Martha Stewart recently did a feature on an Etsy shop called Andie’s Specialty Sweets, and when I saw the thumbnail for the Edible Autumn Leaves I thought, “Wow, $60 for two dozen leaves is kind of pricey for something so easy to make.”* Then I clicked over to the store and discovered that the leaves are pretty much the only thing that are easy to make and their stuff is worth every penny.
They offer a wide range of astonishingly realistic-looking edible items, from steampunky buttons and gears to delicate coral (I particularly love their black bird feathers and their ridiculously-detailed toadstools.
They also sell themed decorating kits, such as their Woodland kit featuring wild mushrooms, toadstools, ferns and fiddleheads, acorns, fill-in foliage, and ladybugs: All gorgeous, and all edible.
Although certainly not cheap, their stuff would be perfect for decorating something special like a wedding cake, and some of the smaller items like gears and sea glass could be included as part of a themed party favor.
Even if you’re not currently in the market for sculptural candy, be sure to click over to their shop just to browse around. The artistry is just astonishing.
*Which they are. You make standard chocolate leaves by painting melted chocolate on real (non-toxic) leaves and then carefully peeling them off when dry. For pretty multicolored leaves, use tinted white chocolate instead.
Bob Clark, who directed the classic A Christmas Story, also directed this holiday horror movie about a group of sorority sisters who are stalked and murdered over Christmas vacation by a killer hiding in their sorority house.
A) Santa Claws
B) Slay Bells
C) Silent Night, Deadly Night
D) Christmas Evil
E) Black Christmas
Telling “scary ghost stories” at Christmas is an old tradition, sadly less prevalent than it used to be, but still mentioned as one of the anticipated activities in this song popularized by Andy Williams.
This story by H.P. Lovecraft, set at Christmastime, follows an unnamed narrator’s visit to his ancestral town and his discovery of its dark past.
A) “The Dunwich Horror”
B) “The Festival”
C) “The Picture in the House”
D) “The Cats of Ulthar”
E) “The Colour Out of Space”
The novelette “Overtime,” set in the horror/spy thriller “Laundry” milieu, details Agent Bob Howard’s fight to keep something which definitely isn’t Santa from coming down the chimney and into our reality. Who writes the “Laundry” series, which includes novels like The Atrocity Archives, The Jennifer Morgue, and The Apocalypse Codex?
“The story had held us, round the fire, sufficiently breathless, but except the obvious remark that it was gruesome, as, on Christmas Eve in an old house, a strange tale should essentially be, I remember no comment uttered till somebody happened to say that it was the only case he had met in which such a visitation had fallen on a child.” Which classic ghost story begins with this sentence?
A) The Turn of the Screw
B) The Haunting of Hill House
C) The Old Nurse’s Story
D) The Poor Clare
E) Green Tea
This mythical being of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is somewhat akin to Father Christmas, granting children’s wishes and bringing them presents on Hogswatchnight.
What is the name of the Grinch’s long-suffering dog?
“Boz” and (occasionally) “Timothy Sparks” were pseudonyms used by this writer of a very popular Christmas tale.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Christmas episode “Amends” marks the first appearance of this entity, which was the Big Bad of the final season.
B) The First
D) Mayor Wilkins
In this novel by Christopher Moore, subtitled, “A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror,” an angel grants the wish of a child who had witnessed the death of a man dressed as Santa. In his inept attempt to bring “Santa” back to life, he raises everyone in the local cemetery as zombies.
Long-time blog readers will remember the Secret Santa Can Suck It virtual fake gift swap from years past, and darned if we aren’t going to do it again.
It’s fun, easy, and completely free to participate: Between now and December 10, leave a comment on this post or email me saying that you want to be part of the swap. On the 12th I’ll tell you who your assigned “giftee” is, and some time before December 23 you post a picture on your blog of what you would have gotten that person if you had money and, y’know, cared. Send me the link or, if you don’t have a blog, let me know and you can arrange to have your “gift” posted here.
On December 24 I’ll post a list of everybody’s entries so we can all marvel at each other’s good taste. It’s a silly, fun way to take a short break from general holiday craziness, plus we can all discover new blogs we might not otherwise find. The more people who participate the more entertaining the gift list will be, so put your inner Scrooge in a corner and join in!
Got several hours to kill and a desire to dredge up long-suppressed childhood fears? Check out Kindertrauma. With the slogan, “Your happy childhood ends here,”
KINDERTRAUMA is about the movies, books, and toys that scared you when you were a kid. It’s also about kids in scary movies, both as heroes and villains. And everything else that’s traumatic to a tyke!
Through reviews, stories, artwork, and testimonials, we mean to remind you of all the things you once tried so hard to forget…
The site is a trove of childhood horror, from ostensible “children’s movies” that are awfully dark for kids (I’m looking at you, Watership Down), to glimpses of grown-up TV shows, to the gory comic books published in the heady days before the CCA. Site hosts Unkle Lancifer and Aunt John publish their own writeups of kid-scarring media, but users are encouraged to submit their own Traumafessions. There’s also a helpful “Name That Trauma” feature: If you can’t remember the title of a book or movie that scared you as a kid, you can describe whatever details you recall and crowdsource an answer.
The hosts conduct occasional interviews with horror bloggers and other notables in the industry (my favorite line so far: “I don’t know what dark entities Sid & Marty Krofft spent time in the thrall of, but everything they made to entertain kids is tinged with this unearthly, utterly alien sensibility”), and there’s a “Name That Traumatot” picture-identification game.
After you’ve worked your way through the site archives, be sure to check out their fantastically lengthy blogroll of other horror-friendly sites.
I’m somewhat miffed that my own childhood-warping movie, The Beast with Five Fingers, doesn’t seem to be included in their archives. I may have to submit a Traumafession of my very own.
I like how the first instruction of “stop drop and roll” is “stop.” Like you might have just kept doing what you were doing, but in flames
raccoons are just dogs that have learned witchcraft
periods help you learn how to get blood off of things which is probably why you hear more stories of men caught with murder
For $5 I will go to the funeral of someone you hate and start a slow clap.
if you’re ever feeling lazy just remember that the ancient greeks believed their gods lived on top of a very climbable hill but no one even bothered to check
Your hair turns white when you get old for evolutionary reasons. Predators leave you alone if they think you’re a wizard
A banjo is just a guitar that wants to show you a dead body.
what if the coins you find randomly at the bottom of drawers and in between couch cushions are actually from spiders trying to pay rent
I’m guessing the ‘element of surprise’ is probably arsenic
I also want a vampire movie where everyone hasn’t grown weary of LIFE after a measly 300 years, vampires thrilled by toothbrushes & planes
Like Spikes monologue in season 3 but they feel that way all the time and go to museums and love 3D movies
Animation student Jacob Streilein made this creepy short to exorcise some old fears.
When I was in elementary school, the older kids started a rumor that quickly made recess a terrifying experience. I’ve been wanting to make this film just so I had a place to put some of the details of that rumor.
Medical Gross Out – The Distillations podcast did an episode featuring the “scarier (and squirmier) side of science.”
Artifacts for the Afterlife – Some interesting photos of gravestones embellished with colored glass, seashells, and other oddments. (Hat tip to pdq)
Alternate Universe What Ifs – xkcd’s Randall Munroe has a wonderful ongoing series called What If? in which he answers various off-the-wall questions with science (his book is great, too). His most recent column is What Ifs from an alternate universe, and they sound like a Night Vale episode.
Karen Aida – Ravelry designer offering neat knit sock patterns that look like ants, biohazard symbols, and obscene gestures (although not all at once). I think my favorite is, “Rock Me, Armadillos.” (via Cat)
A friend pointed me to this video of a prank involving an animatronic “demonic” baby, scooting around in a remote-controlled carriage and startling people. My initial thoughts were: A) That is a remarkably realistic-looking baby, and B) I hope they’ve got lawyers on hand for when a kindly little old lady goes over to coo at the baby and has a massive heart attack.
The next thing that struck me, though, was this: After the initial startle most people just go, “Huh” and keep walking. It seems as though encountering a carriage moving of its own volition and then having a clearly-possessed baby pop up out of it should have more of an impact. Nobody calls the police or even looks around for a priest. It could be that the animatronic doesn’t look as realistic in real life. It could be that this takes place in New York, where they pride themselves on refusing to impressed.* It may also have something to do with the location: Being surrounded by crowds of people might lessen the perceived threat (and also might explain why nobody calls the authorities; they all expect some other bystander will do it).
Regardless of the cause it’s an interesting reaction, and it sort of calls into question the way that crowds react to monsters in horror movies. In the movies, a demonic baby tooling around in a self-propelled carriage would cause widespread panic; in reality it seems that it causes more of a collective shrug. It’s possible that when zombies invade or a doorway to Hell opens up nobody will even notice.
*This is why Cloverfield was so unrealistic. If an actual kaiju showed up in New York everybody would go, “Pfft. I’ve seen bigger” and then studiously ignore it.