The Art of Darkness

Quilting: Applique

March 31st, 2008 by Cobwebs

Anatomy T-shirtWe’ve done patchwork and crazy quilts, so it’s on to appliqué. Appliqué is a two-dollar word for “applied,” and the idea is sort of similar to crazy quilting in that you’re sewing small pieces of fabric onto a larger background. The difference is that the larger piece is meant to be seen rather than just acting as a base. You can use the technique to make beautiful, complicated quilts, and also to do more unusual crafts such as the Anatomy T-shirt shown here (by Etsy seller takeahalliday).

The method is straightforward: Cut a shape out of fabric, turn under the raw edges, and stitch to the base. Mary Graham has a page which illustrates this, and Quilter’s Cache has a short tutorial.

Even though it’s possible to create insanely complicated effects with appliqué–any really difficult-looking quilt you see (like these astonishing Amish ones) are nearly always done this way–tackling an appliqué project doesn’t automatically mean that you’re going to sweat blood. If you’ve ever sewn your favorite band’s patch onto a jacket, you’ve done appliqué. Start with simple shapes that don’t have any unusual angles, and make sure that they don’t pucker when you stitch them down. As with other quilting techniques, start off with a small project so you don’t get discouraged.

Appliqué is much easier to do by hand than patchwork or crazy quilting, so it’s more portable; you can hand-stitch the pieces onto a quilt square or article of clothing while waiting in the dentist’s office or riding the train. And, like crazy quilting, you have a lot more leeway with fabric choices because you don’t have to worry as much about durability.

You can also cheat a little on the raw edges part, either by using fusible webbing on the appliqué backing or by using a zigzag machine stitch to sew the appliqué to the background. Beware, however, that the former may leave you with stray loose threads and the latter creates a very noticeable border around each piece, so if you’re doing something fiddly you’ll need to just grit your teeth and turn under all the seams.

Appliqué is admittedly more time-consuming and potentially way more difficult than patchwork or crazy quilting, but it will give you results that you can’t get any other way. There’s a Flickr pool devoted to appliqué quilts, which should give you some idea of the range of possibilities.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | No Comments »

Shadow Manor Clearance Blowout

March 29th, 2008 by Cobwebs

We’ve upgraded our catalog and will be adding loads of new items in the coming months. We’re clearing out our old inventory to make room, so come by for some fantastic deals!

Clearance Items

Shadow Manor Home

Posted in Needful Things | No Comments »

Glamour Mug Shots

March 28th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Glamour Mug Shot

In a masterwork of photo manipulation, David Friedman of Ironic Sans obtained some celebrity mug shots from The Smoking Gun and retouched them to look like glamour shots. These are really quite wonderful, although sadly the ones I’d really love to see–I’m thinking particularly of Nick Nolte–have not yet been glamorized.

Link (via Neatorama)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Eerie Color Palettes

March 27th, 2008 by Cobwebs

VampyrismHere are a couple of nice resource sites for color inspiration of the spooky sort, for crafts, interior decor, or Web design.

Color Hunter specializes in palettes made from images; enter a tag such as Halloween or Goth, and the site searches Flickr for images labeled with that tag. The thumbnails from Flickr are used to generate five complementary colors. It’s surprising how well it works.

COLOURLovers is a design community where users upload palettes and patterns. You can search on terms like Gothic, but they also feature “best of” sets like their Color Inspiration from the History of Halloween.

Both sites are great jumping-off points for finding the perfect color combination.

(Bonus: Here’s a silly hex code trick. Make your color choices mean something.)

Posted in Paint It Black, Resources | No Comments »

Dracula Ring

March 26th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Dracula RingQuantum Mechanix, a company which primarily specializes in replica science fiction props, is now offering an exact replica of the ring that Bela Lugosi wore in the original Dracula.

The original Dracula Crest prop was in the collection of gonzo SF/F fan Forrest Ackerman, and he was kind enough to let the QM guys photograph and mold the ring for a replica. The recreation is in .925 sterling silver with a carnelian stone inlay. The company takes pains to emphasize that the replicas are identical in material and design to the original Lugosi prop.

The QM page just has a short blurb and a note that availability will be announced, but a search on “Dracula crest ring” turns up a couple of dozen resellers who are already stocking it (there are a couple here and here).

It appears that the price across sites is $199 (with the exception of one site–which shall remain nameless–selling it for nearly twice that in the apparent belief that its customers don’t know what Google is). As nearly as I can tell it only comes in size 9, but you could have a jeweler adjust the fit. It might be a bit bulky for a woman’s finger, but you could always wear it as a thumb ring and claim you were going steady with Vlad.


Posted in Needful Things | 5 Comments »

Subversive Peeps

March 25th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Peep BuffyThe Chicago Tribune had a contest for Easter, the theme being dioramas featuring Peeps. Jason Day’s wife didn’t quite make the deadline, but her “Bunny the Vampire Slayer” diorama is too cute not to mention. There’s a Flickr set here.

BoingBoing mentions a couple of other gothy entries, one involving the dire consequences of having a death-metal band playing a prom gig, and one based on Edward Gorey’s Gashleycrumb Tinies.

I still have a soft spot in my heart for Xena, Warrior Peep, though.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Photoshopped Spookiness

March 24th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Haunted HouseThe 3DTotal site has put together a set of 100 Photoshop Tutorials for Making Beautiful Art. Some are not formal tutorials so much as notes on how a work progresses, but there are some great ideas for digital painting and photomanipulation to create spooky effects.

I particularly like Sebastien Gaucher’s Maison Hantée, turning a cheerful and well-kept house into an isolated wreck. It would be fun to do this with a photo of one’s own house: Just because you happen to live in a sunny bungalow doesn’t mean it’s not a dilapidated mansion in your head. Spook up a picture, frame it, and hang it in the living room as inspiration.

(via The Presurfer)

Posted in Paint It Black | No Comments »

Rabbit Stew

March 23rd, 2008 by Cobwebs

1 3-lb rabbit, cut with a cleaver through bones into 2-inch pieces
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cayenne

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen corn
1 10-ounce package frozen lima beans

Pat rabbit dry and sprinkle evenly with salt and black pepper.

Whisk together flour and cayenne in a shallow bowl. Dredge dredge rabbit in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy (preferably cast-iron) pot over medium heat until it shimmers but doesn’t smoke. Brown half of rabbit, turning once, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 Tbsp oil to pot and brown remaining rabbit; transfer to plate.

Add remaining Tbsp oil to pot along with onion, celery, garlic, and a large pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp) and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes.

Add bay leaf, broth, tomatoes with juice, and rabbit with any meat juices from plate and bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, 50 minutes.

Stir in corn and lima beans, then simmer, uncovered, until stew is slightly thickened and vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

Serves 4.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Handbag Tutorial

March 21st, 2008 by Cobwebs

Goth HandbagCut Out + Keep has a short tutorial on creating a goth handbag with an embroidered front panel. There unfortunately isn’t a pattern for the panel, but there are instructions for making something similar of your own.

The project is quite simple, aside from the embroidered panel, and lends itself to all kinds of embellishment.

Handbag Tutorial

Instructions for Front Panel

Tote Bag Tutorial (which is mentioned in the text but not linked to).

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Paint It Black | No Comments »

Ruminant Bloom

March 20th, 2008 by Cobwebs

Ruminant BloomArtist Julia Lohmann works in the somewhat unusual medium of animal parts. The lamp shown here is made of a preserved sheep’s stomach, which she says “triggers feelings oscillating between attraction and disgust.”

There’s no information about how the stomachs are preserved, although I’d suspect some form of plastination. There’s also no information on how to obtain one of your very own; they may be only available at her art exhibits.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty.

Link (via Everlasting Blort)

Posted in Bad Things, Paint It Black | No Comments »

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