The Art of Darkness

Fingernail Guards

July 30th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Fingernail GuardsLong fingernails were a status symbol in Imperial China because they signified that you didn’t have to do manual labor. The wealthy wore special fingernail guards to keep their long nails from being broken, and over time the guards became more and more ornate.

They varied in both length and design: Some were cones that slipped over the whole tip of the finger, and others were more like a ring with a shield attached to the top. There are some photos of various styles at enticz, and a few others (including an interesting mesh design) at Dream Tree.

Today the guards are collector’s items, either simply displayed (as here, second photo) or converted into brooches and other jewelry. However, since they: a) Have a vintage pedigree, b) Make your fingers look like claws, c) Simply cry out for embellishment, and d) Actually have a quasi-utilitarian purpose (i.e., protecting long fingernails), I’d say they’re due for a comeback.

Highly-embellished modern versions are apparently available somewhere–the photo above is a modern set worn by China Steel–but don’t seem particularly easy to find (especially since search results are muddied with antique versions). Somewhat similar, and perhaps a good jumping-off point, are Thai dance nail wraps. They seem to be available in a variety of styles (search for “belly dance” or “Thai dance”), and could be decorated with paint or glued-on gems.

Another possibility is to make your own. Marlene Brady made an interesting set with polymer clay, then added chain and jewelry findings (there’s a photo of a second set she made here, which are unembellished but the clay itself is patterned). Other materials might include plastic, thin cardboard, or even stiffened fabric. Decorate with lightweight items of your choice, and you can protect your nails and look awesome whilst doing so.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 2 Comments »

What Makes a “True” Horror Fan?

July 29th, 2015 by Cobwebs

I recently saw a post on Facebook asking for help; someone was putting together a horror trivia game night and realized that the topic was so huge that she didn’t know how to target her questions. She asked, “if you had to give me the top 5 things TRUE horror fans should know about, what would they be?”

My reply was that it was such a huge topic that I don’t think there’s any way to narrow down what a TRUE horror fan should know until you define what you mean by a “true” horror fan; people with an encyclopedic knowledge of slasher movies and people who are dedicated to Poe and Lovecraft could both reasonably call themselves horror fans but there may be virtually no overlap in their knowledge.

However, I think the question is interesting so I want to open it up to comments here: Are there some things that all (or at least most) horror fans should know about? If so, what are they?

We can also expand a bit: If you were putting together a curriculum for Horror 101, what would you want to be sure you covered?

Posted in Whatever | 7 Comments »

Homemade Seasoning Salt

July 28th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Seasoned SaltIf you’ve ever found yourself in need of a last-minute hostess gift, look no further than homemade seasoning salts (which are also worth making for your own use). They are cheap, easy to make, endlessly customizable, have a long shelf life, and can be made in bulk. You can even make ’em gothy, which means they’re a fun idea for a party (or wedding) favor, or as part of a gift for your favorite gloomy cook.

A quick word on salt: Some recipes suggest using flake salt like Maldon or even fleur de sel, but since you’re usually running it through a blender or food processor it seems silly to waste money on flakes that you’re going to whirl into oblivion. Your best bet is probably kosher salt. Don’t use table salt, since it usually contains anti-clumping agents.

If you want to get fancy, look into black lava salt; sea salt that’s been blended with activated charcoal. You can get it on Amazon or in bulk at places like Mountain Rose Herbs. It’s usually used as a finishing salt, but it’d be fun to use in some of these recipes too. It’d also be very attractive layered with other seasoned salt in a tall skinny jar.

There are a zillion different recipes out on the intartubes, but here are a few to get you started:

Vampire-Repelling Garlic Salt

1 C kosher salt
1/4 C peeled garlic cloves

Heat oven to 180F (if your oven doesn’t go that low, just use its lowest setting and adjust bake time accordingly). Combine the garlic and salt in a food processor and process until the garlic is pulverized and the mixture has a consistency of moist sand; 30 seconds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the salt mixture out evenly. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Return to food processor and pulse several times to break up clumps.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Wings of Life: Bats

July 27th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This excerpt from a DisneyNature documentary on winged creatures focuses on bats pollinating cacti in Mexico. They’re such lovely creatures.

Posted in Whatever | 2 Comments »

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Link Dump

July 24th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Epic Bunny’s Adventure – Short film with a standard fantasy-quest storyline, except the hero is a bunny.

Lost Souls Skull Shawl – Attractive lacy skull pattern for a crocheted shawl. Free download. (via Burning Prairie)

Funko Fifth Element Figures – Funko is adding vinyl figures including Zorg, Diva Plavalaguna, Leeloo, and several others to its Pop! line.

Ghost-Loving Castaway Required – If you speak English and Welsh, you can apply to be the caretaker of a remote island reputed to be haunted by 20,000 ghosts.

The Doll Collection – Anthology of horror featuring dolls. Commenter Jan, who brought this to my attention, reviewed it thusly: “Each of the stories has a different flavor of horror to serve and all are extremely well written. I think you’ll find ‘Word Doll’ with its taste of coffee and smell of cigarettes is as nearly perfect as a short story can be. But then there’s the feel of mildew, untanned leather and cooling blood to help your skin crawl when you read ‘Ambitious Boys Like You’. Get it.” (Commenter Jan has a way with words.)

Raven Skull Necklace – Dramatic piece featuring a cast-resin skull.

An Introduction to Black Metal Yoga – Clearly there are a variety of ways to find inner peace. (Hat tip to Bruno)

Tales from the eBay Crypt – A look at the purportedly-haunted items that some people sell there.

Avoid Humans – Web app which aggregates Foursquare and Instagram check-ins and displays places nearby with the fewest number of humans. (via Cat)

Jurassic Park: High Heels Edition – XVP Comedy noticed Jurassic World‘s endless “heroine runs in high heels” scenes and decided to apply the same logic to the rest of the movies. Favorite comment from YouTube: “Style found a way.”

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Shudder

July 23rd, 2015 by Cobwebs

Shudder LogoOh, I think I’m about to make a few readers very happy: There’s a brand-new movie streaming service devoted entirely to horror.

Shudder is an all-horror service backed by AMC. It’s currently in browser-only beta, but will soon be available as iPhone and Android apps and also as a Roku channel. Right now you can sign up for a 14-day free trial and stream as many horror movies as you want. After that, the service is $4.99 per month or $49.99 for a year.

Of particular interest is the curated collections, which lets you pick your favorite poison: Categories include things like “Haunted Habitations,” “Romantic Bloodsuckers,” “The Unraveling Mind,” “Comedy of Terrors,” and dozens more.

If you don’t feel like browsing the catalog, the service also has a Shudder.tv feature which streams movies from its library 24/7 and you can just tune in and watch whatever they’re playing. It’s the modern equivalent of flipping through channels on a lazy Sunday afternoon and stumbling on a random horror movie.

At the moment Shudder is available only for US users, but their FAQ says that they plan to go global in the near future. (If you can’t wait, it may be possible to get around the country restrictions with anonymizing software.)

Most reviews seem quite positive, noting that the library has more depth than services like Netflix and should continue to build. If you can’t get enough horror, this is definitely worth looking into.

(via Burgeoning Lads of Science)

Posted in Resources | 2 Comments »

Seen Online

July 22nd, 2015 by Cobwebs

I can’t begin to imagine how much pressure there must be within the skeleton community to know how to play the xylophone
bridger_w

When people stay in a horrific relationship instead of breaking up, I assume they killed someone together.
Sassafrantz

Right now, there are millions of formally dressed skeletons in our ground.
icandodge

If you were at a party with a vampire and drew on his face, he would never find out.
jfader2

Kids today are so coddled- Elf on the Shelf, Toy Story. In my day, if dolls magically came to life, they murdered you and everyone you loved
behindyourback

If someone says they’re gonna open up a can of whoop ass, that means someone out there is canning whoop ass…I’d be more afraid of that second guy.
ChrisTaliaferro

The 1840’s called. Mostly ghosts.
david8hughes

My parents are always pestering me to have kids. “Who will carry on the ancient family curse?” they say.
undeadmolly

what if the spider I killed in my home has spent his entire life thinking he was my room-mate and that suddenly I had some sort of psychotic break
TheGamingDame

A heart shape with initials cut into the tree bark means someone went on a date with a knife.
ashley76

benedictcumberreichenbach:

ninepulse:

Did you know that you actually can never forget a face? Every single face you’ve ever seen during your life gets stored into your memories, and gets used up later. For example, in dreams your brain can’t just make up a face. Every single face you’ve seen in your dream, you’ve seen somewhere once in your life.

And those strange nightmares you’ve had of those terrible demon like creatures?

You’ve seen them around too, you just cant remember. You don’t want to remember.

this post started off as a John Green novel and ended as a Stephen King.

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 1 Comment »

Octopus Hats

July 21st, 2015 by Cobwebs

Octopus HatTPF Faerie Wear created this adorable octopus hat with long fleecy tentacles; it clings to your head and keeps you snuggly warm. The hat is available in different colors, sizes, and tentacle lengths in their Etsy shop (and also check out their dragon scarves for an extra hit of cuteness).

Although I love some of this design’s features (particularly the realistic-looking eyes and curvy tentacles), I have to admit that $160 is more than I’d probably spend on a fleece hat. Fortunately, there are some other options.

There’s a basic pattern for a squid hat on Instructables. The tentacles could be combined with a slouch hat pattern like this one for a softer octopus-body look.

Fabrics and Chopsticks has a great tutorial on a more complicated squid hat with longer tentacles.

Grains of Earth has a roundup of crocheted octopus hat patterns; there’s a simple knit pattern here, and a pattern for a stuffed octopus here that could probably be converted into a hat.

Although there are no instructions, I quite like this cloche octopus hat; it seems to be felted tentacles attached to a hat of the same color. The suckers are pearly beads, which makes it rather elegant.

If you want realistic-looking eyes, you could use the plastic eyes sold for plush toys or even taxidermy eyes (you could go quite realistic with slit pupils or choose a red iris and make it a vampire squid). Suckers could be beads, buttons, appliqued fabric, or even puffy paint.

There are lots of ways to create an octopus hat, but the point is that you need an octopus on your head.

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Dawn of the…Everything

July 20th, 2015 by Cobwebs

This faux trailer for the movie Dawn of the Planet of the Zombies and the Killer Plants on Some Serious Acid definitely looks like the next summer blockbuster.

(via The Presurfer)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

The Link Dump Over Innsmouth

July 17th, 2015 by Cobwebs

Notes from a Totally Lame Vampire – YA book about a teenage vampire doomed to be 15 forever.

Look Behind You – Fun Halloween song by The Gaslight Troubadours. (Hat tip to pdq)

Final Girls – Web-based conversation game which imagines a group therapy session for Final Girls from various popular horror movies. (Their therapist is “Ellen,” who may look oddly familiar.)

ABCDisgusting – Kickstarter for a children’s alphabet book about gross things, from the same group who did “The Princess Who Saved Herself.”

Tattoos Inspired by Books – Each photo is captioned with a short description of why the owner chose that particular illustration or quote.

Walker StalkerWalking Dead-themed cruise scheduled for next January, with several actors from the series attending. The ship has no scheduled stop at Haiti, which seems like a terrible missed opportunity.

Made From History – Neat educational site devoted to making history more accessible. You can browse short articles on the Roman diet, Dark Age funerals, and propaganda posters from the Spanish Civil War. There are also sister sites devoted to science and media.

Period Thoughts – Tumblr discussion which started out about maxi-pad design and ended as a comic pitch that I would totally read.

Pinterest, You Are Drunk – Some things should remain unpinned.

Kay’s Fudge – This is one of the most useful epitaphs I’ve ever seen. (Hat tip to xJane, and special mention of Cat’s comment, “And look, right there is a marble slab.”)

Posted in Link Dump | No Comments »

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