Here we go! Halloween season has officially begun! Not only am I already deep in my own party planning, but Eerie Elegance book sales have gone from selling less than 10 books each month through June, to about 40 sold in July, and 85 in August…definitely ramping up!
I did not allow myself any concrete Halloween planning until my kitchen remodel was absolutely finished, otherwise I was afraid I might get distracted & never finish the kitchen! Wheels are always turning in my head, however, and in the past couple weeks I’ve written up my Halloween party prep wishlist for this year, including the 2009 series of Eerie Elegance podcasts…with the first episode released on schedule TODAY! 🙂
I didn’t expect to have so much information about royal icing & the spiders I make with it, but it ended up 15 minutes, so had to be split for YouTube into part 1 & part 2. You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. Scroll down to see my glowing iTunes review! Thanks amberdawn91! 🙂
Halloween, here we come! 😀
Eerie Elegance – Awful Arachnids – Royal Icing Spiders
Whew! Technical difficulties almost prevented it, but here is this week’s Eerie Elegance episode…everything you ever wanted to know about the infamous Eerie Eyeballs! Seriously, it’s about 18 minutes long, and I think I answered every single question I’ve ever gotten in email about making my eyeballs, so it’s chock full of good info & especially closeups of the painting technique. Again it’s split for YouTube into part 1 & part 2. You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series.
For my own Halloween planning, I have completed the herculean task of clearing the way in my garage chaos to get at the Halloween boxes & shelves, and in the process finding other good supplies for the Steampunk Study and/or my costume that goes with it. Always nice to finally find a reason for something I saved from long ago! I have decided on the 13 favorite spooky characters for the gingerbread haunted mansion quiz (I’m not telling or the party guests reading will be spoiled for the quiz!), and I’ve decided on epitaphs for 4 new gravestones to make…which is good since I plan to film the making of my new gravestones for the next 3 podcasts!
Eerie Elegance – The Infamous Eerie Eyeballs
However the next couple days will be Halloween hiatus since I get to be hostess for my grandmother, cooking for her in my new kitchen & driving her around California in my convertible! 🙂
Episode 3 is out today! There is an entire Haunted Headstones chapter in Eerie Elegance for making my realistic carved foam gravestones, so I decided to split up the episodes as a trilogy to get everything in. Part 1 is Designing & Cutting which is just under 10 minutes, so it’ll be a good half hour total watching the entire set when it’s finished! The gravestones are messy enough they are best done outside, and I have new neighbors with active little kids and a dog, so pardon some of the background noise. A lot is filmed in the dark since that was after the noise finally went to bed! 😉 You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, YouTube and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. You can also become a fan of Eerie Elegance on Facebook!
By having filmed these, that means I have 4 new gravestones already well underway for my own decor! The most intricate two are completely carved ready for a base coat of paint (which also means the filming is already DONE for part 2 – hooray!), but I have to finish carving the other two before I’m ready to paint. My biggest splurge for this year’s decorating arrived from New Jersey last week = 2 wallpaper murals of a fancy library so I can make my patio bar into “walls” of bookcases as I’ve wanted to do since 2006. My own costume I’ve only spent $20 so far (well those are shoes & tights I will wear normally, so maybe those count as normal wardrobe, not costume expense?) since I’m using closet finds & fabric I’ve had in my stash, but I still need to find old leather jackets to sew my buckley bodice. This weekend is our annual Halloween shopping trip with my friend Tash, so I’ll be on the lookout for fun accessories!
Eerie Elegance – Haunted Headstones – Part 1: Designing & Cutting
After the Cinema Brittahytta Season Finale tonight (last movie night of the summer), the patio will start transforming into the Steampunk Study!
Episode 4 is out today! Little did I know how much I had to say about gravestone carving & layout…I had 30 minutes of good content my first editing pass, then it took 4 more hours to chip more & more content away down to under 10 minutes! Guess I should have made Carving its own full segment, but I did get it down to the essentials, and the ‘director’s cut’ is probably too long anyway. Pardon the plane overhead…I didn’t hear that one while filming or I would have done another take. The wind was the precursor to the freak thunderstorm we had that night, so I’m glad I got the filming done in the nick of time!
You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, YouTube and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. You can also become a fan of Eerie Elegance on Facebook. I’ve got 131 Facebook fans in just one week, the majority of them people I’ve never met…wow!
Eerie Elegance – Haunted Headstones – Part 2: Decorating & Carving
I am testing various Mojitoe moldmaking techniques in hopes I can come up with one I can reproduce for a decent cost so I can sell the mold along with my recipe. So far I have a gorgeous 6-toe free-standing food-grade silicone mold with spectacular detail, but it used $25 of liquid silicone supplies! The cornstarch press mold technique didn’t work, so next is trying to make a closer-fitting mold form for the silicone, since that might bring the cost down enough.
Halloween shopping weekend was as fun as ever, and I still came back with a fairly full trunk, but we were a bit disappointed in the selection, especially at the cheaper stores who usually have good Halloween basics we can make into other things. It looks like they’re stocking less inventory overall due to the economy. Honestly, the past 5 years or so I had been disappointed in how MUCH Halloween stuff was available, removing the fun challenge of making your own, so I don’t mind. I totally scored at the Goodwill store for lots of steampunky goodness for the study! No leather jackets there like I need though, so I still need to scavenge locally for those so I can make my costume bodice. Now that I’m back in town, it’s full “steam” ahead for the study and my costume! 🙂
Do you like the Beware the Brocade design? You can now buy all sorts of silly things like shirts, bags & more at the Eerie Elegance Store on Zazzle.com! You can scroll through this nifty display below, or you can always find it on the Eerie Elegance website.
create & buy custom products at Zazzle
Note that if you select a shirt with the design you like, you can change the shirt style to whatever you like, long sleeves, ladies vs. mens or kids, whatever. Hope you like them! I’m going to get my dad a silly tie for Christmas…haha!
Episode 5 is out today, completing the Tombstone Trilogy! Hope you enjoy them, since the entire 3-part series is about 30 minutes & chock full of tips I’ve learned while making 23 gravestones by now. Bonus points if you can read the epitaphs on the example gravestones & name the characters & what they’re from. 🙂
You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, YouTube and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. I’ve got 152 Eerie Elegance Facebook fans now, and I’ve set up the Eerie Elegance Agonizing Accessories store on Zazzle.com and already earned $7 royalties there!
Eerie Elegance – Haunted Headstones – Part 3: Painting & Aging
The official party invitation has been sent, one month to party day, and I’m still testing Mojitoe moldmaking techniques down to the wire since that’s on the schedule to film this week! My fireplace mantel is under construction probably halfway done, but I keep running down both batteries from so much drilling & screws, so that will be continued next weekend. My local thriftstore seems to have caught on since I’ve last needed costume leather, since all their leather jackets are now $30 or more, so I found a pair of leather pants (!) for $10 that aren’t the perfect color, but I think I can make it work for my bodice. I did find a pair of shoes for $5 to scavenge for 8 matching small buckles, plus a few other steampunk props. Speaking of steampunk, the serendipitous result of my 29-year-old water heater dying last Thursday night is that I scored on leftover copper pipe & mechanical bits for my lab display! After hearing & seeing how much I did myself on the kitchen remodel, the repair tech even showed me how & actually let me solder the copper overflow pipe myself with his blowtorch…cool! That might have to be my next tool for my growing collection! 😉
It’s already October, which means Halloween is even closer now! Eerie Elegance 2009 Episode 6 is out today, the Britta Blvd Halloween classic Brittle Bones! Extra bonus for me is that my first party food is all set to go plenty ahead of time. 🙂 You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, YouTube and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. You can join my 169 Eerie Elegance Facebook fans if you like, and the Eerie Elegance Agonizing Accessories store on Zazzle.com is open for business. Sometime last week I passed the 500 books sold mark & more are selling every day…woohoo! 🙂
Eerie Elegance – Brittle Bones
The fireplace mantel is finally ready to test hanging on the brick fireplace, then staining can begin. All the foam stone walls & gargoyle entrance columns are cleaned up & set up, but there are bits of touchup & repair to do. Storing painted foam outside doesn’t last very long, these are on their 4th year now, so I think new foam structures are in my future next season. Time for something new by then anyway! I have the flagstone gossamer & the lab chalkboard hanging in the Steampunk Study, so next will be the library bookcases on the walls over the flagstone. I painted the pipe organ with a black wash to give it spookier atmosphere, and I’ve tested my iPod & battery speaker with my pipe organ playlist – two items on my list last year that escaped me from lack of time. I ran new extension cords around to the back & to the windowbox since my new brick pathway foiled my previous setup. The skirt is sewn, my costume blouse is cut & pinned hopefully to sew tonight, and a purple spiderweb lampshade matching the curtains is underway for the living room, plus another curtain panel for the piano window…which means the giant cat eyes will move to staring out the office window to the backyard instead of the front…heehee! Way too much still to do as always, plus I don’t have much time this weekend since instead of staying at home doing Halloween projects, I will be PAID to sing Star Wars in Concert at Arco Arena in Sacramento & HP Pavilion in San Jose…does that mean I should have watched the prequels by now? oops! 😉
Less than two weeks until my party and only two episodes left before Halloween Day! Eerie Elegance 2009 Episode 7 is out today, showing how easy & effective it is to make the Simple Spooky Spectres I first made back in the last millenium! You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, YouTube and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. You can join my 183 Eerie Elegance Facebook fans if you like, and the Eerie Elegance Agonizing Accessories store on Zazzle.com is open for business. Book sales are still going strong…no day since August with zero sales!
Eerie Elegance – Simple Spooky Spectres
Only a little Halloween party progress since last week because of the Star Wars in Concert chaos from Friday through Sunday. Singing for 30,000 screaming fans total in 4 stadium gigs with fabulous orchestra, giant LED screen of film footage, smoke & flame effects, & even lasers, with singer friends from across the past 20 years of my life…now that was an experience of a lifetime! Definitely worth sacrificing some Halloween prep time for that! 🙂
I was barely able to film & edit my podcast for this week between Star Wars gigs, and last Wednesday was singing rehearsal, but Thursday & Monday I did get quite a lot done really. My ruffly costume blouse is all sewn except for bottom hem & buttons (I HATE sewing buttonholes!) and it looks great! The portrait gallery is now inside in the hallway in place of my normal travel artwork, all the spiderweb lace & tapestry curtains are up in the living room with just enough matching purple spiderweb lace for a piano scarf, the pillow covers are changed & silly seasonal pillows are out, the bathroom towels & rug are set up, the skull door knocker wreath & spiderweb doormat at the front door, the fringe is pinned on the new spiderweb lampshade, and my brown velvet spats are underway.
I am extremely thankful I hadn’t set out gravestones or hung the bookcase paper yet since there is a HUGE storm today, windy & pouring rain, so that would have ruined the paper through the screened patio! Whew! But that must go up this weekend, since it’s the last weekend I have before my party…ack! The to-do list for this weekend is truly scary, with not only food to make, but lots of major projects including the gingerbread haunted mansion & my leather costume bodice, plus I want the Steampunk Study set up as much as possible, especially the lab equipment, so I can film the next podcast with that backdrop…wish me luck!
Eerie Elegance 2009 Episode 8 is out today, showing how to mix your own experimental Spontaneous Sentience as one of the many possible Laboratory Libations! You even get a sneak peek of my new Steampunk Study in process. Only one more episode on the schedule for 2009!
You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, YouTube and iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. You can join my almost 200 Eerie Elegance Facebook fans if you like, and the Eerie Elegance Agonizing Accessories store on Zazzle.com is open for business. Book sales are still going strong…no day since August with zero sales!
Eerie Elegance – Spontaneous Sentience
This weekend was a frantic push to make up for lost time from Star Wars in Concert, but thankfully I got a lot done! It was several weeks behind my intended schedule, but at least I got the cardboard mockup made for the gingerbread haunted mansion yesterday! The back is all open like a dollhouse except for the top tower, so you’ll be able to see through the windows from the front, but I can turn on lights & set up figures inside from the back, plus people can see even more details by turning it. It’s on a leftover chunk of EcoTop counter from the kitchen remodel sitting on my large wooden lazy susan like the Hogwarts castle was. Since there’s no way it’ll move from the table without a lot of help, so it’s on the skull lace tablecloth with plastic protection over it for now…glad I thought of that before I started actually building anything! I like the design, loosely inspired by Addams family & a couple other mansard roof Edwardian/Victorian houses. It should be relatively easy to bake & assemble, less pieces in number but larger pieces than the Hogwarts castle, and then the decoration is what will make it cool. I have to make all the quiz characters & accessories the next couple evenings, then bake the gingerbread Wednesday night or Thursday day. Since it rained again on Monday, I’m not putting any gravestones out or paper decor on the patio until the day before the party so they won’t get ruined.
I steampunked a LOT of random lab stuff on Saturday…even my straw dispenser since it was lime green plastic I didn’t like anyway! LOL! I wasn’t going to use the oscilloscope since it was too modern but then I thought it would look great with woodgrain contact paper & some “brass” accents…I really like it this way! I assembled the spare water heater parts with my chunk of ductwork leftover from cutting my kitchen vent hood into a contraption I really like. My costume is in great shape & is presentable even if I run out of time for any more. I would like to add the jewelry I planned & a holster or two for my ray guns, but we’ll see how much time I have. Thank goodness I’m done with the sewing machine this early!
Aside from cleaning up the project mess that can be stashed last minute on the garage floor with Miata parked in the driveway, most of the house & patio is decorated at least so that feels much better than how I started the weekend. I’m still still choosing the last tracks for the music quiz, which I’m listening to on my iPhone on my long commute to & from work, and no food is made yet except the bone cookies, but food is better made closer to the party anyway, and I’m not doing as many cookies this year since I’m doing the gingerbread mansion. Thank goodness I’m taking both Thursday and Friday as vacation days from work this year, since I’m gonna need the extra day!
Now back to party prep, since way too much still to do! 🙂
For the last episode for the 2009 Halloween season, learn how to make one of the very first spooky recipes in the Eerie Elegance repertoire – the Haunted Human Heart that bleeds tasty raspberry syrup! That’s it for 2009, and I only realized while editing that brings me up to lucky spooky number THIRTEEN podcasts total since I started! How perfect is that? 😉
You can watch the entire episode from EerieElegance.com, it’s split into part 1 & part 2 on YouTube, and on iTunes by searching for “Eerie Elegance” or by subscribing to the series. You can join my over 220 Eerie Elegance Facebook fans if you like, and the Eerie Elegance Agonizing Accessories store on Zazzle.com is open for business. Book sales are still going strong…still no day since August with zero sales!
Eerie Elegance – Haunted Human Heart
My party this past weekend was a grand success with over 50 guests who had a blast, and I’m still writing up my party post-mortem & organizing photos, so that will come later this week…but tonight is my first chance at a relaxing evening, so I’m going to take advantage to rest in my eerily elegant decor & maybe convince a kitty or two to cuddle, since I haven’t really sat down much all weekend!
I hope everyone has a fabulous Halloween!
I’m still working on the party post-mortem, which will now be combined with Halloween day plans, but before I might forget, here is the press coverage I know about this season:
In the About.com Pool & Patio section:
Eerie Elegance Author Shares Secrets for Outdoor Halloween Decorations & Parties:
An Interview with Britta Peterson, Webmistress of the Dark
(keep reading past the ads in the middle)
Eerie Elegance radio interview with Shannon Medaglia on Edmonton, Alberta, Canada’s 104.9 Easy Rock – October 31st, 2009
Thanks to Lisa & Shannon for such nice interviews!
From googling, I found myself and/or book mentioned on a few other blogs & such…
Host a wicked Halloween party
Sunday, April 26th, 2009
All Hallows Eve Menu & Digital Freebie
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
Halloween Party Ideas
Friday, October 30th, 2009
I hope everyone had a horribly haunted Happy Halloween! 🙂
I do really like having Halloween week to enjoy after my party is over, especially when I did NOT get sick this year! Unfortunately I still got too busy with other fun social events, including Margarita Friday in costume, and the Gourmet Chocolate Walk in San Francisco as “grownup trick or treating” on Saturday afternoon, so I still didn’t get the chance to carve a pumpkin after all…darn! Maybe next year…except that since Halloween will be on a Sunday, I’ll probably barely have party stuff cleaned up enough for the photo shoot while I get trick or treaters at my door… 🙂
So, on with the Halloween 2009 Party Post-Mortem! Another fantastic big bash for Halloween at Castle Brittahytta! Numbers were back up this year to 54 including 6 kids ranging from newborns to teens, and I still absolutely LOVE the enthusiasm of my guests! That makes all the lack of sleep and hard work & pitfalls in party prep totally worth it! 🙂