The Art of Darkness

Mourning Handkerchiefs

January 28th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Mourning HandkerchiefYou gotta give it to the Victorians: When it came to death, they did not believe in half measures. There were strict rules about proper mourning attire, and one essential accessory was the mourning handkerchief.

The handkerchiefs were traditionally white, trimmed with a black border; the border width varied depending upon how long one had been in mourning. (There were rules about that, too. The customary mourning period of a widow for her husband, for instance, was a total of 2 1/2 years: First Mourning, 1 year and 1 day in bombazine and heavy crape; Second Mourning, 9 months with less crape; Ordinary Mourning, 3 months in black silk; and Half Mourning, a minimum of 6 months where “half mourning colors” like grey and purple were allowed, and a greater variety of fabric and trim was permitted.) A proper handkerchief would sport a heavy black band during First Mourning, after which narrower bands could be used.

As with most customs, eventually there were embellishments. The handkerchiefs might be made of delicate lace or feature embroidery and fancy fabric.

These are a perfect small craft project, whether or not you have any actual funerals to attend. (Although if you do, a pretty hanky decorated in a motif that was meaningful to the deceased would be a thoughtful gift; either for for a mourning loved one or as a keepsake for yourself.)

Handkerchiefs are easy to make–there are good instructions here and here–but you can also start with a premade handkerchief and add lace, ribbon, or embroidery. Tutorials for all of these techniques are just a quick google away.

It’s always a good idea to have a hanky on hand, and one with gothy overtones is even better.

(Hat tip to xJane)

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Seen Online

January 27th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Gryffindor: Do what is right
Ravenclaw: Do what is wise
Hufflepuff: Do what is kind
Slytherin: PUT A FUCKING BASILISK IN THE CASTLE
HogwartsLogic

I feel like people in horror movies live in an alternate universe where there are no horror movies.
BizzieLaehr

on earth: a magician puts his hand in his hat
in the rabbit realm: The Hand emerges. it is time. the rabbit council must chose a sacrifice
jonnysun

Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings. It’s always the same angel. It’s covered in wings now and wants to die but can’t
iscoff

Winter is like the Earth’s period. No one likes it, but we get worried when it’s late
Shower Thoughts

“A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear.” No. The prettiest thing you can wear is the flayed skin of a stranger telling you to smile.
missokistic

I love how whenever ghosts or spirits are incorporated into television or film they’re always like 19th century British children or present-day deceased loved ones. Over 100 billion people have lived and are dead now. Do you know what percentage of 100 billion are from Victorian-era England or people you actually knew? Like negative zero percent is how many. And yet I haven’t seen a single movie where the ghost is some really confused guy from the Mesolithic period.
outofcharacterquilts

In the dog world, humans are elves that routinely live to be 500+ years old.
hypermog

“There’s a monster under my bed!”
“Yes. He watches over you at night and chases away your nightmares.”

“There’s a monster in my closet!”
“Yes. She loves the smell of the laundry detergent I use, and she’s busy trying to organize your shoes.”

“There’s a monster under the stairs!”
“Yes. She collects spiders and he makes sure you don’t trip while going to get water.”

“There’s a monster right outside my window!”
“Yes. He’s pulling weeds from the garden and protecting us from burglars.”

“There’s a monster behind the couch!”
“Yes. He’s eating all the crumbs you left behind and hiding pennies in the cushions.”

“Oh. Then good night.”
“Good night, Dear.”

markvincentofdesertbluffs

if i was a ghost i would do useful things like let the cat out or take flammable things off the stove and sing to small children when they can’t sleep and terrify the fuck out of assholes hell yeah bitches. what was that? did I hear you make a derogatory remark about women? bam, your lamp is now on the floor what cha going to do punk? are you abusing that child? wambo, your walls are now bleeding motherfucker
no-need-4-hats-thx

I’m eating your food and your Netflix suggestions are gonna be fucked up.
“Why the fuck would I be watching Supernatural?”
“Ooooooo don’t take that off your queue oooooo.”
— Tyree

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 3 Comments »

Flaming Spellbook Prop

January 26th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Burning BookYou guys, have I ever mentioned how very, very stabby Pinterest and similar aggregators make me? This damn photo is everywhere, but I can’t find an original source or any other information about it. It’s a pretty neat-looking prop that would be great for a “witch’s kitchen,” but would also be attractive just displayed on a shelf. (It’d also be an awesome library display piece for Banned Book Month.)

I found a somewhat similar book that was previously available on Etsy from which it’s possible to glean a little more of the general construction.

Here’s my best guess on making a similar prop:

  1. Get a large hardback book from a thrift store; if it’s a little battered-looking, so much the better.
  2. If you intend to display the book opened flat or with the cover only slightly visible, just spray-paint the cover black (cover the edges of the pages with masking tape if you’re concerned about overspray). If the cover is going to be visible, you may want to decorate it further.
  3. Open the book to the middle, place it at the angle it’s going to be displayed at, and liberally paint white glue or Mod Podge around the edges of the pages to stick them all in place. (If desired, before this step you can spray all of the edges with water and let them dry so they’re a little more crinkly and old-looking.) There’s a good step-by-step tutorial for making an open-book spellbook here, to give you a general idea of what you’re shooting for.
  4. Distress the edges of the pages and add fake text to the visible top pages, if desired. This site has good instructions for doing that.
  5. Use an X-Acto knife to cut a hole in the center of the pages, large enough to accommodate a flickering LED tea light.
  6. Cut scraps of paper and glue them around the edges of the hole; stiffen them with a little Mod Podge if necessary. Build them up and out so they’ll hide the tea light, but don’t make them so dense that they hide the flicker. You could use paper with text for the outer edges and thin tissue paper for the inner stuff. You might also try tucking in a bit of red or orange cellophane to suggest flames.
  7. Make a few twists of black wire and attach tufts of scrap paper to one end of each. Hot-glue the other ends amongst the bits of scrap paper around the edge of the hole.
  8. Nestle the tea light inside and you’re good to go.

It’s a reasonably straightforward project; the hardest part would be making the central combusty bit look right. It might be worth doing a couple of test runs of just that part on other thrifted books before committing to the full paint job.

Posted in Paint It Black | 2 Comments »

David Bowie & Nine Inch Nails Live

January 25th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Pixel Pixie alerted me to this awesome live performance from the 1995 Dissonance tour. If you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go kick myself for missing it in 1995.

Posted in Whatever | 1 Comment »

The Day of the Link Dump

January 22nd, 2016 by Cobwebs

Moss Love – Terrariums and DIY kits featuring moss.

Black Metal Cats – Twitter feed featuring cat pictures captioned with appropriate metal lyrics.

Tattoos Inspired by Neil Gaiman – There’s some lovely artwork here.

“Always” Necklace – A Snape tribute necklace by EPBOT.

Spiderpodium – Dock for cellphones, iPods, and other electronic devices. Shaped like a spider with poseable legs.

Chocolate Mice – Easy-to-make candies that would look adorable peeking around the edges of a cake.

Modern Murder Weapons – I’m rather taken with the idea of organic, locally-sourced cyanide.

Art Nouveau Bat Pin – Gorgeous enamel brooch. The bat’s body appears to be a large natural pearl.

Metal Kitchen – Metalcore singer Linzey Rae sings a parody heavy metal tutorial for making shepherd’s pie. (via Cat)

aLexLibris – Etsy shop full of lovely handmade journals, like this amazing coffin-shaped one.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Anti-Valentine’s Day Party

January 21st, 2016 by Cobwebs

Voodoo PincushionThat Holiday is coming up soon, and Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena has the cure:

Valentine’s Day does not have to be the most dreaded holiday of your year anymore. Stop by after 7pm and join us for our Anti-Valentine’s Day party. Make your own voodoo doll, swap stories of dates gone wrong, and enjoy a little food and drink!

This would also be a fun party theme to try at home: Supply your guests with the materials to create their own voodoo doll pincushion and let them decorate as desired.

The photo above is Valentine, the patron saint of “romance-resisting, Hallmark-hating, Cupid-cursing folks everywhere.” He was originally featured on a site called IndieSpotting, which sadly seems to be as dead as chivalry, but fortunately WonderHowTo has a materials list and a copy of the original pattern. There aren’t any instructions, but the photo makes it reasonably clear how it should all go together: Sew buttons on one of the body sections and then add a stitched mouth and a few “scars.” Stitch the two heart pieces in place, then blanket-stitch the two body sections together and stuff with fiberfill. If you’ve never worked with felt before, Lit’l Brown Bird’s Ideas has instructions for basic hand stitching, and you can find lots of tutorials by searching “DIY felt toys” (look at this adorable felt clam!)

Serve conversation heart sugar cookies with messages like “Drop Dead” or “Meh.” Make Stupid Cupid cocktails with extra bitters. Play a party mixtape like I Hate Valentine’s Day or have a movie marathon featuring Fatal Attraction, What Lies Beneath, and My Bloody Valentine.

If you want to be a little more ambitious and throw a dinner party, start with a salad featuring chopped hearts of palm and artichoke hearts. The main course could be jerked chicken or back-stabbing shish kebab (for extra points, shape your favorite meatball recipe into little hearts, bake or fry as usual, then serve on skewers as “shots through the heart.”) Finish up with chocolate skulls (linking more for the shape rather than the recipe, since I’m still not sure how I feel about chocolate-covered bacon).

Send your guests home with tainted love soap or a broken heart pendant. Much more satisfying than pink rosebuds and lace.

Posted in Paint It Black | 2 Comments »

Still More Stuff I Found While Looking Around

January 20th, 2016 by Cobwebs

It’s time for another bunch of random stuff 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.)

Tarot Collar

Tarot Card Collar

This is another custom job by Nez of Darkspectre Custom Couture, featuring real tarot cards.

Coffin Shelf

Coffin Bookcase

Found via Jes, this was originally posted on Imgur. MAKE has instructions for building a coffin bookcase, if you’re feeling ambitious and want to try something similar.

Butterfly Clock

“Time Flies” Clock

This awesome wall decoration is by Mr. Kate, and there’s even a tutorial. I love the black butterflies, but this would look great with bats, too.

Signpost

Spooky Signpost

This would be a neat outdoor Halloween decoration. I can’t find the source for this one, but there are easy directions for a somewhat similar one here. You could also make a lightweight prop version with insulating foam (the sort used for prop tombstones) and a long piece of PVC pipe.

Spider Seal

Sealed with a Spider

This is attributed to the Zakka Life blog, but I can’t actually find it on that site. It’s certainly easy enough to DIY; just drip some sealing wax on an envelope and press in a fake spider before it cools. These are obviously too fragile to go through the mail, but they’d be a neat touch on hand-delivered party invitations.

Obi Wine Kenobi

Obi Wine Kenobi

This isn’t goth, it just made me laugh. The little glowstick lightsaber is the perfect finishing touch.

Cheesecloth Frame

Halloween “Wreath”

This was made using an old picture frame and some dollar-store decorations. The netting appears to be cheesecloth.

Cheesecloth Lamp

Halloween Lamp

Similar idea to the frame above, and using the same gauzy fabric. This is a five-minute way to add a little Halloween ambiance to a room.

Baby Caterpillar

Baby “Allo! Worm”

This was made by Wa’Ou Creations, and there’s even a video tutorial. This is so stinkin’ cute.

Bottle of Boos

Bottle of Boos

This appears to be an empty bottle turned into a light, but it would also be fun to paint on a bottle of wine or other spirit before giving as a gift.

Doily Webs

Lace Doily Spiderwebs

Here’s another super-simple decorating idea, turning inexpensive crocheted doilies into elegant spiderwebs. Instructions are at What a Bloom.

Goth Angels

Dark Angels

I always enjoy seeing twee little figurines get a gothy makeover. There’s a tutorial at The Anticraft.

Posted in Whatever | 3 Comments »

Monster Scouts

January 19th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Monster Scouts Poster“A Crow Scout is kind, odd, honorable, spooky, thrifty, and irreverent.”

Daniel and Dawna Davis run Steam Crow, which sells “good monster goods” like T-shirts and prints. A couple of years ago they wanted to foster a community of monster-loving folks, so they created the Steam Crow Scouts:

The Steam Crow Scouts were founded in 1903 by Baron Davis, who created a Monster Scouts organization to help Youth BELIEVE, LEARN and SEE the MONSTERS that surround us.

Today, the Crow Scouts continue DISCOVER and AID MONSTERS against the oppression of vile Monsterology.

MONSTRIFERIS CONFIDIMUS

You can become a Monster Scout–they appear to use “Steam Crow Scouts,” “Crow Scouts,” and “Monster Scouts” fairly interchangeably–and mingle with like-minded monster lovers. They even have uniforms.

Members can earn achievement badges for various activities, chat with other scouts in their forum, and even go camping at the annual Shindig in Arizona.

If you’ve been looking for some way to make life a little more monstrous, this looks like an excellent way to do it. Just remember to abide by their code of conduct:

I shall hurt neither Monster or Man.
I will behave with Uncommon Sense.
I pledge to have fun with my Crow Scout friends, imaginary or not.
I shall laugh first at myself.
I will celebrate my flaws, oddities and broken nature.
I will strive to make the 2 worlds less ungood.

Posted in Resources | No Comments »

Behold the Noose

January 18th, 2016 by Cobwebs

“An undaunted Sheriff’s Deputy sets out on a solo mission to find a missing girl in the eerie backwoods of East Texas.”

This creepy short by 3rd Identity is particularly noteworthy for having been shot in 24 hours.

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

Yet Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 5

January 15th, 2016 by Cobwebs

Regular posting (and once-a-week link dumps) will return on Monday. But you knew that already.

Jack of the Dust – Skull-related sculptures, including some neat “bonsai skulls” planted with artificial foliage.

@AwfulFantasy – A Twitter feed of greatness. “Diala drank a potion of healing. Then, she drank a potion of invisibility. Next, she drank a potion of detect traps. Then, she had to pee.”

The Afflictions – BoingBoing reviews an audiobook which describes various imaginary diseases.

Prehistoric Wreath – Decorative wreath festooned with dinosaurs; the volcano spurting “magma” ribbons is what really makes this. (The photos are toward the end of the post.)

Adopt a Bat – The Australian Bat Clinic is offering the opportunity to sponsor the rehabilitation of a bat.

Renegade Truffles – Limited-edition Vosges chocolates in a black spiked box.

Free Historical Costume Patterns – Large list of free patterns, including medieval, Victorian, and Renaissance. (via Charlyn)

Bowie Beauties – Playlist by @robdelaney, who said, “I made a playlist of some of my favorite Bowie tracks for any #teens who need a starter kit.”

Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep – Scans from an old book of creepy poetry for children (the 70s were a weird time). It’s recently been reprinted, along with a sequel.

Dark Fairy Wedding – Some interesting wedding ideas from Offbeat Bride. (via WitchArachne)

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

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