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Halloween Decorations and Viewing Have Begun

I pulled out the Halloween decorations yesterday. Last year I didn’t decorate the house interior at all so I’m doing much better this time around.

I also finished my DIY Halloween wreath. I wasn’t able to find black feathers so I used red instead. I like it – but at the same time I don’t. It’s hard to explain.

Halloween Wreath

I do like my DIY spider, though. Just painted a couple of differently sized Styrofoam balls black and then covered that with glitter glue, joined them with a wooden dowel, stuck in eight black pipe cleaners (cut in half) and voila! Sparkly Spider.

I was going to dye the gauze black but found that it works the way it came. Looks like bloody spider webs, bwa ha ha ha!

We have started our Halloween horror movie viewing. Last week my husband received a review copy of Scream 4 and while we didn’t think it was the best of the franchise we thought it was still a lot of fun. So, we picked up the first three (real cheap) on blu-ray and watched all of them on Friday night.

Scream Franchise

That third one was pretty weak but they were all enjoyable. And man, were they ever so careful with continuity. I was really impressed. I especially liked the fact that Sidney was wearing her boyfriend’s fraternity letters from the second film throughout the entire third film and it wasn’t even commented upon. It was a nice detail for all the fans of the series.

Last night we watched the Amicus film The House That Dripped Blood, starring three of my famous brits – Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Jon Pertwee. The first time I saw it years ago I only vaguely knew who Jon Pertwee was. I enjoyed watching the film  much  more this time because Pertwee happens to be my favorite Doctor Who.

Pertwee and Pitt

Jon Pertwee and Ingrid Pitt

I am beginning to wonder if I’ll ever see a performance by Jon Pertwee in which he does not wear a ruffled shirt and a cloak. 🙂

Jack ‘O Lantern Ideas for 2011

Every year I scour the internet looking for good, simple and effective Jack ‘O Lantern patterns. I always find way too many and choosing can be very difficult.

Here’s a ‘few’ that I’ve found this year:


Jack O’ Lanterns of the Past

When I was a kid a Jack O’ Lantern had to be carved every year. I believe I helped as soon as I was old enough, but my memory’s a bit fuzzy about that.

However, once I got to high school age that tradition kind of took a back seat. God, teenagers are such drags, aren’t they? I know they were when I was one and I’m sure they’re just the same now. Just with more gadgets.

I’ve been much better about it since meeting my fellow Halloween-o-phile husband (hey – is there a ‘real’ word for that affliction? Let’s find out. Almighty Google – is there a technical term for those who adore Halloween? Nope, doesn’t look like it. Closest I could find was Halloween Enthusiast) but I have a missed a year here or there.

After watching the movie Trick ‘r Treat (great flick, by the way, HIGHLY recommended) we will never be without one again on Halloween night – and that thing will not be blown out until after midnight. 🙂

Here are some of our Jack O’ Lanterns from the past 7 years:


2004 - Design by Nate Piekos

2004’s design was based on one of the zombie’s from Nate Piekos’ online choose-your-own-adventure zombie story – which he sadly never finished.


2005 - Back off, ya lousy mugs

2005’s lantern was designed by my husband. He was the one that convinced me that simple was the best for cut gourds and he was absolutely right. This is still my favorite lantern.


2006 - Way too Cute for Halloween

In 2006 I carved up a couple of pumpkins I had grown myself. As you can see, I went for ‘cute’ that year, drawing our pets’ faces on the pumpkins. I did later carve these and light them up on Halloween but I never took a picture. I liked how these turned out, but I doubt I’ll go the ‘cute and adorable’ route ever again.


2008 - No Carving, but Plenty of Pumpkins

In 2007 I didn’t carve any pumpkins. We were vacationing during Halloween that year and weren’t home to do anything.

In 2008 I didn’t grow any jack o’ lantern pumpkins – just the pictured Cinderella pumpkins – so I didn’t do any carving that year either. It’s amazing that Burlap Boy didn’t visit and kill us all. Maybe he figured the terror that is our Halloween cat was enough punishment.

Burlap Boy 'Sam'


2009 - Simple is still best

In 2009 I picked up a couple of nice sized gourds at the store and stuck with simple patterns once again. Not my best work, but passable. The bottom was based on that great monster Mike Wazowski.



2010 - All in a Row

In 2010 I got three pumpkins for carving – I only grew pie pumpkins that year, no jack-o-lanterns – and once again went with simple designs. For a couple of weeks they sat on the kitchen steps, grinning at passersby during the day time.

But on Halloween night…

2010 Graveyard

2010 Graveyard

…they lit up our garden graveyard from dusk until after midnight. Unfortunately, this location was a little too far away from the road and you couldn’t really get the full effect from driving by. I still enjoyed building it, though.

This year’s is going to be even better. We’re doing the graveyard again, but next to the road so our hard work can be appreciated by those fool enough to traverse our haunted road on the evilest of evil nights.

And you can be sure that there will be plenty of grinning, grimacing Jacks to protect us from Sammy boy…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

October is only a few days away and you know what that means, right?

October Sky  The Hunt for Red October
Um, well, no, but good try.

No, what October means is HALLOWEEN!

October means Halloween!Since before I could remember I have always loved Halloween. My favorite costume was in 1984. My dad made it. It was a white sheet with the Ghostbusters logo drawn on the front with ‘Ghostbuster in Disguise‘ written underneath. It was nifty.

Nobody got it.

No one would take the time to read it so everyone just thought I was a ghost with the Ghostbusters logo. *sigh* Brilliance is so often unappreciated.

Happy Jack

Happy Jack

Halloween happens to occur during my favorite season of the year.

Autumn Field...with Dog

Autumn Field...with Dog (Photo by me)

Fall is the perfect season for me. Cooler temperatures, low humidity, beautiful foliage – and assuming it’s not debris, buildings or humans, I like it when things fall to the ground. Leaves fluttering in the wind are one of my favorite sights and I get to see this in abundance during the month of October.

Future Jacks

Future Jacks

So, this weekend I will be pulling out the Halloween boxes and choosing what decorations to hang. I hope to finish up my door wreath and maybe make a second for the kitchen door. I normally hang our Pirate Skeleton there but it may be time for a change.

Ah! For the love of FSM! Not that! Anything but that!

Ah! For the love of FSM! Not that! Anything but that!

What have you got planned for the month of October?

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Happy Fall!

It’s the first day of Fall, which happens to be my favorite season. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve already started working on Halloween decorations and –

Wait a second! I’m blogging two days in a row? OMG! It’s the apocalypse! Run! Oh, wait, never mind. It’s just a falling space station. Either way, be sure to duck.

Anyway, since this is my favorite time of the year and I’ve been in a funk lately, I’m trying to cheer myself up by celebrating the season.

I started last night by picking up a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Spice ground coffee.

Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin SpiceI would have preferred whole bean, but my grocery store stopped carrying whole beans, the bastards.

I had my first cup this morning and it was a yummy cup of Autumn.


Halloween Wreath

October is almost here and I’m already getting ready for Halloween. (Yes! Really! It’s not like last year when I didn’t do anything until three days before. Booyah!)

I haven’t finished yet – I’ll post pictures when I do – but my first project is inspired by this awesome Halloween wreath from The Art of Doing Stuff. I love her work and this was one of the first things I saw on her blog.

I have yet to find any black feathers so I bought some red feathers and black Halloween garland. Mine won’t really look much like hers at all (except for the skulls – I was able to find sparkly skulls) but this is my inspiration.

Cast your vote!

I’ve entered an online photo contest held by one of the local Maine newspapers.

If you have a minute, please visit the site and cast your vote. I am entered in the ‘Scenic’ category. You can find my entry by searching the page text for ‘Brandi M. Mills.’

My Year in Pictures

This past year was a pretty routine year – nothing terribly exciting happened, but nothing terribly, well, terrible happened either (unless you count the elections). We did close a few doors behind us that had needed shutting for a while so it was good in that respect, but so many more things are waiting to be done.

Here are some visual aids to show you how this past year toddled along for me and mine.

January and February

January and February 2010

Waiting for Spring

January and February were pretty much the same as every January and February. We stayed inside and hoped for an early Spring.


March 2010

Early Spring Shadows

And we actually got it. It was a bit of a tease – it would be warm and then cold and then warm again – but Spring did come early in 2010. All the plants and flowers were about 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule.

March 2010

Early Buds


April 2010

Spring Cleanup

As soon as the weather was warm for a few days in a row, the first thing I did was clean up the yard. All the outside winter insulation (ugly bags of leaves) were removed, all the sticks were raked and composted and any trash in the yard was gathered and thrown out. Ah, a clean slate.

But, like I said, Spring was a tease is 2010…

April 2010

Emo flower is sad


May 2010

Tidy Garden

In May the garden work began. This year I ‘cleaned up’ the existing garage-side garden by adding a border, some mulch and a rock path. This was my favorite project of the year.

In addition to my own gardens, I made a point to enjoy the wild ‘gardens’ all around me. Seen below is a field Buttercup, worshiping the sun.

May 2010

Reaching for the Sun

In 2009 I created raised beds for my vegetable garden, but they looked horrible. In 2010, I took the time to make sure they were straight and level. I was quite proud of this garden.

May 2010

Straight Lines


June 2010

WHAT DOES IT...oh, it's only one. Meh.

We didn’t have nearly as much rain in the summer of 2010 as we did in 2009, but we had a LOT of rainbows – and even double rainbows (all the way).

I made a few new flower discoveries last summer including Dianthus and Lobelia (seen below).

June 2010

New Discoveries

And, as mentioned above, I kept my eye out for the flowers that nature had to offer – all for free.

June 2010

Black-Eyed Susans


July 2010

How the Garden Grew

The raised beds did make quite a difference and the included birth bath helped attract birds that ate the bad bugs from my vegetable leaves. 2010’s vegetable garden was my most successful so far.

July 2010

Perfect Summer Day

The summer was rather hot in 2010, especially compared to 2009, but as you can see in the above picture, we had several ‘perfect’ days even in the middle of July and through August.

We made sure to take advantage of these days and spent a lot of time outdoors.

July 2010

Summer Cuisine


August 2010

Flower Buttons

August was pretty much a repeat of July, although we got a couple of weeks of really nasty heat.

The upside to that heat was that the tomatoes finally started to ripen…and there were no signs of tomato bugs (hookworms).

August 2010

Almost ready...


September 2010


In 2009 what tomatoes that did ripen (there wasn’t enough sun and the excessive rain caused a lot of them to split) were wiped out overnight by tomato bugs. I only got about a dozen. In 2010 I didn’t have that problem at all. I actually gave dozens away. Woo hoo!

And before I knew it, my favorite season was already upon us. The heat lingered longer than we liked, but it eventually did give way to the cool, crisp air of Autumn.

September 2010

Oncoming Autumn


October 2010

Ghastly Trio

While not the most colorful Fall we’ve seen since moving here, 2010’s Fall season was still beautiful.


Orange Skies

Skies of Gold

November was, as always, a time of packing up the house for winter. Out came the black bags of leaves, away went the garden decorations. The starkness of winter had begun. Election day made it even starker.

November 2010

Snowy Bales


December 2010

Bath, Maine on Christmas Eve

December was a little different for us this year. My mother and step-father visited for Christmas and we got out a bit more and saw some of the state. Even in winter Maine towns are very picturesque.

We didn’t have a lot of snow until the very end of the month, a few days after Christmas. It gave us a beautiful end to the decade.

December 2010

Winter Wonderland