Kbatz Kraft: Goth Parasol Upgrade

Last year I picked up an old cane umbrella at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for half the $1 sticker price. Yes, fifty cents! Though functioning, this decades-old umbrella feels delicate. Areas on the black canvas are faded and there are a few pinprick holes in the fabric. However, with the right details, this for pennies find can become the perfect goth parasol!

While the honey-colored wood handle and point are superior to modern plastic, the color doesn’t match any of my summer straw hats and bags. Fortunately, a day’s work with 80 grit sandpaper, a generous coat of Jacobean stain, and a semi-gloss topcoat create a fresh, dark finish. Rather than a recognizable bamboo or cherry, this wood smelled sweet when sanded – perhaps a good old hickory. For walking, this all-black exterior cane is sophisticated, but I left the interior stem its original warm wood color. When opened, the vintage shaft advertises old fashioned craftsmanship compared to cold contemporary metal, and inside the canopy where the notch locks there’s a piece of tape with the previous owner’s name. Instead of destroying such unexpected history, I stuck the price tag next to it, embracing a fifty-cent, fifty-year conversation piece with a story to tell. Thanks, Joseph!

After the rough stuff comes the expected parasol lace. Gathered straight lace from that three dollar cumbersome clearance roll last seen on my Victorian Bonnet became a delicious flounce sewn around the end point easily enough, but this was not going to become multiple tiers of bridal shower ruffles or baby bows and cutesy swag. More time-consuming lace both hand-gathered and machine sewed on a black ribbon was glued down to cover the faded canvas edge – just enough romanticism without being twee or too heavy. Although I couldn’t do much about the overall faded fabric, those pinprick holes could be disguised with sequin ribbon from my stash. Trails of sequins were glued over the imperfections, which when open, reflect some sunshine for a final ooh la la. Did I forget to mention this has a cute little button closure instead of lame modern Velcro? Oh yes!

With on hand craft supplies, $4 stain, and sandpaper found in the garage, for under $12 I have a priceless looking parasol with history and craftsmanship that can’t be found in those tiny yet expensive and not made to last Halloween knockoffs. Certainly, there are much more involved ways to do a complete parasol retrofit, but with the right affordable materials and glam vision, anyone can ritz up an umbrella for a sunny day in dark times. The most difficult thing here was waiting on fair weather to work outdoors. I’m too superstitious!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts or Frightening Flix including:

Gothic Thrift Alterations

Upgrading Masquerade Masks

Gothic Romance Video Review

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kbatzkrafts/

Kbatz Kraft: DIY Flower Pens

I love zany pens – especially goofy or oversize flower pens and buy a bunch at a time whenever I see them in the Dollar Store so I have a back up when one runs out of ink. Yes, the bane of these fun conversation pieces (that no one can nonchalantly steal from us overprotective pen lovers) is that eventually, the ink ceases to flow. Occasionally I’ll leave a cool one in the pen cup, but then you inevitably end up grasping for that one working pen among the pretty but useless accumulation. Bulk pen options online look to be only cutesy daisies or rose wedding favors that feel cheap – a bud topped on a pen wrapped in ribbon. Well then, I can do that my tacky self!

Our on hand ingredients are simple:
*back to school clearance stick pens
*assorted thrift store flowers
*dollar store floral tape.

1.) After cutting single stems from the floral bunches to the length of the pen without its cap, hold the stem and pen firmly together and start wrapping the tape at the bottom of the pen.

2.) Once it is tightly started, continue winding the tape around the pen and stem – the green tape sticks to itself and any rough spots can be smoothed.

3.) At the top of the pen – just beneath the flower – the tape edge can be folded to cover the pen top.

OPTIONAL: On a few flower pens, I hot glued extra leaves from the floral bunches beneath the flower to hide any troublesome gaps.

Mine are red flowers with just the green floral tape stem, but for more dramatic looks one can use a longer flower length, feathers for faux quills, or go totally goth garden with black flowers and a black wrapped ribbon finish. My bunch inside a reused dark candle jar looks misleadingly real, and my husband said, “So THAT’S where you’ve been hiding the pens!”

This craft feels deceptively simple and almost not even worth sharing. However, during these stay at home initiatives, it’s the perfect time to revitalize old artificial flowers as something both summer vase decorative and useful fresh for that new at-home office or classroom. The kids can ritz up their writing utensils with bemusing toppers with this spare change fun, and the best part is that when the pen runs out of ink, you can remove the flowers for another project and make more themed pens per season.

Halloween pen bouquets, oh yes!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts including:

Repurposed Black Topiaries

Creepy Cloches

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins Video

For more Project Photos, Follow Kbatz Krafts on Facebook! 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kbatzkrafts/

FRIGHTENING FLIX: Gothic Romance Video Review

Yours Truly Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz discusses Category Romance versus Gothic Literature, Slashers versus Hammer, Penny Dreadful, Mario Bava, Crimson Peak, Tom Hiddleson, and Only Lovers Left Alive as well as Victorian and Gothic Romance Themes and the upcoming HorrorAddicts.net anthology Dark Divinations.

 

Thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our video, podcast, and media coverage!

Listen to Our Podcast: http://horroraddicts.net/

Get involved: https://www.facebook.com/groups/horroraddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference: http://horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net/board/14/writing-horror

Dark Divinations Submission Information: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/current-submission-calls/

To Read Detailed Reviews on Our Subjects Re-visit:

Penny Dreadful  1  2  3

Mario Bava Super Special

Crimson Peak

Only Lovers Left Alive

Revisiting Poe Video Review

Classic Horror Reading Video

Dark Shadows Video Review

Happiness And Other Diseases

10687036_10152720329052246_3965942528566808353_nLets face it, love isn’t  easy. No one knows that better than Flynn and Charlotte, they fell in love at first sight but the world seems to be against them. Flynn has been having nightmares and they are starting to cross over into reality. No one believes Flynn and his therapist decides it would be best if Flynn spends a little  time in a mental hospital, where he meets Charlotte.

Charlotte is half human, half somnali and is the daughter of the Greek God of erotic nightmares,  Brash. Being somnali means that Charlotte can enter dreams and prey upon humans, causing them to die in their sleep. Nyx, The Greek goddess of the night, knows that Brash’s children are killing humans and decides to put a stop to it. She states that if Flynn survives the torture from the somnali, she will grant Brash’s family more power, but if Flynn dies, she will turn all the somnali into humans.  Which is a fate worse than death for god like creatures.

So now Flynn is under the protection of Charlotte and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. If Flynn lives, many humans will die, but if he dies, somnali can no longer kill humans in their sleep. To say that Charlotte and Flynn have a complicated relationship is an understatement. The big question in this book is: does true love really conquer all?

Happiness And Other Diseases by Sumiko Saulson is a tragic love story that includes dark humor, greek mythology and some moments of pure horror. I love how the horror and humor are mixed, such as when one character is getting eaten by an animal in a dream. Another character shows up in the dream with popcorn and does commentary on the nightmare. I also liked when Brash describes how Charlotte handled a cockroach problem.

The main reason why you should want to read Happiness And Other Diseases is for the love story. This is not your average romance that you see in other books. Both Flynn and Charlotte have issues, their relationship starts in a mental hospital and that should tell you something. Flynn has no friends, no jobs and a mythological creature wants him dead. Things can’t get worse, but then Charlotte comes along and his life starts to get better. Of course things getting better for Flynn isn’t necessarily a good thing. Which is where the tragedy lies in their relationship. One scene that I thought was beautifully done was when one of Charlotte’s sisters makes living voodoo dolls from Charlotte and Flynn’s DNA. Then she demonstrates that even when she separates the dolls, they struggle to get back together.

Another thing I liked about their relationship is that their roles are reversed. When they meet for the first time Charlotte kisses Flynn’s hand, Charlotte is like a knight in shinning armor and is the leader in the relationship. Flynn is a broken man and Charlotte puts his pieces back together, he gets his life back and even though Charlotte likes to torture him, Flynn likes it. One scene I thought was funny is was when Flynn is in Brash’s home. Brash makes him bow and then laughs to Charlotte saying “He’s just so subservient.” Flynn is a strong character though, he knows the responsibility he has to the world and takes it seriously.

One thought I had while reading this book was that given the circumstances of Flynn and Charlotte’s relationship  there is no way this book can end happily.  I also thought that if Sumiko doesn’t give Charlotte and Flynn a happy ending, I’m going to be upset. Well I can’t tell you what the ending is but I will say that I was satisfied and you should give Happiness And Other Diseases a try. There are not many romances out there like this one.