Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Just my cup of tea!

Yeah, this year Starbucks took notice of the 5 or so emails I sent complaining about no Halloween mug last year :)

Today when I was getting my tea....I saw it....the new mugs.
I am on the phone to husband and in mid conversation I say....."Starbucks has Halloween mugs!!!"

To which husband says "I can see you are busy....I will talk to you later."

"Yeah, bye" click.
He is a very understanding guy :) Got back to the office and for the life of me I cannot remember what we were talking about before I got distracted by the shiny thing.....I owe him big time :)

So now I have a new cup for my tea is one of those new ones you twist open....I see all kinds of trouble with that for the very uncoordinated frog queen.....time will tell.

Happy dance in my (new) office. :)


Where does this go?

Pile it over by the other statues...... :D Seriously, how many times in life do you get to say that? :D

Look at all the people

the frog queen is very, very lucky. Not only do all our friends come over to help put up the display, but they recruit their friends - it is a big party on set up weekend. (And get a load of that sun shine - it is gone now, it is rainy and cold out today.)

Here are a few photos of the workers running around helping....don't see me in any of these pictures.....I must be doing something important somewhere else :)

BTW - see the ladies putting that 4x4 post with a 4x6 header into the post holder!! Way to go ladies!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To protect all the

people that visit the graveyard each season, we created these stanchions. They are made of a 2x4 base in the shape of a cross overlapping with a 2x2 square in the middle that the 2x2 pole fits into. This makes them easy to take apart for storage.

We put the resin skulls from my brothers skull cast (they are more heavy duty than the foam) which makes them harder to remove and less likely to run away.

They go up along the front of the house and we put bright orange safety tape between them..

yes, I hear you gasp! bright orange tape....with all that lovely gray and black and white.....yes, i have to do it. Because they need to see it.

The stanchions keep the cars from parking in front of the house and make a (mostly) safe walk way for visitors.

Every so often, a skull goes missing.....but the scariest thing is that in past years I have had stanchions that have been destroyed (I mean completely broken up into bits) by someone that ran over them, likely backing up to turn around. That means that if they were not there, they possibly could have hit a person (child).

So they will always have bright orange tape running for stanchion to stanchion.....but they do look cool all lined up in front of my car, reflecting off the hood...

I really need to wash my car!! :)

Is that hearse real?

We get that question a is proof that it is, in fact, make mostly of pink foam :)

Here is the assembly process., it is a bit complicated (cause we can't do anything the easy way) went the same way it does every is put together once...and then husband comes over and tells everyone that it is wrong.

They argue....but how?

He points it out.

We all go "Ah, yeah, now we see it."

We all look at each other and say..."we really don't want to take this apart and start over"

We do...and we put it together right this time..... :)

We just put it on the frame wrong this time......and we thought we were doing so good because we did not put it together backwards like we did last year. :D

Well it is up now, just need to wire new lights in the lanterns (we have an improved idea for this year) and we are done. After the driver was stolen a few years ago, the current driver only comes out on the weekends.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What are the odds?

So I come home early to work in the yard before the rains. I need to trade out one fake crow with another. I pull the old crow off the prop, attach the new crow. I grab the can of black spray paint to touch up the feathers and start spraying.

I turn the crow over and guess what is where his eye should be.

Yep, a spider, a frigin spider! I threw the crow on the ground, shook my hand and did my little "Ew, I just touched a spider" dance.

Picked the crow back up expecting his eye to be gone, consumed by the real and plastic-eye-eating-evil-mutant-monster-spiders that have in inhabited my yard.

But no, the eye was still there. The spider long gone...likely on his way over to terrorize our gravedigger.

I gotta call the exterminator :D

Very true

boris karloff
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I thought I knew the makings

of my worst nightmare. I was sure that it would involve a at least two to two-hundred spiders. Something like this (very creepy picture) - BTW - if this happened in my house...I would have to move. Don't click on it to make it bigger....don't do it. Seriously, don't!

Anyway, I was wrong, very, very wrong.

It only involved one.

A very, very evil spider that was put on the planet for one scare the crap out of me.

Saturday we were working on the yard and we needed to put the statuary up in the yard first so I could place all the tombstones. So, a few of us walk over to the "mourner" (shrouded figure with praying hands) and I decide where she goes, we pound a 5 foot piece of rebar into the ground and get ready to pick her up and attach her to keep her from blowing over.

While this is happening a see a medium sized spider with long legs crawling on the prop. I try to brush it off, but it crawls under the base and off to the opposite side of where I am standing.

No worries, the other people are over there and they all make fun of my spider it should not bother them. It is an outdoor spider so I figure I will just live and let live.

Silly, silly frog queen.

This is one of our older statues and the body and the base are connected, we don't do that anymore for the reason you are about to hear.

We lift the whole 6 foot prop up in the air four feet to get her over the rebar and into a hole that runs through the base and then into the body. Well, she is not that heavy unless you are holding her over your head....then she is a b&tch and hard to maneuver because she is so top heavy. (Hence why we make the base and the statue separate on all our new props.)

Back to, it is hard to see the hole in the bottom of the base unless you are lying on your back on the grass underneath the prop.

Do you see where this is going?

So I bend down under the prop to get ready to lay on the grass, and all I see in my left eye are two legs. Yes, I said "in" my eye.

Not "out of the corner" or "I spied with my left eye".

No, in my eye, two spider legs IN MY EYE!
I cannot describe to you how that feels....cause there are no words for that, none.

I did not scream, because I could not scream, I think my brain was so freaked out, I actually abandoned my body there for a moment....It was like I was watching myself from a distance going..why am I not screaming?!?

Oh, cause I am over here and my body is over there. Wow, how did I do that?

All I can manage to say is "Ah, give me a moment."

The my friend Elyssa lays right on the ground and they get the mourner set in a few seconds.

I know I said something to them after that. But I cannot tell you what it was.

If we had not been sooooo busy setting up the yard, I would have fainted dead away there on the lawn. I will forever in my memory have that feeling of spider legs touching my eye....I will never be the same again.
By the way, I now hate the mourner monument...don't be suprised if she is not in the yard next year :D

Spider guts

We replaced our crank spider with a new idea. We took a motor and have it turn a rod from the spiders mouth to a cocoon down by her front legs - very creepy. The cocoon is odd shaped so that when it spins and the front legs touch it if moves as if the spider is spinning it's victim.

You can see Daniel working on fitting each leg to the body. It is an amazing piece of work.

So creepy it just about makes makes me whimper in fear.

I really, really dislike spiders. :D

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The most popular

question of the weekend was "where do you you want this/that?"

Followed usually, with depending on who you were and how well I know you, the responses could be quite entertaining . . . that is why there are no kids allowed at set up :)

It was a great weekend for setup. It was unseasonably warm and sunny.

I had over 20 people in the yard helping us set up on Saturday when most of the pieces were put in place.

Sunday is details and is Sunday night, and we are about 75% done.....I want to get home tomorrow as soon as I is supposed to start raining at 9pm!!

That gives me a few hours of daylight to get some of the details completed.

Starting to look a lot like

a are some pictures of the church facade going up yesterday.....


Saturday, September 26, 2009

"I hear we are

setting up the graveyard today? " says Hal (Halloween Cat)

"You need to let me outside so I can supervise and make sure you do it right this time."

Tell me why I have cats? :)

Off to set up the yard......excited and nervous!

Friday, September 25, 2009

So I can have

a graveyard all year long. That was its original intent. Then I remembered where it is I work :(

For months this silly easter tree thing was sitting in the free pile at my day, the evil could no longer be held back.

I snatched it up and took it home. I carried it under my arm.....looking over my shoulder at the security cameras....trying not to look too guilty :)

Armed with paint and a few a Halloween party favors....I made it my own. *evil laugh, cause the frog queen knows no other :)*

A few plastic bats, skeleton, tombstones and moss....and it is PERFECT! Such an my humble opinion.

I cannot take it back to work...I would get written up.......again.....I will likely give it to one of my minions that told me she really liked it and the it would look good on her desk at work. Sad, but I rather see it in a good home than it be ridiculed by my workmates :(

I guess I can live vicariously through a friend that has a much more lenient HR policy :)

I know that

all of you listen to Hauntcast, cause not only are all my blog followers beatutiful people, but they are intelligent and have good taste too!

You are welcome! :)

And, most of you know the amazing ShellHawk, the lastest addition to the casts, blog...but did you know that Johnny Thunder now has a blog? Very true, just what the blog world needed!!

He has some great posts already, go check it out. Then get back to prop building! :)

Bad frog queen

I just could not help myself :)

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Tub of skulls

Here is a tub of skulls waiting to for their finish painting. The other cool thing about my brother owning a decorative accent company that works with resin is that resin has a shelf life. So if he has some left over and no orders to fill, he casts me skulls!

I use these skulls on the stanchions that we put out front to hold out the front of the house for foot traffic.

They are hollow inside and we just slip them over the wooden stake and then drill a hole in the back of the head to hold them in, and keep them from walking off :)

The cool thing about this skull is that it is made from a cast of a skull that my brother got at Disneyland over 30 years ago.

The face is a bit long and not proportional...but it is a cool skull just the same...and it has a bit of history to it which helps show that our family has always had a taste for the macabre. :D

Does it look

like a church yet? Here is the scaffolding for the church. We had to redesign the scaffolding to make it safer so we decided to put it up this past weekend so that it was up and ready to use for this weekend when the big set-up happens.

The is the frame that the 24 panels that make up the church facade attach to. The frame is attached to the eaves and the frame for both garage doors.

We have reinforced all the wood that holds up the aluminum catwalk area. We are going to put a wood railing or chain around the inside to make it less open for the crew during the installation. It needs to be something that can be easily removed when the panels are up. We should have it up on Friday or Saturday - I will take more pictures.

The madness is starting :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What are those?!?!

guesses anyone? :)

Yeah, I know....tough one. :)

These are the red glowing eyes for the vinca on the slope at the front of the house. A few years ago I made crosses as sort of a Potter's Field for that area and last year we decided to put LED eyes in the make it look like there were little scary things hiding in there.

That was the plan. And like so many good plans, that is not what happened. It started with the LED - brighter is better right?

Well, not in this case. We took two red LEDs and made these wooden frames for the LEDs to connect to look like eyes, and then attached them to stakes so that they could be put in the ground. A bit of black spray paint and they should be virtually invisible.

That part worked like a dream. But when we turned it on, in the dark, the bright LEDs looked like lasers pointing out of the bushes. We had to explain to people what it was, some even thought it was part of an elaborate security system :D Not what I was going for.

So after several experiments it was decided that hot glue would work best. My favorite minions Dan and Elyssa cut hot glue sticks into small sections, cut a small area out of one end for the LED to fit into and then heated the other end until they got soft and then pressed them on to some Teflon paper to give them a flat "eye" like surface.

Then they were hot glued on to the LEDs and and we staked them into a piece of scrap foam (pictured) put blue tape over the flattened "eye" area and spray painted the heck out of the sides of the glue stick.

Now they have a more soft and subdued look..oh, and husband adjusted the brightness on the program for the Prop-1 so that they also do not come up as bright.

Should look much better.

Next project, we are making the bushes the lights are in rattle every so often to look like there are, in fact, little creatures with red eyes in the bushes :D

Just another day at the Graveyard :)

Dead or sleeping?

Mason (Dorie's brother) almost never gets any blog time. Cause he is a great cat that never gets into any trouble (well almost) most of the time, he looks like this.

If only I knew how to relax like that :)

Just reminds me that after this weekend I will not get much sleep...even with the security system in the yard...I still have nightmares of waking up and having everything gone. (shudder)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Behind the scenes

As Grim mentioned this is inspired by the Grimvisions burlap scarecrow head.

Not sure how he did his, but I just used a 3/4 foam Bucky head (I had to cut off the back because due to a pouring mishap...the skull originally looked like the head of an Alien - cool, but not what I wanted to for this prop.) I then took a piece of burlap and some 90 second epoxy (I have to use something that can hold up to the rain) and pushed the fabric into the crevices with a popsicle stick. and held them there until they dried. I then drilled a 1/2 hole in the bottom of the head to attach it to the base.

I made the body out of a 1x3 in the shape of a "T" and covered it with a bit of bubble wrap, I wanted him to be thin, so I did not use much padding. The I attached a 1/2 piece of PVC for the head to attach to. Got a shirt and overalls from the thrift store and dressed him.

Then for the feet and hands I used those cheap decorated brooms from the dollar store (removed the cute) and cut them way down. Not only does this offer straw for the arms, but the shape of the broom shoved up the sleeve helps give his arms weight.

Not pictured - We then air brushed the crevices in the skull with airbrush paint and then took some twine and sewed in the mouth form. I have stuffed the body with straw and tattered the burlap around the neck.
He is in the garden with my skeleton in the pumpkin patch. I have him attached to the frame with screws and zip ties.

I will go out over the next few nights (at dusk) and age him with some watered down black and brown paint in spray bottles. I have a small skull, the same as the necklace that the skeletal angel is wearing to pin on his overalls....a bit of tie in to the back-story.

When he is done this weekend, I will take more pictures.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To keep the

crows away is their original intent. I have to say it worked for this guy, not a crow bothered me the whole time I have been working on him. Could also be that Hal (our cat) was sitting on a chair a few feet away. :)

When making a new scarecrow I decided against making one the same as the one that I gave away a while back - I know if I even tried to recreate that would not be the same and it would just serve to remind me how stupid I was to get rid of it in the first place :)

This time I went for something more traditional. I should have it finished and in the garden this weekend.

Notice the demon up in the window checking him out.

I hope to never eat

my words...the ones I have said over and over again about never wanting to own a haunted attraction.

I have friends that do, they seem happy enough, but if you sit and have a drink with them.....the conversation turns to the people....staff and customers and the horror stories. (pun intended)

A haunted house is not what I want. I don't have the skills to run a haunted house at my expectation level. I would only go down that path if I could see a way to make it happen without compromising.

As of today frog queen is still saying she never wants a haunted house....almost nothing can change my mind.

Except for maybe this building. :)

It is here in the Portland area, used to be an old train station and is now owned by our local gas company. I have inquired about it several times. They say it is not for sale.

Perfect, isn't it?

The gift for the

Halloween fan that has everything...except their very own zombie! Give them their very own remote control zombie....and do you see that! Yes, the remote control is shaped like a brain!!! Very awesome. Going to have to get one as a door prize for the party!!

Check out the product description that ThinkGeek has (love that site!)

Life isn't fair. Some people are born with good looks, others are born with exceptional talents and skills, and still others are born with massive intelligence. You? Well, you were born with all of those qualities (we know . . . just like us). But what to do with the rest of the world - all those inferior to you? We recommend unleashing the undead. Not a horde or anything that could get out of control, but just a single Zombie to feast on the tiny brains who work around you.

You are in full control of this zombie, don't worry. Just use the Brain Remote Control and your undead minion will obey your command to shamble forward towards its intended meal. And just to show you how much it likes you, your R/C Zombie will groan as it shuffles, too (press button, he walks and groans; press it again, he stops). To help your zombie, you can also pose its articulated neck, shoulders, and hips. Just keep reminding your zombie that it shouldn't eat a big brain like yours; it should eat many little brains like those found in your coworkers' heads. Because studies have shown that many little meals during the day are much better for you than one big meal. Braaaaiiiiins

Now I need to got one for my office! :D

To waste more time that you should be spending prop making.....check out this funny YouTube video :)

Enough already!!! Back to prop building!

Final piece

for my costume. I ordered this necklace from the lovely Diane over at Good Mourning, Glory! for my Halloween costume. It came in this beautiful wrapped box - almost did not want to open it :)

It is dark and creepy and sure to freak out some of my party guests!! Perfect!

I love it, and it looks like Dorie does too. She took off with the black cord shortly after this picture. Anything to distract her from the pursuit of destroying my pumpkins!!! :)

Does this suprise anyone?


I was over at this silly site to find out what kind of Jack o'lantern I am.

I picked this one (of course) and here is the description of me.

You tend to be a very dramatic, flamboyant person. For you, Halloween is another chance to perform.

Really? You think? :D

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's ladies night....

and the feeling's right.....yes, it's ladies night..... (frog queen dancing around the office)

Come on, sing it with me is stuck in your head now, isn't it? You are very welcome :)

You are all wondering...."Is there a point, oh frog queen?"

Oh yeah, contest time!!! Husbands handy-dandy random number generating program picked a winner.....the lovely Dixie (remember, only beautiful people read my blog)!!!

And, since the frog queen has had a glass of wine, she said "what the heck" since there were technically, to the best of my counting ability after a glass (okay, maybe two)....12, 13, 14, 15....... let's just say...there were a lot of, I decided to draw another winner. This time it was the equally lovely lady, Krissy.

Okay ladies come on down!

Actually, stay there (and keep dancing), I will ship them to you, both of you. Email with your mailing address and they will go right away so you can get building.

Sorry guys, maybe next time.

I am off to iTunes to download some Kool and the Gang! :D

Speaking of scaring the

(blank) out of me. Here is the latest spider update.

He is hanging in the patio scaring the wits of me and hopefully any would be robbers :)

I wish I could take credit for this piece, but it s group effort....actually most the work of two of our best minions - Dan and Elyssa. Any helper that takes a prop home to work on it....for weeks, yeah, that is dedication. Thanks guys! You are the best!

Here is what I know.

The body, is that dreadful "white turd", as the Banshee so eloquently put it (I miss working with that sense of humor every day), that I created a month or so ago. The angle of the body was wrong so we cut it in two pieces, but the thorax at a bit of an angle and glued them back together. We put expanding foam in to fill the cracks.

I covered it with MMM (modified monster mud - includes glue) to help give it the smooth shape and make it less likely to crumble. Note to graveyard -remember use extruded (pink/blue) foam next time....that pilled foam is nearly impossible to sand smooth - you knew this, what were you thinking? :)

Then they used a filler to fill in any divots in the body and sanded it smooth....very smooth, since it will be shinny, any imperfection would show.

Then, we (I mean they) began the very labours process of making the legs. We tried several ideas (the last ones were carved out of pink foam, which uncoated is very weak and did not hold up to a month out in the weather in the northwest.)

This year we experimented with Friendly Plastic. Cool stuff, boil it, dye it and shape it. All kinds of awesome!

The first legs were made exclusively out of the plastic molded around the wire, which looked good, but where very heavy.

It was decided after a lot of debate to find some kind of thin tubing in attach the plastic to that fit over the leg wires.

At this point, we all know a lot more about spiders than we ever (certainly more than I ever wanted) and find that my legs with the original 3 bends, were wrong, they need at least four. And the length of the legs, although great of for a cartoon drawing, the legs in the front and back are longer that the middle legs.

When they brought over the modified version with the new legs...I almost wet myself. It was way too real. Why, why did you do that!!! The cartoon version was safe....frog queen safe.

I think to myself "I am not sure I can have this new one in the yard."

Anyway, the new leg design used a lot less plastic and were lighter (in comparison.) Dan used magnets to attach the legs, cause Dan thinks everything should be attached with magnets, rare earth magnets. :)
He is painted glossy black, we left his legs colored with just the pigment in the plastic to make it look more organic. We were afraid too shiny would make it look like plastic spider.

The inside of the body has a motor for turning the cocoon that he will be spinning....a cocoon that has a rather large fly in it ......or is I see a head and arm.....?!?!?!

"Help me,! Help me!" :D

Scared the

sh*t out of me.

I literally screamed at my desk. The thought of that just makes me pass out.....I am actually feeling a bit faint just thinking about it. I gotta go lay down now. :D

Check out this post over at one of my favorite blogs "Utterly Pointless Picture Blog" - normally - love, not so much so!



Show me a sign

That will do :D

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Don't take a picture

I am naked!!

Here is a picture of the preacher that stands in the door way of the church....without his cassock. That skeleton is part of a foam skeleton from Shipwreck Productions (not sure they even make them anymore.)
We re filmed the effect of Toph coming out of the front door in his outfit, without the hat. Everyone called him a civil war solider, so we are trying to be more obvious :)
Oh, and you can see Joan there in the background.

Guess what I am up to today?

My spider is very hungry :D

What is it?

Not sure exactly....but it is based on a monument I saw in a graveyard in Scotland. The original was twice this size, but then that graveyard was at least twice the size of my yard so I figure I am going for scale. :)

I put the urn it as a lark, but it looks good, so I am leaving it there.

It comes apart into three pieces for easy storage. I have no idea where it is going in the yard, we will find out next weekend during set up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You have until Monday

to enter to win a box of super secert Davis Graveyard tombstone accents :)

Just to see what you could be getting you can check out the tombstone gallery from 2008 on the Davis Graveyard page.

Here is a favorite of mine inspired by one our favorite TV shows.

Be sure to comment on this post to be entered into the drawing on Monday night.

Back to prop building.

Sea of

repaired and painted tombstones. We are getting ready for set-up....the scafolding for the facade is going up this weekend.

The complete set up happens next weekend!! I am not sure if I am more excited or nervous!! :)

Spiders everywhere

Here is another, much smaller spider hanging around the shop.

Last year when we were testing the webber I put this little skull spider thing in the hot glue web....over the course of the year he has collected more webs....I think they are real. (shudder)

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