Monday, November 22, 2010

Cats & Long Sleeves & Bleeding Labels

There used to be a section in the course workbook indicating that long, loose sleeves should not be worn while creating perfume. Why? Because perfume creation, though usually conducted in one place, and as a relatively low-impact type endeavor, requires some reaching. Reaching with long, loose sleeved clothing is dangerous. Not nuclear power plant meltdown dangerous, but loss of $200 USD worth of rose damascena dangerous. Or, You'll-Never-Get-The-Smell-Of-Cocoa-Absolute-Off-Your-Robe-No-Matter-How-Many-Times-You-Wash-It-In-Vinegar dangerous. I've removed that section from the course workbook, but I'm rethinking my decision in light of recent events. Like the drenching of my fuzzy robe sleeve in cocoa and cilantro and basil and rose . . . the accidental dipping of the other sleeve into beeswax and sunflower oil and aromatics creating this perfume, this delicious multi-faceted perfume that exists nowhere on earth but on my sleeves, a perfume that I catch whiffs of while typing or reading or sipping tea.

Cats. With the recent change in weather from dry cold to drippy, wet cold, the cats' habits have changed as well. No more do they wander the backyard looking for places to hide from one another for a sneak attack, no more do they lie on the wooden bench to lavish themselves in the warm rays of the sun. No. They've taken these rituals indoors, conducting sneak attacks from across the workbench, knocking bottles and vials and dilutions to the floor, scattering ribbons and wrapping paper, tipping over stacks of books, and generally causing chaos in the studio. What is it about this space that cats so love? Why aren't they beating each other up under the sofa or swatting at the lacy frills of the afghan hanging over the back of the recliners in the family room? Why aren't they snoozing quietly in the warm spot I just left in the bed? Why have they taken to climbing up walls and over high hanging shelves?! One of the cats, the normally shy and calm Panda, tried pulling a framed poster off the studio wall! She gave it her best effort until I caught her, the noise of books sliding off the desk and bottles banging into one another alerting me to her frantic hopping, her claws grasping to the ledge of the poster frame. The cats are banished (again) from the studio, quickly darting through the room so as not to get caught before retiring to rip apart the garage, one dangling lamp wire at a time.

With all this tipping and toppling, falling and crashing, there is bound to be a little leakage. Enter the dreaded bleeding labels. Duh duh Dummmmm! I think most of us at this point in our perfuming careers have mastered the art of taping down labels, both to prevent them from slipping off the bottle, and to protect them from any potential solventy like spills that can smear and smudge the writing on the labels, creating a bleeding label effect, which leads to illegibility, which lead to the inevitable 'wtf is this?!' moment. Sometimes it is unavoidable, even with smear-proof paper and tape, labels can still fade and bleed away. All that information lost -- the aromatic's name, dilution ratio, code # or reference, poof! Fortunately, that hasn't happened. My labels are, for the most part, legible, though slightly smeary and smudged. The solution is to make a new label, and yell at the flippin' cats . . . again.


  1. Anonymous11:32 AM

    You'll have seen the "Simon's Cat" animations, I'm sure. The 'Lunch Break' will ring a few bells! (You can see it at, if links are allowed.)

    All too true, alas.

    cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

  2. Oh, yes! That's it! Links are allowed and I'm going to edit and link it through the body of the post. Yes, Simon is Panda's twin.



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