Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treating

The Pre-Show!!  Last night was great fun for the kids as the adults tried to keep up...the evening started with Grandmom and me helping Magda & Luca with their costumes and then they posed for our impromptu photo shoot (photos below)...You can almost feel the excitement, can't you??
All the neighborhood kids headed over to Party Central (our neighbor's house) for pizza and more fun and photos--and then we were off!! Or, I should say the kids were off and it was a mad dash for sugar.
We hit a handful of really good streets and about the time the kids were hauling their body weight in candy, we packed it in...sorting, oohing and ahhing over the booty on the kitchen floor at 8:30pm 
(on a school night, no less!!)
It is so beautiful and will be handed down in our family for sure!!  
I don't think the same can be said for Luca's costume (which I made...he was a Stegosaurus)
but it worked and did the trick...I mean TREAT!!
: )

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

Finally, its here...Happy Halloween everyone!  
Here are some shots of our haunted house--inside & out.  
I took Friday off work to put the finishing touches on everything...
I think it all turned out nicely--but can't believe its done!!  

I will walk you thru everything so you don't get too scared....

One of my most favorite thing to make were the tombstones.  I got the idea and inspiration
from HGTV.  I loved working with that sheet/board foam insulation.  It was fun to cut & carve.

When you spray paint it, there is a chemical reaction and the paint
   eats away at the foam--making it look old, weird and deteriorated.
Which is a very cool and highly desired effect!!

These signs were a fun way to keep things silly while still alluding to something foreboding.  
PLUS, they were easy and quick to make out of cardboard, poster paint and yard sticks.

The WITCH!! 
This was the one task I delegated to Greg and he did a great job.
Although he says she turned out pretty mediocrely-- I am happy with our witch...

She does, however, have shoulders most linebackers would envy--definitely solid!
I got the idea and inspiration here.

OH! The bats...I love, love, love the bats...
I wish I would have cut out a hundred more--but you have to draw the line somewhere...
I got the awesome idea and templates here.
And the fun idea I got to "board" up the windows, I saw in Martha's Halloween special issue.
Very effective, simple and cheap!

The ghost was a fun way to greet our guests...I think next year-- I will use 12 yards of cheese
cloth instead of 6 looks like she is wearing a mini-skirt! : )  Idea from here.

Down the hallway, I made an art gallery old black and white horror movie characters.  
Bela Lugosi as Dracula, 1931
Elsa Lanchester as the Bride of Frankenstein, 1935
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, 1931
Lon Chaney as Phantom of the Opera, 1925

Thanks to my awesome neighbor for lending me the frames!!

This is where the $1 stores comes in really handy: 
 I bought the witches mask (for witch above) and skeletor here for, I think, $3.99 each.  
Some fish line and 3 AAA batteries were all it took 
to make opening the basement door a VERY SCARY ordeal!!

My FAVE!! The headwaiter...
A styrofoam wig head, some cheesecloth and some coffee was all it took. 
 I loved making this guy and I think this might have been the creepiest thing at the party!
Idea from Martha...see here.

Just some more fun details from the kitchen/dining room. 

Below are some shots from the living room 
where the kids read scary stories Saturday night.

Above is the wall opposite the fire place in the living room-- this is something else I am quite proud of!
I love old 19th century illustration: medical & scientific drawings, specifically.  This style has always intrigued me, maybe because I love photography so much--these drawings blow me away--the detail is incredible.  And they don't mean to be creepy but they just are...I printed out the images, soaked them in coffee/tea to make them look old and then cut out black card stock "frames".  

I painted silohouettes with black paint on orange fabric to hang in the upstair windows.
I got the inspiration here.  The orange florescent lights you can buy at Home Depot
are awesome for setting the mood.

And there you have it!  That is basically where I have been for the last two months.
This is BY FAR the biggest undertaking of my craft career and it took a lot of time and planning--
I don't want you to think I just whipped it all up in a day.  

I started in earnest in early September and was just finishing right up 
'til the first guest rang the door bell at 6pm Saturday night--when our party started.  
For the last 8 weeks, I'd get to work on things at night-- 
right after the kids went to sleep and I just kept plunking away...

A haunted house has always been something I have wanted to do 
and I feel so proud and satisfied... 

I also feel like I don't want to look at anything scary, spooky or wicked for a very, very long time...


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Series of Magda's Portraits

Per yesterday's post, I thought I'd share what my 6 1/2 year old daughter,
 Magdalena has been up to lately--with her drawings...

I was trying to interview her this morning to ask her questions
about her form and technique, but I didn't get much...

She was way more interested in her speed jump-roping session.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is it almost here??

Ok, as much as I love all things Halloween, I getting a teensy-tiny tired of looking at skulls and tarantulas...BUT only two weeks till the HAUNTED HOUSE PARTY...and this weekend I made a big push because I have to go out of town next weekend.  Here are just a few new additions, (some I actually made last year) but if you aren't already sick of Halloween, this should pretty much put you over the top...because I know that is where I am!! : )

Ok, this sign...I have to admit--I am pretty proud of....I will take/post better photo this week.  Even though I think I am certifiably INSANE that I even tried it--I saw something similar online--but way smaller.  And of course, the minute I saw it, I thought--I have a MILLION things to do, but I have to try and make this hard could it be??

  I was going to do a how to tutorial to show you how to make your own...
but honestly, I had no idea if what I was thinking was going to work 
(plus I was making it late at night; way AFTER all the natural sunlight was long gone) 

So I bailed on the step by step... Suffice it to say:

a) I employed the expertise of a dear friend/colleague/graphic designer and font expert extrodinaire!

b) I took the designed/justified/stylized pdf done by above mentioned expert 
to kinko's and had it printed out on a 20x30 sheet of paper..

c) I THEN PROCEEDED TO CUT OUT EVERY LETTER  (I have to say this is where the certifiably insane part comes in) with an extremely sharp exacto knife and several glasses of wine--so that I had, in effect, a giant stencil--that I then cut the whole poster into 8 strips (one strip for each line of text).

d)THEN, I lightly sprayed adhesive onto the backs of the strips, one by one (and one at a time) to a piece of plywood (20 inches by 30 inches) that I had painted several layers of paint on starting with first coat of MATTE black spray paint and finished with several layers of bright orange mixed with white and black poster paint--mixed and blended to achieve desired effect = primitive and folk arty.

e) I dabbed the black paint carefully onto to each letter--wiping some away some to create a worn out look; and then carefully pulled back the strip of stencil...

and you know what?? It worked!!  Now I just need to seal it...I have it hanging above our coat rack...
and it does look really good, I think...

These are from last year...thank goodness; something that was already DONE!

Some examples of art work that will hang in the spooky art gallery...
Bear with me, since I am making haunted house for 4-8 year olds...
I can't be too this what I am doing.  Thanks to AWESOME neighbor for frames!!

Some old apothecary jars I found on ebay-- to make things a little more interesting!
All candy must be a) BRIGHT ORANGE b) NEON GREEN or c) BLACK..
I have a theme going on...

ok, so I don't know about you, but I/my family needed a break from all this crafting/planning/making spooky stuff--we needed to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE for crying out loud!!

So, last weekend...we did the unspeakable!! 

We took the kids to a fancy restaurant in DC!!  It was fun!! 

We got out of the house...into the light--AND someone else did the cooking...
and we just SAT there and ate was delicious and the kids were really good.  
well, pretty good...

We went to Zaytinya (which means olive oil in Turkish)  It's a Jose Andres restaurant and its Middle Eastern/Meditarrean -- it was delicious and we loved every bite!

and they have fun sculptural art outside the restaurant...which was fun to look at
and walk in and around...

 Then, Greg took Luca to the Building Museum for a birthday party and I took Magda to the
National Portrait Gallery...Magda has been working on a series of faces lately.  She is finding noses to be particularly challenging, so we went to look at how other artists over the years have drawn/painted/created noses that they were working on....I think she got some very good ideas/inspiration that she'll try out next time she draws a face....