Saturday, June 26, 2010

Off to the Greening Hills

Today we're off to the mountains -- the very thought excites me. I'm taking along jars and tins to gather sap and leaves and moss. For once, it isn't my camping trip, it's someone else's, someone else tending the fire, someone else making sure the food is prepped, the wood is gathered, the tents are clean. I'm simply a transient pseudo camper this time around, driving up for the day and leaving after the marshmallows are burnt.

A respite. And, with luck, a time of inspiration.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The New Perfume Extrait

The newest, next-to-be-released perfume from The Scented Djinn is Atay, Tea in the Garden.

In my efforts to veer as far from a dark souchong type tea perfume, I managed to create a creamy floral not-quite-chai-like tea perfume with notes of tea, frangipani, tuberose, honey and fresh ginger. A gourmand tea extrait.

Coming soon to The Scented Djinn Etsy Apothecary.

Okay, so nix the rose soap idea . . .

After sleeping on it, I decided not to make a rose soap. Who is so crazy to add $175 worth of rose absolute to a 3 lb batch of soap? Okay, I am, but I talked myself out of it anyway. Instead I made bath bombs! Rosy rosy bath bombs with a little bit of that rose de mai absolute, some rose damascena absolute, a little ho wood, some white champa leaf and a squirt or two of that handmade rose geranium hydrosol I did a month back. And some Mysore sandalwood . . . Oh, and it's got big coarse pieces of that pink Himalayan salt (in the pic) in it too. I also decided not to sell them. Who'd pay $26 for a bath bomb anyway? Just to make my $$ back, I'd have to charge $13 a bomb. So I'm giving them to my little girl. Maybe one to my son's girlfriend. And one to the lady across the street. But I can't tell you how happy it makes me to create these truly decadent little things, even if all I get out of them is a smile.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rose Soap

Would it be -- mmm -- irresponsible of me to use 1/2 ounce of pure rose de mai absolute in a batch of soap? Rose de mai? May rose. Half an ounce. With rose geranium hydrosol (hand made by moi) and the beautiful few mls of rose geranium essential oil floating along with it?

Would you mind terribly paying $16 USD for a 2.2 oz bar of lusciously floral REAL rose soap?

I'm seriously considering jumping in . . .

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice always reminds me of my father. June was the last time I saw him alive, June that year was spent in the windswept hills of Montana, watching dad slowly letting go. There is a sense of melancholy overlaid with hope when June swings around again. Dad was, up to his last breath, purely hopeful. Oddly, Father's Day means very little to me . . .

Summer Solstice calls for big bursting baskets of hope, yes? Today we're planting pumpkins and hope for a good fall harvest. The pumpkin's bed mates are five varieties of heirloom tomatoes, a jalapeno pepper plant, four yellow squashes, a tomatillo, chives, cilantro, rosemary, basil, lemon thyme and bell pepper, and the errant spearmint that pops up where it wants. This year the farm is doing well and I've left it all to mom to tend, and we (the fam damily) started our own urban garden in the backyard at home. It's open and sunny and has served only as a toilet for our one remaining dog these past couple of years. Raised beds and fence line growing beds are slowly making their way in. And more tomatoes. More squash, zucchinis this time, and cucumbers. Yes, one can never have too many tomato plants growing . . . There is a Summer Solstice soap in the works, something bright and cheery and floral, something unexpected. There's also a lot of stuff to ship off! This past weekend was a busy one and today I pay the price for good fortune by wrapping and packaging and trudging off to the post office.

What I'd love to do, what I'd get a big kick out of, is to make a tuberose and vanilla soap. Wouldn't that be something?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Soapin' and Cucumber Essential Oil

It's been a soaping week. A good soaping week. And I did something I rarely do -- recycled the end bits and underweight pieces into a new batch of soap which I named 'Citrus Sugar Calico Soap' a sort of longish name that pretty much says it all about this soap.

Still dreaming up new soap combinations -- I have a full bottle of rich, nutty organic hempseed oil just hopping up and down begging to be in some soap, so maybe I'll full on hippy out on the next batch and make a citrus spiced patchouli hemp oil soap . . . just for the fun of it.

By the way, I am so loving making soaps with clays, salts and sugars these days. I know it's old hat to most soapers at this stage of their experience, and I did make quite a lot of them in the past, but for some reason now they seem new again. Maybe it's because I'm a better soap maker than I was back then, who knows? There is an ease to making soap these days.

Cucumber essential oil. The little green snake has raised it's head again. Does it exist? Some say yes, they use it, sell it and stand by it. Others say no, the skin and flesh of a cucumber carry no oils to speak of. So where does this essential oil come from? The seeds, where else? But does that make it an essential oil (the process for obtaining the oil from cucumber is through cold pressing of the seeds), or a carrier oil? According to one source, the oil is processed from dried seeds, filtered and cleaned to produce a clear yellow oil with a very mild cucumber-like essence. Used primarily for skin care (not aromatherapy), cucumber oil contains a high amount of phytosterols which are beneficial for the following:

• Anti-Aging and Wrinkle Reduction
• Acne
• Psoriasis
• Eczema
• Acne and Other Skin Conditions
• Sunburn
• Stretch Marks
• Damaged Hair
• Dry Scalp
• Brittle Nails

So while I agree an oil is produced from the cucumis sativus, it is not a true essential oil but a carrier or vegetable oil, similar to sweet almond oil, sunflower seed oil, hempseed oil and the like.

Source: Natural Sourcing Cosmeceutical

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Scent Giveaway

At The Scented Djinn Blog.


As most of you know, I love getting things done. Start a project= complete to fruition, that's my way. Lately, though, things are piling up, being put aside (the magazine) and saved for a later, more enthusiasm filled day (the new website). Why? Life throws you curve balls. Sometimes big swipin' curve balls with spikes of paranoia and fear and indecision sticking out all over. Gotta learn to duck. So I've been ducking . . . and ducking . . . and ducking some more. I have half a mind to just sit on the bench until all the balls fall out of the air. But, that's really not an option. Sitting out on life, no matter how crazy it gets, is never an option. Pick up the bat and swipe back.

Soap is on the agenda. Been making 11 bar batches of soap for two days now, nice, creamy delicious soap. I miss making soap when I've been away from it for so long. Soaping is meditative, calming. And you pretty much always know what you're going to get (uh, soap?) when the process is over, unlike perfuming where anything can happen, like a drop too much of vanilla turning a stunning floral into vanilla custard pie with a rose on top. Thus far I've done the famous and often requested PoppyMint soap with spearmint, peppermint and black poppyseeds, a rosemary and rhassoul clay spa soap, and a lavender Seville and Himalayan cedar coconut milk and rose hydrosol soap with just a sprinkling of organic lavender flowers. I've said this before, and I'll say it again, the end product is only as good as the ingredients used. I love using minimally refined, sometimes unrefined, organic oils and butters in the soap I make. It really does make a difference in the quality of the soap. Next up is a calico sugar soap made in an organic hemp oil base, then I'm done for a while.

I've thought about writing a little primer on handmade soap care, y'know, like the ones all over the 'net, or were all over the 'net . . . back when I cared to look up soap information and join in all the reindeer games being played on the soap boards and groups. Too. Much. Drama. So I stay off the makers grid and do my own thing, which now might include a silly What to Expect When You're Expecting Handmade Soap For Dummies or some such bologna. It will probably be more of a list of what-not-to-dos than anything else. For example,

Don't let your baby use handmade soap as a teething ring

Don't use handmade soap to catch mice in a mousetrap

Don't drown your handmade soap or it will come back to haunt you

Don't use handmade soap as a weapon -- you could go to prison

And then, of course, maybe something practical, like, don't expect your soap to cure world hunger, make you beautiful, or turn down your bed.

Okay. Enough silliness.

Getting things done. The tea perfume is stewing in its juices. Since I'd been working on it for so long (2 yrs), I only made it to trial #4 before I made my decision as to which trial # was the big winner and would move to the next stage -- production. I imagine it'll be done in a few more weeks. It will be introduced as a limited edition extrait, then perhaps later, when the mood strikes, it will be made into an eau de parfum or eau de toilette. I'm finding more and more that diluted formulation bases bloom like dogwoods in the spring (big white flowers on spindly sun seeking branches) and leave a much more favorable impression than their stronger, less diluted counterparts. Still, there's just something really sexy about an extrait . . .

The incense perfume is in the trial stages. Initially there was to be a little vanilla, but I'm discovering that this bourbon I have loves to upstage everyone else in the choir, so I've gone with tonka instead. The champaca and the tonka together smell more like the incense on which this perfume is based than anything else I've created for it. It's really quite fun, and a challenge, to ferret out individual aromatics and recreate them in another medium, in this case, from incense stick to liquid perfume. So far it's a dead ringer, but my client wants a little smoky greenness added to it, so I'm taking it off the known path a bit. But, that's still a work in progress.

The gorgeous gingered amber is already trialed and tested and approved -- it just needs to be formulated for production, aged or evulsed to maturation, and then it debuts. When? Before summer's end.

Today, though, I'm laying down the scent strip. The wind whipped up late yesterday afternoon and continued through the night, dropping the temperatures from the high 90's to the low 60's in a matter of hours, and that, of course, irritates my friggin' nose! So I fell asleep last night with the sound of howling wind through the cracks in the windows and KiKi the Bedroom Cat doing her best rendition of a mockingbird right in my face. Needless to say, I woke this morning feeling like someone had stuffed a dusty sock up my nose.

Maybe I'll get on that soap . . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Artisanal Perfume

Artisanal, or, as my friend B. likes to say, "Art-is-anal," perfume is more niche than niche, more indie than indie, and, to quote another friend, "More specialer," than regular off-the-shelf stuff. So what if the label is a little thready on the edges and sits crookedly on the bottle? Or the bottle is run-of-the-mill, nothing special? It's the art contained within the sometimes ordinary packaging (though packaging can be the #1 selling point for some perfumes) that is important. How many times have you opened a beautifully packaged and bottled perfume to a reaction equivalent to crickets chirping in the middle of the night? Nothing special here -- pretty bottles with boring contents make prime real estate for dust. Again, it's what's inside that counts (as with most things in life) -- juicier than the average juice.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sample Packets at The Scented Djinn

Packets include samples of Khodum, Sahar, Jameel, Oshiba, Serj and La Tubereuse Eau Fraiche ~ at The Scented Djinn Etsy Apothecary.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Flies 'n Funky Music

I woke this morning to the rousing tunes of 70's music -- "Play that Funky Music (White Boy)", "Copacabana" and "Roller Coaster" -- thanks to the 14-year-old son's newfound obsession with music from that era. What's that got to do with perfume? Not much, but I did found myself dancing around the kitchen spraying flies with natural homemade fly repellent (which works!) and got caught by my 16-year-old daughter who is now completely convinced her mother is the weirdest lady on the block. Oh well.

"North side , east side
Little Willy, Willy wears the crown, he's the king around town
Dancing, glancing
Willy drives them silly with his star shoe shimmy shuffle down
Way past one, and feeling allright
'Cos with little Willy round they can last all night
Hey down, stay down, stay down now

'Cos little Willy, Willy won't go home
But you can't push Willy round
Willy won't go, try tellin' everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won't go home!"

The Sweet ~

to the wafting scent of lavender and peppermint bug spray . . .

Saturday, June 05, 2010


"It's got what in it? Frannie's panties? Who the **** is Frannie?!"

Dude, it's frangipani.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Teazer eau de ?

I've been working on a tea themed perfume for about two years now, building accords and tossing them, rebuilding bases, tossing those too. No focus. No solid, defined inspiration to continue. Some of the work, well, the bulk of the work, was done on paper -- in journaling and as tests by drops on strips. After all this time, I think I've got it. Well, the very bones of it, at least, the defined theme, and it is far, far from the original work. While I was toying with lapsong heaviness and jasmine green tea delicacy, I struck a balance by going right down the middle; not smoky and dark, and not light and floral, but somewhere there, in the center, with dark tea and wood notes shored and held aloft with honey, and heavy floral notes floating on spiced wings. This perfume is no where near completion, a few more trials and a test batch to a few friends for evaluation, and it's a go.

I've always wanted to make a perfume based on a local tea shop, Teazers World Tea Market. Tranquility reigns there, the scent of a hundred crops of deliciously aromatic tea with notes of fruit and honey and spice and wood and smoke fill the air. My fascination with the scent of tea began years ago, however, during the hot valley summers when mom served pitchers of dark sweet tea for dinner. That kind of tea, sweet Southern tea, reminds me of dust and loneliness, tire swings and biting red ants, constant hunger for the world, rivulets of happiness, and forbidden friends. Bitter sweet.

Photo from Teazers World Tea Market

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Art et Parfum

"Great perfumes require time and passion," Roudnitska.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Year and a Day

I was reminded today about the year and a day rule -- no, not the felonious year and a day, but the time it takes to prepare oneself for something. A year and a day is all that is required for a student to learn NBP, then it's a lifetime of practice that makes the perfumer.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

ScentHive Hosting a Giveaway of Tallulah Jane Perfumes

ScentHive is giving away two bottles of perfume from Tallulah Jane ~ to enter, go here and follow the instructions for gaining more entries.

Art Center

My cousin and I have been throwing an idea around for a few years now, and it seems that it may finally come to fruition, in part because of the economy (her work hours have been cut back drastically, and as a consequence, so have her paychecks), and because of her looming retirement. It speaks volumes about a person's need for change at this point in their life when they know, to the dollar, how much they'll receive from Social Security if they take their retirement *now*. I imagine once the working paycheck becomes a dollar less than the projected amount from Social Security, someone is going to quit her job. And that's where the Art Center comes in. Just before her father passed away a few years back at the ripe old age of ancient, he built an addition to their shared home -- a huge room the size of a two-car garage with a big window on the west wall and French doors on the east wall going into the well-tended garden. The room currently houses extra furniture, craft items and catering doo dahs (she works for a caterer and toys with the notion of starting her own company), and is perfect, absolutely perfect, as a teaching space (we've even held a wedding reception in the room). I've been given the green light on many occasions to teach a soap making class and a perfume workshop in the "spare" room, and permission to hold a scented event under the fruitless mulberry, catered by her. Thus far, neither of us has made a move. But the time is nigh. This afternoon or tomorrow, I'm going to talk to her about working on a schedule for classes over the summer, and then in September or early October, holding a perfumed garden party featuring perfumed confections and other scented edibles, whilst discussing NBP and possibly rousing interest for a local NBP art academy.

Murphys, here I come ~

Message from my spirit guides: You already have everything you need to make this situation start working for you, so stop searching for answers. It's time to look at your store of knowledge. Give your experiences the appropriate weight and meaning.


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