Friday, November 28, 2014

Black Plague Friday

In the United States, we have an unofficial holiday the day after our Thanksgiving called Black Friday. On Black Friday you wake up before dawn and go shopping with a wild look in your eye. It's crazy and in my opinion a bit like a plague.
Photo graciously stolen from Stephen F. Austin
So, today I thought I'd blog about some Black Plague doctor's masks.  There are an unbelievable number of modern recreations of the plague doctor's masks so I've refined my list to even odder things. I think these should be worn or carried on Black Friday as a protection talisman.

First of all, you need a proper shopping bag. There is an entire line of Little Plague Doctor products at and this smart bag fits the bill. The badge let's everyone know you mean business. Adorable!
Chibi Plague Doctor Gifts
Badge from Chibi Plague Doctor Gifts
I found this beautiful Steampunk Black Plague pendant on Etsy by DarksideArt.
Doctor Plague Mask Necklace
Anyone fighting you for that last big screen tv will step out of the way when they see you've survived the plague.
Plague Survivor Merit Badge 
This plague doctor would look great hanging from the rearview mirror of your car. You'll probably get a premium parking space at the mall. If you can crochet, please make me one. I'm hopeless at reading a pattern. I did the hard work of finding it for you, after all. Crochet Plague Doctor Pattern
Finally, nothing says it better than a t-shirt and RedBubble has plenty of plague doctor t-shirts to choose from. Shop in peace my friends.
REDBUBBLE Plague Doctor t-shirt

Thursday, November 27, 2014

When Thanksgiving Was Halloween

Happy Thanksgiving! It's time to put on our costumes and beg for money or treats. At least that's how it used to be at the turn of the nineteenth century when the holiday was know as Thanksgiving Masking or Ragamuffin Day. The last Thursday in the month of November kids dressed up in costumes and begged in the streets. Eventually Ragamuffin Parades were created to stem the chaos and that became the Macy's Day Parade. Sort of. There have been several articles in the last few years with the history of this holiday before it became a time to gather around the table with your family and yell at each other. You can read these short articles around the table today for a good laugh at the crazy things people did back then. It will be a bonding experience. We can all be thankful for those.
Thanksgiving Maskers at boingboing

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Paxton Gate Oddities

If you're shopping list includes finding a gift for someone who has everything, you should probably head on over to Paxton Gate. They have shops in San Francisco and Portland, but their website has plenty to look at as well. They specialize in oddities relating to the natural sciences with a slant toward things you could use to decorate your home. Here are a few of things I found online today.

There is a good selection of realistic taxidermy with a few examples of rogue taxidermy. I love this mouse elf.
Holiday Mouse $300
It's surprising how useful another set of hands can be.
Victoria's Hands $35
 Dioramas are fun for the entire family, and this one is educational!
Lisa Wood
First Aid Caterpillar Diorama $300
Light up a room with this Steampunk delight.
Evan Chambers
Diving Bell Bird Lamp $980
Are you trying to keep your holiday budget in check? A jar of animal glass eyes might do the trick. There is a large variety available.
Wolf Glass Eye $11

Lynx Glass Eye $9.75
Finally, who could resist an articulated skeleton of a pigeon? Not me.
Articulated Pigeon Skeleton $96

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Creepy Good Corkscrews

If you like Halloween, you probably have an occasional glass of red wine. Too stereotypical? Ok, then you probably know someone who drinks wine. Since the spirit of Halloween lasts all year in our house, I have a collection of spooky barware. I am always eager to add to the collection.

I found two examples of vintage Halloween corkscrews that I thought were fun. I'll be on the lookout for some at the next Brimfield Antique Fair in the spring.
Gothic Rose Antiques (sold)
Retonthenet Vintage Purveyors
 There are some great new corkscrews that I feel are worthy of my collection as well.
The Black Broom
New Moon UK


Dellamorte & Co.
I could actually spend an entire blog post on the pieces at Dellamorte & Co. on Etsy.  Spend your lunch hour browsing that site. Or, wait till this evening when you have a glass of wine in your hand.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Go Bats Over These Dresses

Come the holidays, a girl starts thinking about the perfect party dress. Yes, you can find a delicious red, gold or white dress, but you'll be really fly in one of these bat dresses. Ha! I crack myself up. Add a fur stole (faux, bien sur) and people are going to want to hang around you. Think of the bats as dark angels.
EmeraldAngel $135
ThreadsoftheDead $49.99

HausofUberAlice $65

KillStar 29.99
Avenue 32 $1,110 (gulp- on sale)

Avenue 32 $1,152 (bigger gulp)
Dolls Kill $65

Friday, November 21, 2014

Death Warmed Over

I came across a quilting website that had a Day of the Dead quilt challenge in 2004. The quilts that were created are beautiful. I'll post some of them here but to see the full display clink on the link. The stories on the website behind each of the quilts are poignant. This would be a good winter project challenge.
Transition by Rhoda M. Bombard, Roscoe, IL

Day of the Dead New Members Tea by Anne Louise Mullard-Pugh, Las Vegas, NV

Untitled by Anne Copeland, Lomita, CA

Frida by Jamie Fingal, Orange, CA

Catrina Leaves for the Party by Leslie Tucker Jenison, San Antonio, TX

Those Who Have Gone Before by Becky Kelly, Kingsburg, CA

Nellie's Garden: She Sees, She Knows by Deborah Lacativa, Lawrenceville, GA

Sarge - Always My Prince by Jacqi Levi, Greenville, WI

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Christmas Ghosts

What is Christmas without a few ghosts lurking around? I'm going to try to incorporate a few in my holiday decor this year. Whether they are the ghosts of past, present and future, or Zero from the movie Nightmare before Christmas, or the ghost of guilt, we should celebrate them. Right? I'm not actually sure how to depict the ghost of guilt, but I know it exists. Just believe.

Let's start with costuming. Why dress as Santa for the kids when you can dress as a Christmas ghost? You can whip out a list of their past transgressions. That will keep them on their toes.
I absolutely love the Muppet's Christmas Carol and it's portrayal of Marley's Ghosts. I wonder if I could buy stuffed dolls of them. 
And finally, there is Zero. The newest addition to Christmas Ghosts. He is just adorable. I would hang him in a corner and put a sprig of mistletoe in his mouth. The perfect kissing spot.
I can't end without posting this delightfully spooky door knocker I saw on Etsy. Add a wreath and you have perfection.
By PulpNovelties

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Glass Remembrance

A friend alerted me to a really lovely way to remember a deceased family member or friend that has been cremated. Artful Ashes in Seattle, WA, creates glass hearts and globes using a tablespoon of the cremated ashes. I can't believe the Victorians didn't think of this. I like that you could combine the ashes of two people in the piece so that they are together for eternity. If you are in their area, you can schedule an appointment to watch your piece being created. I think this is a beautiful way to honor the dead. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ouija Board Mania

I came across an interesting website called the Museum of Talking Boards. It relates the history of mass produced Ouija Boards which began in the late nineteenth century. Again, I love those spooky Victorians. There is a gallery of manufactured Ouija Boards with all kinds of crazy graphics. Wouldn't it be fun to start a collection?

I have a small fairly new board that I keep saying I'm going to make into a serving tray. I've been saying that for about 5 years now. I am skittish about using a Ouija Board again ever since a Halloween night in college when my friends and I used one to call the spirit of Charles Baudelaire and he responded by rolling up all the window shades in my dorm room at once. Done. Luckily we didn't burn down the dorm when the candles went flying as we ran out of the room.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorites from the museum photo collection.