The Art of Darkness


May 31st, 2012 by Cobwebs


Werepups is an adoption agency for orphaned Lycanthropes. When werewolf hunters kill the parents, dens of their helpless offspring are often left to starve. That’s when Werepups steps in, to “find loving homes for orphaned Lycanthrope babies, preserve the species, and eliminate the need for human blood in the diet.”

Artist Asia Eriksen’s original line of werewolf babies were hand-painted 11″ poseable latex dolls. The dolls inspired a movie, and her work to create more realistic “pups” for the film led her to offer similar life-size silicone dolls with hand-rooted hair. They are really adorably creepy.

Each doll comes with an adoption certificate and an “emergency silver bullet,” which is a nice touch. The artist also offers many customization options as part of the base price; at $70 for the painted latex and $500 for the furry silicone versions, it’s really not a bad deal for the werewolf-obsessed person in your life.

Additional photos are available on their Facebook page.

(Hat tip to Maven)

Posted in Needful Things | 5 Comments »

Easy Bath Beads

May 30th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Bath BallsHomemade bath beads are a super-easy project that are nice as a gift or simply to indulge yourself. They’re also a good way to use a favorite scented herb.

Here are two recipes, one for a milk-based bath and one for a diffusing oil. Everything for the first one (with the exception of the essential oil) should be available at your local grocery store. The citric acid and oils for the second recipe can be found at health food stores or online. Essential and fragrance oils are widely available at craft stores and online.

Milk Bath Beads

1 C powdered milk; you can use powdered goat’s milk if you’re feeling indulgent, but plain dry milk powder works fine.
1/4 C borax powder
1/4 C cornstarch
2-4 T strong herb tea (see below)
10-20 drops essential oil or fragrance oil of your choice (see below)
2-3 drops food coloring (optional)

To make the herb tea, cover about 1/4 C of dried herbs with 1/2 C boiling water, let steep for 10 minutes, then strain and cool. Strongly-scented herbs such as lavender or peppermint will provide the most fragrance, but you can use any herb that appeals to you, from dried rose petals to green tea. (Make sure that whatever plant material you choose isn’t a skin irritant, and if you collect it from your garden ensure that it hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals.)

Choose an essential or fragrance oil in a complementary scent, and ensure that it’s also skin-safe; some “fragrance” oils are formulated for household rather than personal use, and some essential oils can irritate skin or eyes.

Mix the milk powder, borax, and cornstarch in a bowl. In a separate small bowl mix 2 T of herb tea with about 10 drops of fragrance oil (don’t be surprised if the smell is rather strong; it will be muted quite a bit in the finished product). Mix in a few drops of food coloring if desired–using too much will throw the liquid ratio off and could potentially stain the tub, so if you want a really deep color use a little soap pigment instead. Thoroughly blend this liquid into the dry ingredients, adding small amounts of additional tea if necessary, until it reaches a claylike consistency. Be careful not to add too much liquid or the mixture will turn to sludge. Add a few more drops of fragrance if the scent isn’t strong enough to suit you.

To form balls, roll the dough into pieces about the size of a golf ball; if you’re making a lot of them you might want to wear latex gloves to prevent skin irritation. You can also shape the balls using something like a fillable plastic ornament as a mold; rub the inside with a bit of vegetable oil to help the dough release. Dry the balls on waxed paper for 24-48 hours depending on size, until firm to the touch. Store in an airtight container. To use, simply toss in warm bath water and let it dissolve.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Doom It Yourself, Unhallowed Ground | No Comments »

The Walking Dead as a Sitcom

May 29th, 2012 by Cobwebs

From MovieWeb:

The departure of Frank Darabont has seen The Walking Dead go in a whole new direction. This new intro for season 2.5 seems to shine a light on the character dynamics of this ragtag group of zombie survivors and the impending daddy issues that Laurie’s pregnancy is sure to bring.

It’s amazing what you can do with a little creative editing.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »


May 28th, 2012 by Cobwebs

blk.I was just going to stick this in a link dump, but the product description is so wonderfully coy that it makes me giggle.

Blk is spring water, “naturally” dyed black by “fulvic minerals:”

Blk Beverages Black Spring Water’s proprietary blend of Fulvic Minerals (a derivative of plant matter) are mined from a 70 million year old source deep within the earth. Naturally black in color, Blk Beverages Spring Water’s formula binds to the molecules of Blk Beverages pure Canadian Spring Water turning it naturally black, with no artificial dyes, coloring, or additives. Fulvic Minerals are critical in growth of plant life, helping the transportation and absorption of nutrients.

The strangely-vague “derivative of plant matter” and fact that it’s naturally black rang a faint bell, and a quick check reveals that “fulvic” is essentially another name for “humic,” and that’s peat moss. It’s rotting plant material. Yum!

It’s apparently not harmful, and indeed is occasionally used as a nutritional supplement. I’m just amused at the way all of their marketing literature carefully omits any mention of what the stuff really is.

Anyway, if you’re so frickin’ goth that you want the very water you drink to be black, it’s available on Amazon. Stick a few in the cooler at your next party and watch your guests’ reactions.

(via Neatorama)

Posted in Needful Things | 4 Comments »

The Link Dump Who Would be King

May 25th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Organ Trail – Remember the old video game Oregon Trail, where everybody tended to die of dysentery? That, but with zombies.

Bug Memorials – Teensy little art-installation “sidewalk shrines” commemorating dead insects.

Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King – Interesting “grown-up” take on the Tut burial, including lots of new information. BoingBoing has a capsule review here.

Edwardian Promenade – Site devoted to all things Edwardian.

Spider Web Garden Trellis – Interesting trellis made of salvaged barbed wire.

Steampunk – Cute little Flash-based Web game with a steampunky motif. (Hat tip to Kattie)

Chemicus – Splendid china tea set shaped like laboratory equipment.

Clown Art – A roundup of the “top 100 most disturbing” clown paintings. Don’t forget the eye bleach! (NSFW)

Urban Plant Tags – These art-installation “nursery tags” for things like stop signs and streetlights are adorable.

Evil Hot Gummi Bears – Habanero-infused gummi bears. Ostensibly imbued with their evil hotness by Beelzibear, the Antipooh.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

YouTube Time Machine

May 24th, 2012 by Cobwebs

One night Justin Johnson was chatting with his friend Delbert Shoopman, thusly:

I was regaling him with the tale of my previous night, in which I had been up very late watching Michael Jordan videos from 1996. It made me feel so awesome deep down inside … like it was Sunday afternoon, and I was 14, sipping on a milkshake and watching my fav team play. That Jordan-fest lurched into a 4 am search for Primal Rage videos, and countless other mid-90s stuff.

I realized then, that it wasn’t specifically Jordan or Primal Rage videos I was searching for … it was 1996 … the feeling of being in 1996 …the intangibles of that year fascinated me, but getting bogged down in the specifics and having to make CHOICES eventually spoiled my quest.

So they decided to build a Website where you can wallow in nostalgia without having to make those choices. YTTM.TV features thousands of YouTube videos, with a timeline reaching back to 1860 (the first sound ever recorded). You can find everything from the conference where Steve Jobs introduced Halo to a trailer for Heavy Metal. In addition to selecting a particular year, you can also choose the type of videos you’re interested in: Video Games, Movies, Current Events, and several others. Toggle the content, choose a year, and a matching video will play at random.

Choose your favorite year and in no time you can relive the Howdy Doody test pattern, a trailer for Cheech and Chong, or a news report about Hurricane Andrew. It’s really kind of eerie.

Posted in Resources | No Comments »

Zombie-Based Learning

May 23rd, 2012 by Cobwebs

I know I gripe about the ubiquity of zombies in pop culture right now, but this is actually pretty cool. Middle-school teacher David Hunter is engaging his students in geography by teaching it in the context of surviving a zombie outbreak. He’s put up a Kickstarter project to help fund his curriculum design.

The narrative is what leads the learner through scenarios in the zombie apocalypse where geographic skills will need to be applied. This narrative has 5 different scenes:

Planning for the Outbreak
News of a zombie-like outbreak has reached your community. You are helping to plan in case the outbreak reaches your area.

Post Outbreak Survival
The outbreak has reached your area and chaos has followed. You use your skills to just try and survive and find other survivors.

Finding a Place to Settle
Through surviving you have met with other survivors, now you are trying to decide upon a safe place

Building a Community
With your group of survivors, you make decisions to build a safe and sustainable community.

Planning for the Future
Based on what you know about Geography, and based on a knowledge of the past, your community makes long term plans for survival and rebuilding a life.

I think this is a marvelous learning tool. One of the best ways to teach a subject is to help the students understand why it matters (even if the application to everyday life is somewhat…tenuous). Dry facts and figures are boring; information that’ll keep your face from being eaten off by zombies is something you’ll probably pay attention to.

This technique could be expanded to many other subjects and a wide variety of monstrous threats, from studying disease vectors in the context of vampirism to using Oceanography for finding R’lyeh. If you’ve got a kid who’s reluctant to study, this might be a useful way to engage their interest.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in Bittens | 4 Comments »

Painting the Roses Red

May 22nd, 2012 by Cobwebs

Bloody Rose CupcakesThe fabulous JoAsakura pointed me to these splendid “bloody rose” cupcakes inspired by the “painting the roses red” bit from Alice in Wonderland. There’s another photo at the artist’s deviantART page, where she notes in a comment that the roses were made of buttercream piped with a #104 tip.

Even though icing roses look complicated, they’re actually fairly straightforward to make. Wilton (which also sells the tip) has tutorials for two separate methods: Roses, made of individual petals, and Ribbon Roses, which use one long ribbon of icing. You can also find dozens of other tutorials with different techniques and different finished shapes by googling “how to make frosting roses:” This one creates a fairly detailed rose and this one results in a more impressionistic, freeform shape.

The roses in most examples are a bit more upright than the ones in the photo, so to cover an entire cupcake you’d either need to make a lot more rows of petals and thus use a lot more icing (a cupcake with more icing? The horror!) or ease the petals outward so they lie more flatly against the surface. Most tutorials also suggest the use of a rose nail, but I expect you could make ’em right on the cupcake instead.

The “blood” appears to simply be red food coloring, although it might be red with a drop or two of black mixed in to darken it a touch. (The scarlet baking cups are a nice detail, too.)

These would be a lovely addition to a party table. Instead of cupcakes you could also do a rose-covered cake, such as the one in the tutorial mentioned above, or one like Wilton’s Row of Roses.

(Thanks, JoAsakura!)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Dark Shadows Review

May 21st, 2012 by Cobwebs

The short version (click to embiggen):

Bloom County

The long version (spoilers abound, so beware):

I was dimly aware of the Dark Shadows soap opera in the 70s, but never watched it. I knew that it was simply chock-full of supernatural elements, and although possibly campy in the way that 70s soap operas tended to be, it wasn’t really played for laughs. So when the trailer for the new movie suggested that it was largely a dark comedy, I was unsurprised at the outpouring of displeasure from fans of the series.

Brothers and sisters, if this turkey had been a dark comedy, it would have been much better than what it actually turned out to be.

The trailer also indicates a more-or-less cohesive storyline: Vampire is cursed by witch, returns after 200 years to restore his family to prominence, amusingly encounters culture shock along the way. In reality, this was about six separate and only-tangentially related movies that were all trying to occupy the same space in direct contravention of physics. The result was a confusing tangle of storylines that left me not caring much about any of them.

The story begins with a prologue set in the late 1700s, with Barnabas Collins as the scion of a wealthy family in Maine who made their fortune in the fishing industry. He “spurns” (if politely stating that he can’t tell her he loves her “because that would be a lie” qualifies as “spurning”) a maid who happens to be a witch. She avenges herself by first dropping a gargoyle on his parents and then forcing the woman he does love to fling herself dramatically off a cliff. He throws himself after her, only to find himself still alive at the bottom, cursed by the witch to become a vampire. (It is not explored why this woman, who clearly has hella magical powers, is working as a chambermaid instead of ruling a small country somewhere.) She follows up by turning all of the townspeople against him, and they lock him in an iron coffin and bury him.

…and cut to the “present day” of 1972, to a young woman who is a dead ringer for Barnabas’ lost love–now there’s an unexpected and shocking development–riding alone on a train (as I understand it, this is how the original series began, so that’s a nice nod to the soap). She is practicing introducing herself, saying something along the lines of, “Pleased to meet you, my name is [something that I don’t recall].” Then she glances at a poster on the wall advertising ski vacations in Victoria, B.C., and reintroduces herself, “Pleased to meet you, my name is Victoria Winters.” Aha! She wishes to conceal her identity. A plot twist!…Which is lovely, but the reason she’s traveling is because she’s been hired as a governess by the Collins family, and since the woman who hired her specifically mentions her application in the very next scene, I’m wondering how she managed to get hired without ever supplying her name. This is the kind of, “Wha?” moment that is repeated throughout the movie.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

The Link Dump and Sixpence

May 18th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Marley’s Ghost Scarf – Instructions for knitting an awesome scarf that looks like a big iron chain.

1887 Ladies – Lovely pinup-style drawings of fictional superheroines reimagined in a steampunk past.

Skeleton Foot – Fantastic trompe-l’oeil tattoo.

Lovely Monster – Odd little faux-documentary about a “young woman dealing with a rare and very dangerous condition.”

Grandpa Won’t Wake Up – Amusing parody of a Little Golden Book.

Map of the Dead – Enter your address (U.S. loads by default, but it apparently works internationally) and the site displays nearby locations that will help you survive a zombie apocalypse: Hardware stores, gas stations, hospitals, and so forth.

Caught in the Web – Macrophotograph gallery of spiders and their prey.

Sophistique Noir – “Dark Fashion for the Mature.” Great fashion suggestions for the over-30 set (or for the under-30s who want to look profesionally goth for job interviews and suchlike).

Adam Hosmer – Artist whose digitally-altered photographs are strange and unsettling.

H.P. Lovecraft Answers Your Relationship Questions – Lovecraft as advice columnist.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

« Previous Entries