Thursday, December 23, 2010

Oh, Farmacista Vero!

I realize that I am in constant flux. I have a love/hate relationship with change. I am fickle and stalwart. I suffer a dichotomous mind. If I go into something half-assed, it stays that way. If I go into something with passion and enthusiasm, my efforts are infused with passion and enthusiasm and are usually somewhat successful. Why do you care? I don't know that you do, but in some small way perhaps it explains why I'm all over the place. For example, in 2006, I "quit" making soap and skin care in mass quantities to focus more on perfumery, opening a Natural Botanical Perfumer's website, le Parfumeur Rebelle, and a my own business website, The Scented Djinn. I then closed down my business website and started up selling on Etsy (I was having hosting issues with my web plan and couldn't customize layouts, something which would have been achieved had I handed over the project to a professional, but alas, I am ever the micro managing control freak) wherein I vacillated between focusing on perfume or on skin care, never giving my full undivided attention to either. Then there came the Academy where I wrote and edited and edited and edited and yes, edited, both a text book and a workbook, and then the subsequent course(s) with several students each, several personalities, language barriers, miscommunications, and on my end, exhaustion. Again, the focus on perfume became more fuzzy. Once again, I faced change. My Etsy customers are separate entities from my perfume customers, I've learned over the past year. My Etsy regulars prefer scented skin care and effective skin care over super frilly slightly expensive eaux de parfum. And, hey! Can I get a review? I know I may be perceived as coming from the wrong side of the tracks, but give me some credit, yeah? I've worked as hard as anyone to hone my craft, and I try not to invent stories about my years of experience, though I am prone to blitherty blather at times, just ask my soap and perfume students at Intermountain Nursery, or simply trust your judgment after reading this weird post ~ ha! Anyway . . . once I realized my Etsy people were different from the perfume people, I decided to start up an Artfire shop for my perfumes. Can I just say something here about Artfire? They're fabulous. They don't get their knickers in knots if you refer your customers to that other place, or anywhere else on the web. And they don't nickle and dime every single listing or sale. Flat rate out the gate, that's it, even if you sell one thing or sell five hundred, you pay just what you agreed to when you set up shop, finito, end of story. It's refreshing not to get slammed at the end of the month with a huge bill, which, by the way, can be double what you paid for your own private website. And let me get back to website (see? I'm all over the place here -- so be it), I do have one currently on the books, I just haven't built it yet, for the same flippin' reason I rid myself of the last one! Again, the micro managing control freak raises her shaggy head. So, back to the skin care stuff. I split, or am in the process of splitting, the Etsy skin care from the Artfire perfumes, and once again began the tedious task of researching current trends in natural skin care. Did I say tedious? I'm not on soap forums or lists, nor anything like them, so I don't know what all the chatter is these days, I'm just winging it, as they say. One thing I have been focused on is olive leaf. I live in a place where olive trees are as numerous as the people who tend them, myself being one. Years ago I prepared an olive leaf extract for a co-worker who was suffering for years with a horrible yeast infection, an infection so pervasive that even doctor prescribed medications couldn't keep it under control. But my little home brew did. A few drops under her tongue before bed every night and no more yeast infection! Since that time, lots of research has been done on the powerful healing effects of olive leaf, and since I can attest to the truth of it, I have decided, with earnestness, to create a line of olive leaf skin care products. I'm thinking a soap and a balm, with base ingredients created in my little copper still, combinations of olive leaves, rosemary and rose geranium to be used as water tonics for skin, the oil portions used in balms or butters, and more of the water used in soaps, as well as more, more, more herbage.

It's either that or take up knitting.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I apologize for not keeping up on the blogging of late. It is a busy time of year and I've only got moments to blather on about mundane perfumery subjects.

The first of the year is poised for new things, of which I may or may not keep you apprised. Probably will anyway.

So if I don't make it back on before January 1, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy, Delightful New Year.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Promotional Giveaway

Natures Nexus is promoting the year-long Natural Botanical Perfumery course by offering an opportunity to win a small perfumer's kit.

Included in the kit are 12 whole raw materials, a funnel, two blending bottles, a package of 100 scent strips, pipettes, and floral waxes.

This is a great way to start your journey toward becoming a Natural Botanical Perfumer.

Lost Treasures and a Meandering Mind on the Value of Simplicity

Not mine (again), someone else's lost treasures ~ Earthly Realities' author posted a day or so ago that she'd dug up some oldies but goodies she purchased from The Scented Djinn a year ago November, a lovely body butter called Spiced Chocolate Jasmine, and she posted that using it now was like using it when she first purchased it! Nice, eh? Body butters are notorious for short life spans and don't usually fare well over a year of seasons. Some body butters don't even make it through a year in the refrigerator. I think the secret is keeping things simple. Using the best organic base ingredients possible, and not fussing things up with too many oil and butter blends. Keeping the scents subtle and complex, even in a single note formulation.

Last May I taught a soap making class to a very lively group of folks at Intermountain Nursery, and I asked them to split up into three groups, each group developing and formulating a note for the perfume base of the soap. One group was in charge of the head notes, another group the heart notes, and another the base notes. When we first used this blend, it seemed only slightly out of balance, not bad at all, and quite strong given the amount of scent per pound of soap. Now, nearly a year later, those little bars they made have more than fully cured and they smell luscious! The scent is complex and rich, like a heavy floral spring garden with everything abloom, the scent of freshly turned, sun-warmed black soil creeping up the stalks of sweet peas and snap dragons and baby strawberry blossoms. Yes, I'm using some of my student's soap. The ingredients in the soap base were simple -- organic virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, and organic cocoa butter, whipped up at very low temps and cured for months. And now, seven months later, after a long hot summer, there's no sign of the soap going "off", that nasty rancid effect hand made soap can acquire over time if improperly formulated or overheated. So, yes, simple saves the day, or in this case, the year.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Been struggling with a bit of a head cold the past few days. Fighting it off with nothing, until now. My immune system isn't as strong as I'd like to believe it is, so I wait until things become dire before attempting a little herbal therapy to clear things up. Today I've been diffusing peppermint oil with frankincense oil and myrrh oil. The air smells rich, and my sinuses are clearing up some. My headache has vanished!

Peppermint is a great sinus tonic, helping to temporarily drain the mucus so healing can begin. The myrrh helps to ease coughing, due to the mucus drainage, perhaps, and frankincense does pretty much the same thing as myrrh with added anti-bacterial effects in play. Well, all three of these oils have some anti-bacterial effect, though how effective they are in a steam is debatable. I do feel much better now, and though I can smell the peppermint, myrrh and frankincense, I can't smell much else.

So the scent of the day is a sinus steam tonic of peppermint, myrrh and frankincense. At least I'm sticking with a holiday theme.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Alice's Attic Treasures

This is for me mum. She's been a great inspiration to me these past few years. Saucy, sassy, and at the age of 68, still 19 at heart. She dances, she sings, she travels, she babysits with gusto (I've caught her playing in the dirt with her great-grandson, my grandson Oden, when he comes for a visit). Over the years she's collected little doo dahs and whatchamacallits and to help her cull her ever growing herd of junque, I started an Etsy store for her called Alice's Attic Treasures. In it you will find old, weird books, vintage and antique cups and saucers, and more importantly for you perfumers, perfumistas and perfume memorabilia collectors, antique and vintage apothecary bottles and perfume sets. So go check it out. It's a very small collection now, but we will be adding more as time progresses. Just poke around a bit.

Review of 5Seed at LPR

5Seed Organic Natural Beauty (and perfume!) has a review up on Le Parfumeur Rebelle.

Yancy, the proprietess of 5Seed has posted a counter-interview with LPR's very own Tonie Silver, who just recently opened her own natural skin care line at Etsy called Positive Earth.

Go read the review of 5Seed, then click the link to Yancy's blog interview with Positive Earth.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

When the Train Runs Out of Steam

I've slowed down on the creation end. I'm working slowly, meticulously, through a perfume project now, and contemplating next year's early spring flower garden (the bulbs! the bulbs! they're everywhere! the stores are pushing, pushing, pushing the bulbs! jonquil, hyacinth, daffodils, paper whites, oh, despair, the bulbs!) and all the additional planter boxes that need to be built, filled and planted before February. When the hyacinth come up in the spring, I plan to use a little butane extraction on them using a Honey Bee Extractor made for the medical marijuana industry to extract near-lethal doses of THC from non-bud portions of the yearly grow. Yeah, you do a google search on "butane extractor" and see how many honey butter/hash oil videos and links you come up with! You'll get educated in a hurry. But thank heaven for the ingenious stoner, yeah? Without him/her, I might never have found this nifty different way of actually somewhat safely solvent extracting my own rare botanicals. Sort'a, kind'a, maybe.

I am thinking about throwing together a little cologne butter even though the creative vibe has dimmed somewhat. Something along the lines of a 4711 in a creamy, spreadable base. Maybe something bright and floral with neroli at its heart. It's interesting, this seasonal categorization of scent ~ some people turn toward warm and comforting scents, musky, dark, deeply scented ambers and spices during the dark time of the year, while others crave the sunny half, going for bright citrusy green scents. Or more simply, they crave the scent of the season -- oranges and cloves and nog and evergreen and warm cider.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


The studio is in a state of disarray. This always happens during the holidays. Everything normally lives within bins and carry alls, safely tucked away under tables and on designated shelving, but with the daily packaging and shipping, it's kind of stupid to put it all away only to drag it back out an hour or so later, right? Just agree with me.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Dear Santa (edited)

Dear Santa Darling,

Yes, I'm kissing up this year. I'm all for trades -- kiss a little Santa booty, get a fat sack of goodies under the tree. Works for me, sir.

The original letter is edited, so here it is: I still want that peace and the L'Artisan Tea for Two. I tried a little .Drole de Rose and I really, really liked it, reminded me of old Mrs. Bali, and she's really something special to be reminded of, but it lasted like half an hour and was gone! Tea for Two is right up my alley, smells gorgeous, lasts for hours, and my friends can't get enough of it either. Remember, it's the big bottle, sir, so I can share.

I'd still like to get that tin of
China Jasmin Organic from Upton Teas. And the clarity. Clarity and tea, sounds nice, doesn't it, Santa? We could all use a little of both from time to time. Upton is still out of the tea, but I think you can get it, Santa. I believe in you.

I will be needing an extra portion of patience to go with the
Two Ounce (165 ml) Tabletop Tamisium n-Butane Extractor. I ask that these two come as a duo too because, well, Santa, last year when I attempted to teach myself how to standardize tinctures, I really screwed the pooch. None of the instructions I received helped, and I was left scratching my head. I blame it on equipment failure. I even tried meeting up with the owner of Quady Wineries in Madera to see if he knew what I was trying to accomplish, but our schedules conflicted every time I tried making it out there, so that was not helpful either. Maybe I'll get hold of him this year and work something out. He seems like a very nice man. Anyway, I just think that patience will come in handy when I try to teach myself to use the butane extractor.

What was next? Oh! A
refill on my box of patience (I realize I asked for it to go with the butane extractor, but no one can have enough patience), and a bag of Omani luban. Patience and luban. Gee, they kind of go together too, don't they?

Happiness and a Soxhlet. I promise to share both. In fact, I prefer it. I could share happiness exhibiting the Soxhlet's extractive abilities. As a substitute, this distillation unit would be wonderful to help share the happiness. Tonie told me she likes the potato Latke patchouli hydrosol, so perhaps I overreacted on that one. Still, I'd like to make the hydrosols
better. Maybe you can help me out with this.

I thought of a bunch of other stuff I wanted too ~ so here goes!

I received a letter from a Mrs. A. Cox stating that all the gifts I requested in my first letter were being sent to her house. Santa, let her have them. We share similar tastes, and she seems like a very nice lady, and why shouldn't she get something extraordinary for Christmas too? Two people in different parts of the world sharing our gifts of peace and clarity and a double dose of patience, and finally happiness, well, the possibilities are endless! So, yes, let her have them.

It would be a wonder of all wonders if you could help out little N. She's really struggling and fighting for every day and she's too brilliant a being to slip away ~ so, please, please, please! Give her health in abundance! I also want you to give Ana something really special. I don't know what. You'll think of something. Gifts of the aromatic variety are what she likes, and she's really good at sharing them. And for Tonie -- give Tonie some good luck to go with her new business endeavor. Not that she needs it, just saying, a little extra can't hurt. And the Berkeley Babes ~ give them whatever their hearts desire, and send my love as well. They know what's up. Also, Santa, could you help Bella sell her house so she can finally get her butt out here to California?!

To all my loves, my friends and family all over the world, those living in Brazil, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Canada, South Korea, Croatia, France, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and those closer to home, my Pennsylvania girl, the witchy lady in Utah, M in Washington State, Ms. in Tennessee, the rose of Brooklyn ~ love, Santa, send them sleighs full of love. And for my children, my sweet babies, please give them blessings for a wonderful, prosperous, love-filled new year.

I think that's it for this year, Santa. I'll be thinking of what I want next year and try to write a better, more cohesive letter without having to edit so much.

Sincerely (and with love & gratitude)


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Winner of Pink Grapefruit Soap

The winner of two bars of The Scented Djinn's Pink Grapefruit Organic Oil Soap is ~ Lisa in LA!


Lisa, please send me an email at with your address and I will get that soap out to you ASAP.

Thanks for entering the draw.


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