The Art of Darkness

Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub

December 17th, 2013 by Cobwebs

ChocolateNeed a last-minute gift that doesn’t look like it was last-minute? This recipe has got you covered: It’s super-fast (ten minutes or less), inexpensive (you probably already have the ingredients on hand), and still manages to make you look all thoughtful and crafty. It’s a perfect hostess gift, and you can easily make a large batch to give to deserving co-workers or use as party favors.

This makes about 1 cup of scrub, which is a nice gift size; scale the recipe up or down as desired.


  • 1 C sugar (white sugar will give the finest results; use brown sugar or “raw” sugar for a little more graininess/exfoliant action; you can also mix different types for more variation)
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 C olive oil (you can also use almond, avocado, grapeseed, jojoba, or any other mild skin-safe oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or a few drops of mint extract or essential oil
  • 1-2 drops Vitamin E oil (optional)

Mix together the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in 1/4 C of oil, then add more 1 Tbsp at a time until the scrub reaches the desired consistency; the more oil, the “wetter” the result. Stir in vanilla extract or add mint extract/oil a few drops at a time until the scent is to your liking. Stir in Vitamin E oil if using.

Boom. Done. Package in a wide-mouth container of your choice: A jam jar is fine, but your local craft store should have plenty of other options. If you’re feeling extra-fancy, top the scrub with a few mini chocolate chips or cocoa nibs before putting the lid on. You can also tie a small wooden scoop (or even a plastic tablespoon measure) to the jar with raffia or pretty ribbon.

You can design and print a pretty holiday label on the computer–handy if making a large number of gifts–or just hand-write instructions for use (which amounts to, “scrub over wet skin in shower”) and a note that the scrub will last about 3 months at room temperature.

All gift-giving should be this easy. (And while you’re making up gifts, don’t forget to make a batch for yourself as well; it’s a great pick-me-up for dry skin.)

Posted in Doom It Yourself | 3 Comments »

Secret Santa Can Suck It: My Gift

December 16th, 2013 by Cobwebs

The matches for our Secret Santa Can Suck It exchange have been made and sent to their assignees. After everyone posts about their “gift,” I’ll list all of the entries to peruse. To kick things off, here’s mine.

My recipient was xJane, and from her comments on the ol’ blog here I know that she’s a big fan of spiders, steampunk, and–I recently discovered–pens and writing paraphernalia.

Well then.

Let’s start with with small stuff: She’s going to need a selection of pens.


A rare spider design Mont Blanc pen (#1) is a good starting point. The Michel Audiard sterling sculpted spider (#2) is great for making a statement. The Visconti limited edition Ruby spider (#3) is fine for everyday use, and a set of Mont Blanc steampunk designs (#4) is perfect for the office.

She’ll need ink, of course; two types: First, super-high-quality ink by J. Herbin; their anniversary collection is a good choice:


Next, we’ll arrange for an expert to give her lessons on making her own iron gall ink:

Oak Galls

She’ll also need an appropriate inkwell; I can’t think of any better than an antique spider:

Spider Inkwell

She’ll need a personalized wax seal; a Victorian seal should fill the bill:

Wax Seal

And to remind her of a favorite pastime, a silver seal charm would be lovely:

Seal Charm

Obviously she’s going to need something to write on, so a Victorian writing desk will be required:


…as well as a matching office chair:


Finally–and remember, in this fantasy gift exchange, the budget is Very Large Indeed–she’ll need a suitably inspirational space to write in, and that means a home office makeover. We’ll hire someone from The Steampunk Home to create something like this:

Steampunk Office

Happy Holidays, xJane! I hope you enjoy my “gift!”

Posted in Whatever | 3 Comments »

Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 5

December 13th, 2013 by Cobwebs

This concludes the week’s Link-Dump-a-palooza. We’ll return to regular posting (and once-a-week dumps) on Monday.

Swamp Witch – Fantastic half-submerged sculpture in the Victoria’s Way sculpture garden. There’s another view here and photos of other sculptures here (possibly NSFW depending on your boss’ opinion of statue boobs).

Santa Claws – A silly Christmas fable, illustrated by Gris Grimly.

Faery Wardrobe – This is actually a dollhouse miniature, but the same stenciling techniques could be used to create a full-size piece.

The 8 Creepiest Glitches in Popular Video Games – A roundup from Cracked. They also have a related list of Creepy Video Game Easter Eggs.

Tal Peleg – This artist does amazingly elaborate eye makeup; I love how she incorporates her eyebrow into the mattresses for the Princess and the Pea.

Baby Cthulhu – “He’ll steal your heart and your soul.”

The Thing on the Fourble Board – This episode of Quiet, Please is a highly-regarded classic of horror radio.

Witches’ Song Wall Decoration – I love this idea. (The commercial product is printed on thin vinyl, but it’d be pretty easy to DIY with paint and a stencil.)

Eye Miniatures – Mildly creepy tokens of affection. Wikipedia has more information on the practice. (Hat tip to xJane)

The Course of Their Lives – Fascinating, lengthy article about a medical dissection class.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 4

December 12th, 2013 by Cobwebs

31 Abandoned Places – A roundup of lovely photos.

Charles Bradlaugh Caricature – This vintage cartoon from Punch is wonderfully weird and would be an interesting part of a collage or other art project.

Hard Rockin’ Wedding Cakes – A roundup of interesting designs.

Halloween Tattoo – This full-back tattoo is astonishing.

Controlled Burn – I’m not sure what you’d call this wall decoration, but it’s extremely cool. It’d be interesting to try a DIY version with a purchased dollhouse kit.

Hark a Vagrant – Vintage Halloween edition. (Hat tip to xJane)

Cthulhoid Santa with Shoggoth – A felted masterpiece by Amy L. Rawson; it’s the sleigh that really puts it over the top.

Spike No Sparkle – Woof. :::fanning self:::

Mastermind Fillico Water – Skull-decorated water bottles. A similar knockoff could be made with stick-on rhinestones.

Fly Through 17th-Century London – Fascinating animated tour of Tudor London before the Great Fire.

Posted in Link Dump | 1 Comment »

Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 3

December 11th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Revising History – Interesting art project in which a photographer inserts herself in old photos.

Making Quick Fake Feathers – Instructions for making fabric feathers.

The Lindworm – An engaging, obscure fairy tale. Be sure to read to the end.

Addams Family Online – Site devoted to all things Addams.

Pumpkin Tap Kit – Turn a pumpkin into a drinks dispenser (but not a true keg, since it’s not pressurized). This would be a cute addition to a party. (Hat tip to Kitten Herder)

The Book of Black – A celebration of everything from the Black Hole of Calcutta to Black Beauty, Black Sabbath, and the Black Dahlia.

Death Metal English – Guide for translating common phrases into Metal. Heh.

Swants Tutorial – Instructions for turning a sweater into pants. Not strictly goth, but: a) It counts if the sweater you start with is gothy; b) It’s too ridiculous not to share. (Hat tip to Burning Prairie)

Scissors Coffin – This (probably felt) scissors case would be easy to DIY.

Skull and Roses Flip-Flops – Pretty design. A bunch of other interesting designs also turn up if you search “day of the dead flip-flops”.

Posted in Link Dump | 2 Comments »

Last Chance for Secret Santa Can Suck It

December 10th, 2013 by Cobwebs

If you want to sign up for this year’s fake virtual gift swap, today’s the deadline.

C’mon! Join us! It’s fun!

Posted in Whatever | No Comments »

Another Week of Link Dumps: Day 2

December 10th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Insects Covered in Morning Dew – Lovely series of macrophotographs.

Victorian Slang Terms – List of terms you can use at the next steampunk gathering, if you want to be looked at funny.

How to Make Purple Candy Apples – Easy method for making poisonous-looking apples in purple (or any other color).

Wearing History – Blog about historical fashion with lots of unusual little tidbits like how to manipulate long skirts.

Gifts for the Oddity Aficionado – A Pinterest board of greatness. (Hat tip to xJane)

Cabinet of Curiosities – Guillermo del Toro’s “Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions.” FlavorWire has some excerpts.

When the Husband is in Charge of the Wedding Invitation – This made me giggle. (via Cat)

Tim Burton Pokemon – Burton-inspired drawings of creepy mythical Pokemon.

WoodCurve – Marvelous bookcases that look like they were designed by Beetlejuice.

Welcome to Dinovember – “A month-long imagination invasion” in which parents try to convince their kids that their plastic dinosaurs have come to life.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

Another Week of Link Dumps

December 9th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Once again my eyes are bigger than my Link Dump folder, so this week’s posts will all be link dumps to clear out the backlog. Whee!

Flower-Encrusted Skeletons – These sculptures are marvelously creepy. (The artist is Cedric Laquieze.)

Loch Ness Monster Stuffed Animal – Pattern and great tutorial with lots of easy-to-follow photos for making a big felt Nessie.

Nightmare Before Christmas Tree – Lots of really unique, gorgeous decorations.

Custom Star Chart Giveaway – Wandering Yeti is giving away a “dated” custom star chart.

Star Wars Bedroom – Not goth, but so nicely done that I wanted to mention it anyway. It would be easy to adapt the same ideas to darker themes.

Vampire Hunter – Pistol and bullets in a coffin-shaped case. I particularly love the vampirey bullets. (Hat tip to Cat)

Halloween Carols – Sing these around the neighborhood and see how long it takes anybody to notice.

Crochet Skull Shawl – Lovely, lacy shawl, with included instructions (it’s all in Swedish, but the pattern translation should be reasonably straightforward with the help of Google).

Bella Umbrella – Large selection of umbrellas and parasols, many of them goth-friendly. I particularly like this and this.

Hollow City – The sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Posted in Link Dump | 3 Comments »

How the Link Dump Stole Christmas

December 6th, 2013 by Cobwebs

Diamonds & Dead Things – Ongoing art project which mixes taxidermy and jewelry.

Nightmare Before Christmas Car Accessories – Floor mats, seat covers, and several other NMBC-themed items. (via Cat)

Paleontology Cake – Cute themed cake; the dinosaur skeletons could easily be replaced by coffins for a spookier theme.

Homemade “Shining” Twins Hologram – Reasonably easy method of creating a really spooky effect.

Death Wish Coffee – Highly-caffeinated “extreme” coffee.

Ghost Stories – Indie animation anthology.

Pass the Garum – Cooking blog focusing on the recipes and cuisine of Ancient Rome.

The Box of Crazy – A “found art” codex; the jury is out on whether it’s actually a hoax.

How to Make Human-Size Ghosts – A simple way to make good-looking ghosts from chicken wire.

Picapot Inc. – Great source for all kinds of odd fake creatures, including buzzards, bats, and spiders.

Posted in Link Dump | 4 Comments »

Calendar of Sexy Monsters

December 5th, 2013 by Cobwebs

ZuulOh…dear. Just…lawsey, lawsey, lawsey.

:::clearing throat::: Let me start over.

Artist Erika Deoude believes that even monsters deserve to feel sexy now and then, so she’s put together a pinup calendar featuring blobs in corsets and sasquatches with come-hither looks in their eye. You can see the whole set at The Mary Sue.

She’s also selling prints of individual pages in her Etsy shop, along with lots of other art; I particularly like the Pennywise Valentine and the adorable Lullabeast.

If you’re looking for an offbeat gift for a monster lover, these would certainly be…offbeat.

(Hat tip to xJane)

Posted in Needful Things | 1 Comment »

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