A Mystery Partially Solved–Maybe?

unknown

This past weekend at Haute Macabre I shared a list of eyeball fodder in which I reveled in revealing the artists responsible for certain artworks and photography that I’ve been collecting over the years, originally found on the internet uncredited or with the credit info incorrectly attributed (I am not sure which is worse? Both instances are annoying)

The above image, well, that remained a mystery. At that point in time, I’d had no luck and no leads, and was hoping that if I shared it, a reader might see it and say, “oh! I know something about that one!” It was a long shot, but you never know if you don’t put it out there…so it’s a shot I took.

This morning I had a response from an Instagram person indicating that the model gazing into the mirror is 90s fashion model Debbie Deitering and this looks to be part of an ad campaign from 1993 shot by Mikael Jansson (see below.) Since this particular image is so difficult to track down, they surmised that perhaps it was an outtake. Hm. I wonder! It is the closest I have gotten to an answer in four years, but still, I would like to know definitively.

I have attempted, in a limited sort of way (agents/agencies, intermediaries, social media) to contact those involved so that I might be able to get an answer and set the matter to rest once and for all. I shall report back as I know more!

1600-DEB-1-93-VOGUESPIRIT-SCAN 1600-DEB2-93-VOGUESPIRIT-SCAN

10 Things: My Bougie Holiday Wish List + Stocking Stuffers (Courtesy Harlow Skalwold)

bougie featureWhen my friend Harlow reached out to me to suggest a “bougie holiday wish list” for Unquiet Things, my first thought was “what a fantastic idea! Harlow has got freaking amazing taste and I can’t wait to see this list!” My second thought was “wait… what exactly does ‘bougie’ mean, anyway?”

It’s a little embarrassing, but much like when people refer to things as “basic”, or before that when people mocked those they referred to as “hipsters,” I for some reason struggled with these concepts and it took me a long time to figure out what those terms meant, if they were “bad,” and, was I any of those things– and furthermore should I even care if I am? I think the answer is yes I probably am and no I most certainly shouldn’t.

So…bougie. I hear people say that a lot. Still not sure I totally get it. I think it probably means more than one thing, and it’s not always negative or positive or both or either, and it’s become sort of a catch-all phrase that everyone uses to indicate that someone might be all about some pretentious, consumerist stuff and things? That’s what I’m going with for now. (And that…certainly describes me.)

At any rate! However you might want to label this list* (and truly, once you catch your breath from all the gasping at all the gorgeousness, I think you will find it transcends labels) Harlow has curated some extraordinarily beautiful, darkly luxurious indulgences here and I want every single one of them. Scroll further, and I am sure that you will agree.

*So if by “bougie,” we mean AWESOME and HELLA EXPENSIVE, then ok, yes. 
spiritsSeedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits Trio
Nothing says bougie yet sober like a $36 bottle of nonalcoholic distilled “spirits”. For the holiday season they have special on all three varieties!
Not that these folks are fooling around either, with product descriptions touting distillates of Jamaican allspice berry and cardamom soaked in oak and cascarilla barks, or “A floral blend of hand-picked Peas & Hay from founder Ben Branson’s Farm…”
Fancy craft cocktails, I may be back.
$80

bag1
The Prepster Backpack | 3-Day Emergency Bag
First-aide essentials, tech gear, food, water, AND luxe comforts (including premium teas, chocolate, and toiletries), all in a water-resistant canvas and leather metal-framed backpack. I’ll take the one with the big black cross on it, please. Bougie and ready for the first 3 days of the apocalypse.
$395

valleyVALLEY Eyewear DAGGER – Gloss Black
Every witchy goth and dark boheme has been drooling over this eccentric Aussie eyewear brand for a good couple of years now. Owning a pair says, I have an income, and I’m not wearing cheap plastic frames anymore, bitches.
$240

moss CCWDMOSS B02MS19 / Witch Bag
Crafted from supple calf leather and human hair, this made-to-order handbag is aptly named. Footwear and accessory designer Andrey Moss is the artist behind the covetable indie brand most people have never heard of. Obscure, handmade, luxurious. Dark bougie delight.
$450

moss
19-69 Female Christ Eau de Parfum
I just want this perfume for its name, the perfect minimalist bottle, and the fantastic story behind it. I’m pretty sure that in itself is fairly bougie.
$175

hood
Hood London Maila Bonnet
This amazing wool knit widow-peaked bonnet is offered by Adèle Mildred and Gabrielle Djanogly’s new luxury hat label, Hood London, which can safely be described as Addams Family haute couture.
You may have heard illustrator and costume designer Adèle Mildred’s name pop up in fashion circles over the past decade. Her career began in Los Angeles with Emily the Strange and continued onto celebrity tailoring, and textile design for films. She later left for London to run the couture atelier for esteemed milliner Stephen Jones before moving onto her own projects. In addition to Hood London, Adèle has her own line of sunglasses, and her paintings are shown in galleries around the world.
Take my money, but know I would kill for your resume.
£215

loafers
VERAMEAT SMOKING SHOE TRUE BLOOD
Vera Balyura is clearly excited about these loafers, and frankly, so am I. Comfortable, casual, yet makes you look like you give more fucks than just throwing on a pair of running shoes. Plus celebs seem to adore this Brooklyn indie designer, as the list of her famous fans just goes on and on…
$380

mcqueen
Alexander McQueen Skull Folded Umbrella
Because it’s an insanely iconic McQueen piece. Fashionistas of any stripe would recognize it immediately. That skull. Often copied, but never the same. Is it so iconic that it’s become basic? I don’t know, but I want this umbrella with every ounce of my black heart.
$485

demul
Ann Demeulemeester REVERSABLE JACKET LISA BLACK
Did I say I needed an umbrella? What I really need is this incredible fur coat. I would like to live in nothing but Ann Demeulemeester’s inspired androgynous clothing lines, but I’ll settle for just this one jacket.
$3,740
owens
RICK OWENS FW19 LARRY DRAWSTRING CARGO JOG PANTS
These are the most expensive joggers I have ever seen in my life. But that drape! Those pockets! I would wear them every day and feel like a million bucks- for just over a grand.
$1080

 

Stocking Stuffers

dice
MyTinyTokens 6 Dice Gaming Set, stainless steel – ‘Center Arc’ balanced metal dice
$132

palo
Le Labo PALO SANTO 14 vintage candle
$65

matches
Brooklyn Candle Studio Apothecary Match Bottle – Black
$20

aesop
Aesop São Paulo Travel Kit
$70

bottle
Vivienne Westwood VW +5 Bottle
$49

Find Harlow Skalwold: website // instagram

Ten Favorite Things For Magical Baking By Jessica Reed

Snow & Rose Cake

Snow & Rose Cake

I went through a phase maybe two years ago, during which time I was obsessed with seeking out writers/cooks who recreated foods from literature–think Dracula’s “excellent roast chicken” or Harriet The Spy’s iconic tomato sandwich. I could have sworn that it was around this time that I stumbled upon Jessica Reed’s Instagram, although now my memory fails me and I don’t actually know that for certain. And I can’t even be sure that she was ever creating or writing about such things? So don’t quote me on that!

But whenever, or whyever it was that I became aware of her wonderful presence in this world, once I peered more closely, I immediately began to see a multitude of such wonderfully kindred little signs of kinship. This photo, for example, of these deliciously magical-looking cookies and a copy of Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body And Other Parties. Or this photo of Pam Grossman’s What Is A Witch…and even more delightful cookies! A repost of a fabulously snarky teacup from Miss Havisham’s curiosities! Staaaahhhp! Weird, witchy literature, beautiful baking, vitriolic teacups…I mean, can we just be best friends already?

Self-Portrait in Cake no 10, Perimenopause

Self-Portrait in Cake no 10, Perimenopause

Ok, that’s a little weird and intrusive, I get it. But when I peeked even further and discovered more of the culinary work that Jessica shares and the thoughtful energies and emotions that go into creating it, my admiration grew much, much deeper than these surface-level impressions. I’m particularly enamored and intrigued by her self-portraits in cake; I’m deeply appreciative of her discussions on mental health, and can I just say how refreshing it is to find a website with a section titled “just the damn recipes,” sans lengthy preamble about your late Aunt Maude, or whoever?

A writer and artist living in Portland, OR, Jessica Reed is a Cake Historian exploring history, culture, mental health, and identity through the lens of cake. Jessica is a baker of conceptual cakes (as well as regular ones!), freelance food writer, book cover designer, and author of The Baker’s Appendix. Find her online at thecakehistorian.com and on Instagram @cake_historian.

..and I am so ridiculously pleased that she’s here today to share her Ten Favorite Things For Magical Baking. 

The Lottery

The Lottery Cake

Baking is magic. I believe that every handmade good contains magic, but baked goods particularly so. There’s just something intrinsically special about sweet or savory treats born from hands, a few essential components merged by beautiful chemistry and fire, and sometimes even literal blood, sweat, and tears (I know of no baker who would argue against this).   I bake at least once a week, be it our usual sourdough bread, cookies for the kid or neighbor-bribery, or one of my conceptual cakes. But sometimes, when going after a particular desire or in need of some extra help working my way through difficult situations,  I need to up the bewitchment factor. The following are a few favorites I turn to again and again for inspiration, process, and flavor.

Books

Books

I am a proud bibliophile and am devoted to books. My baking is influenced by literature, non-fiction, art tomes, and other cookbooks of all kinds, but two of my most favorite when it comes to magical baking are A Kitchen Witches World of Magical Food by Rachel Patterson and a reproduction of the 19th-century dictionary of Victorian flower meanings, The Language of Flowers. I never bake magically without them by my side.

Leighton,_Frederic_-_Invocation

“Invocation” by Frederic Leighton

I keep a small print of this taped in my baking cabinet and make a sort of baking altar with it when I am working a little kitchen magic. Leighton, a member of the Pre-Raphaelites, is best known for his paintings, particularly “Flaming June,” though I was tickled to learn that he designed Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s tomb for Robert Browning.

stella

Stella

If I remember correctly, I named my KitchenAid Stella after imagining going all Brando and yelling “Stella!!!” out in fits of baking frustration. Gifted by my now-husband around twelve years ago, we’ve only made the occasional swing into Streetcar territory.

DigitalScale

Digital Scale

I am a big proponent of baking using the metric system, so much so that I wrote an article about it. As well my book, originally a small self-published booklet, was written to make converting from the American Imperial system of measurement to the metric system easier for the average home baker.

bowl

Silicone Bowl

I LOVE this bowl from the Cake Queen Rose Levy Beranbaum’s line. Its intention is to serve as a double boiler but can be used for a variety of baking purposes, my favorite being the vessel for combining the dry ingredients in a recipe. Its flexibility allows for easy distribution into a mixing bowl.

LodgeCastIronMeltingPot

 

 

Melting Pot

My kitchen cauldron, this is the pot I use for any small project that requires melted butter, a small quantity of melted ingredients, or infusions of vanilla or herbs into milk or cream.

CakeStand

Cake Stand

This Aetco stand was another investment, but so worth it. The sturdy base and smooth-moving turntable make frosting and decorating a breeze. Bonus points for aesthetics.

BlackCocoa

Black Cocoa Powder

A favorite when mixed with standard cocoa for depth of flavor and color. I never bake a chocolate cake without it! I prefer the King Arthur brand.

Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I started my Vanilla Extract at least ten years ago and am so devoted I even brought it across the country when we moved from Brooklyn to Portland, OR. Homemade extracts are a beautiful, simple, potion-y, way to work some kitchen magic.

 

handsbw

My Hands

Calculating, opening, whisking, stirring, kneading, folding, mixing, sifting, dipping, sprinkling…. Covered in burn scars, new burns (I never learn), occasional knife cuts, there’s nothing more important for my magical baking.

that which does not readily give up its secrets

that which does not readily give up its secrets from ghoulnextdoor on 8tracks Radio.

A new mix for the obscured chambers of the heart…

image: Ashley Woodson Bailey

Track list: Sun Forest by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds | Closer To Grey by Chromatics | The More I Cry by Alice Boman | One Last Kiss To Remember by Trentemoller | Light Caught by January Thompson | All Mirrors by Angel Olsen | Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Hval |Mirror Forever by Weyes Blood | All That Is Beautiful by Mamiffer | The Ocean At Night by Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys | Temples by RISE | The Mother Road by Chelsea Wolfe | Letter Never Sent by Mark Lanegan Band | Coven by RY X | Nowhere to Go by Nicole Saboune | Island Of Doom by Agnes Obel

Some Imagery That Made Me Laugh This Year

Gennady Spirin, from The White Cat.

Gennady Spirin, from The White Cat.

“Take my coat, boys. I see something I’d like to puke on.”

 

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Reverend George Liddell Johnston – The Alphabet Illustrated, 1875

When you’re an infernal demon eternally stoking the fires of the pit, but you also like pretty dresses.

 

Jules Joseph Lefebvre, "Judith” (1892)

Jules Joseph Lefebvre, “Judith” (1892)

“GOD I CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT YOU RIGHT NOW.”

 

Cat Workshop AB Frost

AB Frost

Girl scout working toward cat badge.

 

Papal Ass of Rome; originally a woodcut, probably by Lucas Cranach the Elder

Papal Ass of Rome; originally a woodcut, probably by Lucas Cranach the Elder

When you got dressed in the dark and left the house in a hurry and later realize you’ve got a hoof on one foot and claws on the other. You’ve also got a dude’s face tucked into your butt.

 

The Queen was in the Parlour, Eating Bread and Honey by Valentine Cameron Prinsep

The Queen was in the Parlour, Eating Bread and Honey by Valentine Cameron Prinsep

Me, a Taurus, donning my swishiest velvet robes to steal into my own pantry and eat bread at 3a.m.

 

Friedrich Schroeder-Sonnenstern (German, 1892-1982)

Friedrich Schroeder-Sonnenstern (German, 1892-1982) The Mower, 1953

Some days you’re a swan-footed, phallus-eared screamer running straight for the kaleidoscopic, chomping maw of death and some days you’re the deranged skellington with a propeller sticking out of one of your butts and viewmaster reels for feet, chasing that other guy.

 

Anna Bakhareva

Anna Bakhareva

Cauliflowers but make it fashion.

 

image from The Book of Nature Myths by Florence Holbrook, 1902.

image from The Book of Nature Myths by Florence Holbrook, 1902.

“Florida Things.”

 

Robert Maguire

Robert Maguire

Witnesses would all agree the chair was a no-good piece of shit and had it coming.

 

rudolf sieber lonati

rudolf sieber lonati

tfw you meet up a with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile and life’s not been good to them and they’re looking pretty rough, so you dim the harsh fluorescent lamps and conjure some warm candlelight because you’re a good friend and hoo boy they’re hard to look at

How To Wear That One Friend Who’s A Little Extra

frand

…I mean, we all have that one friend, don’t we?

Mimosa Gathered Taffeta Gown by Aje // Miu Miu Embellished suede ankle boots // Area tie-fastening Crystal Necklace // Diamanda Sunglasses by Adele Mildred // Lonely Lingerie Delilah bodysuit // Blow Me statement fan by Khu Khu // Tom Ford FUCKING FABULOUS perfume // 10.5 carat L’Amour diamond ring // Marchesa Glitter Box Clutch Bag // Achlys ring from bloodmilk jewels // Christian Louboutin ‘The Noirs’ nail colour

2019 Halloween/Autumn Collection At Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab

weenies-dracula

Weenie time, weenie time! It’s Weenie time at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, and I’ve reviewed over 40 fragrances from their Autumn and Halloween collection over at Haute Macabre this week!

There’s so many good ones, but I’ll share four of my favorites here. Shhhh! Don’t tell the others!

🎃 Cozy Pumpkin Sweater (a dribble of pumpkin spice spilled onto a fluffy orange angora sweater) Ok so imagine that demented cashmere sweater scene from Lord Love A Duck but transplant it into the eternal autumn of the Sabrina universe. Pumpkin spices and that enchanted inch or so of knitted or woven fabric along your cardigan collar that even when removed at the end of the day, retains the warmth of your skin and the phantom perfume of your favorite shampoo.

🎃 Anthocyanin (red musk, mandrake root, patchouli, pimento, saffron, red oudh, clove, and basil) Fall air rich with decaying leaves and cider-y scents and gorgeous spice and incense-saturated veils billowing in a sun-warmed October afternoon’s breeze. Like… if your very favorite head-shop had a stall at your favorite autumnal renaissance fair. This is basically the best of all worlds.

🎃 Dead Leaves, Moss, And Mushrooms if there was ever a better argument for “more is more,” I don’t know what that could possibly be. My favorite “Dead Leaves” scents have thus far been those signature dead leaves plus some unexpectedly bright or springy floral pairing…but as it turns out, the very best one is comprised of a “like + like” formula. This one smells as if you had swept your favorite mug across an autumn flotsam of forest floor and brewed up in boiling rainwater all the sylvan sweepings you had gathered. Best served warm and cozy in tiny acorn cups, to ring of sleepy woodland creatures. If you love fall but you don’t love pumpkin, maple, or apple scents, I think you are really going to fall for this one. Pun intended–I always intend my puns.

🎃 Death’s Head Moth (dusty brown sandalwood, nagarmotha, brown oudh, clove husk, white patchouli, black pepper, vetiver, green cumin, and ash.) Hand-made lace, only a little moth-eaten and musty, that has retained the gentle perfume of its owner –a combination of warm skin, fine-milled soap, and sweet, cooling herbs– a century later. This is an understated and sublimely beautiful scent

Dreary Fall Lookbook

Fall look feature

I’m finding the runway fashion a little lackluster at the time being, so I thought I might round up a small collection of the “fall looks” I’ve been sharing on Instagram. You might argue that my sartorial contributions are nothing to get excited about either, but that’s just like, your opinion, man. But also you’d probably be right–they’re 95% monochromatic (or just black, if we’re telling it like it is), they are relatively shapeless and unstructured, and I am neither a model nor a photographer, so my imagery consists chiefly of one pose over and over again, reflected in a smudged mirror.

Well, so what? I’m a real person! And this is what I really wear! And I think you can get a much better sense of clothing as it really is and how it truly fits if you get a chance to see it on a random schlub, as opposed to someone who’s all made up and has great lighting and a photographer to find their best side.

Scroll on for a few of my favorite ensembles this season, and I will share with you the details on where to find everything as well. (My No Face phone case can be found at Amazon (because I know you’re going to ask!)

holy voids 2

jamie

stitchfix

elizabeth suzann

  • Grey top from the sadly closed babooshka boutique
  • Clyde Billow skirt from Elizabeth Suzann (maybe gone, but there’s a few similar!)
  • bloodmilk spyglass necklace and keyhole ring

uzi nyc

kate bush

black sunday shirt

throwback

And a throwback bonus from 2017! Featuring very different bed linens, and cape/cardi + leggings from Sophie Reaptress.

Currently {11.6.19}

dreamboat annie
I’ve been in a funny place for the past few weeks. Funny, and a little unfamiliar, and I almost don’t even know what to do with it. I’m feeling kind of …carefree? And generally good about life? Like everything might actually be ok for once and the world doesn’t feel like it may crash down around my head …any second…any second now?

This is such an alien state of being for me. And what makes it worse (what makes good…worse? Ah, Sarah.) is that so many people I know are struggling and suffering and just really having a rough go of it at the moment. I feel awfully guilty for feeling as great as I do.

I feel so great, in fact, that every day for the last three and a half weeks I have launched myself out of bed at five a.m. sometimes, at 4:59, before the alarm has even gone off. I’m immediately out the front door–in my pajamas, no less–to take in the world while everything is dark and quiet and still. I used to walk in the early mornings for exercise; it was a slog, and I hated it, and more often than not I would find reasons to avoid it and lay in bed for another few hours. Now I have begun to think of it as a gentle stroll to stretch my toes and wake myself up, and I’m finding that it’s become a really vital part of my morning. (I still get the stupid, sloggy exercise at night, though. Bah.) It may sound as if I’ve contracted some sort of passing mania, but I have kept this practice up for nearly a month now, even on weekends, and as it turns out, I don’t really need more than 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Which doesn’t quite sound right, does it? But I feel loads better than when I was getting 7-8 hours a night? And anything over 8 makes me feel awful, anyway.

I’m attributing this change to a handful of things:

-In late summer we finally wrapped up this interminable business with my grandparent’s estate, so after nearly three years, that particular dread is no longer weighing on my shoulders. My grandfather passed in 2015, and my grandmother’s decline was long and slow  (she passed in 2017) so between caring for them before their deaths and dealing with the  aftermath and the house and the paperwork and finances, it finally feels like I can let go and properly say goodbye. Goodbye, Mawga and Boppa. Until we meet again!

-I submitted some of the final stuff for a project I’ve been working on, and even though it’s not even close to being done, I think the most challenging aspect of it has been taken care of, and even if nothing ever comes from it, or if it all falls through… at least I will know that I was able to commit to writing 12 chapters of something. Yes, I am writing a book. Yes, this is what I have been obliquely alluding to since March earlier this year. Nope, still not really ready to talk about it yet.  But I will say this: be careful what you put out into the universe because sometimes you just might end up eating your words.

-I had a difficult conversation with my boss that I was scared to have, and it turned out ok…it didn’t kill me at all. Now I finally feel good about plans to eventually move to the West Coast, and hopefully sooner rather than later. Portland, here we come!

-Another thing I am loathe to talk about for myriad reasons is that I have lost almost 25 lbs. I’m actively working on just feeling better in general, and unfortunately, weight loss is a part of the process. I just want to be able to squat comfortably again, man. And I don’t even mean for exercise, I mean for when I want to squat down and look at a tiny roly-poly on the sidewalk or something. And maybe wear one particular dress I bought four years ago, but which didn’t even fit me at the time.

-And finally, I am fixing my teeth, a thing I’m terribly self-conscious about.

But listen: I may be in a better mood and I may have nicer teeth–but I’m still not smiling for anyone. No way, no how!

Oh, and another great thing is that I found a Heart record for $8 at a boba shop, of all places.

tofu scramble sammie

So, let me tell you about this sandwich. First, slice up a shallot and quick pickle it in a little bit of vinegar and sugar. Set that aside. Crumble half a block of tofu and saute it with some garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and a bit of black salt (it’s sulfurous and will make it taste eggy.) While that’s cooking, toast a few slices of sourdough bread, and when they are ready, mush up some avocado slices on them, top with a few spoonfuls of the tofu scramble and garnish with the pickled shallots. This was something I threw together last weekend, and it was pretty tasty.

73398039_154382932466146_5609917889998814467_n

Next, allow me to bring your attention to this pumpkin bread. I have been making it since 2002, using ingredients and directions from allrecipes.com, but which I have slowly been tweaking and changing over the years. I use half brown sugar/half white sugar, mostly applesauce in place of oil, and for the remainder of the oil I use olive oil, twice as much cinnamon, omit the nutmeg, add cardamom and black pepper, and sub in fresh ginger for the powder. I reckon it’s a whole new recipe by now!

pumpkin curry

Finally, this is a pumpkin curry I improvised when I realized I’d bought more pumpkin than I was ever going to eat in my oatmeal. (I always think pumpkin oatmeal is a great idea for like, the first week in October. And then I’m over it.) First, whiz up one medium onion, 5-6 cloves of garlic, one serrano pepper, and a knob of ginger in your food processor. Or, you could mince it all by hand, whatever’s easiest. Cook in the instant pot using the “saute” function for about five minutes. (I might do a few minutes more.) Add to the pot  a can of chickpeas, or if you thought ahead to cook up some dried chickpeas, add about a can’s worth, about 15 oz or so; a 15 oz can of coconut milk, a 15 oz can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) and a cubed sweet potato. To this add 2 tbsp curry powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and fenugreek leaves. Or whatever you generally like to add in terms of curry spices! I just sort of threw in whatever sounded good. Stir it together, close the pot, and cook for 10 minutes, with a natural release.

I served this curry with short grain brown rice because that’s what we had on hand, and which was also cooked in the instant pot. Our formula for rice–whatever kind of rice– is to rinse it in cool water 2-3 times, drain and use a 1:1 rice to water ratio, minus about a tbsp of whatever (to account for whatever liquid is still left in the rice after the rinsing). Cook on high for 6 minutes and then do a natural release. Most of the time this makes for perfect rice. I also roasted some cauliflower that had been tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, garam masala, and a pinch of turmeric.

For something that I did not consult a recipe for, it was really quite good!

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This is a shawl that I knit last month. I think it broke me. It was the most epically tedious thing I have ever created. I was warned, going into it, that I was probably going to be bored with the pattern, and man, I sure was. The funny thing is, it seems to be a pretty beloved pattern among most knitters (it’s the Find Your Fade shawl.)

I don’t mean this as a criticism to the designer, but I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who enjoys the challenge of a more intricate pattern. Which I normally do! But sometimes I like to rest my eyes a little and not stress out so much about something that’s meant to be an enjoyable pastime. If you need something a little mindless for a netflix binge, this is perfect!
…but be certain that there’s at least 6-7 seasons of it because this knit is interminable.

In blocking this I noticed A LOT of dropped stitches. I think I got so bored with it that I just totally tuned out and mindlessly sped through it, without even noticing. I performed some surgery after blocking, so I think it’s okay. (Here’s a good video on how to pick up dropped stitches on a finished piece of work.)

So just an FYI: don’t daydream your way through this project. Check every few rows for some dropped or wonky stitches so that you’re not surprised by them after you have already finished!

cooties

Two movies and a cocktail: I did not do my thirty-one days of horror films this year; however, I did watch one movie at the beginning of October and one at the end, and I highly recommend them both.

Cooties was kinda funny and kinda dumb and a whole lot of fun, and I’ve been meaning to watch it for years now, ever since I saw that sonic creepster extraordinaire, Kreng, was involved in the soundtrack. It’s more or less about zombie children, and, Frodo, who plays the part of a failed writer who has to move back in with his mom in the town where he grew up, and is a substitute teacher at the school where the kids start getting freaky and bitey and gross one day.

Knife + Heart was a beautiful and brutal homage to the giallo film, almost entirely populated by queer characters, and I don’t know what I was expecting but I sure wasn’t expecting what I got–a dreamy, kitschy, sleazy, thriller, the likes of which I have never seen before. This one also has a pretty great soundtrack.

This is not a themed cocktail, but I suggest you pair either of these films with the rum Old Fashioned that this guy shares on his youtube channel (skip to 5:35 for the specific recipe). We crafted a few this past weekend, and I’m fairly certain that I liked it even more than a regular Old Fashioned!

Ok, so that’s it. You can all go home now. Oh, but wait! I got a fancy new mattress, too. Which is kind of hilarious, considering I don’t spend all that much time sleeping anymore.

10 Delights for Autumn Nights By Pam Grossman

Pam Grossman feature image potrait detail by Carrie Ann Baade

Listen, you guys. If you don’t know by now of my ardent and abiding admiration and appreciation for Pam Grossman–this generation’s reigning supreme!– I don’t even know what to tell you, and I don’t know how much further I can embarrass myself by gushing and crushing on her some more. But it’s just…I do love her so very much! Pam is a continual source of awe and inspiration and the work she does is important and exciting and it thrills me to my marrow every time I observe some new bit of magic she releases into the world.

…and this month I’m overjoyed and ecstatic that she’s going to share some of those gemmy, plummy, Pammy magics here with us, at Unquiet Things, for our October installment of Ten Things!

Pam Grossman is the creator and host of The Witch Wave podcast and the author of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power (Gallery Books) and What Is A Witch (Tin Can Forest Press). Her writing has appeared in such outlets as the New York TimesThe Atlantic, TIME.com, Sabat Magazine, and her occulture blog, Phantasmaphile. She is co-founder of the Occult Humanities Conference at NYU, and her art exhibitions and magical projects have been featured in such publications as ArtforumArt in America, and the New Yorker. You can find her at PamGrossman.com and @Phantasmaphile.

Portrait of Pam Grossman by Carrie Ann Baade

Portrait of Pam Grossman by Carrie Ann Baade

When I was invited to contribute to this beauteous blog I confess I got a bit overwhelmed because, while I adore making lists, it is often difficult for me to know when to stop. I also confess that the above title is a paltry attempt at giving myself some semblance of constraint, but if I’m being honest I live pretty much every second of my life like it’s an autumn night. However “Shit I Really Fucking Dig” just doesn’t quite sound poetic enough now does it?

Anyhow, without further ado: 10 Delights for Autumn Nights

Helen Adam, page from In Harpy Land, 1976-1977

Helen Adam, page from In Harpy Land, 1976-1977

1. Books by and about Helen Adam

Helen Adam was a Scottish-American poet, collagist, and playwright who hung out with the beats and bohemians of San Francisco, but was, by my estimation, the raddest of the bunch. She was into witchcraft and the dark feminine, and her poems, plays, short stories, and artworks often feature such delicious figures as harpies, a Worm Queen, and dark sorceresses of every stripe. She was also wickedly funny and astonishingly prolific. I fell head over heels for her after seeing some of her deliciously twisted collages in the Robert Duncan and Jess exhibition, The Opening of the Field, at NYU a few years back. In fact I love her so much I used a bit of her poem, “At Mortlake Manor,” as the epigraph of my book. Best places to start are the Helen Adam Reader edited by Kristen Prevallet and The Collages of Helen Adam edited by Alison Fraser, but really you can’t go wrong with anything else you might encounter.

 

apothekerri_main

2. Exquisite bath products

Baths are a crucial part of my magic-making, not to mention my self-caretaking. I could not live in a home without a bathtub, and when a hotel room is shower-only, I am filled with despair. One of the best bathing experiences of my life was at an onsen in Japan, and I am forever trying to recreate that experience, which is why I’m obsessed with this book, as well as anything that is scented with hinoki. Still, I love plenty of other bath magix – my one rule is it must not be a pain in the ass to clean afterward, so no glitter bombs for this lady, thank you very much. Bathing is supposed to be chill, not a chore! Here are a few of my very favorites:

– Pretty much anything by Apothekerri. This bath witch makes everything in small batches, and she is a lovely human as well. You can order them directly from her, or here.
– I adore these West Marin Bath Salts by Leila Castle. The smell like walking through Muir Woods.
– These hiba wood bath salts from Cul de Sac Japan get me pretty darn close to the feeling I described above. I only wish they came in larger sizes.
– I stumbled upon One With Nature rose petal bath salts at my local pharmacy and saw them at my grocery store recently too, so they aren’t fancy. But affordable luxuries are always appreciated, and these smell divine.

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3. Rose-flavored everything

Speaking of rose, my palate changed as I got older, and I now find rosy foods and elixirs no longer soapy, but irresistible. Can’t get enough of this Tulsi Sweet Rose tea, for example. Makes me feel like a fairy when I drink it.
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4. Schmancy chocolate

Some of you might be most familiar with Steve Almond as one half of the magnificent Dear Sugar podcast with Cheryl Strayed (that is a recommendation in itself, as is the book), but I will forever think of him as the author of Candy Freak who thereby got me addicted to Caramel Five Star Bars by Lake Champlain Chocolates. I don’t even know how to begin to describe how delicious they are. My husband and I love these little bricks of ecstasy so much we bought some for everyone in our wedding party (they are also based out of Vermont where we got engaged).

 

mithras

5. Beeswax candles

I love any and all beeswax candles, but I am extremely spoiled because I am dear friends with the man behind Mithras Candle out of Philadelphia (and full disclosure, they are also a devoted Witch Wave sponsor. But that is not why I am recommending them, I’m just a genuine fan). These candles are hand-dripped and look like a column of wax stalactites or something out of a wizard’s secret library. They smell amazing, they glow like magic, and they are crafted by a beautiful soul.

 

fulgur

6. Occult art tomes

Our apartment is bursting at the seams with books, but that doesn’t stop me from procuring as many tomes on the occult and art as possible. There are so many I could recommend here from various places, but I say save yourself the trouble and get everything that Fulgur Press puts out. Based out of the UK, they specialize in exquisitely-made talismanic books and feature such brilliant esoteric artists as Jesse Bransford, Shannon Taggart, Marjorie Cameron, and Ithell Colquhoun.

 

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7. Crystalline Binging

Have you watched the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance yet? If not I truly don’t know what you’re waiting for. It may be the most gorgeous show ever made, and I’m not hyperbolizing. (And when you’re done, have a look at the marvelous making-of documentary as well.)

 

Agnes Pelton

8. Agnes Pelton

You know how everyone is now madly in love with occult abstract art pioneer Hilma af Klint? Mark my words, in a few months you’re all going to be losing your minds about Agnes Pelton. She was a member of the Transcendentalist Painting Group, and inspired by Theosophy and other esoteric studies. Her work is quasi-figurative, but with its own visual vocabulary that feels otherworldly and drenched in radiant pastel hues. I first encountered her randomly in this lovely book that I found in a bargain bin several years back, and recently had the good fortune to see a retrospective of her work at the Phoenix Art Museum. When that exhibition hits the Whitney here in New York next spring, it’s gonna make waves and expand minds, no doubt about it. OK, not an autumn thing. But look into her now and you’ll be ahead of the curve and awash in mystical majesty at the same time!

 

third aid kit

9. Laugh Medicine

As much as I love the darker months, I can sometimes be susceptible to the blues, the grays, and the glooms. And so things that keep me from getting too heavy are welcome always, but especially during the shadowy side of the year. Here are some of my go-tos to keep the maudlin monsters at bay:

– TV: If you are reading this blog regularly, then Los Espookys was made for you. Just trust me on that. And the humor and giant-heartedness of Schitt’s Creek (not to mention Catherine O’Hara’s scrumptious haute-bizarre wardrobe) completely won me over. I also bet many don’t know that I am a die-hard SNL fan. I’ve loved it since I was a kid, and I never ever miss it. I also cry whenever cast members leave and follow a lot of the behind-the-scenes aspects too (this book and this Creating Saturday Night Live series are especially great). It has certainly had its ups and downs over the years, but it feels like family to me, and what they pull of each week both comedy-wise and craftmanship-wise is nothing short of miraculous. I worship at its altar.

– Podcasts: I’m also a hardcore RuPaul fan, and love not only Drag Race, but the What’s the Tee podcast that he and Michelle Visage put out each week. It’s inspiring and irreverent – vitamins and dessert all in one. I’m also addicted to Thirst Aid Kit, which is a hilarious and insightful show about female (albeit usually straight female) desire. Hosts Bim Adewunmi and Nichole Perkins are smart and salty and both excellent writers, and each episode makes me cackle like mad.

– Twitter feeds: @DoththeDoth is the goth therapist you never knew you needed. @EverySheriff is perfection and never fails to brighten my day (my favorite is the Sheriff of Goblin). Comedian @SolomonGeorgio first came to my attention via 2 Dope Queens (RIP), but he’s become a favorite source of giggles and glitter.

 

Kirimi

10. The Best Twitter Feed of All-Time

But nothing lift my spirits more consistently than the Twitter feed of Kirimi-chan, the salmon-filet-headed person(?) with an accidentally(?) art-house vibe who is so important, so groundbreaking, so tremendously bananas that she merits her own mention. She is Sanrio’s most conceptual character. She is the Lady Gaga, the Yayoi Kusama, the Laurie Anderson of Sanrio. No, I don’t understand a word of what her feed says. I just know that I need more pictures of this dead-fish-lady in a fish-shaped swimming pool wading next to a live fish, and you do too. Do you want to see her holding a wand with her own head on it? Of course you do. And here she is dressed up like a French maid. You’re welcome.

playlist

BONUS. Sonic Sorcery

As the nights get cool and spooky, my Waking the Witch playlist is sure to keep you warm with its witchery.

 

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