Friday, May 27, 2011

Headline: Chaos at the Djinn 'Fume Factory!

Chaos reigns! But that is par for the course here at the Djinn 'fume factory. Just when I was lamenting the disarray that is my studio, planning and plotting to put it all together for once and for all, one of my previously coop flown progeny has returned -- with guests. They're camping out in my garage with an apartment's worth of furniture and assorted home sundries until their new house (really, it's an old 1930's house in the Tower) is ready for occupancy and then they're out of here. Theoretically. Not that I don't love my child and his newly cobbled family, but my house is bursting at the seams as it is, and one more item, a speck of dust or a lint ball will tip the scales and pop the whole mess open. Thank heavens this is one of the more organized children, the one who likes cubes and straight lines and perfect orderliness. I can only imagine how this upheaval, all these circles and curvy lines and disorderliness currently in his life is affecting him emotionally.

Life gives you lemons; you make hydrosol and soap.

Laurie Stern, the lovely perfumer at Velvet & Sweet Pea's was a guest at the perfume exhibition on May 14th and with her brought a flat of gardenia blossoms. An. Entire. Flat. As soon as they were home from the event, I prepared them for a bath in organic grain alcohol. They had been bathing until this past Tuesday when I strained them off and discovered I have just a titch over one pint of lovely fragrant gardenia evulsion. The evulsion smells of rich, creamy gardenia with lots of green leafy notes and a touch of the banana flesh essence that I, in a previous post, mentioned the jasmine grandiflorum growing in my garden possess. Gotta love those white florals, all creamy and indolic and sweetly intoxicating and tropical fruity.

I'm thinking of changing things up again with the perfumery. The stars are telling me to, my intuition is telling me to, my new marketing strategy is telling me to, so I'm thinking I'd better listen. I won't say anything about it now, fickle woman that I am, but I will say that it will be . . . maybe not surprising in a 'why didn't I think of that' kind of way, but more like 'ah, now that's the ticket!' kind of way. Nothing terribly dramatic, just a breath of fresh air -- for me, for the perfumery, for my clientele.

Last Saturday's soap class was great, despite the fact that I was dead tired after having been up most of the night driving people to and from a huge traveling rave an hour away. But I managed to muster the energy to get through, and somehow the exhaustion from the lack of sleep actually helped curb the usual nervousness I get before doing one of these classes. Thankfully there were people attending the class who asked a lot of questions and seemed genuinely curious and receptive to learning the art of soap making -- as they should have been! They paid for the instruction and information. Normally for a class I just make a 1 lb batch of soap and layer scent in much the same way as building a perfume formulation, but this time I decided to make another batch of my old Delicia favorite, Drunken Lout Shampoo. Beer makes excellent shampoo bars, and guinness makes the absolute best shampoo bars. Normally I don't scent these as the guinness imparts a delicious nutty, sweet fragrance to the finished soap, but this time I opted to add patchouli. And we made a 4 lb batch. I think I'm going to make more soap today. I'm inspired by the class and by some of Ana's latest offerings. I want to make a floral neroli lemon hydrosol frankincense soap -- I wanted to add in some fresh elder flowers but I wasn't able to get the flowers picked when I went up the hill to help my son move back down to the flatlands yesterday. So no elder flower in the soap, but maybe lemon leaf and verbena and lemongrass and tuberose and jasmine and petitgrain and labdanum and vanilla to go along with the lemon hydrosol, neroli and frankincense, and maybe when they're cut I will press fresh rosemary into the sides . . . I will use up the last of the olive leaf infused olive oil and super charge the whole thing with rich coconut milk. Something nice for a summer that is slow to arrive.

The air quality here is really bad. The wind has been whipping up for three days and you can see the dust and crap in the air. When this happens, I get thoroughly clogged up. And the weather, aside from the wind, is strange for this time of year. It should be hot, or at least very warm, yet we're still experiencing mid-spring-like weather. My tomatoes definitely do not like it. Neither does the okra or the cucumber. I'm sure by summer's end all these unhappy veggies will be thriving and producing like crazy, just as they do every year. All of my chamomile is going like gang busters. So are all the other herbs -- the basil, garlic, thyme, oregano, chives and rosemary seem to go with the flow. But in the wee hours of the morning, I can hear the tomatoes lament, their fried green tomato twang lilting woefully in the dawn tinted air.

Ah, well. Such is life.


  1. Soap Classes on Video please! XOXO MMM

  2. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Goodness me ... you don't believe in half-measures! Embracing the chaos /and/ producing lovely goodies and enticements too.

    If the changes make for greater availability to the non-techie old-fashioned types (ie me, a non-PayPal non-credit-card lass!) then I'll be throwing my bonnet over the windmill and getting stuck into the sample splurge I have in mind:-)

    I like the sound of the Guinness soap: the best thing to do with "a pint of plain" in my humble opinion, having been exposed to the after-effects from an early age - the POTUS and First Lady may feel the same after indulging in Ireland;-)

    Speaking of poor air quality (that's a neat segue from discussing the after-effects of Porter for you!), I hope that your sinuses are being kinder to you.

    cheerio, busting with curiosity at potential possibilities,

    Anna in Edinburgh

  3. No, I guess I don't. I either drop it or go full bore -- two speeds, that's me :)

    I adore guinness -- in my shampoo and in my belly! Quite by accident I discovered that deep fried pickle chips and guinness are a culinary perfect pairing. Everyone I've introduced them to has become a fan.

    Sinuses are on the mend, thankfully.

    And that rich little citrus syrup for the soap is marrying in a Mason jar as I write this -- soon, lovely floral/citrus/balsamic soap will be on the menu.



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