I’d taken a bit of a summer break with regard to my non-personal writing, but I am back over at Haute Macabre this Friday in late July to share a lovely interview I recently collaborated on with Author, Poet, Word Witch Lisa Marie Basile.
Many thanks to my dear friend Sonya, for it was through them that I originally learned about Lisa’s work a few years ago, and it was also through them that this interview coalesced and came into being. Thank you, thank you, dearest bean of my heart!
Early on in our days of self-isolation and social distancing during this pandemic crisis, my baby sister asked if I would write a guest post for her blog about how I’ve worked out the kinks of working from home over the past decade. I happily agreed.
In classic Taurean fashion, it took me about eleventy billion hours of ponderous thought and laborious execution, but here we go– some work from home thoughts from “one of the most beguiling and original voices to echo across the Internet.” But she’s my sister, so she has to say nice things about me!
Mosey on over and have a peek at my guest post for her, and while you’re there, poke around a bit! She’s dedicated herself to recording a daily pandemic check-in with her Plague Diaries series and I think you’ll find some relatable stuff there and a great deal of keen insight and heartfelt sentiment. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my sister!
Our friends at Roses And Rue Antiques have teamed up with some of their favorite colleagues, all-female small business owners, for an Instagram giveaway of truly epic proportions. This has been a challenging, frightening, and uncertain time for all of us, so they have put together a selection of ghostly goodies which will hopefully lift your spirits, and make your time isolated at home a little happier.
Read further for a massive list of the marvelous items you will receive accompanied by some truly beautiful photos, along with links to the various vendors. At the bottom of the post, you will find the rules for the giveaway, along with the links you will need to enter. It’s not complicated, but please be sure to read! Also, please note, this is not a giveaway hosted by Unquiet Things, so any comments you leave here won’t be counted as entries. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of its existence, and point you in the right direction!
The winner of the giveaway will receive:
– 2 Victorian hair keepsakes, 2 antique miniature religious books, and an antique magnifying paperweight from @rosesandrueantiques
– A pair of antique crochet gloves and a funeral card from @blackcatclothiers
– A lock of hair in a paper box and funeral card from @lleyak
– A vintage candle holder with a crystal ball from @darknorthcraftandcurio
– A “You have been poisoned” teacup and Salem postcards from @emporium32
– A Victorian post mortem photo, 2 Victorian prints, and 2 funeral cards from @funerealephemera
So I am plugging away on my little youtube channel, which I know, it’s sort of a vain little project, but that’s okay, and I am okay with it. The world is nuts right now and I can’t just allow myself to freak out and shut down, so it’s a nice time to learn some new skills and do a thing I was gearing up to try my hand at, anyhow. And P.S. it’s also okay to freak out and shut down, but I know me, and if I allow myself to get into that headspace, then I might never make it out again.
Anyway, as all good Youtube channels do (as well as the really bad and annoying ones, or basically, well, all of them) I thought I might include a little “haul” video. But mine would, naturally, be with the kinds of things that I like to see! No basic, grocery store hauls here, GTFO with those frozen Tyson chicken breasts! No $5K Gucci sneaker hauls here, either! Although OK maybe I am just jealous about those!
This weekend I shared the first video from my Down A Dark Haul series, and because I am so very new to all of this, I forgot nearly everything I wanted to share about the marvelous things I mentioned. I thought I might stop back by the ol’ blog and share some photos and additional information.
And please don’t worry! I still plan on updating this blog and it will always be my first love. I’m just juggling one more personal project right now, is all. Social media platforms are sort of like Pokémon for me (I don’t play Pokémon, but) I feel I have to “catch them all,” so to speak!
The first two items were two books from Fulgur Press : UK based Fulgur Press is the leading independent publisher for esotericism and magic in visual culture. Founded in 1992 by Robert Ansell, the press works with artists, writers and editors who explore ideas of agency and enchantment through scholarship and practice.
Songs For The Witch Woman is an evocative book of art and poetry, a collaborative effort between a fascinating couple who were utterly consumed by each other: Jack Parsons, an actual rocket scientist, and a prominent figure in the Los Angeles occult world of the 1940s. And Marjorie Cameron artist and actress and an iconic part of LA’s early mystical underground. I believe this though this book is meant to be both a window into their love story, it’s more art book than a biography and I am dreadfully excited to dig in.
Séance by Shannon Taggart. I am also very excited to pore through Séance, a gorgeous book by photographer, lecturer, and writer. Shannon Taggart. Shannon is the world’s foremost contemporary spirit photographer and Séance is the culmination of an 18-year long exploration of spiritualism and which contains hundreds of photographs of her subjects channeling, table tipping, spoon bending, and having other spirit encounters. And a foreward by Dan Akroyd who is –wow!–a fourth-generation spiritualist!
This darling little nun is from Dark North Craft and Curio, who was recommended to me by another wonderful online antique seller whose wares I adore, Kate at Roses and Rue Antiques (and whom you may remember from a previous installment of Ten Things!) I love it when small businesses lift each other up and have each other’s backs! I will link to both shops below. And as a matter of fact, the pale madam in the second photo is from the Roses and Rue shop! Though I have not interacted much with the owner of Dark North (who it turns out is also a Kate), I do know that she specializes in items with an air of gothic romance or occult origins, and likes to stock items for witchcraft, altar spaces, ritual magick and divination.
I am not sure if this particular nun has a story, or if nun dolls, in general, have any sort of origin story. I started doing a bit of research and fell down a series of rabbit holes and didn’t find anything definitive after two minutes, so I gave up. But I did find a place called in Indian River, Michigan called The National Shrine Of The Cross In The Woods, which is apparently the home for the largest collection of dolls dressed in traditional habits of men and women religious communities in the United States. If I were to go on some sort of zig-zaggy cross country road trip, visiting all sorts of eccentric sites along the way, this would be near the top of the list! At any rate, I am not sure why I am obsessed with nuns, but for whatever reason, I find them absolutely fascinating, and I had to have this little lady for my shelf.
Later, someone on twitter gave me a bit of an answer as to my original line of query!
You mean why they were made? I spoke with a Dominican who said that, as postulants, they dressed dolls so they would understand how the habit was made. Orders also gave dolls to children to encourage vocations. They were also Catholic church raffle prizes.
Speaking of obsessions, I think anyone who knows me either knows or will soon find out that I am obsessed with Portland, OR, which seems to me a wonderful little oasis for weirdos. I’ve only visited a handful of times, but each time I do, I am always sure to stop by AltarPDX, an alternative handmade fashion boutique dedicated to beautiful clothing and accessories that are inspired by the natural world and the spirit of the Northwest. The shop curates an edgy, dark aesthetic and celebrates “a new generation of American artistry and manufacturing.”
RANT: As an aside, I keep hearing fashion and makeup bloggers and vloggers say something really annoying, and I don’t know if they are using the word in this way to be cheeky, or maybe…they just think this is how the word is used. And I get that the English language is ever-evolving, but come ON. Anyway, I often see people’s Instagram captions in which they declare that something is SO AESTHETIC. No! You can like or prefer (or not prefer) something because you either do or do not appreciate it’s *particular* aesthetic; Like… you prefer a dark gothic aesthetic or a colorful boho aesthetic, or a highly elaborate baroque or a more natural, minimalist aesthetic. Generally speaking, I guess you could say you appreciate something for its aesthetic qualities, or that you recognize that something has aesthetic appeal. But. Something can’t JUST be SO aesthetic. I mean…what does that even mean?? If I am missing something or am way off base here, feel free to let me know. I just think it sounds weird…and not in the fun way we like around here. In a dumb and wrong way.
ANYWAY. That has nothing to do with this lovely box of small-batch apothecary items, hand-selected for this particular “discovery box.” Not all of the scents or products are things I personally would have chosen for myself but I really do love these kinds of surprise boxes, so it was a fun purchase! Take a peek at AltarPDX’s website for the items above, and order your own apothecary discovery box here.
From the Haute Macabre crystal shop, I ordered this massive carnelian bowl, about which, the site shares: “Carnelian, once known as “the blood of Isis”, emits a warmth, recirculating the blood in your veins. In ancient times, Carnelian was worn to give warriors courage in battle, something not energetically different than our modern uses – Carnelian ignites a passion, gives a bold voice to the timid, and builds power within.”
This bowl is a beautiful, bold behemoth, and I have placed it on my desk where I can gaze upon its valorous vibes all day long!
Lastly, I received a surprise package from indie perfumers Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab this past weekend, so as a last-minute addition, I included a few mini-reviews toward the end of the video. I thought I would give you a close-up photo here because my camera definitely wasn’t close enough to get a good peek yesterday (and I don’t know how to add in b-roll or whatever yet) but if you want to know my thought on the scent, you’ll have to you know, watch the video. Hee! Sneaky, sneaky. The two fragrances that I reference are Blueberries, Cream, and Cardamom and Caramel, Smoked Chilis, and Black Vanilla.
So that’s it for this installment of Down a Dark Haul, but I hope to have more in this series in the future!
In the meantime, while please keeping in mind that I am very new to all of this, feel free to leave comments and critiques and suggestions in the comments! And also like and subscribe and comment on my Youtube channel, so it looks like I am not a lame loser with no friends!
Today at Haute Macabre it is an immense pleasure to share my recent interview with fantastical fiber artist Our Widow, whose exquisite stitches have had me in sighs and swoons for some time now. She answered my questions with warmth, candor, and sincerity and I am extremely appreciative for her time and thoughtfulness…and I was especially excited to learn that we are Sisters In Never-Swatching!
Earlier this week at Haute Macabre I shared my Needful Things for the past several months.
I’m becoming more and more conscious of how often I chatter about stuff and things. Don’t get me wrong, I do love beautiful objects, but…they don’t actually make me any more interesting as a person. They don’t make me smarter, or kinder, or more clever. Who am I, and what would I talk about without these things? What would I post on Instagram?? These pathways of thought trouble me, and so I’ve been digging deep to find myself and what I care about beyond these…things.
So in that vein…some of the things mentioned in the above article are actual things, but also some of them are just spaces and feelings while others are activities and practices that I really leaned into this past year, Gathered together, they all brought me an abundance of joy and wonder and a great deal of satisfaction. Have a peek and be sure to let me know if you had any favorite or needful things (or non-things) lately!
I can’t believe I forgot to share this! At Haute Macabre last week, my interview with Lyla Mori of Moonflesh and the slow-stitched secrets of her spectral threadwork went up. In case you missed it, have a peek!
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