Sunday, November 2, 2014

Let's go to the tape...

A couple of short videos from Halloween...

Here's the scene shortly after we started- the foggers are still warming up:

Now the foggers are doing their work:

And a quick clip of my "victims":

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bring down the curtain, take a bow...Halloween 2014

And just like that, it's over.

A year of planning, building, re-building. Advances and reversals. Changes of plan on the fly. It all comes down to one magical night...

The weather refused to cooperate- heavy rains all day gradually tapered off to drizzle and- around 5 pm- some clear skies. Unfortunately, by 6 pm we were back to heavy rains. They ended quickly and the rest of the night was dry, but a lot of folks either stayed in or went elsewhere.

Still, the ones who did come out were impressed. Our crypt was a HUGE hit, and was certainly the "must-see" of the evening. Drac managed to scare a few of the teens and tweens by materializing out of the fog, providing a gentle reminder as who the Master of the Manor truly was...mwah hah hah!

Here are some pics and vids of the evening...hope you enjoy them as much as we did making them!

The front of the house and the cemetery.
The Entrance to the crypt, from street-level.
View of the crypt from the exit.
Front of the crypt- it loses something with the flash.
Approaching the crypt, the evil dead await!
Inside the crypt- dare you linger?

Wherever you go, He follows...
Another angle showing the lines.
Moonlight strikes the Undead...will He rise?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Good Day/Bad Day

Call this one a draw, or a slight loss...
First, shopping at Michaels craft store for their Halloween clearance. Yeah. Clearance. Not even Halloween yet, and they're already selling it all off and putting up Christmas...

The upside is we can get great discounts on decorations and still have time to incorporate them into our display!

Today we picked up a bunch of Spookytown buildings and accessories to add into our display. Check out the video below!

This afternoon was supposed to see the crypt interior walls go up, with the crypt being completed tomorrow. Instead, one wall ended up in four pieces, and my shoulder ended up completely non-functional. I'll need a full day just to rebuild the wall, before I can even think about doing the crypt...majorly disappointing!

Oh well- check out Spookytown:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Finishing Touches

Another beautiful day, which we made full use of. Put up the partial wall on the crypt, the rear barrier to keep folks out of the garage, and glued the 3rd crypt wall together. Added some finishing touches to the crypt facing and the roof, plus little bits here and there.

The pics below show the crypt during the day and at night. You can see the addition of two gargoyles on the roof, door knockers on the front walls, and a bat hanging inside the crypt.

The gargoyles and false wall show up better in this shot. We added the wall on the front corner, as the existing structure wasn't convincing- this at least looks like it's a corner:

Close-up of the false wall. It adds some depth and carries off the broken-wall look we're after:

The view from the street:

The front of the house, day and night. We still have more lighting to add:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Crypt Exterior

A full afternoon in 76 degree weather- rare for this time of year- allowed us to get the crypt exterior put up. Tomorrow we'll finish decorating the yard- adding the rest of the lights, hanging the ghouls, and other little touches- then start working on the crypt interior.

Already, we've seen an increase in foot and vehicle traffic as people come by to check out the place. It's really the best feeling when the work is up and you can sit back and watch people enjoy the efforts...
The graveyard at Nevermore Manor

The crypt entrance

The white streak is the moon over the graveyard

Nevermore Manor wouldn't be complete without a Raven

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October 1st!

It's been a long, strange trip...

Here we are, October 1st- time to start setting up. Got the tombstones and fencing put up, along with the floodlights. We'll add more tomorrow and Friday, and try to finish it by Saturday.

Still have the crypt interior to finish, but that can't be done until the crypt exterior is out of the garage- plus, it won't be viewed for some time yet.

Here's some pics of the first day's setup:
The cemetery is up, just need to add the finishing touches

View through the fence

The Blackberry doesn't do it justice- the blue lights give a nice glow

Monday, September 1, 2014

Crypt Completion

Well, Labor Day lived up to its name- another full day of work, but the crypt is more or less finished. Once again, Math bested me in single combat and I ended up 2 feet short on my burial niches, but I can fix that later. I need to add some boards to give the foam more support, and I need to add a roof and some trim around the garage door opening, but that's it. Come October 1st, when we put it up, we'll do some additional detailing and weathering, add some moss, and then put the skeletons and candles everywhere.

This was a challenging build, and it seemed like nothing was going to go right, it would never be finished, etc. But now that it's "done", the hard work really seems to have paid off. I'm pleased with how it turned out, and can't wait to get the lights sorted out and test it.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Home Stretch

Got the walls up.
A trip to the hardware store, an afternoon of measuring and cutting and drilling, and now the entrance is assembled.

Remaining tasks:
  • Paint the exterior boards
  • Trim and tape the SceneSetters on the inside
  • Make a bottom section for the front facade
  • Make a wall section for the front facade
  • Cover the roof supports with weed block
Total work time: about 2 days. Then we're done with the exterior build and can start on the interior. I'm hoping to have it complete by mid-September and then I can concentrate on the remaining odds and ends for the haunt.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Inside Out

Taking advantage of the warm weather and abundant sunshine, I tested the finish on the outside of the walls for water resistance. The blue color wash held up, the yellow came off a bit, and the brown came off about half the stones. So, after consultation with SpiderWitch, I went back over them with a blue and a gray wash. I also went over the panel lines to bring them out from the background.

Once that was done, it was time to glue/staple the SceneSetter backing on the inside of the walls. This was tedious, and it didn't help that a breeze blew in. But, all the walls have their insides prepped, so the project is one BIG step closer to being finished.

The next step will be to assemble the structure using L-brackets and fastening plates, to hold it steady while I make a roof out of the weed-barrier fabric. When that is complete, I'll finish detailing the outside walls- paint the trim boards, finish the bottom of the walls, add the moss and maybe some stains.

In September, I'll work on the bricks which will be laying about the grounds, as well as the crypt itself. Slow but steady...

Here are some pics of the repainted walls:

The inner side of the wall, showing the SceneSetter

The front arch, with its fresh coat of blue and gray

The upper side wall, with the toned-down brown panels

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Foam to Stone...With a Little Help From My Friends

Lots of progress today!
First, got the black and white laid in with the sponge- turned the bare grays into a more granite-like look:

While I was working on this, the neighbor girl (9) came by to check things out. She was soon sponging away at the panels, which was a big help.

Once that was finished, we were supposed to weather the panels with some washes and color variations. However, it was easier (and more educational) to simply wash the entire surface of the stone with a thinned down color, which we were able to do in very short order:

Okay, maybe the colors aren't representative of "real" stone, and maybe they're too bright, or not tied together...but the really important thing is that today a love of Halloween- including the building of props and development of a theme- was passed along to a young girl...who will continue to be a part of our haunt until she grows and moves away and develops her own haunt- and one day, she can pass it along to the next generation. I'd rather teach one child about the fun of building and decorating than create the greatest prop ever...after all, we do it for the kids!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Not Quite Fifty Shades of Gray...Well, Two Actually

Got the primary colors laid in on the walls- two shades of gray, which gives them a subtle but distinct difference between them. The next step will be to use a sponge and add black and white paint to give it a stone look. The first pic has a higher contrast to bring out the difference in the colors, the second photo is more of a normal view.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monster Mud and Monster Heat

Got a bit warm here today- high 80s and a bright toasty-thing in the sky. Still, a good day for cutting and texturing foam. First up was the foam knife and heat gun- I cut the foam boards into blocks, then used the heat gun to add details:

After that was done, I applied Monster Mud to all the panels- right now they're beige, but we'll be painted and dry brushing and stippling and washing them to create more of a stone effect.

Once the outer wall textures are finished, the next step will be to complete the interior- either paint or Scene Setters stone wall pattern. Once that's done, we'll assemble the structure and build a roof, complete the details for the exterior, and begin work on the doors, broken wall, and rear wall; this looks into the garage, so it's the last part to complete before we tackle the interior project.

Lots to do still, but the hardest parts are behind us now.