Friday, August 31, 2012

Jewelry crafting (and blog updates!)

By my next post, I'll be blogging from Stirling, Scotland. I can't believe it's so close already. I'm nothing but excited about this upcoming trip (which you can still read about here on my Study Abroad Blog). However, packing is still being a right pain, so I've decided to distract myself while I sit at home. My most successful idea so far has been to try and use up all of my craft supplies before I leave for Scotland. It's proved fruitful and fun! I've made everything from scrapbook-paper bats for my dorm room to decorated faux-candles (pictured below) using the Michael's ribbon I bought a little while ago.

However, the real fun was when I decided that I should start fixing up my jewelry to go along with my wardrobe-overhaul project!. I have some pieces that I just never wear, which is unfortunate when I think about it. So! I decided to go about fixing up everything! Here are the results:

Claire's sold lovely earrings in 2011 that were little corked glass bottles filled with black glitter that read "poison" on the side and had a skull-and-crossbones. I snatched them up, how cute! I thought. However, I never got much wear out of them because try as I might have said before, I'm not really an earring person, especially with cheap Claire's metal. So they sat in my jewelry box to tarnish. Then, I dug them up for this project! The first one I simply put on a necklace chain.

The matching pair, though, I completely overhauled, as you can see! Have I mentioned that I'm a huge fan of the television program Supernatural? Ah, yes, my Winchester feels. Anyway, for those unacquainted with the show, it's about siblings Sam and Dean Winchester who travel the country to fight monsters. It's geeky, adorable, funny, heart-wrenching and extremely well written. I'm in love. Anyway, whenever Sam and Dean have to get rid of a ghost, they have to salt and burn the bones. So, I emptied out the glitter from this necklace and put a piece of a matchstick in it and a few grains of rock salt, then sealed it with wax. Voila! Instant Supernatural necklace! I adore it to pieces.

Moving on from my fangirl-squeaking, but not quite from earrings yet, I also decided to do something about an Alchemy Gothic piece I've had for a while. You see, a few Christmases ago I opened a little box containing an Alchemy Gothic ear cuff. Thrilled at my first piece of Alchemy Gothic jewelry and at how gorgeous it was, I put it on. Ow! Along with me not being an earring person, this piece was made out of pewter and quite heavy. It made my ear hurt. So it also languished in the box for a while (being worn occasionally, because I loved it.) until I decided to pull it out to really do it justice. I removed the cuff part of the earring and the post and now it's a lovely necklace for me to wear!

My last piece that I converted from an earring to a necklace was from the year 2007. In 2007 I went to China when my family was adopting my little sister, Clara. However, we decided to do a bit of touristy things the week before we went to pick her up so that we could really enjoy our time abroad. As part of this, we went to a shop that sold beautiful pearl jewelry and had a tour of the pearl refining process. At the end of the tour I spent my money on a pair of black pearl drop earrings. Unfortunately, as we were trying to catch the train the next day, I lost the matching pair! I was heartbroken. I've long since had plans to make the remaining one into a necklace, and now I have! This picture doesn't do it justice, the pearls are actually beautiful mix of black, purples, greens, and reds (think of what you see when you see oil on a road. It's like that. Lovely.)

Now this is a piece I've mentioned on this blog before. This ring, that I got from Otakon 2010, is ridiculous, silly, and adorable. I had to have it. But, unfortunately, my usual wardrobe wear isn't quite so silly to allow it on a regular basis. So it languished in the box with the rest of the items. Then, I pulled it out, used wire cutters to remove the ring base, and stuck a piece of looped wire into the "frosting" (aided by a small dollop of glue) and voila! Instant silly but wearable necklace!

Lastly, I've been also putting this project off. This necklace started out as a multi-layer necklace with three chains, the shortest one holding a cross pendant. I bought it from Torrid in 2008 when I was first deciding to really get into Goth style (not just buy a lot of black clothes.) Unfortunately, it's no longer really my style. The triple layers get tangled and look a little odd to me. So, now that I'm in the crafting mood, why not? I removed the two longer chains (not sure what I'll do with those yet) and removed the cross-pendant from the shortest chain. Then, I put the necklace closer on the shortest chain to turn it into a necklace chain. Now I have a necklace charm and chain for whenever I need them!

That's all the jewelry modifications I've done! My little coffin box that holds my necklaces is now overflowing! Now to decide which ones to take with my on my trip...haha.

(I don't have enough chains to keep them all on separate ones, so I just switch off.)

Now, I've not just been up to playing around with my jewelry and a pair of wire cutters! I've also been playing around with my blog. I plan on beginning to only use my own pictures for my posts from now on because it's been a blogging ambition of mine for a while since using my own pictures makes the blog feel more "mine" than it ever was before. I might in the future go back to my older posts and start replacing those pictures with new ones (in so far that that can be done, my "shallow wants" posts and posts that reference specific people/products will remain the same.) But I'll keep you updated if I decide to do that.

Also, is there a specific topic you wanted me to talk about but I haven't gotten around to it? Now you can bring that topic to my attention through the "E-Mail Me" widget in the sidebar of my blog. I haven't tested it out yet, but I'm hoping it does work and that you guys have some suggestions for me! time I speak to you, it'll be from beautiful Scotland! See you guys next week!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

100 Goth Dorm Decor DIY Links

Do you remember my previous post How Do You Decorate a Goth Dorm? Well, I've been thinking about it, and to me the one thing that I should have been thinking of is the wondrous world of DIY. With a trip to your local craft or fabric store and a few hours of your time, a college-bound Goth should be able to conjure up all manner of things for their dorm! Of course, all of these links will also work if you are not in college, but I had dorm room rules and limitations in mind when compiling this list. So, for your viewing pleasure (and to celebrate my 100th blog post), I'd like to bring you one hundred links of easy, cheap dorm (and apartment and bedroom and house) DIY decor.

Wall Decor:
1. Martha Stewart's Bat Tissue-Paper Garland
2. The Scrap Shoppe Blog's Boo Corset Stitched Sign
3. Sarah Yewman's Decoupaged Letters (Initials are big in dorm rooms, but I can't say I'm a huge fan. Instead, use small letter blocks and stick them up on a wall with command strips to spell out a favorite quote, lyric, band name, etc.)
4. Tiffany's Skull Frames
6. Mooky Chick's Record Art (If you can find Goth records, feel free to just hang those up (or their cases.)
8. Money Saving Mom's Faux Metal Toiletroll Wall Art
9. Smart Bottom Enterprises' $13 Scrapbook Paper Wall
10. Home Guide's Wrapping Paper on the Wall (Important: do not staple to avoid fines. Instead, use poster putty or similar temporary adhesive.)
11. Graphics Fairy Halloween Fabric Art
13. Every Day is a Crafting Day's Trick-or-Treat Sign (You can use this design with any words of your choosing. 14. "Undead Undead Undead", anybody?
15. Apartment Therapy's Magnetic Makeup Board
17. No Biggie's Spooky Halloween Mirror (As a variation on this project, only do this to the corner of a larger mirror so the mirror can still be used.)
18. Urban Thread's Bat Shadow Box
20. Offbeat Home's Ouji Boards (Do try to resist the urge to summon Hell's forces against your roommate, please.)
22. Can't Stop Making Thing's Twisted Bats Wall Art
23. Mark Montano's Decorated Clipboard (Hang these on the wall with command hooks, thumb tacks, or similar and then use the clip part to hold notices to yourself or photos or such.)
24. Lovely Undergrad's Embroidery Hoops with Fabric
25. So Fabulously Flawed's Branch with Skeleton Keys (If a branch isn't your style, you can hang the keys up other ways)
26. Country Living's Silhouette Cork Boards (Hang one or more of these inside backless frames for an interesting look. They provide a template but you can freehand or trace any design you like.)

28. Good Housekeeping's Wicked Window (I don't recommend using candles that close to curtains or anything else, but battery operated ones are fine.)
29. Casa Sugar's Ribbon Curtain Tie-backs (Great to use up that Halloween ribbon!)
30. Maya Made's Cheesecloth Curtains (dye black and shred for a spooky look.)
31. Dormify's Ruffled Shower Curtain
32. Ellinée's Paper Heart Garland (Replace hearts with suitable shapes, whatever works for you.)
33. Good Housekeeping's Ribbon Curtains
34. Apartment Therapy's Flag Curtains (This is where I got the inspiration for hanging a pirate flag over my window! If you don't have a curtain rod, use tacks, command hooks, or tape right above the window.)

36. Craft Passion's Halloween Ghost Lights (If ghosts aren't your thing, paint the ping-pong balls purple or gray and cut out paper bat wings.)
37. Erica Young's Recovered Lampshade
38. Shoebox Decor's Tea Lamp
39. Victoria Suzanne's Rose Lamp Tutorial (Just change the pink roses for black roses, red ones, or even white ones with "blood" splatters!)
40. The Scrap Shoppe Blog's Skull and Chandelier Frame Plaques
41. College Fashion's Christmas Light Ideas (If you find white bulbs to be a little boring, look around for ones in orange, red, and purple during Halloween. These look great strung up around the tops of walls, but try to remember to unplug them when you leave.)
42. DIY Network's Creepy China Ball Lantern
43. Squidoo's Decoupaging Flameless Candles (Be sure not to cover these up with too much black or you won't be able to see the "flame" at all! It might be better to stick with mostly lighter papers, like the texts from your favorite book, or similar. If decoupage isn't your thing, use stencils or stamps to create fun designs on them.)
44. Guapizimo's DIY City Lights Lampshade (The page is in Danish, but the concept is pretty simple. Do any outline you like. How about a cemetery?)
45. Offbeat Home's Constellation Light
46. Lindsay's Peek-A-Boo Lampshade (This just screams Goth to me. Use a plain white fabric lampshade to help the image show through clearer and use the internet to find PLENTY of Halloween silhouettes for your use. Remember, you don't have to use just one on each lamp! Go for multiple!)

Hanging (ceiling) decor:
47. Country Living's Gone to the Birds (This one isn't much of a tutorial, more just an idea to get you started.)
49. All You's Halloween mobile (I would just prefer bats but whatever works for you.)
50. Craftzine's Halloween Bat Mobile (Like so.)
51. Lovely Undergrad's Painted Bird Cage (Fill with fake feathered crows or taxidermy bats or anything else that floats your boat. Personally I'm vying for my own personal Lenny-haha!)

54. College Juice's T-shirt Pillows (Perfect for those Goths who don't usually wear t-shirts. Imagine these with anything from graphic prints to our favorite band shirts!)
55. Trystan's Draped Headboard
56. HGTV's Spiderweb Pillows (I would leave off the plastic spiders, for comfort's sake.)
57. Apartment Therapy's DIY Tufted Headboard
58. Country Living's Patchwork Throw
59. Brick City Love's Bedskirt (If you have more advanced sewing skills, perhaps look up variations with ruffles or other patterns.)

Floor Decor:
60. Country Living's Spiderweb Rug
61. College Candy's Tiger Skin Felt Rug (I think this is a good jumping off point for spookier felt rugs. Bat shaped? Or coffin shaped? Create your own template in a suitably spooky design and find other colors of felt to really Goth this up.)
62. Domestic Adventure's DIY Pouf/Ottoman
63. The Scrap Shoppe Blog's Mod-podged Shelves (Switch up the colors and use this as a bedside table!)
64. Craft Passion's Braided Rug (Try this with Halloween fabrics or ones that match your color scheme.)
65. Molly Kay Stoltz's T-shirt Shag Rug
66. Design Sponge's Bulletin Board Room Divider (This is a fairly advanced project, with woodwork involved, but if you need the privacy it might be well worth it!)

67. Martha Stewart's String Spiderweb (put over a cork board to create a spooky version of commonly found ribbon-boards.)
68. Simple Knobs and Pulls' Guide to Installing Drawer Pulls (Replace the ones on your desk or dresser with fun ones, but be sure to keep the originals for you to put back at the end of the year!)
69. Theresa's Cute Halloween Chair Covers from Pillowcases (for those dull desk chairs at college. Alternatively, just drape your chosen fabric over it and tie with ribbon. The possibilities and different looks you can achieve with various fabrics are endless.)
70. The Sweetest Occasion's Wire Spider Placeholders (Instead of using them to mark someone's place, use them to hold reminders for yourself! Got an appointment on Tuesday, or an exam on Thursday? Write it on a notecard and slide it between the wires.)
71. Lovely Undergrad's Lace-painted Lamp
72. Apartment Therapy's Lined Drawers (Use for desk or dresser drawers in appropriate Halloween or Goth patterns. Be sure not to use a permanent adhesive for this, just poster tape, painter's tape, or poster putty.)
73. The Painted Hive's Decal Transfers for Jars (Use an appropriately Gothy font and design or interesting names for what your jar holds.)
74. Design Sponge's Fabric Boxes
75. Genuine Joy's Tea Cup Jewelry Organization
76. Cake Spy's Fake Cupcakes (Insert thicker wires with bended loops at the ends to easily hold photos. If you like, add "sprinkles" with plastic bats, ghosts, skulls, etc. from your local Party store.)
77. Casa Sugar's Homemade Record Bowls (great for a "catch all" for your desk!)
78. College Juice's Upcycled Soup Cans (Just change the color scheme to fit yours and you have a great way to store desk supplies!)
79. Quaintrelle Life's Victorian Woven Mats
80. Family Fun's In-Boxes (Again, change the colors and designs to fit your decor.)

Other Decor:
81. Martha Stewart's Forbidding Flowers Vase (flowers, real or fake, make a great addition to a drab dorm room. Why not cover them in "spider webs"?)
84. Victoria Suzanne's Silhouette Cameo (Do this with pictures of family, friends, and pets for a more unique way to remember them in your dorm.)
85. DIY Network's Mad Scientist Jars
86. Country Living's Black Paper Flower Bouquet
87. Martha Stewart's Uniform Plastic Bottles (I love the idea of replacing generic bottles with fancier, uniform ones. Maybe even in glass ones if you think you can avoid dropping them in the shower. Just make sure you label the bottles somehow. Perhaps fancy labels?)
88. Design Sponge's Tissue Box Cover
89. Crafty Cupboard's Spiderweb Table Runner (If you don't have a table, drape it over the top of your dresser, desk, or even hang it on your wall!)
90. Offbeat Bride's Geeky Terrarium Centerpieces (Express your inner geek with these or use them as inspiration for other designs.)
91. Craftberry Bush's Book Pumpkin
92. BHG's Craft Supply Suitcase (Great for freeing up desk space. Just slide under bed when you're done!)
Brooklyn Limestone's Custom Halloween Dinnerware with Porcelain Markers (Song lyrics, macabre designs, favorite quotes, etc.)
93.'s Coffin Box (Use to store ugly-looking but necessary items, like bath or laundry supplies.)
94. Bane's DIY Laptop Desk
95. Mooky Chick's Hardback Book Jewelry Box (Perfect with an older copy of some classics, like Dracula! Also a good way to hide beloved pieces that you worry might get stolen!)
96. Lovely Undergrad's Super Easy Dry Erase Board
97. Design Decor's DIY Apothecary Specimen Jars
98. Country Living's Clock Magnets (If you like the Steampunk or Alice in Wonderland aesthetics, especially. Use these on a magnet board or if you have a mini fridge.)
99. Quaintrelle Life's Daguerreotype Picture Frame
100. The Scrap Shoppe Blog's Chic Frame Pincushion

Remember, the more dark colors you put in a space, the smaller it will seem. While it might be tempting to try all of these projects in every Goth's favorite shade (read: the blackest black to ever blacken blacks) it might be worth your while to try them in other shades. Royal purples, bright reds, whites, grays, royal blues and greens, or any other number of colors can be easily incorporated into Goth decor. I hope you find some of these links helpful!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Michael's Haul and an Outfit Post

It's times like these, readers, where I am infinitely glad that Halloween goods are stocked as early as July and August in my local stores. You see, from what I've gathered from my UK Goth friends, Halloween isn't as big a deal in the UK as it is in the US and shopping for decor around Halloween time can be pretty hit or miss. For a while now I've been poking around my local stores and trying to see what I can find this early in the season. Luckily, Michael's has been a boon to Goths like myself who can't participate in the later shenanigans in the year. So, I'd like to show you a couple things that I picked up from Michael's recently.

Skull patterned ribbon, around 2USD...

...which promptly became the place-marker ribbon in my new planner, which is a larger version of the planner I talked about previously on this blog. The pages you are seeing are the boring ones at the back of the book which I covered in scrapbook paper (I did this to the front pages as well with a nice damask print.) I'm currently trying to figure up how to cover up the boo-boos on my skeleton page from having too much glue...

Here's more ribbon that I bought for 2USD. It's white with letters printed that describe Halloween and little red blood splatters. I haven't found a use for this yet, but it was so adorable I had to get it! I think I'll use a strip of it around the handle of my suitcase so that I can easily identify it when pulling it off the baggage carousel, but I don't know what else to do with it. Hair ornaments, maybe?

This was my favorite thing I bought, personally. Michael's is currently selling little unpainted balsa wood coffin boxes for 1USD each and they're perfect for storing little things in and giving a little DIY attention to. This might be something that I buy more of before I leave because I like it so much. This one is plain black, but you can see the potential for other designs. Beetlejuice stripes! Bats! Skulls! The possibilities are endless.

To keep the coffin from being too boring, I lined it with black and white damask flocked scrapbook paper. I still need to clean off the paint from the hinges and clasp, though....

Another really cute thing I bought was this "Spooky!" pillow for 12USD. I think this is going to be coming with me to Scotland because it's relatively light (it can fit in my travel bag) and gives a tiny touch of spookiness to my drab, drab dorm room. There was also one that said "Happy Halloween!" on it but, as I'm sure I've stated before, I try to avoid Halloween branded things when shopping around Halloween time out of personal preference.

Also, I posted this picture to my Tumblr already, but I think this is one of my favorite outfits as of late. Here's the rundown:
Blouse: thrifted
Jacket, socks: Camden
Overskirt, underskirt: Fanplusfriend
Boots: Demonia
Ankh necklace: Otakon 2010
Rings: Various

So, readers, have you gotten anything for Halloween yet?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Link Between BDSM and Goth

Goths and BDSM. It's not an unheard-of thing to talk about. However, most of the time it's discussed in the context of someone debunking misconceptions about what Goth is. "No, we're not all kinky and slutty." But, for my post, where do all of these rumors come from? Why do people think we're all in the BDSM community? I'd like to take some time to explore that with you all today.

First, I think it would be wise to clear up what BDSM is. While there are many online resources for this, I'll give a condensed version here: BDSM is an acronym with three parts: BD stands for "bondage" and "discipline", DS stands for "dominance" and "submission", and SM stands for "sadism" and "masochism." In essence, BDSM is a sexual and sometimes lifestyle preference with a power dynamic between a "Dominant" and a "submissive." While the specifics of the practices vary, generally the submissive serves and receives the attentions of the Dominant. BDSM operates by the general rule of "Safe, Sane, and Consensual" which means that even though there is a power dynamic, both partners agree to what is going on and keep the activities within safety parameters that vary depending on the people involved. BDSM is actually an extremely old fetish, paintings on walls from the sixth century b.c.e. depict erotic floggings, though somehow it still manages to frighten or disgust some people for various reasons. If you'd like to learn more and are looking for a safe-for-work resource, I recommend the Wikipedia page.

A lot of Goths get up-in-arms about people assuming that they're part of the BDSM culture, even if they don't take issue with the practice in and of itself. Many consider it a privacy issue (people trying to guess about their sex lives bothers many) and some are just flabbergasted by the entire insinuation. They declare, as the "Goth Confession" above shows, that people shouldn't make assumptions based on what they wear. However, these assumptions don't just come out of nowhere, and it's better to understand them than to get really upset about it.

Source: Tumblr

Let's look at some of the recurring Fetish fashion trends, shall we? Collars, boots, high heels, latex/rubber, leather, fishnets, corsetry, military motifs and imagery, and a predominately black/red pallet. Sound familiar? Many Goths have adopted a look which may feature some of these elements, but if you ask a Goth why they wear a collar, they're more likely to answer with "I like how it looks" than "I wear it for my Dom/Domme." Many of the icons of Goth, such as Peter Murphy, were spotted on stage wearing heavily fetish influenced garments. Above you can see an image of Mr. Murphy wearing a leather harness with an O-ring, typical of Bondage wear (you can hook any number of devices to the O-ring.)

A tangent, if you don't mind: In my opinion, getting really upset about people assuming you're kinky while you are wearing a collar is a little bit silly. I'll forgive you if you're wearing a corset, or boots, or any other item of clothing that can be worn outside of the BDSM context. However, collars are one of those items of clothing whose very essence is BDSM. I'm not going to tell you to stop wearing one, but I would ask that you acknowledge what message you might be sending and that you respond to all assumptions fairly. If someone makes that kind of assumption about you, all you have to say is "I wear this because I like how it looks, but I'm not into that." Of course, if you are feeling harassed by someone because of the BDSM imagery in your clothing, this does not apply.

If the things we wear weren't enough to solidify the bond, there's certainly music that supports the link between BDSM and Goth. Depeche Mode has a song entitled "In Chains" which, as you might have guessed, features bondage imagery such as the lines "I know my hands will never be free, I know what it's like to be in chains." London After Midnight has an entire song called "The Bondage Song" whose lyrics include such kinky imagery as: "I want the kill, the conquest,/ to be your master,/ wrap your arms around my pale skin,/it's too late to back out you're in,/on your knees and praise your new lord,/deeper now, and here's your reward." If you're a Goth who also partakes in industrial, metal, or other types of music, you'll be sure to see bondage imagery sprinkled throughout the lyrics.

Beyond even our music, there are other reasons for our bond with bondage: in mainstream society, BDSM is viewed as one of the more taboo fetishes, though often exploited for some humorous purposes. Much like Goths, those who participate in it can be ostracized for their interest. Combine this shunning with the corsetry and kinky lyrics, then you should definitely see more of a correlation between Goths and BDSM. This can only be solidified by the fact that Goths are considered to be "open-minded" about other people's sexuality and kinks (within reason, anyway. My post about us having our own prejudices still stands strong.) which is why you might see an increase in people who are "out" about their BDSM practices in the Goth scene.

Of course, the initial statement still stands: you shouldn't make assumptions about someone's sexual/lifestyle preferences based on the way they dress. Still, I think it's worth understanding why someone is assuming we're into BDSM. So, readers, what do you think?