Friday, July 31, 2009

Last Chance

To enter the LPR giveaway. If you win, you will receive three bars of some of the most luxurious handmade naturally scented soap ever made.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mid-Week Update

It's been an eventful week thus far. I may be childless -- well, at least MY children aren't here -- but I got charge of my grandson for the day yesterday, and he stayed the night last night. I raised this little boy for a whole year a while back when he was still a wild little thing at 4-years-old, in diapers, and with a vocabulary that consisted of maybe ten words. Within three months he was out of the diapers; in six months he spoke in complete sentences; today he's considered "above average" in intelligence. But last night he was just a silly little monkey. He forgot to pack underwear and pajamas in his overnight bag and ended up wearing one of my oversized t's as a nightshirt, sans the underpants. He thought it was the funniest thing ever, as he tried to accidentally-on-purpose flash the room while rolling around on the floor. He also "evaluated" essences from the workshop kit, which is always fun. He has such a clear and imaginative manner of expressing his impressions of scent. The first thing he said was, "I don't want to smell anything nasty this time, Grandma, 'k? Just nice stuff." Then he bumped a scent strip against his lip and exclaimed, "Oh, my god! I'm gonna get a rash now!" When the session was over, he asked, "Grandma, are you a scientist? I think I want to be a scientist, but I don't want to smell anything nasty." His impressions were muddled and he kept saying, "Hmmm, nice," to nearly everything he smelled, which was a little disappointing. I think he was doing it more for me than for himself. He's a sweetie that way.

Before Odie came to visit, however, I was already busy with cleaning carpets and tearing down bookshelves, removing paintings and other artwork from the walls to wash them -- the walls and the art. Scrubbing baseboards, washing out window sills, dusting ceiling fan blades -- generally getting the house in order before the Mongol hordes return. If it weren't so hot, I would have gotten to the painting, but it's miserable, even with the AC on.

AND ----- working on that project, which I'm really beginning to sweat over. It's a time issue and I've got so much else on my plate at the moment. At some point I'd like to have the perfume studio set up to receive guests. Right now, as I have pointed out before, it looks like a garage sale or swap meet in here. And I have perfume to make! Violet Flor (aka Ianthe the Violet Nymph) is in its dregs, as is Khamsa eau Fraiche. The problem with Khamsa is that I have to make such large batches at a time in order to fill the 100 ml bottles it lives in -- I'm making a couple gallons at a time, which for me is a real feat.

I actually wear Khamsa -- every day -- right after a shower. It was what I was wearing when I went to watch Dislodic, my son's band, play at a local club and everyone was coming up to me asking me what I was wearing, lifting my arms and sniffing up and down them, a la Gomez Addams.

Anyway -- it's been a busy few days.

And this was a nothing post.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Le Parfumeur Rebelle Giveaway Draw

Is drawing near. Enter for your chance to win exquisite fragrant handmade soaps by Eleneetha.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Michel Roudnitska

Great interview with Michel Roudnitska by Michelyn Camen.

August Perfume Workshop

August 22, 2009 from 9am to ? (12 or 1 or 2pm) at the Intermountain Nursery in Prather, CA

This will be the third year I've taught this class at Intermountain. Each year it becomes more streamlined and less flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. There is a special class teacher's kit I've put together that features notes of tonka, vetyver, organic patchouli, tolu resinoid, sandalwood, labdanum, benzoin, frankincense, honey, clove, jasmine sambac, ylang-ylang, rose geranium, rose damask absolute, jasmine auriculatum, coriander, lavender, ginger, bergamot, blood orange, pink grapefruit, pink pepper and petitgrain in 10% dilutions, with additional notes of jasmine sambac, bergamot and patchouli in 1 and 20% dilutions. I tried the varied percentages technique last year and the students loved it.

Each student briefly studies the essences in the kit, making notes and discussing their thoughts about the process, then they construct a scent outline on paper, a blueprint, as a starting point to formulating.

Things get a little crazy after that.

When it's all over, each student walks away with a head overflowing with information, and a precious little bottle of a perfume of their own making.

For more information about this workshop, contact Bonnie at

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Yesterday was a banner day. It began upon waking with the realization that my children were not here, that they would not be here until next Wednesday. I was alone.

The shout heard around the block ensued, and if you'd looked into my living room window, you'd have seen a grown woman dancing like a burning serpent, dressed in only her bra and underwear. Yes, it was that glorious. I have not been without a child's presence for more than 24 hours in over 20 years. Twenty years.

I caught up on some reading and made notes for hours and hours, an absolute luxury of time I almost felt guilty about using. Almost.

I called a couple of friends and treated them to lunch at a lovely Mexican restaurant that serves the most exquisite seafood this side of the coastal range -- chile rellanos stuffed with spicy crab and prawns, calamari with pico de gallo -- I didn't indulge but opted for the fresh salad instead. My friends, however, reveled.

Then, on a whim, we went antiquing in Old Town. I don't normally spend a lot of time in Old Town as it's much too conservative and stuffy for me, but the antique stores there are some of the best in the city. We chose the largest and oldest store, and began a'huntin'.

My friends were looking for antique kitchen ware -- potato mandolins, pastry cutters, rolling pins, mashers, sieves -- whatever little doo-dad they could find to fix up their future home with. I was looking for perfume, apothecary items, and wine-making supplies. I found several amber apothecary bottles with mismatched glass stoppers, an enormous 10-gallon glass water bottle from the 1920's that would be perfect for making vino, and a few empty perfume bottles of questionable origin, but nothing, really, that I felt like whipping out my money for.

Until I found the vintage, hand-painted bottle of Devon Violets. It was nearly full. And the contents smelled like a mock violet fragrance I made a few years back. I was stunned at how truly sweet and beautiful this fragrance was. So I bought it.

I also found a vintage bottle of Jergen's Atom Bomb perfume with a little of the syrupy dregs in the bottom. Very 1950's, that perfume. And the bottle -- cute as hell, looks like a little atom bomb, rocket thingey. And, of course, I'd take pictures of them both for you and post them here, but somebody stole my camera.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Link Hopping Brought Me Here

Herbal Winemaking

These recipes and ideas make great holiday gifts -- something you may want to start thinking about. Yeah, I know. Time flies 'n' all. Why wait til the last minute?

Photo from Mountain Rose Herbs' wine making page.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Again With the Mountain Misery

I've been experimenting again with the mountain misery, aka kit kit dizzee, aka bear clover. After reading what Avery Gilbert said about mountain misery (no disrespect to Mr. Gilbert, I admire and appreciate his expertise), and disagreeing wholeheartedly with his observation of the scent being a combination of 'cat urine' and 'boiled asparagus', I became determined to prove its usefulness in natural botanical perfumery. Thus far, my experimentation has been fruitful.

Mountain misery, chamaebatia foliosa, a member of the rose family, smells resinous, piercing, bitter, woody, and tannic. I get absolutely no cat pee, no bland, boiled asparagus notes, nothing of the sort.

It shows great tenacity when blended in even the smallest of proportions with other essences, mixing well with oakmoss (highly diluted), ho wood or rosewood, Himalayan cedarwood, pink peppercorn, muhuhu, sandalwood, clary sage absolute. With hay absolute it turns antique, seasoned wood planks made from ancient redwoods, aged and brittle leather strappings. It really reminds me of my father and Montana, wind rushing down the coolies bringing sage and water to the air. It lifts and extends tea rose, brightening its softness with an edge of light, transforming the center of the rose to cream and milky butteriness.

The possibilities . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Starting Over Again For the 30,762nd Time

On a new computer -- again. Thank the computer wizards for suggesting to me years and years ago to buy an external hard drive. What a life saver that thing has been. The previous computer to this newer, rebuilt one, was killed, murdered, actually, by some dumbass downloading onto the computer poker games of all sorts. After the computer crashed and burned, and my newest camera, along with its charger, "disappeared", and the common denominator to these two minor tragedies also disappeared for a few days, I decided to take charge of the chaos. I kicked the common denominator out on his ass. He wasn't a relative but a formerly trusted family friend, but hey, you don't bite the hand that feeds you, right? And I don't have time for this kind of silly crap. I'm shaking it off, learning a valuable lesson, and not buying another damned camera for a long, long time. And not taking in any more strays.

I am still working on the studio, since what? Last year? Yes. I have one wall painted, the lovely light violet wall, managed to pick up some merchandise quality shelving from a big department store that went out of business for way less than -- well, there's a funny strange, not funny ha ha story there -- I picked out three shelves that were selling for $5 a foot (this is quality, heavy-duty stuff here, mind you), but when the floor manager for the fixtures wrote the slip, he wrote it for $3 a foot. Cool, eh? When I got up to the counter to pay for them, the floor manager walked up behind me and said, "The price has changed." My heart sank. I'm thinking he's changed his mind and wants to raise the price back up to $5 a foot. Then he says, "Three dollars a shelf." Score! Okay, back to the studio; I have drawn up the theme and layout of the studio -- I just haven't gotten much further than that, though. I've been hitting up the discount stores like Marshall's and Ross for pretty crystal storage bottles. I found, by sheer luck, three glass corked jars at the Goodwill, which totaled $5. They'd never been used, judging by their condition. They're now holding violet flowers, orris root and ambrette seeds. And all of this stuff, including my collection of perfume minis and antique perfumery materials, are sitting around on fold-out tables and in the ugly portable cabinet. The studio is bursting at the seams and looks more like a garage sale than a perfumery. And my book collection is getting out of control. I need a real bookshelf in here. Freecycle is ridiculous. I post a want ad for a bookshelf and get nothing, then three days later, some schmuck posts an offer for a flippin' bookshelf, but by the time I get the message and reply, the stupid thing is already spoken for!

It's been too hot to do much of anything but read and fiddle around in the studio, so all these ideas and concepts have been brewing. Oh! And I have a project that I can't really tell you about right now, but it's turning out to be fun and educational and inspiring and a little bit scary. I'll let you know more about in November.

I just had to show you this. Wouldn't it be cool to have in your little perfume shop/museum? I'm finding these kinds of perfume paraphernalia fascinating. I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's the other night, alone, while munching on cold grapes, and had epiphany after epiphany about fashion, perfume, beauty. When Holly pulled perfume out of her mail box, the first thought that crossed my mind was, "What perfume is that?", and the second thought was, "Somebody's going to steal it." Just a sign of the times, and my recent experience talking there. I was also struck by how gorgeous Audrey Hepburn was. Anyway, that whole era of perfume dispensers at the restaurant table reminds me of BaT's and Audrey, the early 1960's. Nostalgic.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Perfume As Symbol

As alternate realities, fantasies, desires. Perfume identifies its wearer. Friends say, "I always know when you're here because I can smell you before I see you," as they come in closer for a sniff. I am, apparently, defined by patchouli and "exotic spices", "warm skin", and "eroticism". So take a bite, why don't 'cha?

(The Kama Sutra states that a woman is not defined by her physical beauty, but by her odor. Her unique scent.)

Perfume is the ungraspable. The liquid tangible and the misty ephemera, "always too volatile, fleeting and vaporous to be possessed or captured by metaphor, color, and music or choreographic form." 1

1 Richard Stamelman

Monday, July 20, 2009

That Didn't Take Long

I'm back, but still busy, busy, busy. Had computer problems, then just got caught up in projects -- still caught up in projects. Exciting stuff. Will be back to give some kind of olfactory opinion, probably tomorrow.

I was hoping for a longer time out. Just didn't work out that way.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Off the Grid

Going offline for a while. Have a few pressing projects that require my near-constant attention.

I'll be back.

Peace out.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Re-Post: Liz Zorn's Underworld

Because I felt it needed to be.

Sunday, December 09, 2007
Underworld ~ A Natural Perfume by Liz Zorn
Underworld. The name evokes dank darkness and wicked biting things creeping low on the ground -- or under the ground. Slithering, slimy fearful things, all fangs and glowing red eyes. Ok, so I have a very active imagination. Thankfully, Underworld is none of the above.

Instead, it is resinous and oudhy, floral with a soft powdery sweetness that grows in intensity as the 'fume lies on the skin. An anise-like quality twines about this perfume, and is tempered with roses and dark spices. Smells animalic. Not the musty, fusty smell of unwashed fur, but the clean animal smell that floats off the skin of a well-loved cat.

An underlying ambery vanilla chord gives the entire perfume a warm, candy-like feel. And booziness - there's a boozy, barroom-on-a-dark-rainy-night, -blues-playing-on-the-juke-box essence dancing around too.

The gourmandy part of this perfume is luscious. Chocolate and Sen Sen breath freshener, burnt coffee and cinnamon. To top it off, there's also a thread of old leather glove, firewood, smoke and ash.

This perfume is definitely dark. But dark in a way that is alluring and sensual.

*Notes: vetyver, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, ginger lily, labdanum, pomegranate, rose, geranium leaf, birch, vanilla, 'sweet amber', jasmine A., angelica, 'mosses', 'woods'.

Le Parfumeur Rebelle Giveaway

The giveaway for June/July is still underway ~ do yourself a favor and enter. This months' prizes are three bars of luscious handmade luxury soap from Chant by Eleneetha. You don't want to miss this soap, it's beyond vibrational.

Molly Birnbaum in USA Today on Zicam

Taking Scent for Granted.

August Perfume Workshop

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Crazy 8's

Meet Mr's. Oakmoss, Tolu, Galbanum, Labdanum, Olibanum, Styrax and Benzoin, and Ms. Orris (who has had some 'work done', if you get what I mean), the Soluble Resin family of the Vintage Lineage. Ms. Sandalwood of Mysore is camera shy and the only sane one in the bunch. We'll save her photo shoot for another time.

Aren't they just mouth watering?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Sweet Perfume

Poetry from Dreams of Happiness, 1907

The nosegay that you casually left
sheds sweet perfume about the little room
and all my soul is lost in reverie
of you, my child, and this sweet perfume.
And then I see you lost in reverie
of me, your brow shadowed by a gloom.
The nosegay that you casually left
sheds all about the room a sweet perfume.


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