Removing Splinters

This time of year is always busy for me, as I hang out in the garage a lot….making wood tombstones to sell. I love creating new designs and definitely, working with any wood project that I might get into!  Right now, I am smiling from ear to ear as I create some awesome tombstones that everyone loves. Thanks so much, if you have purchased one of my handmade designed wood tombstones – – removing the splinters from my fingers is my reward for your happiness!

Working Hard

Here’s me and my good ole Craftsman Evolv Jigsaw hard at work!

Boogie Tombstone

This is one of my wood tombstones as I work on cutting out the boogie man’s face in the tombstone. It is not as easy as you may think to do this.

Tombstones Made by Val

Here are five of my many wood tombstone designs, with varying heights and widths. Each come with a wood stand that gets screwed into the bottom of the tombstone and two eight inch metal spikes to hold the tombstone into the ground. If you know of anyone that would love to purchase one of these, get a hold of me!

Gosh, do you love love love Halloween as much as I do?

The Boogie Man Is Coming

With the arrival of August, there is only one thing on my mind…Halloween! I am starting to get into full Halloween mode and have already started a few more paper mache pumpkins which I will be posting about soon. But, I wanted to show you my latest Halloween craft project, the Boogie Man.

If you don’t already know, a few years ago I started creating wood tombstones because I found that I was tired of chasing our Styrofoam tombstones down the street. The Styrofoam ones are really neat, but they are not practical with all the high winds we get around here in October. So the creation of wood tombstones was born!

I quickly filled up our yard over the last few years with nice durable wood tombstones in varying designs, shapes, and sizes and I no longer have to chase them down the street.

I am always doodling new designs and I came up with the Boogie Man. He looked really good on my sticky note, so I decided to try to hand draw him bigger. I started off by cutting a large box open and lay it flat on the floor, as this will be my template for when I cut it out of wood. Then I go to work hand drawing the design onto the cardboard. I lightly draw my design until I get the right size and shape, and then trace over it with a Sharpie Marker.


Then, I use an X-acto knife to carefully cut out the cardboard design. This part is really time consuming and you need to make sure that you have more cardboard under your cardboard piece so you don’t cut the floor or your carpet accidentally. (I am very careful with this step)


Once the design is all cut out of the cardboard, my template is now ready to trace on a piece of wood. I normally use pressed wood for my tombstones, but I got a nice free piece of 1/2″ plywood and decided to use this for my Boogie Man. (getting a free piece of wood is like candy to me!)


Now that my design is all traced onto the plywood, I need to drill a nice sized hole in the areas that need to be cut out. I do this so I can insert my Jigsaw blade into that area.


I carefully insert the Jigsaw blade into the drill hole and start cutting out my design slowly. The first thing that I noticed is that cutting plywood is so much nicer than pressed wood because the wood does not splinter with the blade.


I really love working with wood and creating new Halloween props! By the way, this Craftsman evolv Jigsaw that I am using is variable speed and you can change the blades really quickly.


The Boogie Man is almost complete! Isn’t he adorable!


The only thing that I need to cut out is the base for the wood tombstone.


This is the completed Boogie Man tombstone that I designed. I love the open design and I am now thinking a bit further on how to make this tombstone better. Since most tombstones you place in your yard are only seen from the front, I might take some frosted thick shelf liner and glue a piece behind the design, then add a light so the Boogie Man lights up. I am sure an awesome red or purple glow behind the Boogie Man will do the trick. I will do an updated post on what I decide to do to finish off the Boogie Man.

So, what are you doing to prepare for the arrival of Halloween? Have you started any paper mache pumpkins this year? I hope so, because it takes time to complete these projects, so you need to prepare in advance!


Halloween Snuck Into My Weekend

It does not surprise me, or probably you if you know me, that Halloween snuck into my weekend in a big way.  You all know that I have been busy working on all of my paper mache pumpkins and paper mache fireplace, and this weekend I kicked it up a notch and got the chance to get some painting done.


I got the final black coat of paint on the fireplace and let it sit out in the sun today to dry.  I missed the entire Brown’s home opener game, but that’s ok as I heard that they lost in a big way. (does not surprise me at all)   We went to Pat Catans craft store this weekend in the hopes of finding a diamond stencil to use on the front & sides of the fireplace, and we had no luck.  So instead, I found a Zig Zag stencil that I am going to use to stencil a white zig and a lot of zags across the fireplace.  I can’t wait to get started working on the stenciling part, so hold tight for a little bit to see the results!



As for my Jack Skeleton paper mache pumpkin, I had to cutout a slit in the bottom of the pumpkin so I could get the camping light inside.  The hole I originally cut was only just big enough to pull out all the stuffing, but not big to insert the camping light, so I had to make a little tweak to getting the light in.  I spray painted the first coat of Rustoleum Marigold inside the pumpkin, as I have read that you should use a color that is bright so your light glows brighter.  I then lightly spray painted the outside of the pumpkin black so it covers the newspaper well.  I will then spray paint the pumpkin orange on top of the black to finish coloring the pumpkin.  After these colors dry, I will seal the pumpkin both inside and out with a clear sealant.

Our Jack Skeleton pumpkin almost caught on fire tonight too when I put the camping light inside of it.  I turned on the light and walked outside to take a photograph to see how the Marigold color looks and when I came back into the house to set my camera down, I turned around and smoke was coming out of his eyes!  I ran to Jack and saw that the camping light was smoking and got my Sweetie to pull the light out.  We switched batteries in the camping light from regular AA batteries to a Lithium battery and they must have been too much for the camping light as it got fried.  So now we need to head back up to the Dollar Store to purchase another one.  Thank God the pumpkin did not catch on fire with all the fresh spray paint on it!  When we get a new camping light, we are definitely only going to use regular AA batteries in it this time!


Keeping up with the Halloween weekend, we sold a few of our wood tombstones that we have on eBay.  I just finished cutting out and sanding these two and another sale came in for one more.  WOW!  I guess everyone is thinking of Halloween, and it’s not only just us!  (and yes, I know how to use power tools too!)



Our front porch has a little Fall coloring going on too, as our Marigolds are blooming in bright colors and I added our little glass pumpkin to the planter and lit a tealight in it tonight.  Right on the step of the porch sits my cement X & O and cement skull to add the perfect touch!


And just when I thought the weekend was over and all the Halloween stuff was done, evening set in and provided yet another remarkable Halloween scene.  The sun was setting in beautiful colors that illuminated the black wood bat that proudly is perched on top of our mailbox post.  What a great weekend we had full of Halloween!  I wonder what next week will hold for us?!

Preparing for Halloween 2012

Halloween always takes me back to my childhood, of the good ole days when we trick-or-treated around the neighborhood, but I lived in the country so there were no sidewalks and it was tough on all of us to collect lots of candy since the houses were far apart.  But living in the city now, we have to prepare for the massive amounts of little goblins, lady gaga look-a-likes, skeletons, some presidential candidates, and lots of neighbors passing out jello shots.  Oh, the times have changed since I was younger, as I could never image my parents passing out jello shots to the parents back when I was younger, although that would have been real funny to see that!  But, Halloween is just not for kids these days!

In the past few weeks, we have been in full force getting all of our Halloween props out of storage, checking our stock of extension cords, flood lights, and fog juice and every year we try to come up with a new idea for the yard, and this year, we have gone a little overboard!  We saw these really neat 6′ tall skeletons online at KMart and we knew that we wanted them!  We purchased three of them to add to our home haunt and so far, they have made a big hit!  People have been slowing down as they pass the house to take a look at what we have done and a few have stopped to take a picture or two.  So, with the skeletons purchased, we needed to make something truly remarkable to go along with them in the front yard, and we thought that we should make a casket.  We were going to make the casket out of cardboard, but then thought against it, since the cardboard would fall apart if it rained so we noticed that we had a lot of pallets behind the garage that we collected over the summer and started cutting up the pallets and created a wood casket for the skeletons to carry.  We are amazed on how well it turned out and now the skeletons & casket are the focal point in our front yard.

We stood the skeletons up in the yard and attached them to some metal poles with some tie strips – one, for they would not fall down, and two, so no one gets the idea to steal any of them.  It would be hard for them to grab them and run, because those metal poles are so far down in the ground, that they would never be able to pull them out (without being caught).  We would love to think that people would be honest and just leave our props alone, but we have to take precautions and make sure that everything is tied down.  That is why we wait until the morning of Halloween to bring out the really expensive props, like our animatronic Jason Voorhees or Freddy, as these guys really put the scare in the kids.

We have handmade all of our tombstones in the yard out of wood, painted them, stenciled and then sealed them well with a clear coat to protect them from the weather.  We decided to not use our styrofoam tombstones any longer since all we did was chase them when they blew down the street from the high winds.  We got a little creative in what we stenciled on our tombstones like:  High Gas Prices Killed Me, Texting Killed Me, the word Economy with blood dripping off the letters (lots of parents got a kick out of this one), and we are still working on a few more that need to get finished before Halloween night.  We also found some cheap black bird at the Dollar Store and we used the staple gun to attach them to the top of the tombstones which adds a nice detail to the graveyard.  Sometimes, it’s the little things like paying attention to the little details that make all the difference in your graveyard.

And don’t think that we have forgot about our dogs when it comes to Halloween, as we have already picked out their costumes!  Since I was sick for almost a month with a bad chest cold, I ran out of time to make their costumes myself, so we decided to find something at the store instead.  Bella is going to be a skunk (since she is a little stinker) and Nikita is going to be a squirrel (since she loves to chase them in the backyard).  Bella did not seem to mind her costume when we tried it on her, but Nikita looks so sad when we dress her up as she really hates any kind of thing that is on her head.  In her costume, Nikita has a squirrel hat that she has to wear, so we are not sure as to how long she will keep this on.  That’s ok though as long as I can get a few good photographs of her costume on her before we have to take it off.

Stay tuned as we transform our front yard in our nice quiet neighborhood into a remarkable home haunt!

2012 Halloween Product Catalog

We are excited to show you our 2012 Halloween Catalog (Click Here to View Catalog) and with only 121 days left until the witching hour is here, we keep reminding you that you need to shop now to pick up your props and decorations.  Most every retailer of Halloween products are showcasing their products the beginning of July because they know that they sell out fast, and once the products are gone…..they are gone & they don’t restock!   Our product catalog can’t possibly fit all of our product, but we wanted to share with you some of our hottest Halloween props & decorations.  Once you click on the PDF of the product catalog, you can click on any photo and it will take you directly to that specific product. 

Now is the time to get your ducks skeletons in a row and make sure you are ready for Halloween.  You don’t want to be unprepared with your props, as it’s like running out of candy and the trick-or-treators are still arriving.  Be prepared!   Also, keep checking back on our eBay store, as we will be adding more inventory every week until Halloween!

What Do You Want On Your Tombstone?

No, this does not have anything to do with Tombstone Pizza, rather it has all to do about Halloween Tombstones!  We make handmade wood tombstones from pressed wood for Halloween (not sure if you knew this) and we sell them on our eBay store.  We got this idea last year as we were frustrated with our own styrofoam tombstones falling down in our yard every year from the wind, so we set out to design some tombstones for ourselves, and when they turned out better than what we originally thought, we decided to add them to our eBay inventory and they have gone over well. 

We have a lot of designs to choose from, so take your pick!  Here’s what we do for you:  We hand cut your wood tombstone from pressed wood, then sand it smooth, then we cut a wood base for you, and also include the screws for the base and the two 7″ spikes to pound into the ground.  What do you do?  When you receive your wood tombstone, you paint & finish it the way you want or add some creative tombstone epitaphs with stencils, then make sure you add a clear coat when you’re all done to help seal the wood from the outside elements. 

Here are some of the designs we have for sale on our eBay store, and keep checking back, as we will be adding more designs before Halloween. 

Listed below are some of the tombstones that we have finished / painted for our front yard, just to give you an idea of how you can paint or stain your own tombstones.  Be creative, as the more creative you are, the better your tombstone will turn out. 

We know that it is just June now, but with Halloween about 127 days away, planning for the witching hour takes time.  Even if you are planning on purchasing some new Halloween props this year, our advice to you is to SHOP EARLY as all of the places that sell Halloween props & decorations always sell out early and they don’t restock their inventory either!  Once it’s gone, it’s gone!  So, shop early to get the cool stuff you want, or you will only be left with the items that no one else wants.   Here is the link to our eBay store, and where you can purchase a tombstone for yourself!


Halloween is Coming…Are You Ready?

Halloween is only 148 days away and we are getting ready for our favorite time of year.  We have a great selection of Halloween products & home decorations to fit all of your needs from a simple Halloween placemat to animated foggers for your own home haunt.  We also have handmade wood tombstones available for you to paint & personalize the way you want for your front yard without fear of them falling down like the styrofoam ones do in a wind.  There are so many things to choose from, so we know that you will be able to find something that will perk your interest. 

Halloween is not only for kids anymore, as more and more adults (like us) have a lot of fun decorating for the witching hour.  For example, last year we made a cemetery gateway out of boxes and created a lighted entrance for our trick-or-treaters to walk through and had our fog machines setup to add a smokey entrance for all the kids.  They loved it and just stood there in the fog that eerily hung in the air around them!  Halloween for us, is all about creativity – the more creative you are, the greater the effect.

Halloween would not be complete without a great pumpkin to carve.  Instead of heading out to a store to buy a pumpkin, why not try growing your own?  We grew Connecticut Field Pumpkins last year and dried our seeds, and now you can purchase some of our seeds for yourself!  We had so much fun growing our pumpkins last year and watching them grow, as the leaves grew to more than 17″ in size and produced 20 pound pumpkins! 

Check out our Halloween products today and see if we have something to fit your needs, and check back often as we add things weekly!   Happy Haunting!

NOTE:  Click on any photo to be redirected to our eBay Store for product information.




Halloween Candy Tips – How Much is Enough?

Do you wonder every year….”How Much Candy do I Purchase” for the trick-or-treaters?  I can help!  We usually base the amount of candy on the number of kids from previous years, and although this is a good way to judge on the amount of candy you should purchase, last year it was not enough.  We purchased all of our candy and packaged them nicely in those adorable Halloween treat bags and we ran out!  We got almost double the amount of goblins & cowboys last year, so we had to use our reserve candy for all the extra kids that arrived.  We were not happy with that because we saved some of the good candy bars for us to eat later, but at least the kids were happy and got candy.  As for us, we did not get to snack on anything.  So, if you are finding yourself wondering on how much candy to purchase this year, use my Halloween Candy Counter to judge on how much candy to purchase. 

Halloween is a fun time of year and all ages enjoy it!  As you are well aware, my Daddy & Mommy can’t wait for the witching hour and are scurrying around getting their Halloween props ready for their own home haunt.  I heard Daddy say that we’re going to put up our tombstones this weekend, so you will have to wait for the photographs of the setup process.  Mommy has more than 13 new wood tombstones cut for the front yard, and she will start painting them this week.  Don’t forget that if you wanted to purchase a tombstone (or two) there is still enough time to do that & paint them yourself before Halloween.  These wood tombstones will last longer than the typical styrofoam tombstones you purchase from a store because they are made from pressed wood and if you seal them good with primer & a good clear top coat, you can enjoy them for years to come. 

Here is the regular photo of Me & Mommy

Also, Halloween is fun because you can dress up!  Not only can you dress up in something scary, funny, or cute, you also can enhance your photographs with some neat Halloween Effects.  My Mommy did just that with one of her photographs that Daddy took of me and her.  She added a “ghoulish” facial effect to herself and it looks really creepy!  Glad that Mommy does not look like this normally, but it sure is hilarious to see my Mommy looking like a ghoul.

Mommy as a Ghoul

Now, it’s time to pull out all of your Halloween decorations!  I am sure that every year your Halloween decorations increase, as you run across a neat item or two when you are out and about, and that’s awesome!  Pull them out now and start decorating!  Mommy started yesterday and pulled out their neat Halloween Willow Tree that has orange lights on it.  (They are selling a Willow Tree too and you can find it on their website – They only have one left!)  They put this out in the yard for Halloween, but enjoy it first by placing it indoors in the living room to make the room glow orange.  Next, will be our animatronic props that will come out which scare the pants off of me (if I only wore pants), and I growl at them when they move.  I still remember that black cat with an arched back that I was scared of last year, but I was just a little puppy then and probably did not know any better that it wouldn’t hurt me. 

Let me know if my Halloween Candy Counter helped you out!

Fall is Definitely Upon Us

The weather has done a 360 on us here in Cleveland, the winds have whipped up some unbelievable arctic air drafts over the weekend, the leaves are coming down so fast that they blanket the entire yard, and we have to run interference from the chipmunks nibbling on our pumpkins.  Every time I need to go outside, I get so distracted because just when I find a spot to go, a leaf blows by me and I have to chase it.  Ok, I found another spot to go, swoooosh there goes another leaf – gotta go get it.  Mommy was getting annoyed with me this weekend as it took double the time for me to go since there was so much “action” in the yard.  I heard her saying out loud, “what is it with dogs anyways that they have to sniff and sniff and sniff the same spot a thousand times before they actually go?”  I don’t know why we walk all over the exact same spots we just sniffed, only to turn around and do it again, sniff sniff sniff, oh wait, did I miss a spot, while Mommy is standing there behind me in the pouring rain getting soaked waiting for me to find the right spot so I can go.  I guess the world will never know why us dogs do this, but we do.

As you can see from the photograph above, Daddy’s pumpkin is almost completely orange and he will be cutting it off the vine soon.  (we even saw 2 little ghosts in his pumpkin patch too)  The vines are all dying and shriveling up which marks the end to this pumpkin plant for the year.  We had a fun time watching it grow from a tiny little sprout, to what we think is about a 10+ lb. pumpkin.  One thing that I never knew, or would have never known if we never tried growing our own pumpkin, was the fact that at the bottom of every pumpkin is where a flower once bloomed & was pollinated.  If the flower does not get pollinated, then the pumpkin will not grow.  Interesting fact, one that we did not know.  So when you are at the store picking out your pumpkin, turn it over and look at the bottom and you will know that a flower once bloomed there! 

Mommy finished her EEK and we have it sitting on our bookshelf.  It is amazing how good she has become with a jigsaw and she surprises Daddy with all of her creations.  She also made us a bat for our back door and stenciled “Beware” on it.  Now comes the fun part, since Daddy & Mommy has sold tons of their wood tombstones already, she has been trying to keep their own supply of wood tombstones up so that they have some to put in their yard for Halloween.  Mommy has to start painting all of their supply of tombstones now to get them ready for the yard, and she will most definitely take a photograph or two of how they look out in the yard.  They can’t wait to see how it all ties into together with their other Halloween props!  Even our “Uncle Dave” emailed us and said that he wants to come over to see our yard for Halloween!  I hope he does stop by as we will make sure we have a candy bag ready for him! 

Mommy created another interesting dinner item:  Cheese & Garlic Pita Wedges, and she thought that she would share the recipe with you.  Go ahead and make some tonight or have them with your spaghetti or chilli, as these would go nicely with them. 

4 White Pita Bread Slices
4 Ounces Butter, melted
3 Cloves Garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Basil
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

How to Make:
Split the pita bread in half, cut each half into 4 wedges.  Combine the butter, garlic and basil, brush over cut side of bread wedges, then sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese.  Place in single layer on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until crisp.   NOTE:  You can also make these using tortillas if you don’t have pita bread.

Anyhow, I hope everyone had a great weekend and stayed nice & warm, as Mommy is going to pull out my winter fleece sweater for me to wear soon.  Keep your finger crossed too because the Browns play the Titans today at 1:00pm – Go Browns! 

Ripe & Ready to Pick!

Gardening is great!  It seems to always be a lot of work getting the yard ready for Summer, but for those of us who enjoy it, it’s not work at all, but pure joy!  For example, for the first time ever, Mommy finally got two baby cherry tomato plants that Daddy picked out for her, and it was her first time ever that she tried “container gardening”, and today will be the first time that we can pick our first two cherry tomatos!  Mommy has been babying her tomato plants and actually brings them in every night so the deer won’t eat them.  So, all of her hard work is finally paying off with her first two tomatoes! 

Even Daddy got into the fun and planted some pumpkin seeds!  He started his seeds back in May, but with all the rain we got, it actually killed out the seeds, so he planted yet another whole pack of seeds and had success.  Now, if we could only figure out how to keep the little rodents away from eating the little pumpkin plants that are sprouting, that would be awesome!  Since Daddy and Mommy love Halloween, they decided that they would try some pumpkin seeds to see if they could grow their own pumpkins to carve on Halloween!  We’ll have to keep you informed on how that goes!  Daddy’s prize pumpkin (the largest one) actually has some huge blooms on it, so we think that we’ll have a chance with this one!

Mommy is still cutting and sanding tombstones!  She has about 10 cut & sanded so far, and they are looking great!  Daddy & Mommy went to Pat Catans and purchased some 6″ wood letters R.I.P. to add to the tombstones for some flair.  If anyone has any suggestions on what she can add to the tombstones or any great websites to share, let her know.  How do you think she is doing so far?  By the time Halloween rolls around (which is only 115 days away) she’ll have tons of new tombstones for the front yard! 

Well, the weekend is upon us and I can’t wait to see what I’ll get into – – probably another trip to Disneyland (aka PetSmart) and I’ll have to start checking out the toys they have so I can tell Santa what I want for Christmas!

Woof at you later…Nikita