Saturday, December 29, 2012

And The Liebster Award Goes To

Earlier this week I received a comment on my Sinister Cuties post saying a fellow blogger, Allison, had nominated me for a Liebster Award. It's an award that you pass on to a a fellow blogger that you like and enjoy reading their posts. The whole point of this is to let someone know that you like their writing, get to know them better, and then pass the torch on to others that you, yourself, like. I thought this sounded like fun and now that I finally have some free time, I am going to get cracking at this!

First off, for those of you that I end up sending this Liebster Award to here are the rules!

The Rules:

1. Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
2. They must also answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for them.
3. They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4. They must then choose 11 special bloggers to tag & award with the Liebster award
5. These bloggers must be told in a comment on their blog

Now that I have that out of the way, let's get this show on the road!

Eleven Things About Myself

1. My hair color changes constantly. It is usually pink and blonde, but sometimes it might be blue or orange or purple or green. You just never know.

2. I love coffee!

3. I have two dogs and two cats.

4. I am a huge John Waters fan and I have met him a few times.

5. Every time I go to the beach with my husband we go to a photo booth and those pictures litter my mirrors.

6. I try to make my bed every day even if I don't do it until I come home from work.

7. My husband and I got married on Halloween of 2011.

8. I am obsessed with drag queens and I go to a Baltimore gay bar on Monday nights to watch RuPaul's Drag Race with one of my best friends.

9. My sister is my best friend, and my husband is a close second.

10. Since my cats liked climbing our xmas tree last year and not only broke several ornaments, but the tree as well... my husband and I had to come up with an alternative tree. We decorated a very tall spider web candelabra with lights and hung a few ornaments on it... all of which are flamingos.

11. This past summer I went to Tennessee for my husbands family reunion. On there way there we stayed in Kentucky which is an awesome state, but I would never live there. They have a town called Salt Lick, their airport is on Manowar Drive across from the Kentucky Castle, they are home to Transylvania University, and several whiskey distilleries. I visited the Maker's Mark Distillery and got to dip my own bottle! It was awesome!

Eleven Questions from Allison

1. What is your biggest regret?
 I wish that I had been more outgoing when I was younger, maybe not to the extent that I am now, but as much fun as I thought I'd had then, I bet I would have had even more fun!

2. What is your favorite past time?
I really love driving around and trying to get lost on purpose. I have found some crazy roadside attractions in my travels. Like the giant totem pole sized rabbit someone has next to their house.

3. Tell me an embarrassing story.
A few years ago I was bar hopping in Baltimore with a friend and it was one of those days where I was running around all day and had almost nothing to eat aka I got drunk quite fast. When we were walking in Fells Point I tripped on the cobble stone and was so drunk I didn't notice that I had cut me knees and they were bleeding. When we got back to my friends apartment I spent the night in the bathroom throwing up. The next morning I woke up with blood everywhere from being on my knees barfing all night. That was ridiculous, gross, and sounds like a horror movie... waking up with blood everywhere.

4. Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how?

5. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
I used to go to buildings that used to be hospitals and schools, but had been closed down and are now overgrown with plants, are falling apart, and are the home to those who do not have homes. My mother, my sister, and myself became obsessed with these places and would go together and take pictures and make scrapbooks about our travels. Next on the list is the town that inspired Silent Hill. This may not seem crazy until you realize if you get caught it is considered trespassing and I have gotten a citation for doing this that led to a court date and community service. Also, some of the places have asbestos, medical waste buried on the property, wild animal, rotted out floors that could give at any moment, and some are rumored to be haunted. 

6. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
I would love to go to Germany. My cousin lives there and tells me how amazing it is and about all of the fun festivals and road trips she goes on. Ohh... and the food and beers!

7. Tell me a secret.
My husband and I don't do PDA's unless we think no one is looking. Our wedding day was the first time many people saw us kiss, which is hilarious because he has no problem grabbing my ass or going to a quick boob squeeze in front of our friends. There really is a difference between fucking around and intimacy.

8. Do you play video games? If so, who's your all time video game crush?
I own the original Nintendo gaming system and it still works! But that is all I have ever really played. I have a secret obsession with Bubble Bobble. Shhh....

9. Who is your favorite author?
I have two. Bret Easton Ellis and Ellen Hopkins. Neither of them write books with happy endings and I like that. Life isn't always a happy ending where the guy gets the girl and they never argue about silly shit and no one is on drugs or makes bad decisions. These books are raw for lack of a better word. The writing is beautiful and sometimes sad, but they make me think and question things I have always known to be true about myself and my morals and there is nothing wrong with stepping back and taking a look at yourself through a new set of eyes. 

10. What is your favorite dinosaur?
Triceratops. I just like that it sounds like Sara, which is my name and that these dinos have an awesome structure.

11. What do you think about sports?
Love em! I have ones I like to play and ones I like to watch. I love to swim and I love to watch football. I love to bike ride and I love to watch wrestling. I love to hike and I love to watch skateboarding.

 Okay... Now that I am done with my questions... Let's get to my nominees! They are the following:

Okay loves, here are your questions!

1. What is your favorite season and why?
2. If you could live in any US city which one would it be and why?
3. If you were in a horror movie where an escaped mental patient was hacking people to bits, do you think you would be a survivor?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Dogs or cats?
6. If someone gave you $1000 today, what would you most likely do with it?
7. What is your favorite perfume or cologne?
8. What is your favorite memory of 2012?
9. What is one thing you would change about yourself if you could?
10. What is a song that you can't stand so much that it makes you change the station as soon as it comes on the radio?
11. If you were a member of the opposite sex for 24 hours, what would you do?
Okay, enjoy! And please feel free to the link to your Liebster Award post as a comment on this post... who know, you may get some more views and some new readers!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sinister Cuties

Every now and again I come across something that is creepy as hell and too damn cute at the same time. No, I am not talking about a baby snake, but I am talking about something babies. Zombie babies! Horror movie inspired babies! Sinister babies!!!! and they are cute as hell! Maryann is the mastermind behind Sinister Cuties! Her shop specializes in taking old, worn dolls and transforming them into creepy little lovelies. With her own imagination and some help from her daughter, she creates something new with these worn and distressed dolls. Maryann was kind enough to chat with me about her work and now I am going to let you get to know a little about Maryann and her Sinister Cuties.

My name is Maryann, 38 years old. I live in Bad Axe Michigan with my 17 year old daughter Jorge and dog Cooper. My daughter is my biggest helper, critic and fan. She has just made her first doll to sell in my etsy shop, a dead Geisha girl. Mommy is very proud!

1. What kind of items do you sell in your shop?

Dolls: zombie babies, little ghost babies, mummies, and horror movie tribute dolls. Each one is special and unique. I scour the local thrift stores and garage sales, find the ones no one wants and take them home to turn into my own sinister creations... covered with marker...missing a few fingers...those are the ones I like the best.

2. How long have you been creating these killer dolls and how did you get started?

I have been creating the dolls for a couple years now. I was all set to buy a zombie baby from Spirit Halloween until I seen them in person. They looked great but I wanted something that I could dress in different clothes and pose with other dolls.So I made my own. I decorated my front porch as a zombie baby daycare for Halloween and people started to ask where they could buy the dolls.

3. I love that you have several dolls that are inspired by horror films. What was the first doll you made that was representative of a specific horror movie character and why did you pick this person?

Thank you. That would be Abby. I was in an antique shop and there was this fancy glass bowl filled with these tiny hatchets. The first thing that came to my mind was the way Marcie was killed in Friday the 13th part 1. I knew I had to make a doll to pay tribute to the movie. It's one of my favorites.

4. How do most of your ideas come to you? How would you describe your process from the moment you have an idea to the end result?

I usually find either a prop that I want to use like the tiny hatchet or when I find just the right doll, I just look at it and the ideas start running through my mind. I lose myself in the creativity process, it is a wonderful outlet.

5. Do you have a favorite doll that you have created? Which one and why?

It is really hard to pick a favorite. If I had to choose it would probably be Miss Evangeline. My daughter was a big help in creating her, from the paint to her clothes, to the background story on how she died, swallowed a diamond. She turned out very scary. 

6. Are you working on any new ideas that you would like to share with my readers?

I just finished 3 zombie babies, Cora Blue, Brody Grey and Winston. Just posted to my etsy shop this morning. I'm also working on a little werewolf boy. Still need to bloody him up a bit though. I would love to get some ideas from your readers, if there is something they would like to see I would welcome the inspiration!

7. I remember being obsessed with Living Dead Dolls when I was 14 years old. These dolls have no doubt paved the way for creepy horror inspired dolls to have a place in goth and punk culture. Why do you think people like these strange and unusual dolls? Do you think their popularity will continue to grow?

I love the Living Dead Dolls! My daughter has quite the collection. As long as people continue to watch horror movies and take in the darker side of life, these dolls will 'live' and prosper. It seem there has been a bit of a resurgence lately with television shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror Story. I think it's fantastic!

8. I would be lying if I said I wasn't in love with your Trick 'r Treat Sam doll. Why did you pick this character to become one of your amazing dolls?

Thank you so much. Oh was hard to let him go. Trick 'r Treat is one of my favorite movies, not just for Halloween, all the time. I love everything about it, especially Sam. He's like a sour patch kid, sour but sweet. As soon as I found the doll I knew it was going to be my Sam. I'm very proud of how he turned out.

9. Since horror has changed over the past few decades I am going to ask what is your most favorite classic horror film and what is your favorite horror film to come out in more recent times and why?

That's an easy one: Halloween, the John Carpenter classic. Love that movie. I own them all and watch them on a regular basis but of course I love the first one the most. I have a tattoo on my foot that took 4 hours and the whole time I just kept watching the movie in my head, it got me through it. For a more recent one I would go with the Rob Zombie version. It was great to see the origin of Micheal and as a director he gets some of the most real performances out of his actors, it's truly amazing. Oh, and Danielle Harris as Annie, perfection.

10. Since you are a member of the Etsy Massacre Team as well as the Horror Couture Team, what is it about these teams that you enjoy the most?

They are both great teams. I love to check out the items in the other seller's shops. They have great creepy stuff. It's like I found a home! There are other people out there just as freaky as me. It's awesome.

Alright guys, I hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did! And you heard Maryann, what would you like to see in doll form? A character from a certain movie? An idea with a crazy back story? Let us know! Leave a comment!

Make sure you check out Sinister Cuties on Etsy and on Facebook!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some Crafty Gals I Know

It was brought to my attention a few months ago that I have never done a product review and I have also never flat out recommended another Etsy shop without doing an interview with the shop owner. I would like to put an end to this ridiculous trend ASAP! I recently have made some awesome sales and trades that I would like to share because: 1- I have think I have excellent taste. 2- I have become the proud owner of some awesome accessories. 3- The ladies I attained these awesome accessories from are talented, crafty, and have killer taste as well.

The first shop I am going to introduce you to is Haunted Hair Candy. Does the name sound familiar? Well it should! I interviewed the owner this past October. You can find the interview here. Not too long ago I became the proud owner of some Haunted Hair Candy and I freaking love it!

I received two set of hair clips. Both are made with one of a kind, hand painted sugar skulls. I really like them because they are small, but really stand out. They are colorful and girly, but creepy at the same time... and we all know how much I adore things that are sweet and twisted.

These hair clips are a great hair accessory for anytime. They look cute when I am out in just my jeans and a cardigan or if I am having a night out with my ghouls. These clips would make a great gift for anyone who has that friend that likes skulls, Dia de los Muertos, or handmade items.

If you are interested in making a purchase from Haunted Hair Candy make sure you check out her shop announcement with her Stocking Stuffer Alert! There you can find out how to score prizes, get a discount, and where to get more info on this shop.

The next shop I am going to talk about is delC Transit Authority. This shop is owned by a fellow Baltimorean whom I met roughly two years ago. Her and I both have our items sold in a shop in Hampden called Kiss N Make-Up. The lady sells awesome jewelry, doll related items, and some killer vintage steals as well.

Over the past few years I have acquired some of her lovely necklaces. She has a lot of excellent laser cut acrylic items that I am a huge fan of.

Her items make great gifts, especially if you are looking for something that you can't find anywhere else.

The last shop I am going to talk about today is 9th Life. This shop is owned by a kick ass lady named Angie. Angie not only has an Etsy shop, but also has her own brick and mortar shop in Hampden. She has everything from hair accessories to coasters. She has all sorts of clothing... men's, women's, vintage, up-cycled, and Baltimore themed printed tees. Angie prints her own shirts, makes jewelry, and sews like she was doing it before she was born.

One thing that I love about 9th Life is that, much like most Hampden shops, you never know what you are going to find. I recently became aware of her scissor accessories. She has all sorts of awesome items that have blinged out scissors. I became the proud owner of a headband that sports a pair of scissors with dark rhinestones. I wore it out last weekend and was drowning in compliments. If you are in the Baltimore area, i highly recommend that you visit her shop and tell her that some ghoul named Sara sent ya!

Okay, I won't lie... football is on now and I am going to leave this post be to watch it. However, I will leave you with this, if you ever need a recommendation for a gift for a friend that likes vintage or handmade items feel free to ask me for a suggestions. I am in no short supply of awesome, reputable sellers that have excellent quality items.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Ghastly Governess

I will forever have a special place in my heart for horror. I can't explain where this love came from or why I would rather watch Night of the Living Dead over a romantic comedy, but it's just the way I am. I am the type of person that will leave spider webs all over the place when I am dusting the house because I like the way they look, despite my husband telling me to get rid of them. I will always have horror decor up year round instead of just once a year for Halloween. Now, on a slightly different note, one awesome thing about Etsy is joining teams and meeting people that have similar tastes as you do. last month I became a bit more familiar with a seller that is in a few of the same teams as I am. Not only does she make awesome jewelry and love horror movies, but she is also named Sara. Sara gave me the opportunity to pick her brain and get to know more about her family, her business, and her creative side. She had a lot to share and has some excellent advice for fellow Etsy sellers, so I am very pleased to introduce you to The Ghastly Governess!

Hi all! I'm Sara. I am a 31 year old mixed media artist with a flair for the dark macabre. I am a Halloween enthusiast and a beauty obsessed aesthete who enjoys making unique jewelry and accessories and a lover of all things vintage and creepy! I'm a Psychobilly kinda gal! Too dark to be just plain 'ol Rockabilly. Halloween is a way of life for me and my family. I'm a girly girl - makeup, shoes, bags, jewelry. I love pin up girl style but with a horror twist, coffins, skulls, bats, zombies and old school monsters! I have tons of tattoos, all horror/Halloween related. My last tattoo was a 1950's hearse. My husband and I are from a small little slice of suburban Hell outside of Knoxville, TN. Around town were are referred to as, "the Halloween people". We have 3 kids and have been married 12 years. My husband is a system's admin for the school system in our county and I stay at home with my youngest (she's almost 3) and run my Etsy shops full time.

1. What sorts of items do you sell in your shop? (Try to be descriptive and let the audience know if everything is handmade or if you use recycled materials too, they eat that up!)

My shop is full of a little bit of everything. I enjoy making jewelry and pin up girl/rockabilly/psychobilly type accessories but my passion is art. Unfortunately, I can't sell enough of it to make much profit, so it works out well that I make jewelry and other fun stuff. Everything in my shop is handmade by me. Most of the items in my shop are made from new materials but I love when I can find a vintage piece that I can repurpose into something fabulous.

2. This Ghoul loves the name of your shop and your alter ego! How did you come up with Ghastly A Go Go by Ghastly Governess?

My shop name and alter ego are a combination of a couple of my favorite things. My favorite band (though no longer together) is The Ghastly Ones. Their album "A Haunting We Will Go-Go" is one of my favorite albums. They are (or were) a great "Ghoul Surf" band. If you've never heard them before, you should check them out! My shop name is a definite tribute to them! I am also a HUGE Edward Gorey fan. One of my favorite books is The Gashlycrumb Tinies. I may not be "Gashly" but "Ghastly" I can do! Being a "Governess" just seemed Edward Gorey-esque, a little bit spooky, little bit droll. My husband refers to me as "Your Ghastliness". He's being sarcastic, of course, (he also says I have hooves) but it makes me smile none the less.

3. What inspires you to create adorably dark, horror related items as opposed to bubble gum, cutesy ones?

My love for Halloween and horror movies inspires my art. I've always loved Halloween and felt like Halloween should scary, not cutsie and kitsch. I think my artwork reflects that. I love creepy baby dolls and clowns. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a makeup artist. Painting dolls and faces just seemed like the natural progression of that for me as I got older. I love to paint but if you hand me a flat surface and say "here, paint on this" I feel like a bumbling fool with a paintbrush in my hand. Give me a clay face or a baby doll to paint and I'm right at home. Going to bed at night with a kitchen counter full of painted doll parts is a good feeling.

4. Do you have an item in your shop that is your favorite? What is it and why? (please send a link with this so I can add a pic of it)

My favorite item would have to be "Oscar".

He is a painted doll head on a decoupaged music box. Wind him up and his head spins to the classical version of "Rockabye Baby". Oscar was one of the first baby doll heads I ever painted. When I finished him, I knew he was going to be part of something special. I held on to him for months until the idea of turning him into a music box came to me. The music box was the first thing I ever decoupaged. When I was growing up, my father (both of my parents are very talented artists) decoupaged all kinds of things. His pieces were beautifully creepy and inspiring to me as I was growing up. The name "Oscar" actually comes from the name of the doll that the head came from. On the base of the neck, "Oscar" was printed into the plastic. There is a short clip on YouTube of Oscar playing for anyone who wants to see him in all his creepy glory.

5. Are you working on any new items that you would like to share with my readers?

I have a few art pieces that I am currently working on. I have a couple of doll pieces that will be ready early next year. I have had to put a lot of creating on hold at the moment as I am trying to get my second Etsy shop, Miriam's Vanity, ready for it's grand opening. Once it is up and running, I will be back to work on new things. I've ordered tons of new supplies and have a lot of great ideas on paper. Not being able to sit down and work every night is killing me. I can't wait to get back to it. Stay tuned!

6. Congrats on coming up on your first year anniversary of your shop on Etsy! I noticed that this will be coming up in January. What advice would you give someone just starting out on Etsy as a seller?

Promote! Promote! Promote! Self promotion is a necessary evil. It's boring and hard work but if you don't put yourself out there, you're basically invisible. Join Etsy teams that appeal to you and make friends with other artists. I have made some wonderful friends on Etsy and have learned so much from them. When I first joined Etsy I thought, "I can do this on my own, I don't need to participate in all the "social" parts of this site." I don't know what I was thinking. If you're just starting out, chances are, you don't know what the heck you're doing. Reach out to others on Etsy. I would have never made it through this year if it weren't for the amazing people I've met on Etsy. Once you get yourself established, PAY IT FORWARD! Reach out to new shop owners, be friendly and kind and supportive. Help promote other artists and it will come back to you ten fold. I cannot stress enough how important being a part of the community within Etsy is. We're all in this together!

7. In the past few years the DIY movement has continued to grow. Do you think this helps or hinders your business and why?

That's a tough question. On one hand, I think it helps bring attention to what we all do. Someone posted on Facebook just the other day, "Just because it's handmade doesn't mean it's cheap!" Anyone who thinks handmade goods are cheap obviously have never shopped for craft supplies! I think it helps people appreciate the hard work that goes into the items that you find on Etsy when they try to make them for themselves. Either they are good at it and they don't have a need to buy from us or they are terrible at it and they realize just how hard all of us are working. If I were to be completely honest about it, the DIY movement is how I came to Etsy in the first place. Where I live, the items that I wanted just weren't available. I spent a lot of money shopping online to get what I wanted. If I hadn't had the "Hey, I can do this myself!" moment, I wouldn't be where I am now. I look at is this way, I can paint and make jewelry but I can't sew to save my life. My friend Lindsay can. She has a great shop on Etsy and I'm incredibly jealous of her ability to sew circles around everyone she knows. I constantly hear people say that Etsy is "over-saturated with jewelry makers, seamstresses and artists". I think that's bunk. There's enough room for everyone. The world is a big place and we all bring something different and unique to the table.

8. With the holidays just around the corner do you have any out of the ordinary spooky or kitschy decor or accessories that you bring out of the woodwork this time of year? Tell us about it.

When it comes to Halloween my family goes all out. We usually decorate the garage and it's so scary the neighborhood kids are afraid to walk up our driveway. I have a huge 12 foot demon/skeleton named "Sarge" that my husband gave me for Valentine's Day a few years back. He's a staple in our Halloween decor. We may be all out Halloween crazy but when it comes to Christmas, we're very traditional. We have a huge Christmas tree with white lights and gold and red ornaments. I decorate the mantle and hang up stockings. We put up icicle lights outside and I always have Christmas scented candles burning. Even Ghastly Ghouls need a little holiday cheer!

9. I am going to kick it close to home for a sec. I noticed you are from Tennessee and this past summer I made a road trip there to spend time with my in laws for a family reunion. What is your favorite hang out place in the city?

Tennessee is a beautiful place to live. Knoxville is rich with history and Civil War ghost stories. Unfortunately, most of my favorite places from growing up are gone. The city is constantly under "revitalization" and so many wonderful places have been shut down or bulldozed. Downtown Knoxville used to be one of my favorite places to go. There's a part of the city known as "The Old City" and it was the place to go when I was a teenager. There were coffee shops and bars and little shops full of wonderful local art and gifts. Up the hill from The Old City is Market Square. A little club called The Mercury was where I saw my first punk rock show when I was 14. It's all gone now, completely changed. The Old City is still there as is Market Square but now it's full of hipster shops and over-priced swanky bars. It's just not the same. The only place in the city that hasn't changed is the Greenwood Cemetery. It's a huge cemetery but it's older sections have a creepy New Orleans feel. In the very back of the cemetery is an empty mausoleum where we all used to hang out when we were teenagers. I can still drive up there and it's just like stepping back in time. It's the only place I can go here in Knoxville that still feels the same.

10. This Ghoul wants to know what your favorite kind of horror movie is! Are you a slasher lover or do you prefer a good haunting or maybe you like something with vampires and other creatures of the night.... SPILL!

My all-time favorite scary movie is The Exorcist. LOVE IT! I've probably seen it one hundred times. I'm also a huge Rob Zombie fan. I love his music and his films. His Halloween remake, The Devil's Rejects, House of 1,000 Corpses - GREAT movies! They are gritty and gross and make you feel like you need to take a shower after you watch them. I love all horror movies, really. I'll watch anything, old school black and whites, subtitles, guts and gore or ghosts. It's all good! It takes a lot to scare me so I'm always interested in seeing the newest scary movies. I think the new movies have lost a lot of the griminess that made horror movies in the 70's so good but there are some good ones out there. I really enjoyed The Woman in Black.. no blood and guts there but it was a good scary movie, definitely worth seeing.

Want to know more about Sara and how to get in touch? You can find her at these places:
 Check out my Etsy Shop
You can add me on my personal Facebook page (I accept all friend requests)
My shop's Facebook page
My new shop is also on Facebook  I have a new blog set up (Haven't posted anything just yet)
You can also find me on Pinterest and Wanelo where I have boards and collections for all of my Etsy teams.