I’m building another spooky dollhouse – update #1

I picked up another used dollhouse on Facebook Marketplace for $20 a few weeks ago.  I took the whole thing apart and gave every piece a good scrubbing.  I let it dry over night and then gave everything a base coat of flat black or flat white spray paint.  The trim pieces dried pretty quickly and I was able to give them a light coat of bronze as well.

Las Vegas or Bust! Day 1

One of our neighborhood friends is turning 50 this year and a bunch of us headed out to Las Vegas to help her celebrate.  Her husband rented a really big van to haul everybody in style.  Everyone was staying in Vegas from Thursday to Sunday and then heading out to Laughlin for a couple more days after that.  My wife and I had to head home in Sunday afternoon so she rode up with them and I followed in my car.

We stopped at the Barstow Del Taco for lunch.  This location is known for having Barstow Tacos, Barstow Tostadas, and Bun Tacos.  The tacos and tostadas have double the meat, double the cheese, and a full slice of tomato on them.  The bun tacos are exactly that, tacos in a bun.  I like to get the 2 Barstow Tacos meal and my wife likes the burritos.

After lunch we got back on the road.  A few miles up FWY 15 we passed Rock A Hoola waterpark.  I attended a few great Mini Truck shows there in the early 2000’s.

Once we got to Las Vegas my wife and I headed to our mini suite at the Linq Hotel and Casino.  It was one of the bigger rooms that we have stayed in and was very comfortable.  Most of the other people in our group stayed across the street at Caesars Palace, but we were able to get this room for less than half the price of getting a standard room there.  It is across the street from Caesars Palace and it took about 5 or 6 minutes to walk over there.

We relaxed in our room for about an hour and then headed across the street to hang out in the birthday girls suite on the 28th floor of Caesars Palace.  That suite was probably 4 times the size of ours and all 12 of us were able to hang out there with plenty of room to spare.

We enjoyed some adult beverages and then headed down to the Cafe Americano for a late night snack.  I cannot recommend that restaurant at all.  It was very overpriced, the food took forever to get to us, and then it wasn’t very good.   We had originally planned to hit up the Ice Bar afterwards but it ended up getting too late and we missed it.  Next time!

We headed back to our room about 1:30 am and hit the sack.

I bought another doll house to restore! (Doll House Project V2)

I picked up a Loving Family Sweet Sounds Dollhouse last night for $20 on Facebook Marketplace. It looks like it has spent some time outside and definitely needs a good cleaning.  It’s in pretty good shape for it’s age and has some cool details to it.  I am debating on how I want to restore it.  I might try making this one Gothic like the last one, or I might go for the rustic spooky vibe.  Either way it should be a lot of fun.  I built the last house in about a week and a half because I wanted to have it ready for Halloween.  I’m going to take more time on this one and spend more time on the little details.  Keep an eye on this blog as I am going to do my best to update it as often as I can.

How to make a DIY Haunted/Gothic Castle from an old plastic dollhouse [Halloween 2020]

At the beginning of October, a friend of mine on Facebook shared a post by a lady who had taken an old dollhouse and painted it black.  She added a few paint touches and some moss and made it look spooky.  As soon as I saw it, I was totally hooked and had to make one.

I searched the Facebook marketplace for a couple of weeks and found an old used dollhouse/castle for $10 and picked it up on the way home.

Take the dollhouse apart as much as possible by removing screws and popping out tabs.  Clean each piece thoroughly and let them dry overnight.  They must be fully dry before you apply paint.

Come up with a color scheme and paint the pieces accordingly.  In this case I decided that I wanted the walls black, the roof bronze and all the leftover pieces for the interior copper.  Do not try to spray 1 heavy coat of paint onto everything as it will take forever to dry. They should all get 3 to 4 lights coats of paint with at least an hour wait time between each coat.  Patience is your friend and you will be rewarded for it.

This is the fun part. Once again, come up with a color scheme and paint in all the fine details to your hearts content.  I chose to paint all the roses a metallic red and with light metallic green leaves. The clock tower received silver highlights. I tied the walls and roof together by using the same light silver to highlight the bricks. I used re and blue to paint the birds. I used red and silver on the handrails inside the front doors. The front doors got bronze hinges and silver handles. I used a little of all the colors on the stove.

Put the dollhouse back together by pushing all the tabs back into place and driving in all the screws. Take your time as you do not want to chip off any of the paint.

Knott’s Scary Farm 2019 – week 2

This week, I decided to watch a couple of shows as opposed to going in all the mazes again.  I attended the Puppet Up show, which was awesome!  It’s an adult themed improv show made with puppets.  The host asks the crowd for ideas and then the puppeteers improvise the ideas into a sketch.  I was laughing the whole time.  There is a camera on a tall tripod at the front of the stage and they hold the puppets above their heads in front of it.  Monitors are mounted to the floor so that the performers can look down and see where the puppets are located on the 2 screens behind them.

I also watched a comedy/magic show at the birdcage theater.  It was fun but not as good as the puppet show.

In total, I watched 2 shows, walked through 2 mazes, went on 2 rides and was out of the park by 11:00 pm.  The lines for the mazes were much shorter than last week.

Knott’s Scary Farm opening night 2019

My buddy Dave and I have been attending Knott’s Scary Farm together every year since 1996.  It is an annual tradition.  Some years there are up to 15 people with us and other years it’s just us and 1 or 2 of his sons.  Either way, we always have a good time walking the mazes and watching the show “The Hanging”.

The last 3 or 4 years has seen the number of people attending the event go up, the lines get longer, and The Hanging lose some of it’s edginess.

I have always looked forward to watching The Hanging for it’s numerous pop culture references and bawdy humor.  About 4 years ago, they changed the actor that played the main character, The Hangman, and pretty much eliminated all of the adult humor.  It made the show nearly unwatchable.  I hoped for better the next year and got the same boring show.  Then, last year, they started bringing some of the humor back.  This year they added a new devil character that I really enjoyed.  He is irreverent, politically incorrect, and humorous.  The show is not back up to it’s previous level but they are on a good trajectory.  Unfortunately, the surprise ending may signal the end of the show’s run.  We will have to wait until next year to find out.

We usually attend the 1st or 2nd Thursday of the event as going on the weekend is  always a crowded nightmare.  In years past we were able to go in every maze at least twice and maybe a ride or two.  This year we barely made it through all the mazes once and the log ride one time.  We walked through the last maze at 12:50 am, 10 minutes  before the park closed.

This year, I purchased the Scary Farm annual pass and parking.  This will allow me to attend the event as many times as I want and covers my parking as well.  By my estimate, they will pay for themselves in 2 1/2 trips.  Last year I went 5 times and this year I hope to make it 6 or 7.

I am going again next Thursday and hope that the park will not be as crowded as it was this time.

We found a really cool Art Sculpture yard

We spent the weekend with my younger son’s Cub Scout pack at Mataguay Scout Ranch in Santa Ysabel.  On the drive up there we saw some cool metal sculptures on a hill while traveling down highway 79.  There ended up being  a whole lot full of them.  We stopped on the way back and walked around and admired them.  I highly advise stopping by if you are ever in the area.  There are pictures below the map.

Boy Scout Canoe Trip – 2019

My son’s Boy Scout troop makes an annual trip out to the Colorado River to work on their canoeing and kayaking merit badges.  This outing is a family camp style so parents and siblings are also welcome to join.  We tried a new place and time of year this time.  Traditionally they have been in September up near Needles, CA and this year we tried out Blythe in May.

We drove up to the new camp location on Friday night.  The gas tank was getting low so I passed our exit and drove the extra 2 1/2 miles over to the Arizona side and filled up my tank for about $1.50 a gallon less than the California side.

Once we got to the park, the scouts got together and setup their camp.  The majority of the boys slept in the open air under the stars.  One of the older patrols setup a lean-to shelter and I saw one tent setup.

The whole camp got up at 5:30 am to get prepared for the day.  We all put on our swim clothes, got our gear ready, and made sack lunches for the day on the river.  The boat rental company was there at 6:30 am sharp to ferry us to the drop off point.  We had 72 people and 37 water craft present for the 16 mile adventure and it took two trips to get us all there.

I’m guessing that we were on the water by about 8:00 am.  I left my phone back at camp in my car so all my times are approximate for the day.  We were split up into 5 groups of 7 or 8 watercraft.  I was in the first group code named “Naboo” which was followed by the group code named “Hoth”.  I don’t remember the other groups names but they were all Star Wars related.  All the different groups had new scouts/parents and many were new to canoes and rowing.  We got off to a slow start but most of them had it down pretty good by the 11 to 12 mile mark.  We had a strong current and not much wind or boat traffic so we made good time and got to camp by around 2:30 pm.  We unloaded all the people and then helped the boating company to load them all up.

Once we got back to the actual camp site everybody took a well deserved rest.  Once dinner time came around the Boy Scouts made their own dinners according to their meal plans and quartermasters.  The adult leaders made Blood Orange Chicken and we had a very good taco bar setup.  Everything always tastes better when you’re camping.  For desert, they made S’Mores cake in the Dutch ovens.  Pretty much everybody was passed out by the 10:00 o’clock lights out.

I woke up around 6:00 am to the sound of rain falling on my tent.  I got dressed and packed up my sleep bag, sleeping mat, and camp cot before venturing out.  Once I did, I discovered that it was barely drizzling.  The drops always sound louder falling on the rain fly of the tent.  It’s a good thing too because most of the boys were sleeping outside with no cover.

We got most of the camp packed up and then the scouts and leaders went down to the lagoon and offloaded the single trailer full of kayaks and canoes that we had rented for the merit badge training.  It took a couple of hours but all of the new scouts finished their Canoe Merit badge activities.  They will now be able to use kayaks next year.  The boys that already have their Canoe Merit Badge worked on the Kayak Badge.

We left the camp around 11:30 am and stopped for lunch at In-N-Out Burger.  We also made a brief stop in Cabazon for our traditional Dinosaur selfie.  We had one other scout that rode up with us.  After dropping him off we were home by 4:00 pm.