Thrifting with Debra Rapoport

Oh man, this video is everything. I can’t even begin to imagine the treasures that can be found among the thrift stores in New York City. Even if I spent a month up there, I probably wouldn’t have enough time to do my treasure hunting.

One day I will get there. Oh, to thrift with Debra Rapoport. That would be a dream come true for me. She’s one of my style icons and I absolutely adore her.

For now, please enjoy this short video from Ari Seth Cohen and Advanced Style!


The Rockats – Make That Move

When the Stray Cats hit the scene in the early 1980s, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. What is this? Rockabilly? Now?

See, I grew up with my Mom’s 45s. She had an amazing collection of singles from the 1950s and I cut my musical teeth on them. Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry…everything was there, accessible, irresistible to young ears.

Rock and roll is in my blood. I’m always on the look out for new-to-me music.

Enter The Rockats.

A friend lent us a stack of rockabilly vinyl and one of the first records I tossed on the turntable was the EP “Make That Move” by The Rockats. I’d never heard of them, but man oh man what a sound.


Imagine a rockabilly groove attached to early 80s pop. Sounds weird, maybe, but it works so well and fires on all eight cylinders.

If you enjoy rockabilly and have never heard of these cats, download the album here at Amazon.

I can assure you that it’ll be entertaining. Go cat go!



Treasure Hunts, or, Why I Thrift

It’s a bit complicated to explain, this craving I have for “The Hunt.” I call it “The Hunt” because for me, it is just that. The hunt.

It is the hunt for a hidden treasure.


My parents introduced my family to thrifting way back when I was a teenager. I grew up in East Atlanta and frequented the Value Village down at the Moreland Avenue Shopping Center. It became a family event. We all got excited to pile into the car and go to the thrift store.

At Value Village, my sister and I would head over to the women’s accessories department to grab up as many white dress gloves as we could find. And we found a lot. Since this was the 80s, there was a lot of groovy vintage 50s and 60s merchandise on hand. No matter when we visited, I never failed to find cool stuff.

I even scored a 1950 Webster Chicago record player that still worked at the time. I could play my grandmother’s 78rpm records on that thing. Even though I still own it, it quit working ages ago.

One particular day, at this same particular thrift store, I found a very old snakeskin cross-body bag. It was labeled Davison’s, which back in the day was one of Atlanta’s largest and most important department stores, second only to Rich’s. Burgundy in color and beat-the-heck-up, err, broken in, this bag was a true find.

For a long time I believed it was alligator. Funny how your mind can take you places until you figure out what’s what.

I have held onto that thing after 8 changes of address over the years and plan to use it this fall.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post, I have a very long history when it comes to thrift shopping. There is a part of me that gravitates toward the used and previously-owned.

That part of me is one part economical and another part environmental.

I’ll start with the economical piece first.

Shopping second hand is a very healthy way to add to your belongings without spending a fortune at a regular retailer. Thrift stores carry a wide selection of items from furniture to clothing to books and music. It’s like a world of discarded things waiting to be picked through. In every pile there is a gem to be found. It just takes a bit of time to find it. I will share my tips and tricks to thrifting in a later post.

It would be a lie if I told you that it’s easy to find those diamonds-in-the-rough. You have to work for it, but it’s work that can be fun at the same time. Hence the idea of making thrift store shopping something of a treasure hunt.

The environmental piece is this…each time you buy a used item, you are not only keeping that item from ending up in a landfill but you are giving an item a second chance at life.

Most things people discard are still quite usable. This is most especially true when it comes to clothing.

Purchasing used clothes keeps your dollars out of the fast fashion industry and supplies your closet at a fraction of the cost you would pay at a mainline retail store. Not only that, but if you find a well-cared-for vintage item, you will more than likely discover that it is of better quality than anything you can find at a department store.

I’m serious.

Depending on the thrift store you visit, the dollars you spend go to job creation, charity, or simply back into the local economy.

Needless to say, thrifting is a win-win for everyone.

For you, it means stumbling across something that might become an heirloom, or at the least, a really awesome piece of furniture for your living room.

Treasure hunting is a pleasant hobby as well. Just getting out and visiting a thrift store or two at leisure is calming, especially to me. I have a method to my madness when thrifting and will write a blog about, too, that later on. For now, it’s an exciting notion,  knowing that whenever I step foot into a thrift there is a world of possibility laid out before me in racks, on shelves and in cases by the register.

And the coolest thing of all?  Most of what one can find in a thrift store is one of a kind.

One of my most exciting finds this summer was a sparkly (yes, sparkly!) cobalt blue sweater dress. It was labeled with the wrong size, stuffed into a rack of women’s shirts, and yelled at me when I walked by.

I turned around, picked it up, looked it over, and now it resides in my closet anxiously awaiting cooler weather when it can drape itself over my body.

Did I mention it was COBALT BLUE???

I’m about to hyperventilate.

Do you enjoy thrifting? Are there any good stores near where you live? What are some of your most favorite thrift store treasures?

Please check back often for more posts about thrifting. Trust me, I have plenty to share.


My First Attempt at a Rockabilly Hair Clip

A week ago I was feeling crafty, so I thought about trying to make a from-scratch hair clip  to wear at the next King Cat and the Elders gig.

For a first try, I think this turned out pretty well.

In the future, I intend to do a series of photos and share how I put things together. Maybe if I get my courage up, I’ll consider tutorial videos. For now, this is what we’ve got to work with.

I made this hair clip before I came up with the notion to do this blog, so I’ve only got two photos to share. Below is a picture of the supplies I had on hand at the time.


I went to a craft store in search of dice beads, black feathers and a black flower. On my quest, I ran across a rhinestone-encrusted skull and crossbones pin.

(Oh yes, that bad boy was coming home with me!)

The first thing I did was pin the brooch into the center of the flower. A petal is popping out of the left eye of the skull. I like that. It’s rather macabre in a funny way.

The next thing I did was to take some black jewelry wire and attach four dice beads to it. Wrangling beads on wire while trying to fasten it behind a pin took some time, but I was able to get it all in place. It turned out pretty well I think.

Just don’t look too closely. Heh.

I cut the stem off close to the base of the flower. (It felt great pretending to be Morticia Addams for a few seconds.) Then I grabbed a piece of white felt, cut it into a round shape, and went at it with a black Sharpie. I stapled a rectangle of felt onto this and attached a hair clip while continuing to color the felt with the marker.

Once the backing was sufficiently black I stapled it to the back of the flower, attaching it to the petals as best as I could.

Being as I’ve never done anything like this before, anyone could see what an amateur job this was turning into. That is, until I pulled out the glue gun.

Heh heh heh.

I gathered five black feathers from my stash and arranged them to flare out on the right hand side of the clip. I wanted the clip to be worn on the left side of my head so I held my breath, started applying glue to the feathers, then BOOM.

The hair clip was complete!


To be truthful, making these things while watching the videos I’d recorded at the last King Cat and the Elders gig got me into a serious rockabilly spirit. I just couldn’t stop with the hair clip! I took some of the dice beads and whipped up a quick necklace and earrings, too.


Heavy and a bit wonky, the clip looks pretty good and feels fine in my hair. Below is a photo of me trying it on after the glue dried. Please ignore the fact that my makeup had melted off in the Georgia summer heat and my hair was a wreck. Yep, it’s that time of year here in the South. Yay.


All in all, it was an evening of creative frivolity, rockabilly music, and a bit of excitement in bringing an idea into reality.

What’s next on the agenda, creativity-wise? I guess we shall wait and see!

~ Francie

Here We Go…Where We End Up, No One Knows!

Welcome to the first blog post…the first installment in Betsey Venom’s “Venomous Vault!”

As I sit here typing these words, ideas form in my mind about where I want to take this blog, what I’d like to share, how I want to reach others. There are too many ideas vying for the chance to be the subject of this post, so I’ll pick and stick with one.

The subject? It’s pretty simple.

The sky’s the limit!

Do you enjoy making wearables? Do treasure hunts thrill you? Have you a passion for fashion? If so, you have found a friend here. Betsey Venom is all about creating cool things to wear and share, thrifting treasures and groovy threads, and fearlessly expressing one’s personal style.

Here you will find posts & pics of things I make, places I visit, treasures I thrift, and music I adore. I will also more than likely introduce you to the wildest rockabilly band in the land, King Cat and the Elders. I mean, after all, my hubby plays bass for the boys and rehearsals almost always happen here in my house. Why wouldn’t I want to brag on my man, as well as the five-piece band? 😉

Anywho, thank you for stumbling upon my little space in the blog-o-sphere. Let’s have some fun!

~ Francie