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Detours off Britta Blvd

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Halloween progress...
parties
brittadotcom
Yes, I have been busily working on Halloween preparations...of course! Here is an update for anyone who is interested, but at least it makes me feel accomplished to write it all down... :)

Inside won't have many new decorations, but I did acquire a new gargoyle or two. The flagstone walls & black ceiling will go up, and all my "spooky elegant" decor with plenty of gargoyles and candles will all come out in a couple weeks...it's difficult to decorate inside before the walls & ceiling go up, you see! ;)

As for outside, last year's sad last-minute solution to hide the sliding glass door disappointed me greatly, but the gravestones took a higher priority. I had originally planned a better facade, but I ran out of time & ability to get supplies, so in the end I used some free cardboard sheets (thanks Dad as always!) and the tail end of the flagstone gossamer to make a cardboard box that sat around the sliding door. The cardboard arched door fell off the hinges halfway through the party as I expected...what do you expect when your hinges are only anchored into cardboard? *shrug*

This year since I have a 13-stone graveyard already, growing pumpkins & corn, I am concentrating on improving the spookiness of my patio, since it functions as the entrance to force my guests to walk past the graveyard in the side yard. Here is the progress:
  • cardboard & tissue paper stained glass to cover kitchen window from patio view - completely done and completely FREE! Leftover cardboard sheets, leftover black paint, leftover tissue paper from the Hunchback of Notre Dame promo when I last made cardboard/tissue stained glass - heh! Packrats unite! :)

    new entry facade:
  • new foam wall facade for the sliding door cut, engraved as stone blocks with artistic cracks, and basecoat painted gray! (thanks Melanie for the painting!)
  • arched door cut out of foam wall, fake wood paneling glued on, trimmed with jigsaw
  • wood bracing insets glued into middle of doorway sides and door
  • "plugs" cut out of top foam layer to hide the washers & bolts that will anchor the foam wall to the real wall
  • still to do: black spray paint & water aging technique, drill anchor bolts into real walls, stain/paint the door paneling since it is too pale for my taste, hinges & handle on door...

    After a year off for 2003 (no space since I had a real piano!) the trompe l'oeil paper pipe organ has been improved...I had plenty of foam sheets since I revised the door facade plan after buying the foam, so I decided to finally make a surround for the keyboard instead of the lame tablecloth solution. Not only did I really miss having the pipe organ up last year in the first place, but after seeing all those beautiful pipe organs this summer in the UK on tour, plus hearing some PLAYED so well, I decided the pipe organ must return and be improved. It will go in the dining area just as guests walk in, where the china hutch was last year instead.

    So, pipe organ progress:
  • foam surround for keyboard & stand cut out, notched to hold together, and painted black
  • paper cut into sections for depth, painstakingly white-glued to foam, foam trimmed around paper edges
  • foam edges of cut paper sections painted black
  • still to do: cover wire music stand that connects to keyboard, figure out how to prop up gargoyles at the top, blue chalk shading on everything to match the original drawing...

    Fair warning: spray adhesive does not work with this foam...even just the tiniest bit of the aerosol starts eating the foam away just barely, plus the paper does not stay stuck, so I have reglued the paper with a toothpick and Alene's Super Tacky white glue. Also the black oil paint I got on special several years ago alters the foam surface by sinking in, which didn't seem to happen last year on the Tom Riddle gravestone, but I would not recommend oil-based paint on the pellet-based foam sheets...at least I'm finished with the nasty paint thinner and I'll call the effect some extra "aging"... ;)

    Since I really like my gravestones from last year, I am using all 13 of them again, but since everyone saw them already, that won't be the quiz this year. (Don't worry - there is a new quiz that is already done!) I have been struggling which new gravestones to make, since all the original 13 are characters, so I thought it might be odd to have "punny" names mixed in. So last week I finally decided to use some other characters that I removed from consideration last year due to the fact they were WAY too easy to guess quiz-wise. So I don't kill myself since there is already plenty of prep to do, plus my corn and pumpkins are taking up graveyard space anyway, I am limiting myself to only 6 new gravestones plus a stone coffin, but one is a doozy...it'll be spectacular if it comes out anything like what's in my head...no pix yet, but all 6 and the coffin are inspired by ones I photographed this summer, of course... ;)

    Last night I finally started construction on my own costume, which will be Jessica Rabbit with my friend Ben as Roger, and I am making both costumes for us. I did have alternate plans in mind for the dress, since she is a cartoon, and NO physical human can really hold on a dress like that naturally. The feat of engineering I had planned was some molded bra cups with steel boning to make a modified corset for the front, but since I knew it would only have the circumference force around the waist, not up the back like a real corset, I knew it was chancy that it wouldn't just fall off the front! ;) Well, it stays up well enough, but not as enough support to be flattering in the chest area...exactly what I feared since the issue is that it has no lateral support up by the chest. So, plan B is using a low-back strapless bra I had in my drawer as the foundation like I did with the Cyndi Lauper dress, since even though it doesn't go as low in the back as I'd prefer, it still should look enough like Jessica's dress. All that took until 1am, so tonight I will continue with adding liner pieces to the bra to create the dress shape first, since the perfect outer fabric I found is sheer & sparkly, so the white bra would too easily show through, let alone the sheer sparkly stuff is too flowy to hold its own shape.

    Of course, I have kept editing the tour video for an hour or two most nights as well, making it almost all the way through my first round of editing for content (cutting more than half of the time out of my original imported clips!), but I think I'm going to have to take a break until after Halloween. It is no longer a race to release the DVD, since I decided people will want a break before they want to reminisce anyway...so I will make the DVD the quality product _I_ want it to be vs. rushing...

    Whew! I feel better now...I always think I should be getting more done, but I guess this is a lot...still plenty more to do! :)

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