Hm. I’ve got the cool British band name, but somewhere I apparently veered into synthpop.
This meme was making the rounds about a year ago, and in the everything-old-is-new-again manner of the blogosphere, it’s recently reemerged. I’m pressed for content today, so I’ll wimp out and get on the meme bandwagon.
To come up with your own band’s CD cover, do the following:
Now go here: http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3. The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album. I wound up with Thomas Jefferson’s “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
Then go here: http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/. The third picture on the page is your album cover. I unfortunately killed the window before getting the photographer’s name, so I apologize random Flickr user, for not crediting your picture. I can assure you that it wasn’t an attempt to pass it off as my own.
Finally, use the graphics program of your choice to put them all together. For extra credit, write a Rolling Stone review about the album.
Ray Keim, whose “paranormal papercraft projects” include amazingly detailed replicas of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and Disneyworld’s Torre de Cielo tower from Pirates of the Caribbean, has just released a lovely pattern for the Bates Motel from Psycho.
The house is modeled to the same scale as all of the others, so it’ll fit nicely into the neighborhood. All patterns are free, and the attention to detail is just astonishing.
Also check out his over-the-top guide to replicating Disneyland Paris’ Phantom Manor…in gingerbread. Great googly moogly.
Steff over at Wedding Skulls has been posting awesome favor ideas all month, along with interviews of purveyors of gothy favors. She’s run out of legitimate interviewees kindly asked me for an interview as well.
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about Shadow Manor, go take a look. If you aren’t, um, go take a look anyway, because the rest of the site is pretty neat.
Here are a few items I’ve run into recently that might be of interest to anyone with small creatures running around that you’re expected to dress.
Etsy sellers Lou and Lee make all kinds of goth/hipster baby clothes, including onesies with cameo fronts or vintage lace detailing. They’re apparently sold out at the moment, but a crafty individual might be able to run up something similar.
Mysterio T-shirts – This powerful oracle “transmits his thoughts onto 100% cotton baby T-shirts,” predicting the baby’s future profession. The shirts have a vintage sideshow kind of look to them, and professions include things like “Mafia Accountant” and “Romance Novelist.”
LED Booties Tutorial – Instructions for wiring baby booties with flashing “fireflies.” These would be awesome if you substituted monster eyes for firefly rears.
Neatorama has a selection of cool onesies and baby T-shirts, including this “I (heart) Anatomy” design, with anatomically-correct heart.
If nothing else, these examples might inspire you to make something similar yourself. My standard gift for baby showers is a handmade crib quilt, but some of these clothes are so cute I may have to start branching out.
I’m frequently surprised at the reaction I get from people when I tell them that I make my own soap (including, memorably, the acquaintance who was presented with a bar and stammered, “I thought soap was made from…soap”); they act as though I’ve admitted to translating from the Toltec in my spare time. In reality, making soap is no more difficult than baking a cake: You measure things, you stir them together in the right order, and you pour them into a pan.
There are a number of “home arts” which seem so mysterious and arcane that most people are afraid to try them. Here is a short list of things that I do on a regular basis, that I swear to you are not difficult if you can follow simple directions, and which are immensely satisfying.
Craft: Pickling and Preserving Why You Should Bother: Because there’s more to life than what’s available at your local megamart. Imagine having a Victorian tea party with rose-petal jam, or giving jars of a Medieval fruit pickle as a unique party favor. Getting Started: There are ridiculous numbers of tutorials available. Here are a couple of sites to get you started: WikiHOW: Jams Preserves and Condiments and Pick Your Own. I also highly recommend the book The Joy of Pickling.
Craft: Making Cheese Why You Should Bother: You can make fantastic-tasting cheese cheaper than you can buy it, you can experiment with interesting herb and spice flavorings, and you know exactly what ingredients go into it. Although many cheeses require a coagulant such as rennet, there are many you can make with nothing more than milk and lemon juice. Start with easy fresh cheeses like queso fresco or mozzarella before working your way up to more complex recipes. Getting Started:Gourmet Sleuth has a number of recipes, and the book Home Cheese Making covers a range of styles and does a good job of explaining the techniques and equipment required.
Calavera is the Spanish word for “skull,” and is frequently used to describe various traditions associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration.
I like calaveras because you can come over all skull-having and just claim an interest in a perfectly mainstream cultural phenomenon.
There are the traditional figures, which make wonderful little desk accessories, wedding cake toppers, and decorative accents (a bunch of different ones massed on a shelf or side table make an interesting conversation piece). You can find them engaged in virtually every profession and activity imaginable, so they make a cute personalized gift for a hairdresser, new mother, cat lover, or anybody else you can dream up.
There are also sugar skulls, which are fun to decorate and make an unusual party favor (or place card, if you frost each person’s name on the skull). They’re a fun group craft, too: A supply of blank sugar skulls, tubes of icing, and decorative stuff like colorful candies and edible glitter will keep kids or adults entertained. You can use the same molds to cast plaster skulls, then paint or glue on jewels for permanent decorations.
There are also higher-quality (and higher-priced) calaveras like these statuettes, which would be a lovely and elegant addition to a room’s decor. These calavera-themed voodoo dolls are kind of interesting too.
Finally, a Dia de los Muertos theme might let you darken up a wedding ceremony without unnerving your mundane relatives. The Ask Ginka site has some ideas to get you started.
If you’re looking for a way to subtly introduce a few more skulls to your life, just dig up (so to speak) a calavera or two.