Love Letter to My Domestic Machines

Dear readers,

I’m in love with a dream of what the past was, who I might have been, and what life could be. Every so often, I need to take some time and remember to be grateful for these glorious post-19th Century machines that work in my place and let me have a day-to-day life that is nothing short of prosperous.

Here is my love letter to these machines. I hope writing it will help me remember that I am so thankful to have them in my life.

Washing Machine, you save me from so much physical labor. You use whatever detergent I throw at you without complaint. The only times you didn’t wash clothes correctly were when one of us humans added too much detergent for the load size. I literally cannot imagine a life without you waiting for dirty clothes down in the basement. My mother taught me how to use washing machines before she would let me anywhere near a stove, so operating you was likely the first chore I ever learned. I’ve read a few articles and abstracts saying that you’re a quiet hero of women’s liberation. Thank you for your ubiquitous presence in my life.

Dryer, you’re a tricky one to take care of. I want to free you from all the excess lint you likely have inside, but that’s more involved than any maintenance I’ve done on anything else before. In the meantime, I won’t scold you for sometimes taking more than one cycle to dry our clothes and bed linens. I made some wool dryer balls to help you in your tasks, and I think that they must be more pleasant to juggle than the spikey plastic balls we used before. Thank you for always being ready if I need something to dry in less than two hours.

HVAC Systems, you do a lot of work all year round without a rest. Even in the spring and fall, when we open the windows and temporarily stop managing the temperature, we still have the fans running at least once every hour. Furnace, you keep me from freezing. Air Conditioner, you keep me from overheating. Blower Fans, you keep the air in the second floor where I sleep from being stuffy and thick. Smart Thermostat, you let me keep the relevant portions of the house heated and cooled the way I need them to be. I no longer need to guess what temperature in the area around the thermostat will translate into a good temperature for me on the other side of the house. You all keep me so consistently comfortable, I don’t even know how good I have it. Thank you for working together to spare me the endless effort of needing to keep a fire going in a hearth.

Hot Water Heater, I don’t give you enough credit for letting me enjoy warm water directly out of the tap. When you broke in March 2020, I lived without you for a few weeks. The water we had was ice, ice cold without your tempering influence. Thank you for working again. Heating up water on the stove and transporting it to the tub to have a bucket shower was neither fun nor quick, and I appreciate that you allow me the luxury of not having to do that anymore.

Dishwasher, how I adore you. You were missing from my life for nine years, and I never learned to adapt to your absence. I just despise washing dishes, and you just pick up the slack so perfectly. You are smaller than standard and were much more expensive because of it, but you’ve been such a blessing. Both your racks are safe for “top rack” only items, and your upper rack can adjust in height so we can wash more in you at once than might be supposed by looking at you. You tell us when you’re running low on rinse agent before we run you and save us from having poor results. Thank you for washing glasses that are too small for my partner’s hands. You save him from getting more potential wounds while washing glass. It always feels like the day didn’t live up to its full potential if I don’t run you.

Stovetop and Oven, I think my favorite thing about you is that you are fueled by natural gas. It really helps to calm me down when I get worried about power outages that we can use you as long as we have a lighter. Thank you for being in the Habitat for Humanity Restore when we arrived needing a stove. Besides food, you have heated up untold gallons of water that we’ve used to make tea on a daily basis. Thank you for just turning on at the twist of a knob and providing me with cooking flames without needing to be minded all through the day.

Fridge, you have been so good to us. You are one of the few major appliances that came with the house that is still in good working order. Thank you for never giving us headaches and for keeping our food fresh. I can fantasize about having a pantry full of preserves all day long, but each of those jars would have to be stored within you the second they were opened. Thank you for making it possible to eat fresh salad greens and meats several days after purchase.

Chest Freezer, you’re a modern marvel. Thank you for being in our lives and hugely expanding our freezing potential. You give us flexibility that we didn’t have before you, and you let us now stock up on those delicious seasonal goods that we want to have access to all year long.

Blender, you’ve been a true hero of our kitchen, taking on the jobs of several specialty tools. Milkshakes, frozen fruit smoothies, hot soup purées, quiche, and hot sauce have all been possible because of you. You are not as convenient for soup as an immersion blender, nor as powerful as a food processor, but I hope I never forget the lesson you taught me that sometimes “close enough” really is good enough.

Slow Cooker, I love you. You were the house’s Christmas present a few years ago, and I will buy another of you instantly if you ever break. I don’t want to be without you. It was a difficult thing to find recipes that understood how to use you well without turning everything into an accidental soup, but you cook us amazing food now that we’ve found the good recipes. Thank you for saving us so much time standing in front of the stove. Thank you for letting me contribute to cooking dinner on the days that I work late.

Bread Machine, you have been such a great birthday present. You have been a major helper in our struggle to cut down on our food waste. I don’t know why I suddenly wanted to be able to bake bread in 2019, but it has been a great adventure since. You are letting us experiment with whole wheat flour now, and it is so wonderful to be able to make bread precisely how we want/need it to be without being dependent on what is available in our grocery stores. Thank you for letting us have bread roughly three hours from when we remember that we need it.

Ice Cream Machine, what a luxury you are. I can hardly believe that you’re in my life, but you were an early birthday present this year. Thank you for having a compressor and letting us have ice cream about 40 minutes after we decide we want it without worrying about freezing a mixing bowl. When we get more adventurous, you’re going to let us make some flavors we can’t find from commercial ice cream. I was totally blown away last time I had to pass by the ice cream section in a grocery store, because it suddenly had no appeal. Thank you for freeing me from a compulsive desire I didn’t even know I had. Thank you for letting us make wine slushies and frozen yogurt, in addition to ice cream and sorbet. Thank you for being so ludicrously fancy. Thank you for making these frozen desserts feel like treats again, instead of just something else that we toss in the shopping cart.

Pasta/Noodle Maker, thank you for giving me a way to eat pasta without having to store all those big boxes of dry pasta that were overwhelming our pantry. Thank you for allowing me to make chickpea pasta and whole wheat pasta when I want. You let me make a choice over my food that I just didn’t have when buying pasta from the store. Ours was a whirlwind love affair, an uncharacteristically quick turn around from me learning that you exist, to wanting you, to finding you used for sale on eBay and purchasing you. I splurged and got new aftermarket shaping discs for you, so hopefully you can supply the entire breadth of my pasta and noodle needs. Thank you for being the petite model with a noodle capacity sized for two people, because it’s helping us slowly learn to portion our food better.

Rice Cooker, I don’t know if we would ever eat rice without you. You let us cook jasmine rice, basmati rice, and quinoa without thought or effort, and you never burn it or cook it unevenly. Thank you for your presence in our meals, and for never giving us trouble when we need you.

Microwave, I know I talk a lot of game about wanting to not rely on you anymore, but you’re still on my counter and you still reheat my food quickly when I just want to warm up an individual portion. Thanks for continuing to work while I take the time to learn how to stop relying on you. I think you’ll be on my counter until the day you simply don’t work anymore.

Aerogardens, you are nothing short of amazing. Thank you for finally helping me grow plants after years of trying and failing in balcony gardens. Basils, lettuce, Swiss chard, dill, resina calendula, cherry tomatoes, and hot peppers were all grown in 2020 thanks to you. I’m convinced that it’s my success with you that contributed to the conversion of some of our front yard into garden beds, the planting of certain perennials in our yard, and emboldened us to try harder in the community garden in 2020. Thank you for just working the way you said you would. You bring magic into my home. Thank you for being the grow lights that my darling coffee plant needs. Thank you for having lights that look white while we’re in the same room as you!

Roomba, you are the easiest machine to anthropomorphize. My silly, darling Bumble, thank you for the entertainment as you keep my floors clean. Every single day when I empty your dust bin, I’m so grateful that you found and removed so much dust, grit, and cat hair from our home. I don’t know how many days without you running it would take before I could visually tell the difference, but I know that I can tell by feel after even one day of your absence. Thank you for being so very easy to dismantle and clean. Thank you for being so well-designed that you just fit under all our furniture that’s elevated off the ground. Thank you for reliably taking care of a task every morning that once felt overwhelming to me.

Convertible Stick/Handheld Vacuum and Shop Vac, thank you both for being there for me when I need you. I might not use you every day, but my home would be so much worse off without you. It’s wonderful to see what an impact you have on an area, especially you, Shop Vac, who I call in on all the big jobs like vacuuming up sanding dust from our floors during the refinishing process. Honestly, I don’t think I could get results as good as yours with a broom and dustpan, even with unlimited time. Thanks for coming out to tackle areas that would be too far gone without you.

Sewing Machine, I bought you my sophomore year of college. How many yards of fabric have passed under your foot? You helped me create so many lovely lolita skirts and Halloween costumes. You helped me make face coverings when I needed to make them for myself, my friends, and my family in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to use you more, but my back gets too uncomfortable too quickly for long projects. When my craft room/wardrobe is set up, you’re going to get a place of honor (and hopefully a dedicated table that will be more comfortable to sit at). Thank you for existing and sparing me the horror of hemming the sides of curtain panels by hand.

Serger, you came at just the wrong time in my life. It is entirely my fault that I don’t use you more. I’m at a stage in my life where I would like to elevate my garment construction practices, and you will be so handy in the future when I sew again. Thank you for waiting for that time. You’re such a marvelous Christmas present.

Circular Knitting Machine, you’re just pure fun. You let me make knitted tubes to much faster than I could ever dream to do by hand, which lets me do magical things like make a full ruana in a week and a hot water bottle cover in a day. Thank you for being so reliable for me, especially as you’re considered a knock-off. Thank you for having 48 needles that make playing with ribbing patterns so easy. Getting you for Christmas was very much like getting a new toy in all the best ways.

Stay grateful,

Raven

Lolita Crochet: Berets

Hello, readers,

It’s been unexpectedly difficult to find lolita and loliable crochet patterns. Considering how good crochet is at making lace and lacy things, I would have thought for sure that loliable patterns would be pretty common. This series of posts is my attempt to fix that problem.

This time I’m focusing on berets, a staple of classic and sweet-classic. I remember when I was first exploring lolita fashion, I had a much easier time finding loliable items to add into my daily wardrobe than I did making full-on coords. Berets were one of those pieces that fit well into both styles, so I have a soft spot for them. Sadly, this is another post that’s really light on the gothic lolita vibes. Made in black, a few of the more classic-appropriate berets would be lovely in kuro coords, though, so I’ll take comfort in that.

All images below were taken from the pattern’s page on Ravelry (linked in the adjacent text), and the copyrights belong to their respective owners as specified on the Ravelry pages, not to me.

Focused on Colorwork

Strawberry Beret by Antonella Mele

  • This is the first version of a strawberry beret I found.
  • The seed details look like they’re added after the hat is otherwise complete, which means you could easily make them beaded or change the seed color without affecting the base pattern.

Strawberry Slouch Hat by Aster

  • Free pattern available here.
  • This is the second version of a strawberry beret I found.
  • The seed details are added after the hat is otherwise complete, which means you could easily make them beaded or change the seed color without affecting the base pattern. Personally, I’d add them in a less “radial” layout than the pattern picture has.

Cookie Beret by Tiffany Horton

  • Free patterns available here.
  • This is actually two patterns in one, one for a sugar cookie design and one for a chocolate chip cookie design.
  • I think that the “cookie” yarn the designer used is a bit too bright and yellow ochre-colored. Calming that down and beige-ing it up would make the same design less in-your-face.

Parisienne Beret by Ashleigh Kiser

  • Free pattern available here.
  • The heart is cross stitch embroidery done after the hat is fully crocheted, which keeps this pattern nice and simple.
  • It also means you could really easily swap out the heart motif for something else with very little effort. Cutesy bat, anyone?

Mori Beret by Regina Weiss

  • This is five variations in the same pattern: plain/unadorned, leaves, mushroom, fox ears, and antlers.
  • This pattern leans much more towards mori girl than straight lolita (obviously, given its name), but the mushroom beret would look so cute with the mushroom bag from my last roundup of lolita and loliable crochet patterns.

* * *

Focused on Stitch Patterns

Knitlook Beret by Polina Kuts

  • This one looks so sleek!
  • The berets I had before were actually felted, not crocheted or knitted. This one is smooth enough that it would probably felt up well if you knew how to modify the pattern to account for the shrinkage.

Beret by Nelly Fialka

  • The band on this hat is such a pretty design. The project images someone else on Ravelry posted using pink yarn show the band design much more clearly than the light colored yarn in the pattern images.
  • This one screams light academia vibes to me, and would be so lovely in a classic coord.

Starburst Beret by B.hooked Crochet

  • Free pattern available here, with free left-handed and right-handed video tutorials.
  • This beret is constructed mostly focusing on the star stitch, which I also know as the jasmine stitch. It’s supposed to be a trickier stitch, but the result here is so pretty.

Phannie by Phoebe Gaughan

  • Free pattern available here.
  • None of the pattern photos really showcase the top of this hat well, but it has a radial design.

Popcorn Beret #2182 by The Spool Cotton Company

  • Free pattern available here.
  • This is actually a vintage pattern from 1936, and it wants to be made with cotton crochet thread. It will take ages to make compared to using thicker yarn, but I think it’s a real stunner.
  • I think the understated-but-very-detailed design would work well with classic lolita.

204-26 a Green Gables Beret by DROPS design

  • Free pattern available here.
  • This one is similar to the vintage one above, but made of yarn instead of thread and without the special slice.

Rosebud Beret by Rachael Oglesby

  • I don’t like the gaps this hat has, especially if the top part of the hat isn’t worn flat like in the pattern image. But it’s such a pretty design that I had to include it here.


Le Chic Beret by Lion Brand Yarn

  • Free pattern available here.
  • There isn’t anything particularly special about this one, but I wanted to include a free “basic beret” pattern in this list since berets in general are pretty loliable.

* * *

Stay mignonne,

Raven

These are all the posts in my Lolita Crochet pattern round up series.

Bags and PursesBerets

Lolita Crochet: Bags and Purses

Hello, readers,

It’s been unexpectedly difficult to find lolita and loliable crochet patterns. Considering how good crochet is at making lace and lacy things, I would have thought for sure that loliable patterns would be pretty common.

In particular, I’ve had a lot of trouble finding the sort of shaped bags and purses that I think are synonymous with lolita. Here are a collection of patterns I’ve found that come closest to being lolita-ready bags. Quite a number of them ended up being from Japanese company Pierrot Yarns, which was a cool resource to find. Even with all these, I still couldn’t find a pattern for a coffin-shaped bag or book-shaped purse.

All images below were taken from the pattern’s page on Ravelry (linked in the adjacent text), and the copyrights belong to their respective owners as specified on the Ravelry pages, not to me.

Coin Purses

Strawberry Coin Purse by Iin Wibisono

  • This is such a cute coin purse! Using purple yarn in place of red makes this look like blackberries.

Cupcake Purse by Laura Sutcliffe

  • Beaded sprinkle details

* * *

Shaped Bags

Rose Bud Bag by Aundie Molina

  • This is perhaps the only bag pattern I found that would work in a gothic lolita coord. A deep, dark red an green or a MmM blue x white color scheme would both make lovely bags.

Felted Black Cat Bag by Lion Brand Yarn

  • Free pattern available here
  • I do not like the face details, but it would be easy to just not add it and keep this as a plain cat bag. This is a good, basic cat head shape.
  • I’d probably add a moon symbol on the forehead, like Luna/Artemis from Sailor Moon.

Pipsqueak Bunny Bag by Jennifer Pionk

  • Free pattern available here
  • This bag gives me major Usakumya vibes! I think it would be very easy to adjust the face details to lean more into that.

612hbag Heart Shoulder Bag by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)

Heart Tote Bag by Michele Wilcox

  • Free pattern available here
  • This heart bag is much bigger than the other one, so I had to include both on this list.

Sweet Strawberry Bag by Lori Galloway

  • Beaded seed details
  • Making this bag for an adult should require very little alterations. I think that just making the strap longer should cover it.

Star Purse by Jennifer Nolan

  • Free pattern available here
  • This bag is teeny tiny, but it’s so cute.
  • Definitely skews sweeter than my style, but I might make it anyway. Maybe I’ll be make it in black, grey, or white and wear it with my non-lolita wardrobe.

Mushroom Purse by Carrie M Chambers

  • Free pattern available here
  • Mushroom!
  • This one is not as obviously as loliable as the others on this list, but I’ve seen a number of beautiful “woodland fairy” classic lolita coords through the years. I think this would work with more lolita x mori kei coords, too.

Swirly Purse and Backpack by Heidi Yates

  • I think that being careful with your color choices would let you have a bag that would blend in well with certain OTT sweet lolita prints. Or, have a themed bag for a Christmas coord.

* * *

Other Bags

Ribbon Accent Bag by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)

  • Free pattern with charts available here
  • I think this would work so well with classic lolita.

27-28-780OB Study Bag by Takako Itō (伊藤貴子)

  • Free pattern with charts available here
  • Another opportunity to crochet a handmade homage to Usakumya.

215ss-10 Floret Pochette by Pierrot (Gosyo Co., Ltd)

  • Free pattern with charts available here
  • I love this one. I always think that items made from these little flower motifs turn out looking so delicate and feminine.

* * *

Stay handmade,

Raven

Yarn Compendium

Hello, readers,

I’ve decided to take up crochet, and I’ve found it to generally be a lot of fun. However, buying yarn (especially since I need to do that primarily online in light of COVID-19) has mostly been extremely frustrating. I expected to have issues with colors being slightly different than what I expected from my monitor’s display. I did not expect that I would have such a hard time figuring out just how thick yarn is from the online listings.

Turns out, the categorization scheme we use in the US for yarn (lightweight 3, worsted 4, bulky 5) allows for variation. I have bought two yarns that both were labeled as being 4s, only to find that one is a thinner 4 and one is a thicker 4, so they were not compatible together for the project. What a waste of time and money! It also doesn’t help that one of the first yarns I bought for a specific project varies in thickness depending on the individual colorway. This is chaos, and I don’t handle that particularly well. In fact, it drives me completely up the wall.

So. Here is where I’ll be putting yarns I buy or interact with in stores with their wraps per inch measurements to hopefully one day have a workable, reliable reference for future projects. Maybe you will find it useful, too.

BrandYarnColorwayWPI
Aunt Lydia’sClassic Crochet (Size 10)White24
BernatVelvetGray Orchid10
Big TwistSoftBlack12
Big TwistSoftWhite11.5
Big TwistSoftCharcoal11
Big TwistSoftLight Gray12
Big TwistValueBlack12
Big TwistValueBubblegum12
Big TwistValueGrape12
CaronJumboEaster Basket12
CaronLatte CakePlum Fresh15
CaronOne PoundWhite13
CaronOne PoundSoft Grey Mix14
CaronOne PoundMedium Grey Mix12
CaronOne PoundDark Grey Mix11
CaronOne PoundBlack12
Ex Libris FibersSolnitMoongrit22
Ex Libris FibersSolnitWraith Tea No. 2421
Ex Libris FibersTarttAbyss of Indiscretion10
Knit PicksStrollHigh Tea (Tonal)20
LilySugar’n CreamRed14
LilySugar’n CreamOvercast14
LilySugar’n CreamEarth Ombre15
LilySugar’n CreamEcru14
Lion Brand24/7 CottonBlack15
Lion BrandBasic Stitch Anti-PillingNightfall12
Lion BrandCover StoryMercury6.5
Lion BrandCupcakeTutu Much16
Lion BrandFishermen’s WoolOatmeal12
Lion BrandIce CreamStrawberry16
Lion BrandIce CreamBirthday Cake16
Lion BrandLandscapesBlue Lagoon11
Lion BrandPound of LoveBlack13
Lion BrandPound of LoveOxford Grey11.5
Lion BrandPound of LoveElephant Grey13
Lion BrandPound of LoveCherry14
Lion BrandPound of LoveNavy12.5
Lion BrandTrubooSlate18
PatonsKroy SocksSlate Jacquard18
Red HeartHyggeSnow9
Red HeartScrubbyCandy15
Red HeartWith LoveBlack10

Stay crafty,

Raven

Cauldron Questing

Hello, readers,

Have you ever realized that you’ve loved something your whole life without consciously knowing it? Well, I’ve always loved round, spherical things that I can wrap my hands around, the magical world of Harry Potter, Halloween decor season, and the color black.

Turns out, I really love ceramic cauldrons.

I don’t know if there has been an increase of cauldron-themed items in the past couple of years, or if I’ve just only been noticing them post-undergrad, but I feel like I can find all sorts of cauldrons out in the wild now. And I want to get as many as I can!

This post is both an ode to the cauldrons I already heave, and a place to consolidate my wish list items.

Already Have

My first cauldrons came from Crate and Barrel.

There’s the individual cauldron bowl, a mini cauldron bowl, and a much larger serving bowl. These stoneware cauldrons are all dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, and oven-safe up to 350 degrees F. After a lifetime of cauldrons coming only as plastic decorations, it was so exciting to be able to get cauldrons that are actually useful and functional! I got six individual bowls and six mini bowls two years ago, but Crate and Barrel only released the individual and large serving bowl last year and this year. Last year, we mistakenly waited until their Halloween merchandise went on sale and only managed to buy one additional individual bowl. We really want more of the mini cauldron bowls, though.  The mini bowls are the perfect size for individual pudding pies, and six mini cauldrons are sometimes too few to portion all the dessert we make. I would like to get the large serving bowl to complete the set, but it’s so big that I don’t know how to store it or what to use it for.

The dark glaze scratches to reveal a silvery color fairly easily on these. It was disappointing at first, but now there’s enough wear on them that it looks like a “patina” on the inside and is no longer distracting.

* * *

Next came two more cauldrons from Killstar. I ordered the Cauldron Incense Burner and Wicca Mug in black when they were both on sale.

The incense burner is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but it actually does a pretty good job of catching most of the ashes from incense sticks. I filled the cauldron with salt to be able to keep the sticks upright, and I’ve just continued to mix the ashes into salt as I burn things. I haven’t had to empty it out at all yet. The shape of this cauldron is perfect and absolutely beautiful. One of the three feet on mine wasn’t fully covered in the glaze, so it looks like it’s a cat with a “white sock.”

The mug, on the other hand, is bigger than I thought it would be! It’s become my go-to mug for hot chocolate. The curve of the actual cauldron part makes it so I can’t hold the hot mug by the handle without my fingers touching the main mug bit, so I do have to wait until the liquid has cooled off a bit before trying to drink. But then I get to hold the warm mug with both hands, sipping hot chocolate and feeling maximum cozy. I love that it has feet because I can set it directly onto my surfaces without worrying that the warm heat is going to damage it. Aesthetically, I much prefer three feet, but the mug does feel very stable with its four feet. At the time I ordered, Killstar also had the mug in an iridescent white. Now, they’re also selling it in an iridescent blood red. Both are really awesome, but I’ll probably stick to non-iridescent black.

Looking around the site, I also saw that they added a new cauldron mug that’s a different shape: the three-footed Witchcraft Cauldron Mug. I’m a bit weird about having words and phrases on my clothes or belongings, so I don’t feel any desire for this new cauldron mug, even though it does have three feet.

* * *

The next batch of cauldrons came from something I never expected to buy: scented candles from the Target dollar spot (Halloween 2020 items).

I don’t have a sense of smell, so scented candles have always seemed like a big waste of my money. But I do like candles, and I’ve been wanting to make candles for a few years now, especially beeswax candles. I really love that these cheap scented candles give me a heat-proof reusable container that I can pour my future candles into. These have (four) feet, so I don’t have to worry about putting a coaster between the candle and my furniture.

The scents are bubbling cauldron, spellbound sangria, and hocus pocus pumpkin. According to my partner, what they actually smell like is soap, fruit, and pumpkin. I got five of them.

* * *

Also from that dollar section at Target (Halloween 2020 items), I got a cauldron candy dish.

I wasn’t going to get it because the bright orange interior is way more colorful than most things I own, but I absolutely love how the cauldron looks like it has its hands on its hips. So cute! I was debating some alternate uses, but I ended up deciding to use it as a candy dish, like intended.

Don’t Have Yet

Getting the images from Killstar for this post also led me to discover that they have a new Cauldron Cookie Jar!

Eeeeek!

Look at those handles! They’re actual separate rings instead of being a sculpted detail!

We tend to keep our cookies in the fridge when we make them, but this cookie jar is so perfect it’s making me want to adjust that habit. Also, look at this coincidence: we just made these checkerboard cookies a week ago or so for the first time in our lives. It’s like the cauldron already is part of our home!

* * *

Have you heard of Rae Dunn pottery before? I hadn’t, but it seems like it’s a very big deal to people. I was watching Youtube videos of people doing Halloween decor shopping (Aurelio Voltaire, Jade the Libra, and Midge Munster) when suddenly Youtube started suggesting me to watch people hunting for Rae Dunn Halloween items.

The regular aesthetic for this brand does not appeal to me, but I do like a fair amount of their Halloween stuff. Even though it has words! I think that’s what’s stuck with me the most, because I normally am pretty turned off by writing, universally. Maybe the overall “Plain Jane” aesthetic wins me over in spite of the words? I’m rather a Plain Jane myself.

This is for sugar cubes! It’s really adorable. It reminds me of a goth Winnie the Pooh honey pot. I keep my sugar cubes in a mason jar to keep the air out. This little thing would definitely be more ~*aesthetic*~, but the word Boo would be a little weird if I decorated my home for a different holiday.

These are both supposed to be cauldron cookie jars? They look huge sitting on that chair. I would really love to see these in person to see their two sizes. Both of these are blank on the other side, I think.

I really love cute salt and pepper shakers, but I don’t use any of the sets I have! We use a pepper grinder instead of pre-ground pepper, so I have no idea how to use the cute ones we already have.

I like Boo much more than Hocus Pocus, but I wouldn’t seek either of these out.

There is also this particular cauldron that says “Witch’s Brew” on the front and then has a Halloweeny recipe on the back. That one I don’t want at all, which is my typical reaction to seeing something with writing on it. Maybe I just like the other ones because I think I can just turn them around to have the writing face the wall for all the months of the year outside October?

Turning the items around is something I also would want to do with the ceramic pumpkins from this collection. (Pumpkins are another big love of mine, by the way.)

Ultimately, I know I’m not going to buy any of these. This brand is stocked in stores like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, Marshalls, etc. The sort of stores that have ever-changing stock and that you need to visit multiple times to find what you’re looking for. That sort of behavior just doesn’t seem responsible right now for me to undertake in the pandemic, and these stores don’t sell anything I couldn’t get at another store I’d already have to visit for essential items. Especially with the reseller/scalper problem that the Rae Dunn collector community seems to have, these items are just doomed to be eye candy for me instead of real wish list material.

* * *

I bought quite a few houseplants in February 2020, and most of them are still chilling in their ugly nursery pots. I’ve been wanting for a while to get some cauldrons to act as decorative plant pots for some of my houseplants. I expect that these cauldrons will end up being plastic Halloween decorations, so I really want to find suitable ones in store to make sure that they aren’t too thin and/or that they don’t have weird holes punched into the bottoms. Also, so I can measure the opening width and depth to make sure my plant will fit in there.

For my vision in miniature, see The Little Things post on DIY cauldron succulent planters.

My plants are quite a bit bigger than these succulents, so I’ll need to find bigger cauldrons than these little craft ones. Besides the same model of plastic cauldron that I see in every drug store around Halloween, I think that this one from Target might be a good lead. The video clipped below shows it next to a hand, which gave me the idea to begin with. It also shows the cauldron mugs that come with a mug cake recipe.

I don’t particularly like the texture, but it does make it look different than the cheap plastic cauldron that I see everywhere around Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. This Target one has the ingredients included for green slime punch, which I think sounds way too gross to ever make. That would be thrown out immediately.

I can’t find the mug cake cauldron mugs anywhere on the Target website, and my two Targets have only put out their Halloween stuff in the dollar section. I’m looking forward to finding some of them in person, though! The Killstar mug I have now is great for hot chocolate, but it’s too big to make tea (using only one tea bag) at the strength I like. Maybe it would get more daily use if I drank coffee, but I just don’t brew a big pot of tea to pour it into mugs. I hope I can find some this season after my Targets put out their Halloween stuff so I can hold one in my hand and see if it’s noticeable smaller than my big Killstar one.

These Target mug cake ones don’t have feet, which is a bummer but not a deal-breaker. I think it’s still worth trying to find them to see them in person. There are lots of other options for cauldron mugs out there, but most of the ones I can find have words on them. Bleh. These ones are nice and plain.

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If I ever decide that the Crate and Barrel cauldron serving bowl that I already don’t have room for is actually too small, there’s this larger one from Williams Sonoma. It’s more than twice as expensive, but I also like the look of it more. Something about the Crate and Barrel one loses its instant recognition as being a cauldron if it’s a standalone item to me, which doesn’t happen with the smaller two bowls. The handles, three feet, and general shape of this Williams Sonoma one keep it firmly in cauldron territory for me, even if it does annoy me that the handles are just sculpted and not real. I’d honestly be much more tempted to get this if I ever threw parties or held get-togethers, but that’s just not me.

I actually am interested in those adorable small cauldron mugs. I can’t find them for sale on Williams Sonoma, so I wonder if they went the way of my beloved mini cauldron bowls and live on only in promotional images.

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Vampire Freaks has a bunch of cute cauldron home goods from Pacific Giftware.

I see this particular mug show up in my Amazon “recommended for you” section all the time. It just always breaks me heart that there are words. Also, I can’t help be annoyed that this mug is saying “(multiple) witches brew (potions)” rather than “(the stuff in this mug is) witch’s brew.” Both are grammatically correct, but the saying they were going for is spelled with the apostrophe.

This soup bowl is so very cute. I love the big handles. One of the difficulties with my Crate and Barrel cauldron bowls is that I need to put a hot pad under them to transport them from the kitchen to wherever we’re having dinner. Maybe I wouldn’t have to do that with this soup bowl because of the handles? The included spoon is meant to be a broom, but it just looks like a ceramic spoon that’s pretending to be a wooden spoon. I’d separate the set pretty much immediately. I also love the lid. It’s really impractical for storage, but really adorable.

However, I can’t ignore the mistake with the words on this soup bowl. “Witches Broth” is grammatical nonsense. It should have been “Witch’s Broth,” and I wouldn’t be able to have this item in my home without having conniptions about that. Yet another thing I wish I could just wipe the writing off of!

Like with the Rae Dunn ones shown further up in this post, I have no idea when I’d ever use this salt and pepper shaker set since we use a pepper grinder. I really like these ones, though. Their tiny handles are really precious. The listing on Vampire Freaks is sold out, but these little guys are sitting in my Amazon cart at the moment.

An oil burner seems like the least useful scent release item for no-sense-of-smell me to use, since at least I can see fun smoke shapes with incense and pretty lights from the flames of candles dancing on the wall. Even though I literally cannot use this thing, I still really like it and want to have it. I love the star cut-outs a lot. It reminds me of this little metal incense burner I had as a child that I’m really attached to.

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Readers, do you know of any other cauldron-themed home goods? Please share them with me!

Stay enchanting,

Raven