Monday, October 17, 2011


We decided to change up our annual Halloween Display this year including adding this Jack O Lantern Arch at the entrance to our doorway.
We got some ideas from photos we had viewed online however the final result was achieved via some trial, error and on the go fixes including the use of Duct Tape.

We have had many questions on how it was done so here you go...
Try it at your own risk, expense and patience... :)


First we purchased 30 pumpkins.
We found these at Michaels, Joanne's and Target. They are a foam type, hollow and can be carved.
We spent a couple of hours carving various scary, happy and Disneyesque faces...
Then we needed something to put them on.
We visited Lowe's Hardware store where we found 4 foot rebar and a whole lot of PVC pipe and connectors. With a idea on paper and some general measurements we began cutting... and cutting... and cutting... Oh... and measuring too... sometimes...
And here is the result and basic framework of the arch:
this arch measure 8 feet tall, 10 feet wide and includes a 45 degee angle portion on each side to compliment the arch style. We first pounded in 4 rebar's into the ground and placed the PVC pipe over them to create stability. This has worked very well so far.
We also included 6 cross bars fairly equally distributed around the arch to create stability and a uniform distance between the two main PVC pipes.
Then... we got started placing pumpkins with the biggest one on the top right in the middle.
We also chose to place the smaller sizes right next to the big guy to emphasize his stature.
These carvable pumpkins are hollow and are fairly light weight so things seemed fine soooo... we added more pumpkins to the arch:
We secured the pumpkins to the PVC pipe with a craft wire we found at Michael's. The wire is wrapped with a brown paper material so blended in well.
This is when we decided that the arch needed a little more securing.
The weight wasn't getting too bad yet however, it does get windy in the PNW and that could cause a problem. Se we purchased some small gauge wire and screw in hooks and tied the wire around various key points on the arch and five main support locations on the house, front, back and sides of the arch.
Then we added more pumpkins...
Then... we realized we didn't have nearly enough pumpkins...
Lucky for us there were sales... 50% off at Michaels and Joanne's. Whew...

We were having some issues with getting the pumpkins to sit just right on the arch so I added this 2 inch x 1/2 inch x 8 foot board on the top to help support the pumpkins.
Once the arch was full of pumpkins, two rows and two wide. 70 pumpkins in all... we then moved on to stringing and placing the lights in the jack o lanterns.
Be sure to use lights that are for outdoor use.
Then we needed to hide the PVC pipe... We painted some of it black and in retrospect, I recommend painting it all brown or black before you set it up.
We then found fall leafy vines at Michael's and Joanne's for 60% and 80% off and filled in the gaps!!

Here is what the PVC arch corners and the cross members look like:
After much duct tape, stringing of lights and outdoor power strips, vines and touch ups...
Here is the finished product:

After nearly 2 full days of work, numerous trips to Hardware and Crafts stores and several more hours of set up and carving... we are very pleased with the final product. Now we just hope it holds together when the wind and rains comes...

And now ladies and gentlemen...
Here is the arch lit up at night:

If you choose to give this a try... plan for more time than you think and many more pumpkins that you think...
Good luck and Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Paine Field Airshow

We had the opportunity spend a fantastic day at the Paine Field Open House and Fly-In in Mukilteo in May 2011.

This one is somewhat unique in that there are two Historical Airplane 'Museum's' on site as well as the largest building in the world by volume, Boeing Everett Manufacturing Plant. The Future of Flight owned & operated by Boeing includes the history and future of Flight focusing on Boeing including a Tour of the manufacturing facilities. The Flying Heritage Museum owned by Microsoft co-found Paul Allen, includes over 25 rare & historical planes and exhibits. The Historic Flight Museum Collection is home to eight aircraft from 1927 to 1957 completely restored and flight ready.
During the Pain Field Open House & Airshow all of these locations brought out thier entire flying collections in addition to other fly-ins and Boeing aircraft.
The first part of the day included on tarmac viewing of the planes, tanks, landing gear, engines, airport Firetrucks, classic cars and so much more.

Thousands of fans attended this year and this event continues to grow dramatically each year.
Allowing us access onto the tarmac allowed for some unique and exciting photograph opportunities...

In the afternoon, the planes taxi'd on the runway for fly-by's:

One of the most unique and exciting treats at the event was getting up close and personal with the Boeing Dreamlifter transport aircraft.
Boeing uses this aircraft to transport fuselage, wings and other large sections for thier new 787 Dreamliner. There are four (4) Dreamlifters and all are highly modified 747-400 aircraft that spent a number of years in regular service with various Airlines.
The Dreamlifter has a main cargo volume 3 times the capacity of a 747-400 Freighter and is big enough to carry:
  • 42 million ping pong balls
  • 8 million 12oz cans
  • 80 Mini Cooper cars
  • A 10 lane/3 level bowling alley with room enough for a restaurant
  • 1 pair of 787 Wings
  • 1 787 Mid-body Fuselage Section
The tail opens up to allow cargo to be loaded. The swinging portion of the plane tail weighs as much as a fully loaded WWII B-17 Bomber. Below is the hinge part of the tail section.
 As mentioned, the Dreamlifter is a highly modified 747-400. In the photo below you can see where the original fuselage was cut out (the line just below the "Operated by Atlas Airlines") and the "bulge" was welded & riveted on. You can also see the seam just to the right of the entry door
Here is a close up of the riveted and highly reinforced front section... Wouldn't it have been nice to be the rivet salesman?
Near the end of the event, they took this Dreamliner out onto the tarmac and prepared for takeoff:
Then it was time for take off!!
This big boy takes off LOW and SLOW!!
The Super Cargo Loader has 32 tires and 16 steerable axles.
The entire cargo can be loaded / unloaded in less than 1 hour.
The Dreamlifter is capable of transporting any approved payload to any designated site within 24 hours.

Then she came around for a very unique fly-by with landing gear down.
This offered the opportuntity for these photographs:
And then the Dreamlifter fired up the engines and was off to Asia to pick up another set of 787 Wings...
All in all, a fantastic day with amazing experiences.
May 2012 you can be sure that you will find me on the tarmac at Paine Field to be a part of this event once again...

"More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination." 
~Wilbur Wright