The Art of Darkness

Black Chicken and Other Unexpected Foods

February 15th, 2012 by Cobwebs

SilkieOne of the best things about running this blog is the suggestions for interesting stuff that people send me. “Cookie” dropped me a line the other day to mention the Chinese batnut (Trapa bicornis, which is also, I find out, called a devilnut, water caltrop, buffalo nut, and several other names all related to the fact that they’re black and spiky and evil-looking). They’re toxic when raw, but when cooked they’re apparently somewhat similar in flavor and texture to a chestnut.

Her note continued, “They are really impressive served with black skinned chickens, also found [at the Saigon Market].” And I went, “…black-skinned chickens?” A quick googling reveals that the chicken breed called the silkie–they’re the ones that sort of resemble the avian equivalent of a sheepdog–all have black skin and bones and greyish-black meat. Apparently they have a somewhat gamier flavor than regular chickens; there’s a bit more information about their preparation and some lovely photos here. They’re also reputed to have medicinal properties, so they’re widely available at Chinese groceries.

So. Naturally-black chickens and a vegetable that looks like a medieval torture device. Match them up with some squid ink pasta and you’ve got a wonderfully spooky dinner.

Thanks, Cookie!

Posted in Paint It Black | 6 Comments »

CB I Hate Perfume

February 14th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Burning Leaves PerfumeY’know that bit in Type O Negative’s “Black No. 1” about, “Her perfume smells like burning leaves…every day is Halloween?” Check it out: Burning Leaves perfume (“the smoke of burning maple leaves”).

Perfumer Christopher Brosius hates perfume, but in addition to Burning Leaves he offers scents like November, Forest/Wild Hunt, and In the Library. Sounds like our kind of hater.

In addition to blended perfumes, he also offers single-note accords (I’m rather taken with “Wet Pavement London” and somewhat less sure about “Locker Room”), moth-battling wardrobe sprays, and fragrances for the home. (He also apparently does custom fragrances, but according to the site he isn’t currently taking on new clients.)

If you’re looking for an unusual scent, this is an interesting place to browse around.

(via Cult of the Great Pumpkin)

Posted in Needful Things | 3 Comments »

Red Hot Chilli Pipers

February 13th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Y’know, this blog really should have a “WTF” tag.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers promote a style of music they call “bagrock,” which at least has the advantage of sounding slightly dirty. They rock various traditional Scottish songs and also do covers of stuff like Clocks, Smoke on the Water, and this:

There’s more on their YouTube channel.

I…have nothing to add here.

(via pdq)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | No Comments »

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Link Dump

February 10th, 2012 by Cobwebs

The Werewolf Cathedral – “The world’s only international werewolf religion & secret society.” Huh.

Pinterest, You Are Drunk – Pinboard devoted to the very weirdest of Pinterest.

Pink Cthulhu Pendant – The most delicate, upscale pink Cthulhu you’re likely to see all day. The artist also has an Etsy shop with lots of other wire-wrapped goodness. (Hat tip to Sally)

Make Your Own Girls Tights – Cute idea for making cheap tights for little girls out of womens’ knee socks.

Louis vs. Rick – “The story of a man who taught his cat to use instant messaging.” This is why I’m a dog person.

10 Most Poisonous Spiders on Earth – Slideshow of venomous spiders. Details are somewhat scanty, but the photography is lovely.

Black Galaxy Tomato – New variety of tomato with black skin. (Hat tip to pdq)

Impale – Amusing little time-waster wherein you attempt to throw zombies against spikes.

Sauron Pinup Girl Tattoo – Well, it’s certainly…unique.

Muscles Leggings – Leggings that make you look like you’ve been flayed from the waist down.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Easy Paper Roses

February 9th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Paper RosesOooh…pretty.

Crafter Diana Evans posted a super-easy method for making paper roses, which she then made into a heart-shaped wreath. Hers are the traditional red and pink, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be made out of black, purple, blood-red, or other gloomy colors of paper instead.

In addition to being a prettily gothic Valentine decoration, these would be a great embellishment for all kinds of things. Small ones could be glued around the edges of a picture frame. A cluster in different colors would be a pretty gift topper. They could be glued to barrettes, brooches, or shoe clips as interesting accessories. One or two tiny ones might also perk up a greeting card or paper book cover. And they’re so easy to make that they might even be useful as decorations at a wedding reception.

I also wonder what these would look like if they were made out of photographs instead of plain paper. Old photos are ubiquitous in thrift shops, and some nameless stranger’s random family pictures might find an interesting second life as a flower arrangement.

And, of course, you could also make these out of fabric scraps (stitch instead of glue) and use them to accessorize clothing, hats, tote bags, or similar items.

Posted in Doom It Yourself | No Comments »

Knitting 101

February 8th, 2012 by Cobwebs

“Now, if you don’t want to make a scarf, you can just make a snake blanket….It’s okay to pull real hard, because it’s yarn, and yarn can’t feel pain….Sometimes you’ll see people knitting on the subway, or in coffee houses, and they’re just jerks, because they like to knit in front of people and brag that they can do it.”


(via The Anticraft)

Posted in Funny Peculiar | 5 Comments »

Trivia Tuesday

February 7th, 2012 by Cobwebs

(No prizes, but if you can answer them all without googling you get bragging rights.)

  1. What is the name of the woman whom Edgar Allan Poe’s narrator “loved with a love that was more than a love?”
  2. In this dark fantasy by Fritz Leiber, Norman Saylor strains the limits of conjugal love when he learns that his own wife is a practicing sorceress.
  3. What band performed the gothic love song “Temple of Love?”
  4. In the Victorian-era “language of flowers,” which flower signified Eternal Love?
    A) Cypress
    B) Hydrangea
    C) Primrose
    D) Lobelia
    E) Marigold
  5. What campy 1971 horror film starred Vincent Price as a disfigured man who uses methods based on the Ten Plagues of Egypt to exact revenge against the doctors who let his beloved wife die on the operating table?
  6. What gothic novel involves the second Mrs. de Winter trying to fill the “perfect” first Mrs. de Winter’s shoes?
  7. In Dracula, Lucy Westenra receives marriage proposals from three men, one of whom helps Jonathan Harker dispatch the Count at the end of the novel. Name him.
  8. The spurned Lady Caroline Lamb characterized this Romantic poet as “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”
  9. “Isabella, or the Pot of Basil” is a poem by John Keats about a woman who plants her deceased lover’s head in a pot of basil, which she tends obsessively. It was adapted from a story in what work?
    A) The Canterbury Tales
    B) One Thousand and One Nights
    C) The Iliad
    D) Piers Plowman
    E) The Decameron
  10. What 2004 Swedish film centers on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy named Oskar and a centuries-old vampire child named Eli?

(Answers below the fold)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Trivia | 3 Comments »

The Princess Bride Quote-Along Feast

February 6th, 2012 by Cobwebs

Bottle of Wits LabelMy wedding ceremony began with the words, “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethaw today,” so it’s safe to say that I have a soft spot in my heart for The Princess Bride. This year is–Egad!–the 25th anniversary of the movie’s release, and The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain in Austin is celebrating by wining and dining its patrons.

They partnered with the Helms Workshop design group to create artwork for two Bottle of Wits wines (Inconceivable Cab and As You Wish White), which will be available only in 2012. The wines will be debuting on Valentine’s Day, as part of the drafthouse’s specially-themed dinner.

Items on the menu include an MLT (thinly-sliced smoked mutton, roasted tomato, and arugula on rustic bread); the Screeching Eel Salad (crispy ale-glazed eel on local greens with a blood orange vinaigrette), Seared R.O.U.S. (NY strip steak, which is totally cheating*), and “miracle pill-sized” Twue Wuv Twuffles. You cannot fault their attention to detail.

For those of you in the Austin area, ta-da! Now you have Valentine’s Day dinner plans. For everybody else, there’s certainly no reason why you couldn’t put together a similar menu at home. The cute wine bottles won’t be available, but if you’re feeling particularly ambitious you could mock up something similar in your favorite graphics program and paste it over the label on the wine of your choice.

Sit down with a few friends, pop in the movie, and enjoy an evening of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles. Nothing says “party” like shrieking eels.

*Especially when nutria meat is widely available.

Posted in Resources | 3 Comments »

A Link Dump Grows in Brooklyn

February 3rd, 2012 by Cobwebs

How to Make Leaf Skeletons – Easy method for rapidly skeletonizing leaves.

Bat Skeleton Necklace – Unbelievably gorgeous sterling silver anatomical bat skeleton jewelry. Far too expensive for my budget, but whoa. (via Beans)

Steampunk Advent Calendar – Truly epic decorative calendar.

Needle Felt a Voodoo Doll Pincushion – Tutorial for making a cute little voodoo doll. If you’ve been looking for an introductory project to try needle felting, this looks like a fun one.

Years – Artist Bartholom√§us Traubeck figured out a way to play the rings of a tree like a record. The results are rather creepy. (I still say I’d be more impressed if the thing had played “Norwegian Wood.”) (Hat tip to xJane)

Flight 404 – Creepy and surreal Flash…thing…which purports to be the investigation of a mysterious plane crash.

Grenade Oil Lamps – Real army surplus grenades in three styles (fragmentation, flash, or high impact) repurposed into unusual oil lamps.

Weird – Not an insult. (via The Bloggess)

Zombie Valentine Candy – Because nothing says “I love you” quite like a candy box full of needle-felted zombie parts.

Three niche history books about London that look interesting:
A Sexual History of London
Necropolis: London and Its Dead
London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Pendragon Shoes

February 2nd, 2012 by Cobwebs

Leaf BootsI am rarely moved by Shoe Lust, but I gotta admit that these boots are pretty mind-blowing. They’re a one-off design, “hand painted and embossed leather boots with forged steel curly heel.”

The creator is Pendragon Shoes, an Australian duo who hand-make amazing shoes and accessories. They do quite a lot of work for theatre and film, and also retail some “off the shelf” designs which are a bit simpler and cheaper. They also do one-offs and commissions, and I have no idea how much those cost but they’re probably worth it. You can see a few of their unique designs here, and there’s a link to more on their site.

If you’re looking for the ultimate in shoes for a wedding or other important costume, these folks might be just what you need.

(Hat tip to Rebecca)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

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