Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dixie’s Secret Santa Can Suck It Gift…

I had the awesome opportunity to be able to BUY for our gracious host, Cobwebs of Shadow Manor.  What’s really cool about that is I get to give her MORE because she is our host, so I have an unlimited budget.  The web is my playground and here I go.

to fromThe fun part about shopping for someone with an incredible blog, such as Shadow Manor is that her Wish List is laid out day by day… for the last 2 1/2 years or something like that.  So not only did I get to take a step back in time and relive some of her great posts, I got to pick and choose my gifts to her from amongst things I read she liked!

I start off with a stocking by the hearth…. because of COURSE, its a Secret SANTA, and everyone knows he comes via the computer chimney.

halloween-stockings-threePS.  This picture is stolen from the internet.  Use your imagination people.

PSS.  Just imagine that one of those stockings says Cobwebs, ok?  Don’t make me drag out the Photoshop.

PSSS.  Don’t ever type in “Halloween Stockings” into Google.  Some of them aren't the kind of stockings to hang on the mantle, and some of them should not be squeezed onto the leg that is in the picture.  *shivers*

Ok, Cobwebs… open your stocking!

 chandalier  Yes, the awesome Chandelier nightlight she found at Target.  Coolness.

zombie An awesome Zombie toy.  Who doesn't need a dismantle-the-zombie toy??

Well, and a $1000 gift certificate to Think Geek because she said she has an unnatural liking of the joint.  (And I have an unlimited budget, yay!)

Ok, and last in her stocking,

ttar_orange_01_h_launch I mean, that stupid thing goes in EVERYONE’S stockings, right?!!

Ok, onto the pretty wrapped presents.  woohooo!


Dan2lg From The Mourning Sampler.  This one was my favorite, I hope she likes it too!

(And I hope that stupid copyright thing isn’t on it either, LOL)

Then we have this,

exorcist Found here...  It appears to work something like a slinky, only its Regan MacNeil from the Exorcist, and I just think that ROCKS! 

Ok, next is a gift certificate to this place, since I know she likes the shirts, but I’m not sure which one.  While buying the gift certificate for her, I’m buying this one for me, because its my horror favorite movie, and well, I can’t resist.


Onto another favorite item – and something that I know she will like, some of the world famous DeadSpider of Arana Witches Kitchen labels for, well just about anything that she wants!  (Excellent blog, by the way, if you don’t subscribe, you SHOULD!)


Another item that Cobwebs spoke of was GoogleGoth, and I thought it would be great to see what it thought I should get her.  So after putting in “Christmas Gift for Her” the first link was the Top 25 gifts to give her from!  I don’t know how GoogleGoth knows Cobwebs, but I guess they know everything.   Well, until I clicked on #1.


Philosophy: The Winter Escape

This limited edition collection of bath products from Philosophy is only available at Sephora. Any woman on your list can enjoy the comfort of a cup of hot cocoa in the shower or bath with new peppermint Hot Cocoa Shampoo, Shower Gel & Bubble Bath and then finish off with delicious Melting Marshmallow Cream Body Soufflé and Melting Marshmallow Cream Lip Shine -- the man in her life with thank you too for this sumptuous Christmas gift.”

So, well, if she doesn’t like that, she will forget when she opens the next one.  I saved the best for last.   I had trouble wrapping it, so I just got a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig bow.


and here it is……..





The only problem is…………… it comes with JAYBO… sitting on it… because he wants it so bad he can’t stand it.

Enjoy your new couch, my hubby sitting on it, and all of your other gifts!

Thank you as well for such a wonderful and informative blog – I had a lot of fun researching all of your old posts to find just the thing!!!

merry christmas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cool Idea: “Secret Santa Can Suck It”

A Virtual Secret Santa for members of your fellow Haunt community – where you don’t have to spend a dime, but put a bit of thought into it and make someone smile…. who could ask for MORE?

Its a creation first brought on by Bee's Musings last year, that happily was stolen and reused this year by Cobwebs at Shadow Manor.   (Click on the Shadow Manor link to read more on how it works)

Today is the last day, so if you are interested in giving someone the perfect virtual gift, and have a heck of a lot of fun…. sign up by commenting on the Shadow Manor post HERE Today, as names will be grouped together tonight.

And be watching in the coming days, as both Jaybo and I have signed up…. because SECRET SANTA CAN SUCK IT.

Haha, I just like saying that.  :D

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

ThinkGeek :: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Nothing like a reboot of the classics to get you reading again! Perfect stocking stuffer for any haunter who happens to also enjoy Jane Austen!

Honey? You want a copy? ;-)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas Shopping…

We tried so hard to be normal, red blooded CHRISTMAS type people today, and got out with the masses to celebrate Black Friday.  Happened by Big Lots to pick up some cheap stocking stuffers.  Found an angel tombstone topper that I’m sure is supposed to be all Christmas-ey and stuff…. oh, and 8 packs of flicker LED tealights that are probably supposed to be in a cute little Christmas window or something….

2009-11-27 23.38.37

Yeah, tried really hard to Christmas shop, but gosh darn we are coming home with more Halloween stuff than Santa stuff!

Hope everyone is enjoying the Turkey Day weekend… this 4 day weekend is just such a blessing for me – time with the family, then time to unwind.  Love it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

End of the Season

Ok, it’s official now. I took our last prop down on Sunday, so the season is finally over for the year. I had left Jack, our large Pumpkin Reaper, up in our yard after everything else was put away weeks ago.

He’s my favorite guy and I always have a hard time destroying him every year. I always find an excuse to keep him around as long as possible, but the excuses finally ran out and he had to go.

I created a little tribute video to see him off.

As it is November 23rd…











Happy birthday honey… even though I nag you more than I should, and bitch about Halloween related TO-DO’s more than I should… I have always loved you, and always will.  You are a wonderful husband and father, and I hope today is very special for you because you are very loved.  :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Makeshift Tombstone Painting Station

You come up with the most fun things when your hubby has every available inch of the garage taken up with huge a$$ props….  You end up in the driveway one day, making an assembly line for painting and aging tombstones…. and find a way that you will use whether there’s space in the garage or not!  (Yes, I did notice that I had been kicked out of the MAN CAVE, but come to find out, it was ok!)

I didn't get a pic of my “table” set up, but it went something like this…

Take one of these

419C44MSQKL._SL500_AA280_ and move the two boards together to sandwich 2 pieces of rebar between them.  This is where you will put the tombstones (with embedded PVC, right?) to stand upright to paint.

Then pull up your city trash can, and make a white trash (haha) painters bench…. it even has a girlie little towel rack built right in!  LOL


I couldn't have built anything better if I had planned it.

You can see one on the workbench in the shot below….


It gets you up close and personal with your stones, at eye level, from all directions, and lets you allow it to dry for a few minutes before moving it.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blog Spotlight: Johnny Thunder’s Midnite Spook Frolic

Haunters are some of the best people I have run across – both in person, and in real life.  I would really like to share some of the encouragement that we have been given in our first year in the Haunting Community, and introduce you to some blogs you may or may not know about.  Either way, they will all be from people that have inspired me, encouraged me, or otherwise touched my life.

The first blog is Johnny Thunders Midnite Spook Frolic.  I know many of your are familiar with the famous JT from Haunt or Halloween Forum (and jtsob300probably others that I dont even know about!) and especially Hauntcast.  (JT, there is not a single bad day that I could have that would not be instantly brighter just hearing that LAUGH of yours!)  But you may not know that he has an amazing blog that he just started on September 21, 2009.

If you are on the forums, you have been no doubt amazed by the threads with articles of the strange and stranger…. and he keeps us up to date with horror movie news and reviews on Hauntcast.  But the blog… well, his blog is a thing of wonder for Horror movie buffs and haunt enthusiasts alike.

It promises “Monsters, Martians, and Madmen”, and it delivers.

Classic horror movie reviews?  More than you can imagine.  Movie poster eye candy?  As far as you can see.   General tidbits, including actor/actresses’ birthdays, movie screenshots to take you back through memory lane, more of those wacky articles he finds about the weirdest things I have ever heard of, festival/convention info, horror DVD releases and of course, announcements of the newest release of Hauntcast.

All wrapped up into one amazingly entertaining blog.  Its a visual treat, as well as such a good read.  If you arent already a follower, you will be doing yourself a favor to add him to your list.

Johnny Thunder, you are a treasure to the Haunting Community for all that you bring to it, and speaking for myself, I appreciate all the time and effort you put into it!

Reuse Broken Things…















At times like this – when someone you love breaks one of your favorite err… thingee-ma-bobbers (I have no idea what to call that little mini-column thing that I use as a plant stand all year long til Halloween when it just becomes a creepy place to showcase a favorite object)

Anyways, when it gets broken, don’t toss it out….  save the big pieces, and arrange it in a graveyard as if it broke naturally…. 70 years ago. 

It will make you feel better!  :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

I make the stupidest mistakes when I write…

I don’t know how “carpet latex” got into my head, and therefore into my last post – but it was not, I assure you, carpet latex that I mixed with sand.  It was this….



Hardwood floor wood filler – came in a big bucket for a little bit of money, and with about 1 part of this stuff to about 3 parts sand made a perfect texture.  Dried overnight to an amazing finish that will not break or chip off.

Ugh, getting that email from Jaybo on my phone… titled, “Err, your last post???”  Felt like I got caught by the teacher again.

My apologies.  Not like any of you rushed out for carpet latex… YOU know better.  One of these days I will write a post at a decent hour, and clear my mind of the last 30 minutes of browsing blogs, Haunt and Halloween Forum and Twisted Nightmares…. 

carpet latex.  on graves.  sheesh.

Heading off to take my son (and drag my reluctant hubby) to see New Moon at 11 pm.  Got my ear plugs ready for all the screaming teen age girls, LOL.  Hallelujah, its Friday!

Tombstone Texture

You may remember my talking about the home made seam filler I was using here... Before that, I had been using joint compound or wood filler to smooth over the seams on the sides of all those 1/2” pieces of foam to make more substantial tombstones.

Then one day, I ran out of wood filler, (I could never find it in large quantities, and when I had a little bit left in the container, it would dry out before I could use it all) so I mixed some wood glue and sand to make a thick paste and spread it over the seams with a trowel. 

I ended up loving the texture and weight so much that I went and got a tub of carpet latex, and was able to finish off about 20 more stones and hardly make a dent in the latex.  (So a lot cheaper!)

Found this shot last night, and thought I would show you how it ended up looking on Halloween night. 

stone texture night

I wish you could feel it….  I love this.  :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For an Amazing Neighbor…

Haunters have many reasons for doing what they do… it might be to scare neighborhood kids one night a year… it could be a creative outlet doing something they love… it could be an extension of wonderful Autumn/Halloween memories carried out throughout adult hood.

For these Nickols “kids”, it is a hobby that the two of us can share together all year, as well as an excellent chance to spend the month of October with our neighbors, outside in our front yard…. talking, catching up, laughing over a silly, but fun obsession.

Some of our neighbors might think we are just “over the top” or nuts…. but then, something amazing happens.  You come home one night, on the 11th of November, still a bit down and blue that Halloween is REALLY over for 350 more days, and you see something like this on your doorstep:

2009-11-11 20.05.30A box of candy and a card.  Your eyes light up a little…  do you have a secret admirer?  Oh no, its so much better than that, you can’t even imagine until you open the card….

2009-11-11 20.04.52 

If I ever question why I love this hobby so much, why I work on it every single month out of the year…. its moments like THIS VERY SECOND that remind me, and restore my faith in just about everything good in this world.

Thank you Dear Neighbor, I hope you read this blog someday and know how touched both Jayson and I are.  We can’t wait to see you every night in October next year. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Favorite Haunt Shots

Jaybo put up a few of his faves, so here are some of mine….


We didn’t really have specific characters that we were portraying…. we were just spooky Manor owners I guess :)


Jayson was trying to get a shot of the fog filling up our street, and got this KILLER shot!  I love it!


The ever popular Hallowindow eyeball there…


You guys have seen this one enough for 3 life times by now, eh?  :)


And one last pic, with some familiar faces for you…


I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween… and don’t forget – THREE HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR Days!!!! 


Meet the Parents

My parents don’t get any Trick or Treaters on Halloween, so they usually come over to our house, set up a few lawn chairs, drink some wine, and watch us scare all the 7 years olds down the street.  Usually a very entertaining evening for them.

CCPC Grand Canyon 2998

This is what they normally look like, only normally they aren’t standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but… work with me here.

So last night, we were putting the final touches on everything at about 4pm, when the door bell rang….















and THESE people show up!!!  Woah!  So, they walked around the graveyard, scared a lot of kids, and just overall MADE MY NIGHT.

I have the coolest parents ever! 

Woohoo! Best night of the year! Time to crash now…


Had a great time tonight! Tons of TOTs, ran out of candy twice and we had a LOT of candy!

Dixie is already passed out on the couch and I am headed to the lounger in the corner. Too tired to make it to anywhere else. Here are a few pics from tonight. Will post a bit more after we recover. Hope everyone had a great night!

Since Halloween has now officially come and gone, Happy El Día de los Muertos and All Saints Day! I have to go collapse now.

IMG_0454 IMG_0389 IMG_0451 IMG_0422 IMG_0386IMG_0450

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Ruined Props.

As the rain starts to fall, I took a little look into my next 24 to 36 hours….

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect through Monday evening.

TONIGHT: Widespread showers and t-storms. Some possibly severe along with very heavy rain. Low: 56. Winds: S/WNW 10-20.

MONDAY: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Steady temps in the mid 50s. High: 56. Winds: N 10-20.

I don’t know who it was that thought it was such a good idea to just buy polyurethane, instead of the much more rain resistant spar urethane… (oh wait, that was me… Ms. Cheap-Skate)… but it was a dumb idea.

At least the embedded PVC and rebar trick is working wonders, and not a thing is moving a’tall in that yard, even with the 40 mpg gusts we are getting.  And, at least its warm.  I have seen pictures of peoples haunts on the forums, and there is…. SNOW on the ground.  What thaaaa?  :)

So anyways, Here’s to counting our blessings, and our next 4 inches of rain! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If You’re “Into” That Kind of Thing….

Microcontrollers …. and I know a lot of you that are…..

There’s a Halloween contest going on over at that has a pretty substantial prize…

From the page:

Microchip Technology Inc. and MAKE have teamed up to present to you the Make: Halloween Contest 2009! Show us your embedded microcontroller Halloween projects and you could be chosen as a winner. Use a microcontroller to make anything from themed lawn decorations to creative costumes - the possibilities are endless. The Make: Halloween Contest will run for 8 weeks, and the Prizewinners will be announced on Friday, November 6th. Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. PDT November 3, 2009. Each entry will be judged based on the following criteria: creativity of idea, use of Halloween theme, technical implementation using a microcontroller, execution and craftsmanship, and quality of documentation. Please see Official Rules for more information on the Winner selection.”

Got your eye on the prize?

One Grand Prize Winner three Runner-up Winners will be selected by the judges. The Grand Prize is a Microchip Starter Kit Bundle, valued at $600.00, which includes:

  • PIC18 Starter Kit
  • PIC24F Starter Kit
  • dsPIC® DSC Starter Kit
  • PIC32 Starter Kit
  • Memory Starter Kit
  • FI Evaluation Platform
  • PICkit™ 3

The Runner-up Prizes are as follows:

  • 1st Runner-up Prize: PICDEM™ Lab (valued at $124.99), plus a $50 Maker Shed gift certificate.
  • 2nd Runner-up Prize: PICkit™ 3 (valued at $69.99), plus a $50 Maker Shed gift certificate.
  • 3rd Runner-up Prize: F1 Starter Kit (valued at $39.99), plus a $50 Maker Shed gift certificate.

I would enter, but I don't even know what the prize is.  That’s why I hang out with Jayson and you guys – you know what it is.

Now, go forth, and WIN! 

Details Here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Staking Tombstones – The Retrofit

I had 15 or so tombstones from last year that I needed to retrofit, to make it through the wind this season.  If you missed it, you can read about the catastrophe Here.

So, as I have talked before, I had already begun making all of this years NEW tombstones by embedding PVC in the center of the stone, then we would just slip over rebar that we embed in the ground.  Totally stolen idea, but its my favorite stolen idea of all time.

Annabel Lee991 001














So I made about 20 new ones this year, all with that nifty system.  Then my problem was last years.  And of course, I put that off til September.  It really hurt my brain to think about digging a trench out of perfectly good tombstone backs, already painted, aged, etc, and then tracing out the shape of the stone onto a piece of foam, (some of them are pretty intricate cuts!) and doing another layer.  But that's what I did.

tombstone graphic

But don’t forget to sand all the edges of the new stone, add more filler of choice to hide the seams, and repaint the back.

Sounds like a pain, and I really thought it was.  But I got through them…. well, almost all of them.  I had to be out of town this weekend, and didnt get the last one done before I left.

Jayson called me this morning, and that ONE snapped in the wind last night.  Right off the base.  Hahahaha!!!

Now I don’t think its such a pain anymore.  I won’t ever, ever, ever complain about the time consuming nature of this process, ever again!  (PS.  I came home tonight, dropped my suitcase at the door, and ran to the garage…. the trench on that ONE has already been dug out, PVC glued in, and the back is glued on, seams are filled.  Paint tomorrow, and it’s back in business!  The complete Retrofit is complete!)

More on “filler of choice” for seams, and my new glue experiment later. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Big Setup Day of the Season!

We have finally started to setup the yard! It’s 1:00AM and I’ve just now walked back indoors. Still lots to do, but here are a few pictures of the progress so far:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not good at prop building and blog writing at the same time!

Wow, I just want to start by sending huge kudos to people like Frog Queen, Captain, Kimily, Grim, GhoulFriday, Dave, Mr. Macabre, Mr. Season of Shadows, and soooo many others, for keeping me entertained daily with such prolific instructional and entertaining blog posts AND being able to build props for haunts at the same time…. man, I’m just so impressed, especially because it is NOT something that I apparently have the ability to do!

Just a quick update – we started September by going to Orlando for a week and never got to leave the Mouse compound – I felt like I was in prison!  Next time I’m actually going to SEE Florida, and maybe work in a way to meet up with one of my haunt favorites, The Captain himself!

100_9430 Scenes like this were our reality for a week.  Exhausting.

Got back from Florida on Sunday, my dad had emergency surgery on Tuesday, then Jaybo and I came down with the flu on Wednesday.  And that is where we have been for almost a full week now.  Listless, unaware that October is tomorrow.

Enough of the boring stuff…

I have been working on retrofitting last years tombstones… if you are a regular here you might remember that the wind snapped all of my tombstones last year.

  Halloween thru Christmas 2008 301 A tombstone base, minus the stone.  Circa 2008.  Brilliant stuff, eh?

After that debacle I started embedding PVC in all of my stones, which will slip over rebar. 


As for last years, I had to trace each one onto another layer of foam, then dig out perfectly good painted foam (the back) to make a trench for the pvc to lie in, then glue the new smooth back onto, wood fill the seams, sand, and repaint.  I am still doing that… or will when I can sit for more than an hour without getting the shakes and sweating to death!



Speaking of wood filler – did you know that if you run out of wood filler while you are in your pajamas and running 102 fever, you can take wood glue and mix it with sand to make concrete style seam filler?  Works wonders, gives a neat texture, dries hard as a rock, and you don’t even have to go to the store, LMAO.  (Also gives a nice sturdy weight to the stones, which is always cool)


Have a ton of pumpkins (ok, 5) for Jaybo to build bodies for to make static monster guys, and then I think we will finally be in position to get everything in the yard.  

Oh, and finished my Big Lots angel.  I have this way of “ruining” anything store bought, LOL.


330 001 and after:

100_8721 100_8719

I’m even corrupting this cute little thing!


Hoping to get everything finished up this week (haha, I am barely making it just typing this) and get it out by Sunday… but then again, this might just be the year of the flu around our house.  So disappointing, but we will work with it!

Today's amateur papier mache tip: Armature…. get the building of the armature right from the beginning…. if the shape is wrong, you will only be making it worse with layers of mache.   (I am always of the mind that “I can just build it up with mache – and end up with STILL boxy shoulders, or a deformed face, etc.  Just build the armature right, use cardboard to build up features, and go from there!

More to come soon… hang in there everyone… this is the time of year we live for!!


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