The Art of Darkness

The Good, the Bad, and the Link Dump

October 16th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Haunted Dollhouse – Gorgeously detailed miniature dollhouse full of creepy items.

Cthuvian Ipsum Generator – Lorem ipsun generator based on H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. (via Jan)

The Immaculate Pumpkin – Splendid Halloween take on the standard “heart of Mary” imagery.

Harry Potter Lipsticks – There’s a new line of Potter-themed lipsticks, some of which are quite attractive.

Art of Will Pigg – Illustrations and gorgeously intricate laser-cut paper silhouettes. I like the Snape/Lily and Sleeping Beauty ones especially.

Crying Candles – Candleholders with eyeholes that cause them to “cry” wax. The skull candleholder with the brain-shaped candle is particularly striking.

Cast That First Stone with the Jesus Slingshot – What would Jesus shoot?

RPF – With the tagline “craft your fandom,” the Replica Props Forum is a fantastic resource for props, costumes, and models from entertainment media.

The Ultimate Deck – Playing cards, each featuring a different, macabre, painting.

Red Velvet Pudding with Meringue Bones – Fun idea for party food.

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Chinoiserie Pumpkins

October 15th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Chinoiserie PumpkinI’ve run into several recent articles about decorating pumpkins with blue-and-white Chinoiserie patterns, so there’s apparently some new trend in the Collective Design Unconscious (a.k.a. the marthastewartsphere). I like them; it’s a subtle, elegant way to include pumpkins in your decorating scheme.

There’s an Etsy store called IndigoHome which sells them (there’s only one current listing, but several others in their Sold list), but if you’ve got a little patience it should be possible to DIY a simple design.

You could decorate one of the “White Ghost” varieties of real pumpkin for a temporary display, or use a fake one for something a little more permanent (I’ve seen white craft pumpkins, but if you can’t find one, just spray-paint an orange one). Draw the patterns with blue, black, or brown permanent marker or paint (which is easier to wipe off and re-do if you make mistakes).

The Relished Roost has a bunch of lovely designs that she’s painted, and Chinoiserie Chic has some photos of an oversized pumpkin decorated with a simple tree design. I dream of did a painting of a painted pumpkin (meta!) which included a witch on a broomstick amongst more traditional patterns. Although not Chinoiserie, I quite like this octopus too.

If you’re completely hopeless at drawing (a category I definitely fall into), Between Naps on the Porch has a tutorial for a decoupaged version that looks great.

Two or three of these would be a lovely centerpiece for a dinner party, and are pretty enough to use as decoration all year long.

Posted in Paint It Black | 1 Comment »

Seen Online

October 14th, 2015 by Cobwebs

I once murdered a man by pushing him into a comic book store and yelling, “He thinks Darth Vader would beat Batman.”
JRehling

Bit of an oversell, “dragonflies.”
jordan_stratton

“Oh, no. No, no, no. Are you kidding me?” -First thing I would say if someone raised me from the dead
bridger_w

If you go out for American food in Mexico does a grunge band come up and loudly play at your table?
TheCatWhisprer

How did people first figure out that it was cicadas that make this noise? I could see that taking a long time.
Were there just like a thousand years where people were like “yeah, the trees are screaming. They do that in the summer.”
curiosityconfusion

My doctor says that one day I will be able to eat baba ghanoush without singing “Baba ghanoush (snap snap)” to the Addams Family theme.
KenJennings

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me ten times, congrats! You filled the punch-card! This shame is on the house!
msgwenl

Everyone SAYS they want a fairytale wedding but when I show up and curse their firstborn suddenly I’m the jerk.
slackmistress

Books are just dead, tattooed trees.
captainschmitty

Helena Bonham Carter eats eight spiders a day. Not in her sleep, just whenever.
Bob_Janke

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

A Wand for an Artistic Witch

October 13th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Wand DetailA few years ago there was a rather excellent blog called “Seeing Things” which was a trove of Halloween projects. And then, one day…there wasn’t. The entire site was deleted without explanation and the whole wonderful archive of ideas was gone without a trace. This was particularly galling to me since I’d had my eye on one of the projects, a wand for an “Art Witch,” because my sister happens to be both an Art History professor and a Wiccan.

Fortunately, the googles are your friend. I was able to dig up enough of the details to take my own crack at the wand, and my notes are below.

Materials

  • Wooden bobbin, for the body of the wand. Vintage hardwood bobbins used in textile mills from the 1890s – 1940s are a common shabby chic/primitive decorative item and are available on eBay, Etsy, or at flea markets and antique stores. I got mine from Stampington. The original post noted that there was probably all kinds of creative energy already stored up in the wood, so…sure, let’s go with that. (If you don’t want to use a bobbin, a largish wooden dowel should work although you’ll have to drill the ends.)
  • Wooden dowel, small enough in diameter to fit snugly into the hole in the center of the bobbin (optional).
  • Cabinet knob, for the back of the wand. The type used for kitchen and bathroom cabinets is about the right size. I used a faceted crystal knob that I picked up at the hardware store, but I really like these crystal balls too. You can use a metal or ceramic one if you prefer. (You could also use plastic but it seems kind of a shame to get a cool wooden bobbin and then stick a cheap plastic doohickey on the end.)
  • Hanger bolt of the correct size to fit the cabinet knob. This is optional, depending upon how you decide to secure the knob to the wand (see instructions below).
  • Crystal bead, for the front of the wand. I hit the beading section of my local craft store and picked up some natural quartz beads (similar to these, although nowhere near as expensive; the strand cost about $3). Any other small pointy thing should work.
  • Wire, for wrapping the wand. I used 20-gauge wrapping wire. It’s available in all sorts of colors.
  • Wire cutters. Additional wire tools like needlenose pliers are not strictly necessary but are really helpful.
  • Decorative elements, to personalize the wand. I used some metal-rimmed tags from Stampington, some vintage Halloween images (see below), a glass capsule bead from the craft store, some wire connectors, charms, and thin copper chain. Most of the items were found on clearance, so choose whatever appeals to you.


    The little round tags were for “inchies,” which is apparently a scrapbooking term, so I looked for round “inchie” images on Etsy. I finally settled on this set, but these and these were close seconds. If you’re feeling intrepid you can create your own set of images using clipart and your favorite graphic software, but I figured it was worth the four bucks to have all of that done for me. (I did use Photoshop to add the words “Art Witch” to one image before printing, but that’s completely optional.)

  • Hot glue and/or wood glue, depending on how you secure the cabinet knob (see instructions).
  • White glue or Mod Podge (optional, depending on your decorative choices).

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Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Strange Alloy

October 12th, 2015 by Cobwebs

In this affecting short film, an alien schoolchild studies primitive human ruins.

There’s also a “making of” video.

(via BoingBoing)

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The Maltese Link Dump

October 9th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Bedtime Stories for Awful Children – Year Walk is a new game based on Swedish folklore, and as a “special treat” its creators have put together a free e-book of Swedish scary stories to tell in the dark. They’ve helpfully translated it into several other languages “because we think obnoxious children all over the world deserve dark nightmares.”

Ray Harryhausen Auction – If you’re a fan of the stop-motion master, there’s an auction of memorabilia later this month.

Rocky Horror Cast Reunites for 40th Anniversary – Several members of the cast reunited on the Today Show to talk about the cult classic.

Harry Potter Encyclopaedia Pages – Gorgeous artwork imagining pages from books like “Auror Basics” and “Pets of the Wizardy World.”

Halloween Treat – The Oblong Box has a new collection of retro-inspired clothing featuring vintage Halloween imagery.

Devil’s Food Cupcakes – These cupcakes decorated with little fondant horns would be easy to do and they’re really rather elegant.

Tim Curry Audiobooks – I wasn’t aware that Tim Curry did audiobook narrations, but he’s got a bunch of good ones, including A Christmas Carol, Sabriel and its sequels, Dracula (in which he voices Van Helsing), and several others.

Head on a Pike Drink Stirrer – Easy idea for making Halloween beverage stirrers.

Fury Road in Hieroglyphics – Artist Takumi has done a pretty awesome job of capturing the plot of Fury Road entirely in hieroglyphics. I’d love to see a whole set of these detailing various movies. (Bonus link: Check out the Hero-Glyphics set by Josh Ln.)

Ramon Maiden – Interesting, tattoo-y, artwork. Some NSFW. (via pdq)

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Harry Potter Dinner Party

October 8th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Potions ClassroomFood in Literature is an amazing site which tries to re-create foods found in books, from Willy Wonka’s Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight to James Bond’s Vesper Martini.

The site also has a number of fantastically-detailed dinner party ideas, with themes including Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow, Treasure Island, and The Hobbit. The most recent party was themed around Harry Potter, and the result is just splendid. From the party invitations (sent by Muggle Mail, “so as not to confuse the mailman”) to candles floating in midair over the dining table, to a friendly owl waiting to greet guests at the door, the attention to detail is spot-on.

Here’s a breakdown of the decoration and food:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Recipes and Other Details

Be sure to browse the rest of the site too; it’s a trove of great party ideas.

(via DIY Halloween)

Posted in Resources | 3 Comments »

The Great Pumpkin Project

October 7th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Lonely JackExcuse me whilst I jump up and down with glee at this marvelous idea.

Over at Pumpkinrot, one of Rot’s regulars has suggested a splendid way to spread some October cheer: “Jack O’Lanterns left anonymously in lonely places, near abandoned buildings, alongside roads…anywhere that’ll give the passerby a burst of Halloween, and some questions.”

Adam, the originator of the project, has a suggested “calling card” design to be attached to the stem of each lonely Jack; he’s said that he’ll supply Rot with a downloadable file that others can use to stencil a similar card, so keep an eye out for an update on Rot’s post. On the one hand, it seems sort of a shame to do anything that will give away the fact that this is part of a larger project rather than a drive-by pumpkining; but on the other hand it’ll probably keep the pumpkin from being mistaken for a bomb. (Lookin’ at you, Boston.)

If you decide to play along, Adam has one request:

That is that everyone who decides to do this, please use the same name and if possible, please try and use the same tag. I will try and get a file out to Rot somehow and everyone is welcome to use the logos. The point of the project is to create a random “What The Hell?” moment in passers by, and to create a feeling of joy inside people like us when they pass a random Jack in an odd place.

Someone in the comments says that “The photos are going to be great;” I don’t see any mention of an official place to post photos of successful Jack placements, but a #GreatPumpkinProject tag on Instagram would probably work until something more official comes up.

Grab a pumpkin, get out there, and make somebody else’s day a little more surreal!

Update: Adam has posted the label for download here, and included some additional thoughts on the project. (Including a preeetty important one that I hadn’t thought to call out: Don’t use actual fire. “Flameless” LED tea lights are inexpensive and widely available; use those instead.)

(via ShellHawk’s Nest)

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

October 6th, 2015 by Cobwebs

  1. Castle Rock, Maine is a fictional town which provides the setting for several of Stephen King’s works. Which of these is NOT set there?
    A) The Dead Zone
    B) Cujo
    C) The Body
    D) Needful Things
    E) It
  2. What item did Dumbledore bequeath to Hermione in his will?
  3. The space-vampire flick Lifeforce involves the discovery of an alien spacecraft inside the head of what comet?
    A) Shoemaker–Levy 9
    B) Halley
    C) Kohoutek
    D) Hyakutake
    E) Hale-Bopp
  4. The brothers in Supernatural are Sam and Dean who?
  5. In the Aliens series of movies, the soulless corporation more interested in making a profit than saving people from the xenomorphs is:
    A) Cyberdyne
    B) Aperture Science
    C) Tyrell
    D) Weyland-Yutani
    E) Omni Consumer Products
  6. In this offbeat horror-comedy, nursing-home residents Elvis Presley (Bruce Campbell) and John F. Kennedy (Ossie Davis) fight off a reanimated Egyptian mummy who preys on the elderly.
  7. Who wrote the auto-erotic novel Crash?
    A) Brian Aldiss
    B) Julian May
    C) J.G. Ballard
    D) Ian McDonald
    E) George R. R. Martin
  8. What is the name of Harry Dresden’s vampiric half-brother?
  9. In what was presumably an homage, the doctor who treated Michael Myers shares a name with the boyfriend of the victim in Psycho. Is it:
    A) Sam Loomis
    B) Lankester Merrin
    C) Martin Brody
    D) Ben Hanser
    E) Seth Gecko
  10. Which movie reveals the root of a family’s ghostly problems with this line? “You son of a bitch, you moved the cemetery but you left the bodies, didn’t you?! You son of a bitch! You left the bodies and you only moved the headstones!”

(Answers below the fold)

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Posted in Trivia | 5 Comments »

Breathe

October 5th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This spooky short is a ghost story about a girl you can only see when you hold your breath.

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