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!

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