Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not Goot Soap. Bad Soap. Is Burning da Skins.

I did something that I haven't done in a long, long time. I completely messed up a batch of soap that I carefully and beautifully scented with a fougere accord. My gram weight scale bit the dust just around Christmastime and I hadn't gotten around to replacing it yet, using a smaller scale borrowed from the neighbor to make soap, that is until I decided to wing it the other day without a working scale in the house. Back in the good old days when I was teaching myself soap making, I used to measure everything out in measuring cups-- the lye, the oil, the water, the additives-- everything. Crap shoot soap was created in that manner. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. When I decided to employ a scale and weigh everything in grams, all that changed. Best soap ever! This latest disaster, though hard and crumbly and so lye heavy it burned the eyes to be around, smelled heavenly! I rebatched and fussed over it for two days before tossing it into the trash can. I know, I could have used it in laundry or liquified it into an all-purpose cleaner, but I was mad. I poked and prodded and fussed and babied it for 48 hours and it didn't respond to all the love I was sending it. Instead it chose to lie there like a snotty green Jello shot, smelling beautiful but looking oh so slimy and bespeckled, so I-- well, I told you already-- I trashed it! No regrets.

I have to come up with something prosperous or prosperity inspiring and I'm not feeling particularly prosperous at the moment. I feel like I'm treading stagnant waters.

"Stagnant Waters, the essence of going no where with mud between your toes, " by Hoobygut. Sold at all major gas stations. And nightclub bathrooms.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Back from the Not So Rose-y Bowl

Well, I've returned. And I anticipate my continued impassioned participation here, at least until the next gastrointestinal hurricane sweeps through (or some other debilitating, yet temporary-- one hopes-- illness makes an unscheduled visit). Everyone in the house caught this bug so when I wasn't running for the bathroom, I was helping out someone else who was. Then, when the air cleared, I took advantage of the hiatus to get some work done. Prior to the bug, I began work on transferring info from the old Le Parfumeur Rebelle website onto a new blog, scheduling posts nearly two weeks in advance. I was able to do a little sprucing of the articles and work on the blog during the break (after the illness), as well as put the finishing touches on a wedding perfume for one of my students, decant a lot of 1930's perfume oils to share with a cohort, write down the bones of a new perfume, make soap, stock up on some products at Etsy, write a few letters, read a few reference books, contemplate selling off my remaining offspring, and watching with a forlorn heart as the rain and cold do their best to hamper my efforts at tilling and planting and composting. Drizzle, drizzle, plop.

Oh, did I mention "they've" predicted snow flurries? Snow flurries. On the valley floor. In north-central California. USA. Land of tomatoes and peppers and olives and grapes. Yeah, I'll believe it when I see it.

I know I don't write much about the course I tutor at NNAPA (Nature's Nexus Academy of Perfuming Arts), just an occasional ad whenever we're getting ready to fill another course session, but . . . but I think I want to write a little more about it. I received a surprising, yet entirely welcome phone call from one of my students yesterday. I was expecting something very different from the conversation than what I received. Though I'm a firm believer in the adage "No news is good news", in the case of a quiet classroom, not so much. So when this student called, I expected admonishment for not making things a bit more challenging (though whenever I do put forth a challenge, I hear a collective, international groan on the wind) as deep down-- okay! not so deep down!-- I'm insecure about the pace of the course. But my student set my heart at ease when she said, "I'm learning about things in perfumery that I never even imagined." And we haven't even gotten to the good stuff yet! NNAPA is set to begin another year-long course beginning March 21. The course is designed to accommodate busy people. People with jobs and children and obligations and responsibilities outside the scope of perfumery. The first few units are focused mainly on reading, research and exams, while the last few months of the course are full with trial studies and formulation, and instruction in the use of natural isolates, taught by NNAPA tutor Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes. It's a fun ride.

I'm also working on some kind of local scent event. I can't seem to pin down exactly what I want to do -- is it a tea party where I charge admittance, or something like the perfume exhibitions hosted by Persephenie in LA a few years back? I'm leaning toward exhibition with a little perfumed food on the side. How many people might bother to show up to something like this here in No-Town (aka Fresno -- as an aside, our northern sister city, Madera, is called Mad-Town, and I'm guessing their northern sister/brother city, Chowchilla, is called Chow-Town -- this could get ugly) is anybody's guess. I've managed to draw people from upstate to my perfume and soap classes, so there is the possibility that somebody would show up to a perfume exhibition here.

If I plan it, will they come?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

*Hiccup*

Due to a transient visitation by a virulent stomach bug Oh True Apothecary is on a temporary hiatus from blogging.

See you on the other side (of the bathroom door).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Le Parfumeur Rebelle Online Mag Has Moved!


Le Parfumeur Rebelle has moved from the old website to a brand new blog! Older content from the original website will be added over time, but the editors are really excited about some of the newer articles and features that will be posted in the future.

Go check it out, Google Friend LPR and comment once or twice, yes?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Atay Giveaway at The Scented Djinn Blog

Only a few hours left to enter your name in the draw to win a 5 ml bottle of Atay Parfum Extrait by The Scented Djinn ~

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ina Gadda Da Vida


I so want to get out into the garden today. There are currently three beds, one which is constantly under attack by our digging dog, the other by creepy Bermuda grass, and the third which is fully planted and sprouting fragrant bulbs, sage, rosemary and a funny little patch of wheatgrass. There was a ginger plant growing, but the first hard freeze kil't her daid. She was lovingly buried in the mulch pile amongst her other dead compatriots. The weather is unseasonably warm, we're getting low to mid 70's here and everything is starting to grow! The jasmine out front has literally taken over. I was reminded to prune the roses and when I went out with the shears to do so, I noticed that every rose bush in the garden was covered in twining jasmine just getting little pinkish flower buds. Since the jasmine is used in my perfumery and the roses are usually not, the roses get to be scraggly and non-productive this year whilst allowing the jasmine to flourish. Some of the hyacinth out front have also begun to bloom, however, people who visit just don't seem to manage to look down when they mill around the front porch, inadvertently stomping the fresh flower heads into the dust. Just the other day I found a cigarette butt on the edge of the front garden, as if someone had tossed their butt and smashed it out, but it had stuck the underside of their shoe and was lifted up and over the edge of the sidewalk into the garden -- or they could have just kicked it in there. I went on a rail after that, posting a big note at the front door which reads, "Please don't toss your cigarette butts into my garden, and for that courtesy, I won't poison while you visit." I agree, it's a bit harsh, but it definitely got the message across and I've yet to find another butt in or near the front garden. One or two people got a bit saucy with me and I went on to explain to them about the poisons and toxins in cigarette butts, which is why, at least here in California, it is illegal to dump car ashtrays into the gutters lest the nasty butts end up in our drinking water, AND that since I use most of what I grow either as food or in perfumery, they were poisoning me first, so I felt it was my right to reciprocate.

But the garden, the garden -- I started my seeds about a week ago and have been honored by the presence of little lettuces sprouting up. Thus far nothing else has sprouted, but it may take a few more warm days or a heating pad(?) to get them going. I'm hoping to get the whole family out prepping the beds in anticipation of getting those lettuces down. Mom's garden is nearly ready to plant as well -- she's getting more fill dirt for the raised beds and has nearly 6 of the 9 beds turned and cleaned, ready for more dirt and some plants. The rosemary and lavender she has growing for me are enormous! I am so looking forward to harvesting the lavender for hydrosol and dry flower buds.

Nothing says get to work in the garden like a lovely warm day, happy kids, and a little Mozart.

Last Day!


Today is the last day to comment on the 12 love spells by 12 Indie Perfumers over at Perfume Pharmer where you will find perfume samples and bottles given away by noted perfumers like Kedra Hart of Opus Oils, Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfume, Ambrosia Jones of Perfume by Nature, Lisa Fong of Artemisia Natural Perfume, Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery, Amanda Feeley of Esscentual Alchemy, Soulgasm, Justine Crane of The Scented Djinn (that'd be me), Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfume, Dabney Rose, Anastasia Angelopolous of Chant Aromatics, and Nathaniel Musselman, the reigning king of natural incense.

Go to the blog and comment on your favorites or all of them!

Today is also the last day to comment on The Scented Djinn blog for your chance to win a full 5 ml bottle of Atay Parfum Extrait, a sweet tuberose and tea blend. Winner will be drawn at noon February 14 (tomorrow).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chocolate & Roses Cream Puffs

Chocolate & Roses Cream Puffs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup water
1 cup sifted flour
4 eggs
3 squares unsweetened baker's chocolate
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter and chocolate squares with water in a heavy saucepan, add salt. When the butter and chocolate are melted, add the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the dough forms a ball that doesn't stick to the sides of the saucepan. Remove the saucepan from heat and put the dough into a KitchenAid or bowl and allow to cool about 10 to 15 minutes. With a KitchenAid or handmixer on, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Drop dollops of puff pastry onto a lightly buttered cookie sheet and pop into the oven for about 30-40 minutes. The puff pastry will double or even triple in size from the original dollop, so keep that in mind when sizing your dollops.


Cream Filling

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp *rose extract
5 drops red food coloring

Whip cream until slightly foamy, add sugar, vanilla and rose extracts and food coloring and whip until the cream is thick but not so much it stands on its own.


Filling Cream Puffs

Cool the puff pastry for at least 30 minutes prior to filling -- warm puffs will cause the whipping cream to liquify. Cut the top off the pastry. If there are semi-gooey strands of dough inside, scoop or pull them out. Using a tablespoon, scoop piles of whipped cream into the puff pastry until each one is filled then put the top back on. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar. Serve them up!

*rose extract~ 1 ml rose otto, 9 mls organic grape or grain perfumer's alcohol, 20 mls vegetable glycerin

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Atay Parfum Extrait Giveaway at The Scented Djinn Blog


The Scented Djinn is giving away a 5 ml bottle of Atay Parfum Extrait to a lucky commenter on The Scented Djinn blog ~ jump on over and enter for your chance to win!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New NBP Course to Begin in March at NNAPA


Nature's Nexus Academy of Perfuming Arts is set to begin the next year-long course in Natural Botanical Perfumery beginning March 2011. You'll have to check the site for details as I don't get into the administrative end of things very much, I simply tutor the course.

Once again, the course manual and workbook have been rewritten to reflect changes in methods and manner of streamlining the process -- in other words, unfussing the whole business of building perfume. We instruct in all sorts of perfume formulating modalities at NNAPA -- from the Carles method, the Curtis method, the old English and French methods, to the ever popular "intuitive method". Our course is tailored toward busy folks, folks with families, jobs and real lives outside the perfume community. Truthfully, the course could easily be taught in 4 to 6 months, but it would require daily participation, daily reading and study, daily trial studies -- I may suggest to the administration that we offer a crash course of sorts for those in the crashing mode.

We've also added a short bit of instruction on steam/hydro distillation for essential oil and hydrolats, and the newest version of the manual will include instruction on the butane extraction method of obtaining absolutes. Plus we offer the increasingly popular Natural Isolates Study Program taught by Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfume. The manual and workbook with accompanying Essence Evaluation Kit and Formulators Kit are stand-alones, you wouldn't need to take the course to get substantial benefit from the instruction with those items in your educational arsenal. They too can be got at NNAPA.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning Natural Botanical Perfumery, contact the administrator at NNAPA.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Scent Vignettes at The Scented Djinn's New Artfire Locale

























Now That I Have My Nose Back . . .





. . . the scented life goes on.

I just spent a period of time, albeit brief, suffering under the crushing heel of a sinus virus. Thank goodness for the neti pot or I'd still be a congested mess. I potted four times a day for three days straight until things began to clear up, then sat unhappily for another two days with limited sense of smell. It's been a week since it all began and I can smell -- boy, can I smell. The first aroma to greet my nose upon walking outside this morning was the love spell sprayed on the trunk of my umbrella tree by a heart sick tom. He's a shabby gray beast who serenades the neighborhood late into night with his throaty, warbling call. Sounds like drunk babies singing.

The next thing I smelled was the cold air tinged with the remnants of the fall crush which the local winery spreads thickly and evenly over a 20 acre parcel next to the winery. When the wind is just right, it smells of wino and juke joints, road houses and stripper clubs. Just what you want to fill your nose and lungs with first thing, right?

And the next thing I smelled? The sun. The warm, comforting aroma of sunlight on leaves, grass, concrete, metal. The freakin' sun. I opened the door, stepped into the sunlight, and could smell my skin warming, burning off the sleep. It was glorious. So glorious, in fact, I left all the doors and windows wide open, despite Tom and the wino's contributions, and despite the fact that it was a balmy 39 degrees Fahrenheit out, and I let the sun warmed air enter the house. The past few weeks have been dreary at best. Days and days of fog and schmootz and gray skies and temperatures hovering in the upper 30's day in and day out. Blah. And what's worse is my studio faces east, so I get just the morning sun, if it bothers to make an appearance, and the rest of the time the studio is dark and cold, something the tiny froo-froo leopard print and pink feather boa lamp can't illuminate no matter where I set it.

So being able to smell well again means that I have work ahead of me. Samples of perfumes from NBP's have accumulated on my desk awaiting their debut up my nose. There aren't enough days in February to evaluate or review them all ~ ha! This is going to take a while . . .

Other things in the land of Natural Botanical Perfumery: events, events, events! Lyn Ayre is conducting scent events throughout the year, challenges to current and becoming NBP's. More events are on the way, though from where they'll come is anyone's guess. Seems everyone is doing them, which is utterly cool. Educating the masses about NBP is what it's about, yeah? And the perfume. Always and only about the perfume. It seems mainstream has trickled into our small pond.

I was having a conversation with another NBP and we were discussing how few people outside our community have a clue what we're up to and it got me thinking about contacting and educating locals without a sales pitch -- okay, a vague sales pitch -- as the primary. I am considering conducting a poll of random folks in the Tower District about what their knowledge of NBP is, and if they'd be interested in learning more. It would help if they wore perfume regularly as well. The Tower is pretty progressive, so I wouldn't be surprised if one or two people knew about NBP. It's an exciting prospect to contact and educate people who may have an interest in this art form, even if it is on a street corner in front of a tea house. My local compatriots and I have cooked up a little perfumed tea party we plan to unveil some time in May 2011. The location is chosen, a beautiful country garden with big shady trees, lots of thick grass and flowers in abundance. The food? Perfumed cakes, cookies and scones, fragrant sweet and savory sandwiches, and delectable aromatic teas. We're going to "fun it up" by asking everyone in attendance to wear their most insanely gorgeous, weird and wacky hat with a perfumed prize for the best hat in the garden. More planning is in order.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Parma Eau de Parfum


Enter the drawing for your chance to win a 5 ml bottle of Parma eau de Parfum offered to the Perfume Pharmer for their "I Put a Spell On You" event culminating on Valentine's Day.

There are several other perfumers offering their Valentine's parfum in a giveaway as well ~ enter them all for your chance to win!

I Put a Spell On You Giveaway Valentine's Day Draw (as of February 4, 2011) includes:

1 gram Nathaniel Musselman's High Temple incense
Come to Me Soap and Bath Oil trial sizes by Anastasia Angelopolous of Eleneetha/Chant Aromatics
Leda Creme Parfum & sample of your choice by Dabney Rose
Makeda by En Voyage Perfumery's Shelley Waddington
Parma Eau de Parfum by The Scented Djinn

And more to come in the following days!

It is my understanding that you must comment on each individual post to be entered in that specific draw ~ but I could be wrong.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Love Me With Violets!


Read the lovely review, with included artwork and poetry, posted by Monica Skye Miller at Perfume Pharmer about The Scented Djinn's Parma Eau de Parfum aka the Violet Queen.

There is a giveaway related to this post as well -- a 5 ml bottle of Parma will be given away to a lucky poster at Perfume Pharmer ~ so get over there and get your post on!

Scents and Sensibility Curated by Matheson Gem Works at Artfire


The Scented Djinn has been included in this collection, as well as other noted and accomplished Natural Botanical Perfumers and Aromatherapists~ go visit and mark your favorites!

Scents and Sensibility Collection.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Oooh, the Dark Moon . . .

CURRENT MOON


My time of the month -- no, not that! The dark moon is here and it's time to conjure up some pretty skin serums, elixirs, butters 'n' soaps. There's already a done and done soap, a lovely amalgam of fun and function, a deliciously earthy and rich smelling soap with loads of skin-loving oils. The scent base is breathtaking -- a mixture of opoponax, green spike, 40-year-old patchouli, rose geranium, 5-year-old patchouli, bergamot and myrrh. The base is skin adoration -- virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic cocoa butter, organic hemp seed oil, a dense infusion of olive leaves in organic virgin olive oil, coconut milk and organic white Ohi'a Lehua blossom honey. I also dropped bits of the crumpled olive leaves into the mix. The scent is dark, earthy, musky, primal. The skin feel of the soap is like cream.

Perhaps I should shoot for something a bit simpler in the future . . .

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