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.

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