Ephemera Guide: Poetry, Revolutionary Knitting, Smells & Soap

In this month’s Ephemera post I’m boosting a melange of things that have been giving me life over this dark winter from poetry to soap, so let’s get started.

Salt Is For Curing by Sonya Vatomsky

The word that kept coming to mind when reading Salt is for Curing is lush. Dark and lush and near mythical poetry that weaves language in an enchanting way. I think it is doing this slim book of poetry injustice to call it gothic of witchy. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Flemish still life paintings; there is beauty and darkness, lushness and rot all balanced together. If you want to read more poetry and want something that is very quick, accessible, but profound, read this book.


Pussy Hat Patterns

So, ya, some stuff went down. If you are like me, you are donating to good causes, marching in the streets, writing letters, and doing every non-violent legal thing you can to preserve democracy. But if you are really like me the nervous twitching in your hands needs to be quelled with crafts. Hey, guys let’s knit some pussy caps! While the hats were first designed as a way of participating in the Women’s March, they have taken on a life of their own, and you can knit your own pussy hat using the patterns at the Pussy Hat Project.


When I was in college, I joined a Feminist Sewing Bee. We would get together once a week, talk about politics and reclaim skills that most women lost due to the complicated relationship between femininity and labour. It sounds dark, but it was rad. We made quilts for the AIDS Quilt, made baby clothes and did free mending for a local women’s shelter, and donated our knitting to homeless shelters every winter. Plus we were all broke, and that Bee kept some of us from walking around naked. The Pussy Hat Project is very much in the vein of my old Bee. I encourage everyone to get some friends together and have a night of revolutionary crafting, the pussy hat is a great start!

Love To Smell

It may be surprising given the nature of this blog, but I don’t frequent most perfume review shows/blogs. Conveying complex aromas through verbiage is not an easy task, and most people don’t do it well. Plus it can be hard for the uninitiated to give actual consumer information instead of just cataloguing their personal tastes.

Pia Long and Nick Gilbert’s Love To Smell series is a hidden gem in the sea of perfume review dreck. Firstly, they actually know how to talk about fragrance. They’ve also worked in a variety of posts in the industry and that knowledge comes through. Plus they are funny and cute in that “I want to have a drink with them” way. Not to mention they are all over the place these days in the UK perfume scene. Pia has a great blog, Nick is one-half of a delightful new podcast, and they also own a fragrance consultancy called Olfiction. They are delightful, go binge watch all their videos right now.

Paintbox Soapworks

So whenever I buy products from companies or people that are friends of the blog I always use a go-between, so they don’t know it’s me. Not only because I don’t want to get service or treats that the average Joe wouldn’t get but also because it creates a huge expectation that I will boost it on the monthly Ephemera post. I don’t want that kind of pressure and to be honest, a lot of the companies I tried did not pass muster. I’m very hard to please. Then there is Paintbox Soapworks.


Paintbox is a small, woman-owned bath and body business very much in the spirit of the hella indie perfumers. It’s a fun and irrelevant line that most of all, performs. The soaps were great, the wax tarts were very fragrant, and I liked that they mix their fragrances in-house. Nothing is worse than trying out an indie bath brand and smelling something you know they bought on Brambleberry for $13 a litre. While getting all the matchy-matchy scent collections may be the appeal for most folks I, however, loved the face line. The Buttercup Face Scrub reminded me of skin products I studied about from the Late Medieval Period in Italy. The Poesy Complexion Spray and the Nihilist Goat Milk Cream are divine. The Clean Slate Scrub was a bit too harsh for me, but I gave it to a friend that swears by it.


My one peeve, I wasn’t crazy about the labels on the lotion and spray bottles. The soap labels and the tart labels looked really great but the labels on the lotions and sprays came off really quickly and didn’t look super professional, but that is not a deal breaker for me. Also, I wish they made bath bombs, it’s the only thing I think the line is missing. The Bath Strussel is great, and if you loved a scent, it is a bargain at $12. You can get 5-6 baths from a jar easy, but sometimes I want the quick affair of a bath bomb for a few bucks, but that’s me. If you are going to spend money in the indie bath world, direct your dollars to Paintbox Soapworks, you will be glad you did.

This kind of goes without saying on a blog dedicated to death and smells but all recommendations are based on personal experience and were purchased. We do not accept paid recommendations.

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