The Art of Darkness

Hallowedding Invitation Roundup

April 30th, 2009 by Cobwebs

InvitationHalloween weddings are a little more mainstream than they used to be, so it’s getting somewhat easier to find commercial invitations like the spooky ones at Gothic Art Gallery or the elegant ones at Invitations by Dawn. If you’re on a tight budget or just have the DIY Nature, however, there are lots of ideas for making your own. Here are a few tutorial links I’ve picked up in my wanderings:

Marilyn’s Creative Inspirations – Pretty scrapbook-style invitations with spiderwebs (shown above).

Better Homes and Gardens – A tattered invitation with vellum overlay.

Associated Content – Instructions (but no photo) for making invitations with watercolor paper. – Making invitations with rubber stamps.

Instructables – This is for a more generic DIY invitation, but the blossoming tree clip art they use could easily be replaced with something a little drearier.

Halloweddings – My own little contribution.

Coolest Party Ideas – The spiderweb one at the bottom would be especially easy to pull off.

Charisma – This is for a Halloween party rather than a wedding, but I just love the clever theme idea.

A couple that aren’t really tutorials but still might serve as inspiration:

Suite 101 – I love the Ouija invitation idea at the bottom.

Two from MyExpression: Halloween and Black and White.

The links featured here already have a Halloween theme, but it’s not hard to turn any DIY invitation to the dark side (muwahahaha). Google “how to make wedding invitations” for more ideas than you can shake a scythe at. Choose a design that fits your style and budget, then look for ways to make it a little gothier: Trade clip-art doves for bats, use an eroded-looking font, and select spooky colors instead of pastels. For a restrained, just-a-hint-of-Halloween look, you might use harvest colors like russets and deep oranges, choose a font like Black Chancery, and decorate with chic pumpkins. For all-out-creepy, try black and blood red, a spiky font like Zombie Holocaust, and perhaps something like spider silhouettes.

Making your own invitations is a fun way to personalize your wedding and a great option for trimming your budget a bit. Allow yourself enough time so you don’t have to finish them in a frustrated rush, and you’ll be amazed at how easy and satisfying it is to make them.

Posted in Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

Cooking with Absinthe

April 29th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Absinthe PosterThe ban on absinthe was recently lifted here in the U.S., so many folks drawn to its romantic and checkered reputation have been sampling it. If you get tired of sipping it neat, there are loads of mixed-drink recipes that use it (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). And if you get tired of drinking it, you can cook with it.

Absinthe has a flavor profile similar to Pernod, so you can substitute one for the other in recipes; seafood, in particular, pairs well with either. Try Salmon with Pernod or Scampi Rockefeller, serve mussels (or snails!) in Escargot Butter, or soak just about any shellfish in Marseilles Marinade.

You can make absinthe-tinged dinner rolls, panettone, or these great absinthe cupcakes (with “green fairy” icing). An absinthe jelly (similar to a wine jelly) or an absinthe and pear sorbet are also possibilities.

If those all sound like too much work, there’s also the easy and pretty much entirely foolproof bread pudding:

2 eggs
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 C whole milk
2 C sugar
3 1/2 to 5 C egg bread (such as challah or brioche), cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 325 F. Generously butter a 9″ baking dish. Pack bread cubes into dish (pack firmly, but don’t squish them), trying to keep the top layer mostly crust-side up. Whisk together eggs, butter, vanilla, and milk. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour over the bread cubes, making sure all of them get some moisture. Bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until crust is golden brown all over the top.

While the bread pudding is baking, make the Absinthe Sauce:
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C (1 stick) butter
1/2 C cream
1/4 C absinthe

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until mixture reaches a simmer. Pour some over the top of each serving of pudding.

Get creative! A dinner party which featured absinthe-tinged dishes in each course might be an interesting entertaining option (although you’d want to make sure not to overwhelm your guests with a single monolithic flavor), and adding a splash or two to any complementary-flavored dish will perk it up a bit.

And if you’re tired of sitting in a gloomy corner, staring moodily into a glass of absinthe, you can stare moodily into a bowl of bread pudding instead. Either way, you win.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

El Cheapo Weddings

April 28th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Wedding Skulls recently posted a question from a reader about getting married on a very tight budget. I got a little long-winded in the comments and thought of five or six other things afterwards, so I may as well turn it into a post of my own. (Be sure to check the original post for Steff’s suggestions and other commenters’ ideas as well.)

The key to a low-stress wedding is to remember that the whole point is to formalize your commitment to each other. The only thing you have to have for that is some legal paperwork. Everything else is optional. Take that to heart. Repeat it to yourself every morning in the mirror. Tattoo it on your wrist if necessary.

Your first step is to look at each element of a wedding–flowers, favors, invitations, dresses, yadda, yadda, and yadda. Decide what you absolutely can’t live without. Discard everything else (be ruthless). Then look at what’s left and figure out the cheapest way to accomplish it. Make a virtue of necessity: View this as an opportunity to make your wedding truly unique and personal instead of expensive and “cookie-cutter.”

Now…the reason that you’re having an actual ceremony and/or reception instead of eloping is because you want to include friends and family in your special day. So by gawd, include them. Tell them that in lieu of a gift you would really appreciate their help with planning and execution. This is the “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show in the barn” approach to weddings, but it really works. Many people will jump at the chance to add a little personal touch to the wedding of a loved one, particularly if you sell it to them that way. Emphasize how meaningful their help will be, and how grateful you are that they want to be included.

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Posted in Terror in the Aisle | No Comments »

Decoupage Ceiling

April 27th, 2009 by Cobwebs

DecoupageBlogger Mr. Peacock came up with a wonderful way to add interest to a ceiling by decoupaging clip art all over it. It’s dirt cheap, extremely innovative, and open to all kinds of personalization. He used black-and-white photocopied artwork on a white ceiling, but you could also paint the ceiling and use color images.

He chose a “Birds and Bees” theme (actually birds, flowers, and bugs), but it goes without saying that you could choose darker imagery. Victorian graveyard images (City of the Silent has a nice collection, although the site currently appears to be wonky), a collage of vintage Halloween graphics, or nature illustrations featuring spiders and scorpions are all possibilities.

I like the crisp, clean lines of the art against the ceiling; they draw the eye without being overwhelming. Decoupage is fairly easy to remove, so this would be a good decorating idea for renters. It’s also a project that doesn’t have to be done all at once; you could make your ceiling an ongoing work of art, filling in blank areas as you have time.

Link (via Apartment Therapy)

Posted in Bad Things | No Comments »

Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

April 24th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Scar NecklaceHere’s an interesting wrinkle (so to speak) in personalized jewelry: It’s My Scar will recreate one of your scars as jewelry. You send them a photo of your scar, they replicate the shape and texture as closely as possible in wax, then they use that model to cast the jewelry in the metal of your choice. Prices vary depending upon size and metal, but appear to start around $200.

Their motto is “Claim your past and wear your story,” and their gallery includes some of their customers’ explanations of their scar jewelry. The pieces are certainly unique, and I like the idea of turning a disfigurement into art.

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

Corset Lampshade

April 23rd, 2009 by Cobwebs

Dita LampHere’s another one of those expensive-but-pretty-easy-to-replicate home decorating ideas.

Badder Homes and Gardens recently posted about this “Dita” lamp from oooh!design (caution: evil Flash site), which features a corset-shaped shade made of laser-cut powder coated steel. Something similar would be pretty easy to do using a regular paper lampshade and a hole punch.

Mark the design lightly on the inside of the shade (or draw the design on a piece of paper and tape to the shade as a pattern), then punch holes at even intervals. Glue fabric trim to the top and bottom, then thread satin ribbon through some of the holes to mimic the lacings on a corset. If you’re feeling especially frisky, you could make your own lampshade out of a sexy brocade fabric and then give it the lace-up treatment.

Bonus link: For another take on the corset lamp, check out this shade by DeviantART user LotD.

Posted in Bad Things | No Comments »

Casting Call for “Goth Bride” TV

April 22nd, 2009 by Cobwebs

I got a “cold call” e-mail yesterday:

I am looking for goth, rock ‘n’ roll, and rockabilly brides and newlyweds for a new show! Brides and newlyweds will compete to win up to $10,000!

If you know anyone in the Los Angeles area who might be interested, please forward my contact information to them or feel free to send me theirs.

Thanks so much!

Krystal Fonte
Casting Producer
O: 323.799.2535

Disclaimer: I know nothing about this person or the show she mentions (a quick google around didn’t turn up anything obvious), but if you’re a goth bride in the L.A. area you might want to check it out.

The rest of us can keep a lookout for a new show involving alternative weddings.

Posted in Terror in the Aisle | 1 Comment »

Framed Spiderwebs

April 21st, 2009 by Cobwebs

Framed WebA friend sent me a link to Whirled Wide Webs, which sells mounted spider webs. They’re lovely, but a tad pricey for what amounts to a glorified science fair project. With a little practice, you can easily make similar mounted webs for next to nothing.

If at all possible, make sure that the spider is done with the web before you collect it; even though they can rebuild a web pretty quickly it still takes them time and energy to do so. If you come across a really lovely web that’s still occupied it’s probably okay to collect it as long as you don’t keep bothering the same spider over and over again.

Spray paint
Stiff paper in contrasting color
Spray adhesive (hairspray will work in a pinch)
Spray varnish or craft sealer
Scrap cardboard


  1. Check to see whether the web is still occupied. Look around the edges of the web where spiders tend to lurk, or tap it lightly to see if anything scurries out. If the spider is still in residence shoo it away with a stick, making sure not to damage the web in the process.
  2. Spray the web lightly with paint, holding the cardboard behind it to keep from spraying everything in the area (this is easier with a helper). Make sure to hold the paint far enough away from the web that the force of the spray doesn’t damage it.
  3. Spray the paper with adhesive and then very carefully bring it in contact with the web. Move slowly to avoid distorting the strands and try to angle the paper so that the whole web touches it at once.
  4. Carefully detach all of the web’s anchor strands to free it from the surrounding vegetation, then hold the cardboard behind it again and spray it evenly with craft sealer. Again, spray carefully to avoid blasting the web to bits.
  5. When thoroughly dry, mount as desired. If you can identify the species of spider that made the web, you might wish to make a fancy identification label as well.

If you collect a particularly nice specimen you might consider having a glasscutter create a custom beveled-glass frame to display it, but a cheap picture frame works just as well. The mounted webs can also be slipped into plastic sleeves and collected in a notebook.

Pretty! And cheap. An excellent combination.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 1 Comment »

Theme Garden: Black Magic

April 20th, 2009 by Cobwebs

Bela Lugosi DaylilySpring has sprung, and plants are clawing their way out of the ground like something from a bad horror movie. Now’s the time to think about planting a few flowers and accent plants that will bring a little spookiness to the surroundings.

One excellent way to goth up the garden is to plant flowers in dark and dramatic colors. Although there aren’t many “true” black flowers there are lots that are fairly close, and there are plenty of other dark scarlets and purples to choose from. (As a bonus, many dark flowers have appropriately gothy names, like the daylily “Bela Lugosi” or the amazing Black Bat Flower.)

Remember when using black in the garden that less is more: An all-black planting can look homogenous and boring, but placing black flowers against a lighter background or using them to accent other colors (silver artemisia, scarlet roses, white lilies…even orange pansies if you’re in a Halloweeny mood) can lend a wonderfully sinister style to the outdoors. If you don’t have room for a garden, you can also mass black plants in a patio pot to create a dramatic focal point. Keep in mind that dark plants may need additional watering, since they tend to wilt a little faster in the sun.

Note that there’s a lot of weirdosity in the flower-naming world, so just searching for flowers with “black” in the name doesn’t always work. (For instance, the “Black Madonna” rose and “Black Velvet” geranium are both bright red.)

There are loads of black(ish) plants to choose from, but here are some that are fairly easy to find and reasonably easy to grow.

“Sambuca German” iris
Chrysographes iris
“Superstition” iris
“Study in Black” iris
“Hello Darkness” iris
“Before the Storm” iris
“Paint it Black” iris
“Midnight Fragrance” iris
“Black Tie Affair”
“Black Gamecock”
“Night Ruler”
“Night Owl”
Dark Vader”

“Black Baccara”
“Abrakadabra” (second photo)
“Midnight Blue”
“The Squire”
“Souvenir du Docteur Jamain”
“Papa Meilland”
“Deep Secret”
“Cardinal de Richelieu”
“The Prince”

“Queen of the Night”
“Black Diamond”
“Black Parrot”
“African Queen”
“Blue Parrot”
“Black Hero”

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Posted in Unhallowed Ground | 3 Comments »

Will the Link Dumps Never End?

April 17th, 2009 by Cobwebs

No. No, they won’t.

Legacy Matters – News and ephemera about death, with categories such as “Desecration of Corpses” and “No Way to Go.”

Wire Scorpions – Instructable tutorial on making wicked little scorpions from twisted wire.

Heavy Metal Satan Fingers – A primer.

Bad Bunting – Party banners with messages like, “Don’t Feel Obliged To Stay,” and “It Will End In Tears.”

Thomas the Tank Engine/Rap Remixes – It’s surprising how well these blend. (Note: Some clips include Very Bad Words. Small children with a penchant for mimickry may pop up with surprising phrases at some unspecified future date. Um…not that I would know anything about this personally.)

Two Christopher Walken quickies: A YouTube clip of him reading “The Three Little Pigs” and an article on the hilarious “Fake Christopher Walken” Twitter account that recently died an untimely death. I hope somebody archived the tweets somewhere.

Hauntingly Beautiful Graveyard Photos – 40 lovely photographs taken in cemeteries. Best of all, they’re all Creative Commons licensed.

CraftFail – Have a craft project that didn’t quite work out? Share all the craft skeletons in your closet and witness the pain of others over at this new site.

Top Ten Grimoires – Historian of witchcraft Owen Davies, author of a new history of Grimoires, lists his top ten magical books.

Sock Monkey Roundup – All kinds of neat sock creations over at ThreadBanger. I especially like the sock skeleton and the sock monkey Hindu goddess.

A couple of weird phenomena I think are interesting (I keep intending to write a post about them, but since that keeps failing to happen, the heck with it): Sleep paralysis, otherwise know as the “Old Hag Syndrome.” Here’s one article discussing it at and a longer one at Wikipedia. Also the Wendigo, particularly the psychosis bearing that name. There’s some information about it here, and of course Wikipedia has more.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

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