Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wicked Alterations

Blood, skulls, eyeballs, creppy dolls, blonde vixens, pirates, spiders, bones, flowers, insects, coffins, poison... I could go on with this list, making you wonder if I am talking about a horror movie or my weekend plans, but I won't keep you guessing. Making this list had me singing “These are a few of my favorite things”, though something tells me that if this is what that song was really about, the Von Trapps would be still looking for a new governess. Long story short, this list is filled with images used by Denise Mattox in her art. Denise is the owner of Wicked Alterations on Etsy. She, much like myself, enjoys using darker images like zombies and blood versus rainbows and kittens. I was able to get to know Denise a little bit better and pick her brain on horror hitting prime time television. So, without further delay, here is my interview with Denise Mattox of Wicked Alterations. 

My name is Denise Mattox and I live with my Sis and my Dad, just north of the river from Kansas City, Mo. in Riverside. Nice little town and minutes away from the beautiful City Market area. I love the old buildings.

I grew up on the Kansas side of the metro, in Kansas City, Kans. That always throws people off, two towns with the same name but two different states. I graduated in 1973 and my best subject was of course Art.

I have two grown children, my son Marc lives in Houston and my daughter Jessica lives in Overland Park Kansas. We are planning my daughters wedding and my son is going to celebrate his first wedding anniversary real soon. Sometimes I hate the fact they're all grown-up, but other times I'm glad they are happy with there lives.

1. What types of items do you make and sell and how long have you been making mixed media pieces?

I make all kinds of things. I love my tin of prisma colored pencils. I've been known to panic if I can't find them. I go ape shit. So I keep them where I can find them, on my table. In my shop I have prints of, "Tommy Blues" and "Tiles" which are colored pencil drawings. I started making my shadow boxes after my Sis brought home a collection of books of vintage pin up girls. And my creativity went from there. I have sold several of these to people I work with and at the City Market Antique Mall. I guess I've been doing these for a couple of years now.

2. When you get an idea for a piece, where does your inspiration typically come from?

Inspiration is a funny thing, I might draw from pictures, drawings; I'm a very visual person. I collect public pictures from google images, facebook, or art books. But when I get stuck, the creativity drys up, I go to the Nelson Art Gallery and sit in front of my favorite Jackson Pollack painting and silently ask Jackson to help me out. Usually this works after I walk around and look at the same paintings I've seen hundreds of times. I love Jackson.

3. Mixed media pieces are becoming more and more commonly seen, especially with darker imagery like bones, bloodied razor blades, and even actual human hair. It's obvious that people love and enjoy this type of art, but why do you think that is?

I really don't know why we enjoy the darker side of art, books or film. I know I prefer the images of skulls over images of bunnies or babies. What does that say about me? In high school I read In Cold Blood instead of Great Expectations. I laught my ass off at Jack Nichalson when he was the Jocker in the first Batman. I loved his one liners. Sometimes in Tim Burton movies I laugh until I cry. Or when I watch an old horror film, they crack me up.

4. Are you working on anything new that you would like to share with my readers?

New for me, I'm always trying something new to see if I like it. Right now I'm working on resin jewelry. I know everyone and there dog is doing this, but I bought 1 inch square blank bezel cabochons that I'm putting little paintings in them, and pour resin, and threading ball chains through the loop and all is good. I started with a zombie and a skull one. I'm hoping they are inviting enough that people will look at my other items.

5. Your jewelry is really impressive. Each set is different and has its own unique style. Where do your ideas for making these pieces come from? A color? A mood? A book you're reading? And how do you put that idea into a necklace?

In my shop right now, I have five necklace and earring sets. These my sis made them for me. She makes beautiful sets that she wears and sells herself. She calls them her hippy beads, but they are a lot nicer then that. I told her what I wanted and she made these beautiful victorian style jewelry. I love them. I guess I like the darker jewelry too, Gothic, Victorian. It was amazing how quickly she was able to put them together with parts and beads she already had. I really thought they would be sold by now.

6. Aside from the art and pieces of jewelry you have for sale in your shop, are there any other types of arts and crafts that you haven't tried out that you are thinking of getting into? Maybe a new technique you haven't used before that you are interested in?

I love lowbrow, surreal, and the abstract. I want to develop a signature style using these three that when people see it they have to say, That has to be a Denise Mattox. Hahaha! Before I die. I'm not much on technique, and I have knitted cross-stitched, paper-mache, I've been thinking about doing that again. I love painting, that's my first love.

7. Now onto the horror questions! What is your favorite kind of horror movie? Ghost stories? Vampires? Demons? Exorcisms? Witches?

Yes, now for the horror, the horror of it all! I like scary movies. In the eighties and nineties I did get pretty tired of the slasher movies, got really numb by it all. The bad ones I thought were funny. I like ghost stories, vampires, (if they look like Gary Oldman) I can't look at an exorcisms with out thinking about the green pea soup on The Exorcist.

8. Are there any upcoming horror movies that you can't wait to see in theaters? What are they and why?

I don't really go to the theater to see horror movies. I watch at home because can't get any one to go with me. I use to rent a lot of them, but now I wait for HBO. Hahaha!

9. As a horror fan, it is hard to ignore the explosion of horror themed shows on television. It feels like Ghost Hunters got people addicted and before you knew it there were a dozen similar shows. On top of that, there are shows like The Walking Dead, True Blood, and Being Human. In what ways do you think horror hitting prime time has impacted the horror loving community, good or bad?

I haven't seen Walking Dead yet but thinking about getting it on my nook. I adore Ghost Hunters and True Blood. I hate the over acting on Ghost Adventures, what a bunch of babies! Little girls. Now its Bates Motel, now don't give it away, haven't seen it yet, but I want to. I think every one is looking for something edge of your seat and tired of the cops and the hospitals, and the murdered rich people. And lets not talk about the reality shows! Miss little booboo or what the hell her name is. Get her off, ignore that creepy kid on your TV! And the duck callers, and the swamp people, they look like old tweekers. OMG. That's why horror and science fiction are so popular! So it's good for us all!

If you want to know more about Denise and her work you can find her onFacebook and Check out her shop!

If you liked what you saw, had a question, or just want to show some love, leave a comment!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Book Worms and Chem Nerds

I know I say this with every time I make a featured shop post, but I kind of love this shop and it's owner. When you get the chance to get to know someone, find out their hobbies, hear their advice, and discover that they are a crafter as well..... I mean, how can you not fall in love? Today I am going to introduce you to Cathrine. She is witty, funny, and talented, as well as a mother and wife. Cathrine owns two Etsy shops and will be talking a little about both today. One is called Elementees and the other is e-velopes. Both shops have a bit of something for everyone, especially if you are a bit of a nerd. Science nerd? She's got you covered! Book worm? Done! Teacher? She's got you too! Sports geek? All over it! Are you a horror hound like me? No worries, Ghoul! There is something for you too! 

I aslo really like that she says she has items for the nerd on the down low because, as much as I hate to admit it, that is a category I have been falling into. Have you ever fallen for the bad boy and you don't want to tell people because you are worried about your reputation for being the quirky and queer individual that you are? Well my bad boy is astronomy and Doctor Who and this Ghoul doesn't want to lose her reputation as being the bad ass, goth kid, fruit fly that is all about blood, guts, and angel cake! But enough about me, it's time for you all to meet Cathrine!

Catherine Black, and live in Florida with my husband, four kids and very old dog, Maggie. I worked 16 years as a magazine designer, but am home with my kids now. Most of my free time is spent taking the kids to lacrosse and soccer practices and games. I get to do some gardening, reading and like to attempt creating in the kitchen. I recently found a recipe for ratatouille that not only came out looking like Remy’s, but most of my kids actually liked it. I hope to someday pull out my easel and do some painting again, but that will have to wait until the kids are older.

1. What types of items do you make and sell?

The main items in my shop are tee shirts using the periodic table. However, for the nerd who is not ready to announce their nerdiness to the world on their chest, I have taken some of the designs and put them on pillows. Any of them can be made into pillows, but for now I’ve only used a few. I also have a few baby onsies, for the youngest nerd in the house.


2. How did you get into making designs inspired by the periodic table?

I worked for years as a magazine art director, and then had the opportunity to stay home with my kids. Now that they are getting a little older, I’ve been trying to think of something I could do to make money, while still being there when my younger kids got home from school. Then one day my son, who loves science, came home and said, “Do you realize you can spell the word cabbage using the periodic table?!!” I thought about it and realized that with the right image, it could be something that a real science buff might just love to see on a tee shirt. So I sat with a periodic table and alphabetized it. Then sat with a dictionary to find all the fun words you can spell. After that I found images for some of the more fun words and Elementees was born.


3. I have seen periodic table themed items before, but none stand out the way yours do. Why do you think your items stand out more?

I want Elementees to be different, because it was not an original idea to spell words using the periodic table. To make it fun, I use images along with the words, some straightforward and some a little more sarcastic. I think it gives the tee shirts a broader appeal. It allows a science lover to show that science can be fun and a part of everyday life. As I say in the information bar of my shop - Elements are a key to life and tee shirts are an elemental part of life.


4. Do you do custom Elementees?

Yes, I do. Teacher is the most customized. I use the schools’ colors and can add the school name. There is a school in the Bronx, NY where the science department teachers all have Elementees. I have also done some custom soccer shirts and a few custom names.


5. I know that Elementess is not your only shop. What else do you make and sell?

My first shop that I opened on Etsy is called e-velopes, envelopes for your electronics at . They are I-Pad, tablet, Kindle and Nook covers. I started making them after I received a Nook and couldn’t find a cover that let me keep the silicon skin on (a necessity with little ones). So, I made one that could, and then made one for a friend with an I-Pad, and so on and so on.


6. I also know that on top of having multiple Etsy shops, you are also a Mom. How do you keep up with everything and managing your time effectively?

I often tell my friends that I make enough money on Etsy to neglect the housework, but don’t make enough to justify neglecting the housework. I have gotten better though by setting up strict rules. Certain chores get done on certain days. No work until the kids are in school. I generally stop at 3:30 when the kids get home. At that point it’s mostly homework, dinner, and then the sports practice shuffle. I usually look at my sites before bed to see if the schedule needs to be rearranged the next day. It really is a constant juggling act that goes smoothly sometimes, and other days, not so much.

7. Since your shops have been open for a while, what advice would you give to a new seller on Etsy?

The 4 Ps – Prioritize, Patience, Persistence, and Photography. Many people have an Etsy shop so they can stay at home. My priority is to be there for my kids. Make sure that your shop doesn’t eclipse the reason you opened it in the first place. Set up rules that you can realistically follow to accomplish that. Be patient. It’s not going to happen overnight, and when it starts to pick up, it may be cyclical, with highs and lows. Don’t let the lows get you down. Don’t assume that after your first sale you can coast to the next sale. You need to be persistent and get as much exposure as you can. Joining teams is a great way to get more looks, and you can’t sell your items if no one is looking. Photography is key in presenting your images to the world. The images that get onto the front page of Etsy are always clear and bright. A potential buyer will remember a clear, pleasant looking item far better than a poorly photographed one.


8. Your items tend to cater to nerd culture, whether that be a book worm or the chemistry geek. What do you think of the recent boom in geek culture that has occurred in the past few years with shows like The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones?

I think that the nerds were always there, they have just finally found their voice. When you think of middle school and high school, it was the “nerd herds” (my son’s term for his posse) that were really comfortable with who they were. You could be yourself among your friends and progress with real life, sooner than the kids concentrating on staying at the top of the current A-list. Also, the advancement of technology in the last 15 years has been a goldmine for a lot of those kids, and now they’re showing the next generation that it’s okay to be a nerd.


9. So... I noticed that some of the pictures in your E-velopes shop have an actual Nook in them. I work at a Barnes and Noble and Nooks seem to pop up wherever I go. If I were to look in your own personal library, what books would I find?

There are so many free books in the Nook library that it almost seems silly to buy any, so many are from there. Also I don’t have a lot of time to read, but when I do, I try to read adolescent books that my younger kids might want to read. Partly to see if they are appropriate for their age and also so I can talk to them about what they’re reading. This does require purchasing some books. I also have a rule that my kids have to read a book before they can see it in movie form. So, on my Nook you’ll find The Insurgent series, the Trylle trilogy, The Host, among others. I also have a subscription to Discover magazine, for the science geek in me. And of course sudoku, several word games, angry birds, free flow, fruit ninja, and miscellaneous apps my kids have added.


10. Now it's time for some horror related questions! What is your favorite genre of horror to watch? Zombie? Ghosts? Aliens? Vampires? And why?

When I was younger I loved the vampire genre. Loved Bela Lugosi in Dracula. I read Salem’s Lot by Stephen King and slept with my bedroom blinds closed for years. But lately I have been tending towards the ghost genre. The Ring was a great ghost story. While I’m generally not into the zombie thing, I really like Zombieland, not for the gore of it, but the humor.

11. Thanks to the Twilight series, the vampire genre of horror was re-born. Some people like to stick to their roots of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice while others welcome this new take on the supernatural beings. Do you think this re-birth of vampire literature and films has been good or bad? Why?

I think the rebirth is both good and bad (politically correct response or what?). Good in the sense that it means that people appreciate what has come before. I love history and think it should be referred to more often. However, with the exception of the awesome special effects available today, I am not a big fan of the new version of the genre. The originals seemed to be about the evil in the world, how it affects both the good and bad, and how it can be overcome. Today’s version seems to show the evil in the world as not only prevalent, but acceptable, and in some situations, desirable. Not the kind of idea I want my kids to accept. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but evil is evil, even more so under the guise of desirability. I love the way the Harry Potter series showed the struggle of a very flawed hero against evil. He did it, with help from other flawed characters, not because it was easy, but because it was the right thing do. His internal struggle with good and evil is much more engaging to me than the obvious all out brawl between the Voltare and Cullens.


Like what you saw? Have a question? Leave a comment! 

Visit Cathrine's Shops and see what's in store! Elementees and e-velopes

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chain Maille, Seed Beads, and Rob Zombie

Have you ever heard the expression that everybody has a story to tell? Well, I have a similar saying: Everybody has a freak flag, you just have to find it. Freak flag is a phrase that came about in the 60's referring to unconventional behavior that goes against what is considered normal. An example of this was men having long hair in the 60's. I remember my Dad telling me that he had long hair growing up and there were places that wouldn't hire him for work because of his long hair. It is crazy that something as simple as long hair can be considered unconventional. God help those like me that have a different hair color every few months.

I don't know why, but when I heard the term freak flag I fell in love with it. I liked that, in so many ways, it described my personality and my appearance. I liked that it could be used to describe my pierced and tattooed friends. I liked that it took something that a lot of people see as unusual and turned it into something empowering. It was great to see that I had so many friends that dared to be different and let their freak flags fly. 

I started using this term in a slightly different way. I would use it do describe something about someone that you wouldn't be able to assume on looks alone. I have a friend that pretty much looks like a homeless man that may or may not be a serial killer and in reality he is a huge animal rights activist. Several days a week he is working with an animal rescue team on top of another job. His soft spot for animals is his freak flag because you wouldn't guess that about him in a million years. I have another friend that is young, covered from head to toe in piercings and tattoos and looks like she could win a bar fight in a biker bar. She is a new mom with an on-line business that is doing very well and that is her freak flag. 

This post is about a girl I met through Etsy and she has a freak flag too. She makes amazing jewelry. She is pretty much a ninja when it comes to beading. Now, since I have never met her in person, I began making assumptions about her based on her work. At first glance I assumed she is a beach lover who enjoys sporting events, and a night out with family and friends. Then, I decided to check out her favorites. This girl loves horror! I was tickled pink by this. This is like meeting a friends sweet mother who is your typical Martha Stewart type and then finding out she is the human pin cushion at the circus. How freaking cool would that be!?!! So I am very excited to let you get to know a bit more about this lovely lady, Katie, her shop, and her freak flag when it comes to horror!

Hi, My name is Katie and I live in the Berkshires in Western MA. My husband and I just got married last July 4th. I work for my husband in his locksmith business 2 day a week so I have the rest of my time for my jewelry work..In the small amount of spare time I have, I love to read, watch movies and spend time outside when the weather is nice.

1. What types of items do you make and sell?

I make chain maille and hand woven seed beaded jewelry. My chain maille is all aluminum so it's light weight and easy to wear. The seed beads I use are all glass beads and I love to pair the necklaces with both natural and dyed stones. I also recently added key chains and Para Cord to my work.

2. How long have you been making jewelry and how did you get started?

I started making jewelry in 2006 as gifts for friends and family. I worked at a craft store back then and was in charge of the beading department. We had just put a bunch of products on clearance so I picked up quite a bit along with some books. When the new products came in, I fell in love with them. As I was working/ shopping, I became friends with one of my regular customers and the more I talked with her the more I knew jewelry was what I needed to be doing.

3. I know that chain maille jewelry has becoming a popular trend. What about this type of jewelry making appeals to you the most?

I love making chain maille because there is so much variation with it. There are so many different weave and ways to add color to it. I am always trying different techniques with it and getting great results.

4. One thing that makes your necklaces stand out are the chains and ropes that make up necklaces themselves. The pendants seem to be the color inspiration for the necklaces they hang on. Apart from having a pendant to work off of, where else do you pull inspiration from?

Aside from the pendants I use, I draw inspiration from just about anything that catches my eye. The area I live in is wonderful for natural colors, the fall foliage is great. Also, when ever I am out shopping, I look for anything that has great color. Even if I don't buy it, I make a mental note of it and when I get home I translate the colors into my jewelry.

5. The spiral rope necklaces are very impressive. How long does it typically take to make one?

The spiral rope chain is one of my favorite bead weaving techniques. On average an 18 inch necklace will take me about 6-8 working hours. I usually need a break at least once but I can get one done over a day or so.

6. Is there any other type of jewelry making techniques or supplies that you haven't tried out yet, but are looking into? Tell us more.

I am always looking to work with new materials. Right now I am thinking about working with Polymer clay. I want to start making some of my own beads and pendants. I love to create and I would love to add another one of a kind aspect to my jewelry.

7. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making jewelry?

My advice to anyone looking into starting jewelry making is to never give up, keep learning and find a niche that you love, In the 7 years I have been making jewelry, I have learned so much and I know I need to just keep learning.

8. Etsy is filled with amazing shops filled with one of a kind items, jewelry included. What do you try to do as an Etsy seller and crafter to make your items stand out?

I try to stand out on Etsy by having a little something for everyone. From teens to adults, men and women. I have fun, funky necklaces and earrings, delicate looking bead work, Para Cord for the survivalists and chain maille necklaces for men and women.

9. So I decided to get to know more about you prior to this interview by checking out your Etsy profile and your favorites. I noticed coffins, skull charms, a haunted pillow, and Nightmare Before Xmas stuff.This goes to show that my theory that "Everyone has a freak flag, you just have to find it" is true. What else would I be surprised to know about you if I had to base a judgment of your personality and interests solely on your handmade jewelry?

A surprising thing about myself would be that I have a zoo at home. I have 2 bearded dragons, Gwen and Ringo, and 3 ball pythons, Miss Diva, Stryker and Samhein, my Piedbald. They are a huge passion of mine. Also, I have 4 dogs, Molly, a yellow lab, Lady, a Golden Retriever, Jack, an Olde English Bulldog and Shadow, a blue nose pit. And last but not least, I have Smokey, my Maine Coon/ Siamese cat.

10. In case you didn't know, you don't get to be interviewed by A Ghouls Best Friend without a horror related question or two. What is your favorite part about Halloween and why?

Being part Irish, I find the Celtic influence on Halloween awesome. Particularly the history and lore of why we celebrate Halloween the way we do. Also, seeing the trick or treaters is pretty cool too.

11. What is your most favorite scary movie and why? It's okay if you can't name just one, lord knows I can't!

At the top of my favorite scary movie list are House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects. Rob Zombie is one of my favorite guys out there. Also, I can never decide but I love Stephen King so any movie made from his books. I always read the books and then watch the movies to see how the books were translated into movie form.

Here is a quick word from Katie on how to get in touch with her and get the 411 on her shop!

Thank you for taking a few moments to get to know me better. You can keep up with me on Facebook at
Follow me on Twitter at
And check out my own jewelry site at

 If you like what you read or have a question, leave a comment!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Curtains: 30 Years of Casting Audra

Curtains. They are an interesting item as far as home decor goes. You can open them to let in the light and warm things up or close them to keep things dark and cool. You can use them to keep out wandering eyes or use them to show the outside world just a little bit of what it's like on the inside. However, curtains can also be more menacing than they mean to be. As much as they are about privacy, they are also used to hide. They cover things up. They keep secrets. Though, sometimes, being on the inside of the curtains isn't always the safest place to be... At least not in the 1983 cult horror film, Curtains.

Curtains is a film about a group of six women auditioning for a movie. Not only are these women auditioning for the same film, but they are all trying to get the same part; Audra. To make things a bit creepy, the casting call is being held at a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Naturally, there is a masked killer that goes after the wannabe leading ladies one by one. It sounds simple enough. 

The film starts out with a woman, Samantha, auditioning for the role. She is doing a great job, but the director, Johnathan Stryker, has some criticisms for the young actress that put her in a mental institution. Don't worry, she hasn't gone mad... she just wants to do some research for the role of Audra and does a little method acting so that other patients think she really is mentally ill. While Samantha is locked away she discovers that Stryker is auditioning a group of girls for Audra. Samantha freaks out and goes out on a killing spree targeting that ladies trying to get the role of Audra.

This film isn't the best horror movie ever to hit the screen. It has a cheesy story line and the director, Stryker played by John Vernon,  is probably the most noteworthy actor in the bunch. However, what makes this a cult film has nothing to do with these things. More so, it has to do with the kill scenes. Most notably, the scene where one of the actresses is ice skating on a lake and the masked killer comes after her. This was the first time a kill scene was filmed on the ice and not because some kid went after his ball and slipped through the broken ice. This was pure icecapdes murder realness! (That last sentence is a testament to my ever growing RuPaul's Drag Race addiction, FYI.) There are a bunch of other crazy murder scenes. Some involve a doll, a vent, a head in a toilet, and there are almost always curtains with someone behind them watching.

I think this is a film to check out, at least once, even if it is just to check out the kill scenes.

To end this post I would like to share some random facts I learned about this film.

1. This film has several references to the production of this very film itself.

2. The real director, Richard Ciupka is not credited for the film as the director. The fictional character Johnathan Stryker is.

3. Stryker is played by John Vernon who has also been in Dirty Harry and Animal House. "Double Secret Probation!"

4. The film was originally in it's beginning of production in 1980, but got shelved for a year for multiple re-writes, re-shoots, and even one re-casting.

5. The credits at the end of the film are brought on by the closing of curtains and are listed by acts to continue the ongoing theme of scripts and acting.

6. A band named Morticia wrote a song called "Audra" and they lyrics are about the film. It's a metal band, so you can't understand a damn word the band is saying, but it's cute when you read the lyrics. Also, the intro to the song is a sound clip from Curtains. 

Audra Lyrics

Betrayal, left to die, lust for blood
Casting call for Audra, six summoned
Desolate, eerily dark estate

Jealousy for the part, seals their fate
Masked killer, morbid rage, waits for them
Murdering one by one till there's none
Hideous horrid face, takes your life

Slits your throat, spilling blood on the ice

Hatred, all must die
Icepick in the spine
Darkened rooms of death
Sound of morbid breath

Psychotic killer comes, mask of death
Hunts for you, shining blade, blood is fresh
Mutilated corpses lie in the snow
All are dead, Audra lives, curtains close

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post and Happy 30th, Curtains!

From the Desk of A Ghoul Vol. 1

Hey there Boils and Ghouls!

I wanted to take this time to give everyone a quick sneak peek into things to come this month. So far this month I have already had two excellent featured shop posts! They were with The Silver Crucible and Sick and Tiled. Check them out if you haven't already. These are two of many more to come this month!

You will also see a few horror related posts including my very first Ghoul Talk post! I am very excited to be kicking off this series of posts that will involve myself and a fellow horror nut talking about all things horror. My first post will be about horror movie remakes and reboots with Bazooka Jenn from Sick and Tiled. We are going to tell you what we loved, what we hated, why we think this is a growing trend, and ask that age old question of which was better: the remake or the original? SO keep your eyes peeled for that one!

On a different note, A Ghouls Best Friend on Etsy is doing amazingly well! In fact, the online shop is one sale away from hitting 400 sales! The lucky person who is the 400th sale will receive a ton of free merchandise with their order! Also, in celebration of the 400th sale, there will be a discount code floating around for Facebook and Twitter followers, so be on the lookout for that as well.

At the moment, A Ghouls Best Friend does not have any events planned, but as soon as it warms up you can count on a whole list of fun events to attend and support local crafters like myself. As of right now, I will be vending Hon Fest in June and Hampden Fest in September. Those are the only two events that are annual events for AGBF. Hopefully, AGBF will be vending with Dragontown Corset's Burlesque Festival in Jim Thorpe. I have vended with them twice in the last two years and I am looking forward to many more.

I hope everyone has had a lovely winter!

Keep it Sweet and Twisted!

Sara, Your Friendly Neighborhood Ghoul

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sick and Tiled with Bazooka Jenn

I am extremely pleased to introduce the ghoul I interviewed for this post. She is a horror freak much like myself and is someone that embraces this love with open arms and a handful of tiles and records. Her name is Jenn, but I may have to nickname her Wonder Woman because she, literally, does it all. She is a wife, mother, pet owner, crafter, and business owner. Jenn specializes in horror themed home decor items that includes everything from clocks to coasters! On top of this, she is thinking about expanding her business even more! She is an awesome and creative lady and I think that if she lived near me we would be really close friends. There is just something about horror that tends to bring people together. I learned a lot more about Jenn recently and it would be rude of me not to share. So sit back and get to know the owner of Sick and Tiled: Bazooka Jenn! 

My name is Jenn (Bazooka Jenn on FB. Find me!), 31. I'm a mom to 2 of the coolest little boys ever, Merrick (8) and Brody (6) and married to my college sweetheart/drinking buddy Adam for nearly 5 years. We met at special effects school 9 years ago and have been together since. We have 2 pets, a black lab named Loki (the hubs likes Norse Mythology) and a furball named Izzy (I like G'N'R). Aside from being a fulltime mom, I'm also the owner and creator of Sick and Tiled.

1. What types of items do you make and sell?

I make a lot of home decor (clocks, drink coasters, light switch plates, etc) with gothic, geeky and/or horror movie themes to them but I'm a bit fickle, honestly, and may branch out into more clothing and repurposed furniture. Right now, I'm working on really cool yet creepy wall art and I'm pretty excited about it.

2. How long have you been crafting and how did you get started?

Well, I've always had a little crafter in me, but I started doing more after I had my kids. Simple stuff mostly. Then, as the kids got older, I had more time and instead of returning to work right away, I started Sick and Tiled. It's the shop's 2 yr anniversary on the 28th!! 

3. Where does a lot of your inspiration come from?

Horror movies, mostly. But, also from my personal aesthetic. I like things with personality.....Dark, unusual, weird.....I pretty much put things in the shop that *I* would love to own. This shop has a lot of me in it. I've always been a HUGE horror fan, so it seemed inevitable that I'd be doing something along those lines. 

4. Is there a certain aspect of horror films that you tend to depict in your work more than any other? (ie scream queens, slashers, villains, classic horror, cult films)

I'm not gonna lie, I think I still live in the 80s-early 90s when it comes to horror. A lot of items have been inspired by cheesy slasher movie that I grew up loving. I figure I can't be the only one that loves these so I'm trying to carve out a little niche in the horror memorabilia circuit. 

5. Where did the inspiration for your tiled trays and wall art come from? Is this something we can expect to see more of in your shop in the future?

The inspiration for the trays came from Martha Stewart. Seriously! I found tutorial in one of her books for a tiled tray, in which I changed to fit my needs. I think hers was some kind of beachy looking tray, but not mine. Mine needed some "balls". 

As for the wall art, it's been something I've wanted to do for a while. The coasters come out looking so good, that I almost don't want to sell them as coasters, but instead keep them and hang them all on my walls. 

More of both coming soon!!

6. Have you ever had a piece that you couldn't bare to part with? What is it and what made it so special? 

Ok, I know this sounds really lame, but do you remember when I said that I live in the 80s/90s? Well, that applies to a lot of music too. That said, I love hair metal. To be more specific, Whitesnake. So, during "cocktail hour", I tossed my vinyl record to my hubby, but it hit the something and cracked. I couldn't use it anymore, so I turned it into a clock that now hangs in the dining room. If you look closely at the picture, you can see where it's cracked. 

7. Are you working on anything new that you would like to share with my readers?

I'm going to be making a lot more coasters, wall art, trays, and puzzle magnets (to name a few) in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!!!!!! Also, there is a 2nd Anniversary sale going on right now!

And if you find my shop through this site, use the code GBFBLOG for a 10% discount off orders $10 or more!

8. February marks your shop two year anniversary. Congrats! I also noticed that you are coming close to having 300 sales! That is amazing, especially when you consider that some shops don't hit 30 sales in their first two years. What do you think has helped make your shop become so successful?

Persistance, i.e. a facebook addiction. Just kidding....kind of. I do a lot of promoting through both my shop page ( and my personal page. I think when using social networking as a major source of advertising, it's important to really show your personality. So, in between a random horror movie trailer, music video or ridiciously funny posts from yours truly, you're bound to see the what I have in the shop.

9. There are a lot of sellers on Etsy that sell horror related items, myself included. Granted, horror decor is not the biggest category on Etsy, but it is one that is growing. How do you think this will impact fellow horror related Etsy shops?

I'm hoping positively! Horror fans are a passionate group and are always coming out of the woodworks. They love to show off any horror merch they have, so it's just a matter of getting seen.

10. There were a ton of horror movies that came out last year. Were there any that you saw that you would recommend? What are they and why?

I was really surprised at how much I liked Cabin In The Woods. I originally thought it was just another teen horror movie that I'd hate, but if I would have noticed it was a Joss Whedon movie, I would have seen it sooner. Lovely Molly and The Possesion was cool. The subject in The Possesion is pretty creepy. I've heard stories about the box prior to the movie and it's supposedly bad luck to even say its name! TRY AT YOUR OWN RISK!

11. Are there any horror movies coming out in the next few months that you are dying to see? What are they and why?

Nothing has peeked my interest so far this year. I'm not sure yet about the new Evil Dead movie because I'm partial to the original, so we'll see. I am a little excited about World War Z because out of every type of monster, zombies are my favorites. But, based on trailer, I could go either way, as long as I don't take it too seriously. 

If you would like to know more about Bazooka Jenn and her work you can Shop on her Etsy Page, Friend her on Facebook, and Like her Shop's Fan Page.

Also, Bazooka Jenn will also be working with me on my first Ghoul Talk post where we will discuss Horror Movie Remakes and Reboots. This is a growing trend that is becoming a large part of horror movie culture. Plus, with The Evil Dead and Carrie coming out this Spring there is no better time for a little Ghoul Talk on the topic.