Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ebony's Sugared Bones

Okay boils and ghouls, I have a treat for you... a second featured shop post for the week! The shop is called Sugared Bones and this shop is sweet and twisted to say the least! I became familiar with the lady behind the accessories through three Etsy teams I am on, one being the Wear if you Dare team. The best thing about this team, like many horror related teams I am on, is that I  get to meet people that like skulls, blood and horror just as much as I do. So much, in fact, that they have horror related items in their shops.

No two team members are exactly alike, which I love! I remember being a teenager and only being able to find jewelry and shirts with skulls on them during Halloween and at places like Spencer's and Hot Topic, which is fine, but not if you want something one of a kind that will stand out. I'm sure many people are thinking, "Sure, but how many different things can you make with a skull on it?" My answer to that is a heck of a lot more than you could ever dream of!

Skulls can be seen on everything these days, and not just for Halloween. There are skulls in art, on clothes, as plush kids toys, on make up labels, and bed sheets. There are real skulls that are worth hundreds and thousands of dollars that are in the homes of special collectors. There are scary skulls on the album cover of a punk bands LP and cartoon ones with pink bows on a toddlers onesie. They are literally everywhere in every style and in every color.

Sugared Bones is a shop that really branches out from the conception that all accessories with skulls are black and white with blood all over. The owner, Ebony, shows that you be be a Goth and wear green or sky blue. You can wear statement pieces covered in glitter and stand out because you wearing something unique and not something that is just different from the mainstream. Her items are cute, loud, elegant, fun, and twisted! Recently, I got to pick Ebony's brain to learn a little bit more about her and her shop and here is what I was able to learn about Ebony and Sugared Bones!

1. I noticed that skulls tend to be the focal point of many of your items. Why skulls?

Well that is a good question, I am and have been a Goth on the alternative scene for 12 years now and I am attracted to macabre imagery. The actual focus of Sugared Bones Accessories started as Skulls and Roses (hence the design of the original logo) and it has a lot of scope for producing alternative designs within the branding of Sugared Bones: Creepy Cute, Scary Sweet.

2. What other spooky imagery do you use in your work?

I am not sure if it is necessarily spooky, but I do use the Lolita skull Lady cameos that are so popular, I try to give them a unique Sugared Bones twist. I have also started using beetles and spiders in my work, I love insects so any excuse to incorporate them into my other love, my business!

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

I have very recently completed a large shoot with some extremely talented people which will release many new designs in February this year. I am most proud of my work with lace, creating one off special lace necklaces and collars as well as the the lace cameo cuffs in many more colours.

4. Do you ever make custom items?

Absolutely! I have taken quite a few requests for colour combinations or re-workings of designs as custom commissions. I will tweak or change anything people desire. As long as I use and stock the components I can make it.

5. I noticed that you use a lot of roses in your items as well. Roses have different meanings depending on their colour. Black means death and red can mean love, respect, passion, or something else depending on the shade of red. Do you think you pick these colours based on their symbolism or because they are aesthetically pleasing together? Explain.

To be honest, I just adore roses. I have about 5 bunches of them dried hanging around my room, and I also have beautiful rose tattoos on my arm. As for colour symbolism, it is really more that the colours I pick suit the style of the piece I am creating. I will always love black and traditional red however.

6. You obviously have a style that is very punk/Gothic/rockabilly/rocker. What is it about this style that appeals to you?

Well Goth is my life, It is a lifestyle choice that I wouldn't change for the world. I am also a champion of the less traditional imagery as well. I wear bright colours and it doesn't make it less Goth, it is how you wear it and what with.

Sugared Bones is very deliberately designed to have an alternative design base that can suit almost any subculture: Lolita, Goth, Punk, Cyber, Rockabilly, Deathrock, I feel there is something for all of them in my repertoire of over 100 designs.

7. What advice would you give to a new seller on Etsy?

Do your research, try to be unique and not just copy the success of others, remember how important keywords are in your product listings, and always get good clear photos of what you are selling.

8. Do you think the DIY Movement has changed the way people shop? Handmade versus something mass produced and sold in a retail chain store?

Personally I have always wanted to support handmade small businesses wherever I can as they are an integral part of the Alternative culture.

I think in recent times the exposure for us have increased and people are becoming aware that you can't expect knock down sweatshop prices from handmade items, as we all have to make a living.
I support the handmade movement and understand how much work goes into it.

9. What is your most favourite horror movie and why?

Narrowing down a favourite is difficult I have to admit, I have seen over 600! I think it is probably the remake of 13 Ghosts. I just really love the imagery and the personalities of the ghosts as well as the gore, I do like gory movies although not excessive for the sake of it.

If you would like to know more about Sugared Bones you can Check out Sugared Bones on Etsy, Like Sugared Bones on Facebook, Visit the Sugared Bones Site, Check out Sugared Bones on Big Cartel, and Follow Sugared Bones on Tumblr.

Don't forget!!!! Ebony also does custom orders, so if you have something in mind, send me a message on Etsy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Shadow of Pop Art with Meganeato

Pop Art is everywhere these days. It comes in all shapes, sizes, mediums, and even different genres of pop art. On top of these differences the subject matter is endless and this is where many pop artists are finding their niche. Some pop artists focus on everyday life while others might chose something like Dia de los Muertos imagery. A lady that I met from the Under the Moon Team on Etsy makes pop art mainly featuring people from music, film, and tv. Her pieces aren't overloaded with with several different images that make you confused on what the focal point is supposed to be. They are simple, yet very complex at the same time. You can clearly see who the person is you are supposed to be seeing, but what really makes these pieces is what isn't there. I'm not sure what else to call this technique or style of art, but for the time being I am referring to it as Shadow Portrait Pop Art. This type of art is typically monochromatic meaning it uses one color, possibly different tones of this color, and black. I wasn't an art major, so I apologize if what explanation sounds strange, but since art usually speaks for itself, I present to you: Meganeato!

1.How did you get started making pop art?

During high school I took a painting class just for fun and I ended up LOVING it! When I started my Etsy shop I actually was selling bags that I made and I also tried jewelry, but I never did too well with those. They either weren’t snazzy enough or I was just getting buried by all the listings, so I decided to try selling some paintings, which was definitely a good move for me!

2. Where does your inspiration come from? Your own interests, movies, books, tv, etc?

I started doing things that only I liked, and then once I was getting sales I realized I should also branch out into more categories because not everyone will have the same interests as me! I am always trying to come up with new lists of things to do that people might like. I have even asked friends/family what their favorite movies and characters were. I got Abraham Lincoln from my mom, lol!

3. How long does it take you to create one of your pieces and what goes into your process?

When I first started selling, it would take me probably twice as long as what it takes now, just because I hadn’t painted in awhile and my hand wasn’t super steady. It took more time to stay in a straight and even line. Now that I have been doing it for about 2 years I am much faster and can make quick steady lines with the brush.

I honestly could not say exactly how long each painting takes, because I never just sit and do it all at once! It definitely takes a few hours though. I start by painting the background in the color the person chooses, and usually have to do 2 coats of the background color. So usually while it’s drying I will be painting the background of another painting if I have more than one order, or just doing my thing around the house while it dries. After the background is done I draw the outline of the painting in pencil onto the canvas, then paint it black and finish it off with a clear protective coat!

4. I noticed that you have a large custom order section in your shop. Is there a certain character or film that you get more requests for than any other? What/who is it and why do you think they are so popular?

The two that I get the most requests for are The Joker and Harry Potter paintings. The Joker is by far the winner though. It’s definitely because The Joker is an awesome character, especially in the newer movies that came out! I think a lot of people like the green/red color combination I use too, because I rarely have people change the colors of it!

5. Do you have a favorite item that is currently for sale in your shop? What is it and why?

My favorite item in my shop is probably my bird painting with the houndstooth background.
I like it because I am starting to come up with more original paintings to list in the shop, and this is one of the first ones I did! I am planning on doing more like this, and am still developing a “mix and match” section for the shop where you piece together your choice of small paintings to create your own big picture.

6. Why do you think so many people like pop art?

I think people like pop art because it is something fun and different. The color combinations you can use are just awesome and you can really show your personality through the subject and color. I think it fits in with the very popular modern style because it’s so simple, but yet very bold and exciting.

7. What advice would you give to someone that is a new seller on Etsy?

Don’t give up! Like I said, I started out doing bags and jewelry. I also tried about 5 other things in my shop before landing on the paintings. It may take awhile to get started but have fun with it and don’t get frustrated, crafting is supposed to be fun! Wherever you are selling at, always be thinking of ways to improve yourself and learn new tricks.

Another good thing to do is network! Find a group or team that you can talk to and bounce ideas off of. I am lucky enough to have a crafty sister that I bounce ideas off of all the time, so if you have one of those, use them!

8. Is there anything that is trending in pop culture today that you are obsessed with? (tv, movie, fashion, band, etc) What is it and why do you love it?

I absolutely love the show Dexter. I have like 50 mini heart attacks during each new episode that comes out! The show is just so good and exciting. I also love all the vampire/supernatural/zombie shows that have been on though too, I can’t get enough!

9. Is there anything that trending in pop culture today that you can't stand? What is it and why do you hate it?

I would say the duck face. And people taking the same duck face picture all the time in the same pose. I really have no other reason than it looks silly. Lol!

 If you are interested in checking out Meganeato you can Check out her shop, Like her on Facebook, and Follow her on Twitter.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Horror in Maryland with a Chance of Waters

Boils and Ghouls, let me first say that it is amazing what you can find when you do a little research. This is post was originally supposed to be a celebration of 30 years of horror that was brought to us via a lovely little film called The House on Sorority Row. This film came out exactly 30 years ago today, on January 21st. Now, for those of you that aren't familiar, let me give you the basic run down and then I will jump right into my recent discoveries.

The House on Sorority Row is your basic prank gone terribly wrong plot. A house of sorority sisters don't like their house mother because not only is she strict, but she is just down right mean for no good reason at all. The main problem that leads the girls to collectively get pissed off at the house mother is that she will not let them have a graduation party at their sorority house. The girls decide to teach this man woman a lesson by having her think they are going to shoot her. Well, things take a turn for the worst and they accidentally kill their house mother, Mrs. Slater. They try to ignore what happened and leave her to sink to the bottom of their green, mold, dingy pool that is on their property. When the girls throw their party they discover that Mrs. Slater's body is missing. While they try to keep calm the girls are murdered one by one. I will leave you with that... I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who have not seen the film.

Prank taking a turn for the worst

Honestly, it is not the greatest film in the world, but there is just something about an 80's horror movie with college kids that just beckons me to watch it regardless of how many times I have seen it. What can I say, I love horror films.

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Maryland, College Park

This film, like many others, was remade. In 2009, director Stewart Hendler made a reboot of the classic film, but simply called it Sorority Row. It had a cast of beautiful young actresses, including Rumer Willis, and the house mother was played by the one and only, Carrie Fisher. This film, despite it's excellent cast of lovely ladies received mixed reviews and ended up being one of those reboots that got lost among the mass amounts horror movies that come out every year.

Now, on to the important stuff! While researching this film I discovered a few things that led me on a wild chase in my own backyard. While I was reading some miscellaneous trivia about the film I discovered that director John Waters paid a visit to the set of this film one morning while it was being shot. This made me think... John Waters spends the majority of his time in Baltimore, so does this mean The House on Sorority row was filmed in Baltimore? I had to check this out. I confirmed that most websites have Baltimore as the shooting location for this film, however, it was actually filmed in two different locations in Maryland.

The Etlonhead Mansion during filming

The Eltonhead Mansion today

The scenes where you saw a college campus where filmed at The University of Maryland, College Park Campus, which is closer to DC than it is Baltimore. The sorority house where the majority of this film was shot was located in a city outside of Baltimore called Pikesville at the Eltonhead Mansion. When I looked further into this I discovered that the Eltonhead Mansion was remodeled more than 20 years ago and is now an apartment building. I already checked it out... condos are $380,000 and the last one on the market was just withdrawn.... damn it!

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this fun little trivia/anniversary/destination horror post! Until next time, sweet screams!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

May 40 Be Your Best Year Yet

A few years ago I was out at a Block Busters with my mother and sister. Yes, I know... renting a movie? How primitive! We are the type of people that would scan the store looking for that random new release that you may not have heard about because it was straight to video or was only in select theaters for. One day we stumbled upon a title that none of us had heard of. It was a horror film with the tag line, "If you can't find a friend... make one." This film is called May. It is about a lonely woman that is still trying to deal with her difficult childhood while trying to find a connection with people around her. This is a great movie and is one of my favorites to date. One of the key elements that made this film so amazing was the casting for the lead role of May, played by Angela Bettis.

Angela Bettis is an amazingly talented woman. She is an actor, writer, producer, and director. She has been in her fair share of television shows, indie films, and has even made her directorial debut. In the past few years she has worked very closely with two talented men (Kevin Ford and Lucky McKee) that, in my opinion, helped make her the cult icon that she is today. Before I get into her collaborations and relationships with these two fellas, I would like to give some background info about Angela.

First off, despite this being a day late, I would like to say Happy Birthday, Angela! Angela was born January 9, 1973 making yesterday her fortieth birthday. Angela has a twin brother named Joseph, so Happy Birthday, Joe! They were born in Austin, TX. Angela graduated from Westlake High School. Shortly after she had her first role in a film called "Sparrow". She was the main character in this film. After getting a taste for movies she attended and graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, NY. After graduating and five years after her acting debut, Angela began getting acting jobs.

She started with some television shows like Touched by an Angel, Legacy, and Sliders. They were small roles, but they helped her to get her foot in the door. A year later she got her first role in a major film, Girl, Interrupted along side names like Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg, and Brittany Murphy. Angela played the role of Janet Webber, a patient with an eating disorder. It still breaks my heart when she falls to the floor in tears saying, "That is not fair. That is not fair!!!! that is not fair! Seventy-four is the perfect weight."

The next big movie for Angela would do is called "People Are Dead". This film wasn't mainstream, but I call this a big movie for Angela because this is the first time she will work with Kevin Ford, who is now her husband. "People Are Dead" about a group of disconnected people that are brought together by string of events in post 9/11 Manhattan. Kevin wrote, acted in, and directed this film. He also produced the film with the help of Angela and one other. Since this film, the two have worked together on several films in various roles (not just acting or directing). Some films they worked on together include Wicked Lake, When is Tomorrow, and Toolbox Murders.

Angela and Kevin
 The next big film that Angela would starred in is May. It is really hard for me to explain my love for this film. This film, more than any other of Angela's, is by far her most notable. I am not sure why, but it seems that many people that have seen May just fall in love with it. Maybe it's because on some level we can relate to May. At one point in time we have all felt lonely and all we really want is a good friend. Not to mention, sometimes we do stupid things because we think it will make us happy and feel better despite the consequences, assuming that we can even register what those consequences might be. This film is not only awesome in my book, but also won Angela a few international awards for her role in it as well. This was also the first time Angela would work with director Lucky McKee and would be far from her last.

Angela and Lucky on the set of May
 Lucky McKee is a director, writer, actor, producer, and composer. Some of his films include Red, The Woods, Blue Like You, The Woman, and May. Lucky is also one of the few horror directors to make a film for the Masters of Horror Series titled Sick Girl. Coincidentally, all these films have Angela in them. Heck, Blue Like You was one Kevin was involved with as well. There is another film that all three had a part in that I h have yet to mention and that one is called Roman.

 Roman is the film that features Angela's directorial debut. This film is about a lonely man's obsession with a neighbor that leads to murder, which leads to lies, and leads to a new budding romance... I know, weird. I haven't watched it yet, but it is in my Q. The script for this film was written by Lucky and he also acts in it as the main character. Kevin was the cinematographer and helped with the editing alongside Angela. This was the first time that Angela and Lucky's typical roles were reversed, which made for an interesting filming.

Apart from these films, you may know Angela from some others. Next to May, her most popular role would be her portrayal as Carrie White in the 2002 made for tv reboot of the classic horror film originally written by Stephen King. She was also in Drones, My Alien Mother, Scar, and had a brief role in the tv show Dexter. 

So, what's next for Angela? She is getting ready to be in Kevin's newest film, Legs. This one is about a Hollywood rock star that is desperate to lay low for a while, but a past love is making that hard to do. I don't know much more about the film than that. It is currently in post production and the cast and crew has been released for inquiring minds.

Winona Ryder and Angela on the set of Girl, Interrupted
Overall, I think Angela Bettis is an awesome woman with so much to contribute to the horror genre and I can't wait to see where she goes from here. She has found her niche in taking on roles of awkward women that are shy, anxious, and unstable. If you haven't seen any of her dozens of films, I suggest you start with May and if you like it, keep going.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A List Designs

Well, I am very excited to unleash this post! I have had this one up my sleeve and I am very pleased to introduce my readers to the lovely duo that owns A List Designs. This mother daughter team makes some amazing pieces that you will not find anywhere else. They are one of a kind, high quality, and are absolutely stunning to say the least. 

Our names are Alea (daughter) and Brenda (mother), and we are a mother/daughter team who love creating original jewelry designs. We both live in Louisville, KY. I have a black cat named Kiwi, and some of my hobbies include reading (chick-lit), watching movies (big horror lover), listening to music (mainly rock), following University of Louisville sports, and, of course, making jewelry.

Brenda has a gray tabby named Kitty (aka Jazzy), and in her spare time, when she's not making jewelry, she enjoys reading (Nook), exercising (at the gym), and traveling (cruising) whenever possible.

1. What types of items do you make?

We offer handcrafted earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings using sterling silver, 14k gold fill, precious/semi-precious gemstones and pearls. Custom made sterling silver metalwork is also available.

2. How long have you been making fine jewelry and how did you get started in this craft?

I started making jewelry in 2004, as a stress reliever, while I was in college. Brenda joined me in 2007 because she wanted customized pieces to match outfits.

3. Since you are a mother daughter team, do you think this helps your creative process? If so, how?

To begin with, we like to go shopping together and select the best quality gemstones for our designs. We also love to bounce ideas off of each other while creating our pieces.

4. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Things like nature and architecture frequently influence my pieces, and Brenda is influenced by the colors of the seasons.

5. Do you have a favorite material to work with over any other? Wire, pearls, stones, glass beads, etc

As far as gemstones go, my favorite would probably be Apatite. I would also love to work more with solid 14k gold in my metalwork if it was more affordable.

Brenda loves working with all colorful, faceted semi-precious gemstones, with her favorite being Labradorite.

6. What is your most favorite item that is currently for sale in your shop any why?

We have a pair of Quartz Onyx Earrings with a fan design that I really love.

This was a really hard choice for Brenda, but for now our Emerald Green Chalcedony and Iolite earrings are her favorite. She likes them because the Emerald Green Chalcedony reminds her of the vibrant colors of spring. Plus, it just so happens to be the color of the year.

7. What do you think it the best part and most challenging part about making fine jewelry?

From time to time, I get designer's block, which can be pretty challenging and frustrating. For Brenda, the most challenging part is the impossible quest to locate gemstones that have fallen on the floor. The end result is the best part for both of us because it's exciting to see the things we've imagined come to life.

8. I absolutely love your Geometric Pearl Necklace! What inspired this amazing and unique item?

I can't think of a particular influence. It honestly just came to me one day when I was brainstorming and sketching design ideas.

9. I recently spent some time in Kentucky and I had a great time while I was there. I loved everything from the Kentucky Castle to Transylvania University! However, my favorite part was the Maker's Mark Distillery! Do you have a favorite attraction or historical location that you would recommend that people visit when passing through?

Here in Louisville, we have some pretty cool shopping districts like the Nulu area, the Highlands, and Frankfort Avenue. We even have free Trolley Hops that visit some of these areas on Friday evenings.

10. Now, you don't get interviewed by a Ghoul without being asked something horror related! It's a fact. Do you have a favorite horror movie? What is it and why?

Brenda is not a fan of horror movies. I, on the other hand, can't get enough of them! If I have to pick just one (nearly impossible), then I guess I would have to choose The Shining. I've always liked the psychological aspect of the film and it's eerie atmosphere. Not to mention, I'm just sucker for a good, old-fashioned ghost story.

A List Designs has many sites related to their work.You can visit A List Designs Official Site, become a fan on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, read their blog, and even check them out on YouTube.