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:

moscato (wine)
orris root
pink lotus wax
black sage
Siam benzoin
Sumatran benzoin
dragon's blood
tuberose concrete

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.


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