Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kyphi Workshop September 19, 2015

In a week or so I'll begin ordering what I don't have in stock for this upcoming workshop. I got a fat glob of galbanum resin after using the last of a four-ounce container of liquid galbanum resin, which was a real eye-opener (the glob). The new resin is a sticky wad of balsamic, grass-green, woody, cigarette butt goodness -- well, good if you like those sorts of smells. As I cleaned the studio storage closet, I was able to locate a few jars of resins and whatnot that I'd forgotten about, and I now have a huge chest filled to overflowing with Kyphi and incense ingredients and tools. I've also got quite the collection of clay mortars and pestles. I was thinking that I need to find or build a nice wooden chest for all this stuff, something with wheels and a handle, like a cart, and then I thought, no! What would really be nice is a genuine gypsy wagon! Can you imagine? The Kyphi Show on the road in a brightly painted and beautiful gypsy wagon? It would be too much fun. But for now, a portable chest will have to do.

The last time I was mulling over whether to make stick incense I ended up making cones instead, which kind of bummed me out. The paste wasn't sticky enough when I began rolling it, but it turned out that about halfway through making cones, the paste became sticky enough and I could have rolled them onto sticks, but the wee one was helping and I didn't want to stop mid stream and introduce her to another technique when she'd barely gotten the cones down -- or, rather, the 'witch's hats' as she calls them. I'm beginning to get the itch to make another batch of stick incense. Now that I have and adore this new galbanum resin, I'm thinking incense with that in it, then later an incense with red champa flower absolute as the main component. Making stick incense is so much more meditative than rolling cones, but less meditative than making Kyphi. I can hardly wait for the workshop. The energy of all the students that goes into the finished work is so much MORE than what solo Kyphi making produces. It's surprising, really.

The students at the Natural Perfume Academy are on a break until August 10th, which frees a little more time for me to mess about in the studio. Time. It doesn't actually exist, yet here we are, struggling to find more of it. I'm using the time to finish up a perfume project, and then take the bones of that project and expand it into something else, the first perfume of 2015 for The Scented Djinn. My track record these past few years is one lovely perfume per year, which makes for a very short selection list of perfume in the apothecary. I must get cracking on making new ones. Hopefully the fall will produce the necessary magic in the air to get the perfume-making ball rolling again.

Please, if you're in the area or can take a drive -- a bit of a road trip -- please attend the Kyphi Workshop hosted by Seasons of Spirit in Sanger, CA (20 minutes east of Fresno). Seasons of Spirit hosts all sorts of herbal and wise woman courses and classes, and also offers card reading services, plus, if that weren't enough, their gardens are astoundingly beautiful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day Off

I took a day off from the chemistry studies and the research and the writing and the work to go to the farmer's market in Los Osos (by the sea), and discovered a person there selling these:

D'you know what they are? Tuberoses. Stems and stems of tuberoses just stinking up the place. There are two local nurseries who grow tuberoses and sell them until mid-October when the season ends. I had no idea. That picture up there depicts the midnight enfleurage I started moments before dragging my weary bum up to bed. I've never 'done' tuberoses before because they just don't grow in the sweltering heat of my hometown, ye olde Fresno-On-The-Hell-Hole. It's so different here on the coast. What I've discovered about the farmer's markets around here is that in the spring, around March and April, a wee lady brings the branches of blooming lilacs to the San Luis Obispo Thursday evening farmer's market, and in mid summer through the fall, we get these beautiful lush tuberoses to work with. It's amazing moving from a place where finding a bergamot orange is impossible (even though several farms in the area grow them) to coming here where exotic baubles and bibs of natural gorgeousness are sold weekly, some coming from my old hometown! I asked one of the valley growers why they don't sell bergamot or other exotic produce at the farmer's markets in Fresno and she said it was because there wasn't a big market for some of the more exotic things there, but there is a market for them here. Go figure.

The studio smells like an expensive perfume with this vase full of yet-to-bloom tuberoses awaiting their turn in the grease spa. Tuberoses are a beautiful evocative scent -- kind of a weird mixture of honeysuckle, cananga, wintergreen, waxy orange blossom, and bitter almonds. I remember my first experience with tuberose absolute being extremely unpleasant as the extraction was of a very poor grade and upon dilution the tuberose 1% smelled like boiled beef weiner water. My first real experience came from White Lotus Aromatics, and it's where I absolutely fell in love with tuberose after being so solidly turned off by it before. These stems of blossoms smell exactly like the tuberose from White Lotus. Astounding.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Once again, I'm left to mull over another bad review. To be honest, this is only the third one, but to date it is the most annoying. Dear anyone who leaves a review of anything, please explain the reasons for your dissatisfaction -- saying "don't buy! waste of time! lost my money!" helps absolutely no one in either deciding to buy or not, choosing to waste their time or not, or losing their money or remembering they can get a refund within 30 days of purchase. Yes, I inserted the teeniest bit of snark in there. Explain why YOU think someone else shouldn't buy it, waste their time with it, or lose their money on it. Explain. This helps me as well on improving what can be improved. If, however, what you bought from me wasn't what you expected based upon your not reading the description of said product, then that's entirely on you. If what you bought wasn't what you expected because I misrepresented myself, then yes, my bad, allow me try to fix it first, and then if that doesn't work, feel free to leave your bad review written in a way that explains your dissatisfaction -- the whys of it all. That turned personal very quickly-- hehehehehehe.

I finished the initial formulating of the new perfume and am waiting a few weeks before attempting to tweak it. Right now some of the notes are a little raw, but I know from experience that they will settle down and the ones that I want to come to the fore will, while those that I want to hide a bit will do just that. I'm always hesitant to begin a new piece of work because I fear I'll screw it up and waste materials. I really do hate wasting materials, especially now that I'm attempting to downsize to the barest minimum and can't afford to buy a bunch of new stuff -- finding places to put it all is becoming a chore. I did finally manage to clean out the storage closet in the studio and I made a lot of 'new' space for stuff by categorizing and putting things in bins, but there's lots more to do. I've got a bin that's full of stuff that I might never use, but I keep it . . . well, I suppose because I'm an aromatics hoarder! I never know when I might need something strange and unusual to toss into a formulation -- and that bin is brimming with weird stuff I've never heard of before. Strange wood oils from Australia, leaf oils from South Africa, spice oils from India -- I'd give more details on the oils, but the bin is put up in the storage closet, and, well, y'know, it's a pain to drag it all out. Hog root! Hog root is one of the oils I have. What is it? I've seen it listed as lovage on vodou websites, but beyond that, I don't know. Not sure if it's even the same vodou 'hog root' as I'm assuming it wasn't manufactured by a Mambo in her hounfour, but by an essential oil company in steel distillation units. It remains unevaluated.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yes, I Still Make Perfume

 Prettily boxed up and ready to fly home to its new owner, Parma Parfum Extrait, one of my favorite perfumes ever. Not many people order violet-themed perfumes. It's just not a favorite of most folks anymore, but I have to be honest with you -- it just makes me tingle with joy when I smell it.
 Jinko Noir XX is a custom blend for one of my long-time customers, Ms. E. This XX formula contains loads of super stinky raw materials -- oudh, aloeswood tincture, valerian absolute, valerian concrete, mitti, tobacco, patchouli, jasmine, orange blossom absolute, some other wicked dark things -- and it smells divine.

I don't just 'do' incense, or teach classes on incense and perfumery; I compound perfumes as well.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kyphi Rolling

Kyphi Making Workshop Coming in September

This workshop is $45 per attendee, and includes all raw materials, full instruction, and a wee packet of Kyphi incense to take home. If interested, contact ME via email at, or contact Shannon at Seasons of Spirit's website. Closer to the event, I will give out my phone number and the phone number of the gardens where the event is being held. Pre-payment of this workshop can be made at The Scented Djinn's Etsy Apothecary beginning August 15, 2015.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

263 Warm Bodies -- or Bots?

You aren't going to believe this, but this blog is only 263 hits away from 200,000 hits -- and the hits keep coming! Not that anyone is reading the content . . .

I've been working diligently on the new book, putting more of my voice in there, more of my anecdotal 'evidence' in the works. I'm told that anecdotal evidence is crap in nearly all cases, but I can't talk about yours, or the perfumer's who lives 200 miles away, or something I read in a book but have never applied, can I? That's all just regurgitation. First-hand experience teaches a person more than what can be got from a book, so if I say, 'this is what I did and if you want it to work for you like it appears to have worked for me, you might consider doing it the way I did it too' we may get somewhere. And then you're free to develop your own anecdotal evidence of successful processes.

I'm off to write more poo diddly in the book -- or hopefully not write poo diddly, but gems of wisdom, yeah?

Until next time

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

200,000 'Hits'

This blog -- this wee, bitty, sometimes useless, often helpful, mostly self-absorbed little blog is close to reaching its 200,000 'hit' from readers around the world. This second 100,000 hits came about much more quickly than the first 100,000 hits. The first 100,000 was reached in eight years. This second one? Two. Two years. And with almost no help from bots. Using my super-duper math skills, I've calculated that . . . let's see, 100,000 times . . . divided by . . . plus a nickel . . . and subtracting a blue print . . . dividing the mass times a puff of smoke, and yes! Roughly 1000 people read this blog, most by accident. Probably 900 by accident, per my calculations. So thank you. All 100 of you. You have my eternal love ♥ and gratitude ~ ♥ XO ♥ ~*~♥

Since making the decision to rewrite the latest perfume book, I've managed to make it sound more like me, and cull around 1000 words of poo diddly caca. I'm still working on it as chapter three is in dire need of an overhaul. It's a wreck. Why I thought to write what I did in that chapter -- it's me trying to keep up with the Jones' or impress my detractors or something, but it isn't me at all. I mean, so, so, so not me. It's not what i stand for, it's not what I mean, it's just poo diddly caca that I wrote to get words on paper and inflate the word count. That's it. So culling I will go and put this piece of crap to rights. I feel so much better even culling and rewriting the little bits I already have. The writer's block is unblocked. The hesitation gone, and this experience reminds me that I HAVE to listen to my intuition and stop writing for everyone else -- writing or perfuming (unless it's custom work, of course, in which case, the customer takes the lead).


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