Tuesday, December 23, 2014


People always ask me what we do for Christmas.  Since we are out of storage space....we had to come up with something flat and easy to store.

And husband and I are big Calvin and Hobbes fans.

Merry Christmas my Halloween friends from the Davis Graveyard.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I was enjoying the book

As a bed silly human....cats don't read.

You will pay for disturbing my slumber!

You can still get one for Christmas

I have full and half skulls in stock right now.  Since they have to ship by priority mail. They will get their before Christmas if you order this week.......cause it is cheaper to send a box of concrete priority mail than regular mail....truth.

Get them before they are gone cause you know that this is the perfect gift for your Halloween friends!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

We are taking over the town

At least in October.  Husband is the chair of the Milwaukie Art's Committee ARTmob.  So he had them make some tombstones a few years back.  Every October we (I) get out there and put them in front of City Hall.

Inspired by Pumpkinrot's scarecrow contest submission years back, we also decided to have ARTmob do an annual scarecrow contest.  Each year the various groups, neighborhood associations, and residents create scarecrow which we display in the city hall graveyard.  They pick the winners a few days before Halloween.
Had some great submissions this year and it is always a fun event....and no, Davis Graveyard does not submit...we think that would be kinda unfair :D  But we did make these two that hold up the ARTmob sign.

Friday, December 12, 2014

We are going to do some catching up

It is always hard to blog in October because I am just so busy, and this last year was brutal.

So, we are going to make Halloween in December.  I took lots of pictures this year and have several fun stories to tell, looking forward to catching up.

We will start with helping to decorate our favorite coffee shop/bakery - Painted Lady.  Not only is Jill one of the coolest people that you will ever meet, she also makes the BEST deserts.

So when she asked for help with her place for October, we said yes of course.

She wanted crows, so we made these for around the shop and all the tables.  Some of the crows were on pumpkins, some were on skulls.

We also put crow silhouettes all over the shop, I believe she still has some in the shop still. (sorry about the fuzzy picture.)

But my favorite thing, was just something I thought of at the last minute.  I took one of the large skulls that Sandie Schneider gave me at West Coast Haunters Convention this year, painted it black and gray (no surprise there) and put it on top of the mannequin that displays her t-shirts for sale.

I believe it is still also up at the shop.  I love doing this kind of stuff.

Looks kinda creepy!  In that good way.

The logo at the top has to go

I do not want to get into the details, but one of the reason I avoid my blog is the logo.  Like I said, long story, but I will just say that every time I see it, it reminds me of someone that I really would rather forget.

I am not an artist, that is why I had someone draw that for me.  So I am looking for some help on a new logo for the blog.

Same name and it has to have a frog on a pumpkin, I would like it to be something that I can have printed on t-shirts.

Anyone got some spare creativity that they can share with me.  I will offer up a concrete skull and a t shirt (when I have them made) to the one that I fancy the most.

I feel very loved today

Over the last few days I have gotten not just one, but two, count them.....two presents from my Halloween friends.

I mentioned a while back that I ran out of the maple syrup that Chris Ainsworth at Thornhill gave me a while back and that I needed some more.  I was kidding.....but he apparently was not.  He sent me a new bottle.

How awesome is that.....and it is squash season, so that will go to good use.  Thanks my friend.

And I also got a really cool Christmas card and goodies from Juli Riedel!

Haunters are the BEST people.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

4:00 am is going to come really early

We are on one of our local morning shows tomorrow am.  So from 5am to 7am on KOIN 6 in Portland, you will be entertained by the Davis Graveyard.

Lucky all you early morning folks! :D

I already need a nap!

Well Dave is just as cool in person

as he is over the air.

Thanks for a great interview OPB - Ellena for making it happen and Dave Miller for being super cool

Here is the recording of our interview today on Think Out Loud 

So much fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

This really is creepier than most horror films

Think Out Loud (I usually do that a lot)

Just hanging at the graveyard, but tomorrow I get to do it on the radio.  Our local NPR station OPB has a show Monday through Friday from noon to 1pm called Think Out Loud.  Where they talk to all kinds of interesting people about interesting things…..and for some reason someone thought we would be a great topic. 

So one very dedicated intern worked her butt off to sell us to the station, and they said yes.  It is a local show, but you can stream the interview on their website.  http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/thinkoutloud/

We are going to have a great time talking about all the stuff we make, the history of the display and our wonderful crew.  Be sure to listen if you can.  I promise to post a link to the broadcast when it is available online.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I now want a drone

Our local newspaper - who loves us BTW - sent their videographer out to our place during set up and he made this 'behind the scenes' Davis Graveyard video as a promo.

It is f%$king fantastic.  And it is only of the yard before we got all the details (moss and trimmings) done and with no effects running.

I am over the moon on this.

We asked him if he would be willing to film the yard with the effects one night....he said he would be happy to!  I am doing the happy dance!

Wow, so very excited and humbled at how much love we have been getting lately.

Since I got a webcam

I thought I would finally get over myself and just start using it. 

That said, tonight we are going to be on Haunter's Hangout.  Husband and I will be answering questions and talking to fellow haunters about what we love the best.


See you there tonight.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

We have this saying at the Graveyard

We have to make a prop three times before it comes out right.  
So I present to you Celtic Cross attempt #2.

Two of the crew have spent a lot of time fixing some of the sloppiness that made the first one unsuitable for the yard.

Same size as the old one, just much more attention to detail this time.  The dimensions are pretty even all around which made for much easier design and carving.

Instead of a skull, which fit our decor, but really stood out as a problem in the actual piece.  The long face of a full skull, just not working with the exactness of the design.

Visually just threw it off.

So here is where we are today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Break a leg

...so we did.

The sitting skeleton just did not work.  If it is supposed to be a statue, that was an awkward pose to 'carve'.  I kept looking at it and knew that something had to change.

I thought, kneeling, yeah, let's give that a try.

So with the help of the crew we broke (cut) the legs off the skeleton and put them underneath his thigh bones to make it look like kneeling.  We then taped up and put expanding foam where the knee joint should be, then sanded it out to hold the shape.

Because of the way the base was made (we used an existing base) we could not easily center him on the base, so his knees are hanging over. I have remudded him and he is awaiting final paint.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who knew the tools knew each other so well

...I mean they do spend a lot of time in the shop together.  Should not be surprised.

So I was cutting pieces from the bolt of burlap and it kept falling over and rolling away from me and just being a pain.

I kept tell it. "I have scissors and opposable thumbs, I will win."

It kept fighting me....but I did win, got all the pieces cut and the selvage removed.  How little did I know it was plotting my revenge with the all the staplers in the shop.  Every last one of them.

I starting mudding, you know, soaking the burlap in water then wringing it through the mud - all went fine.

Then I get out the stapler to tack a piece in place.  Two staples in, it breaks.

No worries, we have another stapler......that one just plain refused to staple.

Husband came to my rescue with the pneumatic stapler....two staples in on that it also broke.  Let me tell you, he was really unhappy about that.

He hates when I break his power tools.

You have got to be *#@!ing kidding me!!!!

From under the stairs......I could hear the burlap laugh at me........

The Texas annex of the Davis Graveyard

Look what is going to Texas!

We made a whole lot of props for a home haunter in Texas these last few weeks.  This order bought us some much needed time (financially) since we both lost out jobs.

It was really fun to make this stuff and I have to say that I have the best crew/family in the world who helped us build this the last several weeks.

Most the the props are better than our first versions.  Learned a lot of things remaking our stuff that makes me excited to make new versions in the nest few years.

Thanks again to the crew.  Could not have done this without you!

Friday, September 5, 2014

He looks a bit sad

New prop in progress for the Davis Graveyard. 


One of the crew posed a skeleton for me with a heat gun.  We made dams in the joints with gaffer tape and filled it with expanding foam to keep the joints in place.

More pictures to follow

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I have fallen and I cannot get up

...so I promised to blog again.  I lied.

When I wrote that, I was feeling optimistic at at the time.

I was out of work, but Husband, we have a side business, was still working.....then, he, lost his main client.

The client ran out of money. "I can pay you for a few weeks, and that is it"......
The conversation at the kitchen table that morning was one of the lowest moments.....

I have been unemployed for (mostly, was working part time) three years now, and got laid off for the summer, weeks before Husband lost his only client. So there is no unemployment for either of us.

I have to say....I am not feeling social.

Actually, I am feeling pretty mean/unsupportive at the moment.  So, it is really best that I stay away from everyone.

Okay, I will give you as much as I am willing to share....we owe very little on the house in comparison to the value.....so the bank would love us to sell it so they can get their money.

We would get money, a good amount....and could rent something, not buy, because Portland has a very competitive market at the moment.

And really, how do you replace the Davis Graveyard?

Husband and I agreed, we would have to move out of the state.....because there is no way I could drive by this house.....as it not being the Davis Graveyard.

And that would mean leaving our friends/crew, that are basically our family.

There was a moment or two that Husband and I toyed with giving this all up - shutting down the hobby and calling it a day.

But reality....kicked us in the teeth....we are not ready to give up the Davis Graveyard.  We may not have a choice.  We hope it does not come to that.

That happens when we both wake up and tell each other dreams about how we somehow lost this house and are living somewhere else......and we wonder how we got to that point.

I think they call those nightmares.  Real nightmares.

It is funny, if you believe in Karma....we should be golden.  We are SO involved in our community, we donate endless amounts of time and money (a lot less of that now) for the last 10 years.  Husband heads up several community committees (this is outside of the Halloween stuff we donate our time to), donates hundreds of hours a year and I have done tons of free design and marketing work for various groups in the city....trust me, as a designer, become unemployed and EVERYONE will want free work from you :D

To keep us us from going crazy, we work on props for the Graveyard when we can, and we both still donate as much free work/time as we can with a positive attitude.....and spend the rest of my time looking for jobs...anything at this point.  I am just about ready to work at Starbucks just to keep the house.

Right now....the new props you will see are almost completely funded by the crew......I have never put them in that position before....the fact that they are bailing us out.....is humbling.

Even before this moment, I have always said, that I have the best crew ever, and I am not wrong!!!

For all the cat lovers.....

We also know that Hal, the Halloween Cat..loves this place, he was a stray from the neighborhood, it is his home, I have the claw marks on all the doors to prove it.

If we had to move, we would have to leave him....or he would be one of those cats that traveled miles and miles to get back to his old home.  As an animal person....that thought, as much as giving up the graveyard, breaks my heart!

Not only would the house come with the decorations....but with a cat.

Might be a selling point....or not :D

On a positive note.....

Some angel in Texas bought several props from us.  It is probably the only reason we are still here.

We have several new props for the Davis Graveyard that I promise will be stunning, .....thanks to my amazing crews funding, we are still moving forward.

I feel bad bringing this up because I know that there are so many other haunters in far worse circumstances....but I had to say something.....we are not looking for sympathy....just understanding.

One haunter even, out of the blue....helped us out.  Because all of you are so awesome!!!

So I have to apologize that I am not blogging like I said I would......I do not know what else to say except I am sorry.  I hope to see you all on the other side of this.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Well that is what it is

We got our phone call today about the Halloween Fright Fight.  We are not on the show - at least they were nice enough to call us.  Very cool, everyone we talked to at ABC was great and positive and really supportive.  I know that they made great choices.

So looking forward to seeing the Great Halloween Fright Fight in October!

Now, back to prop building!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So if the power goes out at the Graveyard

We head out of the house and to the cool patio (bottle of wine in tow), light up the skulls and call it a nice evening.......

At about 2:00 am the power came on,  good thing...I am out of candles.  Gotta order some for the season.

Yes, I do have skull seeds

Just in case anyone wanted to know....and I am not sharing....well, if you asks real nice :D

This is actually just lazy gardening on my part.  If you have no plants for the party at your house....put a skull in it, no one will notice....they are at your house....they will think it is normal :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Here he is sanding his a**

I could not come up with a better title than this of this picture one of the crew took.  This is Daniel working on the new body, wait actually the back end,  for the spider.....yes, we know the old one looked kinda weird.  It was based on a real spider....but not a very common one.  This next version will be scarily recognizable :)

Going for the creepier look this next time.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Okay, there is a use for Barbie dolls after all

This is so cool I might just have to give it a try.

How to turn Barbies into Doctor Who Weeping Angels

How cool is that

So, the other day we where having a tombstone workshop at the house....and a neighbor was also having an estate sale.

We have limited parking in our area at best.

The crew was awesome and went out and secured a bit of parking for our students using our stations we use for the display to provide a walk way for the visitors.

But before we could move them for student parking, most everyone found other parking.

Being nice neighbors, we moved the stations we placed for the student parking, so that the garage sale shoppers had places to park.

I am trying to erase from memory the guy that was being an....not nice person as we were taking them down....:(

But what happened later - made me smile.

A police officer from Milwaukie came up our driveway to ask which cars where ours.

..because he was going to issue parking tickets, but did not want to give them to our group.....

...how NICE is that!!!

LOVE our Milwaukie police department....we did before this....but this just is icing on the cake.

We have always been about community...giving...but I cannot tell you how awesome it is to get the same kind of giving back.

Love my town.

And congrats to all the students from the first Davis Graveyard tombstone class of 2014!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Halloween gene proves that some scientist do have a sense of humor

Google Scholar is a lot of fun - you should check it out when you get a chance.  So, as the Halloween person that i am, I typed in Halloween, and look what I found:

The halloween genes are a set of genes identified in Drosophila melanogaster that influence embryonic development. All of the genes code for cytochrome P450 enzymes in the ecdysteroidogenic pathway (biosynthesis of ecdysone from cholesterol). Ecdysteroids such as 20-hydroxyecdysone and ecdysone influence many of the morphological, physiological, biochemical changes that occur during molting in insects.[1]
Steroid hormones control many aspects of reproduction, development, and homeostasis in higher organisms.[2] In arthropods, steroid hormones play equal or even more vital developmental roles, especially in controlling the patterns of gene expression between developmental stages.[1]

First elaborated by research groups led by Wieschaus and Nüsslein-Volhard in the early 1980s, the name was coined to collectively name a series of Drosophila embryonic lethal mutations associated with defective exoskeleton formation. Early research showed that when one of the Halloween genes was mutated, fly embryos would die before the exoskeleton was created.[3] Mutants in the halloween gene series include the spook, spookier, phantom (or phm), disembodied (or dib), shadow (or sad), and shade genes.

Of course these are genes that mutated and kill..... I think they watched a few slasher movies. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

So what happened to the Frog Queen

Well, like most things it is long and complicated.  But for now, the short version is that my world got turned upside down a little over two years ago.

Started with losing the job that I had for over eleven years.  Did not love working with my boss, so parting from that relationship was pretty okay by me.

But what I did not see was that I would stay unemployed for over two years.

So, I spent the majority of my time looking for a job, feeling sorry for myself, looking for a job, volunteering way too much, wandering aimlessly, designing Halloween props, working on both HAuNTcon and West Coast Haunters Convention...and looking for a job.

I currently have a job - it is not a great job, it is not even a good job, but it is part time, and I am no longer at home.

So here I am again.  We will see if I can make this work, and pick it back up.

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