Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Look Back at a Graveyard Quilt

I happened to be scrolling though some old posts of the blog and came upon a post about a graveyard quilt in the possession of the Kentucky Historical Society. I want to share it with you again because I posted it in 2015 and you may not have seen it or have forgotten about it - I did.

To learn about the quilt, made in 1843 and see more photos, check out my blog post Graveyard Quilts. I've updated the links in the post and freshened it a bit.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Elegant Creepy Crawlies: Laura Zindel

Laura Zindel's pottery has been a favorite of mine for as long as I've been writing this blog. Made in Vermont, Zindel's pieces echo the beauty in nature. Creepy crawly spiders and bugs become things of beauty. You might not think you would want to eat off a plate with a giant spider on it, but I think you'll find that Zindel's reverence for nature will have you feeling pretty good about it! In addition to spiders and bugs, the pieces also contain mushrooms, birds, and other forest creatures. Find the pottery at Laura Zindel Design

Harlequin Beetle Platter

Tarantula Small Bowl

Tarantula Small Serving Dish

Ghost Pumpkin Small Bowl

Parasol Mushroom Mug

Set of 3 Jars
Zindel offers both handmade (more expensive) and dinnerware pieces in her shop. Take a look and I'm sure you'll fall in love with something there.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Quirky Pots for your Spooky Porch Garden

If you're looking to spook your neighbors with a creepy porch or balcony garden I found the most whimspookal pots for your lovingly cultivated black petunias.  Really, how spectacular would a porch garden with bright pot and all black flowers be?! The ceramic pots from Smisi Vandal are just what you need.

Devil and Angel Pot

Vampire Pot

Crazy Love Pot

Jack and Sally Pot

Devil Pot

Queen of Snakes Pot

Damn it! Now I'm on the hunt for black petunias...
Check out the shop for mote pots, keychains, and even puppets!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Spooky Cape Cod: Part II

A few days, a few weeks.... time is meaningless, right? The important thing is that I'm back for part two of my spooky Cape Cod adventure. 

First let me tell you about the inn where we stayed. I chose it because it is right next door to the Edward Gorey House Museum. It's called Chapter House and since this isn't an advertisement for them 😉, I'll let you look it up. The inn was great! I believe it is recently under new management and has been updated. Being off season, there weren't many people staying there, and we found our room (I could see the Gorey House from our window) was comfortable, cozy, and nicely decorated. I don't know about you, but I hate staying in rooms in historic inns that are overly decorated and busy. This room was very relaxing in its decor. A light, delicious breakfast is served in the morning and there is a small bar in the main house for guests. The inn keepers were very friendly and helpful and, of course, I was able to learn that the 1716 main house has ghosts and that a medium had recently pointed to an antique mirror on the stair landing and called it a portal for the spirits. I was so entranced that I forgot to take a picture. Duh.

We began our second day early in the misty morning with a stop at Ancient Cemetery a few blocks away from our inn on the advice of some friends. They told us about a certain gravestone we had to see. With rough directions from Roadside America (and a minor direction squabble between my husband and me) we located the gravestone of Mary Dolencie (1906-1985). Apparently, Ms. Dolencie lived in a gated community of sorts and had a disagreement with her neighbors over cats. I believe she was on the pro-cat side. This woman can hold a grudge and had her gravestone etched with the words:

May eternal damnation be upon those in Whaling Port who, without knowing me, have maliciously vilified me. May the curse of God be upon them and theirs.

That, my friends, is how you make sure people visit your grave.  We walked around the cemetery for about 30 minutes. There are some old and new(!) gravestones with winged skulls that are interesting to see.

From there we headed to The Edward Gorey House. This has been on my bucket list for too many years to count. By the time we arrived, the sun was breaking through the mists and the front door was being unlocked. 

The museum is the last house that Gorey lived in- he died in Cape Cod in 2000. He purchased the house in 1979 without ever going inside and ended up spending a great deal of time and money making it habitable. Lesson learned. This museum is not like a typical historic house museum (I say that with the lens of having degrees in Historic Preservation and Interior Design) but that made it even more interesting for me! 

The museum was opened two years after Gorey died and you will find an assortment of interesting odds and ends that he collected over the years alongside his sketches, book drawings, famous fur coat, and a sense of how he lived in the house. The entrance room holds an exhibit of Gorey's work where the theme changes each year. This year the exhibit is Doing the Steps and it's a look at Gorey's ties to ballet, specifically the New York City Ballet, which he attended regularly for 30 years.

Doing the Steps, Edward Gorey House Exhibit

Throughout the house, there's a playful atmosphere. The curator-written descriptions of objects are amusing and fun to read. Best of all, there is a scavenger hunt to find all the characters from Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies that my husband had a good time locating. The house is small and you can see it all in 15 minutes, but if you take the time to read the descriptions and notice the placement of seemingly unrelated objects next to each other you start to step into Gorey's mind and you'll find an hour has quickly passed! I didn't take as many photos as I thought I would because frankly I was so focused on what I was looking at. I enjoyed our visit very much and it's the kind of place that you can return to again and again and see something you didn't notice before. 

Quote from Edward Gorey's mother

"The actual tassels themselves were found in a cigar box among Edward's things after his death. We have no reason to suspect they had anything to do with his passing."

The Gashlycrumb Tinies Scavenger Hunt

The famous coat.

The program for Gorey's Memorial Service

We finished out the rest of our day with stops at local breweries (Barnstable Brewing and Bad Martha Farmer's Brewing), a visit to a lighthouse, and some seafood. It was a short and delightful trip with a side of spooky.

Your Tour Guides

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Even In Cape Cod I Can't Escape the Spooky: Part I

Last weekend my husband and I took a two-night trip to Cape Cod. Visiting the Edward Gorey House has been on my to-do list for years! It's embarrassingly close, but if you live anywhere within driving distance of the Cape you know that during the summer the traffic is unbearable and during the winter not much is open. We decided to go in the middle of the week and take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and make an exploratory mission out of it. 

Of course, I can't go anywhere with out bumping into (and searching out) the spookier parts of a place. Allow me to share what I found.

Our first stop was the Sandwich Glass Museum. We have a thing for glass museums. I love the art and color, my husband likes the technology, and we both find the history interesting. What could be spooky in a glass museum you're probably asking yourself right now. 

Well, the special exhibit by glass artist Wayne Strattman was a Steampunk dream come true! There were all sorts of fantastic looking machines that looked like you could use them for time travel, talking to spirits, or destroying the world. It was very fun and if you're in the area before June 30th it's worth a visit for that alone. But there was more! 

I also saw some moulds for making glass Frozen Charlottes. I'm sure you've seen the tiny figures of little ladies in Halloween art pieces (usually porcelain.) The figures are based on a story of a young woman who wanted to go to a ball but wouldn't wear her coat because it would cover her dress and then she catches sick and dies. (rather dramatic and condescending to women, but let's just focus on the death part.) There were also some really cool glasses with a Frozen Charlotte embedded in the stem. Why didn't they sell reproductions of those in the gift shop?! 

I felt myself pulled to the right, and what did I see but a small collection of glass Witch Balls! The legend is that if you hang one in your house, evil spirits will be attracted to it and get trapped inside. The museum panel added that the spirits will then help protect you. This is similar to the bottle trees that I wrote about a few years ago (read it here.) 

And I can't leave the Sandwich Glass Museum without mentioning the very un-spooky thing I learned and found to be quite whimsical- the glass celery containers. Did you know that in Victorian times, celery was considered quite a delicacy and needed its own serving dish? But serving dish doesn't begin to describe the lovey tulip-shaped vases I saw to hold the celery upright in water. I decided immediately that I need to start serving celery at our parties in a beautiful vase too. 

From the Sandwich Glass Museum we headed to The Devil's Purse Brewing Company. Did you know that a Devil's Purse is an egg case for some marine animals like sharks and skates? I didn't, but you know I couldn't miss a brewery that involves the devil. We each had a few small pours of the beers on tap which were quite good and I purchased a brewery sticker for our car. I was fascinated by the devil's purse paintings for sale on the wall of the brewery and regret not purchasing one. I'm sure I'll be back.

I'll post the second day of our Cape Cod adventure- including a visit to the Edward Gorey House in a few days. Please come back.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Mystical Adornments from Arrok Jewelry

I'm back with some mystical adornments from Arrok Jewelry. I featured this shop back in 2019 and it's nice to be able to go back and see that they're thriving and still have bewitching jewelry!

Sun & Moon Moth Charm

Mended Anatomical Heart Charm

Spider Ring

Zombie Graveyard Ring

Winged Skull Earrings

Large Snake Specimen Bottle Charm

Take a look in the shop and sign up to be on the mailing list so that you know when new items arrive.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Surreal and Haunting Art Dolls

While I've been away, I found some art doll artists that you might like. Each artist has their own unique style, and if you'd like to see more just click on the image and you'll go straight to the artist's shop! That is if I did everything correctly.... 

My next post will be on May 5th. See you soon and don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

An Etsy Dilemma

First, I just want to say thanks for sticking with me! This blog has not come to its end. I've decided that I need a new schedule and posts will slowly be increasing over the next few months as we approach October when I'll be posting five days a week again. After Halloween, the posts will still arrive-just fewer. That gives me a little time to breathe and plan.

The Shivers of Delight blog began in 2014, and over the years it has evolved to focus on Halloween artists. I love discovering artists that I didn't know about and love sharing them with you. The majority of the artists that I've posted about have shops on Etsy. That's because it is so easy to search on a specific word like "skull" and find hundreds of artists that create with that theme. It really has made my blogging life easier. And, just so you know, I never accept any financial or product support from the artists' themselves. I really do post only the artists that I really like.

I've tried other market places, but the search algorithm isn't always as strong as Etsy's (and that's saying something) and there just isn't the variety of Halloween artists that you see in the Etsy marketplace. Which brings me to my Etsy dilemma. 

I'm finding that more and more first-rate artists are leaving the site because of Etsy management. I've also seen more and more mass-produced or copied items being available in the Etsy market. That's frustrating for me too. 

And now, it's come to a head. Many Etsy sellers have banded together to boycott Etsy the week of April 11-18. They're asking buyers to boycott as well. You can read about the strike at Etsy Strike. The strike is not my dilemma- I support the striking artists and understand their concerns. 

My fear is that Etsy won't take their demands seriously and they will all decide to leave Etsy. How will I find them?! Of course, I already bookmark many Halloween artists that don't have shops on Etsy and prefer to have their own websites and follow many more on Facebook and Instagram, but it takes a lot of time for me to continually check in to see if they have new items. In addition, I'm concerned that I won't be exposed to as many new artists.

Of course, I won't abandon Etsy completely because many Halloween artists will remain there and they need financial support from us collectors too. Etsy has provided a way for many small business artists to sell their pieces without investing money in their own website. For the buyer, Etsy provides a level of security that you will receive your purchases or get your money back (I know because I've been through that process successfully.)  My dilemma will be in continuing to support artists in the marketplace without feeling like I'm condoning Etsy managements' practices that hurt small business artists.

While I'm working out how I'm going to come to some middle ground of supporting Halloween artists both on and off Etsy, I've realized that I need to make it easier for you to discover artists that I have featured as well. In the next few weeks, I'll add a tab at the top of the blog that lists the artists that I have featured on the blog and links to their shops. I can't guarantee that it will always be up-to-date, but you can help me by letting me know if a link is broken. That way we can all search for our new favorite artists and see what is currently available.

For future reference, I plan to have 2 posts in April and May on the first and third Thursdays. In June and July I'll post every Thursday and then in August I'll start posting twice a week. You can always follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I'll alert you to new posts, plus I'll be posting in those spaces a bit more often. I'll meet you back here on April 21st!

Sunday, March 13, 2022

If This Had Been An Actual Emergency...

Please excuse this interruption to our regularly scheduled programming. If this had been an actual emergency you would have been instructed to turn to page 13 in your grimoire. 

I'm suffering from a spell of ennui these days. This is not the end; I'm looking for a spark of inspiration. As soon as I find it, Shivers of Delight will be back.

Is it just me?

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Surreal Paintings From Julie Schuler

I can't stop looking at the paintings by Julie Schuler. They're macabre and yet so intimate that they draw me right in. I want to hear the stories that inspired each one. You'll find these original paintings and many more a JSchulerArt.

Devil Lollipops

The Temptation of St. Anthony


No Peeking


The Puppeteer Contemplates Death and the Devil

If you like dark, folk, fairy tales of Eastern Europe this is the shop for you.