working with blank slates, and finding aromatic compositions in unexpected places

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by scentedwench

A lot has happened in the time since I last posted an update to the blog here. The worst part is that I’ve had to take a hiatus from my business. There were fairly valid reasons for doing this, focusing primarily on lack of time and attention to devote to my art.

The big news is that I bought a house in the spring.

The bigger news is that I am cultivating a subsistence garden in the back yard, to the dismay of some neighbors, and the curiosity of others. I’m also keeping chickens (a few of them started laying last week!), slowly plugging away at projects in graywater, expanded solar (read: doing more than just propping panels in sunny windows and running much of the house off that), and growing viable soil in a yard that has not been cultivated in a couple decades or more.

The good news is that while I was afraid I’d lose track of aromatics, they’ve been with me all along.

There’s no sweeter and richer smell than a bale of wheat straw in the toolshed on a warm afternoon. I buy this for the chicken run and the nesting boxes. The wood shavings for the floor of their coop smell fabulous, too.

When I turn over compost that is ‘done’, it smells of patchouli.

Gardenias and Jasminum sambac thrive in the side yard, and I’ve been tincturing jasmine blooms for several months now. Clary sage and fragrant geranium love the patio, by contrast. The hops need to be moved, however. They need the southern exposure sunshine in the front yard.

Green corn husks and silk smell almost narcotic if I pick an ear in the evening, even if the corn is matured well beyond the milk stage. (The corn is being grown for the chickens.) Sunflowers have a positively herbaceous bouquet if I harvest the seeds early, especially the red-petaled varieties.

Lavandula viridis loves the shady spot next to the rain barrel on the western side of the house, as do nasturtiums.

On the weekends, when I can get up early and do the watering first thing (my work schedule is such that I have to water in the evenings), I have a moment of ‘where have you been all my life?’ that washes over me as I go from row to row with the watering can.


it has been far too long…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by scentedwench

…to be away from perfume.

I hope to be posting again on a regular basis very shortly.

what I really want to do is make perfume

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2008 by scentedwench

Instead, I’ve done the following today:

1.  cook and pickle three pounds of beets
2.  bake a plum crumb cake
3.  fry up a batch of black beans
4.  groom Daisy with the furminator brush for a half hour (we yielded two cats’ worth of hair)
5.  prep a sack of peppers for pickling
6.  cook a batch of Spanish rice
7.  cook a pot of black beans for future dishes

All the while, the dude is,

1.  doing dishes (two days’ worth, bless his little pointed head)
2.  doing laundry
3.  charging his car battery off one of our solar panels and whinging that the starter might be toast in his buttless wondercar
4.  rewiring some stuff so we can run the kitchen radio solely on solar

We did the farmers’ market this morning.  One we have never been to.  Hence the beets.

I think I do more work on Saturday than I do during the week, sometimes.  I have to bake bread later, because I’ll be baking something else in the oven at that time, and why let the heat go to waste, eh.

We are very determined to make the most of our energy consumption when we do consume it, in our little abode.

At this point, the only things not running on solar in our apartment are: light fixtures mounted into walls and ceilings, the fridge, the computers, the tv.  We don’t watch much tv.  Everything else can be run off a solar-charged battery charger he actually got for the car battery when it craps out.  The bedside lamp in the bedroom was converted to power a LED harvested from another gadget, and is powered by an obsolete cell phone battery he figured out how to charge with a little solar doodad meant for charging a car battery from the dash.

We even solar-charge our cell phones with a rewiring trick.

But, I want to make perfume.

I even had a dream about a blend as I was waking this morning, with pomegranate absolute, some oleander, and jasmine.  A bunch of screaming divas distilled into a bottle of fruity floral fright, in other words.

He wants something made w/ the beautiful lavender concretes I got from Marcia a couple weeks ago, being a lavender kinda guy (me, I’m just pleased I can use him as a test subject).

The cats don’t give a rat’s patootie so long as they’re fed at regular intervals and one or both of us plays with them a couple times a day.

But, I want to make perfume.

Maybe tomorrow.  I hope!

what do you seek in a professional org?

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2008 by scentedwench

I renewed my membership with Co-op America this morning. Mostly to not lose my momentum with them. Secondarily because they do good work and have the best of intentions and I want to see them continue to grow; I originally joined them when they were still a good bit smaller and were just learning to vet memberships over the internet. I did not renew one year because I blew a hefty chunk of change on holiday advertising that didn’t net me any traffic or sales. When you’re a small-fry you have to write off some things, and in that instance I just shrugged and called the advertising several years of membership. And then chalked it up to experience.

But they have some flakey tendencies that continue to dog them in the customer service area, and I brought these up with the membership services person who sent me a reminder email to renew. She was pretty gracious about it.

Having worked in non-profit myself, I know that a lot of things go by the seat of one’s pants. But ultimately your dues-paying members are your bosses, en masse. Ya gotta listen to them.

It looks like they finally listened to member complaints about the list-serv. That’s a start.

Good org, but still a diamond in the rough. And they’re still learning what works and what does not. And I say that in the kindest way.

Check ’em out if you’re looking for a natural-flavored org to join that emphasizes member networking, social responsibility, and other good stuff.

Trade orgs are a hard row to hoe when you’re a small business which is subject market fluctuations, the vagaries of consumer spending habits, and the like. But I continue to maintain a few memberships hoping that over the long haul my dollars are supporting something that is ultimately supportive of everyone else following their bliss. Not just me.

not perfuming, painting!

Posted in news with tags , on July 6, 2008 by scentedwench

Gah, the painting bug has caught me but good. I wasn’t supposed to, but I pulled out a 16×20 inch canvas yesterday and set to it, in the kitchen. I wasn’t going to do this for another two or three weeks.

While cooking a pot of chicken soup with sweet onions and garlic, and listening to NPR. Lucy watched the whole thing, sitting behind me on the chair at the table, sitting on the floor looking up, looking wistfully at the stove (okay, she was there for the chicken soup… but she was good company).

Now, I don’t consider myself an artist; just a jill of all trades who often gets it right.

And I’m not really a surrealist, or cubist or realist or any of the ‘ists’, so much as I just work at something until I think it’s cooked enough, and then call it done. I do abstract and elaborate on doodles mostly, and sometimes symbolism makes its way into that.

Yesterday it was acrylics, and based around circles that I drew on the canvas with the aid of a drinking glass and a pencil.

We’re heading to Utrecht in awhile to get some more canvases. This is my first go w/ canvas. They had some on closeout when I got a hankering to go there last month, and came home with a beginner set of brushes, a set of primary color paints, and some circular mixing palettes.

I’ll snap a photo when it’s done.

(Part of why we went to the art supply store in the first place was to get materials to make art for our walls, which are still completely unadorned. And a a couple of “Shoot, I could do that”-types… )

can you sign the petition, please?

Posted in FDA, news, Uncategorized with tags on June 26, 2008 by scentedwench

If you haven’t already.

I posted about the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 previously.

Here’s your chance to get active, eh.

In a nutshell, the current draft of the Act spells business closures for most small businesses who move under a certain volume, annually. It is in essence an income stream for an agency that has proven time and again to not serve the public interest, to not protect the consumer, and to be in big pharma’s back pocket. The Act is about monopoly. In this case, the companies that small businesses like myself laughingly refer to as “the Big Boys” will wind up being the winners.

Anyway, Donna Maria runs an org I belong to, the Indie Beauty Network. And she put a petition up on the blog for the org. She used to be a corporate attorney, but is now in the business of helping small businesses get ahead and stay ahead, and just follow their bliss and live creative lives that are lucrative.

If you’re so inclined, I’d strongly suggest you sign the petition. And if you blog as well, and think it’d be a good exercise to post about the topic there, go ahead and permalink her blog link. She’s got a video up that addresses the Act as well, and is hoping to get 100,000 signatures (you are welcomed to embed and link to the video from your site; I cannot figure out how to do this at the moment, so I’ve only got the petition URL linked right now).

Link and petition, here.

Thanks for reading.

okay, so it’s not 33 1/3, it’s turned up to 78 speed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 25, 2008 by scentedwench

That overused phrase about being as busy as a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest kind of landed on my head like a piano falling out of the sky, yesterday.

Busy much?

Everything was at standard 33 1/3 rpm during the Mercury retrograde, I felt kind of like some strange slow motion thing happening in the external sense, where I had infinite time (and it was normal-paced) in the internal sense.  I got a ton of stuff done and had plenty of time in which to do it.

Monday morning I started wondering if someone had put the record on, but switched the speed to 45.  Okay, so it’s Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the opening strains.   Orderly, a bit twee but who cares and why be cynical.  But a minute into it, I’m listening to something straight out of the Looney Tunes music archive (Carl Stalling was a genius); everything is sped up, and I’m panting to keep up.

Well, this morning, the symphony is now thoroughly a silly symphony and is turned up to 78
(uh oh, this is where I confess to playing my grandma’s 78 records on a console record player – I guess I’m dating myself; just call me an old 36 who still owns records…)

I have to do the following today:
create a press kit (well, edit the one I have)
take more product photos
finish trying some blends from an experimental group, and then review all of them
a focus group
mail some orders
pack and mail some more orders
maybe fix my bike, again
update my site

That’s after my regular job.

The cats watched me fly around the house this morning.

“Do you think she’s going to feed us NOW?” chitters the little one to the big one.
“I dunno”, chirps the big one.  “Let’s follow her around to remind her to feed us.”
“Yes! And I’ll find something crackly to chew on to get her attention before we start following her!” squeaks the little one.

So I had an entourage for an hour this morning.  And they didn’t quit shadowing me after I fed them.  When I took a moment to clean the litterbox, they were waiting right there to bury treasure in the thing.  Thanks, kids.  When I tripped over my own feet hauling out the bike and dropped my helmet, they were right there behind me waiting to almost get stepped on.  “HISSSSS!  SPIT!” sputters the little one.

I just want to make perfumes and get on with my life.   It’s hard to just do that this week.