Fall Fun Fridays: The Failing Grade Edition

Tree Collage

Good morning, friends, and welcome to another beautiful autumn Friday!  As of late, the weather around my neck of the global woods has been quite uneven – one moment it’s so cold, we’re all breaking out our toques and parkas, and the next it’s so dank and humid, we’re firing up the air conditioners for one last summery go-round.  But there’s only one way this all ends, and that’s with snow.  I suppose that’ll be here soon enough.

So being the end of the work week and all, it’s time for another edition of Fall Fun Fridays, the casual little blogging challenge I’ve been, let’s face it, whiffing hardcore with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid, who are decidedly not whiffing it.  Excuses, excuses, but my Fall has been rather disrupted by ongoing renovations to our apartment.  They’re not going super well, I keep injuring myself (I’m looking down at a throbbing cut on my thumb right now for which I probably should have sought stitches) and I haven’t been able to put out any of my usual decorations, including my beloved Halloween town.  Here, let’s take a peek at it from two seasons ago; that’ll make me feel peppier.

Halloween Town

Anyhow, all that to say I haven’t exactly been feeling the Fall this year, as the kids might say.  Looks like it’ll take another emergency infusion of Disney’s absolutely bonkers approach to the season to set things right – fortunate, since we’ll be back in about two weeks’ time. 🙂

This week’s prompt contemplated hands-on activities – your favourite Fall recipe, craft or some other DIY-able.  I’m actually right in the midst of putting together some fortifying chicken stew for dinner tonight with my parents – that seems like a very autumn dish.  But it won’t be ready for – *checks time* – oh, another five or so hours!  So until the timer goes off, I’d kindly direct you on over to my friends’ blogs, where they’re sure to have pulled out all the seasonal stops.  Happy weekend, friends; hope you get a few moments to get out there and enjoy all it has to offer.

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Fall Fun Series: Halloween Town

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Not to be confused with Jack Skellington’s Halloween Town, this is MY Halloween town, a little cluster of much-loved Department 56 lighted buildings and accessories that I’ve been collecting since my mid-20s.  Last Friday’s call-to-action in the Fall Fun Series was to show off our Halloween decorations – clearly running a bit behind on that one, but my creepy little off-the-highway amusement park takes some time to set up, and pretty well encompasses the totality of my Halloween decorations – and I thought it would be fun to share my seasonal setup with you all.  So pay your admissions – the ticket-taker is dead excited to receive your business – and join me on a little jaunt through the haunts of my Halloween town, won’t you?

First stop is the Dead End Motel, which, burnt-out lights, rickety porch and general disrepair aside, is still moving ahead with its plans to host the Gravely wedding party. I hope they’re cool with accidental skylights and the very good possibility that the handsome bachelor innkeeper will creep on them through a peephole in the wall while they’re undressing.

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Swinging clear across to the other side of town, we have Gravely Manor, a once-proud, now-haunted Victorian badly in need of some tender loving care.  Actually, that could be said about everything in town (regrettably, nearly every single one of these incredibly fragile pieces is damaged in some fashion, despite my better efforts to store them soundly. I guess I’m fortunate in that burnt-out lights, snapped tree limbs and a carousel that won’t actually turn go with the general aesthetic of a creepy amusement park, but of course I’d prefer it if they weren’t damaged in the first place.)

Speaking of damaged, I don’t know WHAT this child’s damage is, but every year she takes great delight in standing outside Gravely Manor and pointing at this poor skeleton dude taking his final nature break.  Jeez, a little privacy, please!

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Once again swinging back to the other side of town, we have the Black Cat Diner, my favourite.  Actually, the diner was an anniversary gift from Mr. Finger Candy one year. And then behind the diner we have the haunted carriage house, which has been burning steadily for over 15 years.  It’s also the first building I ever bought, so I suppose we can blame it for touching off this madness!

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To the right of the diner we have the now-defunct Spinning Pumpkins ride, out of operation pretty well from the moment I took it out of the box.  So no five-star rating for that Ebay vendor.  Nor for the vendor through which we bought the Haunted Carousel, which has likewise stopped turning.  Actually, that one chaps my hide pretty badly – the carousel is the largest and most expensive item in the Halloween series, but very poorly constructed. All the same, as long as its lights are still on, it remains the creepy caramel centre – look at the gorgeous bat detailing along the roof! – of my little haunted amusement park.

carousel

Just behind and to the right of the carousel lies the Scaredy Cat Ferris Wheel, the Haunted Fun House and – in a blur – the Swinging Ghoulies swing ride.  I love roller coasters, thrill rides and other amusement park attractions, but yikes, I can’t handle swing rides at all – it’s a one-way ticket to Nausea Town.  Even just watching these guys zip back and forth is making me feel a bit ill!

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Finally, we have the lone residence in my Halloween Town – the kind of place I’ve always figured a Halloween-loving person like myself would call home (you know, should she find herself living in a rundown, way off-the-highway haunted amusement park.  Hmm, sounds like I just wrote my first Stephen King novel.) 😉

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We’ll now conclude this tour with one final shot of the town all lit up (save and except one or two broken stalwarts) in the mid-day gloom of an unexpected October snowstorm.  Ooh pretty (and so very flashing orange!)  I hope you enjoyed this little tour through my town. I know I did – it’s been a couple of years since I last laid out the whole shebang, and I’ve really relished the opportunity to share it with you through the Fall Fun Series.

P.S. Have your hand stamped at the gate for reanimation.  I mean readmission. 😉

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Halloween Town (31DC2015)

NBC Hand

I recently celebrated this blog’s second anniversary, with my second nail art-iversary also coming a few months before that. One of my favourite memories from those very early days was the afternoon I decided to tackle a super detailed mani depicting Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was such a cocky little twit, overly confident in my still fairly non-existent nail art abilities – it never occurred to me that working with a dark, predominantly purple palette in itty bitty micro detail would be, you know, difficult or anything. So was it? Yes, of course! Hair-pullingly difficult, actually – the tufts I ripped out above my temples are only just now growing back. 😉 It was an exercise in pure crazy, and as proud as I was of them at the time, I was in way over my head. Observe:

Old NBC

So nearly two years to the day that I did those original Nightmare nails, I decided to revisit Halloween Town for day 29’s theme of supernatural in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge, just to see how much my technique had (hopefully) improved. And guess what? It improved a lot! Behold the learning curve on two years of nearly daily manis, friends – practice really does make perfect (or perfect enough for now.)

And really, in the case of these two manis, it’s not so much the difference that time and practice have made – it’s just being confident enough in my abilities as a nail artist and a blogger to know what will work (a matte topcoat, because glossy topcoats throw too much glare) and what won’t (shitty bathroom lighting, wonky hand positions and dry, chapped hands!) It’s the little things. Glad I had the opportunity to try this design again and do it up right.

NBC Fingers