The Art of Darkness

Make a Purse from a Book

July 1st, 2015 by Cobwebs

Purse BookRecycling hardback books into handbags or clutches is a fairly common project: You can purchase them at shops like Gorey Details or Etsy (the ones in that shop are particularly nice). There are also many DIY tutorials available, so if you’ve got a book that you’ve loved to death you can turn the pages into flowers and convert the cover into an attractive purse.

There are some nice, easy-to-follow tutorials at Instructables, Rookie, and Country Living, and Craftser has a roundup of various purses that its members have made. The estimable EPBOT also has an exhaustive post on her quest for “the world’s best book purse,” which includes several helpful tips.

If a handbag isn’t really your thing, you can make a clutch instead: See Kate Sew has good directions for a zippered version, and A Beautiful Mess has one with a snap closure. There’s also an interesting project at Runway DIY which involves hollowing out a space in the pages (as for a “secret stash” book) instead of removing them entirely.

Once you’ve finished the purse, complete the ensemble with a wallet made from a paperback book cover. I’ve got a tutorial for that here, but there’s a simpler version at Hello, ReFabulous!.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Trivia Tuesday

June 30th, 2015 by Cobwebs

  1. Thirty-six years after the publication of The Shining, Stephen King published a sequel which follows Danny Torrance as an adult. What is its title?
  2. In Egyptian mythology, god of the afterlife Anubis is the son of Set and this goddess, who helps usher people through the “death experience.”
    A) Taweret
    B) Hathor
    C) Isis
    D) Nephthys
    E) Bastet
  3. What is the name of the seaside resort town terrorized by the great white shark in Jaws?
  4. The (named) fairy servants of Oberon and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream are Peaseblossom, Mustardseed, Moth, and who?
    A) Cobweb
    B) Snug
    C) Flute
    D) Quince
    E) Starveling
  5. John Bellairs’ The House with a Clock in its Walls begins with a newly-orphaned boy moving to the town of New Zebedee, Michigan, to live with his mysterious uncle. What is the boy’s name?
  6. The films The Innocents (1961), Presence of Mind (1999), and In a Dark Place (2006) all tell the story of a governess to two orphaned children who comes to believe that they are being haunted by the house’s former servants. What novella are these films all based upon?
  7. This gothic novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne follows the fortunes of the Pyncheon family in the gloomy New England mansion which gives the book its title.
  8. Restless, vengeful ghosts are a staple of legends worldwide. What was the name given to these malignant spirits in ancient Rome?
    A) Keres
    B) Lares
    C) Fides
    D) Vejovis
    E) Lemures
  9. What animal is the house mascot for Hufflepuff?
  10. Which of these is NOT a clan from Vampire: The Masquerade?
    A) Ravnos
    B) Gangrel
    C) Dhampir
    D) Ventrue
    E) Tzimisce

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Could You Live Forever?

June 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

In this recent episode of Vsauce3, Jake Roper explores cryonics, vampirism, mummification, and other means of achieving eternal life. The sets from Showtime’s Penny Dreadful are used as a backdrop, which is a nice touch.

There are some suggestions for further reading at the YouTube link. The family of channels has some other interesting episodes, like a cultural history of ghosts and the history of cannibalism.

(via Laughing Squid)

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Dirty Rotten Link Dumps

June 26th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Lawn Dragons – Etsy shop Flamingo Incognito upcycles plastic lawn flamingos into dapper dragons.

Texts from Edgar Allen Poe – “you know like how when a bird looks at you so much that you can’t leave the house” (Also, unlike most sites, The Toast’s user comments are nearly as good as the post itself.)

Bat-Crocodile Wars – A clip from a BBC documentary showing crocodiles hunting flying foxes, “enhanced” with special effects.

Allison Road – Brief look at an upcoming horror video game that’s being compared to the Silent Hill series.

The Other Girls – ‘Toon from Perry Bible Fellowship.

Trilobite Cookies – Easy instructions for making little chocolatey arthropods using one of those gun-shaped cookie press thingies.

Modest Medusa – Entertaining webcomic about a young medusa from the mystical land of Yeld who accidentally winds up in the real world. (Hat tip to DeVries)

Triceratops Dog Costume – Horned headpiece that allows you to turn your dog into a ceratopsian. I adore this action shot from a customer, particularly the “are you serious?” side-eye.

Chorus – This rather creepy video featuring a disturbing “mouth” was part of a motion graphics exhibition. (Hat tip to pdq)

10 Myths About Spiders – Some common myths debunked.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Seen Online

June 25th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Live each day as if it were your last, ’cause I’m gonna kill you but I’m not super-good w/schedules
josswhedon

[Dog Restaurant]
“Is the Book Report any good?”
Yes, Sir.
“How’s it prepared?”
A 9yo stayed up till 3am to finish it.
“Ooh, I’ll have that.”
OtherDanOBrien

I’m not saying you’re easy…
But it takes Tim Burton more effort to get Johnny Depp in a movie of his.
revious

missed connection:
I walked by you carrying a cage full of bats in birthday hats. You pretended not to see us. What is your home address,
audipenny

I’d actually be more offended if I got to hell and there WEREN’T a special place for me there.
TravLeBlanc

All of the creepy ghosts in my house live in the 5 yards of hallway between my bathroom to my bedroom.
DanaSchwartzzz

A friend borrowed my Sandman books to read during chemo. My ankh-wearing, goth daughter offered to retrieve them. Bad idea? @neilhimself
stjimtownsend

I’ve always wondered. When retailers say “PRODUCT X AT UNHEARD OF PRICES!”, do they make up an entirely new number system? Or just not talk?
“I WILL SELL THIS SUIT TO YOU AT FRUMTHRUBBLE STERBILJOTES, MY GOOD SIR!”
“…”
“FINE, HERFNURT STERBILJOTES. A HARD BARGAIN INDEED.”
ChrisWarcraft

No thanks Ouija boards, I don’t even want to talk to the living.
Lerky

I want to see a Miyazaki Hentai – like, there’s tentacles, but they’re respectful and just do chores. #honor
josswhedon

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Creepy-Crawly Earrings

June 24th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Spider EarringHere’s another one of those brilliant but forehead-slappingly obvious ideas that make you annoyed that you didn’t think of it yourself: A new Japanese fashion trend involving earrings made of bisected rubber spiders, insects, and lizards.

It’s an example of kimo-kawa (gross-cute) and are available online for around $15US, assuming you can read Japanese (since I don’t, I have no idea what their shipping range is, nor what the cost for that would be).

Fortunately, these would also be ridiculously simple to DIY:
1) Get a small rubber critter.
2) Cut it in half.
3) Glue a flat earring post to the front half.
4) Use a needle to poke a channel in the back half for the post to fit down into.
5) Stick ’em in your ear.

Easy!

If you don’t have pierced ears it should be possible to do something reasonably similar with a flat clasp earring; glue the front half to the earring front and the back half to the clasp, being careful to line them up so they appear to be a whole creature.

The Geyser of Awesome has several additional pictures, including a horned beetle and some colorful lizards. Next time you see a package of cheap novelty insects, grab it and make some earrings.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

The Adventures of Samurai Cat

June 23rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Samurai Cat

Sixteenth-Century Japan — a land suffering through the long night of Sengoku Jidai, the Age of Battles, a period of constant civil war, of anarchy and terror, of savagery and bloodshed and lots of other good stuff. The social order was shaken to its core; class distinctions blurred as military prowess became all-important. With luck, even a peasant could slash a place for himself among the mighty.

Even a cat…

You guys. You guys. How have I run this silly blog for 8 years without ever mentioning Samurai Cat? That is simply inexcusable.

Miaowara Tomokato is a cat. Who is also the best samurai in the world. He returns from visiting his brother to discover that his (human) master Nobunaga has been murdered by…everybody. Martians. Nazis. Al Capone. Cthulhu. Morgan le Fay. Joseph Stalin. Darth Vader. Everybody. (Nobunaga made a lot of enemies in his youth.) As any noble samurai must, he sets out to avenge his master’s death by tracking down the killers.

Tomokato’s quest, in which he is frequently accompanied by his psychotic kitten nephew Shiro, spans six books: The Adventures of Samurai Cat, More Adventures of Samurai Cat, Samurai Cat in the Real World, The Sword of Samurai Cat, Samurai Cat Goes to the Movies, and Samurai Cat Goes to Hell. They’re written and illustrated by Mark E. Rogers, and sort of stray into graphic novel territory in that nearly every page features a color illustration depicting the events being described.

Each book is comprised of several standalone stories parodying movies, books, or historical events: In the first book, for instance, Tomokato travels to thinly-disguised versions of Middle-earth, Innsmouth, Hyboria, and Valhalla. The stories are prefaced by a relevant excerpt from a fictional biography of the Tomokato’s life, Cat Out of Hell: A Biography of Miaowara Tomokato, by William Shirer and A.J.P. Godzilla.

Although sadly out of print, the books are widely available through secondhand resellers like Amazon and AbeBooks.

“The Spad,” Arthur said. “The plane Joseph of Arimathea flew the Holy Grail to Britain in.”
Merlin nodded. “Only a knight of the Round Table who has achieved the Spad can defeat Mordred.”
“But achieving the spad …” Arthur said. “No one’s ever come close. Not even Jacques Cousteau … Of course, he kept looking for it in the South Pacific, so what do you expect?”

Really. These books are worth digging up.

Posted in Needful Things | No Comments »

Fears

June 22nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Nata Metlukh’s graduation project for Vancouver Film School explores the upside of fearfulness.

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The Canterbury Link Dumps

June 19th, 2015 by Cobwebs

The Belfry – Purveyor of “oddities and collectables” like vintage wall charts and odd taxidermy. Anybody who has a stone marten wearing an eyepatch is okay by me. (Hat tip to Sisifo)

Period Panties – Harebrained has a collection of panties featuring images like the ghostly twins (and bloody elevator) from The Shining, a zombie with the slogan “Dawn of the Red,” and a pissed-off werewolf entitled “Bleeder of the Pack.” (via Tanya)

H.P. Lovecraft Answers Your Relationship Questions – “Dear Abby” should be more like this. (via pdq) Bonus link: “I can’t even.”

Twilight in 30 Seconds – Another installment in Angry Alien’s “Bunnies in 30 Seconds” series. (Hat tip to DeVries)

19th Century Escort Cards – Unusual collection of cards with pickup lines designed to convince women to let men walk them home. Scandalous!

How Books Are Made – Interesting short video detailing traditional bookbinding. (I dislike linking to Facebook on principle, but couldn’t find the same video elsewhere. There’s a much longer one on YouTube which is pretty neat.) (via Bruno, who commented, “This video is better than therapy”) Update: Found a non-FB source.

Rejected Poster Designs for The Shining – Several movie poster ideas by Saul Bass, with Stanley Kubrick’s notes on why he didn’t like them. (via Beans)

Exploring the Darker Side of Fashion – Fashion exhibition featuring designs themed around “love and loss.”

Breakfast – Velociraptors were similar to cats. (The channel name is “We Have a Dinosaur,” so I assume this is the first video in a series.)

Lego Haunted Mansion – This suggested Lego design didn’t gain enough supporters by the deadline, which makes me sad.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Ghosts of Cartoons Past

June 18th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Gather ’round, kids, as your Old Auntie Cobwebs reminisces about the 1970s, a dark epoch when the only time it was possible to watch Saturday morning cartoons was on Saturday morning. Look upon the Saturday programming schedule (not to mention the prime time schedule) and weep with despair at our limited choices of crappy cel animation. There were a few weird gems to be found, though, and they featured some of the funkiest monsters you’ve ever heard of.

Beginning the decade was Sabrina the Teenage Witch, based on the Archie Comics character of the same name (the series itself was a spinoff of the earlier animated Archie Show).

The first season of Sabrina included The Groovy Goolies, which then spun off into its own show. The main characters Drac, Frankie, and Wolfie resided at Horrible Hall, along with a collection of other “hip” monsters like witch Hagatha and skeleton Boneapart.

The 70s also kicked off with the first incarnation of Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. The show actually premiered in late 1969, but became an absolute juggernaut in the 70s.

What followed was a series of knockoffs, all trying to capitalize on the ‘Doo’s popularity. Some were overt, like Goober and the Ghost Chasers, whose pitch I imagine going something like, “Okay, we’ve got mystery-hunting teenagers and their cowardly dog; how do we not get sued?” “I know! Let’s make some of the ghosts be real!” “Perfect!”

…and Fangface. (“I know! One of the characters can be a teenager and the dog!” “Perfect!”)

Some tried slightly harder to cover their source material, like The Funky Phantom. (“Mystery-hunting teenagers, dog, but the ghost is not only real, he helps solve the mysteries.” “Perfect!”)

…and The Drak Pack. (“The teenagers are the monsters.” “Perfect!”)

There were a few animated versions of previous properties, like The Addams Family animated series (originally featured as a guest appearance on Scooby-Doo, voiced by the actors from the TV series, then launched as a standalone show).

…and Godzilla, in which Godzilla is the good guy. The show was notable for its introduction of Godzuki, the “cowardly cousin” of Godzilla, who filled a role similar to Scooby-Doo’s nephew Scrappy-Doo but somehow managed to be even more annoying.

Finally, an honorable mention to Thundarr the Barbarian, which took place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, had some monstrous villains (a group of werewolves with the acceptably-spooky name “The Brotherhood of Night” and the vampiric Stalker from the Stars), and even inspired a band name.

This was the cartoon landscape of my youth. Now get off my lawn.

Posted in Bittens | 4 Comments »

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