The Art of Darkness

Because Nothing Says “I Love You” Like a Rusty Cleaver

February 13th, 2009 by Cobwebs

CleaverArtist Elizabeth McGrath takes little cleavers,* hand-paints them, tarts them up with fake rust and glitter dust, and presents them in a pretty box. She offers a range of designs, from anatomically-correct hearts (which can be personalized!) to freaky little bats with crystal eyes. For $25, it’s a pretty good deal.

The cleavers are small–just 4″–so they could be displayed on a desk or mantel without trouble. It also occurs to me that a bunch of these would be an arresting set of ornaments for a Christmas tree. But maybe that’s just me.

Link (via Neatorama)

*She calls them “butcher knives” all over the site. Apparently she doesn’t cook.

Posted in Needful Things | 5 Comments »

Top Hat Lampshades

February 12th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Hat LampshadesEvery so often I’ll see a product whose price indicates that the retailer isn’t aware the DIY community exists. These cute “Jeeves and Wooster” lampshades fall into that category. The materials listed on the site are: “Black wool felt exterior. VO fire-rated polycarbonate diffuser. Fire-rated brass electrical fittings and cord with standard ceiling fitting.” So they’re real hats with a plastic insert to keep them from being singed by the light bulb (although they’re only rated for 40-watt bulbs, so even singeing is unlikely).

The price? A mere £415 ($600).


Or you could get a hanging lamp kit* somewhere like Lampshop or National Artcraft, a nice top hat from Nethats or (or any of a zillion other places), and make your own lamp for a small fraction of the price.

These would be a unique addition to a Victorian-themed room, either as overhead lights or grouped as small table lamps. You could change the hat style to reflect your room’s theme, as well as decorating the hats with ribbons or silk flowers. You could also get a little darker and embellish the top hat with voodoo-themed elements like beads and (thoroughly cleaned) chicken bones for a Baron Samedi-style lamp. All kinds of possibilities for personalization! All cheaper than $600! Yay!

*Obviously, make sure whichever lamp base you choose keeps the bulb well away from the fabric of the hat.

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

Theme Garden: Bats

February 11th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Spring will be here before we know it (at least it better be, lest I get all stabby), so it’s time to start thinking about next year’s garden. If you’re looking for an interesting theme, why not try a Bat Garden?

First, check with your local wildlife extension office to see what kind of bats are native to your area. If you have nectar-eating bats, you’ll want to plant fragrant night-blooming flowers. If (more likely) you’ve got insect-eaters, you should choose plants that attract insects.

For nectar-eaters, choose flowers that:

  • Bloom at night
  • Are large (at least 1″ or more)
  • Are pale-colored or white
  • Are very fragrant and have lots of nectar

In the American southwest, Agave plants or Saguaro cacti are a good choice. Guava, moonflower, night-blooming gladiolus, passion flowers, sand verbena, tufted primrose, sacred datura, desert tobacco, gilias, and night-blooming cereus are other possibilities. (There are also reports of hummingbird feeders being hijacked by nectar bats, so as a last resort you might hang up one or two of these.)

For insect-eaters, you’ll want to choose plants and create an environment that attracts night-flying insects such as moths. Fragrant night-blooming plants include four o’clocks, heliotrope, silene, evening primrose, nicotiana, cornflowers, evening stock, salvia, phlox, sweet rocket, soapwort, dame’s rocket, gardenia, eastern false aloe, joe-pye weed, and jasmine. You can also choose herbs for double duty, in the kitchen and to attract bats. Good choices are sage, borage, oregano, lemon balm, marjoram, chives (let some of them flower), and all of the mints (spearmint, apple mint, chocolate mint, pennyroyal, pineapple mint, peppermint).

Check to see what kind of conditions these plants like: Depending upon your region, it might be better to grow some of these plants in pots and take them inside during the winter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 1 Comment »

Whitechapel Ltd.

February 10th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Bat DoorknockerIf you’re looking for any kind of cast hardware for home decor or craft projects, look no further than Whitechapel Ltd. They’ve got all kinds of insanely cool items, from doorknobs to antique key blanks to reproduction hardware.

They also offer a variety of technical guides for doing things like antiquing brass or choosing historically-accurate handles.

You can go a long way toward gothing up a piece of furniture with the appropriate hardware, and adding easily-removable items like doorknobs is a good way to bring a personal touch to rooms that you don’t want to permanently alter (like rented apartments or bedrooms in a parent’s house). Although some of the items at Whitechapel are pricey (like the $875 solid-brass lion door knocker), many are surprisingly affordable. The iron bat knocker above, for instance, is only $34. I know what I’m asking for next Christmas.

If you’ve got a steampunk project in mind, or just want to bring an antique touch to a room, check these guys out.

Link (via Steampunk Workshop)

Posted in Bad Things, Resources | No Comments »

Hellraiser Pincushion

February 9th, 2009 by Cobwebs

PinheadCraftster member silverhart came up with this inspired idea for a pincushion. She doesn’t provide instructions but she’s posted pictures from several different angles, which might help in creating a similar one.

This is one of those head-slapping “why didn’t I think of that” ideas, and I just love her execution. You could take inspiration from this and make a voodoo doll or iron maiden pincushion, too.

Link (via CRAFT)

Posted in Paint It Black | 3 Comments »

The Gravestone Girls

February 6th, 2009 by Cobwebs

GravestoneOld gravestones are works of art, and if you’re lucky enough to be near an historic graveyard, you can (with permission) make rubbings and even castings of interesting stones.

The Gravestone Girls have taken it to the next level: They offer wall art, jewelry, and magnets made from castings or rubbings of 17th, 18th and 19th century gravestones found in cemeteries throughout the New England region.

They’ve recently begun to offer classes, so if you’re in the New England area you can learn how to non-invasively take castings of your own stones.

If nothing else, go take a look at the site for inspiration of your own. I’d never considered using details of old tombstones as decorative objects, but I absolutely love the result.

Link (via Pumpkinrot)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Wedding Skulls Favors

February 5th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Punk FavorsLooking for some great wedding favor ideas? The Wedding Skulls blog is doing “Favour February“–posts for a whole month on ideas for dark wedding treats.

Every day I’ll be talking about wedding favours – one of my favourite details of weddings even though we did none ourselves – and all their manifestations; DIY, budget store-brough favours, customised favours and tips, tricks and advice from favour experts. I know it sounds a little kitsch but, trust me, it will be fun.

Be sure to look around the rest of the site as well. The blog is relatively new, but she’s got some lovely ideas for gothy weddings, including loads of great pictures.

Posted in Terror in the Aisle | 2 Comments »

Urban Threads

February 4th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Urban ThreadsHere’s a neat site I recently stumbled across. Urban Threads peddles edgy designs for machine- and hand embroidery, and also offers their designs as high-resolution clip art.

Their site features a project gallery and blog and, best of all, they frequently offer free designs for download. For January they celebrated Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday with an adorable “Nevermore” design (now back in their shop, but you can also see a finished version at craftershock), and their current free logo patterns could easily be repurposed as a personalized skull-and-needle-crossbones design.

Their downloadable patterns are very cheap–about $3 each–and wonderfully whimsical. Many are cute without being saccharine (I’ve already bought their Abducted pattern to stitch on a shirt for Shadowboy), and there are several design “collections” like tattoos and robots that would look great on a set of tea towels or throw pillows.

Posted in Resources | No Comments »

Light Rose Lotion

February 3rd, 2009 by Cobwebs

Here’s another easy skin-care product that you can whip up as a gift or just to pamper yourself. All of these ingredients are readily available from soap supply retailers or from many health-food stores.

This makes a nice moisturizing cream for all skin types.

2 tsp beeswax
2 tsp lanolin
2 Tbsp almond oil
1 tsp wheat germ oil
1/4 tsp borax
1/3 C rosewater
12 drops rose or rose geranium essential oil
A few drops of red food coloring (optional)

Melt the beeswax and lanolin together over a double boiler, stirring constantly.

Mix the oils together and warm gently (either over another double boiler or just over a pan of hot water). Gradually beat into the waxes. Warm the rosewater slightly, dissolve the borax in it, and slowly add to the oil and wax mixture, beating constantly until cool. Stir in the essential oil and food coloring as the mixture begins to thicken.

Spoon into jars and label.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Where Was This When I Was in School?

February 2nd, 2009 by Cobwebs

Austen CoverPride and Prejudice and Zombies is an expansion of the Jane Austen classic with “all-new scenes of bone crunching zombie action.”

As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton–and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers–and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.

I can envision a whole series of “enhanced” classics. Jane Eyre would find vampires in the attic. Moby Dick would be a minion of Cthulhu. Oliver Twist could moonlight as an axe murderer. There’d be a lot more book reports written, I can tell you that much.

Link (via Neatorama)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 4 Comments »

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