Saturday, November 9, 2019

Our 2019 Party Theme Revealed! ...And It *MIGHT* Remind You Of Something

Since John and I got so carried away with our Ghostbusters Halloween we're pretty far behind on our Christmas party, which we host in early December. 

Yep, we've only got a month to go. EVERYBODY PANIC.

Not only that, we've decided we're not doing a Harry Potter theme this year. (I KNOW WHAT) I'm sure we'll return to the Wizarding World in the future, but I wanted to try a different fandom this year, just to shake things up and give myself some new crafting options.

Are you ready for this?

Here we go:

Aww yeeeeeah.

 If you've been with me a while then this is no surprise; I've been talking about a Labyrinth Christmas tree for years

The problem with such an obscure theme, of course, is that we have to make everything from scratch. Unlike Harry Potter, you can't run to the mall and pick up ready-made stockings or ornaments. (Plus do you know how expensive fake peaches are? REALLY DARN EXPENSIVE.)

Still, I'm trying to approach this year's party with a little more silliness and a lot less perfectionism, and just focus on doing what we can in a month while still having fun with it. Our Halloween builds reminded me just how fun crafting can be when you have zero expectations or pressures, so fingers crossed this new theme will help me realize I don't have to keep out-doing myself every year.

Plus, c'mon. A Labyrinth themed Christmas party? That's just BEGGING to be ridiculous.

So yes, we're absolutely turning our bathroom into the Bog of Eternal Stench, and we'll have a goblin-themed Christmas tree decorated with tiny pieces of armor and chicken feathers, and there will hopefully be games like "Pin The Leg On The Firey." Anything that makes me and John laugh is up for consideration, so if you have an idea, tell me in the comments!

We've started making some iconic elements from the Labyrinth, so let me walk you through some of our early failures and successes.

First, the failure:

It was around this point that I realized I'd made a tinfoil Sonny Eclipse:
Ha! Whoops.

I kept plugging away, though:

 Hopefully you recognize him more now?

Then my friend Karen came over and helped me start covering him in clay.

 I decided to try out Model Magic clay, since I'd heard good things, but this was a huge mistake. It doesn't blend very well, and it's impossible to carve since it has a rubbery foam texture.

 After a few hours of refining and smoothing Karen & I got it to look like this:

 .. which isn't terrible, but there were some definite problems with my ear placement, and the muzzle. Mostly, though, it was just still very lumpy.

Then I read online that the Model Magic was going to crack, and crack very badly. 


The issue is this: any air dry clay will crack if applied over a rigid internal structure like tin foil. And sure enough, by the next day deep cracks were appearing all over the knocker's face.

So John and I consulted a ton of people, both online and at our local Reynolds Supply, and have started over with a new game plan:

 John projected the knocker to scale on pink insulation foam, and then we traced and cut out 3 layers to build up the internal structure. This should cut down on the amount of clay I'll need to finish it off.

After this I'll be using Foam Mo, another foam-like clay that I'm *told* will not crack, because it stays extra flexible after it dries.

If that doesn't work, then my Plan C is to go back to an epoxy dough. The dough is SUPER soft and terrible for sculpting, though, so I'm hoping the Foam Mo comes through. I'll keep you guys posted in my Stories!

 Now on to some successes:

 John and I've each had our own projects this week - can you already guess what they are?

John's is a variation on the cannonball goblin. He used Styrofoam balls, craft foam, and pink insulation foam to form the spikes, so it's all super light.

 Here's the screen-accurate version of the cannon ball goblin on the right (which I took at the Labyrinth exhibit in Atlanta), and an art doll version on the left:

 I've always thought this guy would be a hilarious Christmas tree topper, so John's version has a festive make-over in gold, with red-and-white stripes for the arms. (Which is also reminiscent of Toby, of course!)

The cute little legs:

 These are wire covered in tin foil, covered in craft foam armor. The feet are more insulation foam.

John primed everything black, then I used silver and gold Rub N' Buff to "paint" everything:

All of the rivets are googly eyes.

John's carved out a section in the butt (which is how this sits flat) where the tree branch will go. Originally we were going to drill this little guy full of holes and put a strand of LED lights inside him, but I'm not sure either of us has the heart to do that now, ha. So maybe he'll just hold a strand of lights?

Here he is (mostly) finished:

I need to darken his hands up; not happy with my paint job there. Otherwise he's all done!

Until we get a tree put up for him to sit on, he's living on a high shelf in my office:

... which is SUPER adorable. I think John and I may be fighting over whose room gets to display this guy after Christmas.

Meanwhile, I'd made a bunch of my ping-pong eyeballs using my own tutorial from 2015. They go really fast if you're not adding the blood vessels!

(Oh, and needless to say, if eyeballs squick you out, better skip the rest of this post.)

John grabbed some scrap electrical wire from the garage which I hot-glued onto the eyes and then covered with tin foil:

 I made the eye stalks waaaaaay too long. Don't ask me why. I don't know.

 Luckily it was easy to cut them down to a more reasonable length later.

For the lichen base John cut an amorphous shape out of some scrap plywood, then drilled a bunch of holes in it so I could arrange my eye stalks:

 Next came the messy and time-consuming part: covering the stalks in moss! I used hot glue, and covered little sections at a time. I don't have photos of this because I was a mossy gluey mess.

When all the stalks were thoroughly mossed, we locked them in place by bending their wires around a screw on the back side of the wood, then screwing in the screw.

To make the wood sit flush on the wall, John routed out a recess in the back side for all the wires and screws. Clever, right?

 The last step was covering the wood base itself in moss, then arranging the eye stalks so they have an attentive personality about them.


  I tried to make it like the 4 on the right are distracted by something on their side.
 With John's wooden backer it looks like the lichen is growing right on the wall, which is so dang cool.

 Plus it's so creepy it's almost adorable, right?

Er... right?


 Later this will be installed on our Labyrinth brick entryway, but for now it's living above our badger art in the steampunk room:

 (Badger art by Christie Cox, who also has the CUTEST blue worm print!)

I'm pretty sure our new lichen is another piece that will be staying out after Christmas. Gotta keep an eye on the place! Or several eyes, as the case may be.

(That's one of our Wizarding World inspired speakers near the ceiling, remember when we made those?)

Our Labyrinth brick entry will also feature the blue worm - probably the ThinkGeek figure instead of the one I sculpted, since it's better. I'm also debating putting our Junk Lady there by the wall, for a cute photo op. We'll have to see if there's room!

I hope some of you are as excited about the new party theme as I am! And again, if you have any epic/crazy/funny ideas for things we should make for the party, tell me in the comments! I'm also very open to suggestions on what I should wear, since I've told our guests it can be character-inspired OR a more generic goblin or fairy, but I have no idea what to wear myself. Bonus points if it includes a masquerade mask!

Stay tuned for more Labyrinth-y goodness over the next month. 'Til then, sing it with me, now:

You remind me of the babe.

::cue dance party & baby-throwing::


Oh hey, I forgot this book existed, look how sweet:

Jim Henson's Labyrinth Tales

It only has 3 short stories, but I'm told the art is all as delightful as the cover, so it's going on my wishlist. I also highly recommend the out-of-print illustrated storybook, which looks like this:

It took me nearly 2 years to find my copy on ebay, but happily for you guys, Amazon has several used options, both hardcover and soft cover! Dang, wish I'd known about that before, ha. Both books are gorgeous gifts for any Labyrinth fan.


  1. What babe? The babe with the power!

  2. Only two ideas popped into my head. Maybe get some of those cheap plastic party masks and give them a coat of paint-tinted Elmers to make a gesso base. Then give guests metallic sharpie a stick-on "jewels" and sparkly ribbons to decorate.

    The other - riddle games!

    So clearly, I need to watch Labyrinth again for research.

  3. Gaaaahhhh ::Kermit flail:: I am so excited about this year's theme! Cannot WAIT to see what else you guys have in store!!

  4. I am trying to think how you could do a helping hands costume, just because two blue surgical gloves shaped to look like glasses around your face would be super cool.

  5. I couldn't help but think about a weird "Where's Waldo" mashup when I saw the cannonball goblin with the stripey arms. :)

  6. I know you're going more casual this year, but if you ever want to recreate one of the costumes, I recommend getting lost in the ariacouture blog. She has incredible, detailed photos of several of the costumes, as well as info on construction techniques and materials used (it was a low budget film, think iridescent cellophane and plastic rhinestones. Really!). She has done detailed analyses on many other movie costumes too. I find it fascinating.

    1. Oooh, I'll be looking that up, that sounds fascinating!

    2. Also, she's a really cool FoE!

  7. Red vinyl “lipstick” arrows on the floor, or sidewalk!

    1. YAAAAS. That would be great to work into our puzzle room!

  8. The Shaft of Hands! Get a box of exam gloves, fill them? stuff them? Paint them/texture them, and put them on either side of a doorway, doing all of the classic poses! (Up/Down, talking face, etc.) Adorable/creepy fun! For extra Christmas points, maybe have a few holding some strands of lights?

    1. I was going to suggest the hands! Put them on the tree holding lights or tinsel!

    2. Fill them with concrete? or make a reverse mold (not with concrete)

  9. Just how horrible do you feel like being? There could be a Toby tossing game, or if you want, something like the egg tossing game where people are tossing foam rocks and have to call for them like Ludo. Oh! And sushi something because of my favorite line of "Oh my aching sushi!".

    1. LOL - oh, there will TOTALLY be some Toby tossing going on. Should we try dunking him in a hoop like basketball?

  10. You should be Sarah! You could go simple: jeans, puffy shirt, shiny vest; fancy: white Princess Bride-ish dress from the opening; or hella fancy: BALLGOWN! You definitely have the looks to make a wonderful Sarah. Can't wait to see the rest of your decor.

    1. My first thought was Sarah too! Maybe it's too 'obvious' but you'd look perfect - if I could pull it off I would!

  11. As you are already well aware, I am so excited for your Christmas party this year! Despite not being big into Harry Potter, for years I always looked forward to seeing your Christmas posts because they were always so phenomenal. The amount of detail and care you guys put into your parties was really inspiring, and I can directly point to you two as the reason why I started to step up my own party game. I was still so wish I lived close enough to crash the party, I would love to see it in person, but I will instead be there in spirit!

  12. A Labyrinth Christmas party sounds like so much fun!

    You could do a lot with mazes - everything from a walk-through maze in your garden to paper mazes for guests to complete.

    Another thought - set up a computer somewhere showing some good YouTube videos on how to contact juggle, put out a bowl of oranges, and let people practice Jareth's fancy moves. (A lot of contact juggling sites recommend starting with an orange - they're cheap and weighted about right.)

  13. Please tell me there will be a baby doll somewhere.

  14. Eeee!!! Can't wait to see all this come together. I vote for a Sir Didymus costume. But really you can't go wrong! And I agree with comments above that a helping hands diy/game would be amazing! Feeling like my house needs some mossy eyestalks now.....

  15. The hallway with the eyestalks: will a doorway be camouflaged to look like the wall she walks through? Oh, and foam carvings in pieces that form Jareth's face from a certain angle? Maybe that in the Escape Room, that they have to find the right angle to see a clue?

  16. I can already tell that this is going to be amazing.

    Good luck with your next version of the door knocker. I love that you show us what doesn't work as well as what does: it reminds the rest of us to persevere even when the first attempt crashes & burns.

    Off to look for those books now..

  17. YESSSSS!!! ALL THE YES!! And I was THIS close to spitting out my tea at the Bog of Eternal Stench bathroom.

    I feel like a cannon ball goblin would more likely be found in a tangle of lights than holding them :)

    Will there be a Escher room?? With a Toby doll crawling down a staircase on the wall?

    A red and white striped Toby onesie would probably be a super comfy costume! Or you could turn your hair blue(or wear a wig), gather it in 3 floofy clumps and wear a red scarf to be the worm(you'd of course have to talk like the worm for the entire party)!

    So, craft idea... Nipper Stick bendy straws or stir sticks? Who needs a cocktail umbrella when you can have a Nipper Stick garnishing(and defending?) your drink!

  18. Please tell me that the Bog of Eternal Stench will have a hidden speaker with all the sounds and a woman's voice saying "Oh! What is it? I never smelled anything like it. It's like ... Like..." It should also have Ludo saying "Smell BAAAAAD!" Maybe a picture of Ludo looking unhappy should be hung in there as well.

    Will you have a Sir Didymus at the door to the Bog? Perhaps he's only visible when they're in there and want to leave?

  19. For costume, perhaps a goblin in standard goblin-wear but with a super over-the-top elaborate masquerade mask?

    1. OOOHHHH Make-your-own Masquerade masks! glitter, jewels, feathers...

  20. Junk lady dressed as santa... her bag of treasures is just begging for a santa spin

    1. oh my goodness yes! That would be hysterical!

  21. Oh my gosh, this looks like it's going to be so much fun! Can't wait for more builds and pictures! :D

  22. Q: what happens when you put one-way window-mirror film on a TV and then have it either off or on? Could you replicate the goblins-in-the-mirror bit? (I have been wanting to do a variation on this for a while now - take out a piece of wall between studs in the hallway and have the hind side of puppets in, say, a bedroom or office room and then have a one-way mirror "hanging" on the hallway wall, with light-up interior. Sadly, we do not have the right house to do this in at present. But a TV might allow for hands-off "say the magic words!" puppet-scene-ing, if the mirror film works on TVs...)

  23. If you need to coat something with moss, grass, sand... you might try spray adhesive and sprinkling the material on, or put it in a box and shake it.

  24. You could build some "staircases" out of foam and put them in corners and on the ceiling in one room, like the Escher room at the end.

    Something to do with the worm outside to invite people to come in and meet the Missus?

    "Rock" bowling to knock down goblin "pins" like Ludo does during the battle at the end?

    Hand shaped hooks for people's jackets and such, a la the Helping Hands?

    ...I'm going to keep thinking.

  25. Carve down some pool noodles and put gloves on them, so people have to brush through them to get through a doorway. I feel as of Sarah's bedroom should be represented (at least her shelves). The goblin king's throne as "the throne" in the bog of eternal stench. A view of the Labryinth out of a "window".

  26. There were chickens running around in there, get some fake chickens.

  27. Something Dark Crystal (new) in honor of grown up Toby's real life job?

  28. There are these interactive dog toys that giggle and shake. The mechanism comes out. Hide it in a pillow or something. (there should be a better way to make hidden goblins, but this is a quick possible solution)

  29. Someone needs to dress in striped onsie PJ's and be a giant Toby.

    A game idea could be kind of like a carnival game but it needs to involve Hoggle's fairy gun and something like darts at the fairies.

    You need plastic jewelry a prizes for games (bracelets or rings).

    And for a more adult game, instead of pin the leg on the the cod piece on Jareth. Because who doesn't need a life size cutout of David Bowie as Jareth.

    1. I was wondering when someone would come up with a codpiece idea! All I could think of was something with fish. ��

  30. Can't wait to see all the party pics :)

  31. A labyrinth cake? :) Instead of slicing the cake, people just take one of the walls.

  32. I live across the country but I'd be awfully tempted to hop a plane if I was invited to this! Please take and share lots of photos!

  33. Ok, can't wait. First thing I thought of with the Bog of Eternal Stench bathroom was a rug with whoopie cushins on the bottom that when stepped on, well, you know. :)

  34. Hang a clock with 13 hours on its face somewhere unobtrusive and see if/how long it take before someone notices.

    This is low hanging fruit for creatives like y'all, but I'd do it if I had a Labyrinth party to plan!

  35. Sooo.... I wear an ocular prosthetic that is completely handpainted and molded to my (small, blind) eye using a wax impression. The ocularist paints the irises so beautifully matching my good eye and makes incredibly realistic blood vessels using *silk* threads.

    The interesting part for future reference in your eyeball-making attempts, is that the thread is worried apart gently and affixed to the eye using some form of clear sticky substance (that is safe to put inside my face). It is absolutely mesmerizing to watch her paint my eyeball every few years. :-) :-)

    I found a couple images of how they do it since I cannot share my own:

  36. Those cheap plastic round Christmas ornaments from the Dollar Store stuffed with iridescent cellophane would make excellent magic sphere thingies. Hang from the ceiling and on the tree.


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