Tag Archives: craft

First Flea

Yesterday was the debut of Nevermore Decor into the flea market/craft show scene, and I have to say, it was pretty damn cool.  I could get used to this.  I mean, it was hard work, don’t get me wrong – hauling tables and suitcases full of carefully-packed projects across city blocks, battling the weather (I lost 2 items to the damn wind, and my sanity to the snow/hail mix that blasted down out of NOWHERE)… but I sold about 70% of what I brought with me that day, and I got to talk to a lot of incredibly cool folks who also appreciate spooky shit.  Just getting to see people’s reactions to my macabre wares was a truly fantastic experience, and something I hadn’t really known I was missing. If you were there, and I was staring at you and smiling while you were trying to browse, I hope I didn’t creep you out.  I was super excited.

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My table outside Now That’s Class, a punk bar in Lakewood, Ohio.

And now I am hooked.  My next show is going to be at The House of Blues in Cleveland on Halloween night, as part of their black-light carnival.  I saved all my glow-in-the-dark pieces for that one, where they’ll really pop.  In the next few posts, I’ll share some pictures of the ghoulish delights I’ve been churning out in a desperate attempt to keep up with these shows and the Etsy shop.  Admittedly, the Etsy storefront is currently kindof empty, because every time I ship an order to a happy customer, it creates a blank space on my table at the show, so I’ve been loathe to list new items, because I’m afraid they’ll all sell and I’ll have nothing for the HoB show in 2 weeks.  Which is an awesome problem to have, I’m incredible grateful and awed by everyone’s interest.  But I’ve been spending countless late nights in my garage, painting furiously and forgetting to eat, because I was in no way ready for the demand of the season.  I had forgotten that I didn’t open the Etsy store until November of last year, making this year my first Halloween season in business, and I greatly underestimated my potential popularity.  Which was dumb, because duh I’m totally sweet.

PICS INCOMING!!  STAY TUNED!

…I’m literally going to go take them right now.

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Would You Kindly Look At This Thing

<Ahem>

Attention, Interwebs: I made a thing. And it’s pretty damn cool.  Get ready to be jelly in 3, 2, 1…

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Yes friends, my kitchen just got 287% cooler, as is it now sporting a Bioshock knife block.

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Ready for the close-up!

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It all started when I was supposed to be spring cleaning the kitchen, and doing all the insane things like cleaning the oven for the first time in my life.  It was an unfamiliar and intimidating prospect, so I decided very suddenly that my knife block was ugly and boring and needed a re-do like RIGHT MEOW.  First I painted it teal, then cut bits from the Xbox game booklet and mod-podged them on.  Then I feathered in some copper paint around the edges to give it that “my Randian Tomorrowland went horrifically awry and slowly rotted at the bottom of the sea” patina look that everyone is loving right now.  Dotted in some gears and some nautical bits, and garnished with little metal barnacles (which are actually bits from an old bracelet).  I discovered, after a runaway gloop of superglue and a string of curses, that dried excess superglue has a kind of barnacley/lichenish/encrusted with sea salt look to it, so I ran with it and dotted some more around.  Then I layered on several coats of matte finisher, so a stray spill won’t ruin my fab new knife block and consequently my day.  And ta-daa! Gamer chic kitchen stuff.

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I have more stuff to show you guys, so come back soon!  I’ve got a Little Sister almost complete, that Beetlejuice shelf I promised was coming all the way back in February, and a few Bioshock Infinite inspired odds and ends.  Subscribe to the blog, and you’ll get an email notification all 3x a year I manage to post something, or like Nevermore Decor on Facebook to get that plus approximately 5 random fandom memes and 1 someecard in your newsfeed as well.


How I Learned to Stop Throwing Boring Parties and Love Games

For some reason, most of the party advice and how-to’s I’ve come across only suggest games and activities for children’s parties.  Spoiler alert: adults like games and activities too!  It seems to be a common assumption that all you need to throw a successful party for adults are the basics: food, booze, and music.  Sort of a ‘if you build it they will come’ approach – put on some tunes, put out some chips, and everyone will just magically have a great time.  If your goal is to host a largely forgettable evening, well, that’s the recipe.

Captain Picard gets it.

Patrick Stewart gets it.

While it’s not always easy to come up with games adults will enjoy (we usually end up having to more-or-less invent them), it is absolutely worth it.  The reactions are priceless.  When you have thematic, age-appropriate games, it kicks your party into a whole new level, and makes it an event; an occasion that they will still be talking about weeks, months, years later.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to strike a balance between ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ and Beer Pong.  Actually… ok, between like, Uno and Beer Pong, because even when you were five, you knew that ‘Pin the Tail on the Donkey’ was stupid bullshit, and you were too old for it.

This is baby shit.

This is baby shit.

Your game can’t be too kid-ish, because no one will want to play and they’ll think you’re an idiot.  And drinking games exclude all but the alcoholics and the 22 year olds.  Not that you should never do drinking games; they can be a fun way to get the crowd warmed up and ready to act a little silly/make a new best friend.  Depending on your crowd, there’s nothing wrong with putting on a PowerHour playlist (plays only 60 seconds of each song, 60 songs total; take a sip of your drink every time the music changes) to give your early arrivers something to keep them busy while you finish up the food/put the ice out/other last-minute stuff.  But drinking games shouldn’t be the main focus, or your only activity, because it excludes too many people.  The ideal of the game is to get people involved, engaged; to get them talking to people they normally wouldn’t.  Without an activity, people are generally just going to eat their chips and talk to the people they already know.  Forgettable.  A game gives them a common goal (or enemy), and a reason to interact with strangers.  And one of the coolest things in the world is seeing two of your friends, from completely different spheres of your life, laughing together and just getting along famously.

To give you an example, our Knight of Fright Halloween party (medieval/fantasy theme) had several games going on.  The “Royal Proclamation” I sent out to our guests via Facebook about a week beforehand puts it in a nice fat little nutshell:


holy-grail-artA Brief Explanation of the Events of the Upcoming Evening
Issued by The Lady of the House

Your goal on November 8th will be to accumulate the most gold that you can, in order to increase your wealth, influence, and the favor of your house. There are several ways to accumulate gold:
EARN IT: Competing in the lists (playing a game called Battlegrounds, which is basically a tabletop variation of Cornhole meets Angry Birds)
BUY IT: A gold is given for every entry into the 50/50 raffle
WIN IT: You may gamble your gold for a chance to win big by playing Fortune’s Tower (a card game)
STEAL IT: All guests will be issued a satchel for their gold, to be attached to the hip area via the provided clip. You may attempt to take other guests’ satchels, but be careful of being caught by them OR by The Royal Guards, who will put you in the stocks for your trouble.
The Royal Treasurer will keep track of each guest’s wealth and allow you to make deposits and withdrawals from The Royal Treasury. THE ROYAL TREASURY DOES NOT ISSUE CREDIT. At the end of the night, the richest/most influential Houses will receive very fine gifts of hospitality from the Lord and Lady of the Castle, in the hopes of securing an alliance. The peasantry can just get the hell out.


Battlegrounds took place in the garage/catacombs.  Besides providing the thieves with an excellent environment in which to attempt to snatch a satchel or two (low lighting and distracted marks), just about everyone tried it at least once, and most kept coming back for match after match.

Tallying the score

Tallying the score

We bought a set of tabletop cornhole tables and some weird, tentacley balls (…that sounds terrible) at our local craft store, and from those items (totaling about $20), we made Battlegrounds.  There were 5-7 people to a team, and the idea was for everyone to throw all the balls simultaneously, to try to either score, or stop the opposing team from scoring.  Points were awarded the same as cornhole (1 for on, 2 for in), but you could stop an opponent’s ball in mid-air by hitting it with one of yours.

Fortune’s Tower is actually an Xbox game, it was part of a little side-thing called Pub Games that came as a pre-order bonus to Fable II.  We let guests bet their gold on the outcome of the card game, line by line.  [Click the screenshot to try it out (Xbox required), but be warned: it’s very addicting. ] This was even more popular than Battlegrounds, and there were even a couple jackpots.  For those of you who’ve never experienced such a thing, jackpots are unreasonably exciting, even when it’s fake money that means nothing.  The sun shines out of your face anyway and you feel that combination of utter elation and smug, I-completely-deserve-this satisfaction.  It’s pretty great.

screenshot

Screenshot, you guys.

The stealing part was a lot of fun, too.  You really needed a light touch to release the binder clip (on the satchel) from someone’s costume without them noticing.  And if a Royal Guard caught you in the act, you would be carted off to the stocks in the garage, where we would boo you and throw lettuce at your head.

Booo! Thief!!

Booo! Thief!!

10688278_10102902249390984_979339716275637079_oThe “richest” people at the end of the night got prize baskets.  I love making prize baskets.  I got a little extra carried away with them this year, theme-wise.

The Red Woman: Ommegang Brewery Valar Morgulis beer, 2 glass mugs, sparklers, and Fireball candies.

The Red Woman: Ommegang Brewery Valar Morghulis Ale, 2 glass mugs, sparklers, and Atomic Fireballs.

Fool of a Took Foaming Pints: a pint of Guinness, 2 Baileys Irish Creme minis, 2 glass mugs, 2 shot glasses, and Nature's Valley oatmeal squares, wrapped in silk leaves to look like lembras bread

Fool of a Took Foaming Pints: a pint of Guinness, 2 Baileys Irish Cream minis, 2 glass mugs, 2 shot glasses, and Nature’s Valley oatmeal squares, wrapped in silk leaves to look like lembras bread.  Sorry the picture quality is butt. 

We had a few other baskets that I didn’t snap pictures of, but my love affair with themed gift baskets is another post for another day.

Wrap-Up Round-up:

The hastily-scribbled score sheet from a match of Battlegrounds. You can also see one of the satchels we made on the left there.

The hastily-scribbled score sheet from a match of Battlegrounds. You can also see one of the satchels we made on the left there.

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Fortune’s Tower betting detail

Now that’s just the games we did this year, but this post is already too long to be piling any other examples into it. The point is, games bring your theme to life, get your guests invested in your concept, and involved with one another.  As Martha would say, it’s a good thing.


On Cheesecloth and Cobwebbin’

I have one word, one very important word for all you home haunters out there: CHEESECLOTH.  Cheesecloth is your new best friend.  If you’ve ever purchased “creepy cloth” at the Halloween store at $7 for 2 yards, or bought those bags of fibrous bullshit that you pull apart and stretch to make spiderwebs, this post is for you.  Cheesecloth is about to change your game up.

No more of this.

No more of this.

Or this.

Or this.

Oh, people of Sherwood, you’ve been had!  Hoodwinked!  Bamboozled!  Firstly, “creepy cloth” (or “freaky fabric”, or whatever they choose to call it at your particular local Halloween store) is just cheesecloth that has been roughed up a bit for you, and therefore costs approximately 3x as much.  Do your own ripping and tearing, and spend more money on candy and booze.  Now, I will admit, I don’t mind paying the extra if it’s a different color, like black, and I’m using it to create an effect other than spiderwebs, because ain’t nobody got time to be dying cheesecloth all different colors in their utility tub.  Fuck that.

And those bags of “super-stretch” spiderwebs?  Has anyone, in the history of ever, EVER had any easy time with that crap?  The effect comes off cheap and cheesy, and it’s a pain in the ass to put up AND to take down.  Cleaning that stuff up is the absolute WORST. WORST!!  The point is, it’s terrible and I hate it.

Lovely, lovely cheesecloth, however, is the bee’s knockin’ knees, you guys.

…I don’t even know what that means.  But what you should take away from this is, cheesecloth is great.

The effect is absolutely stunning, it’s super easy to clean up, and you can re-use it year after year after year.  AND you can use it for like, a hundred other cool things besides making spiderwebs.

SO.  This year, for our medieval theme, we turned our garage into… The Catacombs.  Which, I felt, required the entire ceiling to be absolutely riddled with webs.  I didn’t, in the end, actually get the whole ceiling covered, but…

More on this guy in a minute... but check the webs!

More on this guy in a minute… but check the webs!

The cheesecloth webs have a much more realistic effect than that bag of stretchy cotton will ever be able to provide.  AND they were super easy to put up, thanks to this guy:

This is Dave.

This is Dave.

And this…

...is my cobwebbin' stick.

…is my cobwebbin’ stick.

Because I am a short li’l stack of pancakes, I have a hard time reaching the ceiling in the garage, even when standing on a chair.  And our ladder is too tall to even open up in the garage.  This presented me with a problem.  How would I cover the ceiling in cobwebs if I couldn’t reach it?  So, my big strong MacGyver bent up some metal, covered the edge in Avengers duct tape, and created the perfect cobwebbin’ stick.  It has a hole in the top that is just big enough to allow a standard push-pin to sit in it, but not fall through.  So, we would place the push-pin in its holster, drape the torn cheesecloth over it, and push it up into the ceiling.

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Worked like a charm.

Note the awesomeness.

Note the awesomeness.

I think I’ll get into the games we had going in the garage (and the shaming photo-op) in the next post, so for now, just remember that cheesecloth is the best and that having a fantastical cobwebbin’ stick makes it even better.

HE'S MINE

HE’S MINE.  Get your own cobweb-stick-making hunk.  This one’s taken.


Just Starting… with Severed Heads

I built this thing months ago, and then spent week after week after week trying to decide what the first post should be about.  Every possible ‘first post’ topic was too cutesy, too old, out of season, or dull.  Excuse followed excuse, and here we are, months later, and only virtual spiderwebs adorn this blog.  I said I was going to be dedicated this time!  Shit!

So, in the name of research and advice (and totally not just further procrastination), I read article after article about blogging, and how to build your brand, and how your posts should have purpose, and all kinds of really helpful nonsense, until finally I came across some common sense (somewhere…would link if I remembered)… “Just start”, it said.  Stop trying to make everything perfect and just do the fucking thing already.  So here I am, just starting.

Today, I’d like to talk about severed heads.

We just got done with our annual Halloween party, which this year had a Medieval theme, so obviously I had to mount some severed heads on a wall.  Obviously.

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And the detail views:

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I bought styrofoam heads (like for wigs) at my local craft supply store and proceeded to ‘horrify’ them with acrylic paint, wigs, and a few other odds and ends.  I found the wigs at a thrift store.  I didn’t feel great about touching said wigs in general, and felt even weirder when the clerk rang them up without comment.  I realized in that moment that there wasn’t a single thing I could say right then that would make buying two secondhand wigs, one male and one female, that would make the situation less awkward.  “Don’t worry, they’re not going on MY head,” …nope. “I thought those would be perfect for the severed heads I’m making” …definitely not.  I frequently spend my time in the checkout line at Goodwill trying to think of comments to help explain my purchases so that maybe I’ll seem a little less strange, and inevitably only come up with ways to make it worse.  If anyone out there works the register at a thrift store, and a woman comes through your line with things like gross wigs and Barbie heads and children’s nightgowns and ceramic clowns, cut her some slack.  She’s not a serial killer, and she’s concentrating really, really hard on not creeping you out.

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The Making Of

As you can see above, I keep a very neat and organized work space.

So it turns out that styrofoam has an excellent texture for making severed heads.  Who knew, right?  The heads come with a flared out neck and flat base, so they’ll sit nicely on a flat surface, but I needed them looking messy and mounted on spikes.  So, I clawed the neck bases apart like an animal, breaking pieces off and scratching bits here and there, leaving the rough surface see above.  I think we’re all familiar with the pebbly texture of torn styrofoam.  Turns out, when you cover that pebbly surface with red and black paint, it makes pretty decent rotting flesh.  I used a spray sealer on all of them to give it a shiny, bloody-looking finish, and added white rice for maggots on one:

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WARNING: TRYPOPHOBIA TRIGGER BELOW

Trypophobia, for those of you who don’t know, is a fear of small holes.  Usually, a cluster of irregular small holes, such as a lotus seed pod, or honeycomb.  It sounds ridiculous, but Google it, and see if the images don’t turn your stomach.  I was surprised to find out that a lot of the pictures made me feel really uneasy, like almost nauseous.  This article explains it better than I can. Have fun disappearing down that particular Internet rabbit hole.

Anyway, I figured, “So, that’s gross and horrible and strange and seemingly fairly prevalent, I should work it into a Halloween decoration!”  Because I am the worst.  So that’s exactly what I did.  I bought a sprig of autumn foliage at the craft store that included a lotus seed pod (ugh), sliced off the top of it, and set it with tacky glue (and a metric fuckton of red fabric paint) into the cheek of one of my heads:

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At Dave’s suggestion (Dave is my Hubster), I added black glass marbles into the mix:

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I think we can all agree, that’s nasty.

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I have to admit, the marbles weighed down that side of the face terrifically, so once the heads were mounted on the wall, I had a hell of a time stopping this one from tipping over and spinning around so that the marbles faced the ground.  Stupid gravity, getting in the way of all my plans.

The woman was the first head I made.  I think she is probably the least scary/gross, but for whatever reason, she is my favorite.  There’s not much to her, and I think the wig is mostly what makes her, but even so… favorite.

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When I finished her, I put her in the closet for (fairly) safe storage (always the chance of an avalanche in there), and whenever I would open the door, and her face would be there, seemingly sleeping, I would get this vision of the eyes suddenly popping open.  And that freaked me right the fuck out.

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Eventually I got smart, and turned her face to the wall.  But that is legitimately how I judge the quality of my Halloween crafts… if I don’t enjoy being alone in a room with it at night (or better yet, even during the daylight hours), I’ve done something right.

Speaking of...

Speaking of…

To close out, some photos of the heads the night of the party… apparently the camera HATES the dramatic red spotlighting on them, and they all came out blurry as shit.  Sorry.  But you get the idea.  Pin them anyway.  Pin them all!

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Me & Hubstep aka Thor, with heads in background

Me & Hubstep aka Thor, with heads in background


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