Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Urge

Right now, as I write this, I'm feeling a strong tugging urge to CLEAN THIS DAMN STUDIO! You know how they show hoarders on television who've created tunnels of crap in their houses? That's how the studio feels. It doesn't look like a hoarder's home, I mean, there aren't any cat feces or enormous man-eating dust bunnies or piles of newspapers from 1939 crawling up the walls. There's just so much stuff everywhere. Where I'm sitting right now is a long 8 foot fold out table with the computer, monitor and keyboard crammed onto the left side, and bottles, vials, drying soap, projects, USPS shipping boxes, a hole puncher, a bag of evaluation perfumes, a stack of books (Arctander on top), a stack of papers (Jeanne Rose notes on top), a box of vintage dresses and hand crocheted purses, my bucket of resin, the labdanum doodies, and bills. That's just this table. Behind me are two more tables, my blending desk and my packaging table, and a recent edition, an antique hutch, all covered end to end with more perfume-related stuff. And there's a cabinet full of undiluted raw materials, two wooden shelving units piled high with clean, empty liter bottles for formulating, more books, perfume CD's, samples from other perfumers, soaping supplies, boxes of bottles, the al-embic and its accompanying gear. Things are piled so high, some even touch the ceiling! Oh, and under the packaging table are plastic bins full with bottles, tins, vials, old formulation notebooks, and under the table I'm sitting at are bins of raw herbs and flowers, bottles of hydrosols, a bin of old soaps, and the printer.

There's a definite path through the room, but thankfully, nothing falling into the walkway. It gets a regular dusting and vacuuming and if anything happens to jump from one of the overcrowded tables, it gets picked up and placed in the back of the lemming line. At times, it's overwhelming. But right now I want to do something about it, starting with the hutch.

Wish me luck because I'm going in . . .

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Petitgrain Sur Fleur Neroli Shortbread Cookies

The shortbread recipe comes from an old cookbook called 'The American Woman's Cookbook' edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, published in 1942. It's not as antique beautiful as one might think, though. This cookbook was used. To the point that at some time during its history the entire book came out of the cover and was inadvertently (at least I hope so) reattached to the book upside down and in the wrong end of the book. So when you open the book at the beginning, on the title side, you end up reading the index upside down.

Anyway, the recipes are still good. Dyslexic repairs aside.

The flavor was incorporated by moi.

Petitgrain Sur Fleur Neroli Shortbread Cookies

1 cup of butter
1/8th tsp petitgrain sur fleur neroli essential oil from White Lotus Aromatics
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour or 2 cups sifted white flour and 1/4 cup corn starch

Cream the butter, add in the petitgrain sur fleur neroli essential oil and blend in, add in brown sugar until blended, then work in the flour a little at a time. Roll up into a ball and let it chill for a couple of hours. Roll out the chilled dough on a floured surface and cut with cookie cutters, pastry wheel, or cut into triangles. Bake in a slow 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 - 12 minutes until the edges of the shortbread turns light brown.

Great with hot tea or coffee.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Am Creticus!



Okay, I'm not really (this is where you, or someone 'out there' says, "No, I am Creticus!"), I just thought it sounded funny, y'know, like the old 'I am Spartacus!' line. Maybe not so funny if I have to explain it, right?

I got the cistus creticus in the mail on Christmas Eve. What a surprise. The picture here, it's from the suppliers webpage (http://labdanum-shop.blogspot.com/) it looks nice, doesn't it? Let me explain ~ it looks soft and gooey and gummy and pliable, and you can almost imagine the scent, don't you think? Well, someone must have been playing with this one in the picture because the pieces I received look like -- um -- animal doody. They're rough looking, like an omnivore made it. I'd guess it would take some warming and handling before it looked like the one in the picture. I'm not suggesting false advertising or anything like that, I like my poopy looking labdanum. The scent isn't as strong as I'd thought it would be, but it's definitely labdanum. It smells like a warm animal, and I get a hint of a peppery note. It smells much more strongly when burned, amber like, sweet and woody. The next step is an ultrasonic tincture ~ then I'll talk about it again.

I'm feeling a bit paralyzed in my shop lately. Like there's so much to do I'm overwhelmed before I start so I don't. Start, that is. There's always something more important (not really, but that's the excuse I say to myself to make it all right) ~ a kid to pick up, a grocery store to haunt, a nap to take . . . yeah, lame. But I really, really, really need to get moving on this stuff. I have evals to conduct, an evaluation of perfumes from a famous Natural Botanical Perfumer so I can choose the full bottle version I prefer most, a few articles to get started on, a workbook to finish up, loads of reading, and, yes, the shop still isn't painted or decorated or in any way put together. After having visited a few NBP's the past month or so, I've got a better idea of how to arrange my space. And to be honest, I have more space than they do, so I don't know WTF my problem is. Oh, those excuses! Yes. That's it.

And the situation with the computers is . . . just . . . unbelieveable. I have three. And I've got a loaner lap top that doesn't like the internet, so I usually use it for word processing, but something's gone wrong with that too. So, about those other three worthless computers -- two are at my son's being repaired, the one I'm using now runs on Windows 98, doesn't have Word (WordPad only), moves at the speed of a dead snail on the internet, can't read PDF files, can't transfer images, can't do a flippin' thing I need it to. I'm writing documents on Google docs for the time being. Oh, and my lovely daughter, in her most graceful and gracious manner, knocked my external hard drive onto the floor directly on the USB port and yes, it won't connect to ANY of the computers because the port is jacked. Need a new case with a new USB port and we're back in business. In the meantime, everything languishes in the external hard drive, or the "eternal hard hat" as it's been named. You'd think a kid who has taken both belly dance and kick boxing classes would be more, how do you say? Coordinated? So as not to allow something so silly as a slow moving fall of an important piece of publishing equipment to occur. But no, she just stood there, holding the power cord in her hand, and then pronounced, "Ooooopppss!" as loudly as she could when it crunched on it's poor little USB plugger dealie on the floor. And, as if that weren't enough, I broke my printer yesterday. Thank heavens I have a back-up, but, of course, there's a problem with that one -- it's run out of ink and the ink cartridges for it cost, geesh, what? Like $65? Well, sure. But I have cartridges that will work in the printer, brand new cartridges -- but guess where they are? In the broke ass printer and stuck so I can't get them out. You'd think that by this point I'd be bouncing my head against a wall, right? Not me. I give myself a moment to feel grief and self-pity, then I get over it. Not having a good computer is not the end of the world. Not having a working printer is not the end of the world. The end of the world is the end of the world, right?

The hubs is washing dishes and just asked, "Are you burning more of that stuff because I can really smell it now." I'm not burning more of that 'stuff', and the scent does seem to have gotten stronger. This creticus is some special -- um -- stuff.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peanut Brittle ~ What a Joke!

Okay. I used two different peanut brittle recipes from two different books, and eras (one from the 90's and one from the 10's) and neither resulted in peanut brittle. How 'bout peanut blocks? I tried this three times (I am persistent), with the first two going belly up by thoroughly melting the sugar which immediately turned burnt orange and -- well, burned. Instantly. The last one, after careful tending and extremely low heat, finally resulted in the recipe's required "golden sugar", which I carefully poured into the buttered dish with the salted peanuts and . . . and . . . it practically hardened before it hit the pan! It has been pretty cold around here. But I didn't think it was so cold it would turn sugar syrup into a glacier within seconds. So I ended up piling the peanuts into the hot syrup in the pan and kneading them in, leaving a good cup to half cup of orphan peanuts that never made it into the mix. There wasn't even a moment where I could consider perfuming this stuff (as if). After that first attempt, I was just happy to get the sugar right and the peanuts in. By next holiday season, I will have this peanut brittle bit down. In the meantime, enjoy the nut clusters!

Today is baking day. Cookies and bread. I haven't made bread in ages. Well, that's not really true. I made a couple loaves the first day I got my new stove, which was about mid-October (I think). But first, it's morning errands that take me away from the house. On the Day Before the Day. I have stressed the fact that I am a bit of a crazy person before, right? Well, this just validates it.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Candies, Cookies and Cheese, Oh My!

Tomorrow is candy day. Making. Candy. All. Day.

Yup.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark, candied pecans with clementine peels (very small amount of clementine peels), candied assorted nuts (hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans) with real maple and a hint of rose, candied citrus peels, and plain butter toffee. These are for munching on the Day, and for gifting.

Then Thursday, the Day Before the Day, it's cookie time. Mounds of chocolate chip cookies, pecan/patchouli snowballs, petitgrain sur fleur neroli shortbread cookies. May try my hand at some rose flavored mini cheese cake tarts. Whatever else I have time and ingredients to make.

Then on the Day, I won't be making cheese, but slicing Armenian style string cheese, goat feta, Irish Killaree Kerrygold, Austrian gruyere, and a stinky blue valdeon wrapped in hazel leaves, to be washed down with Sierra Nevada's delicious Celebration Ale, a few Jack Daniel's whiskey sours and a shot or three of Jager. There may be shots of Metamucil and Rolaids on the side as well . . .

And turkey chile verde tamales, a ham, sweet potatoes, mashed organic potatoes, corn, homemade bread with unsalted butter and a fat Greek salad with delicious Kalamata olives and more feta.

Then some poker, no cigars.

It's a smelly fabulous food fest on the horizon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Petitgrain Sur Fleur Shortbread Cookies

What did I learn from making shortbread cookies with bergamot, petitgrain sur fleur and a little clementine rind? Less is MORE, as per the usual findings. Methinks half the petitgrain sur fleur, half the bergamot and perhaps elimination of the clementine rind altogether is the answer to the resultant soapy after taste. It wasn't horrible, no, in no way was it really bad, but it was disconcerting, and nothing a splash of hot tea across the tongue couldn't remedy. The house smelled of the outlying countryside's bi-yearly orange blossom bloom while the cookies were baking. Everybody who came in took a deep sniff and pronounced, "Man, your house ALWAYS smells sooooo goooood!" Okay, really, only two people said that. But everyone else traipsed around happy as mindless loons, perhaps not really knowing why. I'm considering drilling holds in the cookies and lacing string through the holes to wear the cookies as jewelry -- they smell that good.

Happy Yule, my loves.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Singing the Post Office Blues

My usual turn around time for getting orders out is 48 hours, at least that's the goal. Nearly all of November wasn't that way at all -- I wasn't staying in my home, I was caring for my mom who'd recently had surgery, so getting those orders out was really hit and miss. Some languished for over a week! Now I'm at the post office at least twice a week, sometimes three times a week, and what a pain in the tookis that is! Yesterday I was in the automated teller line at the local PO when a woman behind me (I was buying the postage for my parcels at the time) dropped all her parcels on the ground and made a huge ruckus about how "long people take". Um, lady? I waited in that same line for people in front of me taking their time, all the while balancing 6 oddly shaped parcels too. Did I get pissy? Did I throw my stuff down and act like a three-year-old? No. I waited. Because if you didn't want to wait in line, and you didn't want to get frustrated because you're on your lunch break or your half-day off or you're running out of time before picking up your kids, then you should'a sent your stuff in November, or waited until January -- there isn't any getting around the long lines at the PO these days, my friend.

Next time bring a book to read. And a folding chair.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Curbing the Enthusiasm

I do this to myself a lot -- get excited about a project, get a little ahead of myself, and them BAM! Get knocked on my bum. My learning curve has spike strips on it ~ ha! So, yep, made a little perfumed/flavored sugar yesterday and excitedly presented it to the fam damily after dinner, to be used as an extra dip for the Turkish delight I picked up at the Armenian deli/bakery (Nina's is the BEST!), and I got varying reports of "Ugh!", "Yuck!", and barfing sounds. Okay. Back to the drawing board on that one . . . it illustrates the point that making perfumed food is the same as making perfume (duh!), it takes time and experimentation and PATIENCE! Maybe in a week the perfumed sugar will have settled and won't be such a nasty bit of indulgence. I'm thinking of adding it to the powdered sugar portion of a delicious almond cookie recipe I've been using for the holidays for something like 20 years. Yeah, I think it might work in there. In the meantime, I'm sticking with the candied citrus rinds. Except for maybe working on that petitgrain scone recipe . . . .

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finally Getting Into the "Spirit"

Finally getting into the "spirit" of the season, which is a vast improvement over years past when I never got into the spirit and instead waited impatiently for the season to pass as uneventfully as possible. I've been inspired by my weekend away to make scented goodies -- not skincare or perfume, but edibles. I'm thinking an English trifle with a little dessert wine and maybe a sprinkling of lemon hydrosol . . . I love Quady Wines, and the best part is, they're right up the street and I can go pick up my loot in person. I also want to make some candies flavored with perfume stuff. I actually sampled a few perfumed/flavored truffles, and a fantastically perfumed/flavored dipping sugar. Oh, the possibilities! I also recently received a delicious shortbread cookie flavored with lavender -- wow. Again, endless possibilities here! So instead of the usual gingerbread cookies (though that's perfumed as well), we'll be whipping up lavender cookies and rose or neroli cheesecakes and jasmine raspberry tarts. Mmmmm.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hmm

Not to be dramatic, or anything like that, but I'm really, truly taking a bit of time off. You may have noticed that I already have. Life is up in the air for me right now, so I don't know when or where I'll land. I may add a few delicious items on my Etsy site, but aside from that, I'm out'a here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Story Time



Being busy helps cut through the mundane bore of the daily grind, and I've always managed to find things to occupy my time, which is how I fell into soapmaking, and subsequently, natural botanical perfumery. I learned most of what I know about busy-ness while living in the wilds of Northern California, with sketchy electric, party line phones, and PBS as the only option on the television. Baking served its purpose for quite some time, with berry and apple and stone fruit pies filling the pie safe; bread baked to perfection after the 200th time trying, and making delicious bran muffins without a recipe. I learned about hanging dressed wild game in the pump house to "age" before cutting pieces for dinner, how to sew and mend clothes, when to pick blackberries and gooseberries, and how to make elderberry wine. You'd think that this would be where I'd learn to make soap, but that wasn't until years later, when I was back down here in the flatlands, in civilization. One of my favorite things to do was to make pine cone fireballs for the holidays. I'd gather the fattest, roundest pine cones I could find all during the months of Fall, then in late November I'd doll them up with spices from the cupboard and a precious bottle clove oil and some vanilla extract. The process was never the same, but the results usually were ~ delicious smelling resinous pine cones tossed into the fireplace (with the fire screen firmly in place) to crackle and scent the whole house. No aromatherapy candle or room spray could ever compete with that scent. And I've made a few this year ~ with more essential oils and loads more spice and they've turned out beautifully! Though, I have no fireplace to toss them into. But I do have an oven . . .

Pine Cone Fireballs

10-12 slightly larger than fist-sized pine cones, rinsed and dried

2 TBLS star anise powder

1 TBLS allspice powder

5 TBLS cinnamon bark powder

4 tsp green mandarin eo

6 tsp pink grapefruit eo

2 tsp cinnamon leaf eo

1 tsp clove bud eo

water

OPTIONAL: frankincense hydrosol (or a few drops of frankincense eo in a little water, shaken well)

Mix dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside; blend the essential oils together and pour by teaspoonfuls onto each pine cone until the eo's are gone and the cones are nice and stinky; lightly spray each cone with water or hydrosol, then dust the dry spice blend over the cones until completely covered; spray with water or hydrosol again and let the mess dry. Store in plastic bags until ready to use ~ just toss one in the fireplace, but watch out for the popping and crackling of the resins in the cones. Put a firescreen up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Butters, Butters 'n More Butters!

Been blending up butters like a crazed fiend over here ~ adding them to the Etsy site at the rate of about one per day. I love this new formula I've come up with -- it makes the perfect massage butter, not to mention it feels really nice and doesn't leave you greasy or sticky feeling.

Yeah, I'm gonna make some more patchouli butters, but in bigger tins. The patch stuff goes fast.

I'm having so much fun :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Sweet Leaf

Yeah, I know what some of you old Sabbath heads are thinking, and you'd better stop. The sweet leaf I'm talking about is patchouli. Just finished distilling up a batch of hydrosol, and surprisingly, got a lot of essential oil. I'm not sure I'm going to separate the oil from the hydro, kind'a like the way the little greyish blobs float around in the water, like a stinky lava lamp doing its thing. It's so cold (that's California cold, not REAL cold, like Montana or North Dakota cold) that most of the oil produced during distillation is sticking like glue to the inside of the receiver. I may have to run the receiver under warm water to release the oil back into the hydro . . . thinking out loud here. Oops! That's blah, blah, blah! Okay, so now it's a waiting game -- waiting for those naughty still notes to fly away. It's kind of funny, all still notes smell the same. I've used different receivers for each batch of hydro, and every single batch has the same weird, metallic smell to it in the beginning. It could be the copper.

On another note altogether, I contacted a producer of organic grape alcohol (who shall remain nameless) and received a phone call back from a very confused person who went on and on about how he had no idea how to answer my question (a chemists take on standardizing alcohol content in wine). "We don't employ chemists here," he said. "Really?" I asked, confused because, well, who is there to make sure the alcohol produced at their plant is the same year after year? His answer? Very interesting, indeed. "We grow the best organic grapes anywhere, whereas the other companies who provide this service use grape concentrates from all over the grape growing regions" (I'm assuming this is in the US?), "so our product is the same year in and year out." It is? What about temperature and rainfall and other environmental factors? I'm not trying to pull someone's card here, but WTF? I just don't believe the guy understood what I was asking. I think the word 'chemist' threw him off. I'm going to have to hit up the chemists at the state college down the road. They grow grapes for wine and teach up-and-coming vintners how to standardize alcohol content in wine. Maybe I should just take the freakin' class, eh?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Crushed Velvet & Roses Perfumes

You can find 'em here!

Made by long-time aromatherapist, a former student of the Grande Dame, Jeanne Rose, and editor of the Jeanne Rose newsletter, Ms. Bella Ayers, there is sure to be something amongst her well-planned and well-executed wares to fulfill your olfactory needs.

How can you go wrong with a perfume named Lulu Honeyvamp? Or a collection called Pretty Poisons? Or a lovely aromatherapy remedy called Bitch Balm? Really?

Head on over and take a look. And buy some balm for your mother in law. Ha!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Cost of Smelling Beautiful

Marketing in this economy is tough. Everyone is holding onto their money with a tighter fist than in years past. Economists have predicted that the way people shop is changing, customers are looking for more value-added products rather than just reaching for what's readily available, but not always the best or least expensive. Luxury items are becoming even more of a luxury with fewer people spending the kind of money that they have in the past -- luxury items are shrinking, along with the price, making those extravagant purchases even more precious. Estee Lauder knew what she was doing back in the 50's when she introduced Youth Dew in bath oil form as a means of luring cash conscious housewives. We Natural Botanical Perfumers should be looking toward that horizon as well, offering smaller packaging options with smaller prices attached, alternative scent systems, i.e. soaps, body butters, balms, and yes, bath oils.

Not only have our customers and clients stopped spending exorbitant amounts of money on non-essential luxury items due to cost factors, perfumers too have stopped spending as much on raw materials -- in some places, the raw materials which are utilized to create soap have doubled in price, not to mention the outrageous shipping costs no matter which provider is chosen. For example, I just bought 15 bottles, the cost of the bottles was $18.75, the shipping on those bottles? Ten dollars and change. So a $19 purchase is now staring into the backside of a $30 purchase. Up goes the price on your product! Lye for soap at the hardware store went from $7.49 for 2 lbs in January to $12.49 just three weeks ago. Again, up goes the price of that soap.

It's tough for all of us. Just know that I don't like charging $11 for a 3.5 oz tin of body butter today that you may have bought from me a year ago for $8. But I also don't like spending twice, sometimes three times more for raw materials than I did last year or the year before. It's especially hard on those of us who pack a lot of quality ingredients and technique into a product and have to accept a smaller profit margin because of tough times. I still want y'all to enjoy my stuff without breaking the bank, and I want to be able to have something to put into my bank!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Writer's Guidelines ~


Accepting articles from writers on the subject of natural botanical perfumery, the use of natural botanical perfume in skincare and art for paper publication ~ contact ohtrueapothecary@yahoo.com for further details.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Life Is But a Dream, Sweetheart!


Been working on some projects here, scheduling visits and such with different West Coast perfumers . . . working on something grand, my friends. You'll love what comes of this, and I love that I have such super amazing friends who are generous and open-hearted and willing to stick their bums out a bit -- for me! Not being on the internet so much has been a bit of a revelation. First, I found that I don't have to work so hard to get things done because my time isn't tied up with keeping up; second, I found that my creative spark has ignited to an inferno! Who'd have thunk it, eh? But I do miss you all. Miss the private notes and phone chats. Which is why I'm scheduling visits! I want to see you in your element, preserve the time forever. The ultimate goal of all these visits, the reward, is going to be so -- so -- so spectacular!
Oh, and about that labdanum review, back-and-forth thing -- I have no idea when that's going to happen. My big labdanum shipment is floating off the coast of Crete, apparently, and nobody knows exactly where . . . I guess. Anyway, when it gets here, I promise a write-up!
XO to my besties --->

Monday, October 19, 2009

Update on Things and Such

Working very hard over here in my little lab of wonders. Making delicious soap, and happily packaging and shipping the results of my labor all over the world. This is the best job ever! I'm getting ready to distill a few things -- patchouli for hydrosol, sandalwood chips for more hydrosol. Lemons will be coming in again soon, so I'll be under the tree gathering lemon blossoms, lemons, leaves and twigs and making a tri-quad- or whatever distillation soon. Now that the cooler weather has commenced, the al-embic will be put to use again. I had it up at Intermountain during the festival and people commented on the age of my little al-embic. Some guessed it an antique because it was dirty and patinaed and banged up -- but no, she's a baby, in both age and size, but she serves me well, and hopefully, if you purchase my wares, she'll serve you too. Good things usually come out of beautiful containers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hola, my friends!

It's been a while. And I did promise no more 'blah, blah, blah'.

Just back from the highly anticipated Intermountain Nursery's Harvest Arts and Peace Festival, a two-day event packed with great local music, organic, Demeter certified produce, wonderful food booths featuring locally grown organic tomatoes and peppers, art and hand-crafted items. Saturday was crazy busy with the parking lot (a couple of acres of field) full to overflowing -- cars had to be diverted to private property to accommodate. Sales were brisk and the booth we set up attracted a lot of attention. The al-embic made the trip and was part of a display and demonstration table with antique perfume bottles, antique and vintage labware, bottles and vials of tinctures and extracts. Several professional photographers snapped shots of the display, one said he was using the photos for post cards! The set-up garnered a lot of attention to the rest of the booth, which was equally beautiful. I'd post pictures if I were on my own computer right now . . .

Sunday proved to be a challenge. Sales and attendance dropped off dramatically at around 12:30. It was a finger thrumming game of watching dust devils swirling past and anticipating the next plunking sound on the top of the booth canopy as heavy leaves dropped from the trees above. A real yawner. But all in all, it was a good weekend. And the best part is that all those lovely unbought soaps that were prepped for this show will be going up for sale at The Scented Djinn Etsy Apothecary. There won't be any pictures of the product there, either, but I can tell you that they're wrapped quite nicely -- white parchment paper tied with thin twine and stamped with sealing wax with the letter "D", y'know, for "Djinn". Yeah. They're cute.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Diminishing Presence


I've decided to spend less time on the 'net. Since this time last year, I've spent an exorbitant amount of time networking, making connections, teaching the course, blogging like a fiend. I've met some really great people throughout the years, and it could have only been possible with this box and its access to the world. I've also met some real sh*ts. Following the politics, attempting to stay out of the politics, and then getting sucked back into the politics ~ it's exhausting. I have enough of a real life not to depend on the 'net for all my social networking, and I don't care enough about what some people are doing to try to keep up. My best education opportunity is right here, in this studio. And maybe in France ~ jus' a little. Just recently, someone not in my home showed concern for my well being because she noticed how much time I was devoting to keeping this ball rolling. My problems with the 'net are two-fold; one, I'm an information freak. If it weren't the 'net, it'd be the newspaper or a political magazine, and two, I like to know what my friends and colleagues are up to and support them in any way I can, and it appears this "need" has turned into an obsession. The information I can live without, supporting people who sometimes go unnoticed, I can't. I'll be able to devote more time to building up Le Parfumeur Rebelle, my own business, and teaching real, live classes, as I've wanted to do all along. I want to spend more time with my family and friends, spend more time getting real, valuable perfume work done. I want my studio in order. I want to devote time to creating spectacular perfume, beautiful soap, fabulous scrubs and elixirs, to finish up on my books, get some other artistic ideas out of my head and into the world ~ basically, I don't want to do this anymore.

I'll still be around. Checking emails, writing an occasional blog post, splashing an ad on Facebook. And that labdanum project I told y'all about a few weeks ago, that's still going to happen, as will other evaluative type projects, specific perfume-related stuff. But the blah-blah-blah, like this post, not gonna happen anymore.

Love ya.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Soap Giveaway and . . . Stuff

There is a soap giveaway on my business blog for two bars of really great soap ~ I wouldn't say that if I didn't believe it. I'm not a big horn tooter, I'm just saying . . . (I really hate it when people say that). Basically what I'm saying is, go enter to win this soap. If you win, you won't regret it. I promise the soap is great. Pinkie promise.



Today is a busy day. Orders to fill, more soap to make, labels -- ah! Labels are the bane of my existence-- unfortunately, so are lots of things ~ ha! Putting the final touches on that report thingy, getting it printed and bound and mailed off to La-La Land. Clearing off the drying tables in the studio for the soap fest to come. And today I'm supposed to go in for weight training, but I don't think I'm going to make it. Too much to do. Plus housework, which never ends. It's Grand Central Station over here and people just leave their crap everywhere. Even the flippin' cats. We have three now; Ms. Kit-Kat, Ms. Chloe, and the shit-heel of the bunch, Olive. Olive finds a piece of paper and it's on ~ within minutes the paper is shredded down to molecules and spread from one end of the house to the other. Kit-Kat and Chloe are darlings, little furry balls of purring love, but that Olive . . .

Formulating perfume will have to wait a while. I do have two very solid ideas to work on, but I've yet to work out the bones. Getting antsy.

So that's it for today, what else is there to say? In the famous words of Jason Mraz, "Be love."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yesterday went as expected ~ controlled chaos, as usual. Who in their correct mind reserves a table at a public park on the same day as the well-advertised and well-attended annual Scottish Games when they have a perfectly beautiful, nearly 1 acre plot of lush gardens and lawn just steps from their front door? Well, at least there were a lot of great looking legs to stare at :)

I have this really gorgeous combination of orris root tincture and antique orris resin that I'm just itching to use ~ the orris root has been tincturing, and has also been zippy zapped, for the better part of a year now; the orris resin is a recent addition and meant to boost the scent of the tincture ~ and boost it has! I have the sneaking suspicion it won't take much of this tincture to make a significant impact in a formulation. It's sweet, verging on honey-like, with a lot of blond tobacco notes, smells a little animalic, like slightly urinic fur ~ that doesn't sound very pleasant, really, but I assure you, the sweetness and the hovering violet notes completely obliterate that nastiness. As it dries on skin, it takes on more of those violet notes, soft and almost-not-quite-there, but then you get another big whiff and it all comes back again. It's intoxicating. I smell a little piece of boronia in there, without the fruity raspberry notes ~ I really love it. I'm almost afraid to use the stuff!

I have this little vintage looking box with a hook latch that I keep all these special treasures in -- all those resins I purchased and a few that were gifted, diluted down and, through the magic of dilution, expanded and expressed, true to nature. It has always amazed me how naturals expand like that when they're diluted. I remember years back people saying that diluting rose brought it to it's natural strength, sort of the less is more theory in play. One of my online course students has a copy of Gattefosse in French, which she's diligently translating, and she discovered that Gattefosse has perfected the art of dilution, creating charts with each essence and its highest concentration of dilution in various percentages of alcohol. It sounds much more complicated than it is, but the information she found served to support my assertions that diluting is important, that it definitely doesn't take anything away from their compositions, that it instead adds to the quality of the work each perfumer does. I get this a lot from these students, and from other students, too, this question of dilution, why we do it, how does it work, how can it work? It has taken some convincing to get some of these students to believe that diluting is the way to go. There was also a bit of confusion when grading perfumes ~ how can it be a parfum if all the materials are diluted? The proof came with the experimentation in dilutions. No amount of verbal or written explanation can clearly illuminate the theory the way that hands-on experimentation does. Study your materials in several dilutions ~ for example, take your precious jasmine sambac and dilute a portion to 1%, then dilute another portion to 5%, and another to 10%, and if you're feeling adventurous, dilute another to 15 or 20%, and evaluate away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Saturday ~ Whatever Shall I Do?

I know what I'd like to do ~ build more scrubs! But it's the son's birthday and I've got other events on the schedule today. Ooh, I got this wonderful red Australian salt at the health food store ~ beautiful, beautiful stuff. I'm thinking a little therapeutic juniper foot scrub . . .

I just wanted to share something with you, aspiring natural botanical perfumers and other interested parties, who are attempting to navigate through the history of perfumery which can be found online, in history books and articles relevant to the topic ~ please, take all this information with a grain of salt, especially the online bullpucky. Since starting this project in which I was required to research and write about the history of perfumery and bathing rituals, I've found more contradictions than similarities. For example, what was the very first alcohol-based perfume ever made, and who was it made for? One accounting states it was created in 1370 for King Charles V of France by his personal perfumer, a distilled combination of brandy and rosemary, or maybe it was 1375 and the Carmelite nuns presented a spicier version. But maaaybeee the first alcohol-based perfume was given to Queen Elizabeth of Hungary in 1375! Yes! No? Maybe! Definitely maybe!

*pounding head on desk*

You know you're in deep caca when the online versions of perfume history are full of gross misspellings (geesh, I almost misspelled misspellings!) Prohibitated isn't really a word, is it? This is the reason I left out anything pertaining to history in the course workbook I wrote ~ there is no reliable information, at least I haven't found any -- yet. Unless it's an archaeological find and someone's dug up proof, I don't know, I just don't think the information can be verified. Information is lost to decay or war, stolen as part of a bigger historical reference, for example, journals or notebooks kept by royalty or perfumers to royalty, forgeries (I'm speculating here), even outright lying. I mean, we moderns don't have the market cornered on lying, right? Historically speaking, we peoples have been lying since we first learned language! It's hard to prove a historical lie is a lie because there are no witnesses to the event left to testify. And we're all just a bunch of lying liars lying our little lies to -- um -- why do we lie?

Okay, now I'm just confusing myself.

There are two birthdays today ~ my son's, whose party is next Friday, and my granddaughter's, whose party is at a public park -- today -- in the predicted 100+ F degree weather. I was told to bring my bikini because they're having a water balloon fight. My bikini. Right. Picture that. No. Don't. You'll hurt yourself. You know what would be really fun? A nbpers water balloon fight with all the balloons filled with hydrosol! Yeah! And we could all be in our bikinis, running around giggling and screaming like 12-year-olds! Sounds fun, huh? Sarcasm, folks. It's sarcasm.

I am really looking forward to mixing up that salt scrub -- I'm going to use some blue juniper berries I found at a spice shop in Murphy's CA last weekend ~ they're really fresh and fragrant, plus a little virgin coconut, and some essential oils, don't know which yet, but I can almost guarantee it'll smell and feel wonderful. I'm toying with the idea of making a juniper salt soap with that red salt as well. I haven't made a salt soap since I effed up and made one with rock salt ~ ouch!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life

"How come nobody's buying my Estrada glasses? Hell-O! Esss-trrrrah-tha!"

Sometimes I feel like that . . .

Monday, September 14, 2009

Got to Get Down

I need to get off this box and get busy before the phone starts ringing and I can't get anything done . . . off to make scrubs! Or soap! Or balm! Ooh, candles!

The Spice Tin


Saturday was my 17th wedding anniversary ~ I'd forgotten. So instead of being lazy and maybe doing a little creative experimentation, we, me and the hubs, went to Murphys. My dream town founded in 1849, the little tourist mecca surrounded by Sierra Nevada wineries, art galleries and handmade candy shops, the town I want to start a perfumery. We didn't stay long, just drove up for lunch, a little perusing of stores and shops along the main tourist street. Whilst perusing, out of the corner of my eye I read the word, "Spice". Buried behind a climbing and mountain rig store, off on a little side street and from inside the world's cutest little wood building wafted the dense and delicious aroma of spices. The Spice Tin, a new shop just opened in May by Patty and Jan Shulz, is perhaps one of the sweetest (aside from the candy store, of course) finds in town. They stock nearly everything a culinary and perfumery artist could possibly dream of ~ sumac that smells smokey and piquant, almost like mild red chili peppers blended with lemon rind, it has a rich dark burgundy-red color that looks a bit like dried blood . . . but it smells delicious! And it's no wonder I was drawn to it as it's used in my favorite food ~ Greek! The Spice Tin's walls were lined with jars and jars of delicious little gems like blue juniper berries, spicy, nose drilling Jamaican jerk seasoning, chilies, chilies and more chilies , cardamons green, black and seedy, sesame seeds of black and white, pink, black and white peppercorns, salt from everywhere on the planet, several, perhaps a half dozen, different lavenders ~ it was a cornucopia of aromatics! I purchased several aromatics for tincturing, a few for adding into scrubs, and some for culinary purposes. We were helped by Emily, who was very knowledgeable and friendly ~ you can see Emily, Patty and Jan on a little video they made about The Spice Tin that they put on their website. Go watch it! The Spice Tin made the trip worthwhile.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This is Really Cool, and So Not Perfume!

Thomas Keneally interview.

And my new favorite word is illimitable too ~ yeah!

Thanks to Ms. Camen for the heads' up.

I Have To Do This!


C'mon, guys, it's FREE. Free soap made by a real life djinni ~ ok, maybe not a real real djinni, but sort'a close, right? No? Well, alright, but it's FREE handmade soap. Why not try it out, eh? It's super fragrant, made with mostly organic oils, it's been loved and sung to, infused and empowered with magic and other sweet things. Free soap, guys.

Go here to enter the draw ~

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday



Today will be a lazy day. Well, yes, I will be getting the dishes done, at least. Maybe straightening up the living room a bit. But other than that, I'm doing nothin'. Except maybe playing with aromatics. Today is a thinking day ~ collecting the thoughts and ideas tumbling around in my head about that writing gig I have that's due -- um -- two Mondays ago? I shot off like a rocket at the beginning of the project, writing page after page after page of detailed notes from books and blogs and internet researching I'd done. Three days of that with the idea that when I was done I'd actually be able to sort it all out in a cohesive way. It's turned out to be a bit like unraveling tangled extension cords, and lots of "oh, yeah!" moments when I realize I didn't put that in there or flesh out this other bit over here. I have to remind myself what my writing teacher would always say, and in a way it works for perfumery too, "Write down the bones first, then put on the flesh."


Since last October, I've been in this super stressed out place. It felt like my family was falling apart, and the only thing holding it all together was me, the glue, the unwilling matriarch. And the whole time this chaos and pain was swirling around, I had perfume to focus on and pull me through. I'm not one of those people who becomes frozen and incapable of moving during times of crisis ~ I'm a jumper, a runner, a grap-the-kukri-and-start-hacking-at-the-problem type ~ work and busy-ness rule the day. And backing down is completely out of the question. Some call it stubborn. I just call it me. And it's exhausting. I need a vacation. I'm thinking Provence with Jim and Robbie next year ~ a week in France with Aroma Tours, tasting and smelling and chilling. My daughter may be going to Italy with her drama class at around the same time. At first she asked if I'd go with her as a chaperon and I heartily agreed, then she threw in, "Well, one of my friends has to go because I'm not spending the entire time in wonderful Italy with my MOM," and it kind of hurt my feelings. Her MOM has been standing by her side since her mess began about a year ago, encouraging her, holding her when she cried, fighting for her . . . so anyway, I guess it's a teenage thing, but it doesn't make me feel any better about it. After that little statement, though, I decided it was really and truly time for me. I don't have a problem with her going to Italy with her friends -- more power to her! I wish I'd had an opportunity like that when I was her age. But I want France.

Things are leveling out now -- in fact, they're almost great. Family's back on track, there are no big crises to deal with (at the moment, knock on wood), business is going well, and I'm going to France in July. Life's peachy. I mean, it could always improve, but I've seen the darker side and will accept any little bit of light I can get.

There are two projects I'm shaking around ~ a full-on floral parfum in the tradition of Joy, and a black perfume, eau de toilette, whatever. Those are my fall projects. I even wrote them down, y'know, like on a list. Speaking of my list, I printed it and posted it on the refrigerator where I'd see it all the time, to remind me that I have work to do that isn't 100% family oriented, which means everyone else sees it too, and I'd forgotten that I'd entitled my list, "List of Perfumes on Paper & Things to do, You Stupid B*tch Who Doesn't Make Lists!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vibrational & Creating With Intent

Y'know, if anyone ever tries telling you that handmade skin care can't be infused with magic and positive intent, don't listen because they've obviously never had in their hands a bar of soap that literally, and this isn't easy for me to admit being steeped in practicality as I am, washes away negativity. An hour ago I was ready to tear off someone's head, from being agitated by little things like someone moving my dust pan, broom, mop and mop buck where I couldn't find them, to receiving yet another call from school stating -- guess what?! -- your kid's in the Student Responsibility Center AGAIN because she pissed off another teacher. But now I'm good. I finished cleaning up the kitchen, which turned out to be a pretty good workout considering how violently I mopped the floor (haha!), ferreted out my last remaining clean shirt, and headed for the shower. More agitation ensued prior to the showering due to the huge pile of dirty laundry behind the bathroom door that the kids dumped there, and the scattering of toilet tissue, used razors, empty shampoo bottles and clothes tags on the floor NEXT to the near-empty trash can - - - - I often wonder if these people really think I am a maid.

So, I try ignoring all that, except for the trash that I couldn't handle on the floor and had to immediately clean up ~ they'll be cleaning out the laundry when they get home from school, among other various cleaning-up-after-yourself type work ~ and I get into the shower and grab this big clunky tannish colored soap that's just bursting with salt, and I rub, and rub . . . and rub. And within minutes, my mind cleared, the anger dissipated, and I soon found myself sitting on the couch watching Andrew Zimmern greedily chawing down on some raw food down in Hollywood, CA ~ and there was a big smile on my face, and I realized I wasn't pissed anymore. That my "shit happens" attitude had returned, that it's not the end of the world, that all things change, tomorrow's another day, don't worry, be happy ~

I remember while still in the shower thinking about salt and how it absorbs negativity and how I know about Ana's ability to build soap that vibrates with this potential, but it didn't really sink in until I was on the couch. Yeah.

There's a lot to be said for chanting and intent and pouring love into your work.

I can only imagine how angry and vengeful my kitchen floor feels now -- I may have to wash it down with salt.

Badger Balm's Bill Whyte Speaks on Perfume at LPR

LPR recently reviewed Badger Balm's Nutmeg Butter and along with the review came a little gem from Bill Whyte, owner of Badger Balm ~ it's full of sentiment and truth.

Read Badger Balm's intrepid leader's words here.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Haseki

Almost completed the second in the triumvirate of botanical skin care kits in the Harem Skincare line ~ Haseki. The soap is made with virgin olive oil, organic coconut and organic cocoa butter and scented with pink grapefruit, bergamot bf, petitgrain sur fleur, frankincense b. serrata, lemon essence, tangerine essence, lavandin abrial, fresh ginger, lemon petitgrain and ylang. The scrub is a simple sugar, ground raw almond and ground organic coconut; the elixir is a combination of organic jojoba, organic virgin coconut oil, petitgrain sur fleur, lemon essence and bergamot bf, so you see how all of these sort of work together ~ available September 17th.

Smell of Space

Read about it here.

LPR Contest/Giveaway!

The September/October sponsor for Le Parfumeur Rebelle's giveaway is me ~ The Scented Djinn. I put up the first of three bathing kits in the Harem Skincare line-up ~ Karima Skin Care Kit. Please enter the giveaway. You can enter anonymously, which just means LPR won't publish your name as the winner. Enter! Enter! Enter!

Chant

Soap porn at its finest ~

Chant by Eleneetha presents the Violet Oakmoss by the bar.

Isn't it just mouthwateringly gorgeous?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sneak Peek


The first leg of three luxury cleansing and bathing kits has been completed, a gorgeously scented, creamy delicious soap called 'Karima' -- I just couldn't wait to tell you about it! It's made in a base of virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, lots of creamy organic cocoa butter, and a little organic hemp seed oil, then I scented it with patchouli, ho wood, Himalayan cedarwood, muhuhu, elemi, hops, myrrh, artemesia and olive leaf extract.

It. Is. Divinity.

Remember it ~ Karima.

New Reviews on LPR



Blunda Aromatics' Store review on LPR.


Enfleurage product's review on LPR.

Can't Wait!







I just cannot wait to make soap this season -- what's that all about? Usually I'm apprehensive about starting up the soap, it takes up so much time and counter space and all that gear is loaded into the prep room in big plastic bins -- basically, it's an endeavor of epic proportions, like prepping for a Thanksgiving day meal. But when the dust settles--or should I say 'suds'?-- when the molds are washed and dried, the tools cleaned up, the bins packed and put away, and all that's left is a table full of luscious handmade soap, well, that makes the fuss more than worthwhile.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Quip

You know the state of the essential oils and absolutes business is in jeopardy when certain infuential people in the business get freaked out when you ask them about the prevalence of adulteration.

Dirty Sexy Wilde

Are you feeling Dandy?.....
Then slide on down to The Jitterbug Perfume Parlour!
In honor of our Hollywood Boutique's 1 year Anniversary
we will be launching our latest Fragrance "Dirty Sexy Wilde",
Please join us for an evening of fun & celebration!

*** Costumes Encouraged ~ Feel free to express your Inner Dandy
or whatever festive attire you feel***

Start time: Saturday, September 5, 2009 @ 8:30 PM
End time: Sunday, September 6, 2009 @ 12:30 AM
Location: Opus Oils' Jitterbug Perfume Parlour
Street: 4959 Hollywood Blvd
City: Los Angeles, CA
Phone: 323-667-3379
Email: opusoils@msn.com











Saturday, August 29, 2009

Feeling Inspired


That list I wrote about earlier -- it's working splendidly. Things are actually getting done.

I've got a whole new line-up of stuff coming for the Fall and Winter seasons -- sexy stuff, exotic stuff, stuff that'll make you feel beautiful.

Ana, Kimberly, your stuff is going in the mail on Monday -- if I can get it all together in these next two days -- truly feeling inspired, so watch out!

Violet Leaf Supreme Soap by Eleneetha


Really. I'm not making this up. She makes it with violet leaf wax ~ makes your mouth water, doesn't it?

Chant by Eleneetha ~ you gotta go get you some.

Scrub Queen

My daughter is the Scrub Queen. Look at that skin, that smooth little face. She's nearly 16 and has never had a pimple. Well, maybe one or two.

I started her out on scrubs when she was very young. I wanted her to know how to take care of her skin early on, something my mom didn't do for me. When I was 14, I broke out in the worst pimples ever, along the T line, forehead, nose and chin. I washed with soap, used up entire jars of Noxzema, Clearasil pads, even bottles of rubbing alcohol. Nothing worked. Until I started washing with honey. That worked, and it worked pretty quickly. So I learned something ~ the kitchen cabinet was a better medicine chest than the drug store. I've used oatmeal, cornmeal, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, coconut shreds, ground lentils and rice ~ almost everything edible has been on my face at one time or another ~ ha!

So, my daughter, the Scrub Queen, has taken over where I left off. She makes scrubs for everyone now. "Mom! Chelsy needs something for the bumps on her legs, I'm making a scrub!" Out comes the bags of organic raw turbinado sugar, organic poppy seeds, crushed black rice, virgin olive oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, all getting dumped helter skelter into small mason jars and flown off to someone in need. She's got everybody hooked. They'll ask her how she keeps her skin so silky smooth and clear, and she smiles and says, "Sugar," and their reply is, "I want some."

She makes special scrubs for her face, one for her arms and legs, and another for her back, bottom and tummy. She's turned scrub making into an art, and I have to admit, she's gotten pretty darned good at it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Labdanum

As if I don't have enough to do, I've committed to, and actually initiated, a little labdanum lab between myself and another nose. Why? I'm not sure. Seemed like a pretty darned good idea at the time. But guess what? Just days after suggesting it, I caught a cold. The day after the workshop, I had a slight sore throat and thought it was because I'd talked myself purple the day before, but alas, it's a cold. Moved right on up into my nose and is just sitting there, making me unable to smell anything.

Cistus ladanifer ~ labdanum

Labdanum absolutes can come to you with an extra bit of an amber note, or an incense note, making choosing which one to buy for your perfume building a bit difficult. Labdanum is a key note in an amber base accord.

And there is cistus creticus, the "true" labdanum, thought by some to be the myrrh of biblical times.

There's a lot of research and nose work to do here. I'm sort of looking forward to it. When the cold abates. Then we'll have a little haiku round robin back and forth deal going on -- all about labdanum.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Organization is a Dirty Word!


I've come to the conclusion that I just have to live by the list. I despise lists. My step-father used to leave my mother lists of things for us kids to do while he was away at work -- things like picking up his cigarette butts that he threw on the lawn, weeding the rose garden until not a speck of green showed on the bare naked earth, picking up every single miniscule, minute, microscopic fiber of paper off the lawn, hand-plucking the grass from the edges of the sidewalk and curbing, endless hours of raking bare ground -- every single day of summer vacation, so he could see that we'd actually done something, that we hadn't wasted the summer away. If there was a single cigarette butt or an old looking rake mark on the dirt, he'd send us out without dinner and make us do the entire yard again. I'm sure as kids we did a piss poor job -- kids' eyes don't work like grown-up eyes, they don't see garbage on the grass, overgrown weeds or asymmetrical rake marks, they see a place to play, bushes to hide behind, fun to be had. At any rate, this is where my list loathing began. My husband is a list maker. When the kids were still all at home, he'd make lists for everything -- how to do the laundry, chores' lists and then lists that explained how the chores were to be completed, lists on how to wash dishes, in what order and how hot or cold the washing and rinsing water should be. He'd print his lists on the computer in the largest fonts he could find, ultimately wasting gallons of printer ink (which is why I hated his lists the most). Lists were everywhere -- posted over toilets, on bathroom mirrors, on bedroom doors, on the refrigerator, inside and out! To me, those types of lists are for one thing and one thing only -- control. They don't teach anybody anything except that perhaps the guy writing the list is too lazy to walk the steps out with you and show you how the work should be done, respecting your abilities to complete the tasks and giving you a little credit for the two brain cells you possess that may or may not bump into one another on occasion. I placed a ban on creating lists using the computer and since then, lists have become fewer and farther between. See? I wasn't kidding about that lazy part.

Anyway, I'm finding myself in need of a list. A different kind of list. One that reminds me which projects I have coming up, which ideas I should experiment with and explore, who in this business I need to have a sit-down with. I need to give myself deadlines. I need to be more organized. Ew.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Time Management

There hasn't been much time the past few weeks to really get into formulating and developing new scents, not with school shopping, re-registering kids for school, a funeral and all that entails, temporarily losing vital materials for a project that's due next Monday and all the drama that went with relocating the materials, getting ready for the workshop, and . . . well, it's been hectic.

That outside project, the one in which I'm to create scents for candles using synthetics, that's been put on hold for a bit. The creatives in that project have been bumping heads, and it's sort of spilled over to what I'm doing for them. Not that I'm all that heartbroken over it -- after a while, like 5 minutes, I get sick of smelling the bland linear scent of white musk and raspberries! It also really brings home the truth that everything is scented ~ everything. Walking down the aisles in the stores, I can pick up scents and almost name them, even with this extremely limited molecule-synthetic nose-vocabulary I've developed. Especially the berry scented stuff (room fresheners, girlie eau de toilette, shampoo, conditioner, et al) ~ damn! Does everything have raspberry ketone and aldehyde C16 and nectayrl in it? And you can't really get those smells out of your sinuses right away. They follow your nose around and linger at its edges, the tenacious buggers. I was so frustrated with working with the synthetics that I almost made one scent out of two introductory scents the company wants for their candle line just so I could quit and move on to creating with naturals again. That didn't work. We've got two distinctive, yet in no way original, candle scents meant to mask the smell of burning and non-burning marijuana. Yeah. I said it. Super strong to cover the super skunk scent of ganja. Woot.

That other project, the one due on Monday, that one's been a bee in my bonnet for weeks. I got all the research done, it's putting it all together in a cohesive report that's really giving me fits. I used to be good at this stuff. About two kids ago. Before my brain turned to brie and was eaten by mice. I just need a few hours of uninterrupted time to pull it together and I'll have it done in no time. It's finding those few hours of uninterrupted time that will be the difficult part.

The workshop. I haven't written much about it because I kind of wanted to let it soak in, give it a little time to gel before filing my report here. It was, by far, the best class ever. For one, I was not even the slightest bit nervous. I just refused to think about it that way. I said to myself, "Those butterflies, that's excitement, not nervousness. You're excited to be teaching this workshop." And for once, I believed me! I was excited and it spilled over and touched the students, and they were excited too. The class didn't start as it usually has in the past, with me introducing myself in a stiff, my-head-is-too-big-to-fit-in-the-room kind of way, lauding my accolades like a some new age guru, testifying that I have vast amounts of experience which began with my first breath. No. Didn't do that. We just started talking. And talking. And before long, it was teaching and talking, then it was just full-on, here we are to learn, this is the meat of the matter, full-blown workshop. One of my main concerns for the day was the weather. August in Central Cali is notoriously sweltering. Temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit plus are not uncommon -- in fact, they're expected. Unhappily expected, but expected nonetheless. Thankfully, it was in the low-mid 90's, with a heavy cloud cover, which, under different circumstances, would contribute to the humidity -- but for some reason, it wasn't that bad. It was warm, but also breezy at the nursery, which I think is at about 3000 ft. We were under a porch awning that was draped with wild grape vines, standing on cool terra cotta floors, with a pond of gorgeous pink lotus on one side, and a clear, unobstructed view of the Sierra Nevada mountains on the other. The day was perfection. And as I said before, I just flapped my yap about natural botanical perfumery, answered questions when they arose, and commented repeatedly on what a wonderful day it had turned out to be. If I can get one of the students to write a little review of the workshop, I'll post it or link it here -- another perspective is definitely in order, eh? *Student review here!

So now I'm off to try and get my daughter back into public school after a homeschooling fiasco last school year. The school district is -- well -- not the most sympathetic and may end up trying to send her somewhere else, like Moldova or the Republic of Georgia. She has a track record for being a bit rebellious. Hmm. Wonder where she got that from?

Have a great day, readers.

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