Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Working the Bench II: A Practical Guide for the Apprentice Natural Perfumer

This is the newest book in the Working the Bench series, written by moi. They are currently up for sale at Amazon, and soon to be sold through my Etsy shop, The Scented Djinn. The information provided is great for those natural perfumer's who've just begun to dip their toes into the aromatic arts, those who have done a bit of study and perhaps want to learn a few of the finer points involved in the creation of natural and botanical perfumes.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Coupon Code for The Scented Djinn's 50% Discount Sale

It looks like I typed in the wrong coupon code on the Etsy site for this sale, but I've since remedied that -- and for the sake of clarifying, the coupon code to get your 50% discount off all items at The Scented Djinn Apothecary at Etsy is NEWBEGINNINGS2016.

Tomato Tree Holiday

I went to Cambria, CA yesterday, a little town in the pines by the sea -- a little town FULL of tourists and cute shops and lovely restaurants. It was late when I got there, so some of those cute shops were either closed or closing, so I settled for a bit of a walk down the main street just to soak in the cuteness of it all, when I noticed a second story window with a very unusual Christmas tree showing -- a tomato plant with big green tomatoes dangling from the branches sat front and center in that window, decked out with a tree topper, garland, and ornaments. It seemed to represent a sort of perseverance (in my mind) that so many people are lacking these days. I don't have a clue what the person who put that tomato Christmas tree up in the window lives through, whether she or he is rich or poor, whether he or she is depressed or happy as a lark, but that tree -- that tree really left an impression. That tree told me that no matter what, make it happen. Whatever 'it' is, whatever the goal, whatever the dream, just make it happen.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

50% Discount Code

50% Coupon Code!

The Scented Djinn Apothecary at Etsy is offering 50% off everything using coupon code NewBeginnings2016 -- offer ends December 31, 2015, so you better get yours soon.

Post Paper Tearing Frenzy

On Christmas morning, I nearly wrote a scathing post here about how horrible Christmas really is. How one is forced to be with people who irritate them, and how commercialized the holiday has become, and how no good deed goes unpunished, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But I didn't. Because by the day after Christmas I realized I was under the weather -- for the third time since October -- and that my angst and dissatisfaction with the holiday was due to a 'bug' rather than actual events. However, as an adult, I do still believe Christmas is completely overrated. For the kids it's a wonderland, and a happy dream world, and fairy forests aglow with twinkling fairy dust lights, and that's the only reason for the way we celebrate it anymore at all. For the wee ones. (I realize I kind of did write a bit of a scathing post about the horrors of Christmas, but trust me, it's much more toned down than the one I was ready to post before.)

I sat on the couch the remainder of Christmas Day, and the day after, drinking as much water as my bladder could hold at one time, and downing armloads of Vitamin C (yes, those again). My daughter brought me a big bowl of udon noodle soup yesterday and that seemed to send me around the corner to wellness. I'm all better now -- kind of. Still a little woozy and tummy's not so good, but I'm at least 75% better than I was yesterday.

So now that the dust has settled, all the money's been spent, the sales are done (at least for me they are), and we're looking ahead with hope and faith in our hearts for a better year, I'm thinking of renting a studio space outside of the home. Not a retail shop or anything like that, but a small space, slightly larger than the narrow hallway I now call the studio, away from home so it feels more like going to work than moving from one room to the other, and try to get the dream of the thurifercorium back on track. There are several small studio spaces available down the street from where I live, however, they are all mainly retail with a smattering of art stores that are both studio and retail settings for the people who are renting them. There is one space in particular that I'm looking at and I'm wondering if contacting someone about it is the right thing to do at this time. If I were back in the Van Ness house in Fresno, this wouldn't even be an issue as I had a full basement into which I could store everything not in use in the upstairs studio, plus the house/apartment was zoned commercial, so I could have, and in retrospect, should have, hung up a shingle. But as you long-time readers are aware, I have a fabulous knack for letting opportunity slip through my fingers.

Many things are changing for me this coming year, both professionally and personally. I just hope I can weather the storm in the meantime and make it out the other side in a better place than where I am right now. That's all we can hope for, right? To one-up ourselves over and over again until we are better than we were the day before. Reading is once again on the agenda, and fortunately I have a book store friend who is willing to part with a few tomes for a friend. I feel empty now that the book is done, and I want to restore some of the knowledge I imparted with new knowledge. That sounds a bit whacky, but that's how it feels. I'm also feeling a bit guilty that the opus that I had promised didn't happen. I cut so much from the book that may have been useful to a learning natural perfumer -- but I decided in the long run that it was just too much. Next time, I will allow myself more time to pull it together, or better yet, use the time I have set aside for book writing to be filled with book writing and not with 'oh, I don't wanna do this today' and trip off to the ocean to watch the epic El Nino waves, or hike up a hill to watch the mist settle between the hilltops. Naw, I'll probably still do that -- ha! If you knew how much research material, how much research in general, goes into writing a book -- nearly any book -- you'd understand how topsy turvy the space in which you create becomes -- all that research material, the books, the reams of printed paper, the files and notebooks and whatnot associated with it, the pictures you draw, the quickly jotted notes to yourself written on the inside of an envelope box (because you couldn't find the sticky notes anywhere!),  you'd probably just chuck it all in the bin and walk away. For every book, especially a book like Working the Bench II, there is 20 times the volume in research compared to what actually gets set down in the book. Once I cleared away the books, and the files, and the notebooks, and the scattered notes of notes, the diagrams and drawings, I had a stack of 'research' almost up to my chin. This doesn't take into account all the raw perfumery materials used in experimentation, from putting together perfume formulations to cookery, and time spent evaluating. But all in all, it was fun and exhausting and challenging and I'd do it again a heartbeat.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice

Tonight at 8:49 marks the beginning of the Winter Solstice here on the left coast, and we're celebrating it with a homemade chocolate Yule log -- a Swiss roll with all the mini mushrooms and powdered sugar snow and chocolate ganache frosting. Dinner is a winter stew with root vegetables, and a bunch of finger foods on the side -- cheeses and mini dogs in a blanket and prosciutto with mozzarella, maybe some homemade sweet potato chips with dip. And lots of candles and games and story-telling and roasting of homemade marshmallows, and maybe a little dancing if the music inspires us. It's a kind of lock down night for us since hardly anyone we know actually celebrates Yule this way. No rushing from house to house dropping off gifts and throwing back the nog. It's just a nice, calm, happy, festival of home.

So I'd better get off this machine and get to cooking!

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Book Fixes

I was just going over the proof of the book for the 80th time and found five errors that really stand out -- I've corrected the errors and resubmitted the body of the book for further review, which means sales will be at a standstill until the review is approved. So. It really never ends. Two errors were substantial, the rest were just me being super picky. This is so frustrating.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Three Little Words That Pack a Punch for a Perfumer




Yep. It started yesterday morning with a thunderous headache that no amount of caffeine could alleviate, and after a day of running around town(s) doing a bit of holiday shopping, I arrived at home, plunked down in front of the computer and proceeded to sneeze. And sneeze. And sneeze. And sneeze, and sneeze, and sneeze until I thought my eyes would pop out of my head. Then it was on. Headachy, sinus congestion, watery eyes, sore throat -- aaaaaahhhhh! I love winter, but I hate that it means being cooped up with sickos in overwarm places that simply breed bugs that cleverly wait on door knobs and cross walk buttons and store counters to pounce and creepy crawl into your mucous membranes where they happily set up house. Granted, cross walk buttons probably don't qualify as being in overwarm conditions being that they're outdoors and all, y'know, at corners of streets, but have you ever stopped to think about how many fingers have poked those things in day? Hundreds. Literally hundreds. And if those fingers were just digging around in a virus infected nose hole before pressing the button, and then here you come, poke the button and then shove your finger in your eye to pluck out a speck of dust? Well, there you have it.

I don't know where I got this one, and as I've illustrated, it could have been literally anywhere between five cities I've been to in the past couple of weeks. Because I'm big on eye poking and all, it doesn't surprise me that I'm sick again. But the protocol is in play -- I just set up the pill dispenser with two-1000 mg Vitamin C every hour until I've downed 12,000 mgs.

The 'book' is finally published and selling away on Amazon. I've sold a few units already and I'm waiting to hear back from a couple of people about reviews and whatnot. I took a lot of risks with this new one, presenting a bit of the world according to me stuff -- or in this instance, the natural perfumery world according to me, and dialing back the capitalism horse poop. Perhaps the next volume, volume 3, will introduce that aspect of natural perfumery -- the selling and networking and the bulkiness of all that. But for now, this book is about the art of natural perfumery.

If you would like to purchase the new book, go to Amazon.com.

Amazon is currently offering ALL books (not Kindle or Audiobooks) at 25% off, so now would be the time to get this book if you have it in your head to do so.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Working the Bench II

Available at Amazon.com next week.

My original idea, the art nouveau custom cover wouldn't print out nicely -- it was way too pixelated and I couldn't get it adjusted out, so this is the cover I chose until I figure out how to customize my cover.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Discounts and New Perfume

From now until the 31st of December, The Scented Djinn Apothecary at Etsy is discounting EVERYTHING at 20%, including those items already clearance priced ~ if interested, simply use coupon code KRAMPUSNACHT2015 in the coupon code section to receive your 20% discount.

Now, onto something else -- there's a new perfume oil in the shop! A lovely sweet, dark, rich, floral and grounding scent called Tamra, which means 'dates'. I'd meant for the perfume to be darker than it is, but I realize this is my preference and maybe someone else might want something a bit lighter and less earthy, so I held back on making it less dark date and more fruity light date. The notes are patchouli, clary sage absolute (which smells decidedly different from clary sage essential oil) a nice organic geranium oil, a wee bit of yuzu, some pink grapefruit, and a big dollop of jasmine sambac. It's a very soothing and grounding scent.

And something else -- the book is not done, as I had previously thought. I might have mentioned this in an earlier post, but the index is way out of whack. I'm un-whacking it today and sending it back to be reviewed, and hopefully, if all goes well, it will be for sale on Amazon by next week.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Curio Apothecary & Seasons of Spirit

I'm back! I went away to work which felt more like a vacation fun, and while I was away, someone used my debit card information to purchase a nice taco dinner, a massage, and some booze down  in Los Angeles -- where I haven't been in, oh, five years at least. So I spent the weekend fund-less more or less because I had to shut down my debit card in case those LA robbers decided to buy more groceries and pleasure time literally on my dime. Aside from that little bump, the entire week and part of the weekend were fab. I helped a friend set up her physical store so she can get some business in before Yuletide. It looks really nice. Loads of herbs grown right in her garden, white sage wands, bay leaf branches, sweet grass braids, sweet myrtle berries (the other 'juniper' in Kyphi incense), bulk lavender buds, as well as seeds -- wisteria seeds, mullein seeds, and a myriad of other homegrown flower and plant seeds. There are essential oils and resins, apothecary bottles, incense, handmade soaps, crystals, beads, vintage glass drawer knobs, vintage door knockers, crystalized candied ginger, tarot and gypsy divination cards, perfumes and perfume bottles, teas, tea pots, tea cups and saucers, candles, hand painted silk handkerchiefs, pendulums and divination cloth, Chakra wheels, ink with glass and feather pens -- well, suffice it to say, it's a wee apothecary with a little bit of everything in it. If you're interested in purchasing her herbs or seeds, go to Curio Apothecary on Etsy, and if you're in the Sanger, CA area, go to her shop at 1121 North Nelson Avenue ~ Seasons of Spirit.


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