Friday, October 30, 2009

Almost There

The Gardener is done. For now. The fabric really bugs me for a number of reasons, but the main one is that it isn't old-looking enough. Right now though, I don't have the time. Or the initiative. It's done and I don't have to worry about it anymore. Sometime after Halloween I'll post more pictures.

I'm going to be all hyper tomorrow morning when I wake up. And then I'll realise I have to set up a projector and a set of speakers about twice as old as I am, clean the house and tape off doorways. Plus all that little detail stuff which is fun to plan but so time consuming to execute. Really wishing I'd had more time, but there's not much I can do now other than finish off an English assignment. Last English work for the year! Woo!

Everybody Scream

Been busy busy busy getting everything done. Just finished The Gardener (ten, fifteen minutes ago), so right now I'm having a bit of a rest and playing The Nightmare Before Christmas in the background. Because nobody else is home and I can.

Anyway, because I didn't post anything last night I thought I post a few videos this morning. This is Danny Elfman's This Is Halloween, from TNBC. As you would all probably know. The first is the original movie version, the second is Marilyn Manson's cover of it, and the third is Panic! At The Disco's cover of it.

Manson's is my favourite because it's actually quite dark, but I do love the original and Brendon Urie (the singer in the last clip) has a beautiful voice. Manson wins though. The only problem with it is that's it's perhaps too good and the movie feels a little lackluster in comparison. Manson's version was on the Nightmare Revisited album released awhile ago, along with quite a few covers from quite a few bands. Korn's cover of Kidnap The Sandyclaws is my favourite from the album, and it's so great I have to mute the scene it's from because the original just doesn't compare.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The "I'm busy so here's a picture" Post. Or "Look, books!"

Went out shopping today. Got what was hopefully the last of the costume + decor stuffs. Including some of these nifty books. From left to right we have A Single Pilgrim, On Safari, The Dominant Fifth, Three Little Maids, The First Stone, Uncle Tom's Story and Life And Death. Uncle Tom's Story is the fanciest one, the pages are gold edged and there's Uncle Tom's portrait on the cover. A little digging (google) tells me that Uncle Tom was in fact Rev. Josiah Henson. I'm told he's the Uncle Tom behind Uncle Tom's Cabin. Which is, you know, nice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Learning From Your Mistakes

Some things you have to learn the hard way. I found this out, funnily enough, the hard way last night. Anyone following me on twitter would have noticed my little breakdown when everything seemed to go wrong at once.

As deadlines approach (and go flying past, not even stopping to say hello), I tend to start working on things late at night, because it's time I'm usually awake anyway and I find the hours between 11pm and 2am to be particularly productive, if not occasionally dangerous. I attempted to learn that lesson after I tried taking off my left thumb with a stanley knife a few weeks ago. I told myself that I wasn't going to be doing anything stupid like that again. So it only makes sense that last night I decided it would be a good idea to try and finish the papier mache on The Gardener. Because everyone else in this house seems to sleep (freaks), I had to do it in my room. No big deal. Spread out a few plastic sheets on the carpeted area I was working over, thought everything would be fine. And it was, for the most part.

Then I decided I should lean the thing against my desk while I go get a drink. I don't know why I thought this was a good idea. The Gardener is incredibly heavy. He's got two pieces of rather thick timber making up the cross, and in order to get it to stand up but still be portable, he's got a steel pipe hidden up the back of his cross, so I can just shove a metal rod in the ground and shove him on it. Of course, however brilliant that sort of forward thinking may be, it's pretty useless when you're carting the thing around indoors and looking for things to lean it against. You can't lie him on his front because you'll crush his ribcage. Can't lie him on his back because of the vines and the metal pole. So I'd taken to leaving him leant at oblique angles against things, with only the very top touching the wall, and something bracing the bottom. It had been working so far.

Then it fell. Must've slid to the side, then completely lost balance. I came back to my room to find him, still attached to his cross, thankfully, but lying half on the floor, half on the bed. Minus a hand. There was much cursing because I knew it was only a matter of time before one of the hands were broken, they stick out just a bit beyond the cross-beam and have a habit of getting hit on walls and door ways.Walk around your house with your arms stretched out, the same way kids do when they're trying to be airplanes and you'll understand what I mean. Still muttering and just generally pissed off, I take the injured party and move him to a better position. And then I see it.

My container full of my super-secret mache mix (and by super-secret I mean glue + water + hand sanitiser). Empty, a dark patch emanating from the lid, soaking my bed. When I had grabbed the container, I chose it because it used to be full of some sort of fruit in liquid. I assumed it would, therefore, be watertight. Wrong. I spent quite some time trying to soak up all the mix from my various bed things, and then I was stuck with the problem of having no mache mix left, no glue to make more, vines to finish and a hand to reattach.
The best solution seemed to be screaming and/or crying. But I didn't. I cleaned up the mess the best I could, then I made some flour + water mache mix. And I fixed it.

But here's some things I learned:
  • Top heavy things will fall over, especially if balanced precariously.
  • Just because you think it's water-tight, doesn't mean it is.
  • Using flour glue makes you smell like you've been baking.
  • Tape fixes everything.
  • Your time spent over the last holidays playing Professor Layton and the Curious Village wasn't wasted.

"Critical thinking is the key to success." 

(Okay so I didn't really do anything puzzle like. But at the time, remembering I could make glue out of flour and water made me feel like a genius. Shush.)

Monday, October 26, 2009


I think it's fairly safe to say that I enjoy taking photos from this perspective. It's pretty cool though, you can see the changes taking place, from the raggedy beginnings to smoothed out edges to the final coat of paint.

Pumpkin Teeth, Eyes & Blood, at Flickr.
(Eyes is my favourite. Just the colours.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Now Watching: Young Dracula

I'll start this post by saying that Young Dracula, despite being a kids tv show about vampires, is nothing like Twilight. You can breathe easy now. There's no sparkling or stalker-like love stories, and almost all of the vampires like drinking blood.

Instead, Young Dracula is a wonderfully campy show about a young boy, Vlad, who moves to a small town in England after his family is run out of Transylvania by torch-wielding villagers.

Vlad (right) lives with his father, the Count Dracula (centre), his older sister Ingrid (left), their servant Renfield (far right) and their talking stuffed wolf Zoltan in an abandoned castle.

Vlad takes the move as a chance to be a normal kid, despite the fact that his father is grooming him for the vampire throne. He befriends a local 'breather' (humans, if you hadn't guessed), Robin, a normal boy who wishes he were a vampire, who wears a cape to school. Meanwhile, Ingrid spends her time toying with the breathers, using her vampire powers to get what she wants. She's actually rather evil at times, something which the Count ignores, as she reminds him of her mother, who ran off with a werewolf. She makes a few appearances throughout the series, returning only to mess things up and leave once she's finished.

Just to stop things being too easy for the Draculas, the school's woodwork teacher Eric van Helsing is also a vampire slayer. Well... he tries to be. He's not very good at it and nearly gets himself killed several times, but he keeps on trying. Everyone else thinks he's crazy but he's right most of the time (quite like Mr. Crocker from The Fairly Odd Parents), just rather inept (also like Mr. Crocker.)

I've embedded a video of the first part of the first episode for your enjoyment, and parts 2 and 3 can be found here and here.

They've only played the first season in Australia so far (boo), but season two looks quite promising.
And I'll stop talking about kiddie shows soon, I promise. Well, I sort of promise. There's actually quite a lot of weird and wonderful children's shows out there.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Work In Progress

And only two weeks overdue. I was going to get all of the papier mache on the vines done last night. Was. That was before I discovered a spider inhabiting the support pole under the vine and had a little freak out. It's dead now but I had trouble working to the same efficiency knowing I'd almost touched a spider. Yes, I know, it's a tad girly but it was either a funnel web (very bad) or a house spider (not so bad). There's a nice spider chart here telling you just how hurtie the spiders will be. Don't click on it if spiders freak you out, the pictures, while obviously drawn rather than photographs, move.
But moving away from spiders, once I've got the last of the mache done all that remains is a coat of varnish and then paint. It is shall live! -evil cackle-

-From now on this post will be about mind-numbingly mundane details of my life, so turn back now if you wish. Don't say I didn't warn you.-

Sadly The Gardener is turning into one of those things that I could've had done in a week had I not have had so much else to do. I've probably mentioned this on twitter several times, but the last week in October is for me not only the week before Halloween (and therefore the most exciting), but also the last week for school work submissions for the year (therefore the most nerve-wracking). The logical, "let's get straight A's and go to University" side of me says I should put off everything else and study. The rest of me though, is screaming Halloween. Because I don't really want to go to University, and well, I like Halloween more than I like writing essays about feminism in Ancient Greece, the changing status of artists from the Middle Ages to today, and knowing the formulas on how to find the angles and side lengths of triangles given only one length and one angle.

Ultimately I've chosen to do both. I finished and submitted my math assignment a few days ago. The Gardener is both for Halloween and for school. I got back my mark for my feminism essay last night (I did shockingly well). I spend most nights sewing my costume instead of doing revision and on Wednesday I finished my last compulsory day of sound and lighting tech classes. It's a strange feeling, to be honest. A lot of things have been done, and yet there's still a lot left to do. So I made a list. And another one. And then one more. Then I made a chart of the days leading to Halloween/end of school and filled in when they had to be done. I'm a nerd. I know. These are two of the lists:

Orange note pads make me happy. But the point of this post (there was one, honest) was to ask how the hell you guys do it, those of you who have such large haunts. I have enough trouble with just my modest decor-plans.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Idol Worship: Frog on the Pumpkin

The Froq Queen is a busy little blogger. Not only does she run Frog on the Pumpkin, she also posts bits and pieces on a second blog, while her husband runs the Davis House blog. And then there's the Davis Graveyard website. Now add to that the fact that they run a really amazing haunt. If I was the FQ I doubt I'd have time to post at all. I'd probably spend all my time out in the garden playing with all the Halloween props, of which there are many.

This spider is my favourite of them all. I think. I'd love to have one hanging from a tree in the backyard. Just waiting to freak out passersby. Most likely I'd be the one most scared by it, but it would be worth it.

One of my favourite parts of the blog is seeing how their neighbours help out. People come to help make props, do make-up, even dance. I read these posts and sigh wistfully, wishing I had neighbours like the Davis family. But until then, I shall sit at my computer and look at all the pretty things they do. And hope that one day, I will.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Now Watching: Ruby Gloom

Ruby Gloom is the happiest girl in the world, and she lives in Gloomsville, in a Victorian-style mansion on a hilltop with all her friends.

Her friends include Doom Kitty, the black cat, Iris, the one-eyed girl with a massive taste for adventure, the two headed boy/s, Frank and Len, skeleton with father issues, Skull Boy, and walking disaster, Misery, as well as a few others, such as a bat afraid of just about everything and three dapper ravens.

The main theme behind Ruby Gloom seems to be accepting everyone, even if they look or act a bit weird. Which is cool. I can dig that. It never gets too preachy, like quite a few kid's shows nowadays (I am a frequenter of children's television programming, in case you hadn't guessed.), and it's just all around cute with darkened edges. I've embedded the opening titles for you to watch - and I strongly recommend that you do -  the quality is not brilliant, which is a shame because the graphics are lovely, but it's worth sitting through the pixelation just to listen to the theme tune.

A little searching awhile ago informed me that the show is Canadian, although it began as an American stationary franchise thing. And by searching, I mean wikipedia told me. The page has nice little bios of all the characters and an episode list. I highly suggest going and finding the episodes to watch. I got given the DVD with episodes 4-8 on it for Christmas last year (my friends know me well), and I play episode 8 quite frequently. Frank and Len are trying to find a singer for their band so they can play at Gloomapalooza, and in this episode Skull Boy is convinced his ancestors were famous film makers/biographers. The songs they play are actually quite good as well.

There is an official website where you can watch the short skits they play at the beginning and end of episodes as well as some of the music, however I am not going to suggest you go there. The site is slow and glitchy a lot of the time, and while it used to be worth it when they had it decked out much akin to her mansion, they've updated it. And it makes me cry a little inside. She's "punk-rock" now. You know, like Avril Lavigne is punk-rock. You might not mind, but it was so much better before.

However, I have found a way to see the old site, thanks to a website archive called the WayBack Machine. The theme song plays one it's finished loading, but you can turn it off - there's a button on the bottom left.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Idol Worship: Art of Darkness

A lot of the time when webstores run blogs, they exist as nothing more than another place for them to advertise their wares. Shadow Manor's Art of Darkness blog is nothing like that.

The Shadow Manor shop was what first caught my attention. It's full of wonderfully pretty things for me to lust over and consider selling organs for (I'm looking at you, Bat Purse. Also this thing. I can't pronounce it but I know that I want it.).

And this one

However since I have only a limited number of organs and the store has many many pretty things, I think I'll be staying away from paid donor-ship for now.

The blog itself is wonderful, full of neat little dark crafty things, cool stuff from the blogosphere, a tutorial section, and my favourite, weekly link dumps. Oh the linked goodiness. So go have a look. Could you pick me up a few things from the shop while you're there?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It's In The Blood

I've posted my mother's art a few times, and my own more than a few, so I thought now was as good a time as any to show some of my brother's. Don't let the messy style fool you - he's only two years (and eight days) younger than me. He just likes things messy.

More than once I've gone into his room to get/steal something and ran into something creepy staring at me. Luckily for me though, he also shares my distaste for cutesy Christmas figurines, much to the chagrin of our mother. Last year I was bringing the boxes of ornaments and general Christmassy things down from the shed's loft when I dropped a box and it bounced its way down the stairs. I freaked out for a moment thinking it was the box full of expensive breakable things. It wasn't. It was filled with the annoying novelty plushes that sing songs and dance when you press them. Which explains the horrific cacophony of noise that erupted upon the box's arrival on the bottom floor. I decided that it would probably be best just to check to make sure nothing had died, and if it had I would have sufficient time to dispose of the bodies. Then I discovered that two creepy porcelain santa figurines were in the box. One survived unscathed. The other was not so lucky. Head shorn from its fabric body, he lay in the bottom of the bag, begging for a quick death. Or maybe I was just imagining things.

Either way, I had a beheaded santa to deal with. So I got my brother to dispose of it while I carted the rest of the decorations up to the house. I came back to find this:

I'm not sure why he decided to give it gold skin. I just know it's awesome.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Idol Worship: Haunt Style

I think Haunt Style's attraction can be described in four words: They post cool stuff.

I don't really know what else to add. Haunt Style keeps me entertained with short posts highlighting neat stuff from the interwebs, and it's one of the sites that has me keeping a tab open on Google Reader so that I don't miss anything. Which would also explain the incredible drop in productivity lately. But it's a great blog, regardless. Ch-ch-ch-check it out.

(I had to make the Beastie Boys reference. HAD to. I hope you'll understand.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sci-Fi Sunday: Alien

Ooh look, alliteration. Kind of.
I felt like I needed some sort of themed-post thing going on so I've decided to create Sci-Fi Sunday. Every 3rd Sunday of the month (and what ever other Sunday that I have nothing better to write about) I'm going to write about something Sci-Fi related. Most likely movies. I like movies.

Anyway this weekend I watched the Alien films. All of them - Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection. Even Alien Versus Predator, and then later tonight I'm going to watch Alien Versus Predator: Requiem. I have a lot of things to not be doing.

I'd never actually seen an Alien (or Predator) movie before this weekend. I live under a rock, several thousand leagues under the sea. On Jupiter. Luckily for me though, my brother is slightly obsessed with them, owns them all on DVD, and has been bugging me since AVP2 was released to WATCH THEM ALREADY!
Fair enough. He did have a point. Or several.

I'm not going to go over each of the films in great detail because, well most of you will have already seen them, and those who haven't probably don't care. I know I never did. So here's a very superficial view of the franchise.

Aliens are cool looking. Except the chestbursters. They're a little... well... I giggled. The first time you see a chestburster, it's meant to be incredibly dramatic and like, totally scary, because like, nobody's like, ever seen one before, you know? I couldn't help it, it's entrance made me laugh. And then it ran across the table. Man, I was about to die I was laughing that hard. One could say that it was the result of forcing myself to sit through Batman & Robin just moments before - I found it very hard to take anything seriously after that. But the obviousness puppetry of it really took any of the scare out of what was meant to be a defining moment.


But back to the Aliens. I dig the design. If I had to be an evil space alien, I think I'd want to be one of them. Except for the mouth inside the mouth. I want to stay far far away from the mouth inside the mouth. It just continues the chestbursters' phallic imagery, which, to be honest, creeps me out. Don't look at me like that, you know you were thinking it too. If not, well... you do now. Sorry.

Alien was rather average, for me. It wasn't horrible but I never really cared about any of the characters, which made it hard to really care whether or not they got impregnated and eaten. Except Jones. But Jones was a cat, and therefore unlikely to be impregnated/killed. Although that theory didn't really pan out when in A3 an alien is inside a dog. Mostly I just wanted to make sure that Jones wasn't left inside his little catbox on board when the ship got blown to pieces. That would've made me sad.

Hiding skills superior to those of a human. Or aliens just don't eat cats.

Aliens was definitely a step up from Alien, at least in terms of characters I actually cared about, and ergo, suspense. And boy did they like the suspense. It's alive! No, it's dead! No, it's alive! We're safe now. No wait, it's still alive! We never saw that coming! Surely someone would think to check the ship for aliens and alien eggs! We also discover their fondness for air-locks. Sure, it makes sense, but after seeing it used for what felt like the billionth time in Resurrection, I really just wanted some good Kill It With Fire.
Most importantly, we see Jones get left behind when Ripley decides to go with the marines. What happens to Jones after that, seeing as Ripley never ever comes back? I'd like to imagine he takes over Ripley's little house-thing and spends the rest of his days in happy-cat-land. And yes, clearly my attention span is too short to be watching these types of movies, but I liked Aliens. There were believable characters and nifty turret guns, and she set fire to the Queen.

Alien 3 was... fairly good. I don't really remember much of it, to be honest, and I'm pretty sure I only watched it this morning. It started on rather a sour note for me, with the two and a half characters I actually liked being killed off in the first few minutes - Hicks, Newt and half of Bishop dying when their pod thingies hit the ground. Then we get to see Ripley be quite a bit more spacey as she discovers she's pregnant with a really ugly baby. The Queen! But dispite being on a space colony filled with murderous rapists, they're all actually pretty nice guys and all but one of them dies trying to save her. Aw. And then she dives into molten lead to kill both herself and the creepy beast inside her. Oh and she gets a haircut. Which makes me very happy because I've been bred on female leads who look pristine except the token bloody cheek in horror movies, and her hair was driving me a little insane.

After seeing her die in A3, seeing her reborn in Resurrection was a bit... eh. Didn't really care anymore. Interest peaked in the second movie and it was all downhill from there. Swimming aliens were a cool addition, as was Winona Ryder, but ultimately I didn't really care at all. Especially at the end with the birth scene and the creepy scientist fellow. And then more airlockage. Although I did like seeing the human-alien having it's innards pulled out through a small hole. Made me feel better about the whole experience.

"What a beautiful butterfly"

Seriously, did no one else think this looked like they melted E.T.?

Just when all hope was lost, then came Alien Versus Predator. Oh sweet merciful entertaining movie. The whole premise of it was a little overdone but after watching my thousandth airlock death it was a breath of fresh air. I went into it expecting to be rooting for the aliens. I had for most of the other movies, so I saw this one as being no different. However, I definitely found myself on the predators' side. Sure, they're massively ugly, but they have cool weapons. And they're actually pretty nice fellows too, it turns out. The two best parts of this for me were that 1, there's an ass kicking female... who's not Sigourney Weaver. As much as I liked her "I can kill it" attitude, Ripley was beginning to really grate on me with her spaced out-ness in the later movies. And 2, the set design and dressing. All the symbols and the sacrificial tables and most importantly, all the bones. Bones bones bones bones bones. Very pretty. Bonus points also for bringing back Bishop as Weyland, the man who takes them out to the remote arctic post in the first place.

My brother tells me Requiem is just as good, but my memory of the trailers is that this one is set in a wooded area, rather than sacrificial pyramid for death games, so I might not like it quite as much. But what I do like is pictures like this:

There's a few of these in the series, and I think I have The Art of Darkness blog to thank for posting a link to them, although I'm not entirely sure. If I'm wrong, hit me. Or better yet, shove me out an airlock.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Idol Worship: The Obscure Hollow

The Obscure Hollow is my go-to site for inspiration when it comes to atmosphere. The concept behind the blog is simple; they - Kerry Kate, Micha Michelle and Rebecca Kasner - watch horror movies (haunted house movies in particular) and provide us with lovely screenshots of the decor.

This year's Halloween decor is inspired by these shots from their post about Fear In The Night. Choosing dust sheets and minimal lighting was perhaps the best decision I've made this year. Also great source material for this year was the post about the first movie from The House That Dripped Blood. It's the attention to detail that I love, and my friends and I have been collecting old books since I showed her the photos.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Now Watching: Impalements

All good deaths involve a good impalement. There, I've said it. It's just cool. Non-lethal impalements are also pretty neat. (See; Hot Fuzz). The final battlescene in the awful movie Gabriel featured a nice double-impalement with a steel pipe, possibly the only moment I actually enjoyed. Although sadly, only one of them died in the end. Boo.

In Hot Fuzz the uber-villian Simon Skinner (played by Timothy Dalton) and Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) are having a fight in a model village of the town. Skinner slips on a model car and catches his chin on the church spire. Particularly entertaining as earlier in the film, the writer of the local paper gets his head blown to smithereens when the actual church spire falls on his head. I was unable to find a decent clip of the model village scene, but I did find one of the church spire head explosion.

There are quite a few fun impalements out in the movie-verse but I prefer slightly-comedic movies, so that tends to narrow it down a bit. Hot Fuzz is a comedy, which may come as a bit of a shock to anyone who has only seen the clip above. Gabriel is not even a movie (okay so maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Just save yourself the time and don't watch it), but to each their own.

The last impalement I want to talk about is from a movie called A Film With Me In It. When I went to go see it, I hadn't really watched, heard, or seen, anything about it. But I knew Dylan Moran was in it, and wrote it (r helped write it, can't really remember), and so it didn't really matter to me. Rampant fan-girling at best. I expected a comedy. Moran is, afterall, a comedian. A Film With Me In It is sort of a comedy. A really really dark comedy. I couldn't find a clip of my favourite moment (again), but in the trailer below you can briefly see it as Moran's character, Pierce, points to the dead girl on the floor with something protruding from her chest. It's a clarinet stand. Plus the landlord stabs himself in the neck with a screw driver. Not necessarily an impalement but still very funny. Sort of. Don't look at me like that. has a nice list of death-by-impalement. Be warned though, for those who have never been to the site may find themselves wasting hours clicking link after link after link. There is, coincidentally, a comic about that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Idol Worship: Stolloween

When it comes to papier mache, Scott Stoll (AKA Stolloween), is king. Sure, there are many people who are good at it. But few are this good.

If you've got a question about papier mache, this is the place to go. Paperclay or paper strips? Flour or glue for the paste? How do you build up your armatures? How do you keep them waterproof? It's all here.

Whether you follow his projects to the letter or use his instructions for a jumping point, you know you're going to get good results as long as you get the basics right. Scott breaks each piece down to the bare bones - which, a lot of the time, is made out of old containers and cartons. But you'd never know it from looking at the finished product.

I used his pumpkin tutorial as the starting point for The Gardener's head (which is almost finished, I promise. I'll stop talking about it soon), and it worked a treat, especially considering it was a first try - I expected to have the first turn out wrong. So the next time you want to paper mache something, you know where to go.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Shop Haul

For weeks now, I've been watching bloggers post photographs upon photographs of the Halloween items in their locals stores. Eagerly I have awaited the appearance of such magical mass-produced goodies in my local stores. I knew that as I live in Australia, I would have to wait a bit longer. "Give it a few weeks," I told myself. "Just you wait, a three weeks to go and it'll be everywhere!"

I was wrong.

Australia has come quite a way in embracing Halloween. They play last year's Simpson Halloween special on the 31st. Channels dedicate their weekend movie spot to movies of the horror genre. Occasionally small children come a-knocking. But sadly we're still incredibly resistant to the holiday. For you see, yesterday I went shopping.

I like shopping. It's something I've become quite skilled at in my seventeen and a bit years on this planet. But yesterday was possibly the most depressing, and least fruitful shopping trip I've been on. Maybe I wasn't looking in the right places. Maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough. Maybe my expectations were to high. For as I left the house, in my mind I pictured aisles bedecked with Halloween goodies. Sugary treats and horrible polyester costumes. I wasn't expecting anything more than what was on offer last year and even then I was let down. For what holiday's decorations did I see in the 'seasonal' displays?

Yes, that's right, Christmas.

I should have seen it coming. It's a wonderfully marketable holiday and why start stocking shelves a month before when you can start two months before? Generally, I'm quite the fan of Christmas displays - all the colours and textures and shiny things. I am, afterall, nothing if not a simple creature. But this was just... sad.

Two stores did their best (sort of) to pervade against the gloom - craft store Spotlight and bargain store The Reject Shop.

Spotlight have had bits and pieces up for a few weeks now. I'd check in on them every now and then under the pretense of buying fabric for some thing or another. It never seemed to really change at all. However when I arrived yesterday morning I discovered the display above behind the counter. There wasn't a great deal of thought or effort put into it, but I appreciated the gesture. And wanted the clear plastic skeleton window cover thing on the back wall. However it was the last of its kind and Spotlight's assistants are notoriously unhelpful so I left empty handed. There were two shelves of Halloween related goodness that I could find, however the ever ominous Christmastime seemed to have begun its descent upon their shelf space.


The Reject Shop was perhaps both the biggest disappointment and the best overall. The crooked photo at the top of the post is one of three that appeared overnight outside their shop-front. I never remembered them advertising before and I thought that perhaps this year I'd gotten lucky. I contemplated taking down one of the posters late at night to keep all for myself but the idea of possible security cameras got the better of me and I walked on past. Admittedly I built it up too much. This year was much the same as last year - the ends of two aisles. Cute and bright but not exactly amazing, but I was drawn in none the less. (For some reason I only have photos of one of them. You're not missing much)

I ended up spending $16 dollars in The Reject Shop on my mini haul. Two pairs of skeleton gloves to one day replace my current ones, a packet of "candy basket" jack o' laterns (yes, really), two bracelets featuring some nice beads, and two imitation Pez machines which actually shoot out candy. My brother and I took it upon ourselves to test the candy. It was awful. They do however, make great projectiles and the carpet in the hall was littered with them before we were finished. Also on a fun note, the top part of their heads moves from side to side, and it makes their eyes and tongue move. Cute. The jewellery I immediately took apart and used the pumpkin and black cat beads to make necklaces from.

Also worth a note, the candy shop had a small display (really really small. Almost didn't see it small) out the front, and I was surprised upon returning home today to find two bags of "Severed Fingers & Eerie Eyeballs" which my brother and I are testing as I type this. So far the graphics are good, the chocolate not so much.

And the Halloween tree is enjoying it's new company.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Idol Worship: The Shadow Farm

Dave the Dead is the mastermind behind The Shadow Farm. His blog posts give us a chance to peer into the wonderfully dark world of his creations. And such beautiful creations they are.

Some artists' work makes you think that they've perhaps been doing this forever - that they've had hundreds, maybe thousands of years to perfect all the little details in each piece. Dave is kind of like that. The difference is that I think that Dave has given his artworks a little bit more than that. I could swear that some of them have a soul.

Meet Sid. He's my current favourite. Sid is a hearse driver. In the other photo in Sid's introductory post, you can see both the hearse and the dead (or un-dead) horse that pulls it. Dave gives each creature it's own little backstory, and this is what he has to say about Sid:
Sid is the henchman to Frau Trauermarsch and driver of her hearse. SID is a scavenger, and follows the Frau in the night and shadows, collecting young victims. While the Frau is concerned with the fragile young souls, Sid collects whatever is left.
Recently Dave announced on his twitter that he'd begun selling some miniatures in his Etsy shop. Unfortunately as I write this post Etsy is down for scheduled maintenance so I can't find all my favourites to show you. However, he did tweet a links to his two most recent items for sale: a skeleton bird and skeleton cat.
I want them both.

On a unrelated note: I've updated the blog feed to feedburner. There's a shiny new subscribe button on the sidebar for the feed-reader types.