Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Jane never liked catnip

Jane never liked catnip. Sally was an avid connoisseur, but jane never wanted anything to do with it. It was a dreary, wet Sunday the day we buried Sally, and Jane had gone into hiding that day, curled up in some cozy corner oblivious to the loss that had happened. All that following week, Jane pretty much went about her business as usual, but it became increasingly apparent that she felt "something" just wasn't right. We wondered if she understood, and figured her tiny little brain probably couldn't process what had happened.  Another big difference between Sally and Jane was that Sally had the ability to communicate. Sally could very clearly tell us what she wanted, if something wasn't right, or even what was on her mind when she filed her  'daily grievance'. We always understood Sally in full sentences, with correct punctuation, footnotes, and cataloged references. Jane was lucky if she could tell us she wanted milk or if the food bowl was low.
  But one week, to the day, after we buried Sally on a dreary Sunday morning, Jane started scratching the floor where we always spread out Sally's catnip. We thought it odd, and sprinkled some weed for poor little Jane who could never communicate to the level that he mother had been able to. Jane snubbed the catnip and marched to the back door, insisting to go outside. I again indulged her, as she hadn't been out for nearly a week. To my amazement, Jane trotted in a straight line to the new flowerbed we had dug, and stood directly beside the daisy that we planted over top of her mother. She stood there motionless until she was sure we had recognized her act, then trotted off, knowing full well that she had just told us in a full sentence, with correct punctuation, footnotes, and cataloged references that she knew her mother Sally had died, and that she was now resting underneath the daisy in the back yard.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Eli Thatch (Motorized Pumpkin Sorcerer)

 Eli Thatch is one of the great Pumpkin Sorcerers of The Shadow Farm. His specialty is potions, and can brew up nearly any concoction known to man (and many not known to man). On the night of the full harvest moon, Eli takes his brass cauldron to the cemetery and mixes up a batch of magic on the bones of his ancestors that some claim results in the changing of the leaves that welcome Autumn to The Farm.
Allow me to geek out here for a minute. For many years I have wanted to miniaturize the classic Halloween yard prop "the cauldron stirrer". You know...adapt the coolness to a size suitable for my small art pieces. This year I feel I have succeeded. I know the haunters out there will be wanting to know how it is done, but in this case I want to keep the mechanism unique to The Shadow Farm. I can say, however, that I have both motions operating from a single 12v dc motor. The linkage is very simple, durable, and operates extremely smoothly with all the works housed inside the small crypt. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Home Depot Halloween Style Challenge on "The Farm"

I have been a bad blogger. I admit it...it has been a busy summer, but that's really no excuse. That badge you see next to this post (Home Depot Guest Blogger)...well that is partly the reason I have left this little piece of the internet silent for so long. A few months back, Home Depot invited me to participate in their Halloween Style Challenge. I was given a 'mystery box' and a gift card and was asked to design a space with a Halloween theme. True to my yard haunter roots, I went with my front yard. Read the post here and be sure to check out the complete series which include two of my personal favorites Love Manor and Stolloween.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Bone Polisher (by Fox G)

 This week I had a special guest helping in the shop. My nephew Fox came to visit, and wanted to make his very own animatronic creepy prop.
In Fox's words:

"It just was a stupid bear from my grandma, and it wasn't even Christmas when I got it. I had no use for it so I gave it to my Uncle Dave. He didn't use it, so when I got there we decided to take it apart...and look what we found inside! A baby stomach!!!
When we got all of the fur off, his arms were made of wire, his legs made of metal, and his head is a plastic rectangular circle. So we were thinking on what we could make him into.

We found this black skull, and set it on the plastic part.

 I liked the way it looked, but it was not scary enough so we put eyes in it. But the eyes had too much gap in it, so we put clay around it. As we waited for it to dry, we thought of what the clothes should be. So we started to put on clothes, but when we put on the clothes we saw the baby pinkness of the stomach. We spray painted it black and put black cloth on it. Then we put bones on its arms and spray painted them black. Then the eyes dried and then we got all the clothes on. So we put it on, and put a hood for it. And we put decorations. We had a bone and a brush.

This is how he turned out. When we plug him in, we made it so he will brush his bone and turn his head side to side. I decided that since he is now a monster, I had to make a story for him of how he turned to a monster.
and his story is....
He was an old bone polisher and there was a car wreck in front of his shop, and when the car hit the window, it splashed shiny paint. When he screamed, the black paint went in his mouth, coloring all his bones totally black. And that is how he turned into who he is now.

This is my creation by Fox."

I think Fox did a great job with his new monster. He is very proud of it, and plans on keeping it in his camper to scare everyone.

Monday, July 8, 2013

And the winners are.....

The oracles at Random.org have spoken. The winners in my "Dog Days of Summer" contest are :
  1. Padrat86 has won the skull
  2. Cindy L Collins has won the pumpkin character head
  3. Beauregard Strange has won the Bottled creature
Please contact me via email  theshadowfarm (at) gmail.com to claim your prize.

Thanks to everyone who entered for sharing your thoughts on Halloween. It was my great pleasure to read your comments and has served as inspiration to reignite my creativity.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lantern Silhouettes

 Here's a project that is very easy and has alot of kick to it. Yesterday I was experimenting with some ink stamps and decided to try stamping the glass panels in a small lantern. As you can see, it worked really well!

  • Remove the glass panels from the lantern
  • Choose an appropriate ink stamp. You could use any design so let your imagination go wild.
  • Using a permanent ink, stamp the glass on the frosted side. If your lantern has clear glass, I'm not sure how well this would work since the frosted glass gives the ink a rough surface to stick to.
  • Let the ink dry completely
  • Re-install the glass panels with the frosted side facing inward.
  • Light it up and enjoy!
For an additional spooky effect, I would suggest painting the lantern with a faux rust effect. I'll talk more about that later.....

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dog Days of Summer Giveaway

July is nearly upon us, which means it is time to get busy building new Halloween props! In order to get everyone thinking spooky thoughts, I'm running a quick contest and will be giving away the three handmade items pictured on the right. 

here's how to enter:

Simply follow this Blog if you aren't already, and then leave a comment right here in this post telling me something you like about Halloween.  It's just that easy!

This contest will run until July 7th, with three winners announced on July 8th. Winners will be chosen at random using the highly scientific 'name out of a hat' method.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Betsy Murgatroid

 Most people are familiar with the phrases 'Heavens to Betsy" or the less common "Heavens to Murgatroid." I'll bet you didn't know that both are referring to the same person! Betsy Murgatroid was a very awkward and lonely little girl who lived near The Shadow Farm. She was always an outsider, mostly because of her greasy hair, dumpy physique, and bad breath. She had a  peculiar habit of playing pranks on nearly everyone she came in contact with in an attempt to gain popularity through humor.  Was your catsup spiked with Tabasco sauce? Betsy Murgatroid. Shoelaces tied together while you snoozed on the bus? Betsy Murgatroid. Exploding caps trip wired to the toilet seat? Yep...Betsy Murgatroid.

Most people hated her, but all she ever wanted was attention. She just wanted a friend, and thought her pranks would make people like her.

As time went by, the phrase of surprise "Heavens to Betsy Murgatroid" (or versions thereof) became commonplace.  Mostly, her pranks were good-natured and harmless.

Mostly....as the phrase took roots, Betsy found herself becoming more and more isolated and more and more resentful that she couldn't find a friend. One day she snapped, and her innocent jokes took on a whole new flavor.

Fun-loving, socially awkward Betsy Murgatroid is not a pleasant little girl when she gets mad. Oh, no...she is not pleasant at all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Full Steam Ahead!

I've managed to go into full production mode, and have decided that I'm taking The Shadow Farm on the road and will be attending Days of the Dead in Indianapolis July 5-7. It has been a long journey for me to get back to the point to where I feel like creating. I am really looking forward to seeing many of the friends I made at DotD last year, and also hoping to make some new friends as well. Thank you all for supporting me thru this last year. It has been a rough ride ( and continues to be).  If you are going to the convention, make sure to stop by my booth and introduce yourself!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shrunken Heads (plaster/paper)

I decided to knock out some duplicates of an old shrunken head sculpt I made many years ago. The mold is done in dragon skin with a plaster outer shell. This particular batch is Plaster of Paris with some very fine paper pulp thrown into the mix. The advantage I have found to this is the final product can be demoulded very quickly ( 10-15 minutes) but dries much lighter in weight than a straight plaster cast. (Complete drying time takes a while..even days....be patient or oven dry on a low heat if you can't wait that long) Just follow the directions for the Plaster of Paris mixture, adding a small amount of very fine paper pulp to the dry mix BEFORE adding any water. Mix the dry ingredients until the paper pulp is fairly dispersed and smooth, then add water, mix well, and pour.  Vibrate the workbench around the wet pour to release any air bubbles. Final pieces can be sealed and painted, used as the base for a new piece, or displayed as-is.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hershel the Matchstick Boy

Hershel was the son on a German immigrant. His parents died, leaving him to take over his father's job at the factory making lucifer matches. The work was dirty and unsafe, the hours long, and the pay was poor but it was a job and it payed for a room and board at a local hostel. Hershel had long suffered from an infected tooth in his lower jaw, and due to neglect and the constant exposure to phosphorous fumes in the factory, the infection spread. Eventually, medical care was needed, and unfortunately the whole of his lower jawbone was consumed by the infection. Doctors had no choice but to remove the bone and patch Hershel up the best they could.
* see NYTimes, Feb27, 1865 for the full detail of Hershel's story.

Hershel survived the brutal operation, but was left disfigured and jobless.The only thing left for him to do was beg on the street, selling the very lucifers that had disabled him.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Hello? Does this thing still work?

It has been forever...I know, I know. Tell me I'm a bad Blogger to leave The Shadow Farm in a state of decay for so long...;go ahead, I can take it. Well, here is my return and this time I am going to try to make it stick! I've been working in the shop intermittently , and have actually begun to make some new pieces. The Etsy shop is up and running again after being shut down for way too long. I will be attending Ghoultide Gathering this year, and might just make it out to a few of the horror conventions if all goes well....but let's just take this slow and gather some momentum first, shall we?

So here's some pix of a few of my newest projects just listed on Etsy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

 So DO you? Any strange unexplained phenomenon happening around your house? Odd coincidences and patterns that just can't be explained? Electric appliances starting by themselves in the wee hours of the night while everyone is asleep?

Do you believe?

This Ghostly Inhabitation is approx 10" wide by 10" tall, and made to be mounted on any wall that you would like to scare off those spooks in the night.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ghost on the wall (WIP)

An unfinished ghoul checks out the creepy old mirror that will soon act as his permanent home. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kreeps - Fire In Heart Goes Out (unofficial video)

Check out this video that was made featuring one of my creations. Thanks to Stephen Vincent for his fantastic camera work....chilling way to start a Monday.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Something is happening in the shop

Very preliminary teaser picture of my newest denizen on the farm. This guy has been hanging around for almost a year waiting for inspiration to hit. Eric and I had talked about some ideas for him when I was stuck, so it only seems fitting that this is the first piece that has caught my attention long enough to get me back at it.