Monday, January 6, 2014


   This diy comes from www.thehauntingground.com .  These could be used in a skull or even a bunch of them in a jar.

Prop Eyez

Prop Eyez in use
Prop Eyez in a pair of Lindburg Skulls
Eyeballs can have a number of great uses in Halloween props. Giving eyes to some props like skulls and ground-breakers can add that “creep factor” that you just might be looking for. They can also be useful in any number of other props and decorations. A candy dish full of eyeballs for your Halloween party; a jar of eyes to adorn your witch’s arsenal of potion ingredients - the possibilities are aplenty. 
Real eyeballs are not so easily obtainable, and I’d imagine that the red tape one might have to cut through for a single pair would be far beyond the worth. I’d also be willing to bet that they would be pretty hard to work with, and likely wouldn’t last very long. With that in mind, I have discovered a budget friendly solution that will give your props that optical enhancement that they so deserve. Inspired by Easy Eyes from the Haunters Hangout website, I use a slightly different method to create my eyeballs. I’ve also created my own set of high detail printable irises (see link at bottom of page) for use with this method. In this tutorial, I’m going to share the process I use to create the eyeballs that I use in my props. 
To get started on this project, you will need the Following: 
  • 1″ wooden balls
  • White Acrylic hobby paint
  • Red Acrylic hobby paint (any dark red will work)
  • 1 sheet of Prop Eyez printable irises
  • Glue Stick
  • Modge Podge Gloss sealer
  • Scissors
  • 1/4″ broad tip hobby paintbrush
  • Fine tip hobby paintbrush
  • Drying rack (see below)
  • Electric drill w/ small drill bit (same size as posts on drying rack)
A handy tool for this project is the drying rack for the eyes. I made mine from two 4″ pieces of wire coat hanger and a small flat piece of scrap wood. Just drill two appropriately sized holes in the wood, cut two straight pieces of wire coat hanger and insert them in the holes. You will need to make sure that the drill bit is the same diameter as the coat hanger to ensure a tight fit. For the record, I used a thin wire hanger and a 47 gauge (0.0785″) drill bit. This will allow you work around the eyes completely without getting your fingers in the paint, and to set them aside to dry on your work surface. 
 With the drying rack ready, and all your supplies in place, it’s time to get started. The first step is to drill a small hole about halfway into each of the wooden balls. These holes will need to match the diameter of the coat hanger used on the drying rack. Once the holes are drilled, mount the balls on the rack. 
Paint each of the balls white. 2 or 3 light even coats will work much better than 1 heavy coat, and will probably take much less time to dry. 
Adding the red paintOnce the white paint is dry, you may choose to paint the backsides of the eyes red. If your eyes will be mounted in a prop where the backs will not be visible, you’ll probably want to skip this step. Using a piece of sponge, lightly drybrush the backs of the eyes with red paint about halfway around. The color should fade into the white gradually. 
Once your wooden balls are painted to your liking and dry, it’ll be time to add the Irises. Choose the desired color and pupil size from the printed Prop Eyez sheet and cut them out. When cutting out the iris, you should leave a small amount of white around the edge. This helps keep the iris’ shape and blends the color into the sclera (whites of the eye) more naturally. 
With the iris cut out, make a few (4-5) slits inward to the pupil around the iris. Don’t cut too far in, just cut to the edge of the pupil. This will help the printed iris mold over the rounded surface of the eye without rippling. 
Using a glue stick, apply a liberal coat of glue to the back of the printed iris, and press the iris into place. Then roll the eyeball (iris facing down) on a table or other smooth hard surface. That will help smooth out the printed iris and any thicker spots of glue underneath. 
Blood VesselsOnce the iris is in place on each of your eyeballs, you may choose to add some blood vessels to the Sclera. There are several ways of doing this, and any of them work well. I just paint them in with a fine tipped hobby brush. Some folks use tooth picks to drag lines from a droplet of paint, and others have said they use red Sweater lint. Do whatever works best for you, or use your imagination and come up with a new way. 
The final step is to seal everything up. Coat each eye with 2 coats of Modge Podge Gloss, and then another 2 coats of the Modge Podge Gloss thinned down a bit with water. The second two (thinned down) coats help make for a nice glassy finish, which gives them a wet, realistic look. 
Tip: For a hazy, dead look, try adding paint to your final modge podge mixture. On the last coat(s) of Modge Podge, mix a drop or two of acrylic hobby paint, in the color of the haze you want, into your thinned out Modge Podge. Pale yellow works well for a Jaundace look, gray or white for a dead haze. When doing a haze, a little bit of paint goes a long way, so mix sparingly and test it out before you put it on the eyes.
The completed eye
The completed eye.
That’s all there is to it. Once dry, you have yourself a nice, realistic set of eyeballs that can be added to any number of Halloween props and party ideas. 
Prop Eyez
Click image for the Prop Eyes printable iris sheet


Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.
   Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God's Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.
   The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

Luther's tree

Christmas Markets

    In the mid 16th century, Christmas markets were set up in German towns, to provide everything from Christmas presents, food and more practical things such as a knife grinder to sharpen the knife to carve the Christmas Goose! At these fairs, bakers made shaped gingerbreads and wax ornaments for people to buy as souvenirs of the fair, and take home to hang on their Christmas Trees.
The best record we have is that of a visitor to Strasbourg in 1601. He records a tree decorated with "wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barleysugar) and paper flowers of all colours". The early trees were biblically symbolic of the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden. The many food items were symbols of Plenty, the flowers, originally only red (for Knowledge) and White (for Innocence).


    Tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610. At that time real silver was used, and machines were invented which pulled the silver out into the wafer thin strips for tinsel. Silver was durable, but tarnished quickly, especially with candlelight. Attempts were made to use a mixture of lead and tin, but this was heavy and tended to break under its own weight so was not so practical. So silver was used for tinsel right up to the mid-20th century.

The First English Trees

    The Christmas Tree first came to England with the Georgian Kings who came from Germany. At this time also, German Merchants living in England decorated their homes with a Christmas Tree. The British public were not fond of the German Monarchy, so did not copy the fashions at Court, which is why the Christmas Tree did not establish in Britain at that time. A few families did have Christmas trees however, probably more from the influence of their German neighbours than from the Royal Court.

Decorating a Victorian household

The decorations were Tinsels, silver wire ornaments, candles and small beads. All these had been manufactured in Germany and East Europe since the 17th century. The custom was to have several small trees on tables, one for each member of the family, with that persons gifts stacked on the table under the tree.

The Victorian and Albert Tree

Victoria and Albert tree

     In 1846, the popular Royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were illustrated in the Illustrated London News. They were standing with their children around a Christmas Tree. Unlike the previous Royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at Court immediately became fashionable - not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The English Christmas Tree had arrived!
     Decorations were still of a 'home-made' variety. Young Ladies spent hours at Christmas Crafts, quilling snowflakes and stars, sewing little pouches for secret gifts and paper baskets with sugared almonds in them. Small bead decorations, fine drawn out silver tinsel came from Germany together with beautiful Angels to sit at the top of the tree. Candles were often placed into wooden hoops for safety.

Mid-Victorian Tree

    In 1850's Lauscha began to produce fancy shaped glass bead garlands for the trees, and short garlands made from necklace 'bugles' and beads. These were readily available in Germany but not produced in sufficient quantities to export to Britain. The Rauschgoldengel was a common sight. Literally, 'Tingled-angel', bought from the Thuringian Christmas markets, and dressed in pure gilded tin.
The 1860's English Tree had become more innovative than the delicate trees of earlier decades. Small toys were popularly hung on the branches, but still most gifts were placed on the table under the tree.

    Around this time, the Christmas tree was spreading into other parts of Europe. The Mediterranean countries were not too interested in the tree, preferring to display only a Creche scene. Italy had a wooden triangle platform tree called as 'CEPPO'. This had a Creche scene as well as decorations.
The German tree was beginning to suffer from mass destruction! It had become the fashion to lop off the tip off a large tree to use as a Christmas Tree, which prevented the tree from growing further. Statutes were made to prevent people having more than one tree.
    Just as the first trees introduced into Britain did not immediately take off, the early trees introduced into America by the Hessian soldiers were not recorded in any particular quantity. The Pennsylvanian German settlements had community trees as early as 1747.
    America being so large, tended to have 'pockets' of customs relating to the immigrants who had settled in a particular area, and it was not until the communications really got going in the 19th century, that such customs began to spread. Thus references to decorated trees in America before about the middle of the 19th century are very rare.
   By the 1870's, Glass ornaments were being imported into Britain from Lauscha, in Thuringia. It became a status symbol to have glass ornaments on the tree, the more one had, the better ones status! Still many home-made things were seen. The Empire was growing, and the popular tree topper was the Nation's Flag, sometimes there were flags of the Empire and flags of the allied countries. Trees got very patriotic.

    They were imported into America around 1880, where they were sold through stores such as FW Woolworth. They were quickly followed by American patents for electric lights (1882), and metal hooks for safer hanging of decorations onto the trees (1892).

High Victorian Trees

    The 1880's saw a rise of the Aesthetic Movement. At this time Christmas Trees became a glorious hotchpotch of everything one could cram on; or by complete contrast the aesthetic trees which were delicately balanced trees, with delicate colours, shapes and style. they also grew to floor standing trees. The limited availability of decorations in earlier decades had kept trees by necessity to, usually table trees. Now with decorations as well as crafts more popular than ever, there was no excuse. Still a status symbol, the larger the tree - the more affluent the family which sported it.
   The High Victorian of the 1890's was a child's joy to behold! As tall as the room, and crammed with glitter and tinsel and toys galore. Even the 'middleclasses' managed to over-decorate their trees. It was a case of 'anything goes'. Everything that could possibly go on a tree went onto it.
    By 1900 themed trees were popular. A colour theme set in ribbons or balls, a topical idea such as an Oriental Tree, or an Egyptian Tree. They were to be the last of the great Christmas Trees for some time. With the death of Victoria in 1903, the Nation went into mourning and fine trees were not really in evidence until the nostalgia of the Dickensian fashion of the 1930's.

The American Tree

    In America, Christmas Trees were introduced into several pockets - the German Hessian Soldiers took their tree customs in the 18th century. In Texas, Cattle Barons from Britain took their customs in the 19th century, and the East Coast Society copied the English Court tree customs.
    Settlers from all over Europe took their customs also in the 19th century. Decorations were not easy to find in the shanty towns of the West, and people began to make their own decorations. Tin was pierced to create lights and lanterns to hold candles which could shine through the holes. Decorations of all kinds were cutout, stitched and glued. The General Stores were hunting grounds for old magazines with pictures, rolls of Cotton Batting (Cotton Wool), and tinsel, which was occasionally sent from Germany or brought in from the Eastern States. The Paper 'Putz' or Christmas Crib was a popular feature under the tree, especially in the Moravian Dutch communities which settled in Pennsylvania.

The British tree in the 20th century

    After Queen Victoria died, the country went into mourning, and the tree somehow died with her for a while in many homes. While some families and community groups still had large tinsel strewn trees, many opted for the more convenient table top tree. These were available in a variety of sizes, and the artificial tree, particularly the Goose Feather Tree, became popular. These were originally invented in the 1880's in Germany, to combat some of the damage being done to Fir trees in the name of Christmas.
    In America, the Addis Brush Company created the first brush trees, using the same machinery which made their toilet brushes! These had an advantage over the feather tree in that they would take heavier decorations.

    After 1918, because of licensing and export problems, Germany was not able to export its decorations easily. The market was quickly taken up by Japan and America, especially in Christmas Tree lights.
    Britain's Tom Smith Cracker Company which has exported Christmas goods for over three decades, began to manufacture trees themselves for a short while.
    In the 1930's There was a revival of Dickensian nostalgia, particularly in Britain. Christmas cards all sported Crinoline ladies with muffs and bonnets popular in the 1840's. Christmas Trees became large, and real again, and were decorated with many bells, balls and tinsels, and with a beautiful golden haired angel at the top. But wartime England put a stop to many of these trees. It was forbidden to cut trees down for decoration, and with so many raids, many people preferred to keep their most precious heirloom Christmas tree decorations carefully stored away in metal boxes, and decorated only a small tabletop tree with home-made decorations, which could be taken down into the shelters for a little Christmas cheer, when the air-raid sirens went.
   Large trees were erected however in public places to give morale to the people at this time.
   Postwar Britain saw a revival of the nostalgic again. people needed the security of Christmas, which is so unchanging in a changing world, as one of the symbols to set them back on their feet. Trees were as large as people could afford. Many poorer families still used the tabletop Goosefeather trees, Americas Addis Brush Trees were being imported into Britain, and these became immensely popular for a time. But the favourites were still real trees. The popular decorations were all produced by a British manufacturer, Swanbrand. and sold by FW Woolworth in Britain. Translucent plastic lock together shapes, Honeycomb paper Angels, 'glow-in the -dark icicles; also Polish glass balls and birds In South Wales, where real trees were often difficult to find in the rural areas, Holly Bushes were decorated.
    The mid-1960's saw another change. A new world was on the horizon, and modernist ideas were everywhere. Silver aluminium trees were imported from America. The 'Silver Pine' tree, patented in the 1950's, was designed to have a revolving light source under it, with coloured gelatine 'windows, which allowed the light to shine in different shades as it revolved under the tree. No decorations were needed for this tree.
   Decorations became sparse. Glass balls and lametta created an 'elegant' modern tree. Of course, many families ignored fashion and carried on putting their own well loved decorations on their trees!

    America made a return to Victorian nostalgia in the 1970's, and it was a good decade later that Britain followed the fashion. By the at first this was a refreshing look, and manufacturers realising the potential created more and more fantastic decorations. Some American companies specialised in antique replicas, actually finding the original makers in Europe to recreate wonderful glass ornaments, real silver tinsels and pressed foil 'Dresdens'.
    Real Christmas Trees were popular, but many housewives preferred the convenience of the authentic looking artificial trees which were being manufactured. If your room was big enough, you could have a 14 foot artificial Spruce right there in your living room, without a single dropped needle - and so good that it fooled everyone at first glance. There are even pine scented sprays to put on the tree for that 'real tree smell'!
   The late 1990's tree has taken the Victorian idea, but with new themes and conceptual designs. The Starry Starry Night Tree, The Twilight Tree, The Snow Queen Tree.....


   Today, most of us welcome in the new year by having a party of some sort. While that’s not too far off from exactly what some of our ancient ancestors were doing when their calendars changed, we can count ourselves lucky that there’s now more drinking and less child sacrifice, royal humiliation, ritual plowing, and hiding from evil spirits.



Akitu was the Babylonian festival for the new year. Celebrated in what’s today March or April, the festival honored their supreme god, Marduk, and marked the beginning of the growing season. For the general population, the beginning of the festival meant a week of holidays and celebrations.
For the king, though, it was something very different. He began the festival by going to the temple of Nabu, where the priests presented him with a royal scepter. He then traveled to the city of Borsippa, where he spent the night. (In this city’s temple, there were also religious ceremonies, such as the re-enactment of their creation myths.)
When the king returned to Babylon and the temple, he stripped off his royal regalia and his weapons, approaching his god with humility befit someone given their rule by a supreme deity. After this show of piety, there was a parade of statues of the gods, singing, and sacrifices.

9.Festival Of Drunkenness


While the “Festival of Drunkenness” might sound like what we do for the new year today, this Egyptian tradition was deeply rooted in their mythology. According to the stories, the lion-headed goddess of war, Sekhmet, had decided to destroy all of mankind. The Sun god intervened, giving her massive quantities of blood-colored beer; Sekhmet drank it, thinking it to be human blood, then promptly passed out, before she could destroy the human race.
To celebrate the saving of the human race, each new year was welcomed in with not just drinking, but hardcore drinking. The goal was to drink so much that everyone passed out, whether it be on the temple grounds or on outdoor patios. A handful of people would remain sober, and it was their duty to walk through the city after the drinking part of the celebration, rousing others from their drunken stupor by banging drums. They would then attend religious ceremonies and ask the gods to renew their protection for the coming year.


Nowruz is still a holiday that is celebrated globally, and it has the distinction of being one of the—if not the—longest continually celebrated holiday in the world. According to some documents, the March 2013 observance of Nowruz was the 5,774th observance of the holiday; some believe that it has been around in one form or another for almost 15,000 years. There are records of Nowruz being celebrated in 550 B.C. by Cyrus the Great, but versions of it were also known to be observed 2,000 years earlier, in the ancient Kingdom of Aratta.
It is traditionally observed on the day of the vernal equinox, when the coming of spring also heralds the new year. Nowruz lasts for 13 days, during which time spring returns to the land in a scene of rebirth and revitalization. It’s thought that the ancient Nowruz celebrations looked quite different from modern ones; some documents suggest that the first five days of the celebration were once very public, then followed by a more private, reverent observance. It’s also thought that this is, partially, where superstitions about the number 13 come from. On the 13th day of the festival, bad luck and misfortune are thrown away, when people throw sprouted wheat grass into rivers and canals.

7.Feast Of Circumcision
Early Christianity


The first of January wasn’t always seen as the start of the new year—that was the work of Julius Caesar, when he adopted the Julian calendar in 46 B.C. Perhaps not so coincidentally, there was something else happening at nearly the same time: an event that would become known as the “Feast of Circumcision.” Most of our readers are probably aware that Jesus’s birth was not actually December 25, but was set there by the Roman Catholic church to overlap the pagan solstice festival. It’s very convenient, then, that the Law of Moses says all male children should be circumcised eight days after birth—the “Feast of Circumcision” could be held on January 1, and overlap similar pagan new year celebrations.
Also the feast day of Saint Basil—who is credited with writing the Eucharistic prayer—the “Feast of Circumcision” was traditionally a day of readings and prayers. St. Augustine used the practices of the “Feast of Circumcision” toillustrate the differences between Christians and pagans, writing that the pagan celebrations of feasting and excess were clearly less holy than the Christian observance of the same day.



Hogmanay is another ancient celebration of the new year that’s still going on today. When ancient pagan holidays were taken over by Christian traditions in the Middle Ages, going along with this new practice of Christmas was discouraged. So in Scotland, the traditions of celebrating and giving gifts were moved to January 1, and renamed Hogmanay. The name can only be traced back to 1604, but many of the new year traditions were in place long before then.
In addition to the well-known custom of first footing, there were also a number of ancient traditions that held onto the old pagan ways. Bonfires and nighttime processionals lit by torchlight have long been an important part of celebration, as fire is a symbol of the returning Sun. And, because fire safety often goes right out the window in the face of culture, there’s even a long-lived tradition in Stonehaven of making giant balls of rags and paraffin, attaching them to poles, then lighting them on fire and carrying them through the streets.

5.Festival To Janus


The month of January gets its name from Janus—chief among the ancient Roman deities. This two-faced god (one looking ahead, one looking behind), was honored by having his chief festival on the first day of the new year. Fittingly, the Roman celebrants took their cue from Janus, and spent the day looking both backwards, in reflections, and ahead, in planning for the new year.
They also believed that what they sowed on the first day of the new year would carry with them throughout the rest of the year. Thus, it was a day of giving presents, abstaining from impure or cruel thoughts, postponing and ending quarrels, and generally trying to be nice to each other. Presents and foods were given freely to others and in tribute to Janus.

4.Krios And Iasion


Both Krios and Iasion are associated with the coming of the new year in ancient Greece. Krios was one of the titans, typically depicted with a ram’s horns, and inevitably connected with the constellation Aries. Aries was the first of the constellations to appear in the springtime sky, cementing Krios’s association with the new year.
Iasion was a demigod, son of Zeus and one of his many consorts. Iasion himself was the consort of the agricultural goddess Demeter; according to the story, Iasion and Demeter consummated their relationship in a thrice-plowed field; after Zeus heard of it, he killed Iasion. In honor of Demeter and Iasion, cutting three furrows in fields to be planted that spring became an important part of the many fertility rites performed to welcome in the new year.

3.Legend Of Nian


Although the Chinese New Year does not fall on the same day as the Gregorian calendar’s new year, they definitely still put on a party. Red has always been a color associated with the Chinese new year, and that’s because of the “Legend of Nian.” As the story goes, China was once tormented by a horned monster that lived at the bottom of the sea—coming out only on New Year’s Eve to devour cattle and people alike. The monster was, of course, called Year. On New Year’s Eve, villagers barricaded themselves in their houses, or fled to the relative safety of the mountains, to avoid the monster.
One year, an old, bearded man showed up in the Peach Blossom village, just as the villagers were preparing to take up arms against Year. No one had time for the beggar, save one old grandmother. She offered him food and shelter amid the chaos. The beggar promised her that the village would never be bothered by the monster again if she allowed him to stay in her home for the night. Skeptical as she was, she agreed. The old man decorated the village in red lanterns and candles, and—when Year came into the village—set off firecrackers. Red lights, fire, and the loud noises of the firecrackers scared Year away. Ever since then, this tradition is upheld to drive away the monster Year.

2.Nemontemi And Quahuitlehua


The passing of the old year and the coming of the new were two very different sets of days in the Aztec calendar. The last five days of the year were callednemontemi, and they were considered very unlucky, dangerous days. Dark spirits were thought to wander the land. People largely stayed indoors, kept to themselves, and kept quiet to avoid attracting the attention of these spirits.
Quahuitlehua came immediately after the five useless days, and was thought of as the beginning of the new year. It was the end of the dry season, when crops were once again sown. In order to secure the favor of the rain gods (to make sure they would return to the land), scores and scores of children were sacrificed by drowning. Also called Atlchualco, the event was officially called the “buying of water.” Typically taking place in what is now February, any captives were also sacrificed to the gods.

1.Lady Day

March 25 marked the start of the new year in Great Britain (except for Scotland) until 1752. Both a religious and secular holiday, it was called both “Lady Day” and the “Feast of the Annunciation.” It marked nine months before the birth of Christ, and was recognized as the day that Mary was visited by Archangel Gabriel, and told of her upcoming delivery.
A big day in the religious calendar, it has also been named as the date that Adam and Eve were kicked out of paradise, the day that Cain killed Abel, that Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac, that St. John “the Baptist” and St. James were beheaded, and that St. Peter was released from prison. (Oddly, doomsday prophets in the 10th century foretold that the world would come to an end when the “Feast of Annunciation” and Good Friday happened on the same day—which happened in 970.)
In addition to its religious significance, Lady Day also had an important secular meaning. March 25 was the first of the “quarter days,” which marked off each quarter of the year, and created a framework for tax and rent collection, as well as marking the start of traditionally year-long contracts for servants and laborers.