Sunday, December 08, 2013

Tuberose Soap



So I totally followed my muse on this one. First time in a long time. Usually I get an idea from someone and think, hey, I can mess that about and make it me-nicer, meaning I try to improve on something that's already damn near perfect (there are a number of extraordinary soap makers out there who inspire me). But this one came directly from my brain pan. I had a few grams of lovely bright yellow tuberose concrete, a tiny bit of which went into the new kyphi as well (Pink Lotus Kyphi), and a small bottle of tuberose absolute which I'd been holding on to for perfume projects, and I thought, what the heck? Let's see what mischief I can get into with this. So I grated up the concrete for the soap base, added in the entire bottle of absolute, then



sweetened it up (as if it needed that!) with cananga, tangerine, bergamot, petit grain, and patchouli, and added just a dash of black pepper and nutmeg. It smells heavenly. Divine. Gorgeous! I haven't decided if I'm going to cut the pieces smallish and sell for less so more people can enjoy the tuberosey goodness, or cut them large and try to sell them expensively for a truly decadent experience. Decisions, decisions. They'd make great stocking stuffers for those perfumista types.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Business of Doing Business

This is an especially tough time of year for me with regard to selling. I'm not a good hawker. I can't objectively describe my 'goods' without simply listing off the ingredients used, and maybe a comment about how the product made me feel in a moment of clear inspiration, but that doesn't always come. I was there when the art was conceived, and I was there when the art was born, so it's precious to me ~ and, yes, I do consider the vast majority of the products I create as art. I've invested a lot of time and energy and love into perfecting my art, and I continue to work on it. I've been making smells for nearly 20 years, spells for twice as long as that, and they are inevitably intertwined in the work I do. And I live off what I make. The money I acquire through my art pays  insurance, phone, music, and personal items. There's very little left in the kitty after that, but what is goes right back into my art. (I know this isn't how business is supposed to be run, but it's necessary at this point). My business growth is somewhat stagnant because of my business practices. I don't mind growing slow, heck, I relish the slow growth! It leaves me time to explore different ideas, create new things, dream up something transcendent. But grow I must or I'm doomed. And this art is my life's blood, it's what I love, my passion, I can't imagine a life where I can't walk into my creation space and pull down a few bottles, a special oil, a chunk of beeswax, or a mortar and pestle and begin to grind a resin, inspired by a random knocking thought, or a whisper from the muses, or the pure beauty of an oak leaf falling from a tree (in gypsy lore an oak leaf falling on your head is good luck -- in case you were wondering). If you buy from me, leave some feedback, that helps prospective new clients decide whether or not they care to try me out. If you buy from me and are pleased, share your pleasure with a friend, tell 'em there's this strange lady on the 'net who makes these incredible . . .





Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Strange Animal, This Pink Lotus Kyphi

Every single time I make kyphi, about a third of the way through the process I think, 'Oh, no, this is not working out the way I thought it would'. The botanicals and resins compete for center stage during the process, one moment it's the nutmeg that's all that is smelled, the next it's lemongrass, a half-hour later, the tuberose concrete dominates -- it's a roller coaster ride of scent that undulates and whips around, sometimes presenting a pretty profile, sometimes not. I'm about ready to reduce the honey and frankincense and a few other choice resins, and I forget before this point that the coagulating mass of herb and resin goo in the bowl isn't the finished product. What a difference is made after putting all the elements together. It's like the whole mess sighs with relief, 'aaaahhhh, that's right, here we all are, together at last!'

So far, and in no particular order, the materials used in this newest kyphi are:

persimmon
gin
moscato (wine)
orris root
myrrh
frankincense
pink lotus wax
black sage
Siam benzoin
Sumatran benzoin
dragon's blood
lemongrass
tuberose concrete
opoponax
nutmeg

This batch is a bit less powdery than previous batches. Bits of lemongrass stick out here and there like stray hairs. I have not had the pleasure of locating my large mortar and pestle and am instead using my little kitchen spice mortar and pestle, the one I use to crush two or three cloves at a time. This is tedious work. Some of the larger resins, the frankincense and opoponax and myrrh, were hammered into submission with a rolling pin. Art is never easy, but in the end, it works out the way I thought it would.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Venting -- or Ranting

I'm going to vent a little bit here on non-perfume-related stuff, personal stuff, expectations and whatnot. Bear with me. And please don't unfollow me after because I do this venting thing so rarely, especially since I don't have the clacker living above my head anymore ~ haha!

First of all, my birthday. Swept by as if it never happened at all, which in the grand scheme of things is a good thing, right? Who wants to be reminded they're getting old? But here's where I'm going to gripe a bit -- don't tell me you got me a great gift, something I've been wanting for a long, long time, then spend the entire afternoon of my birthday arguing with the post office, the shipping company (starts with an F, ends with a X), and the company from which you purchased the gift (online through their instant message system whilst pounding on the keyboard as if you were attempting to split it in half with your thumbs) and then nonchalantly say to me once it's solidified that said gift ain't comin', "It was a _______, I know you really wanted one. But it's the thought that counts, right?" Now, all of that would be okay, except for one teeny, tiny, itty, bitty issue -- you did nothing afterwards. No token gift, no mini shopping spree with the money that was returned from the gift that never arrived -- nothing. Oh, a bit of lamenting that you now have only .37 cents left in your account (slight exaggeration there) to live on until whenever. And moving on from that one, there are those who say weeks leading up to my birthday, "We're going to do (this) for your birthday! I'm so excited! We're going to have so much fun!" And then nothing happens. Said fun never commences. Now, I get that there are all kinds of extenuating circumstances preventing such events from occurring, I get that, and I also come from an upbringing where personal holidays, i.e., your birthday, were not cause for celebration but instead cause for making the stepdad spend money he didn't want to spend, y'know, for frivolous stuff, like a cake, a gift -- or forcing him to acknowledge that the day wasn't about him and he might be expected to think about someone other than himself for a change. Can't have that. So birthdays growing up were not looked upon with expectation and joy. Hell, one year when my birthday fell on Thanksgiving, my gift was a chocolate pie! Because they had forgotten. Because they knew there had to be at least a token bit of acknowledgement involved, so pie it was. (I totally related to Molly Ringwald in '16 Candles'.) In their defense, it was my favorite pie at the time -- chocolate pudding. And in some sense I was grateful my birthdays were low-key, as in, no big deal. I've never really liked big fusses. Perhaps that's why. I was ingrained with the idea that I'm not special in any way, shape or form. And to my shame, I might have done a little bit of this to my kids, with the lame line, "I should be getting something on your birthday, I did all the work!" Yeah, that was really stupid. I didn't mean it. I just thought it was funny. Apparently I was the only one laughing.

Now, having said all of that crap up there, I have to admit I am very, very blessed. I'm grateful for all that I have, even the trials and tribulations, because it was those things that made me who I am today. But sometimes, I'd like someone within my personal daily circle to treat me with the love and respect my friends do. If it weren't for my friends, I'd be a neglected mess ~ hahaha! I love my friends. I love my personal daily circle, too, but they can be such schmucks. And the real pisser is these people -- these people -- they get their knickers in knots over the most ridiculous stuff.

I won't go on. I think I'm done now. I just wanted to acknowledge these feelings, get them out there, perhaps poke a bit of fun. But I do want to end this rant-vent on this note: I love. I am grateful. I am happy.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pink Lotus Kyphi, Step Two

Now that the bulk of the resins are ground to powder for this kyphi, I've begun drying fruit -- sweet persimmons -- for the dried fruit portion of the kyphi. I'm also soaking the herbs in a sweet moscato wine -- I guess I'm wanting this particular kyphi to be sweet, eh? One of the herbs I'm using in this is a honey scented clevelandii sage that I harvested from my friend's expansive herb garden. The smell just captivates me -- and it too is sweet.





Still waiting for a few of the raw materials to show up in the post to add to the mix, then it's drying and aging.

Also made some beeswax Yule candles with a ton of scent. I wanted a scent that captured the spirit of the season, something smoky and spicy, redolent of pine and moss. I even used a bit of hazelnut CO2, and a pinch of myrrh powder to round it out.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pink Lotus Kyphi

I am embarking on yet another kyphi making project, this one with pink lotus wax/concrete at its core, and a few of the usual suspects ~ frankincense, myrrh, and orris. I've also been thinking that I might begin to show some of the process via video, which means there is a chance, however slim, that I might be in them. That scares me to bits. I'm not a public type person at all, nor am I photogenic in any sense of the word. Besides, I just colored my hair and it's turned a shocking purple, though everyone here says it's black cherry red, or burgundy, or some other purplish hue which isn't as shocking -- it's purple. Like an eggplant and a blackberry hooked up and had thin silky babies who applied themselves to my scalp. You can't imagine how odd it looks without eyebrows. Another bane of my existence is that I have eyebrows which barely register -- thank heavens I didn't attempt what a lot of people do and color my brows the same as my head! I don't believe the world feels that purple eyebrows are de riguer ~ yet.

Clockwise from bottom left: frankincense, orris root, myrrh.

The pink lotus kyphi is something that I've been thinking about for a week or so now, mostly the logistics. Does wax/concrete burn? Will it burn clean? Does it have a pleasant scent when burned? I've conducted a few experiments with burning small bits on charcoal and it doesn't smell bad -- it melts and smokes profusely, even after the pearl of wax/concrete has disappeared, and the smoke smells of water. The scent is not that of strictly lotus but aspects of water plants in general -- murky, muddy water and non-specific greenery. If the idea is to create an incense which casts a ton of smoke, throw in a bit of this wax/concrete -- it smokes long after evidence of its existence disappears. Of course, to boost the floral parts of the incense I will be adding some floral oils. I think jasmine sambac smells beautiful with this lotus, so perhaps a nice dose of j.s. to the kyphi will boost it up. Plus I'm thinking of using dried cherries as the fruit medium. Dried cherries and a sweet muscat wine to soak the herbs, then a nice wildflower or clover honey to bind it all together.

Freshly ground under the full moon frankincense tears.

The honied tobacco soap is drying nicely. I already have it up on the Etsy shop even though it's new. The problem with handmade cold processed naturally scented soap is that during the time it is prescribed to 'cure', it loses quite a lot of its scent profile to the ether. I've been thinking lately of making a few batches of hot process soap and adding the scent late, when it's beginning to cool, to preserve some of the scent.

Freshly ground under the full moon myrrh resin.

Hot process can be used almost immediately after it's made, whereas ungelled cold process soap has a stabilization period of two to four weeks. The honied tobacco, because of the honey content, gelled up quickly, thereby creating a sort of hot process soap. The soap log was solid as a rock the next day so I had to quickly cut it before it became impossible to cut. Now the bars are sitting in the air getting dry and stinking up the house -- in a good way.


Freshly opened vintage can of 'orris root powdered' circa 1930's.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I got a batch of soap done and I'm champing at the bit for more, more, MORE! To do, that is. I'm so bored if I'm sitting for more than 10 minutes at a time and I'm really getting antsy to make some cool stuff for the Etsy shop, so, here's a little preview of what's to come ~

I have a bag of raw almonds that I will be grinding up to put in a face scrub with chia seeds, organic oat bran, and some sort of scent -- probably German chamomile. Something yummy for sweet faces. But I only have these wee amber glass jars that I had initially purchased for kyphi to package the scrub, so I'm going to offer 'samplers' of this face scrub. If it works out, then I'll buy larger jars and make more. I also want to make a nice wintery hand balm with orris, patchouli, chocolate, vanilla, cedarwood, maybe a pinch of spice, something warm and sweet and loveable. Also in a dinky sampler size to sort of get a feel for my future options here.



The newest soap, Honied Tobacco, is really, really nice. I catch myself sniffing my hands after handling the tester bar, breathing in its sweet warm leathery tones. It gelled up pretty quickly, not usually how I like to process soap, creating this wonderful 'slip' -- and for being a fairly fresh soap, it's not drying whatsoever. I found this super sweet, delicious (because I eat it too) coconut cream that I had to scoop out of the container with a spoon to put into the soap, so there is that extra bit of hydration-moisturing power going on. Oh, and I put in a lot of honey, which is why it gelled so quickly. Honey is a soap heater.



I did some exploring yesterday. Went to SLO (San Luis Obispo, CA) and walked downtown where, apparently, everything is happening. There's a store there that specializes in socks. Just socks. A sock store in Fresno wouldn't have made it a month. But here, socks are in. Socks are cool. Rockin'. Also went down a bit to Pismo Beach to the IGA California Fresh (an independent grocery store) that's sort of a hybrid of Whole Foods and a farmer's market, without the uber high price range. We found some cool stuff ~ a great deli, decent selection of fruits and vegetables, a whole wall of tea, a wine galley, organic, grass-fed, no-GMO, no antibiotic anything you can think of, but the 'catch of the day' was meeting Alexia Rogue Wacks, an herbalist who had a small booth set up inside the store, hawking her organic herbal skincare. Nice lady, that Ally, and her products, if the small sampling I took is any indication of their quality, are top drawer. She came all the way from Tucson, AZ to talk to people about what she's doing, her products and how they're produced. She employs "individuals with cognitive and developmentally delaying disabilities" to package her products at Achieve Builds Confidence in Tucson, AZ, YEI in Prescott, AZ, Y.E.S. The Arc in Cottonwood, and at Achievement House in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her company name is Living Blessed, and I think she is. You should go check her out. She's doing good stuff.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Day 95 ~ OYON 365 Days -- Pink Lotus Concrete

I have probably already listed this pink lotus concrete/wax on the 365 Days of Olfaction project, but in case I haven't, and just because it's such an awesome raw material, I'm going to wax poetical about it today.

First of all, I'm a little confused by what I have here. Back in 2004 or 2005 (maybe even 2003), I called up Christopher at White Lotus Aromatics to find out if they had any floral waxes -- this was during the height of my soapmaking business and lots of floral waxes were being used in soap at that time -- and all he had at that time was this pink lotus "wax" at a price I can no longer remember. This was also during a very flush financial time for me, so paying several hundreds of dollars for a kilo of anything wouldn't have caused me to bat an eye. Today it would give me a heart attack, but back then? No amount was too large to get something fabulously fragrant, rare, beautiful and useful. The confusion arises from the way the kilo was presented -- in it's original eight ounce cans from the manufacturer in India. The labels read 'Lotus Conc.', which I take to mean concrete? However, the paper label affixed by White Lotus Aromatics to the top of the cans read 'pink lotus wax'. So.



At present time a pink lotus concrete is being offered by Liberty Naturals for just under $65 an ounce. Thus far I've found no US distributors selling pink lotus floral wax. Again, Liberty Naturals offers a variety of floral waxes in prices ranging from $9 to $22 per ounce. I'd imagine due to its rarity, pink lotus 'wax' would sell for around the $22 mark or above. I don't know. As I mentioned earlier, I've yet to find anyone selling the wax, and the concrete is fairly pricey.Why am I going on about price? Because I'd like to offer it 'out there' to the world to anyone interested in working with the stuff, or just to have as a piece of their scent library. I'm planning to use some in kyphi soon, perhaps as a drizzle over soap.

The pink lotus concrete/wax has a subtle scent, earthy, muddy, sweet, 'watery', almost resinous, and very different from the absolute in that it's much softer and more floral. Delicate. Pink and languid, ephemeral, still, meditative. As it sits upon the skin it becomes more floral, waxy-sweet and muddy, with a delicate metallic shimmer. It's magical.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

False Statistics and Vampires

Just out of curiosity, and because I get this in my stats every so often, I checked out what Vampirestat.com really was. Honestly, I thought it was someone spying on my blog, and it turns out I was partially correct.

Check this blog post about these sites and why you shouldn't click on them to check the validity of your stats.

*Update: These are the names of traffic bots to watch out for, and the reasons to ignore them.

Question: Why is ourmeets.com visiting my website?
Answer:  They are scumbag traffic fakers and spammers.  They fake traffic to your website to get you to check them out.  

Also included are:

adsensewatchdog.com

villainstat.com

monsterstat.com

ontimemarketing.com

All are FAKE and all you do by clicking on their link is to up their stats and their hope is to get you to click on the ads they have on their bot sites. And they often infect your computer with viruses.

Oh, and if you call them out, as I have here, you get a HUGE influx of stats coming in from their sites.

Fake, fake, fakity fakeness spammer bot slugs.

*11-21-2013 Update: Add ourmeets.com to that growing list of scammer virus dispersing fake 'hits' list. 

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T CHECK OUT THESE SITES! It could potentially ruin your day.

  • Adsense watchdog
  • Villianstat
  • Monsterstat
  • ontimemarketing
  • - See more at: http://www.salocainwonderland.co.uk/2013/09/vampire-stata-warning.html#sthash.dAVSSdcB.dpuf

  • Adsense watchdog
  • Villianstat
  • Monsterstat
  • ontimemarketing
  • - See more at: http://www.salocainwonderland.co.uk/2013/09/vampire-stata-warning.html#sthash.dAVSSdcB.dpuf

    Fiddling

    As you can see, I've been fiddling around with the blog's appearance -- again. I've been getting acclimated to my new surroundings these past few days, walking through the neighborhood, mostly the main streets here in Atascadero where all the shops are located, trying to get my bearings. On the way I discovered a lovely little tea house called Wilwand Tea Company literally a block from my house. Living in this small town is almost like being back in the Tower, minus the zombies and interesting hairdos. There is a spa just up the street that specializes in wine facials, and a handful of lovely antique stores, as well as yoga studios, a pottery gallery and studio, a yarn studio -- it's all over the place, but it's interesting and fun. This is a small town with a very broad artistic and creative streak -- a few steps from the tea house is an art gallery, a few steps down from there, a fine art supply house, so. . . I believe I'm in the right place. Today I'm going to do a bit more exploring, on my own this time. I've been slowly dragging in the items necessary to create soap from the mess of boxes in the garage. I'm still trying to locate some necessary tools. The problem with picking through instead of full-on unpacking is that I keep finding things I want to play with -- a vintage bottle of tolu balsam, a small bag of kyphi from an early project, a fine, nearly full bottle of jasmine grandiflorum. I get so excited and unsettled with all these discoveries I lose track of my primary goal -- to create something! I end up exhausting my energy and time on 'finding' and don't create anything at all -- except dinner.

    Front porch view of the 'place where I live' (there was a parade this day on this street, hence the police cruiser in the upper left)

    I have to admit, before making these town discoveries, I was really questioning my decision to come here. Everything 'good' seemed too far away to reach without major difficulty. Once I found that those 'soul' places were within steps, I felt much better. I didn't want to live in Podunk, USA, nor did I want to live in Zombieville, USA. The decision to leave my hometown where I was born and raised was a difficult one. Leaving my friends and grandbabies was the hardest thing I've had to do in a long time. The one beautiful thing keeping me looking ahead is the dream of my shop, perhaps years in the future, that I now believe would fit in this town, just steps from my front door. The "experts" say the best part of a vacation is the planning, perhaps this translates into planning a shop as well. On to the fun!

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Prosperity



    Prosperity. What does it mean? Each time my friends and I gather for a full moon potluck, we perform a ritual for prosperity, whether it be a full-on ritual with candles and prayer, or just a raising of glasses in a toast for prosperity. So what do we mean by raising energy to grant us all prosperity?

    One of the participants made a comment at the final full moon potluck I attended which got me thinking about prosperity and what it means to different people. His interpretation was (I'm assuming here) that we were a bunch of greedy dicks who wanted the Universe to shower us with money. In fact, he said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "You guys are always asking for money." Nothing could be further from the truth. When we asked for prosperity, we were asking for prosperity in all manner of life -- health, love, happiness, the fulfillment of our basic needs.

    I feel blessed with prosperity every time I open a box to unpack here at my new home, when I lift out a bottle of 10-year-old organic patchouli oil I had forgotten about, open the cap and waft it under my nose -- ah! There it is, the blessing. Nature's loving gift. Then my mind races toward using the oil, in soap? In a perfumed oil? In oil incense? More blessings, more possibilities -- this defines prosperity for me. It's having what my soul needs to keep me moving from one day to the next.

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Getting Back Into the Groove

    Just a few things the past couple of days have caused me to really begin jonesing over all the packed
    aromatics -- the first attempt at a Buddha's hand and nutmeg scone, a wee extraction of Buddha's hand peel in etoh, and though not related to perfumery or the aromatics, the welcoming bloom of a Rose of Jericho at the front door, and setting up my sacred space in a new space. I miss doodling about with aromatics. I've

    had zero free time in the past two years for any serious doodling about and I'm slowly getting back into it, or quickly, depending upon your perspective of the matter. I'm thinking about putting out my sticky feelers for a few brave souls to join in a perfume event, something along the lines of a Midsummer Night's Dream event,

    or perhaps a collective journey through the process and discoveries (enlightenment?) of kyphi, the first perfume. Kyphi has become my pet project. I love experimenting with different elements of kyphi, and I love

     experiencing the work of other kyphi makers. The last batch of kyphi I made -- those bits that haven't been packaged for sale -- still simmers in a copper bowl, gathering energy. Sort of like me, just simmering,

    gathering energy for what's to come.

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    I'm Here -- In My New Life.

    I made it. Well, it wasn't as if it was a long journey, just a hop over the the Diablo Range from the central valley to the central coast, and voila. Here I am. Moving from a town with a population well over half a million to a town with a population of well under 30,000 is mind-boggling. The odd thing is, as I've stated in previous posts here, that where I am now is a destination, so tourists and visitors occupy the landscape in abundance, 12 months of the year, whereas where I was had absolutely zero tourists and visitors, so even with the population differential, I'm still more likely to be successful business-wise here than I had been there. Got that? My business no longer has to rely solely on internet shops and local word of mouth, I can actually get out there and drum up some biz!

    But right now I mope. I miss my space. I miss my Bug. I miss the -- well, that's about all I miss so far. I feel out of sorts. Anxious still, and wondering what the hell to do next. I have to squeeze my life into the spaces left open here in this new life and I don't know where to begin.

    The first thing I did when I got here was locate a bookstore and purchased 'A Dance With Dragons', the hardcover (and I NEVER purchase the hardcover) because the soft back isn't released until the end of October and I was desperate to drown myself in its pages, to forget about all the sh*t that needs unpacking, the potential haranguing I may get from my former landlord (the lady on the broom) not because I've done something untoward, but because it seems her nature to harangue, and basically to figure out once again where I fit. I hate this feeling. Universe, grant me the power to let go of worries that I cannot affect. Now, say it again.

    Went to the San Luis Obispo farmer's market and found all sorts of delicious local fare, from Buddha's hand citron to Fuyu persimmons to short stubby organic carrots to yellow beets -- all lovely. The weekly farmer's market in SLO is comparable to one of the once-a-year events held in Fresno, like Big Hat Days or the Peddler's Fair. Blocks of produce, art, handmade goodies, food, music -- and crowds. Big, big crowds. I think that's what I missed living in Fresno, the sense of community. Fresno is a divided city, the poor versus the rich, the diverse versus the uniform, very little middle ground there. Perhaps I judge my hometown too harshly, plus I'm too new here to really know what types of people live here.

    During the move, I gave up my aromatic's mini-fridge. Mostly because I didn't think the poor thing could handle another trip. The little motor inside made a gawdawful sound when it was turned on, like someone using a hammer on it, before it got up to speed and smoothed out into silence. I'm going to miss Mini. Not only did she protect the most delicate of aromatics from the ravages of the central valley heat, she also kept my gin nice and cool.

    I'd best stop putting off the inevitable. Time to unpack. Ugh.





    Friday, October 04, 2013

    Last Week in Fresburg

    So work has slowed to a snail's pace, though today I have hopes things have picked up a little, enough to give me something to do besides trolling the internet, trolling work files on the computer, and trolling the other employees while they do their jobs. Yesterday I decided to clean the toilets at work because, well, I sit right






    next to the men's room and frankly the damned think stinks almost constantly, and also because I literally had run out of work to do. So while I'm scrubbing the men's room toilet with a toilet brush in one hand, and a bottle of disinfectant cleaner in the other, in walks my boss to let me know he's leaving for the day. And to ask if I would mind ending my work here on the 11th (Friday) instead of the 15th (the following Tuesday) to save me the trouble of coming back to town for two additional days. I immediately said yes, but I had this flood of emotion come over me, like, wow, this is it, man. It's done. I'm outta here. I wanted to cry, I wanted to hug him, I wanted to laugh and skip around -- I mean, my emotions were all over the damn place. But instead of doing all that, I went back to scrubbing the toilet.


    The house feels cavernously huge, it echoes, and the floors sound extra creaky. I can even hear the little crack mouse skittering like mad in the front hall closet, trying to shove his wee fat head down a hole drilled for cable cord. A few nights ago, I discovered crack mouse bumping into the closet walls, attempting to crawl down the too-small cable cord hole, then giving up and bouncing around like a pinball until he ran between my feet and into the dark hallway. I will leave crack mouse be. No fine old house is complete without a resident rodent.


    The nights seem longer than they did before the kid moved out. I wake at least two times a night, either from some sound or a dream of a sound. It seems my insomnia has returned with a vengeance. I've been chewing on the same pot of pho for three days now, trying hard not to buy groceries since there are still things here to eat, however odd. Tonight I will treat myself to a wee pot of beans and rice with Crystal hot sauce and a few tablespoons of pico de gallo. Perhaps I'll crisp up some corn tortillas in oil and make chips. Then I am






    beginning in the studio after dinner because I must. Tomorrow and Sunday I will have help, but after that, maybe not so much. I have my old cleaning crew from Gaia's Green Clean coming in next week to help wash this grand old house down. I've got Glory Water and Blessed Chinese Wash, white sage, frankincense, holy water from the mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, and other mojolicious things to truly clean this house.



    Monday, September 30, 2013

    Moving, Moving, Moving . . .

    The kid moved out this past weekend, taking herself and the wee one with her. It was a lonely sleep last night, however uneventful. Oddly, I feel a lot less emotional about it than I thought I would, and I've had plenty of time to sit and stew in my misery, but that deep level of misery has yet to arrive, if it ever plans to appear at all. I think looking to the future





    and knowing that life is a series of phases and we are expected to move from one to the next, whether it be fluid or not. Accepting change has been a breakthrough for me in terms of emotional attachment. Everything changes, daily, by the minute or second, creating huge alterations or barely noticeable ones, and our ability to accept the changes mean all the difference in our mental state.

    I have no sofa, no dining table, no sittin' chairs, two completely empty rooms, and wide expanses of wood floor in desperate need of cleaning. I do have a ratty recliner, a lamp table, books, a bed, a roof, and hope. Still no action in the studio. This week I have to get a roll of paper to wrap each bottle, each artifact, every piece of the 'collection' as it is all glass and fragile as eggshell. During the last move two years ago the collection suffered the unfortunate loss






     of several beautiful pieces of antique lab glassware attributed to poor packing. I have only two weeks and one day to get this show on the road and I feel like I'm really lagging. It's sad, moving. Leaving behind people and things that inspire memories, but at the same time exciting and a little scary.








    I've been burning a LOT of incense and sage. I also have a specially made house wash that both cleans and invites good vibration into the home that I will be using closer toward the end of my stay here. It's important to me that I leave no trace of our stay here, leaving the new tenant with a clean slate to work with.

    I'm having issues with fall allergies, as I usually do, and I do miss, even for this short period of time, the idea that I'm not going to be working with the perfumery materials for a while -- even though I technically can't smell anything. My plan when I arrive at the new place is to hit the ground running. Soap is in order. Fall isn't fall without multiple batches of soap getting done up. I would normally have made 50 or so pounds of soap this time of year to fulfill the craft show circuit but I don't do those anymore. I will be making lots of soap anyway. Pumpkin spice, nutmeg and cardamom with patchouli, lavender patchouli clove, frankincense and myrrh, a few 'witchy' soaps for purpose, and whatever else I can whip up to satisfy my hunger to create. Then it's the foody stuff -- or perhaps in conjunction with soap -- I plan working on. I've got a cookbook to put together and I'm really looking forward to it.

    So this is where things stand for the time being. I feel almost like I'm in a holding position even though I am making some advances. Hurry up and wait.

    You have a great day.

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