The Art of Darkness

Fun with Blavod

May 17th, 2016 by Cobwebs

BlavodDespite sounding like a Romanian sneeze, Blavod is actually a deep-black vodka from the UK. It’s colored with the extract of a Burmese tree called Black Catechu, which the company says does not affect the flavor. I’ve run across several reviews which say that the vodka actually has an “herby-medicinal aftertaste,” however, so you might take that into consideration when choosing a mixer.

Doesn’t matter. It’s pure black vodka. How can we not love it?

Obviously, the best way to show this off when serving as a mixed drink is to float the vodka so that it forms a separate layer.

  1. Figure out the density of each ingredient; the denser liquids go on the bottom (The Webtender has a specific gravity chart, if you need some help.)
  2. Pour the heaviest ingredient in the bottom of the glass.
  3. If you’re going to add ice, do it now. Putting it in later will destroy your layers.
  4. Place a teaspoon upside down close to the surface of the drink, with the edge of the spoon against the edge of the glass.
  5. Very slowly pour the next-heaviest ingredient over the back of the spoon, just letting it trickle in. Raise the spoon slowly if necessary.
  6. Repeat with each ingredient, ending with the least dense.

Incidentally, this is a lot easier to do if you use a plastic syringe instead of a teaspoon: Just suck up the necessary amount, place the tip of the syringe on the inside of the glass, and slowly push the plunger. You’ll want a needle with a fairly large bore; the syringes used for injecting marinades into meat work pretty well.

Here are a few easy recipes to get you started:

Black Widow
2 oz Blavod vodka
3 oz cranberry juice

Pour the cranberry juice into a highball glass filled with ice. Float the Blavod on top.

October Screwdriver
3 oz Blavod vodka
3 oz orange juice

Pour the orange juice into a collins glass filled with ice. Float the Blavod on top.

Dracula’s Kiss
1 1/2 oz Blavod vodka
6 oz Bloody Mary mix

Pour the Bloody Mary mix into a hurricane glass filled with ice. Float the Blavod on top. Add jalepeno pickle for spicy taste

Vampire Bite
2-3 drops red chili oil (found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)
2 oz. pomegranate juice
1/2 oz. Alizé Red Passion
2 oz. Blavod Black Vodka

Drip the chili oil into the bottom of a chilled highball glass. Layer pomegranate juice, Alizé, and Blavod on top.

(This post was first published in July 2008; I’ll be doing a few days of “blast from the past” archive posts in a probably-vain effort to catch up with real life.)

Posted in Paint It Black | 2 Comments »


May 16th, 2016 by Cobwebs

“A pair of home invaders consider their potential character choices just prior to their planned invasion.”

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 2 Comments »

The Four Link Dumps of the Apocalypse

May 13th, 2016 by Cobwebs

The Horror of Blimps – This story has been knocking around the intartubes for years, but it’s funny every time I run across it.

Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean Skulls – These are sort of adorable.

If These Are the Four Houses of America’s Hogwarts, They Are Completely Insane – I like J.K. Rowling, but goddamn is she tone-deaf where cultural appropriation is concerned.

Hoard of Nightmares – A recent commission in Iguanamouth’s ongoing “dragon hoard” series of awesomeness.

15 Fun Facts about Bunnicula – I was unaware that there’s a new animated series based on the book.

Michele Carragher – The blog of the costumer for Game of Thrones. Gorgeous photos, and even some tutorials for things like creating “dragonscale.”

More Vampires Who… – This Tumblr thread amused me vastly.

Beautiful Madness – EPBOT reviews a book subscription box (like Lootcrate for the literary, I guess) which sounds pretty neat.

A Walking Tour of the Shambles – Travelogue of a fictional area of Chicago, written by Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe, and illustrated by Gahan Wilson.

My Little Baphomet – Etsy shop full of felted demons and other adorably evil things.

Posted in Link Dump | 5 Comments »

I See an Anatomically-Incorrect Man in Your Future…

May 12th, 2016 by Cobwebs

JusticeMichelle of The Little Review has…well, something. “Too much time on her hands” and “An unhealthy interest in Barbie dolls” are two things that spring, ineluctably, to mind. But “relentlessness” must also be added to the list, because she’s managed to dig up enough Barbie images to populate an entire tarot deck.

The Barbie Tarot replaces the suit of Swords with Hats and Pentacles with Purses, and the minor arcana use Princes and Princesses instead of Knights and Pages. Also it’s bubblegum pink. Each card identifies the doll used and describes why it was selected.

11   Justice   Wonder Woman from Barbie Loves Pop Culture
The traditional image for Justice is a blindfolded woman holding the scales, balancing fairness and virtue against a lack of consideration and rigidity. The Amazon superheroine must balance her disguise as an ordinary woman with her use of the Lasso of Truth and indestructible bracelets to bring criminals to justice and help the downtrodden.


(This post was first published in April 2008; I’ll be doing a few days of “blast from the past” archive posts in a probably-vain effort to catch up with real life.)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

Cemetery Terrarium

May 11th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Cemetery TerrariumUncialle’s Halloween Darksite is a trove of spooky inspiration. I love the originality of her ideas and her vast enthusiasm.

One of her projects that I’ve been itching to try is the Pocket Cemetery: A terrarium made over into a miniature graveyard. She’s made tombstones out of Sculpey clay, uses bare twigs as miniature trees, and even plants grass seed in early October so that the cemetery can be properly grassy by Halloween. My very favorite touch in her cemetery is the little plastic skeleton buried right up next to the glass, with a tombstone appropriately positioned aboveground.

Now for the fun! There are countless things you can add. Go wild in a miniatures shop! In her Pocket Cemetery, Uncialle has placed a tiny red wagon with two pumpkins in it, as if a small child had visited, and perhaps run home, frightened. Two tiny, glowing red LEDs are monster eyes, hiding in the shadow behind a tombstone. Miniscule black paper bats hang from “invisible” sewing thread in the tiny trees. A tipped-over vase beside a tombstone spills out dried flowers, while a miniature white pitcher holds “fresh” flowers. Tiny stones can create a stone wall. You could even put in a witches’ hut, a tiny hand reaching from the ground, miniature people, a goblin, or a mummy going for a stroll!

I’ve been saving various odds and ends for a terrarium of my own: A marble pestle that broke in half is eventually going to be a ruined obelisk, and I have miniature bones ready to strew about. Now that the last of our tropical fish is sleeping with the humans, I’ve informed Shadow Jack that the aquarium is mine. (He’s learned not to argue when I get that look in my eye.)

A miniature cemetery like this would be an intriguing focal point for a room, particularly if it were in a Victorian glass terrarium or a Wardian case. Add a blue lightbulb for moonlight, and you can have your own little pocket of gloom to meditate on even when it’s perfectly sunny outside.

(This post was first published in November 2007; I’ll be doing a few days of “blast from the past” archive posts in a probably-vain effort to catch up with real life.)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Coffin Quilts

May 10th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Coffin QuiltY’know what’s irritating? Trying to find a photograph to accompany a blog post and discovering that there’s a book by the same title that everybody and their cousin has written about. I slogged through 37 pages of “the Hatfields and the McCoys sure didn’t like each other” to find this photo for you. I hope you’re happy.


Coffin Quilts date from the days when people were rubbing up against death all the time, so it was treated a little more matter-of-factly than it is today. As with most other types of patchwork quilt, they appear to have originally been an American invention.

They were usually done in somber shades of grey or brown and consisted of a plain center (the graveyard) surrounded by either pieced blocks (star, nine-patch, etc.) or by appliques such as a picket fence. These quilts were sometimes also embroidered with vines, flowers, and other funerary symbols.

Now for the fun part: Appliques in the shape of toe-pincher coffins, each embroidered with the name of a family member, were loosely basted on the quilt’s border. When a relative died, the coffin bearing his/her name was removed and sewed permanently in the center or graveyard area, along with the date of death.

Yeah, that’d be a hoot, wouldn’t it? Going to visit Aunt Agatha and seeing the little coffin with your name on it, just waiting….

Anyway, if you like to quilt (or would like to learn–it’s truly less daunting than you think), this would be a fun project. It’s nicely morbid, but can claim real historical roots if anyone complains. Depending upon your skill level you can choose a simple block (stick with squares or triangles that make up squares, like Churn Dash) or can go nuts with the appliques and make your own cemetery, complete with wrought-iron gates.

There’s another couple of photos of the quilt above on Flickr.

(This post was first published in September 2007; I’ll be doing a few days of “blast from the past” archive posts in a probably-vain effort to catch up with real life.)

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

SHEL – Enter Sandman

May 9th, 2016 by Cobwebs

The indie-folk group SHEL did a neat, weird cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman that turns it into a creepy lullaby.

(via Society of Rock<)

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All the World’s a Link Dump

May 6th, 2016 by Cobwebs

FraterOrion – Artist who makes all kinds of creepy sculpted items, including these Lovecraftian bottles.

Rat Bag – This cute rat-shaped tote bag has sold, but it looks reasonably DIY-able. (Hat tip to Pixel Pixie)

Maor Zabar Hats – Etsy shop full of completely bananas headwear featuring spiders or shaped like carnivorous plants. There’s a “featured shop” article on the Etsy blog.

How to Make a Fairy House – Some cute ideas for making miniature garden dwellings.

10 of the Most Disturbing Folk Songs in History – A little something to add to the playlist.

Eldritch T-Swift – “she wears high heels; all my feet are bare. she’s cheer captain, and i live deep under the bleachers, watching, my mandibles gently clicking” (Hat tip to xJane)

17 Bloody Facts About ‘Friday the 13th’ – A roundup.

BoringSidney – Etsy shop specializing in “Unusual hats and headdresses.” The Vampire Squid Fascinator cracks me up.

16 Real Old-Timey Photographs That Will Give you Nightmares – Some odd vintage photos, courtesy of Cracked.

Gothic Charm School – The Lady of the Manners offers advice on how to be a better black-clad freak.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

World Dracula Day

May 5th, 2016 by Cobwebs

World Dracula DayMay 26 is the original publication date for Dracula, and there’s a Facebook page and Twitter feed set up to celebrate the upcoming anniversary. (The website linked on the FB page just goes to a generic placeholder.) The event doesn’t seem to have gained much traction online, but last year The Vampire Historian did a special mini-sode and there were scattered mentions on history and literature sites.

There’s still time to plan a party, or at least a get-together with a few friends. There are loads of thematic recipes and party ideas–one thing the internet is not short on is vampires–and a search for “vampire dinner party” turns up suggestions from Food Network, PopSugar, AllYou, Hostess with the Mostess, and Not Quite Nigella, and that’s just the first page of results.

For something a little less involved, just invite a few friends over for a vampire movie marathon and order a pizza with extra garlic.

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Hallouija Board

May 4th, 2016 by Cobwebs

HallouijaAs I’ve mentioned previously, I run the Secret Pumpkin gift exchange, an annual event which seeks to bring participants a little out-of-season Halloween joy. The exchange has become an April highlight for me, particularly when I’m matched with somebody amazingly talented like Cat from Spooky Moon.

Last week I received a comically oversized package in the mail, which proved to be a custom-made Ouija board covered in Halloween-y symbols. Cat has a full post with build notes on her site, including lots of photos. She did an amazing job, festooning the board with haunted houses, cemeteries, skulls, and spiders. In particular, I love that the board’s alphabet is adorned with spooky images starting with the appropriate letter: The Z has a zombie hand bursting from its base, the J has a jack-o’-lantern perched on top, and so on.

The board came in a black velvet bag, with a separate little bag to hold the candy corn-shaped planchette. The detail is amazing, and I adore the creativity involved. (The fact that her husband opined, “You’re gonna be so sorry when a demon eats her entire family,” is something that I’m choosing to ignore.)

Thanks, Cat! You’re the best.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 4 Comments »

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