The Art of Darkness

Amusing Dishware

March 17th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Skull PlateEtsy seller foldedpigs is a self-described “porcelain snob” who likes to experiment with unusual designs. She takes restaurant-style ceramic dishware, adds her own images, then re-fires them to fuse the design into the glaze.

Her current designs include skull and cross…utensils plates, cereal bowls with the slogan, “I love you more than zombies love brains,” and espresso cups with anatomically-correct hearts on them.

Given that they’re handmade, the dishes are quite reasonably priced. I’d love to have a set of the plates for dinner parties.

(via Badder Homes and Gardens)

Posted in Bad Things, Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Gothic Glam Tablescape

March 16th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Place SettingThe Hostess with the Mostess blog has an unbelievably gorgeous tablescape for a gothic dinner or Halloween party, and includes sources for all of the items shown. There are some fantastic ideas for spooking up inexpensive craft items (like the little monster figurine place cards. So Cute.), and the whole layout is elegant and lovely.

The site also has a number of other articles with splendid ideas for gothic decorating. The three-part Ghoulish Glam Halloween Party offers theme inspiration, another
tablescape, and ideas for mood lighting. There’s also some more “goth glam” items here, a wonderful modern Halloween tablescape here, as well as ideas for spooky chic decorating and a pretty candy corn-inspired table setting.

I love how these items could be mixed and matched to come up with unique and beautiful decorating schemes. I may have to start hosting dinner parties just so I can make some of these decorations.

(via Spooky is as Spooky Does)

Posted in Bad Things | No Comments »

Link Dump

March 13th, 2009 by Cobwebs

I’m engaging in a little spring cleaning of my Drafts folder. Please to be enjoying the results of my obsessive tendencies.

Knitted…Thing Roundup – All kinds of knitted monsters and creepy things.

SF Signal has a review of a new short story collection called Poe, which sounds intriguing.

“Vampire” Discovered in Mass Grave – New Scientist article about a skeleton which appears to have been treated as though it were a vampire. (It’d be interesting if they removed the brick and it woke up, huh?)

How to Haunt Your House – Self-published book by a couple of “master haunters.” Although it appears to focus mainly on props, it looks like there might be some interesting ideas for year-round decorating as well. Plus the site has lots of tutorials and resource links.

Flow Armchair – Armchair upholstered in an interesting “human anatomy” print. First you sit down, and then it eats you.

Healthy Halloween Ingredients – Useful list of good-for-you foods that incorporate easily into a party menu.

Thinking Outside the Donation Box – Ideas for using doilies and other donated linens for original clothing.

I’ve often said, what we really need is a Cthulhu Musical….

Dark Style – Blog devoted to all sorts of lovely dark decorating and design projects.

Interactive Mummification – University of Chicago’s interactive tutorial which explains the ancient Egyptian practice of mummification. Use a hook to remove the brain through the nose, extract the internal organs and place them in canopic jars, wrap the body in linen. Fun for the whole family!

Hello Kitty Zombie Birthday Cake – That’s a lot of cognitive dissonance to pack into one link. The cake is awesome, though.

Eerie Elegance – Party resource book by Britta, who runs the awesome Halloween party site Britta Blvd.

Free Pincushion Pattern – Cute little hedgehog pattern from Urban Debris.

Badger Cover Gallery – Great collection of campy-looking book covers for SF and fantasy novels. These would be a great source of artwork for collages or other projects.

Fang Contacts – I have never wanted a pair of contact lenses so badly in my life.

Uruk-Hai Unhappy with Portrayal in Films – This sounds eerily realistic, actually.

The Cuddly Menace – An entertaining parody of Little Golden Books.

Samurai Sword Umbrella – The rain falls softly. The samurai draws his sword. Look, an umbrella.

Weiner Dog Races – Clear your calendar, because you’ll spend the rest of the day here.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

You Had Me at “Gothic Bellydance”

March 12th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Gothla, a convention of which I was previously unaware, is devoted to the art of Gothic Bellydancing, a discipline of which I was definitely previously unaware. This routine was filmed at their recent 2009 gathering. It’s rather sweet.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

Monster Mummies

March 11th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Demon MummyPink Tentacle has a post about the mummified “monsters” that lurk in Japanese temples and museums. Most are of the Jenny Haniver/Feejee Mermaid variety, but there are a number of different examples that might provide inspiration for artwork.

If you can find good-quality photos of some of these mummies, a collection of framed prints would be an interesting decorative focus for a room. You might also try your hand at building a small “mummy” using a plastic skeleton as a starting point (Dapper Cadaver has a nice–and expensive–example). Embellish it with polymer clay, bits of cheesecloth, a dried fish tail, or whatever else catches your fancy. Paint or corpse it to tie all the elements together, then pop it in glass display case and display it as an unusual objet d’art.

If you’re not feeling quite that ambitious, “mummify” a hand and display it under a bell jar with an antiqued label identifying it as a monkey’s paw.

I love the “what if…?” nature of these kinds of faked mummies, and their vintage looks make them an appealing decorative element for any room that needs an elegantly gothic touch.

(via Strange Attractor)

Posted in Bad Things | 1 Comment »

Theme Garden: Faeries (and Butterflies)

March 10th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Amid Hummers Night's DreamOkay, if you want to get technical, this garden will probably attract more butterflies and hummingbirds than faeries. However, it’s the thought that counts, and who’s to say for sure whether that little creature that just whizzed past was a hummingbird or one of the Wee Folk?* (Besides, tradition has it that faeries are attracted to gardens where butterflies are plentiful, so you might just get lucky.)

The garden can be as large or small as space allows, and in a pinch nothing more elaborate than a window box or a few flowerpots will suffice.

The first step is to make your garden attractive to wildlife in general: Avoid pesticides, make sure there’s a water source (such as a birdbath or small fountain), and provide shelter: Siting the garden near woods or a dense hedge is ideal, but a smaller garden can use a birdhouse or even a clay flowerpot turned on its side instead.

Hummingbirds and adult butterflies both like plants that produce a lot of nectar, but butterflies also appreciate “host” plants that their caterpillars eat: Check with your local wildlife extension about host plants. It’s best to select plant species which are native to your area, since they’ll not only grow best but they’ll also attract the most butterflies. Try to arrange your plant selection so that something is in bloom throughout the growing season. A “cottage”-type garden with a slightly overgrown look and a variety of flowers is perfect for this (and gets extra points because it’s lower maintenance).

There are loads of plants which are suitable for this type of garden, including:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 1 Comment »

Charm Candles

March 9th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Here’s an easy way to personalize and/or add a little spookiness to plain pillar candles.


  • Pillar candle
  • Sealing wax wafer in contrasting color (available in stationery stores or by mail order)
  • Pewter charm (bat, spider, or whatever else strikes you)
  • Another candle (any sort will do; you just need a few drops of wax)


  • Wire cutters
  • Jewelry file
  • Heat embossing tool or hair dryer


  1. Clip the loop from the charm with the wire cutters and file any rough edges.
  2. Place the sealing wax on a piece of scrap paper (the parchment paper used for baking works especially well).
  3. Heat the wafer with the embossing tool or hair dryer until it’s very pliable and then press the charm into the wafer. Don’t press in too deeply because the charm will settle in a bit as the wax cools.
  4. While the wax is still warm, pick up the paper it’s on and wrap it around the candle to mold the wafer to the candle’s curve. Tape the paper in place and set the candle on its side (wafer side up!) to let cool.
  5. Once cool, carefully peel the wafer off the paper.
  6. Drip a few drops of hot wax onto the pillar candle about a third of the way down, then immediately set the wax wafer onto the melted wax to glue it in place. Let cool.

Fast, cheap, and easy: Three words I love in a project. These make an interesting hostess gift, and could also be used as party or wedding favors.

Posted in Paint It Black | No Comments »

Halloween University

March 6th, 2009 by Cobwebs

For those of you in the Eastern US (or those willing to travel), the folks behind the Eastern Haunter’s Convention have a new venture: Halloween University was born out of the extreme popularity of seminar classes at the convention.

The initial early demand for seminars was so strong that two divisions of Halloween University were formed: The Professional School & The Public School.

The Professional School is geared for the serious haunt professional interested in furthering his or her knowledge. The classes are more expensive to attend, but allow us to bring in some of the heaviest hitters in the industry to attend. These classes are much more specific and advanced. In additional, these classes also allow for smaller groups giving you more intimate feel and personal attention. The knowledge of the professional classes earns you credits towards your Halloween University Degree.

The Public School division of classes will cover a much broader spectrum range of classes. These classes will have a lower cost, but will still cover many of the important topics that you will want to hear. They will just be a bit broader in scope.

Many of the classes are aimed at people creating “haunts” at Halloween, but several of their offerings–such as carving styrofoam and working with Monster Mud–would be useful skills for anyone interested in doing a little dark decorating.

“Public School” classes run about $10-$25 and begin April 10. The HU is located in King of Prussia, PA, so if you’re in the area you might want to check it out.

Posted in Resources | No Comments »

The Cult of Done

March 5th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Bre Pettis and Kio Stark wrote this brilliant manifesto for rapid prototyping. I think the same ideas apply to many types of projects, including the things I like to ramble about here.

The Cult of Done Manifesto

  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you’re done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.

This is an excellent way to approach learning a new skill or tackling any project that you suspect might be difficult. Dive in. Forge ahead. If you screw it up, what’s the harm?

It’s entertaining to read the comments on the original post from people whose heads are all asplody over the notion that “done” doesn’t have to equal “perfect.” True, you wouldn’t want to build a 747 using these rules, but they’d be an excellent way to start designing a 747. As they’re stated, I think the rules pretty clearly apply to new ventures rather than routine manufacturing.

So print out this manifesto, stick it on the wall above your desk or workbench, and start doing things!

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

Anatomical Shoes

March 4th, 2009 by Cobwebs

X-ray ShoeI may have to expand my shoe collection significantly. I keep finding interesting footwear.

Zazzle seller Dynomoose offers a variety of unusual printed Keds shoes, including these X-ray Shoes showing your bony toes. I also like the internal organ and I Heart Zombies shoes.

Their neckties and other accessories are worth a look, too. If your employer forces you to wear a tie, you at least should be able to wear one with pentagrams all over it.

Posted in Needful Things | 2 Comments »

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