Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black Friday

Ever have one of those moments when you are at Home Depot buying Christmas gifts for others, and while waiting to check out you look down into your buggy and realize that 80% of what you are about to buy is killer deals on materials for the 2012 haunt?

Yeah, me too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nickols Manor 2011 - Continued

And we're back!
Ooooohh! Take a look at this gorgeous stone! All hand wrought by the lovely Dixie herself in tribute to Uruk-Hai's inspirational stones! She's a looker!

Well, lookie here! Buffy's done lost her head in the Candy Cauldron. That Slayer sure does love her some candy!

Well...here's Karl again. I believe Henry must have tuckered him out. Seems he's trying to slip away for a bit.

Uhoh! That pretty lady with the angry scowl and lovely blonde hair is Matilda. Karls wife. He's so busted. Man, she's pissed!

Hey! It's Karl and Matilda's daughter Petunia and her Aunt Lily! Oooooooooo Karl was supposed to take her Trick or Treating. No wonder Matilda's pissed!

 
Now Matilda's got Cousin Earl and his friend Bob looking for Karl. (Bob's the reeeaaal skinny fella on the stick. Don't mention the stick, he's sensitive.)

Poor Karl. You would think after 300 years he would know better, but truth be told he didn't have much in his head even when he was alive. Dumb as a rock became actual real rocks in the head. He never had a chance.

Here comes the local graveyard patrol. It's Jack Reaper, the local Underworld official. Rumor has it that he and his brothers starred in some big Hollywood todo about some silly ring or ankle bracelet a while back. I think it had some smelly little short Halflings with hairy feet in it. Why anyone would watch drivel like that I don't know. He don't talk much, and we don't ask.

Like I said, he don't talk much. When you are over 10ft tall, and reap souls you don't have to talk. Plus, no one want's to ask him any questions. He gives me the heebie jeebies!

Well, it's getting late and I gotta get going. It was real nice visiting with you folks. Don't be a stranger. I'm Jaybo for Nickols Manor, and we'll leave the Haunt on for you.

Oh, I almost forgot! If any of you nice folks want to see a little bit more, just start up the slideshow below or go to the album here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nickols Manor 2011–Poltergeist

 

We decided to go with a ghostly theme this year, so first up is the star from the Poltergeist movies - Reverend Henry Kane , aka The Beast.

Say hello to the nice folks Henry. The Reverend here is a svelte 15 feet tall, the leader of a Utopian cult, and loves kids. Easy ladies, there is plenty of him to go around!

This one is a good shot of one of Dixie's new stones, plus Henry is still trying to smack the TOTs. Oops...I mean ea..whoa..uh...greet the lovely children?

Here is the view the TOTs have while walking up our sidewalk. Henry really likes TOTS! (usuallywithlotsofcheese)

Here we have a picture of Henry's wingman Karl. These two just love raising cane. Did you see what I did there? I crack me up!

Stay tuned folks! The party just getting started. We'll be back in another post soon!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sharing Halloween with the World


'via Blog this'
Truck Pop-up Vid video by indianaholmes - Photobucket


Ok, this just cracks me up! Now I HAVE to build on of these for my truck!

Hmmm....maybe switch out the character to reflect each holiday?

Nothing like an Easter Bunny lunging at unsuspecting motorist on Good Friday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cool Makeup Tip...

First, let me clarify this is Dawn talking, so that no one will accuse Jayson of embedding make up videos.  Then let me say that, as someone who spray painted her body Krylon white last October 31st, so that I wouldn't have to worry about makeup rubbing off my bare shoulders, the following technique doesn't bother me in the least.

It uses fabric paint on the body as a relief stencil, and I think its a BRILLIANT idea.  I am already cooking up interesting wounds or swirls, or... or... or.... just let your imagination run wild.

 

And yes, I will still be Krylon-ing myself again this Halloween.  It  worked like a charm, my skin stayed perfectly clown white all night, with no irritation, and.... well, I already took the next day off work, just for scrubbing.  :D

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dreaming of October

Is it because I want it to be Halloween? (For obvious reasons)

Is it because I want it to NOT read 111 degrees in my car?  (Like it does right now)

Is it because The Walking Dead Season 2 finally begins on October 16?  (Damn that new 4 minute preview for ComicCon, making me drool)

Yeah.... all those.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Annie Stone - WIP

Not many words today, just pictures. (Click to enlarge) The stone I have been working on for roughly 2 weeks (on and off).  Starting with the inspiration shot:

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Enlarged this picture onto twenty 8 1/2 x 11" sheets of paper via Blockposters.com.  (It's free)

That's a yard stick leaning on it above.

A grave that I have been to many times, I felt it proper that her true name finally be "carved in stone", not just the Diamond Bessie name she was known as.  Her story can be found here.

I plan on the stone standing about 5.5 to 6 feet tall - it is about 4' now without a base.  I will update with pictures as I obsess progress.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Amazing Day for Jaybo and I...

No pictures here guys, but I promise, the story is worth it.  I'm kinda gushing a little, but it's truly warranted.

As most of you know, Jaybo and I are home haunters.  We put on a show in our yard - a mainly static display that is up for the month of October.   Then on the 31st, we dress up and scare a bunch of kids.  That's our hobby, and with the exception of our kids - our whole world.

On Thursday night, one of our online hero's in the haunt community, Allen Hopps of Stiltbeaststudios.com contacted us and invited us to a workshop that he was putting on yesterday.  That gave us Friday to prepare.  I quickly cleared our schedule, and made plans to bask in his knowledge.  (If you are on some of the forums, you may already know him - if not, check out his webpage, or his Youtube.)

So, yesterday morning, we get to the gathering place at 11am, for a jam packed schedule of events that would go on until 7pm that night.  The schedule looked like a College course guide, only instead of Government and Literature, it was Corpsing, Audio, Molds, etc.  The two of us were so excited we couldn't stop smiling.

We pull into the parking lot, and start seeing vehicles with the names of haunts on them.  Only instead of yard haunts, they were all Haunted Houses.  Very BIG haunted houses in the DFW metroplex, and beyond.

My mouth hung open like a little girl.  I had to stop myself from taking pictures like a tourist.

We walk in to a small room, and there they all were, the big dogs.  I suddenly felt like a tiny puppy.  LOL!  Most of them all knew each other, because this was not their first workshop by any means, they do this twice a year - come together to share ideas, tips, how to's, etc.  Oh my stars, I have died and gone to heaven.

But there were a few newbies to the group, so they did the standard, round the room introduction.  Haunted house after haunted house stood up, named their business, the members of their team that were with them, etc.  I'm not hearing any home haunters.  No one is not with a HOUSE.  I'm starting to panic - how do I stand up to THESE guys?!?

We were last, and by the time they said our names, I was intimidated SPEECHLESS.  Yeah, most of you wouldn't have recognized me, haha.  Luckily Jaybo still had the ability to form coherent words.  (err, I don't think he was as intimidated as I was, hehe)

But I cannot emphasize enough - after 8 hours of hands on demos, a structured class schedule, an evacuation by the fire department after the most amazing fog chiller I have ever seen, and a lot of laughs later - I felt like these guys were friends of mine. 

Never ever have I been more stupefied by the class, the generosity, and the fellowship of haunters.  I just never knew that the Pro Haunters (aka The big boys) were just like us home haunters in that respect.  I understand that it might not be that way in every market - but I can testify that it certainly is that way in Dallas.

Allen, you and your wife Shannon just blew me away with your kindness and hospitality.  Jaybo and I were so honored to get to visit with your group, learn from such talented individuals, and make such wonderful friends.

God bless the haunting community.  We are truly honored to be a part of it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Like A Grown Up Lab Partner

Only better.  There is nothing better than prop building with your best friend.

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We have these huge metal work benches, and set them up facing each other.  So while I am busy carving tiny intricate details on a tombstone, he is usually doing who knows what. 

But he almost always has that smile on his face, and I'm just grateful to share this awesome hobby with him.  Even when we butt heads and argue, its still the greatest time in my life.

Thanks Jaybo, you make this whole thing so worth it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

2011: Dixie's Year of the Tombstone

So last year I watched so many people cranking out some amazing tombstones.  2010 was the year of the "Structure" so I called it, adding 4 new columns, about a million more miles of fencing, etc.  I only got to make ONE all year!!

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So last year, I watched and watched, all these kickass tombstones showing up on the forums one by one. 

Here are some of the ones from last year that I drooled over, that have now become my inspiration for this year:

darklore My Make N Take buddy, Dark Lore had some awesome carving on this one.  I personally think that thing in the center at the top is the Tudor Rose.

Haunt Forum's SKAustin, this one just made my fingers itch to grab the Xacto blade!  tombstone3 

Kevin242 (aka Brewster Yard Haunt) has several from last year that I really liked, no surprise there, though.  Brewster Yard Haunt is probably the one haunt that truly got the obsession pumping in my veins.  I think his was the first one that I found years ago, then Davis, and between the two, I was sunk ;)71846_1587733820524_1451162590_1508876_1041057_n

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There is a lot of inspiration in this ONE thread from Halloween Forum, a place for everyone to show off their stones.

Fellow Texan StevesHauntedYard always has something interesting going on in the tombstone department...  user2367_pic8115_1280979190 

Terra is an amazing tombstone artist, and has tons of stuff to see.  This is one of my all time favorites of hers:  (and yes, that's a Barbie doll.  genius!)

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And no picture gallery from 2010 would be complete without the HP Lovecraft stone from Urak-Hai, aka HectorTurner.com.  I would have to say he is one of my topmost tombstone makers.  I absolutely love his pieces.user714_pic7279_1272631294Cheerios, I'm tellin ya.  He NEVER fails to amaze me.   Here's another favorite, look at his take on this one...celtic-11

Then there was Spooky Sam's popular weathering technique... My friend, JohnnyAppleseed kicked out some really good stones last year, THEN RoxyBlue did a post about her trip to Gettysburg along with amazing pictures, then after finding out what a huge Civil War buff I am, sent me a CD in the mail with ALL of the pictures! (Thank you again Roxy and Spooky1, that was the thrill of my YEAR!), and last but certainly not least, Davis Graveyard.  When you actually asked to teach your own class on Making Tombstones at Hauntcon, I don't think you need much else by way of introduction.

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But in case you missed some of the vacation/UK graveyard pictures, start here, and just spend all day perusing.  Go to here to see the Davis stones.

A lot of inspiration.  I have been chomping at the bit for over one year now.  So, let the pink snowstorm begin, this will be my year of the tombstone!

While Searching for Tombstone Inspiration...

Normally I go to my huge folder of stolen internet pictures of tombstones.... I have them categorized by shape size, there's a special folder just for interesting textures and weathering differences.  Some are from forums, some are from blog posts, some are from all of Chris Davis' holidays to the most exciting hauntish type places I could imagine....  but no matter how big the folder is, sometimes I need new meat to chew on.

I have tried every Google Image search term I can think of to get new and interesting results.  Old tombstone, crumbling gravestone, churchyard markers, old obelisks, tombstone carvings, etc.

But today I came across something I had not seen before, and after a good chuckle, knew I had to share it.

tombstones

From the Sears and Roebuck catalog - I don't see a date.  But after about 5 minutes of squinting to read all that I could - I can tell ya that at $46.78 for the large column style up there, I would say that back then, they could build them out of "The World's Best Royal Blue Vermont Marble" for only slightly more than I can build them out of "Home Depot's Best Pinkish/Purple Foam" now-a-days.

Love it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Skeleton Study

Just came across something from Google that I am no doubt in love with...

It's kind of like Google Maps, only instead of interactively moving around city streets, It's called Google Body and you are interactively looking at bones.

Google Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click on the picture to go to Google Body, play with the sliders and have a blast.  This will come in handy when making bones, yanno?!

Sorry, I just realized I posted boy bits up there.  Interestingly enough, Google chose to put little daisies over the girl bits, but not the boys.  Hmm.  I don't know what I think that means!

Happy Building, folks!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baker Hotel–The heart of a town

 

Jason Grant Photography

Image source: Jason Grant Photography

See that gorgeous building up there? That’s the Baker Hotel. The heart of my small hometown, Mineral Wells, Texas. It no longer beats. It was built in the 20’s and has sat vacant since the 60’s. You see my town used to be a thriving resort town. People from all over the country would come to drink the miraculous healing mineral waters. They called it Crazy Water, because it could heal the insane. The story goes that a female member of one our founding families was cured of insanity when she drank the water. Curious enough, years later they actually found lithium in the water.  A compound used to treat the mentally ill.

Image source: Jason Grant Photography <--------(Cool slide show with more photos)

That huge monolith of a building sits right in the middle of the small town. To say it’s an odd site is an understatement. The town only has a population of about 16,000. The entire county only has a population of about 30,000.  So, it has a tendency to stop people in their tracks when they drive through our small town. Everyone wants to know how this huge ornate building came to exist out here in the middle of nowhere.

Middle of nowhere. Nowhere. That’s where I’m from.

*SIGH*

That’s the problem. When the Baker Hotel died, my town slowly started dying. Our heart quit beating. People left and didn’t come back. Other people forgot who we were. Then they opened up the new Interstate 20 Highway, which bypassed our town. Now people even forgot where we were.

Middle of nowhere.

Why am I telling you guys about this? How is this Halloween or Haunt related? Well, it’s a nice story for any haunt and it has a lot of inspiring haunt related scenery. Call it inspiration if you want. Anyone ever rode the Tower of Terror at Disney? Well, you are looking at a real life version. Supposedly, the place is haunted now. Really, the place just means a lot to me and I want to spread the word.

Good news! There may be hope for the Baker. A group of investors wants to restore the hotel. I’m not jumping up and down about the news yet, because our town has been burned in the past. So, I am cautiously optimistic and will be watching closely.  A high school classmate is producing a film exploring “ the unique history & characters of Mineral Wells while also focusing on The Baker Hotel’s rise, demise, and much-anticipated present-day restoration.”

Take a look at the preview of the film below:

Do you hear that?

I swear I heard the faint sound of a heartbeat.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Haunter Awards: The After Party!

Hi all, Dawn here.  (I have to make that VERY clear, due to the nature of the next sentence)  Just getting home from the fabulous after parties, removing my diamond earrings, stiletto heels and furs.... downing the last of the champagne and.... oh wait.  That's one of those HOLLYWOOD after-the-award-show party nights.  This was an awards show given on the internet, and attended by Jayson and myself, sitting on the couch barefoot, and the after party was washing the dinner dishes.

What awards show, you ask?  Noooo, you didnt really ask that, because you, my friend, already know.  You read the forums, follow the blogs, especially the blogs by these fine folks

dg

and of course,

BSB Sub 

So, if you have been following them, you knew that tonight was the big night.  (Click the link below if you have not gotten your copy of the Home Haunter DVD Collection yet, they are back in stock.... for NOW, anyways!)

logo

And let me just say.  Zach and Jeromy did a kickass job on this award show/vlog/thing.  It was thoroughly awesome to watch!BSB What a killer way to announce the winners.  Absolute anticipation. I loved it!!  I think it should be the mandatory style of announcing the winners from now on.  (Of course, I didnt have to put in the labor to produce the video, I just watched it, haha)

OH.  And they had an amazing cast as well!  I would definitely say there is some star potential here.........

audience

 zombie

There's a green arrow pointing to the fabulous Envelope Presenter Zombie just because she was so darn awesome.  They even had Chris Baker doing the intro voice over.  Star studded, I tell ya.

If you haven't seen the video yet, you must not be home.  If for some reason you ARE home and still missed it, click on any of the screen shots above and go straight to the Bloodshed Brothers youtube.  Make sure you are wearing your diamonds. 

As for the judges - thank you.  All of us thank you for your consideration, and the time involved in such hard decisions. 

And Chris and Jeff, Mr. and Mrs. Davis, I have gushed all over both of you in the last few weeks, but it's just very touching to me, everything that you both do for the community.  Your constant encouragement to so many of us, help, generosity - the time it took to do all this, and the program that you are doing to help get these DVDs into the hands of haunters that would otherwise miss them.... it just amazes me, and I am very appreciative, and glad to call you friends.

Last but certainly not least - to the winners.  So well deserved.  I would have hated to be a judge, because my number of FAVORITES well outweighed the number of awards.  There is a lot of talent out there in our little haunting community, a lot.   Congratulations to all of the winners, your work has really paid off!  Several of the winners are folks that I talk to regularly online, and are really good people, I could not be more pleased with the results.  Well done!

Congrats

I swear, this night was ALMOST as exciting as 10-31 for me - I'm still on that high from watching it 2 or 3 times.  Now I'm going to go try and wrangle the DVD set from Jayson and start over again with Disc 1, and go from there!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Do You Like Halloween?

How about the Halloween community?  Do you like to look at the pictures of those in the Halloween community and find inspiration and cool ideas for upcoming October holidays?

Do you like to support that Halloween community that has given back to you so many times?

homehaunterlogo

If so - consider purchasing 10 sets of the new 2010 Haunters DVD Collection.  (Ok, not 10.  Just one will do, LOL!)  Jeff and Chris Davis have taken over the project and have this years DVD ready to go.  They had 65 different haunts submit their videos and have compiled them on 5 DVDs.

Price for all this inspiration?  $25 OR, if you submitted a video it is $18.75.    There is a $3.50 shipping and handling charge through the PayPal payment process to cover shipping and PayPal fees.

If you truly never have heard of the Haunters Awards/Video project, please go here and read about it -

Jeff and Chris are not doing this to make money - not by any means.  They are continuing a tradition that had lost its organizer, and they didn't want to see it go away.  They are tops on my list of Greats for their involvement in the community, their charity contributions to their haunt, for their knowledge and skill, and Chris is just such an all around cheerleader - if you open any random post on her blog roll friends list - I am SURE you will find a comment by Chris, giving kudos or thanking the poster for a good laugh.

Now its our turn to give back to them - make sure that they break even on this project - don't let them incur alot of expenses on top of the enormous amount of time they spent keeping this awesome project alive.

Besides, the Halloween goodness of all those Haunts... available at your fingertips anytime you want it?  Killer good stuff.

Go Buy Your Set NOW!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

So I Have This Idea...

Hi all - Dawn here.  (I thought I would specify that, so that when it shows up on Jaybo's Facebook account, his friends won't think he has lost his mind)

So this idea isn't about props, monsters, themes, or costumes... but about the Haunt as a whole.  This year for some reason, I have been obsessing over what the people on the sidewalk think when they look into our yard.

For the last few years, I have stood out on the other side of the fence, and listened to the kids, listened to the adults, trying to eavesdrop on what they like, what they notice, what scares them, and then I take note of what does NOT get noticed, etc.

We also pose with them as their parents take our pictures, I watch them take pictures of various props.  Which got me to thinking.  (That "thinking" usually gets the hubby running for the hills)

I want to see the haunt through their eyes - through their pictures. 

So, I want them to send me their pictures.  Not to get this great photography - but to see their vision - what they gawk at.  So I thought, I could pass out a business card to anyone I see taking a picture on Halloween night - something that says "send us a few of your favorite pictures" yanno, something snappy like that. (rolls eyes)

So then I thought....What if.......... what if I find a way to communicate to the people that visit our haunt.... a contest.  Something like..... If we pick your picture, we will email you, and you can pick any epitaph, and we will feature a gravestone of your choice next year.  Would people care?  Would all of that FIT on a business card?!?! 

I know some 10 year old kids that would think naming a gravestone would be super cool - but is that enough to make parents email their pictures to me?

Pfffft.  My head hurts.  I can overcomplicate ANYTHING!  So, does it sound like a stupid idea?  Useless?  No one would even send one picture?

Need input.  I think Jaybo is afraid of hurting my feelings, LOL.

UPDATE:  My best buddy Shellee-O came up with a really good suggestion, which proves why she was my best friend growing up - she puts up with my "train of thought" derailments as good as Jayson does.  She suggested putting a link to the Nickols Manor Facebook page on a business card, and put the details of the contest, and also allows people to upload their pics there as well.  Genius, I say.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Halloween Overload

Got a call to arms from Garage of Evil today – and when they send me mail, I read it quick like. There is a new site that has been created by GOE member Ron Hanak…. It is called Halloween Overload and after checking it out, I think it ROCKS, and wanted to spread the word to anyone else I can.

Header

As you can see from the little gravestones at the bottom of the graphic above, Halloween Overload is like a Craigslist for Haunters – classified ads for Halloween items only.

Buying and selling with people just like me?! Are you kidding?!? AWESOME!

So if you changed your theme last year and find yourself with an overdose of pirates and chests filled with gold – instead of trashing it (which I admit, we have done) or giving it to not-as-appreciative-as-they-should-be friends, then sell it on Halloween Overload to someone who is probably HUNTING for something just like that, and recoup a buck or two of your original cost!

I’m for anything that helps the Haunting community in general, and would feel so much better knowing that I was selling one of my beloved (but no longer used) props to a haunter.

I think its a fabulous idea. Right now, there are a lot of FOR SALE posts out of Cali, that are pick up only – no shipping…. but that’s where spreading the word comes in. The more people that know, the more people that register (for free) and list items (also for free) the more useable the site becomes.

And I for want want to buy something. and sell something. and trade something. So come on! Let’s inhabit this community, lol.

Halloween Overload.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Halloween Christmas Loot

First let me say – Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!  I guess it has been a long time since I posted, LOL.

We got some Halloween loot for Christmas, and it came in the form of building supplies.  My number one favorite thing to get a Christmas – and this year was the best yet.  Bless my family for understanding mine and Jayson’s disfunction… err…. HOBBY.

It all started with this box that my Mom and I had been collecting stuff for Jayson for months

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Great stuff, extension cords, chip brushes, Gorilla tape, glues of every kind, cotton balls, and then everything we could get our hands from about 5 different Spirit stores after Halloween sales – A fogger, 2 more flame pots, masks, wigs, skeleton bags, etc.  This was as much fun collect stuff to buy as it was to watch him open it!

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I’m not sure what Jayson is going to be wrapping this tripod around in order to take pictures of the haunt with, but far be it from me to question our photographer!

Christmas morning continued with goodies for me…

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My brand new Dremel Trio, (woohoo, a new toy!) and an electric nail gun…

Speaking of Nails, Mom got me something Girlie AND Ghoulish

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Clamps and Sharpies, Xacto Blades and Gloves, painters tape and an apron, oh my!

And just when we thought that we had scored enough to build and army of props, his Mom surprised us one last time

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Wood skewers and mixing spoons, washclothes and duct tape, and what might be the cutest things of all….

 IMG_0985 You pull the string on their heads and their eyes light up and their jaws look like they are chomping on brains or something.  I named mine Achmed, after the dead terrorist, I forgot what Jayson named his, LOL.

So, I think we only have to buy a gallon or two of Oops paint, and we are fully stocked for the 2011 build season.

Now, if only we had our ideas coordinated as well as our parents had our gifts coordinated, we would be on top of it this January!

ON TO THE BUILD, I say!       

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