Shop Around: Sewing It Up with the Creep and Cute Textile Taxidermy in Dingogirl’s Den

Posted on: Apr 23rd, 2012 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Editor

The moment I saw the Zagnut pillow, I was in love. I had to meet the genius that came up with it. Happily, I was soon included in a show with the very talented Jolene Wheeler and did just that. If you are not familiar with her wonderfully-weird work at Dingogirl’s Den, today is your lucky day.  Jolene set her needle and thread down long enough to let us sneak a peek through her looking glass.

ATLRetro: Tell me a little about yourself. 

Jolene: I’m a self-taught artist who grew up in North Georgia. My favorite things to create are plush toys, textile taxidermy, and my latest interest is real taxidermy.

What led to the creation of DingoGirls Den? 

Dingogirl is a nickname that was given to me by a group of friends when I was young, and when I created my online store it felt like the appropriate thing to call my shop. It’s something that amuses me and like my creations, I think it’s fitting.

I absolutely love these creatures.  They are sweet and slightly sinister.  Where do you find inspiration?

I am inspired by many things. Nature, music, animals and overall the people I surround myself with. As far as being sweet and sinister…well, I guess that would just be my sense of humor. I want everything I create to be a little cute and a little creepy.

It seems like you’re always working on something new.  What events and projects are on the horizon?

I always like creating new things once I finish a project. I never replicate things; all of my pieces are one of a kind. I never want my work to look manufactured or mass-produced. It keeps things fresh; I would get bored if I created the same things over and over.

My latest project is a life-sized sequined taxidermy buffalo. It’s huge. I am excited to see what the finished piece is going to look like. I am creating the patterns as I go.

The latest thing in the horizon is I will be showing at Doogallery on April 28 for the 1st Art Party, I will also be participating in the Pancake and Booze show May 19 at Gallery 1526, I am also going to be doing a Body show and an Art Box show, but the exact dates have not been confirmed yet.

Where can people find your creepy-cute creatures?

You can find my work at www.dingogirl66.etsy.com, at The Highlander, [and] Libertine.

ATLRetro Contributing Editor Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.

 

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Shop Around: Grease Monkeys Is Your One-Stop Rockabilly Shop for Kool Kats, Kittens & Your Bike!

Posted on: Apr 4th, 2012 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Editor

Editor’s Note: Grease Monkeys is now an online shop only and their merchandise is also available at select Mon Cherie Presents and other events.

Rejoice, Atlanta Rockabilly guys and dolls! East Atlanta has something new and fab just for you. Grease Monkeys caters to your every need (even your BIKE)! That’s right, you’ll find all kinds a kool accessories for yourself or the kat or kitten in your life. I am particularly drawn to the men’s clothing. It seems to me that you can find something marked “Pin Up” almost anywhere these days, but the really great stylish items for men just haven’t been there. If you’re thinking about heading to Viva Las Vegas and you need some new threads do not, I repeat DO NOT buy online. You now have the ability to look good and support a local business. Now THAT is kool, so I just had to get the full scoop from Joe Grondalski, managing partner.

ATLRetro:  Tell me a little about yourself.

Joe:  I moved back to Atlanta in 2007 from Park City, Utah. I lived in Marietta when I was in high school, then on to Rochester, New York, to attend college. While in Rochester, I started my first business, a recording studio specializing in corporate sound tracking. After selling the recording studio, I moved to Park City, Utah to spend my days snowboarding. I was an aspiring snowboard racer until an unfortunate accident on the mountain ended my racing career. After my racing days, I opened The Phat Tire Saloon on Main Street Park City. We were open almost four years including the 2002 Winter Olympics. I closed the Phat Tire Saloon in 2004 after the building was sold to a corporate entity with other purposes for the space.

After closing my Saloon I began to seriously study the Chinese martial arts, specializing in Tai Chi and Snake Kung Fu at Shaolin Arts in Salt Lake City. While in college I had studied Tai Chi privately with a Master inNew York. Once I arrived inAtlanta, I immediately resumed my training, besides being the managing partner at Grease Monkeys I am a certified Tai Chi, Bagua and Xing Yi at Highland Martial Arts inVirginia-Highland. While growing up in Washington,DC, I was immersed in the DC Hardcore scene at a young age. I have been a part of the “Alternative” scene for over 25 years with a love of the Retro style from the beginning. I have been heavily influenced by my grandfather and his style, down to the same haircut he had in 1949.

What led you to open Grease Monkeys?

There are many factors that led me to open Grease Monkeys, I could write a book about the events that led me to this point. I will try my best to keep this from rambling on. Atlanta has a large Kustom Culture and Rockabilly scene with a ton of events throughout the spring, summer and fall. There was one thing Atlanta was missing, a retailer that specifically caters to the Rockabilly and Kustom Culture scene. I had been frustrated that I could only get the clothes that I wanted online or from a few retailers that have limited stock at a higher price than the internet retailers, without being able to try them on or see the quality in person. I also wanted to keep my prices on par with the internet stores without the shipping costs. This was one of the factors that led me to open Grease Monkeys.

While the internet is a great resource it does not allow the customer to see, feel, try on or have the social experience that a brick and mortar store does. We are also stocking a wide variety of things that no one internet site has. From pinstriping brushes and paint to womens dresses we have it. Want a custom vintage motorcycle helmet? We have that too. Men’s clothing, women’s clothing, flowers for your hair, pinstriping paint and brushes, custom motorcycle parts and accessories, glitter flake purses and crazy socks; we have it all.

After spending more time than I would like to shopping in malls, I noticed that there were not very many stores that stocked all sizes. I wanted Grease Monkeys to be able to offer all of the sizes that the manufacturers offer, from XS to XXXXL, without marking up the larger sizes. It seemed to me that there was a practice in the clothing retail and manufacturing community of tacking on an extra $2-$5 for larger sizes when it only costs the manufacturers pennies to make a larger size. I wanted Grease Monkeys to break that trend; we charge the same ammount for a XS as we do for a XXXXL. As for our non-clothing items,  there were few places that stocked the items that I was always looking for. I wanted to be able to offer pinstriping supplies without the insane art supply store markup of several dollars above MSRP. There was no retailer in the Atlanta area that was stocking restored vintage motorcycle helmets and no one stocking true custom motorcycle parts, the parts we stock are still made by hand and in most cases made in the USA.

Grease Monkeys has great retro/rockabilly clothing for women and men. What would you say are the “must have” items?

For the women’s dresses it would have to be the Captain Pencil Dress by Bettie Page Brand.

Women’s skirt: The Ruffle Sarina Skirt by Rock Steady  

Women’s top: The Zombie Sparrow Button-up by Sourpuss 

Women’s capris: The Hilda Capri in Leopard by Colletif UK 

Women’s T: The Sailor Made T by Black Market Art Company

Men’s work shirt: Grease Gas and Glory by Lucky 13  

Men’s button-up: V8 Button Up Racer by Steady Last Call

Men’s T:  Battleship T by Black Market Art Company

Men’s pants: Speedfreak Pants by King Kerosin  

Any events coming up?

We’re making a huge push to attend as many car and bike-related events as possible in the area, as well as attend shows and events that appeal to the Rockabilly, Hot Rod and Vintage Motorcycle crowd. We keep our website calendar updated with the events we’ll be attending. Some of the upcoming events include:

April 20-22 – CafeRacer Village at Big Kahuna Atlanta, Braselton,GA

May 5 – EAVMA presents Cinco De Mayo Cruise in & Bar-B-Q in East Atlanta Village

Grease Monkeys is located at 1287-C Glenwood Avenue. Hours are Mon.-Sat. from noon to 9 p.m. and Sun. from noon to 6 p.m. 404-624-1587. 

http://greasemonkeys.biz/ and https://www.facebook.com/greasemonkeysatl

ATLRetro Contributing Editor Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.

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The Horror Con! The Horror Con! Our Top 10 Retro Reasons to Brave the Days of the Dead

Posted on: Mar 7th, 2012 By:

For some time, Atlanta has boasted a fearsome fright scene—we’d even argue that it’s one of the best in the nation—thanks to the mad maniacs behind the Silver Scream Spookshow, Splatter Cinema, Gorehound Productions, Netherworld, Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse, Chambers of Horror, Buried Alive Film Festival, Rock N Roll Monster Bash, DEAR GOD! NO!… But the city weirdly never has hosted a full-out horror con.

DAYS OF THE DEAD aims to right that wrong this weekend with a thieves’ gallery of men behind masks, scream queens and cult movie idols, both classic and contemporary. The action takes place a bit south at the Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center, south of the airport in Peachtree City, Friday 5 p.m.- 11 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m. and Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Here are our top 10 Retro reasons why you need to go…

Riff Randell and Kate Rambo!
We’re still fantasizing of hanging with the Ramones and blowing up our high school, even after all these years, so we can’t think of anything more awesome than to meet and get the autographs of P.J. Soles and Dey Young, the actresses behind Joey’s biggest fan and the sexiest budding nuclear physicist ever to attend ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979). In case you’re too young to know this cult classic, get yourself educated by reading Mark Arson’s Retro Review here.

Sid Haig!
Sid is one of those rare B-movie icons and character actors whose career spans the decades from Jack Hill’s blaxploitation films of the 1970s to the chaotic Captain Spaulding of Rob Zombie’s HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES and THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. In our book, the latter is a modern exploitation classic and arguably the best of Zombie’s movies. Quite frankly you scared the sh-t out of us and since we’re not easily scared, for that we salute you, Sid, as a true master of horror. And OK, it’s pretty darned cool that your co-star Bill Moseley is going to be there, too, and both of you share a panel at noon Sunday.

Sexy Scream Queens!
A horror con wouldn’t be a horror con without a bevy of beautiful scream queens. I know it’s fun, guys, to get an autograph and pose for a pic, but we’re jazzed to hear what these gals have to say about their stints as the victim, too. Looking forward to that opportunity at the Scream Queens Panel Sat. at 2 p.m. featuring Linnea Quigley (NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 1 & 2, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR, FROM BEYOND, TRANCERS 1 & 2), PJ Soles (who also of course was in John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN and CARRIE), and “honorary scream queen” Mark Patton (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2)

Vintage Zombies!
Being that THE WALKING DEAD is filmed inAtlanta, it seems perfectly unnatural to have a few of its zombies as con guests. But we have to admit we’re more excited about meeting George Koshana (Sheriff McClelland) and John Russo (screenwriter) from the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968). In fact, we’re just tickled blood-red that they’re still on the con circuit, especially after the sad recent loss of Bill Hinzman. Glad we met him down at Spooky Empire in Orlando a few years ago.

Home-Grown Horror!
While the Hollywood stars may be the headliners, another cool thing about Days of the Dead is it also embraces our local Atlanta scary subculture. At midnight Friday, the gory gang at Atlanta’s adult haunted attraction Chambers of Horror is hosting an adults-only Rock N Roll Torture Lounge. Watch lovely ladies spin the Wheel of Torture and win prizes as the Right Reverend Andy, of Psychobilly Freakout on Garage 71, spins horror rock and punk hits. Then at 8 p.m. Professor Morte, Persephone and the Silver Scream Spookshow will be throwing a special bonus show exclusive to Days of the Dead. Be there and be scared!

Macabre Movies!
Don’t just meet the stars, take a little time out to catch a few movies. Our favorite picks, of course, are cult classics, both old and new. Linnea Quigley hosts a special workprint screening of ‘80s cult classic RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, featuring alternate scenses, takes and 15 minutes of footage never screened to the public, Friday night at 9 p.m.  Then on Saturday, DEAR GOD! NO! has been generating quite a buzz on the festival circuit for its over-the-top authenticity as a homage to ‘70s exploitation films, and you have another chance to see it at 3 p.m. Catch up on our crazy interview with director Jimmy Bickert here.

Creepy Costumes!
Be sure and pack your most frightening recreation of a horror icon, or at least your camera, as Days of the Dead serves up several costume events. On Friday night, dance until you drop dead at the Monsters Among Us Costume Ball, a Phantom Ball-themed costume party with DJs spinning. Then the best of the best compete at 4:30 p.m. Sat. in Wickedbeard’s Costume Contest. Finally Sunday, don your best zombie make-up with a Zombie Best in Show Contest, co-horror-hosted by Argos T. Fleam and Atlanta’s own Professor Morte. We’re informed that experts will judge on zombie poise, form, dexterity and talent. Dripping, dribbling, drooling and loss of appendage will reflect negatively on your final scores.

Custom Hearses!
Even if you’re not ready for that final ride to the graveyard, it’s always pretty amazing to see custom hearses done up with all the creativity of vintage hotrods. All day Saturday members of Atlanta’s Dead Ends Hearse Club will be showing off their wheels the Hell on Wheels Hearse Show, with raffles and giveaways and a contest for best of hearse at 2 p.m.

The Man Behind THE CROW!
THE CROW began as a comic book with a cult/goth following about a mild-mannered guy returned from the dead to wreak revenge on the human monsters who raped and murdered his true love. Beautifully drawn and written, the haunting and violent tale by James O’Barr inevitably caught Hollywood attention but seemed destined for another fatal turn with the tragic death of star Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, on the set. James has made Atlanta comics con and DragonCon appearances before, but it always make us smile to see him back because not only is he an amazing artist but also one of the sweetest guys on the planet. Be sure and ask him to show you the portfolio of what he’s been up to lately, and yeah, you can tell him we told you to.

Spooktacular Shopping!
Horror cons are a great place to stock up on , and from the list of vendors booked for this weekend, we’re definitely bringing some extra cash and credit card. Hollywood Book & Poster always packs a super selection of vintage horror posters, stills, books, scripts and more at reasonable prices. And stop and say hi at the Diamond Star Halo table to ATLRetro Contributing Editor and Libertine proprietress extraordinaire Jennifer Belgard, who has really revved up our own Shop Around section. For a full vendor and artist line-up, click here.

Those are just our top 10 reasons to come, of course. Yours may be Gary and Jake Busey, Roddy Piper, Jeff Burr, Tyler Mane or any of the other many guests. We don’t judge. We just say if you don’t support your local horror con, the first could be the last so get yourself down to Peachtree City and let’s have a fiendishly fun time together.

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Shop Around: Carving Critters with Uncle Daddy Dirk Hays

Posted on: Feb 20th, 2012 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Editor

Dirk Hays has been a force to reckon with since his arrival on the Atlanta Art scene in the early ‘80s. His style is a Dirty South Cocktail: a nostalgia-laced, moonshine Mai Tai served up in a flaming, coconut zombie-monkey cup garnished with a Fez. Dirk’s alter ego, Uncle Daddy, is behind the bar this time shaking up his own country concoctions. So, grab a bar stool, a Psychedelic Sarsaparilla, and sit a spell with us. Let Uncle Daddy spin a yarn.

ATLRetro: Tell me a little about yourself.

Dirk Hays: I grew up in a small town in Alabama and my dad was a sign painter, so I used to spend a lot of time hanging out at the sign shop and watching him work. I spent a lot of my childhood drawing and listening to music for hours on end. I loved comic books and would draw my favorite characters from them. When I was 15 or 16, I discovered underground comics and that clearly shaped my drawing style, along with other artists of the time, such as Big Daddy Roth and Basil Wolverton, and the crew at MAD magazine.

I have a degree in Visual Communications from Auburn University and worked in advertising for a few years after moving to Atlanta in 1982. During those years, I worked off and on at the Center for Puppetry Arts and developed a love for sculpture. I started making and selling my art about this time and enjoyed doing that solely for about 13 years, until I had the opportunity to learn to tattoo. I’ve owned and operated East Atlanta Tattoo for the past 10 years and I also play washtub bass in Uncle Daddy and the Kissin’ Cousins. I enjoy camping, working in my vegetable garden and hanging out with my wife [Editor’s Note: That’s Kool Kat Barbilicious Hays of Blast-Off Burlesque] and dogs. Oh, and bacon.

What led to the creation of Uncle Daddy’s Woodland Critters series?

I’ve always preferred painting on wood for some reason; maybe that goes back to watching my dad paint signs on wood, I don’t know. Sometimes the confines of a canvas with straight edges seems to restrict me and I tend to prefer cut out irregular shapes. The pieces started taking more of a sculptural bent, with the addition of various layers, a few years ago, with another series of work that I was doing. The idea for the critters has been with me for a while now, but only gelled recently. I made an owl one day and put the picture up on Facebook and had 60 some responses within no time. People were asking about prices and if I was doing any other animals, so it seemed like there was a good deal of interest right off the bat. I decided to work on this series under my band persona of Uncle Daddy, and I make them in my workshop on Woodland Avenue, so the name kind of came from that.

You repurpose materials like barn siding for the Critters. What other materials do you use and why? 

I’ve always been a big trash scavenger for art materials. I like the mix of something old and weathered with the freshly painted, bright colors, in some instances. Mainly, the critters are made of birch plywood that I cut out on the bandsaw, paint with a combination of spray and acrylic, and then glue together.

One of my favorite Critters is the O KISSUM. Tell me a little bit about what influences your work.

Well, obviously music and pop culture are big influences, as well as the comic artists that I spoke of earlier. I like to inject a little humor into the work when I can and that was just a silly idea that occurred to me as I was making the possum. Sometimes the different pieces laying around on my work table unassembled, seem to gravitate toward each other in unexpected ways. Mixing the elements up a little allows for more variety in the series and something outside the box. Is that an udder on that rabbitHorns on a beaver? Why not? Anything can happen in this forest, and the weirder the better for my tastes.

Where can we find Uncle Daddy’s Woodland Critters?

I’ve only been doing this series since the beginning of December, and most of the sales have been through Facebook, or in my driveway, up to this point. I recently placed a few at HodgePodge Coffeehouse and Gallery, 720 Moreland Avenue, in East Atlanta. I’m also speaking with the nice folks at Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates about showing some there, as well. I don’t have the space at the tattoo shop any longer to display art, since we gave up the gallery there, so I’m looking for a few locations around town to place them. People can still contact me through Facebook, and if you like the page, you can keep up with any updates there. I usually post any new critters as soon as they’re done, too, so you can get first dibs on new creations. I also do commissions, so if you have an idea for a critter, other than a portrait of your dog, hit me up and I’ll see if I can make it happen.

Any new projects or events coming up?

Just working on new critters, getting ready for spring. I’d like to show the work at some local art/craft festivals, if the stars align just right and I can make it work between band gigs and running the tattoo shop.

About the Author: ATLRetro Contributing Editor Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.

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Kool Kat of the Week: Making Whoopie Pies with Widdi Turner of No Big Whoop Bakery, Just in Time for the Turnin’ Trixx Bake Sale and Valentine’s Day!

Posted on: Feb 8th, 2012 By:

Widdi Turner's whoopie pies make a delicious Valentine's gift.

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Editor

Widdi Turner is one of the most talented and busiest gals in the ATL. She’s an actor, producer, crafter, a baton twirling-go-go dancing-performer, and an adventurous baker. She’s a one woman whirlwind taking Atlanta by storm. This month celebrates the one-year anniversary of her No Big Whoop Bakery, and Widdi is taking it to new heights. Her delectable treats are the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day.

Widdi’s homemade Nutella Whoopie Pies are the number-one selling dessert at Wisteria Restaurant in Inman Park.  Her weekly specialty flavors are also available online, or at Casseroles in Morningside.  You can pick up her goodies and many others at the Turnin’ TriXXX Bake Sale Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club in Little 5 Points from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

ATLRetro: Tell me a little about yourself.

Widdi Turner: Well, I do a little this, I do a little that!  I’ve worn a lot of hats in my life, which is probably why I first became an actor – I figured then I could be anything. In addition to acting – my biggest claim to fame would be appearances on GOOD EATS with Alton Brown – I also produce commercials, have my own crafts business [called] widdiwoo; twirl with Turnin’ TriXXXLittle 5 Points’ premier baton twirling troupe!; but mostly these days, I make whoopie pies – lots and lots of whoopie pies.

What led to the creation of No Big Whoop Bakery?

Speaking of Turnin’ TriXXX, we have a semi-annual bake sale at the Euclid Ave Yacht Club. Last year – one year ago this Valentine’s Day, in fact! – I introduced my whoopie pies along with cake pops and macaroons. The whoopie pies were the easiest of the three, so thankfully they were also the most popular!  And literally, after that day, the orders have never stopped coming in.  I had no intention of starting a business. It basically took on a life of its own, and I’m just tagging along for the ride.

Widdi Turner making whoopie pies.

I have about 10 that stay in constant rotation.  I recently cut the list down a little, although there are more flavors that I make if requested.  I do special events such as showers, wedding receptions, birthdays, etc.  I can personalize the wrapper that the treats come in with a special message, or display them unwrapped on platters in a decorative way.  I did one wedding reception where the bride was from Brazil and the groom was from India, so I created a whoopie pie of cardamom pistachio cake with mango buttercream filling.  They were a big hit!

Where do you find your inspiration?

It doesn’t hurt that I’m addicted to Food Network, Cooking Channel and TOP CHEF!  And of course, I could spend days exploring food blogs.  I try to think of foods I enjoy that demand to be recreated in whoopie pie form.  Being half-Asian, I’m familiar with flavors in Asian desserts, so I made a Japanese whoopie pie as a tsunami recovery fundraiser. It was a matcha tea cake with red bean paste buttercream and a swath of chestnut paste.  I called it the “Kibou Cake”; kibou means “hope” in Japanese.  Drinks can also be an inspiration, as the case is with one of my most popular flavors, the Irish Whoopie Bombe (Guinness chocolate cake, Jameson chocolate ganache and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese filling).

What has been your biggest challenge?

Basically I feel like I’m working 2+ full time jobs as I grow this business but still have to work “the day job.”  And it has grown to the point where I have to take the big leap soon of making it full time, but that takes money.  Right now I’m working on the business plan and fundraising ideas,  Wish me luck!

Widdi Turner's best-selling Nutella Whoopie Pies.

I am the baker at Casseroles in Morningside (1393 North Highland Ave behind Meringue), so they carry the pies, and Wisteria (471 North Highland Ave) carries my pies on their dessert menu. Currently they serve the Nutella Whoopie, and it’s their top selling item.  Did I mention I make my own Nutella?  You can also order from me by checking out my Facebook page and emailing me your order [at] widdi@nobigwhoopbakery.com.

Any specials for Valentine’s Day?

Agh!  Thanks for reminding me!  Well, I’ll be baking something – probably some new items to test out for the bakery – for the Turnin’ TriXXX Bake Sale that will be Sunday, Feb 12 at the Euclid Ave Yacht Club from 2 to 6 p.m.  And my Valentine’s Day specials will be posted on my Facebook page, so check back often!

All photos are courtesy of Widdi Turner and No Big Whoop Bakery!

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ATLRetro Holiday Gift Guide #3: A Holiday Inn-dependent Spotlight on Avondale Estates

Posted on: Dec 19th, 2011 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Writer

The holidays are almost upon us.  Frost is finally on the ground.  Some of us are still scurrying to find gifts.  Don’t fret, pets!  The shops of Avondale Estates can help.  I recently spent the day there with three talented ladies from Blast Off Burlesque: Astrid, Barb and Sadie, their righthand-man Coleman, and my good friend Lori from Third Half Studios.

We met at Avondale Pizza Cafe to strategize our day, have a HUGE slice, and enjoy a Wild Heaven Craft Beer.  The Georgia-based craft beer company plans to have its own brewery in Avondale by 2013, but you can currently find them at the Beer Growler, along with many others.  A whiskey gal myself, I don’t really drink beer, but this place may convert me. I’m a sucker for good marketing and these craft beers have my number.  Southern Tier Brewery (my old stomping grounds in Western New York) has a Krampus Lager and a Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout.  Each with their own distinct personality and perfect for a couple characters on my list.  Prices start around $16.99 a growler.  Grab a Beer Growler Koozie while you’re at it.  The koozie has a strap for easy portability.  Great idea and design, $16.99.

 

What do you need to go with all this malty goodness?  Artisan meats, of course!  Pine Street Market is where you’ll find it. We were treated to samples of their drool-inducing Coppa, a dry cured pork shoulder spiced with black pepper and chiles. Alongside their more traditional meats you’ll find specials like Spiced Pear Sausage (Applejack Brandy, nutmeg, ginger, and pear; fall and winter only), Roasted Poblano Sausage (roasted poblano peppers, ancho chiles, garlic, and cumin; spring and summer only) and the Applewood Bacon Burger (applewood smoked bacon ground with fresh pork for the ultimate rich, smoky burger).  Can’t decide what to get the meat lover in your life?  Buy them the Meat of the Month Club, $40.00 per month.  Each month includes a pound of Applewood Smoked Bacon and a featured salami or sausage.  They also carry condiments and specialty items.  A special someone in my life enjoys Bloody Marys, so I picked up a couple jars of pickled okra and green beans from Phickles, an Athens-based gourmet pickle company.

 

At this point we’d had about all the food and drink we could handle (or so we thought), and we headed to Second Life. This organization is wonderful and one of my new favorites. Second Life is a nonprofit, thrift store that donates proceeds to animal rescues.  Barb found a brand new BCBG dress for just $14.00.  Vintage ornaments starting at $1.00.  If I had the space, I would have a collection of creepy dolls (much to my boyfriend’s chagrin) and this is a great spot to find them!  They also hold in-store adoptions once a month featuring other nonprofits like Royal Potcake Rescue USA, Inc.  Their goal is to save homeless pets from Atlanta, Georgia and Abaco, Bahamas.  We lucked out and met a few of their sweet pups on our visit. I am in no way advocating buying someone a pet for the holidays, but if you’re searching for a furry friend of your own, check them out.

 

 

 

Our last stop was Sweet-n-Sinful Bakery.  Layne Lee is the sweet and sassy brainchild behind this boutique bakery. Sweet-n-Sinful boasts 24 cake flavors from Vanilla to Green Tea, 30 cake fillings like Fresh Strawberries, Black Forest and Lemon Curd, and 14 different frosting options, including 11 different types of Butter Cream.  Her brownies are so good that Whole Foods has picked them up for two of their Georgia stores and hope to take them nationwide.  Layne’s cupcakes are available in yummy seasonal flavors like Chocolate Peppermint,  Pumpkin and French Toast.  Need something for Christmas morning?  Take along some fresh bread or over-sized muffin tops.  Shipping & delivery is also available.  Whatever you choose is sure to please!

I’m off to wrap this haul of goodies!  Hopefully our trying day of shopping, eating, and drinking will help you complete your holiday shopping while helping our independently-owned businesses.  Shop local.  Happy Holidays!

Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX and playing Queen of Your Distraction.

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ATLRetro Holiday Gift Guide #2: A Noel Neighborhood Spotlight on Little 5 Points

Posted on: Dec 17th, 2011 By:

By Jennifer Belgard
Contributing Writer

Shopping can be a wonderful experience, but for many, it’s the REAL nightmare before Christmas.  The traffic, humdrum selection of gifts, mobs of people shoving each other about. The mall.  Yikes!  It hurts my head just thinking about it.  There is another way.  We can have fun shopping, help out our independently owned shops, and give some really kick ass gifts without depleting our bank accounts or losing our minds!

Little 5 Points is often thought of for Halloween and… uh, people-watching.  It should be one of the first places you think of for your holiday list.  Wax N Facts, Coyote Trading, Stratosphere Skateboards, Stefan’s Vintage, Rene Rene, Cherry Bomb… there are so many reasons to shop here year-round.

Junkman’s Daughter is known far and wide as the Alternative Super Store.  Shoes, clothes, and accessories from Lip Service, Bettie Page Clothing, Too Fast and many others.  My friend, Kool Kat Barb Hays of Blast-Off Burlesque, gave me the highlights of the season.

Keep your head and face warm with this fun Beard Hat from Beardhead.  Available in several colors, $29.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who wouldn’t want Frankenstein, Tiki or Shrunken Head Plush Dice by Sourpuss? Just $10.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quirky Soap Spitters like Florapus and the chubby Sock Monkey by Allen Designs instantly perk up any sink.  Each dispenser is $24.99.

 

 

 

What’s on Barb’s Wishlist?  Yummy Tofu Soft Tacos from El Myr.

Next, Barb and I headed over to Criminal Records.  Criminal is home to more records, CDs, comics, toys, tees and art than you can imagine.  Right now they are host to the Indie Craft Experience’s Pop Up Shop through December 24.  Inside the Pop Up Shop you’ll find truly one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list.

Messenger Bags featuring Crypto Zoo, Zombie Woodland Creatures, Killer Unicorns, and Sugar Skulls by Third Half Studios.  They also make double-sided necklaces (I especially love Gamera) and Sugar Skull Aprons. Prices start at $25.00

 

 

 

 

 

Earrings and Hair Adornments by Hustle-N-Bustle.  These creations add a touch of vintage glamour and romance to any outfit.  I’m fond of the ranunculus flowers, $14.00-$44.00.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crocheted toys like Cthulhu, Grim Reaper, Giant Squid, and Vikings by NeedleNoodles, $19.00.

 

 

 

 

I ended this trip at my very own little shop of curios, Libertine – a small, but fully stocked shop known for corsets, wigs, and makeup.  But, wait!  There’s more.  Indie designers like:  Wanderlust, SweetHeartSinner, Pop Art by Zteven, as well as brands like Special Effects, Tokyo Milk and Living Dead Souls.  My partner in crime, Tim Scott, showed me a few of his favorite things.

Happiness Head To Toe. A 10-piece kit including: clementine-scented shampoo, conditioner, shower creme and body lotion, sugar scrub, lip scrub and lip butter. A facial scrub, facial cleanser and facial moisturizer by Love & Toast, $24.00.

 

 

 

 

 

Wristlets, wallets, totes, messenger bags and backpacks featuring critters like deer, whales, hummingbirds, foxes and the oh-so-popular, Youtube favorite, otters holding hands.  All by Bungalow 360, $12.00-$48.00.

 

 

 

Ornate Flasks by Diamond*Star*Halo.  Great gifts for guys or gals with designs like Conjoined Twins, Dead Elvis, Unicorns, Owls, Anchors, and much more!  $28.00- $34.00.

 

 

 

 

What’s little Timmy asking Santa for this year?  The Dusty Springfield box set, Goin’ Back, from Wax N Facts.

 

 

 

 

Me?  I’m headed down to the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club for a cup of Boozy Hot Cocoa.  I managed to whittle my shopping list down quite a bit, but there’s more shopping to do.  Next week I’ll hit the shops in Avondale with Astrid Lyons and a few of other friends.  I hear talk of beer growlers and sausage.  Gotta love the holidays!!!

Jennifer Belgard is Co-Conspirator at Libertine, Curator of Curios at Diamond*Star*Halo,  Barkeep at Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, and Co-Coordinator of Chaos for the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival.  In her spare time she enjoys Turnin’ TriXXX.

 

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