Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Halloweenie one of sorts

Since I was old enough to comprehend the fact that if I wore a costume and walked up to someones house "THEY WOULD GIVE ME CANDY and... I can DRESS UP??!??!?"
I'm a Halloweenie!
About 8 years ago I started setting up the front yard display , much like those freaks who put out xmas crap the day after Thanksgiving.
Last year I started making some of the props and decorations.
I used to just buy a lot of it after Halloween on clearance, no use in paying full price (Unless you really want it and or think its going to sell out fast-rarely does this occur).
Actually my birthday is the week before Halloween so my mom would give me all my presents (yard decorations and such) the week after.
So this leads me to the reason for this blog, If you can see it, Try to make it. There are SOOOooo many online resources for making pretty elaborate Halloween yard decorations, animatronic's and even full blown light displays. I'm about 6.5 on a scale of 1-10 when it comes to my building know-how. So I'll start with something that is pretty easy to make but still will impress.
My skull headstone fountain

  • First you need the medium sized Cauldron (They sell them EVERYWHERE during Halloween-so check the dollar store)
  • Then you need some Pink Foam board (Its used for hot tub cover insulation its about 2 inches thick) - Hardware store ( cut for your desired shape for head stone, Measure the foam so it fits snugly inside the fountain. This is Foam remember it will float a bit if its too loose.
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Foam Skull- I cut the back portion of the skull ( Everything behind the Coronal Sutu- for you anatomy buffs) I'm pretty sure this skull came from one of those "grab bag" style bags of foam bones.
  • 9/16 Clear Tubing- Cut it to your desired length (Hardware store)

  • 30 gallon per hour fountain pump-(Garden supply store, Walmart)
  • Mist Maker with LED- Sometimes they are called fountain mister, or Fountain FOGGER.

This next Item is COMPLETELY OPTIONAL! Its technically a surgical cautery pen, HOWEVER , they do sell them at Joanne's or Michaels in the Bead section(They don't call them Surgical cautery pens, I believe its a hot cutter pen?-This is what I used to engrave the words and cut a more precise opening for the tube to be placed in the skulls nasal cavity.

  • Ok Now for the fun, take your time! Carve the Head stone it doesn't have to be perfect.
  • Use Acrylic Paint because its weather friendly. You can use straight gray or look up some stone technique painting tricks on youtube if you want it fancy.

Depending on where you place the fountain determines weather or not you want the back painted, I place mine against a wall so the tubes don't show as much.

(Editing notes- You can carve the letters and paint them before you paint the full headstone-its up to you)

  • Wait till the paint has dried then carve the letters for what ever you want for "Wording" on your headstone. The cautery works wonderful just remember, its hot and your melting foam. ALWAYS be in a well ventilated area.

I'm not a technical person by any stretch of the imagination, so bear with me. This was done purely by trial and error. As a matter o-fact I have A.D.D. like you wouldn't believe.

  • Glue the skull near the top of the head stone with the hot glue gun, after it has cooled/dried . Paint the skull to match the stone.
  • Then with either the cautery or something sharp (I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU IF YOU GET HURT-MAKE AT YOUR OWN RISK) Cut the hole through the nasal cavity that goes all the way through the headstone. This is where the tube will drain water to look like the nose is constantly running.
  • Also you might need to "Work" the clear plastic tube over the fountain pump to fit. It will be a tight fit but it will stay attached pretty well.
  • Place the fountain pump in the back/bottom of the cauldron, fill with water till it starts to come out of the tube (Don't forget to plug in the fountain)
  • Adjust the flow of the pump to your desired drippage.

Once this is all done then place the fogger inside the front of the cauldron, you can run the cord along side the head stone to camouflage the cord.

If you have any questions you can find me on The Garage Of Evil- Its a Halloween How To site

Here is a link of the fountain in action

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Living the dream

Roughly 12 years ago I went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for the first time.

I went with my boyfriend at the time who was always talking about how much fun it was, how magical it was.

That hour changed my life.... Yes I only got to spend an hour because the moron I was dating at the time got us lost (looking back I still feel like an idiot because of how easy it is to find ).

I didn't get to make it back till 2 years later, The weekend after Sept 11th. Everyone who was in attendance that weekend was all looking for the same thing, an escape from the nightmare we all shared a few days earlier. To top it off I had just found out that I was pregnant with my oldest child a that week . I was 20 years old, my second year of college and single. I was a complete mess.

Walking into grounds that afternoon changed my life, some people say (and I agree) that the first time you walk through that gate it feels as if you have come HOME.

It really is so hard at times to describe what it is that brings me back, I often describe it as "My Happy Place".

Where else can YOU become apart of the story?
Music from every corner, wonderful crafting merchants, costumes, dancing, singing, flirting,playing.
There is No Judgement, Everyone is Family there.
Plus the added bonus for someone like me is the HUGE pagan community that frequents fest.

This year I joined the Shakopee Jaycees and now I'm living the dream, Selling beer for a wonderful organisation that helps the community.

I've worked for another non-profit since shortly after I graduated High school, so I'm familiar with how things work.

I attended a few meetings of the Jaycee's before Fest started.I went through orientation, got to know a few of the people in the group.
I was signed up to work at Mac's Pub. The secret of all great secret pub's at MN RENFEST. Its right behind the pavilion and the jousting area.

So my adventure begins, after the first weekend of working out there I was given the option of being a "Silent Hawker".
To those who aren't familiar with the Hawkers at any Renaissance Festival, I pity you. These are the people who YELL AT YOU from a distance to lure you into purchase their goods. In my case the pub that I work at : Mac's Pub. We have live music that plays there all day long, you can't yell at people and disturb the music- NO BUENO!
So my friend Jim, who also works at Mac's pub created "Silent Hawking", by making wooden signs that have funny pictures on them. A lot of people were sceptical when Jim first made these signs; "Really , you think these are going to work?"
Let me tell you.. THEY FREAKING WORK!
When people ask me " What do you do out at Fest? "
I tell them.. " I stand on a bench for 4 hours a day (2x 2hour shifts) holding wooden signs, enticing people to buy beer. I smile, wink, make faces, occasionally get propositioned".
In the first time that I was a silent hawker I must have gotten my picture taken at least 50 times.
For a little while I contemplated making a "Fan Page" on facebook.
Well that only took another week.
I created the page also to tell all the little funny stories that happen while I'm working at fest along with all the pictures people take. The trick is finding the pictures!? So if you happen to stumble upon photos of "Romani Jax"- Help a Girl out and tag them! Oh and "Like" my page while your at it! LOL
Now to the whole purpose of this post, when you find something in your life that you love so much you cant even explain it, you must experience it. Get involved and DO IT.
If the joy in your life is lacking, find the things that make you happy and DO IT!
There is nothing worse then having that feeling of "Maybe I should have, I wish I could have.. blah blah blah.. "
The people in your life ,who truly understand you , WILL UNDERSTAND!