The Art of Darkness


April 30th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Jinx AwayI peddle a few Accoutrements products (their retail arm is Archie McPhee) in the shop, so I receive alerts when they make new products available. Their new Jinx Removing Spray (“magically formulated to allegedly remove jinxes, nullify hexes, and dispel curses”) is a cute idea, but: 1) All of the interesting design work is on the package rather than the atomizer, and 2) Shelling out eight bucks for what amounts to air freshener seems a bit silly.

Sounds like a DIY project to me!

The type of atomizer they use is called a “shell atomizer,” and they’re widely available online in a variety of sizes and colors. Nemat and Best Bottles sell them individually, and also offer wholesale pricing if you want to make a lot as gifts or wedding favors.

For the spray itself, you can choose your favorite perfume, design your own fragrance (just google “how to make perfume” for a hojillion tutorials, such as this one), or make a simple air freshener by mixing 1 C distilled water, 2 tsp of rubbing alcohol, and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil; shake thoroughly to combine.

A label can be as simple as a printed sticker, or you can go nuts with hand-painting or even silk-screening. If you’re artistically-inclined you can design your own label, look for traditional patterns like Voodoo Veves, or mine the artwork of places like Lucky Mojo for inspiration.

If intended as a gift, add a tag with instructions to spray at the first hint of jinxiness and tie with a bit of ribbon or twine. Since the atomizers are reusable you can also offer free refills for the heavily jinxed. Easy, unusual, and cheap. What could be better?

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Terror in the Aisle | 3 Comments »

1001 Arabian Link Dumps

April 27th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Cauldron Caramel Apple – These “witches’ cauldron” caramel apples look entirely too much like work, but they’re undeniably dramatic.

41 Examples of Insane Fingernail Art – Some nice Halloween-ish designs, including Slimer.

First Look: Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock – Hopkins is starring in a biopic of Hitchcock, to be released next year. Not a bad likeness.

Fantasy-Themed B&B – Belgian bed and breakfast with a different theme for each room, including Baba Yaga’s hut and a troll’s den.

Naked Mole Rat Cam – Because who doesn’t want to watch Naked Mole Rats frolicking in their tunnels? (There’s a tarantula cam over here if you’d rather.)

The Top 10 Most Annoying Post-Apocalypses – A roundup.

Horror Vacui – Photographs depicting elderly versions of various 80’s movie villains.

Bedside, Bathtub & Armchair Companion to Dracula – Interesting-looking compendium of facts and trivia.

6 Inanimate Objects That Killed People in Movies – Oh lawsey, lawsey, lawsey.

A whole buncha goth lifestyle sites:
GIY: Goth It Yourself
Gothic Decor (Yahoo Group)
Coffin Kitsch
Le Professeur Gothique
BatLady (Yahoo Group)

Posted in Link Dump | 6 Comments »


April 26th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Look from MakeupBeeLike to play with makeup? Check out MakeupBee.*

MakeupBee was created to celebrate makeup artistry, it is the community for sharing looks and discovering beauty products. Get inspired from looks created by makeup enthusiasts just like you and learn how to recreate them. Read reviews and recommendations from your favorite fellow makeup lovers around the world.

Members can post their “looks” and browse others’ ideas. There’s all sorts of inspiration, such as black glitter eye makeup, silvery lipstick, and leopard nail polish. The products used to create the effects are listed, and the members frequently link to more detailed tutorials on their blogs or YouTube channels. They also note their skin and hair coloration, skin type, and other useful information for those interested in re-creating their looks.

The site also features product reviews, and has sponsored competitions (which are interesting, but somewhat vague; the current one is “Sparkle for Prom,” and some entries are nail polish-only, some are just eyeshadow, and a few are a full makeover. I have no idea how they’d judge something like that).

If you’re looking for beauty inspiration, there are all kinds of interesting ideas here.

(Hat tip to Jessica)

*Link goes to an internal page rather than the index because the main page features an obnoxious popup insisting that you sign in or register before continuing. Boo, hiss. You don’t have to do either to just browse.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Muddyskull Calaveras

April 25th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Cake ToppersOne of the things I love most about the Internet Age is the opportunities for cultural cross-pollination, which is how you wind up with a ceramicist in Thailand specializing in Dia de Los Muertos skulls.

Muddyskull offers a variety of marveous cake toppers, salt-and-pepper shakers, and jewelry which look like Jerry Garcia blew up all over them. The artist does custom designs on request, and also sells unpainted blanks if you’d rather decorate your own. The Muddyskull site is primarily a showcase of her work; you can purchase them through Artfire or via the related gOOdiemud site, which also has non-skully items available (the dogs and humans are unremarkable, but the owls are pretty darn baroque).

Although she apologizes for her imperfect grasp of English, the artist’s enthusiasm definitely shines through. I love her wonderfully over-the-top decorative excesses, and for handmade items they’re really quite affordable.

Posted in Needful Things, Terror in the Aisle | 1 Comment »

Oh, Please Let This Be a Parody

April 24th, 2012 by Cobwebs

There’s a concept known as Poe’s Law which posits that, unless you state specifically that you’re kidding, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing. I think that idea should be expanded beyond religious fundamentalism, because I’m still not sure whether the Stop Alien Abductions site is serious or not.

It provides detailed instructions on making a “thought screen helmet,” suitable for blocking the alien mind rays generally preferred by extraterrestrials when they’re abducting you. There are also many helpful tips for getting the most out of your helmet.

3. Make the helmet quickly.

You may experience telepathic resistance from the aliens when you try to make the hat. Expect it. You must make the hat as quickly as possible so you are not overcome by them.

Here’s a quote from one abductee making a new helmet, “I felt telepathic resistance when making the helmet, sharp pains were felt, I pulled the helmet over the head and it stopped. I think I am being watched on what I am doing, I suppose you must warn other abductees when making the hats.”

I don’t know whether to compliment this guy on the brilliance of his satire or suggest that somebody squirt Lithium down his throat with a turkey baster.

Posted in Whatever | 5 Comments »

Death is Not an Option (Except it Totally is)

April 23rd, 2012 by Cobwebs

So the first game of Death is Not an Option (given the choice of a pair of people, you have to decide which one you’d sleep with; choosing death instead is not an option) was highly amusing, and amongst the comments was this one by LimeyFish:

Death should totally be an option. You could pick between Death from Discworld or Death from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, or between either of the aforementioned Deaths and Death from The Seventh Seal, or any of the aforementioned Deaths and the Death from the Endless pantheon, or between any of the aforementioned Deaths and Cake.

Okay, smartypants. Challenge accepted.

The Pale Dudes in Hoods Matchup
Death - Seventh Seal   Death - Bill and Ted
Death from The Seventh Seal vs. Death from Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey

The Twilight Zone Matchup
Death - One for the Angels   Death - Nothing in the Dark
Death from “One for the Angels” vs. Death from “Nothing in the Dark”

The Reapers on Vacation Matchup
Death - Death Takes a Holiday   Death - Meet Joe Black
Death from Death Takes a Holiday vs. Death from Meet Joe Black

The Animated Matchup
Death - Family Guy   Death - Grim Adventures
Death from Family Guy vs. Death from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy

The TV Psychopomp (Female) Matchup
George - Dead Like Me   Tessa - Supernatural
George from Dead Like Me vs. Tessa from Supernatural

The TV Psychopomp (Male) Matchup
Angel of Death - Charmed   Sam - Reaper
The Angel of Death from Charmed vs. Sam from Reaper

The Overly Efficient Bureaucrat Matchup
Angel - Mr. Jordan   Angel - Heaven Can Wait
Messenger 7013 from Here Comes Mr. Jordan vs. The Escort from Heaven Can Wait

The Entirely Too Many Teeth Matchup
Death - Discworld   Death - Hellboy
Death from Discworld vs. Death from Hellboy

The Goddess Matchup
Death - Endless   Kali
Death from Gaiman’s “Endless” Pantheon vs. Kali

Leave your choices in the comments (feel free to expand on why you made each choice). And remember…anything except Death is not an option.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 7 Comments »

The Link Dump on the Hearth

April 20th, 2012 by Cobwebs

ZOMBIES, RUN! – Smartphone exercise app which takes the form of a game in which you try to collect supplies and rebuild civilization whilst hordes of shuffling zombies close in behind you. Run faster!

Begging for Candy – Little one-panel cartoons by PumpkinRot, depicting two ne’er-do-wells on Halloween.

13 Most Mournful Cemetery, Funeral and Death Links – A roundup.

Garbage Pail Kids – New book detailing the subversive trading-card collection from the 80s. Man, I’d forgotten how violent some of these things were. (There are also two books about the “Wacky Packages” stickers from the same manufacturer.)

True Adventures in Better Homes – Splendid collages which mash up men’s and women’s magazines from the 1950s. (As one commenter over at BoingBoing noted, this would be much better without the artist’s statement.)

Karine Jollet – Fiber artist who makes amazing sculptured textiles, many with anatomical themes.

Coffin Case – Purveyors of coffin-shaped guitar cases and similar items.

Amen – I love this quote The Bloggess pinned.

Creepy Girl – Great Calavera doll (with glow-in-the-dark skeleton) made from a modified Monster High doll. (Hat tip to Empress Pam)

Hobbit 419 – Y’know, the dwarves’ pitch to Bilbo really does sound a lot like a Nigeria scam.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

GriffinLeather’s Skull Clutches

April 19th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Skull ClutchOne of the things that always astounds me about molded leather is how much detail it’s possible to achieve. deviantART member GriffinLeather uses this to great effect in his wonderful line of skull clutch purses, managing a high degree of anatomical fidelity.

His profile says that he sells these (and will do custom work if he’s sold out), although I have no idea what the price would be. There’s contact information on his bio page if you don’t think you can live without one. (Incidentally, a googling of “Griffin Leather” turns up a couple of sites such as Griffin Leather Works, but they don’t appear to be associated with this guy.)

He’s also got some other nice stuff, including several steampunky gas masks and these great-looking “lost souls” bracers, which would be fantastic for cosplay.

(via The Gothic Tea Society)

Posted in Needful Things | 2 Comments »

Tim Powers Tackles Victorian Vampires

April 18th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Book CoverI’ve mentioned Tim Powers’ books previously, including the excellent vampiric “secret history” The Stress of Her Regard. Stress follows Michael Crawford, a man who unwittingly proposed marriage to a lamia, across Europe as he tries to free himself from his bloodthirsty bride. He encounters a number of Romantic poets and authors–Byron, Keats, Shelley, and Polidori amongst them–and discovers that lamia can act as artistic muses…for a price.

Powers wrote a postscript to that novel called A Time to Cast Away Stones, which can be found collected in The Bible Repairman and Other Stories (there’s a free excerpt at Tor). In it, Edward Trelawny schemes to remake the connection between humans and monsters, hoping to use his alliance to free Greece from the Turks.

Now Powers has released a true sequel entitled Hide Me Among the Graves, in which the vampires have returned. Set in Victorian London, veterinarian John Crawford sets out to save his young daughter from the attentions of a vampiric wraith, eventually joining forces with the Rossettis (poet Christina and painter Dante), who are the unwilling students of a supernatural muse.

One of the things that makes Powers’ “secret histories” so engaging is the deftness with which he weaves the fiction into actual events. He is quoted as saying, “I made it an ironclad rule that I could not change or disregard any of the recorded facts, nor rearrange any days of the calendar – and then I tried to figure out what momentous but unrecorded fact could explain them all.” So all of the deaths, wars, disasters, and other historical events in his novels are accurate…and then he takes you behind the scenes to see the hidden supernatural machinations which “caused” them.

Great stuff; highly recommended. I’m thrilled that there’s another chapter in this particular corner of Powers’ universe.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Candied “Poison” Apples

April 17th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Candied ApplesI mentioned the Inn at the Crossroads blog a while back but hadn’t really been keeping up with it, so I’m delighted that the fabulous JoAsakura clued me in to the fact that they’re expanding beyond Westeros-specific dishes and into other fantasy venues.

One such excursion is their lovely Snow White-esque enchanted apples, eerily darkened with food coloring and given a nicely rustic touch by using twigs as handles.* I love how sinister-looking the glossy black coating looks.

If you use twigs instead of skewers you would definitely want to make sure you know what kind of wood they are–using something like oleander would be a spectacularly bad idea–and make sure they haven’t been sprayed with any pesticide (or, if you get them from a craft store, that they haven’t been treated with a preservative). Cutting them from the tree would probably make them easier to rinse off vs. collecting them from the ground, although obviously you’d need permission first; wandering into a national park and hacking at the trees is generally frowned upon.

You would want to ensure that the apples are thoroughly scrubbed (some apples are waxed, which will prevent the coating from sticking properly) and thoroughly dried before dipping. I might also suggest either suspending them over a basin until they begin to harden or holding them upside-down for about a minute after dipping rather than placing them directly on a Silpat or waxed paper. That would let a lot more of the excess coating drip off instead of creating a hard puddle of candy around the base, leaving you with a more naturally apple-shaped finished product.

And, of course, you can change up the recipe to use whatever candy (rather than caramel, which wouldn’t be as glossy) coating suits you; this cider-based recipe looks tempting.

However you do it, these are a splendid and super-easy addition to a party table. Who knew nothing but a little food coloring could be so effective?

(Thanks, JoAsakura!)

*As I was writing this, I became more and more convinced that I’d seen something like this before, possibly from Martha Stewart (which came up negative, although she does have these neat-looking “poison” apples), and finally a thorough scouring of my archives turned them up here. I’m assuming this was the Inn’s inspiration, although it’s possibly just convergent evolution.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

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