The Art of Darkness

Hedwig and the Angry Link Dump

May 15th, 2015 by Cobwebs

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles – Series of YA novels about Cimorene, a princess who refuses to be proper, and her adventures amongst the dragons.

Confessions of an Idiom – Cute little animated short involving a power struggle between the skeleton in the closet confronts the elephant in the room.

When Disney Scared Us – Nerdist has a roundup of films that Disney “would rather forget.” I’ll ditto their inclusion of The Black Hole on this list; ten-year-old me is still scarred.

Cute Pet Rat Photos – Rats are second only to bats in the “underappreciated adorable mammal” category.

10 Best Southern Gothic Books – An interesting roundup.

Cruchley’s Pocket Map of London – Zoomable image of an 1849 map of London.

Welcome to Night Vale – The podcast has spawned a novel.

Scott Bisson – Artist who creates gorgeous glass creatures such as squid, anglerfish, and lizards. More pictures and prices are available in the gallery here.

Jane Eyre, Or: The Bride of Edward ‘Crazypants’ Rochester – “Suddenly, typhus!”

Junk Food Repackaged for Hipsters – Artist Dan Meth redesigned the packaging for various American junk foods to look like premium artisanal products. He did a really good job.

Posted in Link Dump | 6 Comments »

Stilt Spirit DIY

May 14th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Stilt SpiritIn 2010 artist Melissa Irwin and her husband built some amazing Halloween costumes inspired by the landstriders from Dark Crystal. The arms are extra-long medical crutches and the legs were stilts from The Spinsterz; the bodies are mainly upholstery foam and fabric. She notes:

We tried different faces and masks, but nothing seemed to creep out people more than the blank and expressionless human face. On Halloween we stand in yards to pretend like we are decorations then follow families down the street. FREAKS THEM OUT!!! We also walk in our town on random days in the year just to surprise people.

Here’s a time-lapse video of a couple of their build “test runs,” plus some footage of them walking around and creeping people out:

Response to the costumes has been so overwhelming that she is now offering a downloadable set of instructions for $10US on Etsy.

I love how weird and organic these things look, as though they’ve emerged from a forest that exists only in your nightmares. The build is a little ambitious in terms of price–forearm crutches are around $75 and stilts are over $200–but if you view it as a long-term investment in giving people the heebie-jeebies for years to come it’s worth it.

(via Geyser of Awesome)

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Still More Stuff I Found While Looking Around

May 13th, 2015 by Cobwebs

It’s time for another bunch of random stuff I’ve found which I want to share but can’t hang a whole post on. Some of them have no attribution, so if you happen to know the source for any of these please leave a note in the comments. (Click to view larger.)

Jessica Joslin Bats


These squee-worthy bat sculptures are by artist Jessica Joslin. She has loads of other lovely critters in her gallery. (The bones she uses are either replica or ethically sourced.)
Caesar Knife Block

Caesar Knife Block

I was hoping this was an actual perfect-for-the-Ides-of-March product, but it seems to just be a ‘shopped version of this bust. (via pdq)
Spiderweb Lamp

Spiderweb Lamp

No idea where this is from originally; there’s a similar image here, but it appears to be used as a placeholder for illustrative purposes. It’d be easy to make something similar; the simplest way would be to use spray adhesive on an existing lampshade and cover it with spooky paper. If you’d rather make your own, google “how to make a lampshade” to get lots of tutorials like this one.
Skull Spoons

Skull Measuring Spoons

These were a seasonal item at World Market, but don’t seem to be available now. Sigh.
NMBC Mobile

Nightmare Before Christmas Mobile

All roads lead to Pinterest on this one, so I can’t credit an original source. The tentacle looks like painted plywood; I like how it’s hinged so it can swing back out of the way. The little hanging characters appear to be this set of plush figures. (via Tanya)
Goth Steampunk Cake

Goth Steampunk Cake

I don’t want to eat this thing as much as wear it. It’s by Sweetlake Cakes, and there are several other lovely cake photos as well.
Octopus Chatelaine

Octopus Chatelaine

This gorgeous silver chatelaine is in the colleciton of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Collectors Weekly has a good article on the history of chatelaines.
Computer Mouse

Skull Computer Mouse

This functional mouse was made from a sheep skull by Ivan Mavrović. Be sure to check out the rest of his site for all kinds of steampunky designs.
Spider Coverlet

Spider Bedding Set

This screen-printed duvet and pillow shams would be perfect for a guest room. They seem to have previously been available through Etsy but aren’t there now. There’s a listing for them on Wanelo, but they require registration to use their site so I don’t know if the item is actually still available.


This just made me giggle.

Posted in Whatever | 4 Comments »

Custom Printed Signet Rings

May 12th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Signet RingPropnomicon recently mentioned this custom 3D-printed Elder Sign Signet Ring and noted casually, “Like a growing number of Mythos items it was designed on a computer and then printed out at Shapeways.” And my brain went, “record scratch You can DO that?”

Why yes, yes you can. I am so behind the times.

Shapeways provides a variety of 3D design and printing services, and many of their users sell cool custom jewelry. Nonconformity, the shop owner who designed the Elder Sign ring, offers a ring from Once Upon a Time, and also does custom designs on request. If you search the Shapeways site for “signet ring” you’ll get lots of other designs including lions, skulls, and even My Little Pony. Several other shops also offer custom work, so if you have a family crest or other design that you’ve always wanted as a signet, you can check those out.

Depending upon the material selected, the rings are surprisingly inexpensive. A plastic one suitable for cosplay is around $12US, stainless steel is $25US, and brass is $50US. Even rings with fancier metals, like sterling silver or gold plating, are less than $100US.

This type of affordable bespoke design is a perfect accessory for a costume (or just to wear as jewelry). Dracula, for instance, surely wore a signet ring (there are some licensed ones floating around, such as this and this, that you can use for inspiration). Boris Karloff’s mummy wore a scarab. There’s a cool vintage-y “wolfman” ring here. And that doesn’t begin to cover all of the modern possibilities like a house crest from Harry Potter or Game of Thrones. (Obviously, many designs are licensed and can’t be copied exactly, but you should be able to create something that captures the flavor of the design without running afoul of copyright.)

If you’re handy with 3D design, you can cut out the middleman and use Shapeways to print your uploaded patterns directly. Custom rings made of an inexpensive material would be a very cool party or wedding favor, a useful way to identify team members in a LARP, and they’d also be handy for things like “largesse” at SCA events.

Posted in Needful Things | 2 Comments »

Dinosaurs: Terrible Lizards

May 11th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Rathergood’s short nature documentary shows just how terrible at being lizards they actually were.

(via Laughing Squid)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Link Dump

May 8th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Electric Sticker Co. – Sells vinyl stickers for electrical outlets that look like faces. Lots of Halloween-related ones like vampires and witches. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Garden Witchery – Book about practicing “magick from the ground up.” The same author has also written Seasons of Witchery about celebrating Sabbats in the garden.

Ghoulia Childs – Twitter account (and accompanying Facebook page) combining horror and cooking. As you do.

How To Tell if You Are in a Shirley Jackson Story – Another helpful guide from The Toast. (Hat tip to pdq)

Girly Viking Dragon Academy Birthday Party – I have seriously mixed feelings about this party idea. It’s refreshing to see a warrior-type theme aimed at girls, but then it gets slammed right back into Pretty Princess territory with pastels and cartoony imagery.

Houdini and Doyle – Fox has picked up a period drama in which Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle team up to investigate supernatural mysteries. …I got nothin’.

Whiskey River Soap Co. – Sells soap and candles with names like Soap for Black Sheep (“Smells Like a Recessive Gene”) and Soap for Writer’s Block (“Smells Like Regurgitated Ideas and Probably a Vampire”). (via Beans)

CuriousCephalopods – Last year, artist Kirstie Williams got a lot of positive attention for her awesome octopus fascinator. She began taking custom orders and now offers them in an Etsy shop. So cute!

Professor BJ Sears’ Technological Rarities – Series of faux-antique steampunky devices with interesting backstories. Good source of project inspiration.

Fluevog Odette – I really like the skull detailing on these shoes’ buckles.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Light-Up Skirt Tutorial

May 7th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Fairy SkirtCostumer Angela Clayton, with whom you may already be familiar from when her Elsa the Snow Queen costume went viral, made a gorgeous “Christmas Angel” costume which featured a light-up skirt. You can see more photos of the costume here and read her build notes here and here. (While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of her costumes, particularly the adorable Halloween-themed flower dress near the bottom of this page.)

Here’s a short video of the light-up effects:

Clothing with battery-powered lights has been around for ages–I fondly recall a 50’s-vintage skirt belonging to my aunt which featured a felt Christmas tree with working lights on the branches–but modern wiring, lights, and battery requirements are vastly improved and easy to use. Today, if you want to add dramatic lighting to the folds of your wizard’s cloak or wear an appliqued bat with glowing eyes, there are tons of supplies and resources which make it easy.

In addition to Clayton’s tutorial, there’s a good easy-to-follow tutorial at Gizmodo, and some some general tips at CreativeBug. If you’re feeling more ambitious, MIT professor Leah Buechley has some pretty awesome instructions for creating a tank top with a microcontroller that can be programmed to spell messages or run a Life session.

Wired has a good overview of materials for sewable circuitry, and you can buy supplies at SparkFun or Evil Mad Scientist.

A simple circuit with a couple of LEDs is an easy project that’ll give you confidence to try more elaborate effects. It’s also a good intro to the world of programmable circuitry; after you’re comfortable adding circuitry to clothing, you can move on to elaborate Jack-o’lantern light displays.

Posted in Resources | 1 Comment »

Seen Online

May 6th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Maybe bats leave Hell in a slow and orderly fashion.

me: all our teeth fall out as children and then they all grow back stronger
alien: okay, i mean…that definitely sounds fake, but…okay.

When it’s my time, I just want to go in a way that leaves my Wikipedia entry a “Death and Aftermath” section.

An all-cat Ghostbusters reboot that’s just 90 minutes of them staring intently and occasionally meowing at a blank wall.

Game of Thrones gets a lot less dramatic when you remind yourself Lannisters, Starks, and Greyjoys alike all have to shit in fancy buckets.

In Australia it was called The Passion of the Crikey.

Why would you not name your pet shark Jump?

I think that the moment right before you die, you hear your mother calling you inside as the streetlights flicker on

Actually, I’m leasing a stairway to heaven.
I also craft artisinal bustles, specifically for hedgerows, which have the quality of not alarming passers-by.

i’ve figured out that horror games with grotesque monsters and spooky environments are -9000 scary if you pretend you’re steve irwin on a mission to document the monster(s)
“Lookie there. That’s a six-foot grunt from the basement. A-hm gonna wrassle it.”

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

May 5th, 2015 by Cobwebs

  1. What nationality is Abraham Van Helsing?
    A) Swiss
    B) Dutch
    C) German
    D) Hungarian
    E) Belgian
  2. There was a loose sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show which never achieved much success. What was its title?
  3. This water-dwelling monster with long, sinewy arms is said to inhabit marshes, bogs, and ponds in Yorkshire. It grabs and drowns children who stray too close to the water’s edge.
    A) Boggart
    B) Redcap
    C) Hobgoblin
    D) Barghest
    E) Grindylow
  4. Over the course of its run the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows featured werewolves, zombies, witches, and a host of other monsters, but its star was definitely the vampire played by Jonathan Frid. What was his name?
  5. Who owns the ice cream parlor in Diagon Alley?
    A) Newt Scamander
    B) Elphias Doge
    C) Florean Fortescue
    D) Sturgis Podmore
    E) Ludo Bagman
  6. In Macbeth, the three witches’ prophecy that he will be king has come true, but he feels that his power is insecure so he consults them again. They call forth horrible apparitions which, amongst other things, assure him that he will be safe until what happens?
  7. Sarah Brightman, who starred as Christine in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, played this ill-fated singer in Repo! The Genetic Opera.
    A) Amber Sweet
    B) Jessica Adams
    C) Marni Wallace
    D) Blind Mag
    E) Carmela Largo
  8. In Poe’s short story “The Black Cat,” the narrator’s downfall begins with his mistreatment of a cat, named after this deathly deity.
  9. Chris Sarandon provided Jack Skellingon’s speaking voice in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Who did Jack’s singing voice?
    A) Johnny Depp
    B) Danny Elfman
    C) Tim Burton
    D) Robert Smith
    E) Tim Curry
  10. Stephen King’s vampire novel ‘Salem’s Lot takes its title from the name of the fictional town where the narrative is set. “‘Salem” is a shortened version of the name; what is the town actually called?

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 1 Comment »

Medusa’s Ball

May 4th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This lovely CGI short was produced by the 3D animation training school at ESMA.

(via The Presurfer)

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

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