Tag Archives: pumpkin

Halloween 2011- Silent Movie Star in Grayscale – costume

Being one of the most creative holidays, Halloween is by far my favorite. It lets you create & become new things. Carving pumpkins, creating costumes and dressing up are some of the best parts. I love costumes that really transform a person. They might be subtle or elaborate but they do something interesting all the same. I’m a huge fan of making costumes and would be perfectly happy being hired to make someone’s Halloween costume (just try to book me during the summer 😉 ).

Here’s this year’s costume-

My main costume this year was a silent movie star. There are quite a few things I’d improve if I were to do it again, but overall it’s not bad. Inspired by (AMC’s ?) Silent Sunday Nights, a night of silent movies on TV :), I decided to go the silent movie star route for Halloween, complete with high contrast gray scale. Think Clara Bow style old silent BW movies.

After much searching and review reading, I found the perfect wig. I never found quite the right jewelry, so I pulled out some old rhinestone pieces that  worked pretty well. Unable to find affordable and appropriate clothes, I pieced together a velvet dress with a layers flowy skirt (both from the thrift store) I wore low to give it a 20’s feel paired with some gray mary janes and black gloves. The wig really made it more than anything.

It was a dramatic transformation that took about an hour. (scroll down for better shots)

The flash really reflects off all that make up! I wish I’d gotten some better shots with more colorful backgrounds to compare it to with better lighting. The makeup is actually a subtle gray that I mixed myself with some kyolan aquacolor liquids with Urban Decay’s all nighter spray over it.

It worked reasonably well but it required so much to be fully opaque that it dried super tight. I have very little variation in expression in the shots because I could barely move my face with how tight it got! It eventually cracked and flaked some. For something that was suppose to be crease and crack proof, I was  surprised. However, the all nighter spray and my novice application probably had something to do with that. It was nearly impossible to apply the rest of the makeup over it the way I wanted because the finish was basically like thick tempera paint. So, the eyes and lips didn’t quite get the way I’d intended and I didn’t bother trying to contour or highlight with such an odd finish.

The good thing was that I didn’t have to worry about it smearing or getting on stuff once it was dry. Absolutely no problems there. And, because it’s water based, it washed off remarkably easily. Really, just some warm water and it was gone! It was the easiest makeup I’ve ever had to take off.

light gray gloves and white or gray tights would have been better but they seem to be really hard to find!

The other thing I wished I’d had was a chalk board to write captions on. The cracking super tight paint makeup really limited expression which is one aspect you really need as a silent movie actress so that was a little disappointing.

Overall, not bad. It surprised people for sure. I think it’d be fun to do with a group of people to a big public party and use the chalk boards and maybe even a musical accompaniment :). Maybe next year!

Happy Halloween!


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Filed under Neat thing I had to show you, New pursuit

Halloween 2011- Hatching Dino Pumpkin

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite holiday activities, heck one of my favorite activities period. I’m always looking for new things to try.

I carved three pumpkins this year, but I think this one was my favorite. It’s the first pumpkin I’ve done that’s been completely carved with no cutting. It was conceived as a hatching dinosaur but it looks just as much like a hatching crocodile, alligator or lizard.

the pumpkin I used was really a squash but they were right there mixed in with the pumpkins. It seemed obvious that it was meant to be a hatching dinosaur.

The squash/pumpkin is really neat. The outer skin is the gray green color you see as the shell. The inside then goes from a dark green through to yellow and then down into a bright pumpkin orange. I didn’t know this before getting it but I think I’ll look for one again next year just so I can use those colors on purpose.

the head gives a pretty decent look at the range of colors. And I used the seeds as teeth. However, I couldn’t get them to stand up quite right and they were about a thousand times more slippery than any pumpkin seed I’ve seen.

I did cut a hole and hollow it out a bit so that it would sit level. That made carving it easier.

The best thing is that it seems to survive better than the average pumpkin. The day after carving, we put it in the crisper drawer of the fridge. A week later we took it out and it looked exactly the same. I’ve had it out now for a few days and there is no sign of decay, rot or mold. The face is hard and dry to the touch which I haven’t seen happen with a pumpkin, even those I’ve tried to carve in a similar manner.

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Pumpkin Decay- the Ultrafuzz, not for the squeamish

In my last post I showed you our carved pumpkins. We were quite happy with them. However, the pumpkin crop here in IL has been most terrible this year. And it may be related or not but we had some of the most phenomenal, rapid, spontaneous pumpkin decay I’ve ever seen.

The pumpkins were fine when I went to work that Monday morning. I came home in the afternoon to find the large pumpkin like this: (if you can’t handel icky things, DO NOT LOOK AT THE PICTURES.

This is the eye:


The whole face didn’t fare much better:


The top had fallen in and the entire inside was covered in fuzy white webs:


You really don’t get the full effect from the pictures. There were several candles inside. You couldn’t see them anymore on account of the fuzz…

My pumpkin decayed like a normal pumpkin. It got wrinkles and shriveled and because of its mouth looked particularly like an old person. (need to find pictures still)

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Filed under Mishap, New pursuit


This year, like every other year, we carved pumpkins. We went to a farm about 40 minutes away to pick some pumpkin. Around here ‘pick’ still just means go take one from the massive pile of pumpkins, something I still find dissapointing compared to the traditional hayride in New England, tripping over vines and pokey things to find your pumpkin a good couple hundred yards away in a big field. Anyway, we got pumpkins. I actually got two. One of them was this fascinating peanut like shape with huge viens through the top I thought I would make into a bird’s talon’s grabbing the pumpkin. The otehr was a much more reasonably size, quite round but square cute one. My husband got one that was a good 35 pounds and round and wide.

my peanut shaped pumpkin (and some cider)

my peanut shaped pumpkin (and some cider)

This weekend was pumpkin carving weekend. We had kept the pumpkins in the car to keep them cool and because we didn’t ahve a place to store pumpkins inside. To my dismay when we got to the pumpkincarving party, my larger most interesting pumpkin was found to be squishy on it’s top side. We found the next day when we removedit from the back seat that it was far more gone than simply squishy. Serious disapointment but I suppose the decay could have been worse. A tiny mishap perhaps?

It took me a long time to decide what to do with my cute round pumpkin. I normally do something I tend to be fairly proud of, always free hand and typically more than simply a face. Last year I did a bulldog (though it was easily mistaken for a tiger) and the year before a very ferocious pirana pumpkin (yesyes the spelling) which went on to be featured in a short fillm where it fought with my research text book.In college I had done a myriad of complex spiderwebs, creatures and of course faces.

poorly done bulldog/tiger:

Bulldog, 2008

Bulldog, 2008

'Pirana Pumpkin'

'Pirana Pumpkin'

This animation is all I could find of PIrana Pumpkin. You don’t getthe full effect. It had detailed scales, fins, spines and a tail. There must be a proper picture somewhere…

I wish pumpkin carving was more accepted year round and that pumpkins were available year round. But then I suppose it would loose some of the intrigue.  [Why not carve watermelons in summer? ] I think it’d be awesome to be a professional carver, but I know that’d probably steal some of the fun away as well.

Needless to say, this year’s went a bit more traditional but I think it still has some character. I tried out the idea for the talons but it didn’t go quite the way I was intending and this pumpkin didn’t ahve nearly the pronounced veins as my other. I found a squishy spot on the front of this one as well but it played into the features of the mouth quite nicely.



My husband went for a traditional face inspired by the pumpkin king pumpkin at the beginning of the Nightmare before Christmas. It is quite menacing. And given it’s only the third pumpkin he’s ever carved, it’s quite marvelous.



His is made doubly eerie by the super bright LED flashlight that’s lighting it up in the above pictures. I’m working on a way to keep something like that lighting them up for Halloween next week. I’ll have to update with pictures with the lights on as well.

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Filed under Backstory, Mishap, New pursuit