Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

I wish I could have sent every one of you a Halloween card this year. 
Thank you for reading my blog. It makes me so happy that there are others like me 
who love Halloween with a passion.

And, if you're in the area, stop by and say "trick or treat" tonight 
because rain only enhances the mood and the candy is waiting for you.

I'll be back with another post tomorrow! If you're a new follower, I post Monday through Friday with my latest Halloween finds and other spookiness that captures my attention.
Tonight is not the end. It's just the beginning.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

When the Devil Comes Calling

The night before Halloween is called Devil's Night in some communities and mischief is the prime activity. As I was thinking about what (the hell) I was going to post about today (i'm just about Halloween brain dead) it occurred to me that the last two books I've read centered around the devil coming to call. Three books, actually, if we go back a few months.

I just finished reading A Head Full of Ghosts (2015) by Paul Tremblay. I've been wanting to read one of his novels for awhile and this book is on Hoopla (you can read it online for free!) The story takes place in current time (there are cellphones and reality tv) and is about the suspected possession of a fourteen year old girl told through the memories of her sister who was eight years old at the time of the event and is telling the story to a best-selling author writing a book about it.

The story focuses on the dynamics of the family and how that changes when a reality tv show becomes involved. There are twists and turns in this novel and we're kept guessing whether Marjorie is truly possessed by the devil or suffering from psychosis. Parts of this book are pretty darn creepy.

Wakenhyrst (2019) by Michelle Paver is also about what happens to a family when a member becomes troubled by the devil. The story takes place at the turn of the twentieth century in England and is a gothic-style tale with eerie descriptions of the fen. The story is told my Maud, the daughter in the family, who is also relating her memory of events to a reporter many years later.

At Wakenhyrst, the family estate, we observe Maud's dominant father slowly descending into madness believing that the devil has come for him. Again, there are enough twists and turns to make you wonder if there is something supernatural occurring or if it's all imagination. I wouldn't say this story scared me, but it did keep me guessing.

Huh, didn't realize I had such a reading theme lately.  Devil's Day (2017) by Andrew Michael Hurley also concerns the dynamics of a family when the devil comes to call.

The Pentacost family practices a yearly ritual of redrawing the poverty boundaries to protect their sheep and the community from the devil. When the son brings his new pregnant wife back to the moors where he grew up to participate in the ritual, memories are brought to surface that stir things up. This novel is slow to be sure, but beautifully written. The moors almost become a character in the story and lend a great deal to the disquieting uneasiness.

I recommend all three of these novels. You'll like them best if you're a fan of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. All of these devil books are what I would call ghosts-of-the-mind books. There are no jump-out-of-your-skin moments, but the evil creeps up on you and will keep you thinking about them long after.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Here's What I Did With All Those Pins & Patches

There are so many great spooky pins and patches for sale. I've really tried to resist buying them because I don't wear a jean jacket (where everyone else seems to put them) and while I can occasionally put a pin on a jacket or sweater, what do to with the patches??

It finally hit me. I need to adopt a rhinestone cowboy mentality. Hear me out. I do wear black suit jackets fairly often. I thought about loading the collar of a jacket with all the pins as if they were rhinestones. Then adding the patches to the jacket just seemed natural.

I headed to our local thrift store where I found a beautifully made men's suit jacket just my size. I present to you my new pins & patches jacket.

I intend to add pins and patches as I find them. I've been collecting these for years, but if you see something you're interested in, let me know. I may be able to tell you were I purchase it.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Our Halloween Decor: Part Two

I showed you our back porch and Halloween collection room a few days ago. Today I have pictures of our Halloween decorated living room and dining room. Don't look for the television- there isn't one. I watch all my scary shows on my iPad. They're less scary that way.

The Living Room

Jojo and Scooter insisted in being in the photo.

The bookcase holds scary books, skulls, and alcohol.

Cotton, our black cat, is curled up.

The Dining Room

If you're wondering how much of the decor stays up all year, well, a great deal of it. Thanks for stopping to take a look today! 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

13 Days of Halloween: By Now You're In A Panic

There are just four days left before Halloween. Let that sink in.

I've been noticing a lot of panic around that thought. Costumes aren't finished (or even started), favorite horror movies haven't been watched, and the spooky events we were making lists of in August somehow passed us by. Is your heart racing? I think we all need to pause and take a deep breath. Now, I want you let out a loud moan that will rival the un-dead. Feel better?

People always ask me if I get depressed after Halloween, but for me, the truth is that Halloween is just a moment. Writing the blog allows me to experience the atmosphere of Halloween almost everyday. It's true that the month of October gives us lots of opportunities to shop for costumes in our local stores and attend parties and visit haunted houses, but you can find those things all year long if you look hard enough. So don't despair! You haven't missed anything yet. Halloween hasn't even arrived.

Once you accept that you are Halloween royalty, you are allowed to celebrate all year long. It comes as no surprise to my family and friends when I send spooky birthday cards or wear macabre jewelry or bring in skull cookies to work in July. It's a lifestyle. Own it.

In the meantime, I want you to think about why you enjoyed Halloween as a kid 
and plan to recreate that for a least one hour in the next few days. 

I have a few suggestions, of course.

Purchase a Halloween decorated cake, cupcake, or bag of candy
and eat it by candlelight. Only share it with someone very special.

Forget the costume and dress like the Halloween royalty you are. 
Go out on the town and hand out ribbons for other people's costume efforts or
just sit at home and watch television- you probably did that a lot as a kid. 

Listen to a spooky podcast in the dark.

Carve a pumpkin.
Really, it only takes about 15 minutes if you don't get all fancy. 
The smell and ooze will take you back years. And those seeds? Yum.

If you do just one of those things, you won't have missed Halloween. REALLY. Enjoy Halloween night, but remember it's the beginning not the end. How will you make it last?

Saturday, October 26, 2019

13 Days of Halloween: The Lady ParaNorma

It's Saturday and we all have so much to do, but if you can spare five minutes I highly encourage you to watch (or re-watch) the haunting short film The Lady ParaNorma written and directed by Vincent Marcone.

Peter Murphy (of Bauhaus- you know him) beautifully narrates the story.

If you love it, like I do, you'll want to check out My Pet Skeleton.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Miniature Haunted Room Challenge: The Ghost of Edward Gorey

Whew! I finished my miniature haunted room just in the nick of time. I guess I work better under a deadline or maybe it was the embarrassment of not finishing my own challenge?

After months of contemplation, I decided to do a miniature room in honor of Edward Gorey. I love his drawings and wanted to replicate a room as he might have drawn it. When you look at the room you're probably going to think "Why did that take so long?" Well, I spent a lot of time convincing myself that less is more with Gorey. I wanted to add in every Gorey-esqe detail I could list: the chaise lounge, the wood paneling, the patterned wallpapers and fabrics, tufted ottoman, urn, heavy drapery, swooning women, a spooky fern, bookshelves, cats,.... the list goes on. I spend hours searching online and in shops for each of those items only to realize that when you look at a Gorey drawing they're really rather sparse in items. So I've put my pencil down. I present to you a room haunted by the spirit of Edward Gorey- complete with his portrait.

The room box is a display case I purchased at Michaels meant for a football. Originally I planned to purchase miniature wood windows and mount them on the glass but then decided to drawn them in. After all, Gorey is about drawing. Hours of searching for the right wallpaper and carpet was finalized with a trip to Michaels scrapbooking paper section. It was a total fluke, but think they work.

I had a hard time deciding what to do about the figures. I thought about making my own, but as time ran out, I realize I was either going to have to go with no figures or find something online. I ended up purchasing the Victorian woman from a London shop called Minimum World. Despite the shipping cost, she was incredibly inexpensive and the quality is amazing. I highly recommend them. 

I feared she wouldn't arrive in time so, Monday night (yes this past Monday) I suddenly had an idea to include the Doubtful Guest. I stitched like a madwoman to create him. The doll did arrive on Wednesday and I decided to include them both.

I almost forgot to mention that the urn, after searching for hours, it was located at the local Goodwill Thrift Store. It was originally a brightly colored metal drinking cup that I painted flat black and added a lid from a resin birdbath that had broken! The chaise lounge was purchased from a seller on Ebay.

The final touch was a small portrait of Gorey. I snatched a drawn portrait online that is from the in-process Gorey Documentary- sorry, it was just so perfect! I copied it onto watercolor paper to give it some texture and put it in a miniature framed mirror I found at Michaels. 

Ta da! It's done and I love it. 

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the Challenge (Tanya, Renee, and Kristy) I had so much fun that I think you'll see more spooky miniatures here.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Our Halloween Decor: Part One

It's the sixth day of Halloween! I hope you have your decorations up by now so that you can enjoy them. I know, I know, they're never completely finished until it's time to put them away. Still, light a candle and sit back and enjoy your hard work.

Most People Enter Through the Back Porch

The cabinet under the windows was built specifically for the the cats to lay on. 

This is my "tip of the hat" to Ray Bradbury

Before we moved to Connecticut, I lived in Georgia and collected lots of folk art.

The skull curtains are mantel cloths that I sewed loops to for hanging.

Some people do actually enter through the front door.

This is a family portrait from my dad's side of the family. 
I believe she died very young.

This is our Halloween gallery where my collection lives most of the year.

The shrine is for our family members that have passed away. You can read about it here.

I'll have more photos of our decorations next week. Let me know if you have any questions about where pieces came from. I love talking about everything!