Just look at them!

Just look at them!

I cannot even express how much I am enjoying everyone’s cards. Pretty sure this is going to become a Spooky Moon tradition.

On the left, in gorgeous purple, is a card from Amber Terry, who hails from Kentucky.  Next over, a very cool cat made of my favorite words from Kisah, here in Florida. Kisah has pointed me toward several very tempting swaps and gift exchanges over on Hauntforum. I probably won’t be able to resist joining a couple. Finally, on the right, is a card from one of my own papercrafting inspirations, Wyvern. Browse her site for some amazing work.

First, some more Cryptkeepers:

MyScaryHalloween

My Scary Halloween has tons of scary activities, plus a blog with even more!

boney1

The Ghoulie Guide

The Ghoulie Guide is all things spooky, with an emphasis on media.

Halloween Holler

Halloween Holler

Halloween Holler is an old fave of mine. Always something spooky!

On The Stick

On the Stick

On the Stick is a games blog, and for October they are doing 31 days of horror games.

And now, more linkies…

Wow, Mr. Chicken makes this look easy.
IMG_20141012_0059

Gypsy Witch Fortune Telling Cards at Garage Sale Finds

OTIS does silly things with skellies. Again.

OTIS does silly things with skellies. Again.

 

Halloween Rolling Pins

Halloween Rolling Pins

Also ghosts, skulls, and general Halloweenieness. Via 2nd Street Cemetery.

Halloween art and ornaments by ARyer Studios

Halloween art and ornaments by ARyer Studio

–via Darklinks

 

sb 10

Inkle, Punkle, and Thrum

Today’s project is inspired by the work of Maureen Carlson.

carlson

Maureen Carlson’s Stacked Totems

I came across her stacked bead totems in an issue of Polymer Cafe. I knew someday I had to try it. When I was brainstorming for my Month of Spookdays this year, I remembered her fantastic bead stacks. They had to get the Halloween treatment.

The stacks consist of a base bead, which should have a tight fit, fill beads, face beads, and finials on the top, which are only pierced on the bottom, and should also have a tight fit.

sb 01

I started by grabbing some Sculpey and making a few faces. These would become molds I would use for beads. I’m using Sculpey for this project because I have a lot of it, and want to get rid of it to make room for better clays (because now I have one of these magnificent beasts, and can condition harder clays without killing my hands). I ended up deciding the long face was too big. Also, it didn’t mold well, because I suck at making molds. Instead, I sculpted a little cat face (Thrum) right on the bead.

While I was curing molds I started making the other beads I would use on the stack. I used stamps, texture plates, even the grip on my sculpting tools to get texture. The long tube beads were made by making one long tube and cutting after baking. That worked better than I thought it would.

I used a knitting needle for bead piercing. If the clay is too soft, it helps to pop it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Now, I could have made these beads all neat and perfect, but I was already over schedule on this project, so I left them a bit primitive. I’m okay with that—I think it adds to the charm in the end.

The beads are colored using alcohol inks and a spray bottle full of 91% rubbing alcohol. Mix alcohol and ink in a small cup, and roll the beads around in it to “pot dye” them. Afterwards, play with dripping, spraying, and wiping back with a paper towel. I decided these beads weren’t dark enough after pot dying, so I dripped some straight purple on them and turned them over the dye pot.

I made sure my three base beads were the only green ones, as they fit much more tightly than the filler beads.

On the face beads, I also used quite a bit of Copic Marker, for greater control.

Here are the beads ready to go in the oven to set the dye. If you make beads, I highly recommend a baking rack!  After dying, bake them the same way you would the clay. After that’s done, they get a very thin coating of liquid polyclay. I emphasize very thin, because I had some drips and sticky parts I had to smooth down and re-bake. In the foreground here, you can see my finials a little.  I made a witch hat, a ghost, and a moon. I used a stylus tool to make little dots that would catch pigment, and gave them a bit of a shimmer with pearl ink.

Here are Thrum, Inkle, and Punkle after their first cure.

Carlson has several great techniques for adding ink-catching texture. My new favorite is rolling out a very thin sheet of clay, tearing it into bits and layering it on the bead. She likes to tear it into strips to frame her faces.  She also cuts slits in the surface, and inserts beads (see below).

Here’s Punkle (with Thrum in the background) with a coat of liquid Fimo, ready for a final bake (don’t worry, I only put it on the top half. Then I figured out he’d fit on the rack, and coated the rest of him.) The beads are baked a total of three times: once after sculpting for the initial cure, once after applying ink, then once after applying liquid polyclay for a final protective coat. Punkle, I admit, is my favorite of the face beads.

Here’s a detail shot of Punkle’s back, where I cut slits and inserted beads. If you use beads, insert them deeply, so they stay. I also like to use a tiny, tiny bit of liquid polyclay before I apply beads. It acts as a glue, and makes a very firm attachment.

To get the color on Punkle, he was first pot dyed in orange, then I took an Argyle Purple Copic and went over the edges in small sections. Then I put a little alcohol on my finger, rubbed it lightly over the Copic, and wiped back. I also ended up using a yellow Copic over the whole thing to warm up the colors. A Lipstick Red Copic was used over the dots in the face to make them stand out, and a few different green Copics were used for the eyes.

I started to make stands, but I wasn’t happy with them. If you’d like to make stands, form a conical armature from foil. Give it a wide base and pack it tightly. Add a layer of scrap clay, then a layer of top clay. Pierce the top deeply so it will hold your stick. Add details, then go through the same baking and coloring steps as the beads.

Since I didn’t like how my stands were going, I wondered what else I could use. Duh—bottles! The vintage bottle I used to form my Makit & Bakit Votive Sleeve has siblings (and at least a dozen cousins). Here they make an appearance as stands. I used a chopstick to hold the beads. Chopsticks are always handy—I get them in huge bags from the local Asian grocery.

I like this a lot better than the stands—the old, dusty bottles add to the rustic feels of the dolls.

Raffle status: Yes, these will be going, minus the bottles. You will have to get your own bottles.

sb 01

The Spousal Unit is a research scientist, and sometimes he brings home interesting things that would otherwise be discarded. Like this tiny bottle. Naturally, I had to do something creepy with it.

sb 02

I didn’t use any liquid inside the bottle, so the necklace would be worry-free. I’ve never been great at distressing the inside of bottles. I should probably look up some directions one of these days. Here’s my first run, with alcohol inks, I think. Maybe glue. And stuff. Didn’t stand up well. I finally went for Vintage Photo Distress Ink, from the re-inker bottle. I moved it around and hit it with the heat gun for texture.

sb 03

Once it was completely dry, the inside got coated with Glossy Accents, so my “specimen” wouldn’t scratch the color off the inside. Heat gun again, because it made pretty bubbles and things. I suspended the bottle upside-down over paper so the Glossy Accents could drain out. I let this dry overnight.

sb 04

A result I like, and it’s plenty sturdy.

sb 05

Next, the specimen. I chose Cernit because it’s extremely flexible without breaking. That means I can shove something tiny into a bottle.

sb 06

I rolled a very thin snake, wrapped it around a toothpick, and gave it a little texture with some play foam. The “guts” were baked before moving on. Sadly, some of the center bit had to be removed to fit in the bottle.

sb 07

All specimens need creepy eyes, right? This is a tiny, tiny ball of Cernit. I used the end of a retracted pen to get the basic shape of the iris, then used the awl to further narrow the pupil and shape things.

sb 08

I was at a loss as to how to color the liquid Fimo for the iris blue, as I didn’t have alcohol inks in the correct shade. StazOn refill to the rescue.

sb 09

I carefully used a toothpick to fill the iris with a layer of Fimo. I made a tiny, flat dot of black Cernit and placed it over the pupil, and added another layer of liquid Fimo to fill in.

sb 10

Ready to bake! They didn’t stay glossy, but they still looked pretty nice in the end.

sb 11

Using tiny dots of Cernit and liquid Fimo, I attached and baked on the eyes one at a time.

sb 12

In you go!

sb 13

Next, I grunged up some medical gauze. I used acrylic paints rather than ink, so the color wouldn’t run.

sb 14

I folded the gauze over several times, put it other the top of the bottle, and wound the excess around. Then I used some black yarn to further seal the bottle, and add a loop for attaching to the necklace.  All of this got tacked down with Helmar, then coated in hot glue for strength. I wasn’t keen on using wax to seal, as I didn’t want it to chip off during wear.

sb 15

Instead, I melted some ultra-thick embossing powder, and colored it with very small amounts of crayon.

sb 16

Drip drip. Holy crap, that is super gross. Win!

I love this project. It’s very light and durable, and here’s something special…the Cernit I used is phosphorescent. That’s right, if you go into a dark room, the specimen gently glows.

Yep, I’ll be sending this one off to some lucky raffle winner. For certain values of “lucky.”

sb 17

hv 01

This weekend we went on a haunt bender, with Hellview Cemetery as the topper.  As I usually try to do, I stopped by a little early for some daylight shots.

hv 02

Dueling Minecraft torches.

I always plan to take five minutes getting shots. It never works out that way, because I gotta talk to the people. I met Nikki (left) and Rin, fans extraordinaire (seriously, they talked about subfandoms I’ve never heard of), and helpers at the haunt. Nikki is an actor–and I didn’t spot her as I went through, which is impressive. Rin is one of the guides for the Scooby Doo tours, the less-scary version for munchkins. We had a great time talking. I’m glad it wasn’t too hot, or the Spousal Unit would have roasted waiting for me in the car.

Before the haunt opened to the general public, a couple of special groups went through. You can see a few of the Harry Potter folks in the background here.

hv 03

There were also some lovely Whovians, including this fan in her awesome dress and matching kicks.

me n stella

I also talked a bit with one of the organizers, Sally Gage. I didn’t get a picture of Sally (dangit!), but she let me hold her baby. This is Stella. She was such a sweetie, didn’t howl or anything.

We talked about the background of the hosts, many of whom hail from Halloween Horror Nights. They wanted to do something local, but still spectacular, for those who aren’t up for a drive to Orlando.

hv 04

It’s difficult to gauge the size of the haunt from the outside. The entrance is near the exit, but that doesn’t mean anything. The facade is impressive, with some very nice foam work creating columns, stone walls, and a cathedral-like entrance.

hv 06

Mark Muncy, the Caretaker, and owner of Hellview, welcomes victims inside.

The answer to how big: big. They have a fair bit of space, and use it well. Hellview lacks the usual claustrophobic feel associated with haunt mazes. Instead, it is mapped more like an amusement park ride, with the viewer moving from one large set to the next. The sets are fully realized, and rich in detail. If there’s one flaw, it’s this: the actors are too good. There was more than one instance where I wanted to stop and watch the mesmerizing performances of these charismatic professionals. Yep, toward the end of the haunt, the actors were saying (ominously, of course): “Move along! Faster, faster!” Heh, oops. Of course, that may be because the folks behind us were frightened, and running through. They were on top of us by the end. Chickens.

I will say the lighting could have been more dramatic. The Caretaker especially could have used a scary light on his face (mostly so I could get a better picture!), but it was still dusk, and it was their first run of the season. According to Sally, they had just finished the lighting, so I don’t think I got the best look at it.

Hellview was amazing. I may go up to Orlando next year to see the “big ones,” but for the most part, I think I’m done with pro haunts. They just aren’t as creative, they don’t show as much heart and art.

hv 05

 

sbox 01

There are tons of great Halloween shadow boxes around. I have three of these shadow box frames I picked up at a garage sale. They are old and sturdy, and the front glass is glued in. I’d like to fill each of them in different styles this year. The first one is intended to be simple, and subtly eerie, using vintage photos.

sbox 02

I used The Commons at Flickr to find some photos that were free to use and modify. I wanted a house with some space in front of it, and a creepy girl.

sbox 03

I used charcoal and colored pencils to alter the house a bit. The charcoal looks much more subtle in person, thank goodness.

sbox 04

Creepy girl was part of a group photo. She’s printed on wood grain cardstock for texture. I cut her out, used an awl to scratch out her eyes, and inked the edges so they wouldn’t show white. I left a long bit below her feet so I could fold it and attach her to the box.

sbox 05

Next, a tree is cut out from some spooky paper. I also used purple blending chalk to give it subtle color. Again, I’ve left a bit on the bottom for attachment.

sbox 06

The house is attached to the back board of the shadow box. I decided that it also needed some blending chalk around the edges to create a vignette effect. Here I’m deciding on placement.

In the end, I wish I’d made the tree taller, and painted the bottom attachment flaps white. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with this quick project. Though it’s madness to photograph–I’ll have to get better at that.

Raffle status: Yes, I’ll send this off.

sbox 08

 

 

aod 03

I really dropped the ball on taking pictures of this project.  I’ll try to describe the process as much as possible.

aod 01

I chose two subtle patterned papers, one in green and one in off-white, and cut out four sets of wings with Tim Holtz’ Alterations Layered Angel Wings die. Each piece was edge distressed, first with Pumice Stone Distress Ink, then with Black Soot Distress Ink.

The tag is another Alterations die, Tiny Tags and Tabs. I used a heavy vellum. With a fine permanent marker, I wrote “Requiescat” on each tag twice, one over the other. The tags were distressed with StazOn Black and Brown.

The skulls were stamped on to some Memory Box paper. They used to do the most gorgeous Halloween collections. The stamp is Inkadinkadoo, the ink is Colorbox Chestnut. I then embossed with clear extra-fine powder, and edged with StazOn, adding some shading on one side.

Finally, I attached the tag to the right-most large wing piece with a plain black brad, then glued down the wings and skulls, alternating colors. Wish I could remember the paper I used for the card itself. Maaaaybe Recollections?  Corners were rounded at ¼”.

aod 02

Oh look! I took another picture! This is one of the envelope papers. I made custom envelopes with the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punchboard, which I love to death.

I’m so stoked about these cards. One of my favorite projects of the season. I made a set of four, and they are definitely going to someone in the raffle.

aod 04