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.


Whole View

the base

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.
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