Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Only 154 More To Go...

With the help of a friend that has far more knowledge and experience at molding and casting than I ever expect to have, I was able to complete the molds from Belinda's sculpts for our replacement finials. With only one mold for each of the two designs I have to cast them one at a time. Six down 154 more to go... think I will hate casting and painting resin when this is complete!

Used bronze powder to cold-cast the finials as a little memento.
The upper tier of the fence will have the twisted thorny barbs and the lower tier will have the demon gargoyle heads. The twisted barbs will be left flat black with a touch of rust like the rest of the fence. The gargoyle finials get just a touch of antique bronze paint to accent the details.

Gargoyle heads painted flat black and dry-brushed with antique bronze.
Pretty sure I didn't look this old when I started this project...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Old Friends

Time to say good-bye to some old friends we met in 2009. He was kind of a funny guy but not the handsomest friend we've ever had. She was definitely not pretty and had no sense of humor about her. She scared a lot of our youngest trick or treaters away at Halloween.

Looking all classy with his "Indiana Jones" fedora on
She hung 9 feet above our porch and kids still wouldn't come all the way to the porch

Yesterday we said, " Good Bye" and they went on Craigslist. Hopefully they will find new haunters that will appreciate them. They were our first more expensive props but we only used them in 2009 and I think we may have used her in 2010 and then they went into storage. Clean up time in our Halloween storage room and they're just taking up needed room.
Halloween 2009
Doesn't he look like he could be related to "Achmed the Dead Terrorist" (Jeff Dunham)?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blackjack Creature Company

We've been blessed to meet some legitimately nice people in the haunt industry since beginning Shingle Creek Manor . Such is the case with meeting co-owner and artist-sculptor Jason Thomas of Blackjack Creature Company this past week.

We had ordered an "Undead Hugger" from Blackjack Creature Company earlier in the year at the Spooky Mayhem Convention in Orlando. Being dabblers at making molds and more recently sculpting projects for Shingle Creek Manor, we were sort of hoping we'd get an impromptu tour of the Blackjack Creature Company studio to see how it's "suppose" to be done. Of course studios aren't generally setup for visitors so I wasn't too optimistic about our chances after placing our order.

Our first look at the "Undead Hugger" at the 2013 Halloween Extreme Convention
As luck would have it, we got the call this past week that our "hugger" was done and if we would like to drive over to their studio in Lakeland, Florida, Jason would give us  the grand tour! Score!

Blackjack Creature Company is owned by Jason Thomas and friend Andrew Logan.  Its located in a modest sized building of an industrial warehouse area. The studio was packed with plaster molds and latex masks at different levels of completion. There were several work areas specific to each stage of production at floor level, with a second floor loft where most of the business end of the things take place. As you would expect of a place where horror artists work, latex curiosities and masks decorate most of the walls and shelves in the business.

Artist-Sculptor Jason Thomas and Belinda with our new "Undead Hugger"
 Jason was an excellent host showing us each work area and explaining the work currently being done for a company to finish a very large quantity of zombie paintball masks that pretty well dominated most spaces in the studio. He even gave us a peek at a new mask being made from a "fantasy story - gone wrong" type concept that hasn't been announced yet. As this was a "peek behind the curtain", so to speak, I won't divulge what the new mask was, but it goes very well with their Jack'd Rabbit mask that they currently sell.

Freelance Artist Francesca Urgo doing some detail work
 I could have spent hours talking to this guy that's been in the business of sculpting and horror for a whole bunch of years. Jason has been sculpting since he was a youngster, after being awestruck by the character in the movie "E.T.". He also does work for Universal Studios and Halloween Horror Nights and we got to talk about some of the "Face Off" celebrities, his friends, that are doing work there this year. From the perspective of the average home haunter he's living the fantasy... but after seeing the studio I can tell you there is a whole bunch of work involved in that fantasy!

Zombie paintball masks in production
They have a great attitude about the importance of home haunters to their business. If  I had a drawn concept that I wanted to turn into a mask or prop, these would be the guys I would call. Blackjack Creature Company have a deal you would be insane to refuse. If you get the chance to see them at one of the conventions, make sure you stop by and say, "hi". You can contact Blackjack Creature Company on their Facebook page or their website.

Special thanks to Jason Thomas for the impromptu tour and spending time talking with us, and of course for the new addition to Shingle Creek Manor for Halloween! He's going to make an excellent prop for our photo op this year!

"I'm not driving that fast... close your mouth"

Friday, September 5, 2014

Spook-tacular Boo-tique

We took a trip today to a "Spirit Halloween Store" which was located in a mall about a half hour drive from home. I wish I could say I was excited by all the new Halloween decorations and props I saw, and that I took lots of photos to share. The truth is it was pretty anti-climactic. Seemed like the same old boring stuff to me. Nothing exciting to report, at least from my perspective.

So while trudging through the mall back to the parking lot, Belinda wanted to stop into the Bath & Body Works store, Not exactly a manly kind of place and certainly not on my list of seasonal Halloween stores but I went in to keep our Grandson out of mischief while she looked around.

Turns out Bath & Body Works had a whole line of Fall and Halloween products they call their "Spook-tacular Boo-tique."

Of course they had the expected body soaps and washes (yes we bought some Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin hand soap, I feel less manly just saying that), but they had a whole line of Fall and various pumpkin scented candles too. I liked most of the scents, all of which were different than what we get from Yankee Candle. The "Spiced Pumpkin Cider" and "Leaves" was probably my favorite.

Belinda bought one of those plug in fragrance dispensers in the shape of a pumpkin that lights up and several of the candle scents, "Leaves", "Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin" and "Pumpkin Cupcake". Our Grandson got a little pocket bottle of "Vampire Blood" hand sanitizer. They had a whole line of these little bottles of Halloween hand sanitizer for about a dollar each. Each one with a different scent and a character like an owl or a black cat.

Still not sure the Bath & Body Works is on my "A" list for stores to visit at Halloween but I can tell you that for me it rivals the "Spirit Halloween Store" this year.

We're working on our new fence finials, a new graveyard statue, and a couple other projects we hope to share in the next few weeks, but we're also still looking for new Halloween related products wherever we can find them!