The Art of Darkness

My Bloody Valentine

January 16th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Black HeartDot from Dabbled is running her second annual Black Heart Anti-Valentine’s Day Contest, looking for crafty representations of the darker side of the holiday. (You can see last year’s entries here.)

I’m sure that readers of my site have one or two ideas about Black Valentine’s Day* celebrations. Go over to Dabbled and share the love!

(Heart image from Etsy seller batteriesnotincluded)

*On a side note, last year I was looking for an appropriate quote to use on a Valentine’s Day card for Shadow Jack. I did find one that I liked: “A meeting between two beings who complete one another, who are made for each other, borders already, in my opinion, on a miracle.” Isn’t that pretty? Isn’t that an appropriate Valentine quote? Know who said it? Adolf Hitler. Makes your head kind of come to a screeching halt, doesn’t it?

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

OMG (Zombie) Ponies!!!

January 15th, 2009 by Cobwebs

MaulieEvil Mad Scientist Labs recently received a freebie plush pony named “Molly,” who sadly was soon attacked and killed by zombies. Fortunately they have Mad Arcane Skillz and were able to reanimate her as “Maulie,” the zombie pony.

They’ve posted detailed instructions with lots of pictures describing her transformation. The same technique should work with a variety of plush toys, so if you’ve ever wanted to zombify a favorite teddy bear, now’s your chance.

Incidentally, don’t let the fact that this involves working with simple electronics dissuade you from trying something similar. LEDs are easy to wire (here’s a tutorial to get you started), and once you’re comfortable using a soldering iron there are all kinds of neat projects just waiting for you.

Posted in Paint It Black | 1 Comment »

Spooky Fonts

January 14th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Topps StickerHaunt Style recently linked to this site, listing all of the old Topps “monster stickers” from the 70s. Since I have links for a bunch of sites that feature weird/gothic/horror fonts, I thought I’d share.

These are a great resource for party invitations, craft stencils, Web graphics, and so forth. Nearly all are free for noncommercial use.

1001 Fonts – Heaps of freeware, shareware, and commercial fonts. See their Holiday, Horror, Grunge, and Warped categories.

All-4-Free Fonts: Spooky Fonts – Freeware and shareware Halloween fonts, as well as lots of non-spooky fonts.

Dafont – Lots of gothic fonts and dingbats.

Fontenstein – Comprehensive site of freeware and shareware Halloween fonts.

Horror Fonts – Large selection of fonts.

Specialty Fonts – Lots of spooky fonts.

ThemeWorld: Font Empire – Gothic/Horror and Medieval categories.

Wanted Fonts – Lots of unusual fonts. See their Gothic, Holiday, and Horror categories.

WebFontList – Very large site. Check out their Alien, Creepy, and Gothic categories for Halloween-type fonts.

World of Horror: Fonts – Small selection of spooky fonts.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

This is Oddly Compelling

January 13th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Radiohead’s “Creep,” covered on a ukelele.

(via Cynical-C)

Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

The House of Mouse

January 12th, 2009 by Cobwebs

AxelEtsy seller The House of Mouse creates inspired little felt mice dressed up as all sorts of things.

In addition to Axel the Executioner here (and isn’t he the snuggliest little killer you’ve ever seen?), she has Emily the Emo Mouse, Hannibal Lecter, Abercrombie the Zombie, and all kinds of famous mice, including Star Wars and Harry Potter characters. She’s in the Netherlands, but ships worldwide.

I just love how…I dunno…mouselike these look, with their little beady eyes and expectant expressions. Their costumes are just adorable, and I’m amazed at the variety of “characters” she offers. A little mousy companion would be a lovely gift for anyone from a librarian to a Rocky Horror fan.

She also does custom work; a pair of goth mice would be an adorable cake topper or unusual wedding gift (particularly if presented in the bell jars she also sells).

So! Cute!

Link (via CRAFT)

Posted in Needful Things, Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

Well, They Don’t

January 9th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Real Vampires...Unlike 97.3% of teenage females, Shadaughter harbors a deep disdain for the Twilight series.* Shadow Jack had a custom T-shirt made for her for Christmas, and so many of her friends liked it that he’s decided to make them available over at Cafepress.

If you feel like encouraging my husband’s peculiar sense of humor, go have a look!

*Not that I blame her. Somehow, vampires who have to avoid sunlight because when it hits them they become EVEN MORE FABULOUS leave something to be desired. (See also Eric Snider’s Rejected Twilight Screenplay for a pretty good summary of the whole thing.)

Posted in Needful Things | 2 Comments »

Ringbearer Pillow Tutorials

January 8th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Skull PillowMy poor little Halloweddings site has been languishing, alone and unloved, so I got crafty this weekend and put together a couple of tutorials for spooky ringbearer pillows.



Both pillows are subject to all kinds of embellishment and personalization. The skull pattern could also be enlarged and used as a throw pillow if you’re feeling so inclined.

Stay tuned! Maybe someday I’ll get around to posting something else over there. (Stop laughing. It could happen.)

Posted in Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

Win a Custom Plush Skull

January 7th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Plush SkullLana Crooks, full-time “plushinator” and proprietor of Crookedart, makes all kinds of wonderful soft-sculpture creatures. Her little plush skulls are becoming a staple of her oeuvre, so she’s looking around for a good name for them.

She’s running a contest over at ToyCyte: Leave a comment suggesting a name for her skull series, and you could win your very own custom skull! The contest runs through Sunday, January 18th at 12 noon PST.

Go over to the ToyCyte link even if you don’t want to enter, just to see some of her other creations. I love her huggable little squid.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Needful Things | No Comments »

Absinthe Body Bar

January 6th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Here’s an easy recipe for a solid “lotion” body bar with a light absinthe scent. This melts a bit more readily than some other varieties, so it might make a nice massage bar as well.

All of these ingredients are readily available at soap supply retailers like Snowdrift Farm and From Nature with Love. You might also be able to find them at well-stocked health food stores.

3 oz. beeswax
3 oz. shea butter
3 oz. oil (your choice of coconut, sweet almond, sunflower, jojoba, etc.)
2 to 3 drops from a vitamin E capsule (optional)
Essential oils or fragrance oils:
     7 drops wormwood*
     4 drops anise or fennel (or 2 drops each)
     2 drops juniper
     3 drops peppermint
     2 drops lemon
A few drops of green food coloring (optional)

Double boiler
Wooden spoon
Lotion bar tubes or other molds (little gelatin molds are kind of festive, but you can use just about anything that won’t absorb oil–even a cardboard box lined with plastic wrap)

Melt beeswax and shea butter together in top of double boiler (not directly over a burner) until completely melted. Remove from heat, add oil, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Let mixture cool slightly, stirring occasionally, then add vitamin E, coloring, and essential oils. Pour into molds and let harden. Imminent moral collapse not included.

You can mess around with the fragrance oils, as long as you wind up with about a teaspoon total. Wormwood (artemisia), anise, and fennel were the “big three” of traditional absinthe, but lots of other herbs and spices were used as flavoring agents. Some others to try are hyssop, angelica, coriander, cardamom, different mints (spearmint, bergamot mint), and different citrus oils (lime, sweet orange).

You can also use cocoa butter in place of the shea butter, but it tends to add a chocolatey aroma which might interfere with your scent profile.

Obviously, if you don’t want an absinthe scent you can play around with whatever scent and color combinations strike your fancy. A good rule of thumb is to use equal parts heavy base notes (patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss), lighter middle notes (geranium, ylang-ylang), and ephemeral top notes (rose, jasmine, lavender). So (for instance) equal parts patchouli, lemongrass, and neroli might give you an interesting “Far East” scent. Follow your nose, and don’t be afraid to play.

*Big Fat Cautionary Note:
Pure wormwood essential oil is poisonous. Relatively small doses may cause nervous disorders, convulsions, insomnia, nightmares, and other nasty symptoms. Don’t go swigging the stuff, and if you’re pregnant stay away from it entirely. Essential oils are extremely concentrated and very potent. Proceed with caution. Egad.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 7 Comments »

Some Probing Questions

January 5th, 2009 by Cobwebs

A few days ago I received e-mail from a freelance journalist, asking if I’d mind answering a few questions about goths and their behavior. (I love that somebody thinks I’m the Jane Goodall of goths.)

I’m willing to go along with the gag, and offered to post her questions for anybody else who feels gothy to answer as well. She says that the premise of her article is “the persecution of goths and whether society points fingers at goths unnecessarily, or if they really are/can be as bad as their raps may suggest.” The magazine she’s writing for is The New Agenda.

Her questions are below, along with my answers. If you’d like to weigh in with your own answers, please send them to It’d be nice if several of us responded, if only to emphasize that “well-adjusted” and “goth” aren’t mutually exclusive. (If you want, post your answers to the comments as well. I’d love to see what you have to say!)


1. Name, age, and location.
Jenna. 40 (yeek!). Virginia (DC metro area).

2. What is the idea behind and the ultimate goal of the project/website that you’re doing, and how would you classify yourself within the larger goth phenomenon?
My site and blog originally grew out of my desire to have a Halloween wedding. When I started looking for wedding ideas, I had a hard time finding suggestions and resources. I eventually created to help other Halloween brides in the same predicament. I found that I enjoyed creating tutorials and posting interesting items that I ran across, so I eventually branched out into a more general goth craft and lifestyle site.


Brief digression: The rest of these questions are a bit leading, and indicate that you perhaps don’t have the firmest grasp of “goth” as a lifestyle choice. In much the same way that reporters covering science fiction conventions always interview the geek in full Klingon makeup and portray him as an “average” SF fan, news coverage of the goth community tends to focus on the I-Make-Marilyn-Manson-Look-Like-George-F.-Will individuals and claim that we’re all like that. Goths are, very loosely, defined by similar interests in fashion, music, and lifestyle, but there are as many different flavors of goths as there are, say, flavors of country-western fans. (And the culture certainly isn’t limited to teenagers.) You can take a look at this list for a few of the basic types. You might also want to check out the Goth Primer for a discussion of some of the more common goth stereotypes. If you’ve got a lot of time to kill, wade into the forums over at to get a flavor of the culture.


3. How can you tell the difference between harmless or dangerous (to themselves or others) goths?
Uh…the dangerous goths are covered in blood and carrying cleavers. You’d tell the difference the same way you would with any other individual: If they act threatening, move away. If they start viewing suicide as a valid option, call the hotline.

4. How often do you hear of goth culture extending far beyond music choice, dress style, and favorite video games? Do you think many goth kids involve themselves in cult activities, sacrifice animals, commit serious crimes, conflict (sic) pain upon themselves, partake in suicide, or bask in death?
No to all of that. Some people who identify as goth may do such things, but an interest in the subculture doesn’t automatically mean an interest in any criminal activity. Frequently, people who do such things get tagged with the “goth” moniker after the fact: Some idiot decides to vandalize a cemetery or harm an animal, and that somehow makes them goth by definition.

As for the “basking in death” thing, the goth interest in death tends to be along the lines of the Victorian “memento mori” tradition: Death is a part of life, and it’s healthier to embrace it than pretend it doesn’t exist. It’s more of a serene acceptance and romantic idealization than anything else. You want “basking in death,” look no further than the mainstream interest in slasher movies.

5. What would you recommend parents, teachers, or school guidance counselors and nurses do differently in order to better understand their kids and prevent them from getting involved with the potentially dangerous side of goth culture?
The same thing any parent or teacher should do: Talk to your kids, try to understand them, make sure you know who their friends are, keep an eye out for potential problems. If your child is wearing black nail polish and listening to Death Rock…but seems happy and has decent grades, don’t worry about it. By contrast, a “normal” child who is withdrawn, depressed, or has friends with long criminal records might be cause for concern.

6. Is there really music that advocates suicide or violent behavior? If yes, any examples?
Well, hip-hop does. I seem to recall a lot of violence in country-western music, too. (In other words, I think you could dig up examples of questionable lyrics in virtually any genre.)

There have been attempts to tie violent behavior and suicide to anything the “mainstream” doesn’t like: Music, video games, movies, etc. There has never been any hard evidence of a correlation. Just because a song tells you to jump off a bridge, it doesn’t mean that a well-adjusted individual will jump. (A maladjusted individual doesn’t need a song.)

7. How much of getting into goth culture is really just teens admiring and idealizing their peers or their seniors– acting and dressing the part–but not partaking in any seriously scary behavior?
99.9999999%. I don’t even know how to expand upon this. At its core, goth culture embraces the dramatic; anyone with arty or poetic leanings might have an empathy for goth-ness, but that empathy certainly doesn’t automatically translate into violent behavior.

8. What are the religious beliefs and practices often associated with goths?
All of them. There isn’t any religious belief that’s automatically included or excluded from the goth lifestyle. (And no, we aren’t all Satanists.)

9. What are the largest misconceptions about goth people and their culture? Any advice on how to dispel these misunderstandings?
Actually, the tenor of these questions pretty well sums up the major misconceptions: We’re antisocial, dangerous, and violent toward ourselves or others. We have no core values nor morals. We’re a Danger To Society.

The easiest way to dispel these misconceptions is primarily to stop pointing and laughing. Dismissing us as freaks or telling us that our lifestyle choices are somehow “wrong” is not going to encourage our friendship. We’re just as capable of being happy, having stable relationships and holding jobs as anyone else. (I’m a happily-married mother of two, both of whom seem pretty well-adjusted despite periodic exposure to spiderwebs.)

Posted in Whatever | 7 Comments »

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