Once Upon a Zombie Dolls – Every time I think the zombie fad has jumped the undead shark, somebody comes up with a new way to exploit it. These are knockoff Disney princess dolls, only zombied. Because why not.
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. Country Living Magazine featured a home ostensibly made over for Halloween although the decorations are so minimal and restrained that their “Whooo, spooky” is more subtle than my everyday decor.
However, I really love these ravens.
The ones shown here are just paper cutouts (the article includes a downloadable template) in glass vases, but you could do something a little more permanent using (depending on your budget) plastic or taxidermied specimens. You can usually find decent-looking crow props around Halloween, and they’re also available online from outdoor suppliers some toy companies.
Square glass vases are easy to find at florists and craft suppliers, although if you’re planning to display them in the bathroom or other high-humidity area you would probably want something sealed. You might look for cloches and bell jars or for the kind of glass case used for displaying dolls or other tall collectible items.
I like the varied height of the specimens in the example, so you might arrange one on the floor of the case, one on a rock or other low mount, and the last on a perch: For a “Victorian curiosity” look, a simple wooden T-shape is good (available at pet stores, or just make your own out of a couple of dowels), and an interesting branch is good for a more natural setting.
This sort of accent is the kind of “stealth goth” project that’s great if you want to inject a little darkness in your decor without being overt about it. The look is somber but sophisticated, letting you entertain dreams of Poe without making your in-laws nervous.
The book City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs 1912-1948 is a collection of period mug shots from the early part of the last century. Viewed through the filter of time, the results are haunting. (I don’t know what F. Schmelz there did in 1930 to get himself arrested, but the guy creeps me right out.)
The a time to get site has posted some images from the book, and a bit of googling–I was trying to find out what F. Schmelz did do–also turned up several more images and an essay at SCAN. These latter appear to be taken from the original police files instead of from the book.
These shots are an unusual source of inspiration for art or period photography. A collage of them would be an interesting wall display. I’m sure that in their time many of them were Very Bad People, but at this remove they seem almost ethereal.
This digital facsimile provides reproductions of all 157 miniatures (and facing text pages) from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. The original one-volume prayer book had been taken apart in the nineteenth century; the leaves were shuffled and then rebound into two confusing volumes. This presentation offers the miniatures in their original, fifteenth-century sequence.
The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is the greatest Dutch illuminated manuscript in the world. Its 157 miniatures are by the gifted Master of Catherine of Cleves (active ca. 1435-60), who is named after this book. The Master of Catherine of Cleves is considered the finest and most original illuminator of the medieval northern Netherlands, and this manuscript is his masterpiece.
The images are simply chock-full of little demons (illustrating that the devil really is in the details). The scans are fairly high-resolution, and they’d be wonderful source material for all kinds of projects.
Henning and Dick – Author Scott Meyer sends out occasional email newsletters. This recent pitch for a fictional TV show amused me vastly.
The Lesser Bot – “The Lesser Bot of Solomon offers you endless pages from a text in the style of Ars Goetia and the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.” Twitter account which sort of looks like a Markov chain tripped over the Necronomicon. (Hat tip to Bruno)
The Nightmare – There’s a new documentary about sleep paralysis (“Old Hag Syndrome”), and Vice interviews the filmmaker.
Empress Pam recently turned me on to an interesting decorating idea found in an unusual place: The restroom of a DC restaurant called Oyamel. (She’s not the only one who’s noticed it, either; about half the reviews I found online mentioned the restroom decor.)
One wall is lined floor-to-ceiling with small shadowboxes, each containing a calavera or other ethnic artwork, not to mention a hell of a lot of glitter. They’re like miniature shrines, and are perfect for highlighting small treasures. This would be a great way to display a collection of small items (like the calaveras), and each box could be decorated differently to really showcase its contents.
The Oyamel shadowboxes look fairly deep, so they probably wouldn’t be suitable for a small room where they might eat into the floor space. A wall of shallower boxes or a border of deeper boxes at eye level might work better. You’d also need to be careful if you put the shadowboxes in a bathroom or kitchen where humidity or aerosolized grease might damage the display items. “Real” shadowboxes with glass fronts can be expensive, but since these lack the glass you could build your own simple wooden boxes or even use sturdy cardboard. Cheap, easy, and highly unique.
I’ve mentioned DadCanDo in the past, but since they’ve done a bit of reorganizing I wanted to call your attention to The Dragonry.
It’s a whole section of dragon-related items, like these dragon eggs made from blown eggs and hot glue, the Dragon Hunter’s Goggles which could double as an inexpensive Steampunk accessory, and loads more. The projects are fairly easy and use readily-available materials, and they’re a marvelous source of inspiration.
A “real” dragon’s egg would make a wonderful and unique gift for a child (or a Game of Thrones-obsessed adult). It appears that their example uses a chicken egg, but since it’s embellished with hot glue and then painted there’s no reason you couldn’t use a larger plastic or wooden egg instead. Add some suitable documentation as to the egg’s provenance and perhaps a pretty wooden box to keep it in, and you’d have a lovely display piece.
Legendary steampunk modder Jake von Slatt has just completed his most ambitious–and, apparently, his last–makeover. He bought a 70s-era kit car on eBay and completely transformed it into a phenomenal steampunk confection. He offered it for sale and it was purchased within a day, but you can still see his process photos and drool over the vehicle in this video:
Although he’s claiming that this is his last steampunk project, it doesn’t seem to mean that he’s retiring from the steampunk community. He’s just not planning to do any more mods involving “steampunkifying” modern objects. A pity; he has a definite gift.