Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Halloween Tarot Review

The Halloween Tarot Deck by Kipling West and Karin Lee is loosely based on the classic 78 card Rider-Waite Smith Deck. If you are familiar with Rider-Waite you will have no problem reading these cards easily. The Halloween Tarot is a feast for the eyes of any Halloween addict! A very cute little black cat leads us through the Fool's journey starting with the The Fool and appearing all the way through the entire 78 card deck. 

The cards are extremely detailed and quirky. The major arcana include Vampyres, Frankenstein's Monster, The Mummy, and other typical Hallowen monsters. A few of my favourites are The Empress (Bride of Frankenstein), The Lovers (Dracula and Mina), and Temperance. Even The Tower gets a makeover as The Addams Family house! 

The minor arcana are just as detailed. You will easily recognize the typical RWS images such as the six of cups or the three of pentacles. The major difference is that the Halloween Tarot has been stripped of cups, swords, wands, and pentacles and in their place you will find instead Ghosts, Bats, Imps, and Jack o' lanterns! 

The cards are made from a good quality card stock and there is a little white booklet included with the deck. There is a larger companion book available by Karin Lee but I did not order it with the cards. This deck is getting hard to find but I was able to track down and order a set from The Book Depository online. 

Here is a basic 9 card spread that I use regularly. It's a beautiful deck and well worth the money especially for a halloween fanatic like myself. I'm glad I ordered it. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mourning Glory Designs on Etsy!

I am really excited to present my new online shop Mourning Glory Designs on Etsy! I will be adding tons more stock in the coming weeks but here are a few things I've listed already.

A high-low purple velvet dress:

A high-low dress in a pretty dragon print:

A few classic goth gauntlets in black velvet or lace: 

Some pretty little hooded capelets to wear over a formal dress: 

And cozy infinity scarves: (there are more of these coming soon! 

Plus I have been working on some new sweater coats. I will be posting some soon in camel and purple knit. 

This second one has a hood and belled sleeves with corsetting on the back. It's my favourite so far. 

To help you along with any Holiday shopping you may be planning, I am offering a 20% off coupon until the end of January! Just enter MourningGloryDesigns as the coupon code. Seasons Greetings and Happy Shopping! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Top 20 Family Friendly Halloween Movies

It's that time of year again! So snuggle up with some popcorn, halloween candy, and a loved one. I've made up a list of my favourite Halloween movies just in time for a long movie marathon on Halloween night. I intended this list to just be a top ten but had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10 movies so I expanded it to 20! More movies, more fun right? Most of these movies are family friendly, but if you want something a little more scary to watch for Halloween night head on over to my Horror blog and check out my other Halloween list. Not all of these movies are just meant to be watched on Halloween exclusively. But that's ok because for some of us Halloween is everyday!

20. The Little Vampire 

Even vampires can be cute and cuddly. Little Tony moves to Scotland and starts having repeated nightmares about Vampires. He is mistaken for a real vampire one night by a small vampyre and they become good friends.  Tony and his new friend end up saving everyone from the vampire slayer that's been hunting his new friends. 

19. The Witches 

We know Angelica Houston best as Morticia from the Addams Family but she also plays a very convincing evil witch in The Witches. And she has a pretty fabulous black and purple outfit in this movie. The special effects are done by Jim Henson and his Creature Shop so if you are fan of his be sure to check it out. 

18. Paranorman 

Norman is ghost whisperer. Every where he goes he sees spirits. In fact most of his friends are ghosts. This movie has it all. Ghosts, witches, and zombies. It is really well written with an interesting storyline as well. It's a perfect family movie for both kids and adults. 

17. Coraline 

Coralline is surprisingly scary for a children's movie. It is written by one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, who is better known for his Sandman graphic novels and The Graveyard Book. Coraline is basically a haunted house story and yet it is much more than that. It's a must watch for sure. 

16. Rocky Horror Picture Show

This movie is a true cult classic and is best viewed in a packed theatre at midnight with a shadow cast. I was lucky enough to attend a screening with a shadow cast a few years ago that was introduced by none other than magenta herself, Patricia Quinn. She is such a character and I was able to talk to her briefly about Rocky Horror and The Lords of Salem. She is very funny and charming in person. 

15. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

We all know and love the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer but have you watched the original movie? This is where Joss Whedon got his start. It's hilarious and filled with plenty of 80s cheese. 

14. Something Wicked This Way Comes

"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" Disney used to make some very dark films a long time ago and this is a perfect example. Something Wicked This Way Comes was written by Ray Bradbury and definitely leans more towards the horror genre than a family film. The scenery is beautiful with all the fall leaves and is one of my favourite autumn films. I watch it every year. Another dark Disney movie to check out is The Watcher in the Woods. 

13. Edward Scissorhands

A list like this would not be complete without a few Tim Burton movies. In fact I could make a top ten just using his movies alone! I absolutely love the scenes with Vincent Price in this movie. Tim Burton was a huge fan of both Vincent Price and Christopher Lee. He made sure to include them in his movies when he could. 

12. Casper 

I watched the cartoons when I was a kid so of course I loved the movie as well. Christina Ricci is a natural choice to star along side Casper.

11. Mad Monster Party

We all know and love the Christmas classics, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, but did you know there is also a Halloween special by the same people? Mad Monster Party stars Boris Karloff and has the same stop motion that the Christmas specials feature. All the classic monsters come to the party! 

10. It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown 

I never missed this special as a kid. It would come on every year a few days before Halloween. And if I was really lucky it would be paired with Mad Monster Party! It just isn't Halloween without it! 

"Just wait 'til next year, Charlie Brown. You'll see! Next year at this same time, I'll find a pumpkin patch that is real sincere! And I'll sit in that pumpkin patch until the Great Pumpkin appears. He'll rise out of that pumpkin patch and he'll fly through the air with his bag of toys. The Great Pumpkin will appear! And I'll be waiting for him!"

9. The Halloween Tree

Ray Bradbury makes the list again with this Halloween special. The best part of this cartoon is that it talks about the history of Halloween and Samhain. The children travel back in time to learn the ancient origins of Halloween and how much of it still survives today. 

8. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

As much as I love Tim Burton's version of Sleepy Hollow it definitely belongs over on the horror movie list. The Disney version is just as good though! Ichabod Crane finds himself being chased by the terrifying headless horseman in this classic version of Washington Irving's creepy tale. 

7. Young Frankenstein 

Young Frankenstein is actually a spoof on the original 30s version of Frankenstein by Universal Studios. It's a delight to watch from beginning to end and some of the funniest scenes ever filmed. Not to mention that it is also a musical like Rocky Horror Picture Show. The movie is written and directed by Mel Brooks and his quirky sense of humour really shines in this film. 

6. Hotel Transylvania 

I didn't watch this movie until just this year. I thought it was going to be too juvenile. Wow, was I really wrong about that. I absolutely loved it and it reminded me of Mad Monster Party! The vampire father and daughter are so sweet. 

5. The Harry Potter Series
Of course Harry Potter is not exclusively a Halloween movie but I can't help but think of that infamous dinner scene and wish that I could attend Hogwarts for Halloween every year. I was and still am Harry Potter crazy. I took my son to see each and every movie as they came out so he quite literally grew up with Harry Potter. He even had a Harry Potter themed birthday party when he was in senior kindergarten. I made wizard hats for all the kids and took them all to see The Chamber of Secrets. 

4. The Addams Family

I watched The Addams Family TV series religiously as a kid. It used to come on after school as reruns with The Munsters. As much as I loved Morticia, Lily was always my favourite. I just wanted to be Lily when I grew up! Anyway enough with the nostalgia. The Addams Family was remade into wonderful movies in the 90s. Morticia and Gomez really are the perfect couple.  

3. Beetlejuice 

He's the ghost with the most babe! I actually saw this one in the theatre when it came out. Yep I'm that old. Lol. This one was a true classic from the get go. We all knew it. 

2. Halloweentown 

Halloweentown is another movie I watch yearly. If I could just go live in Halloween Town for the rest of my life I would be so very happy! 

1. Hocus Pocus

And finally my favourite (non-horror) Halloween movie! I watch it every year.  Halloween just wouldn't be complete without the Sanderson sisters running amuck! This movie has everything going for it, a fantastic cast, interesting storyline, and great costumes. I really need to work on making Bette Midler's costume for Halloween next year. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You can't pay your rent with "but it's great exposure!"

I've had a major epiphany today! I read and shared a post written by Wil Wheaton yesterday.  It was all about how well known large websites expect their writers to work for free. In Wil Wheaton's case it was Huffington Post. Huffington Post was purchased by AOL a few years ago for $315 million and is now supposedly valued at a staggering $1 Billion dollars. Huffington Post contacted the popular Star Trek actor to ask him about publishing an article he wrote on his own blog a while ago. He was interested and asked how much do you pay your contributors? He was shocked by the reply “Unfortunately, we’re unable to financially compensate our bloggers at this time. Most bloggers find value in the unique platform and reach our site provides, but we completely understand if that makes blogging with us impossible.” Remember, I just mentioned how much that company is worth! All my friends that are professional writers were quick to share this article. And I've seen this topic come up many times before online. This article is gaining steam because it was Wil Wheaton that wrote it. He has a very popular blog and 2.92 million followers on twitter. I'm not sure why Huffington Post even thought he needed more exposure?

I learned a few years ago that most major genre publications pay their freelance writers about $75 a page. I'm not sure if that's true, but it was posted publicly on a popular horror movie forum a few years ago because people assumed that magazine writers were making more than that. Wil Wheaton figured out that his article was worth about $210 at the standard going rate. That doesn't seem like much does it? Not for a company like Huffington Post. So why has the industry standard become not to pay writers what they are worth? I'm sure this practice has put many professional writers out of a job by now. Unless you are Stephen King or Anne Rice are you expected to write for free these days? And if so, what has this done to the world of magazines and literature in general? The Internet has improved the way we receive information but it's also changed the information that we do receive on a daily basis. We all know and understand that you can't believe anything you read online anymore. That half the posts on Facebook or other social media are fake articles that are poorly written but sensational in order to gather more views. This is why I prefer to read personal blogs, magazine articles, or websites that I know and trust instead of the garbage that's often passed off as real articles on certain Facebook pages.

A few years ago I wrote a ton of articles for free also. I was new to writing online and was flattered that someone even wanted to post my work. I have no idea if the site I wrote for makes any money and the owner was a genuine genre fan who was always nice to me. I was happy to give my work away for free and did so willingly and never expected anything in return. I just wanted to share my love of Horror Movies to a larger audience. Also, plenty of writers give their content away for free in the hopes that it will lead to something bigger or a paying job at a magazine.  Of course that rarely happens. Now that I am a little older and wiser I realize that I was making a huge mistake! I was basically telling the universe that my work has no value. I always did a ton of research on my articles and would spend countless hours watching every movie I could get my hands on in order to have the proper background required to write about the horror genre. Any good writer would do the same! I basically spent all my free time either writing or watching movies. I figured it was my hobby anyway. Why not share my work with the world? Don't get me wrong. I think writing and publishing YOUR OWN BLOG is a great idea. Sharing your personal opinions on your own blog is worth the time and effort. Giving your work away for free to a larger site for just more exposure is a terrible idea! 

Here is why I think it's a bad idea. I completely believe in the Universal Law of Attraction. Some of you might also know the Universal Law of Attraction as "The Secret".  The basic premise is that whatever you focus on and wish for will come to you. So be careful what you wish for! If you are a positive person and wish for good things for yourself and others it will happen in reality. And the reverse is also true. If you think of negative thoughts constantly, worry, or battle anxiety you will also make that happen in reality. Worry is actually wishing for what you don't want. By publishing your work for free you are broadcasting to the universe that I don't need money for my work. Good exposure on a large website will not pay the rent! If you give it away willingly all the time the universe will think that's what you wanted all along. The same is true for any artistic talent. Be it writing, dressmaking, painting, drawing, or music. If you give it away for free to someone else who will make money on it then you are telling the universe that your gift is worthless. So stop giving away all your power! 

Here are a few things that you can do that send a positive message to the universe. Write and publish your own blog. Believe me the right people will find and appreciate all your hard work. They will value your talent and so will the universe. You don't need a larger audience. You just need the right one. Trade your talent or skill with friends. I quite often do trades with friends that have skills that I don't possess. It doesn't always have to be solely money based. We both gain something of value in the trade. And last but not least, ask for compensation. You'll never gain anything if you don't actually ask for it! Write it down if you need to. Keeping a journal is a fantastic way to keep your hopes and dreams positive. The written word has power. The universe will listen and respond!