Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gothic Skirts for All Your Fine Spooky Events

I found the most scrumptious purveyor of Goth/Lolita skirts the other day. I have to share it with you. The shop is called Lady Sloth and it's virtually located on storenvy.com. The shop is physically located, however,  in Poland which makes it even cooler. These skirts are made from photo fabric. The photos are mystical, strange, and lovely. The skirts are not those pencil thin ones that only a Morticia figure can wear, but are full and flattering to all figures and have an adjustable waist. What do you think?
Raven Mansion
Fairytale Melancholy
Winter Cemetery
Baroque 
Dark Symphony
Silk Stained Glass

The skirts come in a variety of styles. Lady Sloth also carries dresses and blouses made in a similar vein. These are so wonderful that you just might need to plan a party to wear one.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Creepy Cross Stitch Kits

GeckoRouge is a British Etsy shop that makes divine cross stitch kits. The designs are rich in color and detail, and there are hundreds to choose from. Not all the kits are spooky, but there is an entire fantasy section.  I had a hard time choosing which kits to show. Cross stitch is a good hobby for everyone who likes to count and follow directions (that's me). It's also good for times when you are sitting with nothing else to do; say you're stuck on an airplane or at a doctor's appt. You can take it anywhere. The kits come with canvas, directions, and thread. These are not your grandmother's cross stitch kits.

Ouija Board
Raven's Moon
Tardis and Cat
Adelita: Day of the Dead
The Bride Doll Maker
Extra Large Day of the Dead
Nightmare in the Flesh
Memento Mori
Pied Piper

Ok. I'm done. Really, they're great. Go look for yourself.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Shirley Jackson: The Empress of Eerie

On June 26, 1948 The New Yorker published Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery. Readers were outraged and it has been said that The New Yorker had never received so much angry mail over a story. Even Jackson's parents wrote her

"Dad and I did not at all care for your story in The New Yorker...[I]t does seem, dear, that this gloomy kind of story is what all you young people think about these days. Why don't you write something to cheer people up?" (Mental Floss: 11 Facts about Shirley Jackson's The Lottery)

I can still remember being assigned this book in school and being horrified at the unexpected ending. Jackson was a master at making the ordinary seem frightening and her stories are still as unnerving as they were when written. I admire Jackson because she wrote haunting stories as well as she wrote about the humor in her own life of raising children in Vermont in memoirs such as Raising Demons. It's my belief that you can't appreciate the dark without understanding the humor.

Today, I assign all of us a Shirley Jackson summer reading list. You can start with her bibliography. Once you finish those, head over to the website of The Shirley Jackson Awards for a list of current books by authors working in the genres of psychological suspense, horror, or dark fantasy. The Shirley Jackson Awards have been given out since 2007 to authors of novels, novellas, novelettes, short fiction, single-author collections, and edited anthologies. The only thing missing is the grocery list. The list of winners and nominees makes a fabulous reading list. I hope this is a long summer. The 2014 winners should be announced any day now.

Enough lecturing, on to the shopping.....

Award for Best Inapropriate Cover

Shirley Jackson Doll

St. Shirley Candle

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gris Grimly: Macabre Artist for the Child Within

It's hard to believe that Gris Grimly hasn't made an appearance in this blog till now. As an artist who has created books, videos, and movies in the whimsical-sinister style I love so much, there is so much to say that I have not known how to condense it. Gris Grimly's FaceBook post yesterday that he has illustrated Ray Bradbury's Halloween Tree was just the push I needed. It's being released in August.


If you're not familiar with Gris Grimly, it's easiest to start with the numerous "children's" books he has illustrated and in some cases written. I put "children's" in quotation marks because many young children may be frightened by them. These are children's books that parents and kids over 7 years will love to read. I'm certain you'll want to start with the  Neil Gaiman and Gris Grimly collaboration The Dangerous Alphabet.

The Mad Creator Productions website has a shop where you can purchase books, art prints, film products, clothing, and accessories. (You must check out the women's skull shoes.) Sure, you can buy his books everywhere, but isn't it nice to purchase directly from the artist?

Art prints are also available from the Van Eaton Galleries. Here is a sample of his work.

Nina Esqueleto
Lure
The Dangerous Alphabet

Frankenstein
Tales of Death and Dementia
Santa Claws

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Crochet Soft Sculpture for the Hard Hearted

Etsy shop Croshame is rather amusing. It sells mildly disturbing crochet figures. You would probably not want to give these for a baby shower gift.  However, they would make a great gift for the person who has everything- because they don't have these. You have to admire the creativity and skill. I'm a fan.

Exorcist Playset
Sid and Nancy Set
Evil Elf #3
S'tan the Man
Krampus Set
Lambchopped

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tipple Tuesday: Gin and Sin

Lately, Gin and Tonics have been my go-to after-work pour. It's the perfect summer drink. That's probably why the Gin and Sin caught my eye. This prohibition-era drink is similar to a Screwdriver and would be fairly easy to make in a batch for a Halloween party. Most of the recipes call for the ingredients to be shaken, but I like how this recipe from Spirit It layers the alcohol. It's a little trickier to make, but is oh so pretty.


Gin and Sin

1/4 oz Grenadine Syrup
1 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simply Syrup
2 oz Gin
Garnish with an orange slice and lemon peel

Monday, June 22, 2015

How Could I Forget Stonehenge?

Last week's post about the Solstice was missing one very important tradition. Going to Stonehenge! I don't know how I forgot it. I guess I was too focused on the Scandinavian love spells. To make up for that slight. I bring to you a blog you may not have seen. The entire blog is about Stonehenge replicas. Yep.  It's called Clonehenge. I know what you're thinking: Spinal Tap or rather "This is Spinal Tap." Believe me, this blog is even better. They've been recognizing Stonehenge replicas since 2008.

Take some time today and surf through the blog posts. You'll be amused. Here are a few to whet your appetite.

Knitted Stonehenge
Sweaterhenge
Chips & Peas Stonehenge
Jelly Babyhenge
Candy Corn Henge

You want to try this with the lunch you brought to work, now. Admit it.  It's kind of funny that their last post in May says that they're going to visit the real Stonehenge and they haven't been heard from since. Hmmmmmmm.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Midsummer!

It's hard to believe that the Summer Solstice will happen this weekend. Summer takes forever to get here and then goes so quickly. Here in the U.S., we don't have any community-wide traditions to celebrate the solstices. It's such a shame. The solstices are infused with magic and ritual. Hmmm, that's probably why we don't celebrate them here. Those Puritans were no fun. Anyway, I don't want you to miss out on the celebration so here are a few links for you to find some ways to celebrate with your family and friends this weekend.

The Scandinavian countries know how to celebrate Midsummer in a big way. From what I've read that needs to be on a must-do list. They celebrate on the weekend following June 19th.

Top Ten: Odd Swedish Midsummer Traditions include midsummer poles, burnings, frog dances, wormwood snaps, and lots of herring. All of these seem doable.


There is also a tradition of love spells at Midsummer. Visit The 6 Love Spells of Midsummer hosted by the Finland travel site. This is serious stuff folks. My favorite is rolling in dew. (Maybe you'll collect some spider webs on you) Specifically, you should roll naked in a wheat field to have your true love appear within the year. There is a beautiful video to go along with the post. Hey! It's not that kind of a video. Keep your mind out of the gutters.

Kupala Night is celebrated in Eastern Europe. Belarus celebrates with bonfires, flowers, and games. Read Kupala Night in Belarus. (I'm partial to Belarus these days as my sister-in-law was born there) 


Many countries refer to Midsummer as St. John's Eve.  It is celebrated by the Catholic church as the birthday of St. John. Basically, it was another attempt at co-opting pagan holidays into Christian ones. However, it seems to be the same activities are carried out under a different name. Bonfires are a major component, except, instead of sacrificing to the gods, you burn witches. Ouch.



In England, Midsummer is a time of bonfires. We've all seen The Wicker Man. I even found some instructions online for making your own wicker man. You can thank me later. If you have one of those fancy metal bonfires, you might want your wicker man to be a tad smaller. Visit Craft Skills: How to Build a Wickerman


Make an effort to do something to celebrate the Summer this weekend. It will be gone before you know it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Summer Spiders

If you have been spending time outdoors, then you will have noticed it is the season of the spider. They create beautiful webs that must be seen in the morning with the dew still on them to be fully appreciated. I try not to disturb them, but when I do, I know that they'll just spin another one.

I came across a little project when I was researching the post Spider Webs a few weeks ago. Did you know you could make your own thread out of spider webs?! Instructables.com has a tutorial called How to Make Spider Silk Thread. I would plan on this being more like a meditation exercise than a way to save money on yarn.  However, you could make a small artsy project using the thread just in time for Midsummer. There is something very witchy about that, don't you think?

If you are house bound and can't collect any spider webs because, after all, the house spiders' webs just aren't as sturdy as their outdoor cousins, and still desire to capture the essence of a spider, you might want to take a look at the Etsy shop belonging to Wendy Cook called wlcook. Cook preserves webs in lockets you can wear around your neck. She promises that no spiders were harmed during the collection. Her site is seasonal and when the one-of-a-kind lockets are gone, the shop is closed till next year. They're quite lovely.

#133
#121
#126

I have a romantic image of all of us running outside and tiptoeing through the dew to collect spider webs. Don't disappoint me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hugmunculus

"The concept of the homunculus, the little man inside, has been around since the middle ages. Hugmunculus are the sculptural manifestations of these intangible human qualities that perplex, incite, and challenge us all."

So says Hugmunculus, the website of Chicago ceramic artist Heather Hug. You're going to love these little creatures. There is a great deal of humor here. Hug's work is featured in galleries and you can purchase work by contacting her through the website. On with the show!

Curios Killed the Cat
Siamese Twins
Bat
Little Red
Gladys the Good Witch Mask
The Brothers Gas Bag
Spider