Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Dressed For Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes & Masquerade
Phyllis Galembo, author
If you read on the right side of my blog some of the things that I remember about Hallowe'en, you would notice that I mentioned picking out Collegeville and Ben Cooper costumes at the dime store. Of course, things have changed, I usually start constructing my costume around July and it's usually a unique creation. But I still remember those boxes stacked up high in the store and making the impossible decision of what to be for that one night. The polyester or nylon jumpsuit with the thin plastic masks with the tiny rubber band stapled to each side that usually came off would transform you to anything you could ask for for that one magic night.
What Ms. Galembo has done is beautifully document commercial Halloween costumes from the last 100 years. The photography is misty, highlighting the pieces in a sort of dreamlike state that emphasizes the mystery of the masks, jumpsuits and accessories. A few pieces are from an era where racism was acceptable and those pieces are presented with dignity and sensitivity.
Overall the only complaint that I would have is that there isn't another edition of this book, it leaves you wanting more, at least it did for me. It's fascinating reading and the documentation of the interpretation of fictional characters into wearable costume is truly delightful. Some are whimsical, some are beautiful, some are primitive, some are scary but all are a work of art. It's a beautiful coffee table book, full of glorious photography bordering on artwork.
Don't sell the kids to buy this book if you don't have to, but maybe a little indentured servitude wouldn't be too bad.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Went to the shed and started Hallowe'en props officially today. I'm redoing my flying witch, she's needed a facelift for a long time. I've enjoyed seeing how my abilities have progressed and changed over the years.
I've also been doing some fun stuff with glitter that is coming along nicely. I have a lot to do before the sacred day but I think that I'll make it.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Maybe they have come back looking for their skull that is kept in my curio cabinet, or maybe they finally realize that they can jump on my bed any time they want without being shooed off. I see fleeting shadows often in the house, something running from room to room, about the size of a cat, maybe they want to check up on everyone.
Or maybe they just want to say hello.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Halloween Tricks and Treats
Author: Matthew Mead
It's hard to tell whether this is a book or a magazine, but at 11.99, it's definately a book to me at that price.
Three words, Martha Stewart Wannabe, without the cult following, or the staff of 350, or the multibillion dollar empire, or the smart&^$$ daughter with her own show making fun of Mom. I looked at this book for weeks at Hobby Lobby last October and that's unusual for me since I make it a habit to swoop down on any Hallowe'en book. I usually can find some sort of inspiration, some sort of redeeming quality that will keep me from saying the fateful word...
That's all I have to say. Bla. No redeeming hint of an idea, no matter how I tried, nothing to ignite the home fires of Hallowe'en, nothing to spurn on the dark muses that whisper mystical ideas in my ear. Just bla. There was one project that was kind of cool, but it's for someone who has mastered the art of 'sculpting wool roving'. What the %$#@??? I really can't find too much to say about this book; it's the color beige in a paint store, bla.
If you dot your i's with a little heart or spell cute with a k, you would probably love this book. For the rest of us that keep looking for coagulated blood recipes and how to make entrails glisten in the moonlight, this book is of little use to us.
And while I'm at it, I went to Michael's today to look at their Hallowe'en stuff, such that it was, and I give them the same review as I give this book...
And you thought that I couldn't be a b&%#$.
For some danged reason, everyone thinks that I need tomatoes. Don't get me wrong, I like tomatoes, a lot, but I don't know how to nor have the equipment to can them all and there's just so much spaghetti that I can stand. I went looking through some cookbooks and found something from Paula Deen (ate at one of her buffets, all the servers had tee shirts that said "I'm your cook, not your doctor" on them. Hysterical, unfortunately they didn't sell them). This effectively takes the healthy, wholesome goodness of a ripe tomato and neutralizes it with mayonnaise and cheese.
Problem? I didn't think so.
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded finely
1 prepared deep dish pie shell
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated (can use any kind you want, I used Swiss)
Layer tomatoes in bottom of pie shell, sprinkle 1/3 basil on top, repeat tomato and basil layer and finally one last layer of tomato. Salt and pepper. Mix cheeses and mayonnaise together and spread on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until crust is brown.
Tastes better the next day after it sets and the flavors marry. Went well with the meatloaf that I had (although this was my first attempt at meatloaf and it turned out to be meatbrick).
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I gave Carl a bar of Chris Merritt Zombie Soap from The Left Hand Handmade Herbal Soap Company. The description is:
"Feel like you’ve just survived a brisk, shrieking run through a zombie infested forest! Cedarleaf, Frankincense & Oakmoss thrill the senses and keep any good zombie clean and happy."
Well, Carl tried it and was delighted, and more so, it's made by:
"a small batch, independent worker's collective dedicated to quality, natural and organic body care. We created the company as an outlet for our creative energies, to provide an alternative to petroleum based skin care, and to promote environmental consciousness by example. We strive to have a positive relationship with our fellow workers, our customers, our community and our environment through quality craftsmanship and responsible business practices."
and they're local folks here where I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to boot! They have many many other scents and products that Carl wants to try as well as myself (the sage/peppermint lip balm is to die for, Carl loves that joke). I bought myself several bars of different scents including Zombie Soap and they are wonderful. They have a great light natural scent, are long lasting, lather well and rinses cleanly.
Carl recommends them highly and so do I. He said he would eat my brains if I had any, we both love that joke too!
For those of us that like to sew, it's usually hard to find fabrics that fit our particular darker and spookier lifestyles. Alexander Henry is one of the only fabric company designers that I know that consistantly comes out with really fantastic prints. This year he has graced us with a skull arabesque which I will definatly grab a couple of yards and something for the ladies (or gentlemen, dependant upon your tastes) which is the Halloween Hunks fabric.
Just Google Alexander Henry Halloween fabrics for a retailer. I have used www.Virginiaquilter.com as they have always given me good service and pricing. I would have offered up Hancocks but the employees at my local one act like it's a chore to wait on you and that it would be a privilage to you if they should stoop so low as to answer a question.
Oh, don't think that I can sew? Don't think a guy can run a sewing machine?
This was an 18th century wedding dress for Ms. M I made from scratch in '92. I think it had an internal corset as well as side 'pillows' at the hips and a 20 foot train. It's not as pretty as she was (and is) but it was my "rite of passage" garment. I'm working on a wool frock coat right now for myself as Mr. Macabre needs one to complete his creepy ensemble.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I've always been fascinated with magick although never have practiced any other than playing with a Ouija board when I was younger (I always pushed the pointer so I don't think that counts). I've always been fascinated with ghosts, the paranormal, and all the trappings thereof. I found in this odd tourist store in the middle of Beale Street that looked like an old dry goods store that displayed a row of paraphernalia that was, well, strange (and they ONLY took cash, there was an ATM right by the register, no debit, no credit cards). There were bottles of powders, like sulfur, saltpeter and charcoal as well as many dried herbs in little bags, some I readily recognized, some I had no idea what they were. So many fascinating things right there that I chose some of the more interesting of the lot:
Across the bottom is a row of soaps (I had to throw them away, they STANK!!! I kept the boxes), that promised protection from harm, uncrossing, fast luck and helping hand. Across the top is Black Cat incense with a prayer on the back and instructions to burn it every day and read the 23rd Psalms. Then we have 7 Holy Spirit Hyssop Bath Oil, again with instructions on what Psalms to read and have to use it. Strange thing is, I don't really think it says what the end result is to be, whether it is purification, healing, whatever? The little green bottle 0n top of the Black Cat stuff is just a cool bottle of bergamot (citrus orange) perfume. I should have burned the whole box of the Special Fast Luck incense BEFORE I went to Tunica Mississippi to the casinos!!! The Showers of Gold I can only guess that it would mean some prosperity inducing incense. Again, it has instructions on reading Psalms while the incense is burning.
Lastly....This. This is 'Special Oil'. No instructions, no explanation, no nothing. What is it? What does it propose to do? What do you do with it?
It has a distinct citronella scent. You shake it up and it separates again. A mystery.
All these things are a mystery to me. Do they work, do they not? Who is Dr. Pryor? What is in the Special Oil bottle and how is it used? Who would buy these things to use them in a solomn manner? To loosely quote Kevin Spacey in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil when John Cusack asked him why didn't he have a particular painting x-rayed to see what the underpainting was, he replied "I rather enjoy not knowing". Would I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that ghosts do or do not exists? I don't think I would. Would I want to know the existence of aliens or not? Probably not. Would I want to know that I was truly alone in a dark graveyard in the middle of the night?
Damn straight I would!
I am curious though, if anyone can shed any light on the implements, I would love to know about them!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
The Captain from The Captain's Ramblings! Congratulations! No, wait, there's another one! Ghoul Friday of My Ghoul Friday! These two wonderfully vile creatures will have a strange and bizzare concoction of sinister and wonderous things headed their way.
Two second place runners up? Well, ok, if you insist....
Pumpkinbrain from Pumpkinbrain.com! Dixie from Nickols Manor! These two persons of delightful but questionably wicked motives will also have a prize pack headed their way.
Thank you all for your participation! Next giveaway...the High Holy Day...Hallowe'en!
Friday, July 3, 2009
Halloween: The Happy Haunting of America
Hosted by Daniel Roebuck and Bob Burns with Chuck Williams
I never saw this video when it came out the first time in 1997. I don't really know if it was either on television or in the theater although I suspect it was a television special. I still don't know who Chuck Williams is but I did recognize Bob Burns as the gorilla in the old Saturday morning show "Ghost Busters" and not the photon plasma packs one. What I do know is that it is a fun and informative romp through the Halloween season with interviews with such greats as Robert Englund (Freddy Kreuger), Alice Cooper (one of my favorites), Tom Savini (pioneer of makeup artistry) and a host of others recollecting their Halloween memories from their childhood. It starts out as a creature feature type setup in which Dr. Shocker, Igor and the gorilla host a pseudo horror show before the main event begins (which is corny but fun). Interspersed are tours of haunted attractions from around the country, some I have seen and some totally new to me, but all intriguing. This 2 disk set contains the main movie and a bonus features disk (to which I truthfully haven't gotten through yet, mainly because they just kind of sit around and talk about the first movie, the only thing I remember is that they all gained a little weight over 10 years).
Overall the movie is fun, a welcome diversion. There's no how-to's but there's a bunch of inspiration from other haunts and attractions featured and just good fun seeing your favorite murderers, sadists and demons in jeans and tee shirts talking about how they went trick or treating as a kid. Except for Alice Cooper, he was in full leather and makeup, which is fine with me because I wouldn't expect any less from him. It's a fun video, I'd recommend it if nothing else for the haunted houses that are featured.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I got one yesterday after my phone died. I am now one of those obnoxious people. I have had to eat many many words lately from Sausage Von Trapp whose family are Mac followers and the fact that I have always lauded the glories of the PC.
My iPhone's name is Bob.