Creepy Craft Corner

by Angela Sylvaine

Welcome to “Creepy Craft Corner,” which features HWA members who are also artists, crafters, makers, or creators. I hope to provide you, the reader, with the tools and inspiration to try creating something new!

In celebration of Halloween, the most sacred of holidays, I am featuring not just one but two fantastic creators. Today we welcome seamstress extraordinaire, Brianna Malotke, who will share her handmade creepy cat toys and the muti-talented Gaby Triana with an array of spooky delights sure to inspire you to create. Light those candles, summon forth the demons of creativity, and prepare to get your creepy craft on!

Hi, Brianna. Welcome back to Creepy Craft Corner! (Readers may recall Brianna’s Zombie Pin Up Dress from a previous column). Remind us what you write and tell us about any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

My main focus in the horror genre is poetry, especially body horror pieces. I have been branching out during the past year and have enjoyed working on flash fiction and short stories. My own collection of horror poetry, inspired by deadly fashion trends, will be released next year (ETA: Summer 2023).

As far as other upcoming projects, I have a non-fiction piece that will be included in the “Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters Anthology,” by Timber Ghost Press. Also, my short story inspired by the tales of Baba Yaga that will be included in “Their Ghoulish Reputation” from Dark Lake Publishing. Outside of these, I am excited to be on two podcasts this Fall. I’ll be on “They’re Terrified & Tipsy” for their Horror Creator Showcase and I’ll be on “Horrorific Chats” with the Horrorific Podcast.

You can follow me on Instagram and Slasher: @briannamalotke. My website is malotkewrites.com. I share a lot of my costume work on my online portfolio at brimalotke.wixsite.com/malotkedesigns and you can check out my sewing blog at 

malotkesews.blogspot.com.

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

My background is in Apparel and Costume Design so I have a pretty solid understanding of constructing garments and other fabric goods. One thing I really enjoy doing for myself and others, is making pet items out of fun fabric. 

My mom and I do this thing every year we dub “Spooky Boxes” and we send each other a box at the beginning of October that’s full of fun Halloween & Fall items. I started to make her catnip bags out of Halloween fabric, and it kind of rolled into making everyone in my family who has a cat a few catnip bags for Christmas. I tend to save scraps from projects, so when Christmas rolls around, I start with fabric that I already own and would otherwise pitch at some point. Since catnip bags can be any size, it’s a simple and quick project that uses up my scrap bin stash. Plus, in addition to giving them to friends and family, some pet shelters will accept them too so you can donate them.

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves? 

Basic instructions: For 1 catnip bag. 

Note: You can adjust the size as you like or need. This allows for 1/5-inch seam allowances.

1. You can mark however works best for you – tailer’s chalk, pins to avoid marking the fabric, or even a washable marker. Mark and then cut out 1 rectangle that is 9 inches long & 5 inches wide. 

2. Fold in half with pattern side facing inside (right side to right side). Iron the fold if you want a crisp edge.

3. Pin the two sides, leaving the top (side opposite the folded side) open.

4. Sew the two sides with a straight stitch using a 1/5-inch seam allowance. Up to you how you want to finish your seams. I leave them as is and don’t worry about pressing them or serging them since my cats will destroy them in about a month no matter what.

5. After you’ve sewn the 2 side seams, turn the bag inside out.

5. Fill with desired amount of catnip. I like to leave it a little loose so they’re still light enough my smaller cat can carry and toss it.

6. Once you’ve filled it, turn the top down/inside. Pin this top seam and sew shut. You can hand stitch the seam if you’d like, or you can simply top stitch the seam shut. 

Next, we welcome Gaby Triana! Tell us a little about what you write and any upcoming projects you’d like to promote.

My name is Gaby Triana. I’ve written 22 books across multiple genres, including YA, romance, horror, and paranormal women’s fiction, but I’m currently enjoying writing gothic, witchy horror like MOON CHILD and the HAUNTED FLORIDA series set in my tropical neck of the woods. I’m also the editor of the upcoming ghost anthology, LITERALLY DEAD: Tales of Halloween Hauntings with my assistant editor, John Palisano. The collection features authors like Jonathan Maberry, Lisa Morton, Gwendolyn Kiste, Tim Waggoner, Sara Tantlinger, Lee Murray, Jeff Strand, and lots more amazing new talent. The cover was created by the amazing Lynne Hansen and the anthology features really kickass, creepy stories. It’s the perfect book to curl up with during Halloween season! You can purchase it here: amazon.com/Literally-Dead

What creepy craft or creation have you decided to share with us today? 

Rather than share one craft, I hope it’s okay that I show you multiple ones. The reason is because I want people to try different things like I have. Over the years, I’ve made whimsical cakes, jewelry, decoupaged creepy boxes, spooky journals, interior design, and now I’m into sewing for the first time in my life (I’m 50). As writers, it’s important to get away from the computer screen every so often and cultivate our creativity in different ways, and for me, that’s meant doing a lot of everything. Showing you all the stuff I’ve made is like looking at a timeline of me discovering who I am, and it isn’t until you try different things that you can unlock your fullest potential. As a child, I was scared of everything. Slowly, over the course of my life, I’ve learned not to be afraid of risk. Risk is where you take chances and grow. Risk is how you bloom. Risk is how you discover yourself. 

Here are a few of the things I’ve made over the years, including a dress, creepy book totes, napkin rings, a bracelet, a decoupaged spellbook, Halloween treats, and a Halloween tree decorated with dollar store items. 

What instructions or tips do you have for our readers who might be interested in trying this craft for themselves?

So, I’ll just give some general advice here, since I’m not featuring any one craft. The key to trying new things is to just do it. Allow yourself to MESS UP. It used to take me forever to start anything new, because I used to read all the books, watch all the videos, and learn, learn, learn as much as I could before starting out the activity. This was me not wanting to mess up. But so what? You’re going to mess up at first. That’s how you learn. Once I told myself “just start already” and started following my own advice, there was no limit to what I could do. For so long, I let fear paralyze me. Well, guess what? I don’t have time for that anymore.

That Halloween dress, for example. Two months ago, I’d never sewn anything in my life. I watched videos on sewing and bought books on sewing, and I had all the pieces I needed to start the project, but damn it, that old fear was creeping in again. So, rather than make the dress, I started making tote bags. Not a bad strategy. They were easier to make than dresses, and I could practice my skills. Finally, after making 50 tote bags, I decided to JUST START THE DRESS ALREADY. If I mess up, I would learn a lesson. Besides, that’s what seam rippers are for—just take the dress apart and start over. So then, from cutting the fabric to putting on the finishing touches, the dress took me 3 days. That’s it! Yes, I messed up—a lot. But I did it. And that’s how you go learning new things. 

Here’s a video about how and why I started sewing (I’m still not sure myself): youtube.com/Gaby

By the way, that’s my YouTube channel where you can watch me bake, cook, and make a bunch of creepy things. You can also see interviews with lots of horror authors!

Anyway, that’s what I have to share with you today. I hope you’ll leave a comment, like the videos, or just let me know if you felt inspired to try something new. If you did, then I’m happy, and that’s all that matters. I hope you’ll share with me all the creepy things you have in store. 

Thank you so much to Brianna and Gaby for sharing your work with us this month! I hope it inspired you to create something new in honor of Halloween. 

Until next time, keep it crafty, HWA, and Happy Halloween!

Would you like to be featured on Creepy Craft Corner? Email me at angelasylvaine@gmail.com

Angela Sylvaine is a self-proclaimed cheerful goth who writes horror fiction and poetry. Her debut novel, Frost Bite, is forthcoming from Dark Matter INK in October 2023. Her novella, Chopping Spree, an homage to 1980s slashers and mall culture, is available now and her short fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including Dark RecessesThe NoSleep Podcast, and Under Her Skin. You can find her online at angelasylvaine.com.

Special thanks to our logo creator, Maria Abrams abramstheauthor.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s