The Art of Darkness

Great Poem for Wedding Invitations

February 14th, 2011 by Cobwebs

The Friendly Atheist blog recently showcased the secular wedding of a couple of science geeks.

The script for the ceremony began with a poem which would also be perfect as a sweetly gothic touch on a wedding invitation or save-the-date card:

The Spider’s Web (A Natural History)

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

— E.B. White

You’ve got to love poetry that manages to combine romance and spiders. I may wind up writing this in my anniversary card to Shadow Jack this year.

Posted in Terror in the Aisle | 1 Comment »

The Lion, the Witch, and the Link Dump

February 11th, 2011 by Cobwebs

A Tribute to Iron Maiden’s Eddie – A somewhat obsessive roundup.

Plush Manananggal – That Filipino monster that separates in half and flies around dragging entrails? Somebody made a toy one.

Steampunkr – “Daily steampunk inspiration.” (Hat tip to Kitten Herder)

Sock Skeleton – Like a sock monkey, only skeletal. Tutorial at Instructables.

Nightmare Before Christmas Bento Box – Jack might be a cute hors d’oeuvre, too. (Another box is here.)

Coffee Mug Cozy – I’ve never quite grokked the need for a mug cozy, but I like the “Accio Brain” message on this one. Caffeinnnnne….

How to Make Inexpensive Photo Invitations – I’m annoyed at myself for never having thought of this.

Vertebrae Cups – Mugs shaped like oversized vertebrae. The same company also sells Thighbone Pen Holders. (Hat tip to Seigmar S.)

Etsy Dark Team – A group of Etsy sellers whose goal is, “to help promote the darker side of Etsy by shining a bit of light on some amazing dark shops.” Some neat alternate stuff.

Crochet Skull Skirt – This is cute, and should be reasonably easy to DIY. If you don’t have the patience or skills for a crocheted version, fabric cutouts appliqued to a sheer fabric under-layer should produce a similar effect.

Anti-Valentine Voodoo Doll – Cute little felt pincushion dolly, just in time to stick it to Cupid.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

“Monster Hunter” Treat Bags

February 10th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Monster Hunter LogoShadowboy just turned 7 (sob!) and since treat bags have somehow become obligatory at children’s birthday parties, I decided that instead of buying prefilled bags of random tchotchkes I’d rather do something a little more inventive.* With the help of Oriental Trading (whose order form should simply consist of the instructions, “1) How much is in your bank account? 2) Send it in”) and some random stuff I had in my sewing room, attendees will be receiving Monster Hunter Kits.

These consist of a fanny pack** filled with the items below, along with a note printed on official-looking letterhead:

Greetings, Monster Hunter!

We at the World Center for Monster Research welcome you to our ranks and present you with this kit which contains everything you need to observe monsters in their natural habitat.

Your travel pack contains:

  • Binoculars – Useful for viewing monsters from a safe distance.
  • Field Notebook and Pen – Record your observations about each monster’s appearance and behavior.
  • Human Scent Coverup – Blow bubbles of this special potion around the area to mask your scent and keep monsters from smelling you.
  • Transformation Treat – One bite of this lollipop will turn you into a monster for one hour. Very useful for up-close observation.
  • Tracking Tattoos – Wearing one of these tattoos will help you find a monster’s hidden lair.
  • Monster Decoy (Land) – This decoy will encourage land-going monsters to come out in the open for easy observation.
  • Monster Decoy (Water) – Use this decoy to attract sea monsters to the area.
  • Capture Training Device – Practice catching this monster when it jumps to help you learn to capture fast-moving monsters.
  • Monster Study Aid – Use this kit to build a monster of your own and learn to recognize the wiggly eyes, stripy tentacles, and unidentifiable fuzzy bits of common everyday monsters.
  • Scientific Research Tags – After capturing a monster, tag it with the date and location to help other researchers track its movements.
  • Official Monster Hunter Certificate – Identifies you as a member of our prestigious organization. Display it proudly.

We hope that you enjoy your kit and use it to increase humanity’s knowledge of the behavior and appearance of monsters.

Please Note: The World Center for Monster Research is dedicated to environmentally-sustainable monster investigation. After tagging your monster for future observation, please be sure to release it back into its natural habitat. Remember that preserving the world’s population of monsters depends on you. What would Oregon be without its native Bigfoot population, or Loch Ness without its sea serpents? With your help, children will be able to enjoy these and other monsters for generations to come.


J. Percy Vermithrax
World Center for Monster Research

And thus do I amuse myself.

I’m hoping that the kids enjoy receiving something a bit more engaging than a bag of unrelated toys (although the downside is that if they enjoy it too much I’ll have to find a way to top myself next year). I’m definitely looking forward to their reaction.

*This will either impress the other parents with my amazing creativity or cause them to give me a wide berth because I’m clearly nuts. Either result is acceptable.

**A note to UK readers: I realize that “fanny” means something entirely different over there, and I apologize for any cognitive dissonance you may be experiencing.

Posted in Bittens | 7 Comments »

Bazaar Bizarre

February 9th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Bazaar BizarreBazaar Bizarre is an annual craft fair that emphasizes indie, punk, and goth aesthetics. Its organizer, Greg Der Ananian, wrote a book by the same name, and I recently picked up a copy under the assumption that it would be simply chock-full of subversive craft projects.

My final opinion: Meh.

I really wanted to love this book, but it’s short on crafts and long on…stuff that is not crafts. The format involves chapters which consist of profiles of various Bazaar Bizarre vendors, some musings by Der Ananian about each vendor’s representative craft project, and then–almost as an afterthought–instructions for the actual project. These are interspersed with “interludes” that have nothing to do with crafting projects and instead might involve anything from a “craft item word search” to an article about where the word “distaff” comes from. Interesting, but not exactly what I’m looking for in a craft book.

I’m afraid that the projects themselves aren’t terribly subversive either. A couple, such as soap shaped like the Anarchy “A,” are cute, but others are for things like making sock monkeys, and you can find that on the Internet for free. Additionally, although the project instructions are reasonably detailed, there are relatively few photos and illustrations. It’s certainly possible to follow the written instructions, but it would be a lot easier with pictures.

I also found Der Ananian’s remarks throughout the book somewhat jarring, as he appears to have made it his life’s work to let everyone know that he is a flaming homosexual. Hardly a page goes by where he doesn’t specifically call attention to it, until eventually you’re going, “Dude, we get it. You’re a big ol’ queen. Let’s concentrate on the crafts.” It’s disruptingly irrelevant, rather akin to Julia Child pausing between each step of a recipe to remind you how much she loves cock.

Where the book does do a fairly good job is discussing the equipment and skillset one might require for a particular craft, plus some notes about the terminology that might be encountered. There is some good advice for building a “crafting tackle box,” and many of the artists’ profiles include suggestions for suppliers and other resources.

Overall, I would say that this book might be useful for beginners because it’s reasonably good at covering some crafting basics, and more experienced crafters might find a project or two of interest, but it’s nothing particularly earth-shattering. A pity; it had a lot of potential.

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Paranoid Driving

February 8th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Comedian Jack Vale specializes in confusion and paranoia. Here he is driving around asking people if they’ve seen themselves.

(I’m sort of surprised that his YouTube profile lists his location as California. I’d figure he’d get shot if he tried this prank out there.)

(via Blame it On the Voices)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

“Li’l Inappropriate” Illustrations

February 7th, 2011 by Cobwebs


These are hilarious. Artist Josh Cooley has done a series of scenes from famous movies, all in the style of illustrations from Little Golden Books. Cute-as-a-button scenes from The Shining, Alien, Silence of the Lambs, A Clockwork Orange, and many others are available as 8.5″x11″ prints or in a 13″x19″ limited-edition signed version. There’s also a book available which showcases the whole collection.

These would be sort of awesome as decorations in a nursery. (What? Babies can’t read.)

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Bad Things | 1 Comment »

The Fall of the Roman Link Dump

February 4th, 2011 by Cobwebs

Grand Illusion Table – Neat acrylic table that looks like a freestanding draped tablecloth.

Evil Prints – Artist Tom Huck makes all kinds of weird woodcuts, and also teaches printmaking classes. There’s also a video of a recent open house at his studio. (Hat tip to Seigmar S.)

DIY Tie – Tutorial for printing and sewing a custom tie.

Velvet Slippers – Pattern and instructions for making wonderfully decadent house slippers.

A Party in Wonderland – Some great ideas for a child’s “Alice”-themed party, many of which could be upsized for a grown-up party.

UglyDress – Celebrating the worst in bridal and prom dresses. Egad.

Transcending the Material – Astonishingly detailed knit skeleton made for a fiber arts exhibit.

Edible Dresses – These art-installation dresses are made of food, but some of them are attractive enough to serve as inspiration for fabric versions. I particularly like the lines of the Eggplant Dress.

Weird Bug Lady – Etsy seller specializing in plush insects and fossils. I particularly like the Emperor Scorpion.

Mandrake Root – Instructions for making a nice-looking prop mandrake root for a wunderkammer or conversation piece.

La Brea Tar Pit Wedding Invitation – The La Brea Tar Pits in California are enormously rich in fossils. I’m quite taken with these clever invitations for a wedding held there.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Deriana’s Dolls

February 3rd, 2011 by Cobwebs

Edward ScissorhandsDeriana is a crafter with “an unbridled passion for History and costumes,” which she combines to create ridiculously adorable felt dolls. They’re tiny–only about 10 cm (4″) tall–and although their basic body plans are all similar, it’s astonishing how much personality she works in by changing out the details.

She does lots of historical figures, including Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, and the whole Tudor gang, re-creating many of their costumes from portraits. She also shines with creepy-cute designs like Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett, Vlad Tepes, Kali, and (my favorite) Jack the Ripper, complete with “a tiny kidney to play with.”

A number of her photo captions indicate that the items were commissioned, so if you’ve always had a hankering for some particular historical figure rendered in felt, now’s your chance.

Her Flickr photostream is here, and there are additional dolls and design notes on her Livejournal page. A quick bit of googling also turned up a presence on DeviantART, an Etsy shop (which is the only place I’ve found prices, but they actually seem quite affordable), and a site noting that it will be the “future home” of her work.

These things are just all kinds of cute. Go take a look and prepare to be inspired.

(via Craftster)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Seen Online

February 2nd, 2011 by Cobwebs

I wish in Harry Potter, instead of saying “he who must not be named” they just called him Shmoldashmort.

I was escorted out of the funeral before I was done high fiving everyone.

“Fire!” isn’t the worst thing you can yell in a crowded theater. It’s “Bruce Willis is dead”.
— King of the Hill

For young people wondering what the Dave Matthews Band is, imagine Jack Johnson having sex with all of the instruments in Whoville.

People are like snowflakes. I hate shoveling them off my driveway.

It must suck being a female necrophiliac.

Vegetarians maliciously starve animals by competing with them for the same food.

Worried you don’t get enough calcium? Kill people and eat their bones!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do things out of spite.

My bologna does not have a first name. I fear giving it one will make it self-aware.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Axe Cop: The Movie

February 1st, 2011 by Cobwebs

Let me explain…no, there is too much, let me sum up.

Ethan Nicolle is a 29-year-old comic artist who has a 5-year-old brother, Malachai. One day Malachai was playing a truly epic game of pretend which involved a character named “Axe Cop,” and Ethan decided to start illustrating the storyline.

Thus was born Axe Cop, whose tagline is “I’ll chop your head off!” and whose cast of supporting characters includes Avocado Soldier, Uni-Baby, Bad Santa, Ghost Cop, and Vampire Man Baby Kid amongst many, many others. It is every bit as weird as one would expect something springing from the imagination of a five-year-old to be, and the illustrations are just wonderful.

So of course somebody made a fan film.

(via Topless Robot)

Posted in Bittens, Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

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