The Art of Darkness

The Life of Death

February 29th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Marsha Onderstijn’s graduation film is a touching animated short about “the day Death fell in love with Life.” It’s suddenly awfully dusty in here.

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

How Green Was My Link Dump

February 26th, 2016 by Cobwebs

The Kitten Covers – Classic album covers re-created (rather faithfully, really) with kittens. The site doesn’t display the original cover alongside, which is a pity; Sad and Useless has a few for comparison.

Warrior Women Wednesdays – “Every week of this year I’ll be doing a drawing of a battlin’ lady from history.”

Staked Heart Hand Pies – Recipe for strawberry hand pies with chocolate stakes.

8 Authors to Follow – The “women in horror” edition. (via Jan)

The Setup Wizard – The “daily accounts of a Muggle I.T. guy working at Hogwarts.” These sound entirely plausible.

Bats and Moon Throw Pillow – Tutorial for a cute throw pillow that looks like a flock of bats in front of the moon.

Vampire Magician – Dracula doing (bad) magic tricks is kind of adorable. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Orphan Club: ORIGINS – I love it when The Bloggess goes full stream-of-consciousness.

The Skullmate – This ceramic skull with a fabric cap is a sculpture, but a DIY version would make a cute pincushion. The Tiny Tim skulls from SkeletonStore have a pop-off noggin and are about the right size.

Joining the Internet of the Dead – This BoingBoing post and its linked articles discuss the increasingly-tangled online presences that the deceased leave behind, and how it’s important to make sure your survivors have the necessary access.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Digital Weasley Clock

February 25th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Weasley ClockThe Weasley family in Harry Potter have a magical “clock” in their living room which displays the location of each family member. Redditor tbornottb3 converted a thrift-store clock into a custom clock for his family.

His build notes and photos are here. The clock gets its data from a web service called If This Then That, which allows you to create workflows (which they call “recipes“) for various events. In this case, the family’s phone location data alerts the clock to their whereabouts:

Most of the rules are location-based (setting me to WORK if I enter my university library, HOME if I enter my dorm), but you can set other triggers too (set me to HOLIDAY if the forecast calls for snow, set me to MORTAL PERIL if the stock of the company I’ll be working for next year drops too low).

The discussion thread on Reddit has some good improvement suggestions by other commenters, and more information about his build choices (deciding, for instance, that LEDs were easier to program than movable hands). If you’ve been thinking about dipping your toes in the pool of simple programming and wiring, this would be a fun project. Adafruit sells both the Particle Photon starter kit (which includes a breadboard) and addressable LED strip required for the clock’s guts, and they’ve also got a huge library of tutorials to help you get up and running with the code.

Old pendulum clocks are common in thrift stores, and since you only need the case it doesn’t matter if the mechanism works or not. And if clocks aren’t your thing, you could use the same general idea to create an auto-updating magic mirror instead.

(via Geyser of Awesome)

Posted in Bad Things | 1 Comment »


February 24th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Erma is “like any other normal child. She goes to school, plays with friends, and even spends time with the family.” She also happens to be the daughter of a yūrei-type ghost, so that affects her appearance and behavior just a tad. Her father appears to be a normal human, but he seems fairly sanguine about his ghostly wife and daughter.

The ‘toon, by Brandon Santiago, follows Erma’s adventures with her school chums, babysitter, and parents. It has a rather sweet, Addams Family-esque vibe, and I like how so many “normal” people in her life (like her pediatrician) just kind of roll with her peculiarities.

I think this recent strip is my favorite:


The whole series is online at Tapstasic.

(Hat tip to xJane)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Homemade Orange Peel Firelighters

February 23rd, 2016 by Cobwebs

Rose FirelighterIt’s technically almost spring in the northern hemisphere, but here in the DC area we’ve had a very Godfather-esque relationship with winter this year: Just when we thought we were out…it pulls us back in. Our fireplace has seen a lot of use recently, and these firelighters are a handy way to get a blaze started. They’re easy to make–kids can help–and they’re pretty enough to give as a gift.

Dried citrus peels contain enough residual oil to make firelighters all by themselves, and unlike the popular DIY pinecone firelighters they don’t contain much creosote (which can build up and cause chimney fires). Dipping them in wax is optional, but it lets you choose the color and also gives you the opportunity for a little fun with chemistry.

Orange Peel Rose Start by cutting the peel off an orange in a spiral, and wrapping it into a rose shape. A picture is worth a thousand words here, so take a look at this photo tutorial from Good Home Design (click to enlarge).
Fresh Peel Place the wrapped peel in a cupcake tin (using a paper liner is optional, but will be handy later on). Put the tin in a warm, dry place and let the peel dry thoroughly. The peel will last indefinitely once dry, so you can continue adding peels to the tin as you use up oranges.

Note: It’s okay if you can’t get the peel off in one long piece; just wrap it all back up together. The cupcake tin will hold it in place as it dries and the wax will stick it back together for good. (Also be careful not to cut too deeply into the flesh of the orange as you’re cutting; if you wind up with a lot of pulp on the peel, scrape it off. Otherwise it tends to mold before it can dry all the way.)

Dried Peel When you have enough dried peels, melt some wax. Something Turquoise has instructions for making pinecone lighters which includes details on melting (and coloring/scenting if desired) wax. Their method uses soy wax flakes, but you can also use paraffin (often found in the home-canning section of grocery stores) or candle stubs. I had some half-burnt black candles, so I used those. Note: It is really easy for melting wax to catch fire (that’s what it does), so be sure to melt it over a double boiler instead of direct heat, and have a fire extinguisher to hand.

If desired, at this point you can mix one of several Common Household Chemicals(tm) with the wax so that it burns different colors when lit. Chemicals and their corresponding burn color:

Borax Powder [Yellow-Green]
Sea Salt or Table Salt [Yellow]
Epsom Salt [White]
No-Salt (Potassium Chloride) [Violet]
Strontium Chloride (found at pet stores in the aquarium supplies) [Red]

Use ONLY ONE chemical. Mix in about 1 Tbsp per C of wax.

Dipped Roses Remove the melted wax from the heat and dip each peel, rolling it around to thoroughly cover. You can use tongs, but the temperature of the wax is fairly low; I just dipped them in with my fingers. Let the excess wax drip off and set them on waxed paper to dry. You may want to re-dip them two or three times, letting them firm up in between, to get a nice all-over coat.

Once dry they’re ready to use, but I like to give the bottoms one final dip and then place them back in their paper cupcake liners so they’ll stick to the bottom. Then you can light them just by putting a match to the edge of the paper liner.

If giving these as a gift, pile a bunch in a glass jar or wire basket.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Hell No – The Sensible Horror Film

February 22nd, 2016 by Cobwebs

I would swear I’d linked to this before, but a look through my archive comes up empty so I blame the elves.

This short film illustrates the truism that most horror movies would be about five minutes long if all of the characters behaved sensibly.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

The Link Dump That Ate Cleveland

February 19th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Mirror World – Tumblr of weird vintage images.

Lady Hellraiser – Detailed Cenobite cosplay, slightly NSFW. I am mildly disturbed by the lack of nipples where you’d expect them to be, due to the implied doublestick tape and discomfort.

Overcast With A Chance Of DOOM! – Webcomic about a goth girl who moves into a haunted house.

Sky Dust – Set of five star-shaped pins and four linking chains that allow you to put customized constellations on your clothing. This would be super-easy to DIY with craft-store jewelry findings.

Hanzi Smatter – Blog dedicated to “the misuse of Chinese characters in Western culture.” (He appears to do Japanese too.) The blogger helpfully translates pictograms sent to him so you can discover whether the tattoo you thought meant “god will judge me” actually means “the great emperor’s tailor.”

Harry Potter Nail Art – A roundup of amazingly-detailed manicures.

Cosplay by McCalls – McCall Patterns has released three designs to make cosplay a little easier.

Yowie Mob – Googly eyes make everything better. (Hat tip to xJane)

BlackGloveKiller – Peter Murphy and Nivek Ogre will be starring in a horror movie.

Spiderweb Potholders – Tutorial for making hexagon potholders that suggest webbiness.

Posted in Link Dump | 6 Comments »

Use Up Scrap Fabric with a Rag Rug

February 18th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Rag RugI have a fabric-hoarding problem, and sadly there is no 12-step program to help. I just can’t quite bring myself to part with that last six inches of cute fabric, even though there are only so many patchwork quilts a person can make. Rag rugs to the rescue! They’re perfect for using up small scraps, they’re supposed to look “rustic” (which is code for “you can claim all those mistakes you made were intentional”), and when you run out of friends and family to gift them to you can donate them to your local animal shelter; they’re great for insulating the bottom of pet beds in cold weather.

Rag rugs can be knitted, crocheted, woven, braided, or hooked, so you can use your favorite construction method. The easiest way to make the “yarn” for your rug is to tear the fabric into strips more or less the same width (precision doesn’t matter too much), then knot them end to end. This is handy because you can knot as you go along and don’t have to worry about long tangled strips. You can also make yarn with less-obvious joins using this technique.

The simplest tutorials for knitted rugs pretty much consist of “use big needles and just go for it:” crazy mom quilts and She Who Measures have some tips for that method. Cocoknits has free patterns for a rag doily rug and rag bath mat which are a little more structured-looking.

For crocheted rugs, wikiHow has instructions for a simple round rug; sustainable baby steps has a nice in-depth tutorial which includes advice for dyeing your fabric, and About has a roundup of patterns.

A Beautiful Mess and Craft Passion have tutorials for making woven rugs. For braided rugs, inhabitat and Little House Living both have good instructions with lots of pictures; the latter joins the braids with machine-sewing instead of by hand, which would work okay for the thin fabric she uses but might be kind of a strain with thicker wools.

To make a hooked rug you can use rug canvas and a latch hook as described at Craftster, or hessian fabric and a crochet hook as in this tutorial at Creative Living. There’s also a sort of cheat-y rag rug made by knotting fabric through a non-slip rug pad; My Love of Style has instructions for that (although I’d ignore the part about buying fabric specifically for the project and use scraps).

If, like me, half of your fabric stash is Halloween-themed, it’s easy to make a rug in spooky colors and feel virtuous about using up your scraps.

(Image from JoAnn, where there’s also a brief tutorial)

Posted in Bad Things | 1 Comment »

Seen Online

February 17th, 2016 by Cobwebs

All humans born in the future already exist, it’s just that the matter they’re made from is dispersed.

There are different versions of you living within the minds of others. I wonder how different they all are.

how fucked up would it be if an astronaut was coming back to earth and everybody hid for a bit

Guy in heaven: Impossible, I died in 1890
Me: But I’m SURE I know you
G: ……Fine.*sigh* I’m told I’m in something called the “Cheers credits”

Since bat wings are just skin stretched between elongated finger bones, bats fly through the power of jazz hands.

vampires always like “i could kill you if I wanted” like? yeah? so could another human being. so could a dog. so could a dedicated duck. you arent special

My doctor won’t go away. I know what you’re thinking but he has been eating small pieces of apple over many decades to build up an immunity.

“I’ll take movies for $500 Alex”
Tim Burton directed this dark tale starring Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter
“You gotta be kidding me”

My imaginary friend has a real friend.

[in this tweet I’m the janitor who works in the nightclub from the beginning of the movie Blade, arriving to work]: oh god dammit

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Bug Carousel

February 16th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Bronx Zoo Bug CarouselYou guys! I don’t usually share region-specific attractions but the Bronx Zoo in NY has a Bug Carousel and it is the best thing ever.

The “first and only entirely insect carousel” is adjacent to the zoo’s butterfly exhibit, and you can ride on the back of a praying mantis, ladybug, grasshopper, and several other lifelike giant insects. The carousel also has two stationary “chariot” seats, one of which is utterly brilliant.

The Carousel Works site has some additional information, and if you search Google Images for bug carousel there are loads of photos.

I’ve occasionally seen kits and DIY projects for making miniature carousel toys. It’d be fun to replace the horses with insects (or arachnids; a spider, scorpion, tick, and mite merry-go-round would be entertaining), particularly if it was tucked in a normal-seeming train layout or diorama.

(via Bill)

Posted in Paint It Black | 1 Comment »

« Previous Entries