February 3

Friday Roundup: My Bloody Valentine

As you might have realized, Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. Perhaps you are planning on celebrating with that certain someone…or perhaps you’re ignoring the event entirely (it’s okay, it’s a sham holiday largely designed to promote the sale of greeting cards). Either way, you might want to get a gift, either for said certain someone or for yourself (because this is the fun part of being an adult—you get to buy yourself things). So why not take the standard Valentine’s trope of jewelry and skew it just a little bit? See how good your Valentine’s sense of humor really is.

Roses are red…and so is blood. So, if you and/or your beloved are fans of any of those vampire shows out there (whatever, I only count Buffy), the Twilight movies (Bah! Vampires don’t sparkle), or have an overall appreciation for general guts ‘n’ gore, consider some of these options. (Note: There are plenty of vial-of-faux-blood necklaces out there, but I’m choosing to ignore them. I just don’t find them that compelling. If that’s your thing, trust me—you can find them in spades. You don’t need my help.)

So La Fille du Consul’s Tour de Cou Sanglant necklace was my original inspiration for the post. Saw it years ago, couldn’t figure out how to actually purchase one, so I wound up making two (one for myself, one for a friend) on my own. ‘Twas a snap. I made a wire armature, surrounded it with clay, baked it, painted it, painted it again, glossed it, stitched on ribbon ties. Et voilà! The hardest part was waiting for the paint to dry between coats. Wish I could post a picture of my handmade version, but my necklace is currently packed up with the rest of my belongings and being intercontinentally shipped.

Since I first stumbled across that delightfully bloody, drippy necklace, I’ve found numerous iterations of the same idea. Here’s Trashglam’s acrylic version and Art for a Home’s basic Blood Drip Necklace and Extra-Bloody Necklace. VonErickson’s Laboratory features entire sections of the shop devoted to dripping necklaces and bracelets and gruesome gash necklaces.

If you prefer something a little less overtly gory and more elaborately Victorian, how about Fable & Fury’s Vampire Blood Drip Statement Necklace? It’s made of red powder-coated stainless steel and it’s fabulously ornate.

Oh, and if beading is more up your alley, don’t worry—you have plenty of options there, too. First up is Weirdly Cute’s Slasher Victim Necklace, followed by House of D’s Axolotl Gill/Blood Drop Necklace.

For those who want something subtle yet suggestive (Is it supposed to look like blood? Is it not? Intriguing….), here are two excellent options: QuirkyOak’s Gothic Choker Necklace and Lily Lady Blue’s True Blood Siam Red Lariat.

My favorite entry in the relatively subtle category is Weirdly Cute’s Vampire Victim Necklace, which properly conveys that freshly-bitten look.

Finally, we have a rather unusual ring to add to the list of bloody beautiful jewelry: Jane D’Arensbourg’s Drops of Blood Glass Knuckle Duster. I’m not gonna lie—in the already unconventional genre of blood-themed jewelry, that’s still a pretty unexpected piece. But, again, it’s also pretty fantastic. So buy it for yourself, give it to your Valentine…just don’t use it to propose.

January 6

Friday Roundup: Crafts With a Bite

Hello, all! It’s time for the Friday Roundup!

As part of this week’s post, I have a confession to make: I really enjoy reading what I call “stupid vampire novels.” The good ones are more in the “urban fantasy” genre, but a lot of them, to be honest, are best characterized as “paranormal romance.” (Let’s step back a minute and reflect on the fact that that’s a whole genre unto itself. Right? I know.) I’ve read all but one of the Sookie Stackhouse books (and watched a season or two of True Blood), all of the Anita Blake books, all of the Kitty Norville books (yeah, she’s a werewolf, but it counts), and, yes, that other series that I’ll leave unnamed. That other series could be its own roundup, I’m sure. This isn’t that roundup, though.

As much as I’d love to share some Kitty Norville crafts, there aren’t any (or, if there are, they are well hidden from Google)! I was shocked! We’ll all have to band together, as a Geek Crafts community, and remedy that. ;)

Happily, though, there’s a wealth of Sookie and Anita Blake craftery out there, and I’m here to bring you some of my favorites from Etsy.

First up, these very fun Sookie Stackhouse book cover earrings, by maryfaithpeace. It sounds like she puts a lot of work into these—there’s even “page ridge detail”! You can mix-and-match or buy two alike! I love it!

Next, a charm bracelet, admittedly based more on True Blood than on the books, by Creative Accessories. (Who, by the way, has a coupon code up right now—and offers a plethora of geeky jewelry. Nice!)

Here’s one for any ladies wanting to do some easy cosplay: a Merlotte’s waitress t-shirt, by Scarlett Fabric (also sporting a coupon code!). A couple of red marker dots and this shirt makes an easy Halloween/convention/costume party getup!

If you’re really into the costume, you might want to add another element: scent. Mannaia Frangrances has you covered, with “Bon Temps,” which she describes as “A dark, distinctively southern scent for the vampire, fairy, or fangbanger with taste. Includes notes of magnolia, sweet iced tea, wisteria, bougainvillea, and a good dose of peach.” I’m … kind of intrigued. It sounds nice.

The next one, I admit, I hesitated before deciding to post. I’m a little tired of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” thing—it’s a fun historical reference, but, for the time being, it’s probably been played out. I think. Then again, I laughed when I saw this pendant by Red Hot Kitten, and I would totally wear something like it. So maybe there’s a bit of play left in that meme.

Now, on to Anita Blake. Perhaps because she doesn’t have a TV show or a movie, there are fewer Blake-themed crafts out there. But she has a comic (there goes that paycheck), so crafters do have some imagery to work with. Here’s a card holder (ooh, a library card!) with an image straight from the comic, by Japip:

A different print from the comic appears on these earrings, by WenSi Shop. The guns dangling from the photos of Anita make it much easier to identify her, I think. ;)

Alternately, she could look more like the Anita Blake in this print by Tara Fortin—which I love, by the way:

And, finally, to leave you with something just a bit macabre, here is a necklace by Bottled Up Creations, featuring a “hand sculpted human heart” in a bottle, with a note saying “My heart belongs to Jean Claude ♥ [signed] Anita Blake.” This one kind of creeps me out. It probably wouldn’t be everyday wear for me. But Halloween? Oh yes. I would totally rock this necklace on Halloween!

A few of our past vampire-themed craft posts:

August 17

Fright Night UK Premiere

Fright Night PosterIf there are two things I love, they are campy horror movies and David Tennant. And Colin Ferral. Wait…that’s three. For us Americans, Fright Night is coming out THIS FRIDAY.

For a few of us lucky to be in London this past Sunday, and get tickets to The Empire Big Screen event at the O2, Fright Night was an experience to remember. Hosted by David Tennant himself (adorable as always) and in RealD–it was an experience to remember. The crowd filled up fast, and the buzz was building long before they let us into the theatre.

As for the film itself, I was hesitant to view both a remake AND a 3D movie, even if it did feature two impossibly hot men doing hot things. First and foremost, they hit it out of the park with the 3D, I’ve never been impressed with how 3D is used in horror movies until Sunday night. The script was great, enough changes to make this it’s own, modern film, but close enough to the original that the only thing purists will have to whine about is “It’s supposed to take place in the eighties!”.

The film featured lots of great laughs and plenty of good suspense and jump out of your seat moments, a fantastic performance by David Tennant as Peter Vincent (don’t worry, he is only in that awful wig and fake goatee for a few minutes). For those of you reading who aren’t already familiar with the story line, a teenager discovers that a vampire is living next door, preying on his friends and neighbors, and enlists the help of a famed “vampire expert” to destroy him. I could go on and on about how fun this movie was. I am positive I will be buying another ticket to see it in theater (again) when I am stateside.

And, just because, here is a picture of me, my niece, and Martin Barry of Empire Magazine, a totally great guy, even if he was making fun of me a bit. Martin,if you’re reading–Hello!Martin Barry Empire Magazine

July 27

Zombie Felties Book Review and Craft

I should start this review with honesty, I am not crafty. I know you are probably thinking, “But, the website is Geek CRAFTS?” Yes, it is, but I am just so geeky I only had to fulfil half the requirements to be allowed to write here, plus I love looking at all the fun crafts people across the web make. I am making this confession, as part of reviewing a craft book, is of course, making a craft from said book.

Zombie Felties by Nicola Tedman and Sarah Skate is a great book, each and every feltie project in it is a great mix of ghoulish and adorable that makes them very hard to resist. My favourite thing about these creatures, is they are as small and fun as amigurumi, but without the hassle of becoming really, really good at crocheting. Of course, being stubborn and a little stupid, I chose a 3 skull difficulty project from the book (1 skull=easiest, 4 skulls=most difficult).

First, the positive things about the project–they are very small, so if you are a regular crafter with felt, you will likely already have all the felt you need in your scrap pile. As a person who doesn’t sew at all, I managed to get all the felt I needed from a remnants bin in a fabric store near my mother-in-law’s house, I got more than I needed and still only spent about 70pence (not sure what that translates to in American, I am on vacation here and the exchange rate is still a mystery). For the other bits and pieces, I chose to use the supply list as a suggestion and not a rule, and so I managed to find the eye, monocle, and cord in a tin of random bits and pieces, so they were free. My mother in law had a good supply of embroidery thread already, so again, a regular crafter would have most things on hand, someone just starting out would have probably had to spend a few dollars on embroidery thread, but over all, very inexpensive to make.

In addition to being very inexpensive to make each craft, I found the patterns to be fairly simple (no need to resize them) and, a lot of fun. One suggestion would be not to use your regular sewing shears and opt for a sharp pair of smaller scissors, for the smaller patterns. The over stitch used on the outside is a very forgiving stitch for imperfect cuts and mistakes stitching, so I liked that a lot (I only pricked myself four times).

The only real negative I saw, was that while there are instructions in the front of the book for each of the required stitches, if you are a true beginner, you will probably find the instructions within each project to be fairly vague. One favourite was “embroider the nose in satin stitch, making a small heart shape”. When paired with the explanation of a satin stitch in the beginning, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and when compared to the picture of the finished project, it didn’t look possible they had used the stitch they described. A person experienced with embroidery wouldn’t have an issue–my mother in law saw what the issue was right away and we went about it slightly differently than the instructions implied, but got the intended results. The idea is that the book will provide a challenge for a novice or a veteran, but novices be warned, when attempting the more challenging projects, have someone around who knows the ins and outs.

As a non-crafty, non-sewer, I found a lot of frustration in making the vampire feltie, but it was obvious the issue was with my skill level and not the instructions (who knew stitching without inadvertently tying knots in your thread was so difficult?), and although I look forward to trying out a few other patterns from the book, I will probably restart with the one skull difficulty and invest in a thimble. Most of the issues I had with the pattern had to do with how incredibly tiny the finished dolls are, but, of course, that is really what makes them so adorable and inexpensive to make, so it’s a wash.

Here is a final picture of my Vampire feltie, over an Air Mail envelope (business sized) with a one pound coin on his left and a quarter on his right to show you the size:

Over all it was a great book, and even with my limited skill, talent and experience, I think i did okay, so that speaks to the quality of the instructions. I would definitely recommend it to friends interested in sewing fun feltie dolls. Look for it in August!

EDIT: We have one copy of Zombie Felties to give away! Just leave a comment here with your favorite zombie or vampire movie by Saturday at midnight ET and we’ll pick a random winner. Earn an extra entry by commenting on someone else’s post!

 

January 7

Angel Investigations Necklace

Angel Investigations Necklace

Is it a lobster?

Of course not! It’s the logo for Angel Investigations, the vampire-led detective agency from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off, Angel.

Though the program’s been off the air for some years, you can still show your love for the L.A. crew who “helped the hopeless” with this striking copper necklace by Etsy seller Hollywood Jane

January 30

My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker & Some Awesome Vampire Crafts!

my-pet-virus

My Pet Virus by Shawn Decker is probably the funniest book you will ever pick up. Now, I admit, this isn’t something you expect to hear about a real-life-story of a kid with hemophilia who ends up contracting HIV through a blood transfusion, but that’s only because you don’t know Shawn Decker. Shawn has faced down his HIV positive status with a twisted sense of humor and a series of anecdotes that will challenge what you think you know about prejudice, AIDS and life as a teenager while making you laugh until your guts hurt.

In addition to writing My Pet Virus and performing in the band Synthetic Division, Shawn, and his HIV-negative wife, Gwenn travel the world educating people about AIDS and safe sex. They believe that if a “positoid” and a “negatoid” (Shawn’s terms–read the book and find out more) can make a sexually active marriage work, then maybe other people should be aware of how to do it, too. In addition, Shawn has recently finished his first fiction work, a story about vampires, and if you are anxiously awaiting the release, you will find updates at his blog Shawn & Gwenn: Blog.

Even though Shawn has just finished one of the more hectic times of year in his life, he agreed to sit down and answer a few questions for our Geek Crafts readers.

So you grew up in a small town as a hemophiliac, HIV positive kid who loved
Depeche Mode…did you ever see yourself traveling the US speaking publicly
about your cult-hit memoir and safe sex?

I really had no idea I’d be talking about my HIV status with my friends, let alone strangers.  At age 20, around the same time I definitively decided that Black Celebration was Depeche Mode’s finest album, I realized I wanted to open up about my HIV status.  At that point, I’d been diagnosed half my life, and it seemed like an exciting thing to do.  Also, I was inspired by Pedro Zamora, who’d been on MTV’s Real World reality show.  He was young, HIV positive and speaking at college campuses.  He passed to spirit a couple of years before I started educating about HIV, but I was able to meet his partner, Sean, and his roommate, Judd Winick, both of whom I thanked for the inspiration.
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