Tacky is the new cool at You Tacky Thing’s craft studio!

Time again for me to feature another local artist who makes funky, unique hand crafted items; introducing my friend Stephanie Higgens-Rowley!  I met her when she started taking creative marketing lessons from me to boost her cool, hand-decorated bottle and hand-made jewelry business & so far so good….she’s made tons of awesome decorative items to sell and is now doing NJ vending events, so I invited her to be my next guest blogger so she can introduce herself to you & her “tacky” work…after all, her business is called You Tacky Thing!  Now in her words….
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“Don’t throw that out!”, my mom would yell at me from the kitchen. Anything that could be used again, used for something else, used for something you haven’t even thought of yet was not to be thrown out. Both my parents grew up during the Depression. Everything has a potential use.
This is why I gravitate toward found items. I have access to bass and guitar strings, guitar picks and empty bottles. So when they outlive their usefulness I like to create something interesting. The strings most likely become jewelry while the bottles become decorative. I like using bottles that have an unusual shape or color to them.
I love being creative with things that would have been thrown out. Its like making something out of nothing. You never know what its going to be.
I have been doing this for a while now and I must say its the best job I’ve ever had. I try really hard to create things that are interesting and make you wonder how it got there or where it came from. Some of my favorite themes to use on my bottles are
Gothic and Victorian imagery , mermaids, dragon flies and bats. I even create bottles that can be lit up and I welcome custom commissions. As for my rock and roll inspired jewelry, my creations have been worn on stage by some pretty amazingly talented performers! You can purchase items from my Facebook page You Tacky Thing and you can find me at various vending events throughout NJ an NY. My next event will be at NJ Paraunity  Expo in Woodbridge, NJ. For more info : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216158534209635&set=gm.2287489841492576&type=3&theater

Welcome to the DARK SIDE…

Goth is alive..or undead…in New Jersey thanks to promoter Jet of Vampire Freaks!  He’s been bringing the huge, creative and awesome Dark Side of the Con event to us recently and the next one is coming up in March 29th-31st in Parsippany, NJ.  These are such elaborate, fun fests with cosplayers, bands, artists, guest speakers, authors, performers and more so I’ve invited Jet to be my latest guest blogger so he can tell us how he’s been inspired to create these events, what you can expect & how you can attend….take it away Jet….

Greetings, my name is Jet and I’m happy to be doing a guest blog for the lovely Steampunk Landing (Lauren’s Steampunk Facebook Group)  & Lauren Curtis Art Blog!
A little about me:  I’m the owner of vampirefreaks.com , which is the #1 gothic themed website in the world, which is a social networking site that also has an online clothing store.   I’m also a professional website programmer and have over 15 years of experience promoting events.
I’m here to tell you about, Dark Side of the Con which is the largest gothic / dark-alternative event in North America, and the only convention of its kind, taking place on March 29th-31st in Parsippany, NJ.
This year is our 3rd year doing this event, and it has grown in leaps and bounds each year.   Focusing on gothic, industrial, metal and rock genres, Dark Side of the Con is broken up into a few different parts.
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Live Bands:   We have over 20 live bands, our headliners are ‘Stabbing Westward’, ‘Aesthetic Perfection’, and ‘Assemblage 23’.    ‘Stabbing Westward’ actually holds a special place in my heart because I was a huge fan of them as a teenager, and I’d listen to their albums over and over again.  I’ve had the pleasure of booking them a couple times in the past few years and these guys are the most friendly and down to earth rockstars I’ve ever met.  And believe me, I’ve met tons of bands over the years, lets just say there’s some big egos going around the music scene and it’s not always the most pleasant experience.  So when I work with somebody as huge as ‘Stabbing Westward’, who’s been all over the radio and MTV and had huge commercial success, when they’re so humble and friendly it just blows my mind and makes me have that much more respect for them.
One other awesome thing about booking bands for ‘Dark Side of the Con’, is since the event has been such a success so far, we get flooded with applications looking to perform!  So it can be hard narrowing it down to band we accept, but it’s very exciting for us.
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Our special guest this year is Youtube sensation ‘Black Friday’, who has over 600,000 followers will be hosting a meet & greet as well as teaching us how to be a successful youtube star.  She is currently living in New Zealand and she’ll be coming to the US just for our event.
Burlesque:  Possibly our most popular event is our burlesque show each night, because lets face it, people love boobs.    We have a variety of burlesque acts each night from professional burlesque dancers, and they really do impress us every year!
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DJ Club events:   We have 2 different club events each night featuring our rockstar djs so that you can pick from different types of music.   This year our club music genres include ‘industrial’, ‘goth’, ’emo’, ’90s’, ‘alternative’, ‘synthpop’, ‘new wave’, as well as some surprises thrown in!
Panels / Presentations / Activities :  We have over 50 various panels / activities ranging in a variety of dark-themed topics, from gothic fashion and horror to oddities and witchcraft.   This year we’ve added some more kid-friendly activities such as ‘paint a ceramic skull’ and ‘Halloween coloring books’.  In addition this year we will have some live bats on display.
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Vendors:  We have carefully selected over 70 independent vendors who have all kinds of unique wares!  Including cosmetics, clothing, accessories, taxidermy and more.
I could go on about how fun this event is but really it’s something you have to experience with your own eyes!   We have some videos for you to check out tho:

 

Link for more info & tickets:
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A new author’s dreams come true!

Bringing a new author’s stories to life is very exciting to me, as a freelance artist, and when you work with someone who you click with it’s even more enjoyable!  That’s why I’ve asked author Hayde Romero to be a guest blogger and share with you how she came to write children’s books.  I’m so happy to have been hired as her artist and I think her stories will be fun & inspiring for young readers!  Here’s what she has to say about her newly published books….

HaydeBookCvrFrontOct2018.jpgThe idea of The Adventures of Mimi and Lulu came to me early one morning as I snuggled with my daughter in bed.  I knew she enjoyed story time and so I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a story featuring her? Slowly, I started developing on that idea and pulled in another character, Lulu which is inspired by one of my closest friend’s daughter. And of course, they had to have a dog (Magellan)!

I decided these three characters would embark on adventures that took place anywhere in this and out of this world. But how would this ever possible? It was only possible in their dreams. So, when they fell asleep during sleepovers, they met in their dreams and the adventures began.  I also wanted these stories to have some sort of meaning behind them – to deliver a message of kindness.

I try to portray this in The Fallen Star and The River Mystery.  In The Fallen Star, Mimi, Lulu and Magellan help a fallen star get back home to her mom. And in The River Mystery, the girls and Magellan help with a dilemma their friend (the river) is having.  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
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My English college professor once told me I was a good writer. And I believed her. From then, I started writing short stories and even wrote an entire novel. Writing is something I enjoy doing. Sometimes the stories flow with ease as I write them. Many other times, they simply don’t.

What I love the most is that I get to control the story and most importantly, the ending.

To order your copy of her new children’s book, click this link to purchase on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Mimi-Lulu-Fallen-Mistery/dp/1726657833/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543947568&sr=8-1&keywords=the+adventures+of+mimi+and+lulu

 

Anti-bully Bunny helps kids!

Art & stories are a great way to teach kids about compassion & life-skills.  This is one reason I love creating illustrations for children’s books, so when author Joan Decker
approached me to commission me to illustrate her anti-bullying story for kids, I immediately said YES!  The book is now complete and available on Amazon & Kindle so I invited Joan to be my next guest blogger so she can share her inspiration for her book with you…..
My name is Joan Decker, I’m a single mother of two son’s age’s 34 & 18 yrs. I am also a retired Special Ed teaching Assistant of 11 yrs. I began writing Poetry at the age of 16 yrs. old, it come’s so naturally to me. I have a compilation of Poems and will make it into a book soon. I’ve been an Advocate against Bullying since 2004, & I mentor children through Social Media. I was bullied as a young child after I had to start wearing glasses at age 7 yrs. old and hated them. We were poor, & my Mom had to use Medicaid for all doctor appointment’s, so my choice of glasses were limited to these ugly blue one’s with pointy corner’s. The very first day I wore them to school, children laughed at me , calling me name’s like ” Cat Eye’s” and “Four Eyes”, It made me sad. I can recall crying all the time and feeling like an outcast. So I mirrored Rosalina’s character (the bunny), after myself in my first book, BE A FRIEND NOT A BULLY: NAMES HURT. My youngest son Antonio was severely bullied since Kindergarten thru 6th grade, due to his Speech delay and quiet demeanor. He was physically and emotionally bullied everyday until I removed him in 6th Grade after being beaten by three boy’s. I then proceeded to Home School him, until he graduated in 2017. Antonio suffers from PTSD; no child should ever be traumatized in a school environment where he should be safe. I created animals in my stories to make each book kid friendly, keeping the bullying at only name calling, no violence. My focus being to inspire children to take pride in their appearance, to be strong in who they are. That bullies only have Power over you, if you let them. We live in a World where suicide is too common, and we as parents and as a society must bring Bullying of any kind to an abrupt end. This book is the first of a three part series, with the hope of giving emotional support to bullied children all over the world. I poured my heart and soul into each story and hope that I can make a difference in your child’s Life.
Joanie Decker
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All Artwork (c)2017-2018 Lauren Curtis

 To purchase a copy:
BE A FRIEND NOT A BULLY: NAMES HURT
This book is the first of a 3 part Series, to help children deal with bullying and diversity. As a Elementary teacher, I have seen first hand the negative effect it has on a child’s self-esteem. My message in each book is the same, be yourself and Stand True. We all have Special & Unique qualities that make us who we are inside. Rosalina Rabbit’s journey is about her appearance changing and while difficult in the beginning, she overcomes all the Name Calling and becomes Proud of how she looks.

A Comic Book Revolution

One great thing about the internet is how easily we can connect with other creative and like-minded people!  I recently made a connection via LinkedIn with Bob Coar, a unique comic book creator.  I liked his original perspective on current topics and political issues and also enjoyed the artistic style of the illustrations.  So, I invited him to be my latest guest blogger & share some insight into his revolutionary world of comics…..

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Why would anyone do Steampunk?

So why should anyone be interested in Steampunk??   Well, Steampunk & Gothic event guru, Jeff Mach, has the answers for you…and the events to attend to check out this fascinating scene.  Here’s a blog he wrote & allowed me to share with you…

Are there reasons NOT to do Steampunk?  Oh, HECK yes.  Let me give you some.

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First off, it’s ridiculous. An imaginary 19th century which never happened and which we explore in the 21st century? Why in the world would anyone want to do that?

Relatedly, it doesn’t seem to make sense, when you think about it. I mean, when people imagine they’re at a Renaissance Faire, at least there is some degree of hypothetical actual history involved. It’s taken something like 50 years for the modern Renaissance fair to evolve so deeply into something which doesn’t really involve the Renaissance.  It took decades for Renaissance Faires to get to a point where they embody “some sort of point in history where people carried swords; something after the Dark Ages and before the Internal Combustion Engine.  Heck, in my own lifetime, with the coming of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I’ve seen Renaissance Faires be pretty excited to welcome Pirates of clearly 18th century backgrounds–ie, at LEAST a hundred years after the Renaissnance is acknowledge to have ended.  That’s an impressive (and, to be clear, incredibly fun!) historical innacuracy – but at least it took a really long time.

Steampunk doesn’t have that excuse. How long has Steampunk as we know it been a thing? Eight years? Perhaps 10? I certainly know people who feel they and practicing it longer, but the very least, the Steampunk we see today has existed for less than a decade. It didn’t start out accurate and get weird. It started weird, and got more inaccurate from there.

And at least if this was something like punk rock or Goth or the hippie movement or even, as some claim, just a genre of science fiction literature, we don’t have anything like the hierarchy of those genres!  For example, there may or may not be a top Steampunk band or two. But those are the main reason people discover Steampunk. Is there a topSteampunk author? I think there are many incredible steampunk authors, and some have sold more books than others, and some might have had more influence than others, but I don’t think ANY particular Steampunk author is the creator of the Steampunk we know–certainly K.W. Jeter, who coined the very term, has said repeatedly that he did NOT create the Steampunk we see today.

Famous steampunk makers? We certainly have some. We certainly love their creations. I think I could possibly narrow my own list of the top five Steampunk creators down to… I don’t know, perhaps 10 people, all of whom could lay reasonable claim to being in the top five.  And most of them are actually too modest to say that. And some of the finest creations in Steampunk have absolutely not been made by people who identify as Steampunks–they’re just people who love playing with this culture.

Is Steampunk created by events? Would that mean that the people who run events run Steampunk? I’ll be honest. If you’re reading this, you are probably seeing this on my own website for my own event, or through social media that is related to an event company which bears my name. Do you think that I run Steampunk? I run the world’s largest Steampunk event. Am I in charge? Have you even heard of me?  The answer to the first question is definitely no!  The answer the second question is not definitely “no”…

…but I’m pretty sure that if you took all the people world who identify as Steampunk, and asked them if they know who runs any particular Steampunk events, most of they’d probably be able to answer only for the events they go to or for which they’ve seen advertising.

So why play with, create for, former lifestyle around, experiment with, or otherwise be a part of Steampunk?

The Steampunk World's Fair - "Wonders Untold"

Photos © 2010 – 2016 Babette Daniels Photography Purchase your copy of this image at http://www.babetted.com/Events/Steampunk/SPWF2016

For exactly and precisely each and every one of the reasons above!

Because Steampunk doesn’t have to make sense!  Steampunk doesn’t have to have a leader! Steampunk doesn’t have to be any damn thing at all except a gorgeous 19th century canvas upon which we are throwing all manner of paint, and sketches, and words, and ideas. And what we get out of  something which brings joy and fascination and beauty and community to a world which could choose to be humdrum and mundane and boring.

Let the world be boring?  NEVER!  We make the choice to be precisely the opposite. We are Steampunks!  In fact, each and every one of us IS Steampunk itself. You, right now, are building steampunk just by thinking about it and contributing your presence to this culture, even if all you do is read a few articles and put a few thoughts out into the ether. In fact, people who do that “matter” just as much, in their own way, as people like me whose lifestyle and actual living depend on Steampunk.  Because this isn’t a contest where somebody wins; this is a world-building to make a giant, deeply individual, deeply shared Universe we can call our own.

No masters. No slaves. No rules except the simplest one:

if you want to be a part of Steampunk, you can.

To get info on upcoming events:  http://steampunkworldsfair.com

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A look BEHIND THE VEIL

Are you fascinated with the possibility of life after death?  Do you have an interest in ghost hunting? Tarot cards? Other spiritual topics?  If so then the annual BEHIND THE VEIL event in the haunted Elk’s Lodge in East Brunswick, NJ is for you!  The event, that began as Para-X, is scheduled this year for Saturday, Sept. 30th, 11am-6pm (& it’s ONLY $5!!!) & I’m happy to be a part of it.  For more interesting details of how it began and what it’s become are founders and organizers Karen Kimmel Timper & Katharine Clark….

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The Beginnings…

Behind1 Elk’s Lodge, E. Brunswick, NJ

 

Para X was conceived in 2010 by Karen Timper and her Father Richard Kimmel, who co-founded New Jersey Ghost Organization over 13 years ago. We received permission from the Elks Lodge in East Brunswick, NJ which made perfect sense seeing that the lodge was indeed a haunted location and the group had investigated it on several occasions after hearing numerous accounts of experiences by the lodge members. Proceeds in part help the lodges many endeavors over the years from their Youth Scholarship Committee to Drug awareness mentoring programs.

We took a 2 year hiatus after the first 5 years of running the expo largely due to the groups other projects and obligations, which included writing books for this Father-Daughter duo. Their most recent book, “Folklore of the New Jersey Shore.” Schiffer is their Publisher and this book along with other titles can be found in local Barnes and Noble Bookstores as well as on Amazon.

We’ve been back running the expo going into a second year once again along with Katharine Clark a Wiccan Elder and fellow Author and Lauren Curtis, local artist who is know for her very long fingernails and was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not book. Having help makes it easier as it is a huge undertaking, sometimes overwhelming, but absolutely rewarding because it brings the Public and the Paranormal together. It’s also a way to get into the spirit of things for the fall season on a lighter note. It’s serious business for local ghost hunters since they don’t charge for their expertise and this gives them a chance to get awareness out to the public. A lot of historical locations fall by the wayside and groups like these can help, as well as helping those families experiencing hauntings get the help they need.

Come see the “Haunted Lodge on the Lake” at 21 Oakmont Avenue in East Brunswick, NJ. There is a secret staircase, a bookcase that turns and more haunting features, right out of a Nancy Drew Mystery Book! Pick up a flyer at the door and find out the history and mystery. You won’t be disappointed.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE EVENT…

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On the DAY of the Para-X, you will see EXPO signs, especially on Hardenburg Lane, Oakmont Ave., and especially down the driveway leading to the Lodge.

LECTURE TIMES!

12PM: Katharine Clark – Pagan Autumnal Traditions

1PM: Chuck Lehman – An Introduction to Crystal Singing Bowls

2PM: Robert Oberholtzer – Reiki 101 and its (possible?) Beginnings

3PM: Kevin Meares – Ghosts, Demons, and Weirder Spirits: Understanding The Difference

4PM: Justin Bamforth – Preceptions and Deceptions in the Experience

5PM: Chris DiCesare – The C2D1 Haunting

LECTURERS RUN FROM 30 – 45 MINUTES,

SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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MEET a few of the AUTHORS: KAREN TIMPER AND RICHARD KIMMEL & KAT CLARK

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Karen Founded NJGO in 2003. She has been the subject of many news articles, and has appeared on local cable TV, radio and internet radio programs, as well as the Maury Show, over the years. She has co-authored three books with her dad, covering topics from Paranormal Archeology, to Ghosts of Central NJ, to Folklore of the New Jersey Shore.

Not being an easy field, both Ms. Timper and her group continue to move the Paranormal Field in a positive direction. Go to http://www.NJGhostOrg. com for more info on Ms. Timper and New Jersey Ghost Organization.

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Richard Kimmel is the other half of the father-daughter duo and a professional in his own right. Richard was a Photographer in the Army. He helped his daughter found New Jersey Ghost Organization over 13 years ago, and he continues to do what he does – work with his collections and his books.

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Katharine Clark has been the hereditary Elder of the Tutha De Danann Irish Wiccan tradition for over 40 years. She is an award winning poet, a former workshop leader for the National Endowment for the Arts, an Occult Specialist for sever local police departments, and a Tarot instructor.  She is the former Circle leader at Earth Spirit New Age Center in Red Bank NJ.

Her first book, “An Irish Book of Shadows”, contains the ritual system of the TDD, along with coven structure, and an extensive compendium of Irish gods and their correlations. Her second book, “Things Your Elders Never Told You”, is a humorous look at growing up Wiccan. It also contains insights that are learned at the knee of a teacher, but missing from modern Wiccan instruction. Her works have been endorsed by Dan and Pauline Campanelli, Raymond Buckland, and Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Along with Natalie Zaman, she is the co-creator of the “Graven Images Oracle” deck. It is not only available as a book and deck set, but also as an application for iphone, Android, etc. Come to her table to try a sample reading!

And there’s more…more authors, experts & alternative artisans & craft-persons, including yours truly (Lauren Curtis Art) who will be exhibiting & selling our wares. So join us for this mystical, magickal event!! And if you’re interested in vending please contact Kat at  katrclark@yahoo.com 

See you there!!