Halloween 2007



Look what I found for FREE today!

semi-functional electric organ

Around the corner from my house they are doing a major remodel down to the foundation, and today I saw this sad organ out front. I figured at the very least I could salvage the keyboard for my Halloween pipe organ, of which I’ve already been acquiring free PVC pipe scraps for the pipes. I asked if they were offering it for free or trying to sell it, but the owner said she’d just like to get rid of it, but that “it actually works, but it probably needs tuning.” Sure I thought, since many of the keys are stuck and it looks in pretty sad shape, but still it’s FREE! I continued on my walk to Longs, came back, tried lifting the organ but it’s too heavy for just me & no wheels so I couldn’t take it around the corner by myself. My neighbor who has a dolly wasn’t home, so I came back & sweetly asked the workers onsite if they had anything that could just roll it around the corner and I’d bring it right back? They said no, but how heavy was it? Two guys lifted it & said, “We’ll just carry it over there for you” then the 3rd older guy, who had not offered any help before, said “Put it in the pickup then just unload it after we drive it there” so they did. Hooray! I gave them each a bottle of Brittahytta brew, apologizing that it wasn’t cold & thanked them profusely! Did I mention I was wearing a short denim skirt & a tank top? Maybe that helped…hehe…Now it’s sitting in front of my garage since I don’t have space for it inside the garage yet! I’m going to try making space before I leave for our concert tonight, but if not, the Briata might have to live outside for a day or two until I make the space.

Oh, I did plug it in…technically it works, and I’d take that sound as a Halloween spooky chord, but it NEVER SHUTS UP so, no! I might try fiddling around with the keyboard, since it seems like it’s only doing this because so many keys are stuck in the down position. I’m sure I won’t hurt anything any worse & just might learn something! The pedals even seem to work a bit, but only on one stop. Something had made a nest inside, so I carefully pulled out the shredded newspaper, but didn’t find anything alive or otherwise. This will obviously be a post-Potter project however!

Happy Friday everyone!

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Halloween season has begun!

Halloween season never really ends for me, since my brain is making new plans all year long, but it is highly apparent that the rest of the world has a ramp of interest that begins in August, reaches its height by Oct 31st, then drops off like a cliff. This year I have Google AdSense giving me a sense of my website traffic, and July was the Harry Potter frenzy of course, with $36 July 1st through 21st, but by mid-August, Halloween had outpaced Hogwarts by miles! My August total was $66, and now only halfway through September, I’m at $80 more already! Obviously not enough to live on (yet?), but enough to inspire me to get my act together, finally update my Halloween Recipes page after 7 years with no new content (I’ve been working last week & this week, and I’m SO close to finishing – just need to do the final formatting & image placement!), and try my best to get Halloween 2005 & 2006 pages up this season. Of course this is difficult since working on new Halloween projects is SO much more fun than documenting ones I’ve already done! hahaha…but speaking of new projects…


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small world indeed!

Check out Robin’s post from yesterday…hahaha! I’ve been saying for over 10 years of www.britta.com that the world keeps getting smaller every day that the Internet keeps growing… πŸ™‚

It’s a Small, Wacky World

Thanks Robin!

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Halloween Recipes finally updated!

Hooray! After 7 years of no new content on Britta Blvd, I have finally updated my Halloween Recipes page as of tonight! πŸ˜€ There are about twice as many recipes as 2000, so I even had to split my table of contents into two columns. πŸ™‚

On that note, since they’re still under development they’re not on the public recipes page yet, but Batato Chips from purple potatoes are a success, plus some Savory Spiders with Gooey Guts are in the works as well. The Mojitoes are okay as-is, but to hold together in the toe shape, the gelatin takes about an hour to dissolve in the rum & soda mixture, so that’s not as successful as I’d hoped. I think they’ll still be funny as a pale green toe sitting in a skeleton hand goblet with a clear lime soda, mint and rum drink. πŸ™‚ Speaking of drinks, glow research has begun, with the best glowing edibles so far being bright blue tonic (blech!) and chartreuse-yellow B-vitamin-tablet in water (double blech!) so I’m searching for more things I’d actually WANT to drink…even though mixing those together does give a very nice glowing aqua teal color… πŸ˜‰

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

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Halloween progress

Well, I’m nowhere near as far along as I should be on my Halloween projects due to the whiplash, plus I got a nasty cold over my annual Halloween shopping weekend that’s made me even slower. Forcing myself to slow down is one thing, but laying down to rest my neck properly requires absolutely no drawing, painting, computer work, even eating, so that’s a work stoppage to me. Very foreign concept to watch TV without doing any projects at the same time, but at least I’m fairly caught up on the new shows this season. πŸ˜‰

Halloween shopping weekend was a success as usual…

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Mental Floss

Mental Floss Magazine is using 3 of my recipes & photos in their article today about Gruesome Halloween Party Food.

That fleshworm is pretty nasty & realistic…and yes, the infamous Kitty Litter Cake is also featured…thanks, but I still think the kitty litter cake doesn’t fit with my Hallloween themes… πŸ™‚

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more that I did NOT need this week *sigh*

Reader Tammy just alerted me in comments that my photos & ideas are used in an ebook for sale digitally on eBay that include resale rights. I suspect this is the same joker that was doing the same thing 2 years ago just not on eBay. At that time that person had stolen ideas from all over the web & was selling as “sell this ebook to your users” in forums, so the person who alerted me by a cellphone call when I was in Scotland spread the word back then. Since my content is free and out there for so many years, I figure there’s only so much I can do. Unfortunately with the Marauder’s Map mess, I only joined the VeRO program for ebay.co.uk, not US, so I’ve go to go through the whole darn fax crap all over again. *sigh* I did the “ask seller a question” link telling the seller I’m reporting them since they’re using my images without permission.

This is exactly why I don’t have my decoration how-to’s on my website, and why I’m working on my own real book instead. It makes me steam to see the greedy, opportunistic ones making money off people who generously provide their ideas online. That is not right in the least.

Thanks, Tammy, for letting me know. I’ll shut this person down in eBay if I can, since I know I’m not the only person they stole from, then I’ll get back to having a Happy Halloween…

Edit: there are 4 active listings for the ebook, so all 4 are now reported by fax…now it’s up to eBay…

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eBay update

The eBay seller replied this morning that they had purchased the ebook with “full resale rights” so had no idea permission wasn’t given. I replied that eBay will still take the listings down as a violation, but if they would give me the contact details who they purchased from, I would follow up to explain to them as well. No further reply yet. I’m fine to leave it at that & I’ve already saved a search to get email alerts for anything from that seller. All 4 listings are already gone from eBay.

Another email came in this morning saying she read a blog that had 3 of my recipes but no credit so they thought I’d like to know. Yep, they were my recipes all right so I submitted a comment saying they were verbatim from my website & here’s the link. The blog author replied very quickly & apologetic, since he purchased that content that claimed to be “unique” and said he obviously was lied to since he checked out my page. He offered to take down the post but I said a link & credit was fine, so he’s already updated. This thief seems to have wider distribution than I knew, but there’s only so much I can do. I don’t want to spend my time policing the internet for theft of my ideas…I’d rather keep creating more ideas!

So, a bit frustrating, but the GOOD points in this are that I’m popular enough to steal from, plus I actually have “fans” that are watching out for me, otherwise I would never have known about these in the first place! After I thanked her profusely & let her know what was going on with the blog author, the lady this morning replied she’s glad she’s done her good deed for the day! πŸ™‚

I’d really much rather post about my Halloween party prep progress but I’ve been too busy with actual work…maybe tomorrow…? The genereous but no-longer-blue-haired Angie () is coming over tonight to help me out, so that will be fun!

P.S. I just checked, and my October ad revenue as of right now is $444…bringing the “Halloween season” total (Aug 1 to current) to $734! Nice! πŸ˜€ Don’t worry…I’m prepared for it to drop back to only a trickle as of Nov 1st…

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Halloween party prep progress

Busy & frantic of course! I’ve done a lot so far, but since I wasn’t able to do as much the first couple weeks of October as I’d planned, I’m very behind from what I wanted to do this year. Some projects are being postponed yet again, but a couple I’m holding out hope I might just be able to finish them before Saturday night…especially since Thursday night not only will I probably have ‘s help again, but also an eager teen Alton Brown & Duff Goldman fan! Hooray for house-elves! πŸ™‚

Sorry no pix since I haven’t had the time to organize or upload, so you’ll just have to wait until afterwards… πŸ™‚

Halloween party prep progress so far

already done!

  • all foam stone painting done, including better aging technique & new crack detail, for new gargoyle entrance columns, new entrance archway, patio walls, chapel walls & bell tower – big thanks to Ruth who came over for a couple hours on Saturday afternoon and painted the base coat on the columns for me! πŸ™‚
  • shed doors completely painted – functional & beautiful! Thanks for all the help, Dad!
  • cauldron & tripod with stand ready on patio
  • extra table out on patio already with canvas tablecloth
  • my devil costume is finished – best name so far is Incendia (courtesy of Angie) but I’m still not quite sure
  • configure both webcams for broadcast & upload
  • 7.5 dozen witches fingers safely in their airtight tin
  • 6 dozen pumpkin pasties safely unbaked in freezer
  • 9.75 dozen gravestone cookies baked and iced (thanks for helping Angie!)
  • black & flesh candles into holders – thanks Angie!
  • 22 dozen tiny meringue bones (19×7 fit on each cookie sheet)
  • guest bathroom completely decorated
  • living room stuff out, Catoween tapestry, pillow covers, but needs arranging
  • new hardware & padlock on treasure chest
  • Mad Scientist glowing drinks testing pretty much done…neon food coloring didn’t glow either, so we’re restricted to blue tonic & green B-12 really, unless I get the chance to cook spinach tonight to see if that juice really glows red. None of the spinach juice containing drinks I bought ever glowed.still to do
  • finish the Name that Tune quiz – just need to edit 2 soundfiles into clips
  • cleanup & decorate screened patio/bar area
  • design & paint back window stencil – might have to be postponed but I’m holding out hope!
  • finish painting lace curtains – this is going slower than I thought so only one curtain panel is half-painted – I really hope this doesn’t have to be postponed!
  • set up mad scientist display – after major food prep is done, since table space required, especially with helpers!
  • set up graveyard – no earlier than Friday
  • test new fog machine w/ chiller – backyard or front yard?
  • set up pirate corner in backyard – no earlier than Friday
  • make mojitoes as many times as I can – only 9 toe molds – trying some as rum jello shots & some without
  • all gelatin body parts (brain, heart, hands, eyeballs) – Thursday evening
  • cut & bake Batato Chips – Thursday evening
  • form & bake Savory Spiders from dinner rolls – Thursday evening since I’ll have help
  • mini cookie cutters for sliced cheese – Thursday if helpers are fast?
  • all fresh food – Friday night/Saturday afternoon
  • sleep at some point? heh…I probably won’t get to post again until after the party, so I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    P.S. Kylie is taking her medicine like a good kitty but neither the sneezing nor eye is better or worse…

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    Halloween 2007 party post-mortem

    Whew boy! What a month…honestly, this is the worst October in general I have ever had, so I’m ready for it to be over! Of course saying that I’m wondering if I’m jinxing myself for something even worse happening in the next couple days…let’s hope not!

    The party did go well, but I would never have made it through at all without my helpers, especially Kael who came over again on party day. Thanks SO much Kael! I could not have managed this year without the help. The added stress & worry about my poor kitty feeling so awful sure didn’t help. During all my frantic party prep I was still feeling so sad every time she would look up from her water dish, drooling everywhere, meowing at me to help her, but she only wanted so much petting or hugging, and I had already done all I could do for her until Monday. It was still very hard for me to see since I feel so helpless. I put up my new Black Cat Crossing road sign on my bedroom door so party people would leave her alone which worked well. We heard her meowing every so often since my bedroom sliding door is to the patio, but every time I checked on her she wasn’t even under the bed or in the closet like most parties, so I hope that meant she was calmer this time. Since it was only making it hard for her to drink, no costume for Kylie this year.

    So, for the party itself now…only 40 people this year, so backsliding a bit for numbers from last year, unsure why but sometimes it happens. I had figured from the Evite count only being 42 it wouldn’t be much larger than that, and there were 4 who had RSVPd and didn’t show. It was still a fun crowd who all said they had a great time. The ones who hadn’t been in the loop yet for how many things have gone wrong for me this October said they never would have guessed, so that’s good! Since we had 55 people last year which fit in this house fine, 40 seemed a little small to me, even though we still couldn’t all crowd into the living room for the music quiz, so the patio speakers worked well to expand the quiz out there too.

    Name that Tune Spooky TV Themes: So many people all got 11 out of 13 that I just had them all claim a prize, but I forget who! I think it was Nat, Nathania, Tracia, Daniel, who else won? Help me remember please!

    Scariest Costume: Dave as Senator Larry Craig, complete with toilet seat, bald cap & muscle men magazines – he got more votes than the really creepy Grim Reaper, so truly scary! πŸ˜‰
    Most Original Costume: Jack & Johnathon as Jack & Coke…heehee!
    Ultimate Costume: Robin & Charles as The Spartans ala 300, complete with hand-hammered brass cloak broach & armband – they even got compliments via webcam & email during the party!

    Creepiest Cuisine: Since your Halloween Hostess was sole judge and I couldn’t decide, plus I have plenty of prizes, I gave three awards:
    Best Appearance: Deviled Eyes by Dave & Wendy – yolks dyed red with an olive slice as the pupil
    Most Clever Presentation: The Last Temptations by Lyle – little chocolate confections with candy corn garnish, but with little signs describing the various temptations
    Most Daring Culinary Risk: Frosted Bat Wings by Ruth – chocolate covered bacon! She won because they were not only clever but really tasty! πŸ™‚

    Halloween Party Post-Mortem

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    Happy Halloween!

    Sara, a former Choral Project singer now living in Italy, let me know yesterday that my Halloween Recipes page appeared on one of the Italian blogs she reads daily, including my photo of witches fingers. Yes, they link to me so it’s all good. Very cool! Thanks Sara!

    I’m Britta, Webmistress of the Dark today, refreshed from the older version by keeping the web cape with collar and spiderweb fishnets, but using my long satin choir dress, spiky spider eyelashes above & below the eyes, spider velvet choker & spider earrings. I was even able to give myself a quick black sparkly manicure last night too, and I’m wearing my black sparkly beaded shoes instead of my plain black pumps. Hopefully I’ll get a good photo today and it might be my updated Halloween icon since the other one is way back from 1999. I didn’t realize until a co-worker spotted the kitty fur, but since the cape was hanging by the scratching post for so long, Kylie is with me in costume today. πŸ™‚

    So far today is good. Before I left for work I got the call to pick up the Briata tonight since it is now running “cherry” including freeway driving, and after our earnings call yesterday our stock has shot up $16 in one day to $116…crazy! I hope this good news continues to break my unlucky streak. I am ready for good things to start happening!

    Hope everyone is having a Happy Halloween!

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    save the date

    Halloween 2013 will be the 20th anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas, so I will do my entire Halloween party ENTIRELY in the theme, including skeletal reindeer with coffin sleigh on my roof, Jack’s experiments, Sally’s potions, monster wreath, etc, etc…I will resurrect & improve my Sally costume for the occasion as well. I will warn partygoers in advance so hopefully they can all come in NBC costumes, with prizes for the most original and most obscure. I need an occasion to do this rather than just any old Halloween, otherwise I might do it earlier. I’ve been tempted many times over the years, but I feel I’d need to do the entire party in the theme otherwise it won’t work, since it’d be too Christmasy vs. Halloweeny.

    Can you tell I just got back from seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3D? If you have the chance, go see it, since the 3D is awesome, and seeing it again on a big screen there were details I noticed in the background that even _I_ had never noticed before!

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