The Art of Darkness

The Palm Beach Link Dump

February 14th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Steampunk Cthulhu Wall Lamp – This sculptural lamp by Karl Dupere-Richer is just astonishing.

Painted Ants on Porcelain – Artist Evelyn Bracklow paints realistic ants crawling all over vintage porcelain dishes. The results are rather skin-crawly.

LampaDani – Italian artist who makes gorgeous glass lamps. I love this fantastical tree.

Haunted Mansion Valentines – The “Wanna Corrupt My Mortal State?” one made me giggle.

Wax Harryhausen – Since the skeletal warriors from Jason and the Argonauts are my all-time favorite Harryhausen creatures, I find this sculpture particularly marvelous.

Literary Fun Fact – This SMBC strip explains a lot.

Rise of the Werewolf Cats – New boutique breed of cats that resemble werewolves. (via Beans)

Rosemary’s Baby Gets TV Reboot – It’s going to be a miniseries starring Zoe Saldana. Huh. (This article technically contains spoilers, but the movie is over 30 years old so I think the statute of limitations has run out. Also Darth Vader is Luke’s father.)

Chewie and Han – Characters drawn in the style of Tim Burton.

18 Terrifying Old Costumes – These vintage costumes are certainly…arresting.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Sugar Scrub Cubes

February 13th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Sugar Scrub CubesI shared a recipe for sugar scrub recently, but there’s another variation on the theme which takes only a little more time and effort: Sugar scrub cubes.

Their qualities are slightly different: Regular sugar scrub is made with oil, so it’s great for dry, chapped skin. The cubes are made with a soap base, providing the same exfoliating sugar without being quite as, y’know…oily. They’re molded into little single-serving chunks, making them easy to use (and easy to package as a gift); they can also be molded into other shapes for visual interest.

There are two main methods for making the cubes, one with a melt-and-pour soap base (available at many craft stores, online soap-supply retailers, or Amazon) and one using a grated bar of soap. The latter method uses only materials you probably already have around the house, but the former doesn’t require you to grate a bar of soap, so use whichever strikes you as easiest.

Method 1

  • 1/4 C mild, skin-safe oil: Olive, almond, avocado, grapeseed, jojoba, coconut, etc. You can also use cocoa butter if you prefer, although it’ll give the finished product a slight chocolate scent so bear that in mind if you decide to add scented essential oil.
  • 1/2 C shredded or grated soap (plain, unscented soap like Ivory will give the most uniform results)
  • A few drops of skin-safe essential oil (optional)
  • 1-2 drops Vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 3/4 C sugar: Granulated sugar, raw sugar, or a combination.

Mix the oil and soap in a glass bowl and microwave in 15-second bursts, stirring in between, until the soap is melted and everything is thoroughly combined. You can also do this in a double boiler if you prefer. Stir in a few drops of essential oil and Vitamin E oil, if using. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Pour into molds (see below) and cool. Note that the mixture will set up very quickly once the sugar is added, so be sure your molds are ready in advance.

Method 2

  • 6 oz melt-and-pour soap base
  • 4 oz mild, skin-safe oil
  • A few drops of skin-safe essential oil (optional)
  • 1-2 drops Vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 18 oz sugar

Cut the soap base into small chunks and melt according to manufacturer directions. Stir in the oil, essential oil, and Vitamin E oil if using. Add the sugar and mix thoroughly. Pour into molds (see below) and cool.

A mold can be as simple as a metal baking pan lined with plastic wrap: Once cool, turn the block of scrub out and cut into cubes of the desired size. You can also use ice cube trays: Either spray them with cooking spray or use a silicon mold to ensure they’re easy to turn out.

You can also get a little more creative and use candy molds. The texture of the scrub is a little too rough to show fine detail, but bats, pumpkins, or maybe even spiders

There’s a lot of room for variation in both of these methods: You can add a few tablespoons of dried herbs like mint or lavender for both scent and visual interest. You can use colored soap (especially easy with melt-and-pour) and match the color to the scent: Scarlet with a rose scent or orange with a spicy cinnamon-vanilla fragrance–especially nice in a pumpkin-shaped mold. If you’re really feeling fancy, you can pour the scrub in layers and use a different color for each; this is easiest to do in a large mold and then cut into individual cubes later.

To give as a gift, pile several in a pretty box, tin, or jar. Include instructions to not let the cubes get too warm (lest they melt); they should last up to a year.

(Photo from Rustic Escentuals)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Seen Online

February 12th, 2014 by Cobwebs

If you fall in the forest and there’s nobody around to hear it, then what just pushed you? You aren’t alone in the forest. Run, if you can.
WstonesOxfordSt

I get the feeling Helena Bonham Carter travels by bursting into a thousand crows when she doesn’t feel like walking.
SamGrittner

endless breadsticks. bottomless fries. yawning abyss of onion rings. HOWLING DESOLATE CHASM OF POTATO SKINS
nice_mustard

Joseph’s head broke off my Nativity figurine. Gave me a nice feel for what the Bible as written by George RR Martin would be like.
Aimee_B_Loved

Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Give a man a radioactive fish that bites, HE BECOMES FISHMAN!
sucittaM

I like how the kids in E.T. keep pedaling the whole time they’re on the flying bikes. Just in case.
KenJennings

Home is where the heart is. We found it one day in the sink. It hums things late at night, but they are not songs.
NightValeRadio

Damn gurl stop undressing me with ur eyes haha wait no stop ARGGHHHHH HOW THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THAT WITH YOUR EYEBALLS HELP OH GOD HELP
Fred_Delicious

I bet owls love Sympathy for the Devil.
thesulk

It’s probably good Mythbusters isn’t literal. “Could Zeus *really* have impregnated Leda in the form of a swan? Adam’s gonna try!”
sween

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

Ramen Ho-Tep, the Cheap Mummy

February 11th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Muslin MummyA couple of summers ago the Shadow family vacationed at the beach, and one day we wandered into the year-’round Christmas shop that all beach towns are apparently required by law to have.* The store had a small Halloween section which I automatically gravitated toward, and one of the display items was a little bendable fabric-wrapped mummy…for $45.

I thought, “That appears to be a wire armature covered with muslin, which is about $2 worth of materials. I bet I could make that.” And the other day I finally got around to it. So this is my cheap knockoff version (hence his name).

Mummy 1

 
You only need two materials: Bendy wire and fabric. (Click the thumbnails for larger images.)

I had some plastic-coated wire left over from another project; it was a bit thin so I doubled it. If you have a thicker-gauge wire, you can just use one strand. Bend a long piece of wire in half; this is the head, body and one leg. Wrap the middle of a shorter length around the “body” up near the head for arms. Wrap one end of a second piece a bit lower for the second leg. Bend the tips of the arms and legs at a 90-ish degree angle for hands and feet.

 
Mummy 2

 
Cut or tear some fabric into thin strips. I used some plain white cotton that I had lying around, which tears nice and straight; just make little cuts along the edge and then tear from that point. The strips I used were around 1/2″, but you can use larger or smaller depending upon the size of your finished mummy.

Tie the end of one strip to the wire armature somewhere and start wrapping. When you get to the end of one strip, knot on another one and wrap over the knotted spot.

 
Finished Mummy

 
When done, stick the final loose end under the wrapping. If desired, secure it with a touch of fabric glue. That’s all there is to it.

I made the torso on mine a trifle long, but since these take around 20 minutes to put together (and you can always unwrap it if you really hate it), it’s easy to experiment.

 
Zen Mummy

 
Since they’re bendy, you can change their pose as the mood strikes you.

 

Fun! Super-easy! Make a whole army of these guys and let them lurk around the house. They’re also a really great make-your-own favor project for kids’ parties, and since they can be bent to hold signs they’d be a fun placecard at dinner parties.


*No, really. There is some bizarre symbiotic relationship between beach tourist destinations and Christmas shops. I have yet to encounter one without the other.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

Haunted by Drones

February 10th, 2014 by Cobwebs

(That was the BoingBoing headline for this; it’s actually a remote-controlled toy helicopter, but that doesn’t sound as funny.)

Anyway.

“Corporate Comedian” and prankster Tom Mabe uses a flying Grim Reaper to swoop down on unsuspecting passersby and scare the everliving hell out of them. It’s the sort of thing that’s hilarious happening to somebody else and would definitely make you want to punch the perpetrator if it happened to you.

There’s also a “behind the scenes” video:

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

A Link Dump with a View

February 7th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Cthulhu Damask – Nice, subtle tentacular design available as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap.

Pikachu – This sculpture by Den Chu depicts the next metamorphosis.

Cardboard Ghost Ship – Three guys created this ship in five days for a Treasure Island-themed Halloween party. I want to be invited to their parties.

Portents of Doom – Striking series of paintings from 16th-Century Bavaria depicting various apocalyptic events.

Blood Falls and Other Natural Oddities – Interesting roundup of unusual natural features around the world. The “bloody” glacier is particularly cool.

Guest Book Posters – Some really unique designs; I particularly like the Frankenstein/Bride one.

Monster Mind Sculpts – These are the most winsomely adorable little monsters that you will see all week. Puff the Steampunk Dragon is mind-blowingly cute.

Bat Hanger – I’ve seen other bat-shaped clothes hangers, but I really like the foldable design of these.

Museo Lara – Atlas Obscura article about a Spanish museum of witchcraft. The bullfrog with the human face would make a hell of a prop.

Our Lady of Lourdes – Dramatic short film (a Vimeo Staff Pick) in which a young woman tries to aid a mentally ill man but can’t see his demons.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Interesting Party Idea

February 6th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Just throwing this out here because it’s a cool idea and I don’t know what else to do with it:

Last year webcomic artist Kate Leth (site NSFW) threw a party with the theme of “Elseworlds: Come As Yourself From A Different Timeline.”

Elseworlds is an imprint of DC Comics which presents stories that take place outside of canon, placing existing characters in alternate realities or imaginary stories which don’t impact the “real” continuity; one example is Gotham by Gaslight, which featured a Victorian-era Batman fighting Jack the Ripper.

The party idea is sort of brilliant, and so many things could be done with it. I love the idea of, instead of coming as somebody else, you come as yourself…who happens to be somebody else. There are a zillion science fiction stories which explore what the world would be like if major historical events had worked out differently: What if Hitler hadn’t gone into politics (The Iron Dream)? What if the South had won the American Civil War (Bring the Jubilee)? And so on. This party would instead focus on what might have happened in your own personal timeline if things had worked out differently.

The changes could be major (What if the Axis had won WWII?) or minor (What if you’d chosen a different major in college?) but in either case you’d want to think about how those things would have impacted you personally and what that “other” you would be like. You certainly don’t have to confine yourself to current reality; you could also consider what things would be like if witchcraft really worked or if we’d recently made first contact with aliens.

Depending upon how you wanted to theme the party, you could either ask your guests to choose whatever alternate reality they wanted and then explain who their alternate self is, or give them the parameters of your other timeline (“We live in a world where vampires really exist,” or “Columbus was lost at sea, the empires in South America flourished, and eventually their sailors discovered Europe”) and ask them to come as whoever they think they would be in those different circumstances.

A “Come As You Aren’t” party is a refreshing change from standard costume parties, and the theme possibilities are limitless. This will definitely be on my shortlist of party ideas.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Hand Lights

February 5th, 2014 by Cobwebs

Hand Lights

I’m not sure what you’d call this, but it’d be a hell of a light fixture.

I saw it online, unattributed, and finally tracked the original photo down to Something Created Every Day: It was a display created by Tim Holtz for his booth at the Craft & Hobby Association trade show:

Tim said that his neighbor painted the hands, the lights are from Ikea and either the bulbs are special or the glass is colored (I don’t remember exactly how he described this). Either way, this display was fantastic.

I’m assuming that the hands are probably mannequin hands. I don’t see that particular style of light at Ikea’s site, but they’re also called cage lights. Searching for “industrial hanging light” or “workshop cage light” turns up loads of styles to choose from; I thought this and this were pretty.

The hands are mounted on simple wooden plaques, easy to find in many shapes and sizes at craft and hardware stores. The frame is just a big, rather banged-up picture frame.

This project is certainly DIY-able and would be a really interesting lighting treatment for a room. I assume that since this was done as a temporary decoration the lamp cords are simply hanging loose and plugged in near the floor. For a more permanent fixture you could fasten them all together with cable ties for a slightly less messy appearance.

You could also do individual hands, each with its own frame, for a different take on the same idea.

Posted in Bad Things | 4 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

February 4th, 2014 by Cobwebs

  1. This 1987 film was originally supposed to be titled The Hellbound Heart, after the novella it was based upon. When the studio decided that sounded too much like a romance, the author suggested Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave. They didn’t like that either. What was the movie ultimately called?
  2. This work, subtitled Prince Galehaut, is a collection of tales supposedly told by a group of people sheltering from the Black Plague.
    A) Book of Taliesin
    B) The Canterbury Tales
    C) Purgatorio
    D) Tales of Count Lucanor
    E) The Decameron
  3. This “last child of Ungoliant to trouble the unhappy world” was a gigantic spider who attacked Frodo Baggins before being repelled by Sam.
  4. The Hogwarts Flying instructor is Madam _____.
    A) Sinistra
    B) Hooch
    C) Kettleburn
    D) Pince
    E) Vector
  5. This band, founded by Sean Brennan, takes its name from a seminal 1927 horror movie starring Lon Chaney.
  6. Although Psycho author Robert Bloch denies deliberately basing Norman Bates on this real-life killer, he has remarked upon being surprised how closely “the imaginary character I’d created resembled the real [person] both in overt act and apparent motivation.” Who was it?
    A) David Berkowitz
    B) Ted Bundy
    C) Dean Corll
    D) Ed Gein
    E) Peter Sutcliffe
  7. The video game Portal involves navigating puzzles whilst being “aided” and later menaced by an AI named what?
  8. Which of these is not one of the Pagan Sabbats?
    A) Lughnasadh
    B) Carmentalia
    C) Ostara
    D) Mabon
    E) Imbolc
  9. In Homer’s Odyssey, the ship finds itself menaced between a horrible monster named Scylla and a whirlpool named this.
  10. In the movie Alien the (rather unhelpful) ship’s computer is called what?
    A) Athena
    B) Osgood
    C) Mother
    D) Lucy
    E) Icarus

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 3 Comments »

“Horror Film Trailer” Baby Announcement

February 3rd, 2014 by Cobwebs

When they discovered she was pregnant, Brandon Pitts and his wife made this clever video to announce the news to friends and family. I love the twist ending.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Next Entries »