Monday, September 28, 2009

Me thinks the neighbors are dialing 911.....

Just starting our newest Halloween project! Here is the first part of it; drying after a fresh coat of paint. My poor husband reported that as people from our neighborhood would pass by (out for their evening walk), they would give him a "funny" look when they noticed he was painting mannequin parts in our garage.  Hey, if not painting body parts in your garage...what's a guy to do on a Saturday night?! ;-)  

I am really excited about this project & think it will be look great when completed. 

Click on images to enlarge

Stop back to check on our progress! 

Blessings, Tracy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Question about Mr. Bones...

Patty emailed me, with a few questions about our handsome Mr. Bones...

If you haven't already read the "Introducing Mr. Bones" post, see below.

 She was wondering about the rebar and his spine support in general and asking if I had any close up pictures of the rebar that holds him on his bike.  She also asks for close up shots of how his feet and hands are attached.  

First off, Mr. Bone's spine is very strong and sturdy.  Yep, he's a milk drinker! ;-) In other words, it wouldn't just flop around without the rebar support.  The spine bones are all fused together with (I'm assuming) some kind of rod inside.  If you look at the picture, in the "Creepy Hanging Spider" post, of the skeleton on my front porch (Mr. Bone's, yet to be named, partner in crime), he is pretty much sitting up straight on his own.  His arms are supporting his torso.

After chasing him around in our basement, I was finally able to snap a few pictures of our elusive Mr. Bones -

Here you can see the rebar, through his rib cage, mimicking his spine. 

Here is a side view of a section of his spine, with zip ties.

Here is a view of the bike seat, from front to back.

Here a second shot of the bike seat, from back to front.

Here is a (poor) shot of the underside of the bike seat, from the rear, with the rebar poking through.

Here's a picture of his hand. His thumb, of course, is wrapped around the other side of the handle. You can barely see a small black zip tie, in between his middle and ring finger, securing his hand to the handle.
Oops, it looks like I need to straighten the tip of his index finger.

Here's a picture of one of his feet. You can see a larger white zip tie, on the outside of his foot, securing his foot to the pedal.

In the pictures above, the rebar and zip ties look really visible, but they do blend in when you see him in person.

Hope these pictures help. Good luck with your Halloween decor Patty!

P.S. If you would like to read about Mr. Bones' Great, Great Grandfather, see this post.

Blessings, Tracy

Fading Window Ghost Silhouettes

Here's our simple ghost silhouette idea.

**Update - You can see a short video of our ghost fading in and out in this post.  The video seems temperamental, some times it appears & other times it is MIA.  Try again later if you don't see it.

Sorry, this (blurry) picture is the only I could find of our house with silhouettes.
You can see the ghosts in 3 of our windows.

Close up photo of one of the ghost (& our witch).
Here's a simple how to -
  1. For our original ghost silhouettes, we cut heavy duty poster board to the size of 3 of our windows.
  2. We came up with a simple ghost design &  decided where on the window we wanted to position our ghost heads. This was important for us, since our window is broken into 4 sections by cross bars. Once the position was decided, we cut the outline of the ghost's head in each piece of poster board. Two of our ghost are facing or leaning one direction & the third the other direction. This adds some interest & keeps them from all looking exactly the same.
  3. We then cut cheap white fabric a little larger than each of our cut out ghost heads & glued them securely (if I remember correctly we used a glue gun), making sure the fabric was taut as you glue it down.
  4. I then painted the "C" shaped (or reversed "C" shaped) eyes on each ghost face with dark gray paint. This would be painted on the finished side of the silhouettes. Keep in mind if you have crossbars in your window, as we do, and take this into account when deciding on placement of the eyes.  *Tip - I can't remember exactly where (possibly Martha Stewart?), but I'm pretty sure I read that you should always use dark gray paint for silhouettes, since black paint is too dark. As you can see in our pictures, the dark gray appears black anyways.
  5. We taped the silhouette into our windows, making sure there was no light seeping around the edges.
  6. We used a work light to illuminate each ghost, making sure it was just "aimed" at the silhouette and not directly behind the silhouette. If it is placed behind the silhouette, you will be able to see the light bulb through the fabric & it will distract from your image.
  7. To add to the effect, we used a light faders that we purchased in the Halloween section of our local Menards. You plug your light into the fader & then plug the fader into the wall (or timer). These devices will cause the light to gradually fade in and out & has a speed setting so you can adjust the fading slower or faster. We also have everything on a timer so it all lights automatically at a set time.  It really looks cool with each ghost fading in and out at different times.  Our witch is not on a fader, so it stays lit continuously.
Ghost Fade Adapter

About a year ago, we updated ours ghost because the poster board of our originals was fading with age. Since we use them every year, we made them out of wood instead of poster board, so they would be sturdier.
  1. We just took two very thin piece of wood and sandwiched them together to cut our shape out.
  2. Painted the sides that would be visible with dark gray paint.
  3. Stapled the fabric taut on the unpainted side of our cut out silhouette.
  4. Glued the unpainted sides of the 2 thin pieces of wood together (sandwiching the fabric between), and painted the eyes on the each ghost. Our new ghost look finished on both the inside and outside.

One of our updated ghost.

Regarding the witch - The sky around the moon & the witch was originally painted on a large piece of fabric & hung in our front window on a long piece of trim (like a curtain), but has since been upgraded to wood also.

The old one shown first & the updated one shown second.  The new one has a handle, that you may have noticed near the top.  We use this handle to hold on to this large (just shy of 5 feet across) silhouette, since we have to climb a ladder to install it. 

    Blessings, Tracy

Herman Munster

As I have said before, we have little children in our neighborhood, so we try to have a spooky....but tame Halloween theme.  Our Herman Munster picture is a fun and easy project that people get a kick out of.

I noticed in this picture, that poor Herman's spiders & webs need some serious readjusting.
Here's our quick how to -
  1. I ordered a Herman Munster poster from somewhere like or a similar site. I think it was $4 dollars at the time.
  2. We found a few 1x4 rough cedar planks in a home building site dumpster, near our home. We were lucky to find 4 pieces that were long enough to make the sides of our frame.
  3. We cut the planks to make a rough frame (no mitered corners), attaching the pieces with glue and back brackets.
  4. The year we were made this, we were way behind with our Halloween decorating, so we attached the poster to a piece of cardboard & (because of time crunch) we actually just duct taped the picture into the frame. We meant to go back & redo it, although I'm embarrassed to is still duct taped to this day. :-O
  5. We put two screws in the back of the frame & added picture wire for hanging.
  6. We draped the frame with some fake spider webs & a few plastic spiders.
  7. Since we don't want extra holes in our walls, we hang it every year with a 3M Command Removable Hook. These work like a dream!
The sad thing is that pretty much none of the kids (& I think one or two of their very young parents) even know who Herman Munster is!!   It is a sad world we are living in when Herman Munster has been all but forgotten.... ;-)

Blessings, Tracy

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creepy Hanging Spiders

Are you lucky enough to have a front porch? Yeah…we are!

Do you have vinyl siding, including a vinyl corrugated soffit? Ugh…unfortunately we do!
BUT, it just so happens that this type of soffit comes in handy for one of our Halloween decorating ideas. I made creepy spiders that hang from our soffits.
In these pictue you can see a few of our spiders hanging from our soffits.

**Update - You can see a short video of these guys swaying on our porch in this post.  The video seems temperamental, some times it appears & other times it is MIA.  Try again later if you don't see it.

These spiders were made in a variety of styles and sizes. They don’t have to be perfect, ours are rough. They move (spin & sway) so much that you rarely get a close look at them, so don't worry.

For storing purposes, I wrap the fishing line around the bodies & fasten the earring wire to a leg (as you can faintly see in this picture). This prevents them from getting tangled while they are stored. These were just pulled out of their storage bag (for this picture) they are looking a little smooshed.

Here's a brief how to -
  1. For the spider’s bodies, we either wrapped and sewed black shiny fabric around Styrofoam balls or used different sizes of black fuzzy pom poms.
  2. For the spider’s legs, we just sewed/secured different sizes and widths of pipe cleaners on the bottom of the body section and bent them to look like spider’s legs.
  3. We then added a length of fishing line to each spider, by looping and knotting the line through the top or back of each spider’s body. By attaching the fishing line in different spots on your spiders, some will hang a little askew. We also used several different lengths of line, so the spiders would vary in heights.  I think both of these add interest.
  4. We used a pierced earring wires & knotted the top of the fishing line to the notched area of the earring wire. Your spiders are done.
To hang –
  1. Open each wire earring clasp and gently feed the straight end of it through one of the corrugated loops of the soffit. Our loops are tiny, so there are times I have to pull my little bag of patience out while I'm attaching these buggers. You may also run into one or two of these loops that does not go all the way through, just move on to a different loop. Once the wire has poked through, close the wire clasp and let the spider hang. The pierced earring wires are so fine that you don't even notice them. 
  2. Adjust any spider legs that may have been smooshed while in storage.
  3. Depending on the lengths of the hanging spiders, make sure you don’t hang them too close together, since they will get tangled when the wind blow them around.

Close up of our soffit.

Blessings, Tracy

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Halloween Witch's Broom

We made this Witch's Broom many years ago. It is a really easy project and we love how it adds to the "Halloween vibe" of our front porch .

In this picture, the straw area of the broom photographed darker than it is.
See additional pictures below.
Here's a brief how to -
  1. Find (or buy) an "old style" straw broom. Sand handle to remove clear varnish.
  2. We taped off the metal collar between handle and straw section of our broom. We thought this collar was interesting, so we decided to leave it unpainted.
  3. Spray paint the broom handle black. Wait for it to dry completely.
  4. Use painter's tape to mask off your broom's handle with whatever pattern you like; we went with a wide swirl pattern. Before spraying, make sure the front edges of your tape are sealed, to prevent paint leakage. Also, remember to cover the collar and straw sections of your broom, to protect from any orange over spray. Spray handle with orange paint. Remove tape and let dry completely.
  5. Once dry, mask off handle and collar of your broom to protect from over spray. Paint straw section of broom with black spray paint.
  6. While paint is still wet, sprinkle glitter on the straw portion until you feel it looks right. We used mainly gold glitter & complimented it with a light coating of silver and iridescent glitters. I highly recommend adding the iridescent glitter, since it gives the broom a "magical" glimmer in different lights and at different angles (note the purple shimmers in the picture below). Let dry completely.
  7. To finish, I added two plastic spiders to the handle with a small dab of tacky poster putty.

Here it is on our front porch!
Again, dark in the photograph.
This broom is really quite beautiful in person. The kids go crazy over it, being that it reminds them of "Harry Potter". This was not our intention when we made it, but it is nice to see that kids still beieve in "magic"!

Blessings, Tracy

I am linking this post to the DIY Show and Tell Halloween Surprise Party.

The DIY Show Off

Friday, September 4, 2009

Introducing....Mr. Bones!!!

We love Halloween here at our home! We have tons of small children in our neighborhood, which makes it so much fun. If you are looking for some "spooky" decorating ideas (not "frightening"...again, we have young children around), I think we have a few. Over the next few weeks, I will try to post some of our Halloween creations. I can also include brief explanations of how we made each item.

Here is one of our most popular outdoor items, Mr. Bones!
Sorry about the lame watermark. Trying to avoid any copycat image thievery. ;-)

I got this "Skeleton Riding a Bike" idea from the movie Stepmom. If you look closely, you will briefly see a skeleton on a bike (prop) during the Treat or Treating scene. If I say so myself, ours is much cooler! We purchased the bike and basket at Goodwill. The bike, flat tires and all, was $5 and the basket was $1. The flowers were purchase from a clearance bin at my local craft store. The skeleton is from the rejects bin at Bucky's Boneyard. I bought two of them many years ago and can't honestly remember how much they cost, but I know they were at least $80 each. These are real teaching grade skeletons, but bargain priced because of a coloring or a quality issue, etc. The neighborhood kids LOVE him and they were the ones that affectionately named him "Mr. Bones". This project is not as complicated as you may think. It is assembled with rebar, white paint & zip ties.
Here is a brief how to -
  1. My sweet husband bent the top half of a piece of rebar to mimic the skeleton's spine, leaving the bottom section straight. The bent (spine) section was then painted white.
  2. He then drilled a hole in the bike seat & continued down, having to notch a bit of the bike seat bolt (that holds the seat) to clear a path for the rebar. Once that was done, he stuck the rebar down in the hollow bike frame (shaft) under the bike seat, leaving the painted/bent end sticking out.
  3. Have someone hold the skeleton in place on the seat & then, using large white zip ties, attach the spine in several spots to the painted section of rebar. Cut leftover zip tie tails off neatly.
  4. Zip tie the bone connectors, in between the feet and hand bones, to the bike pedals and handles. Do this using a complimentary color of zip tie.
  5. Zip tie the basket to the bike & add the flowers.
  6. A second piece of unpainted rebar is pounded into the ground, mimicking the angle of the bike frame.
  7. Set the bike next the the rebar & attach the frame, with large dark colored zip ties, securely to the rebar. Cut leftover zip tie tails off neatly. The weight of the bike will make it gently sway from side to side (slightly) when the wind blows. It really looks cool.
  8. Sit back and wait for your elementary school bus to drive by.   ;-) We get a kick out of watching the bus drive by everyday with all of those little faces pressed up against the glass in "awe".
  9. Also, if you would like more info on how this is assembled, check out this post where I answered additional questions regarding Mr. Bones.
Blessings, Tracy
P.S. - We are lucky enough to live in a very safe family oriented area. Nobody has bothered "Mr. Bones" in the 5 plus years he has been riding around our front garden. Plus, if needed, it is easy enough to bring him in every night. 

I am linking this post to the DIY Show and Tell Halloween Surprise Party.

The DIY Show Off