The Art of Darkness

Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 5

October 2nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

This concludes Yet Another link dump-o-rama. Regular posting (and once-a-week link dumps) resume next Monday.

The Comple’et Halloween Mixtape – Suggestions for a Halloween playlist.

Spider Egg Jell-O – These desserts with pearl tapioca standing in for spider eggs are astonishingly squicky-looking.

December Diamonds – Series of Christmas ornaments, mostly pinup-style, mostly mermen. It’s very odd. (via pdq)

Stephen Mackey – Artist who paints lovely surreal portraits inspired by painters such as Vermeer and Ingres.

Double Vision Makeup – Video “tutorial” (in the sense that you can watch the steps but there’s no guidance on how to do it yourself) for a neat double-face makeup effect.

Werewolf Dog Muzzle – Muzzle design that makes your dog look like a vicious, slavering beast. Yes, even chihuahuas.

Centipede Feeding Time – Interesting video which shows a variety of centipede species being fed.

Sally Amigurumi Pattern – Free pattern for Sally from NMBC.

Tauntaun Cookies – These aren’t really goth, but the gummi innards are inspired.

Creepy Shorts – Night Vale’s take on the “Juicy” shorts.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 4

October 1st, 2015 by Cobwebs

Creepy Skulls Slouchy Hat – Ravelry crochet pattern for a skull-covered hat.

Pretzel Screams – Super-easy idea for a party treat. I’d never really thought of a pretzel as looking horrified before, but it turns out that if you give them eyes they totally do.

Gemma O’Brien – Artist spotlight of some of O’Brien’s work. She does gorgeous, intricately-detailed illustrations. (Hat tip to Guilherme)

Extraordinary Tales – An animated anthology of five of Poe’s short stories will be released on October 23. The article says that each story is narrated by a different actor, including Christopher Lee, Roger Corman, Guillermo Del Toro and Bela Lugosi, but since a couple of those guys have been dead for a while I’m assuming that “narrated” in this case means “using old recordings.”

Crazy Bonez – Good-looking skeletal animal props. Spiders may not technically have skeletons but we’ll ignore that fact for now.

Neil Gaiman on Banned Books – An interview with the author.

Arachnophobia – “Performance art” clock intended to remind us that “time creeps up on us all.” Whatever; it’s a clock shaped like a spider.

Ice Skull Molds – Molds that make 3D skull-shaped ice cubes. You’d have to start making them a month in advance to have enough for a party, but they’re neat anyway.

Li’l Ghost Garden – Serene little desktop game in which you direct a ghost to tend a virtual garden.

All the Best “Straight Outta” Submissions – io9 has a roundup of science fiction/fantasy-themed “Straight Outta” album covers. The Alien one is my favorite.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 3

September 30th, 2015 by Cobwebs

What is Dreadpunk – A look at a subculture movement “that aims to push horror and dark fantasy in new (old) directions.”

Star Wars Movie Realization Figures – Bandai has a collection of action figures depicting Darth Vader, stormtroopers, Boba Fett, and other baddies as Japanese feudal warriors.

Cheesecake Ghosts – Easy method for making cute li’l googly-eyed ghosts.

Beasts of Burden – Horror comic series about a group of dogs (and a cat) who learn magic and fight the forces of evil. There’s a look at one of the stories here.

New Horror Text Games Give Voice to Marginalized Women – An interesting overview of “gender horror.”

ZombiePeepshow – Etsy shop full of amazingly over-the-top custom shoes with spikes and skulls and all manner of weird embellishments.

Lovecraft Letters – Bad dating profiles “translated” into the sort of thing that a Lovecraftian horror might write in an attempt to get a date. (Hat tip to Bruno)

Sugar Skull Sachets – Instructions for making cute calavera sachets out of felt.

Necto Cooler – In yet another instance of “craft beer makers with too much time on their hands,” a Philadelphia brewery has released a beer inspired by Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler. Huh.

DryBones Studios – Etsy shop specializing in jewelry and other items made of bone; their Facebook page is neat, too. They have a booth at the Maryland Renaissance Festival this year, and I got a pair of earrings made from weasel jaws. They’re lovely.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps: Day 2

September 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

DIY Lego Clock – Easy instructions for making a clock from a Lego baseplate, which can then be decorated with any minifigs you want. There are plenty of Halloween Legos to choose from, like these.

Free Horror eBooks – Guy McBryde’s horror stories are currently free on Amazon. (I haven’t read any of them–the author sent me a promotional email–but since they’re free you can check ’em out without penalty.)

Skull Knife – I doubt that this chef’s knife with a skull on the blade would stand up to heavy use, but it’d be cool to bring out for special occasions.

Motörhead Vibrators – The seminal (har!) metal band has launched a line of “pleasure tools that rock.” Oddly, there is no model called Orgasmatron.

The Potter Family – J.K. Rowling has a number of new Harry Potter stories online at Pottermore, and her newest piece explores his ancestry and family history.

I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it. – Historian Sarah A. Chrisman and her husband live in as authentically Victorian a manner as is possible. She does have a website, though, which strikes me as cheating.

Scary Cheese Assortment – I’m mostly just amused at the marketing genius who figured out how to promote their product for Halloween, but this is also a nice suggestion for a party.

Halloween Strawberries – These chocolate-covered strawberries (made, presumably, with colored candy melts) are adorable.

Honky Tonk Haints – Interesting article about a purportedly-haunted bar in Kentucky.

A Nightmare on Elm Street Soundtrack Set – Varèse Sarabande is releasing a complete collection of original soundtracks for all of the A Nightmare on Elm Street movies as part of an 8-disc box set.

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Another Dumb Week of Link Dumps

September 28th, 2015 by Cobwebs

I apologize, guys; I normally try to keep the week-long link dumps tamped down to no more than one a month, but I had a project that was making my brain cower in my skull like a startled guinea pig and didn’t have time to rustle up anything more substantial.

Those of you who complain that these marathon dumps contribute to your lost productivity will just have to resign yourselves to being less productive this week.

Haunted House – Alexander Henry fabric collection with several attractive spooky designs. I like the Favourite Haunts one, since it’s subtle unless you look at it closely.

Glow-in-the-Dark Eyeball Jelly Shots – Jell-o shots that look like eyeballs. There’s an easy nonalcoholic version here and a slightly more complicated one here.

American Horror Story Fashion Line – Hot Topic is releasing a five-piece collection, with each piece themed around a different season of AHS.

#PotterItForward – A rather sweet campaign encouraging long-time fans of the Harry Potter series to leave notes in the books for new readers.

Masques and Murder – “Renaissance revenge simulator” game in which you work to become a ruthless noblewoman. BoingBoing discusses it here.

Dandelion Earrings – Little glass globes containing dandelion seeds. The same seller has similar earrings containing moss and other natural elements.

Anti-Pills – Empty bottles with vintage-y looking labels for remedies like “Muriel Cheetbite’s ‘Anti-Nature Pills’.” I guess you could fill the bottles with mints or something.

Luna – Attractive lamp, in seven different sizes, made to resemble the moon.

Rowlf the Dog Reads “Grim Grinning Ghosts” – Disney is doing a Disneyland/Muppet crossover video series; here’s Rowlf doing a dramatic reading of the song from the Haunted Mansion.

Orcs of New York – An amusing parody of the Humans of New York project. (via Bruno)

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Straight Outta Link Dumps

September 25th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Horror Pinups – Karl Von Frankenstein has a series of “sexy fantasy” pinups of Jason, Freddy, and Michael. I have no words.

Women of the Haunted Mansion Cosplay – A group presentation at SDCC. What a great cosplay idea.

Floodland Vinyl Set – The Sisters of Mercy’s beast of an album Floodland is being reissued on vinyl, along with additional related works.

DIY Origami Bats – Some of these are fairly complicated, but the results sure are cute. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

The Lockhart – This Harry Potter-themed bar in Toronto looks like fun.

Time After Time Coming to TV – The awesome 70s time-travel movie Time After Time, which involved H.G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper into the present day, is going to be turned into a procedural drama for television. Huh.

This Much Will Kill You – ASAP Science looks at the amounts of various substances (like coffee and cherry pits) required to kill a human.

Cotton Fingers – Fake packaging for “ladytime objects” meant for women suffering the Moonsickness. And that’s what I’ll be calling it from now on.

Manfeels Park – “The male dialogue in this webcomic is all taken word for word or adapted only slightly from web commentary by hurt and confused men with Very Important Things To Explain, usually to women.” (via Cat)

Flayed Human Flesh Tablecloth – Tye Rannosaurus was commissioned to create a fake “human leather” tablecloth for a horror film, and was kind enough to share her technique. This is awesomely hideous. (Also check out her Zombie/Serial Killer Corset.)

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Unquiet Books

September 24th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Okay, this thing has been knocking around in my Drafts folder for nearly five years(!), it’s clearly never going to get out of the planning stages and I’m tired of looking at it, so I’m going to dump the half-formed mess on you guys and let you deal with it. (This is why you read this blog; for quality posts like this one.)

Way back in 2011 I mentioned the awesome quiet books made by Julie of Julie’s Blog (at the time she had Star Wars and Star Trek versions; she’s since added Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). In that post I joked that somebody needed to do an “unquiet book” featuring spooky creatures, and the more I thought about it the more I liked the notion. I jotted down a bunch of possible ideas and then sat on them for five years and here we are today.

So if somebody with more unquiet-book ambition than I feels like taking any of these ideas and running with them, knock yourselves out. Send me pictures.

(The purpose of a quiet book, for anyone still puzzled, is right there in the name: It’s a book containing a series of simple activities meant to encourage small children to shut their piehole play quietly by themselves for a few minutes. The activities usually have the added benefit of helping younger kids learn to perform simple tasks like buttoning a button or tying a shoelace.)

Help the spider finish his web – Lace a ribbon through grommets to complete a spider’s web.

Put Dracula in his coffin – Unzip the coffin and place a felt-figure vampire inside.

Help the ghost find his grave – Follow a stitched line across a graveyard.

Rewrap the mummy’s face – Weaving with ribbons.

Put the pumpkins into their patch – Attach half of a snap closure to the backs of felt pumpkins and place the other halves in a patch of leaves so the pumpkins can be snapped into place.

Turn into a werewolf – Felted glove with claws and fake fur that the child can slip their hand into.

Reassemble the skeleton – Velcro-backed pieces of a skeleton (skull, ribcage, arms and legs) which can be placed in proper order along a fixed-in-place spine.

Dress the witch – Dress-up doll with a few different dresses, hats, and stockings.

Carve a Jack-o’-lantern – Arrange felt eyes, nose, and mouth on a plain pumpkin.

What’s hiding under the bed? – Lift the flap to find simple finger puppets.

Put eyes on the Voodoo doll – Buttons attached to the page, and a felt face with buttonholes that can be buttoned in place.

Help the witch finish her brew – Cauldron with felt shapes like snakes, toads, and bats to tuck into the top.

A couple more ideas that would probably be a little too dark in practice but amuse me in theory:

Help the Aztec priest tear out his victim’s heart – Zippered chest cavity with a removable felt heart inside.

Arrange the skulls of Kali’s victims – Pile up little felt skulls at her feet.

Help the Washer at the Ford do her laundry – Tuck little bloodstained shirts into a pool of water.

Have any other ideas? Share ’em in the comments!

Posted in Bittens, Doom It Yourself | 9 Comments »

Unicorn Tears Liqueur

September 23rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Unicorn TearsThe intarwebs were abuzz recently with the announcement of Firebox’s new Unicorn Tears Liqueur. It’s a cute gimmick: A gin-based liqueur with silver flakes suspended in it, a tear-shaped label with a unicorn design, and a product page which assures you that “Many, many unicorns were harmed in the making of this beverage.”

Unfortunately it’s $62 a bottle, and I don’t know if it’s that cute of a gimmick.

This is doubly true because silver (and gold) flakes are widely available and homemade liqueur is a snap to make. The flakes are used to prettify food and can be found at gourmet shops, stores that sell cake-decorating supplies, or at Amazon. Make sure you get actual metal flakes instead of edible “metallic glitter,” because that type may dissolve in liquid.

Homemade liqueur involves little more than infusing an ingredient(s) of your choice in a neutral spirit like vodka, then adding sugar syrup. There’s a discussion of the general method here, and if you google “homemade liqueur recipes” you’ll find zillions of different ideas: This and this are good jumping-off points. You’ll probably want to choose a recipe that results in something fairly colorless to show off the metal flakes, so coffee-based mixtures are probably out; unicorns don’t strike me as the kind of creature to have caffeine jitters anyway.

You’ll also want to choose a clear bottle to show off the pretty metallic liquid; I like bottles with swing-type lids, but if you want to wax-dip the tops for extra fanciness you’ll probably want to choose something with cork stopper more similar to this type so the wax seal will be nice and smooth.

You can buy wax meant for sealing beer and wine bottles at brewery-supply stores or online; Kings Wax and Blended Waxes have nice selections. However, a lot of home brewers use a DIY mixture of melted crayons and hot glue for a cheap, good-looking result. Bertus Brewery and Brew on a Budget have instructions for that.

For the label, you can create something appropriately unicorn-y on the computer and print it out. You could also stencil (or freehand, if you’re ambitious) the bottle using glass paint, or get really fancy and etch the bottle.

For added decoration you could twist a bit of polymer clay into a miniature unicorn horn, poke a hole in the bottom end, and tie it to the neck of the bottle with ribbon.

You can also branch out into liqueurs “made” from other mythical creatures: Do a reddish cherry liqueur mixed with gold flakes and give the Twilight fan on your gift list a bottle of Vampire Squeezin’s. Caraway-flavored Troll Tears or rose-infused Elf Sweat might be amusing as well.

For about the same price as a single bottle of the retail stuff, you could make a whole lot of pint-sized homemade versions as gifts. And it’s way easier than finding a unicorn and making it cry.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Consider the Smallrus

September 22nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Spider Walrus

Prepare for a trip down the rabbit hole on this one, kids.

BoingBoing recently mentioned a mobile game called “Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon,” in which you play as a little spider. Since some people (for some ridiculous reason) think spiders are icky instead of adorable, there’s a cheat code that lets you play as a tiny striped walrus instead.

In the comments, someone noted that this would properly be called a “Smallrus” and linked to Ursula Vernon’s drawing of said creature.

This is the rabbit-hole part.

In addition to the drawing, Vernon describes their behavior, typical call (“Inhale a good lungful of helium and yell ‘GRONK!’ and you’ve about got it”), and many other silly factoids. And she’s got an entire site full of the same kind of thing. There’s the Bog Unicorn, far nobler than the disgusting common unicorn. Throggle the demon’s stuffed Beelzebear. St. Dodus the Intolerant, who isn’t the patron saint of anything but his medal worn around the neck will warn off hugs from well-meaning strangers. There’s the Demon Rat of Vercingetorix who avenges particularly ill-treated mice, and a depiction of Where Zombie Babies Come From.

And that doesn’t even begin to cover the happy little shoggoths, Battle Hamsters of the North, potato priests, and a couple of paintings illustrating the adventures of, quote, “Happy Little Capybara in the Mayan Underworld” which litter her site. I spent a whole afternoon going through her gallery, and if you click over there you probably will too.

Her whimsy and imaginative descriptions shouldn’t be surprising; Vernon is a Hugo Award-winning author, and also accidentally spawned an internet meme when her Biting Pear of Salamanca was transformed into the LOLWUT pear.

She’s got a deviantART gallery too, so when you’re done with her site you can click over there and blow another couple of hours. She sells prints of her work quite inexpensively–I think I may have to get the tea label set for the kitchen–and occasionally does commissions (although her FAQ suggests that right now she isn’t doing many non-commercial ones).

The art is great and many of her descriptions also include interesting information about the materials and techniques she used, so clear an afternoon and go have a look. And keep an eye out for Smallri in your garden.

Posted in Needful Things, Resources | No Comments »

The Lost Thing

September 21st, 2015 by Cobwebs

In this thoughtful short film, a boy encounters a strange creature and tries to find it a home.

(via The Presurfer)

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