Friday, July 21, 2017

One foot in front of the other

This journey of moving both the perfumery and our household has been epic! During the entire process I've been listening to a a book series proposed by my daughter Eve. Today, as I was driving from our little woodland house to my moms home in Encino, I realized that most of our personal experiences mimic iconic stories of heros/heroines. We all have characters in our lives that hurtle fire balls at us and a wizard/wizardess or two who come to help us as we attempt to refine ourselves into the wizard/wizardess. Personally I like the image of Galadirel as the powerful force that battles the dark forces with me, but Serafina Pekkala is pretty cool too. I'm sure there are others I could conjure given some extra time. Who do you envision coming to help you or yourself becoming? I really need to go check out the new Wonder Woman movie.

Ah, speaking of fantasy, Greg is currently at Comic Con in San Diego, find him in Artist Alley at table EE-24. He took the Divine Alchemy banner with him along with lots of original art that he has been threatening to burn in a bonfire in New Mexico. If you have always wanted to own one of his vintage original pieces, get it now before the burn!

Speaking of characters, the garage sale was good but a really odd experience due to some of the very eccentric personality traits that descended at the event on Saturday. Ben mentioned that "garage sale people are a different breed", yea, no kidding! Thing is, I go to garage and estate sales hunting for vintage treasures, and I am definitely not part of that breed. However in the end we were able to get rid of things make some bucks to help this journey we are on and also meet lots of my moms neighbors.

Next on the task list is donating items for a tax deduction and/or  listing others on venues such as Craigslist. I began the process of listing items with my four original, vintage Emeco chairs. After taking the photos, writing the listing and putting it up I'm feeling sorta done with selling furniture and other stuff online. I prefer to donate the stuff and move onto teaching about the plants and pure fume. If your interested in the Emeco chairs, keep reading, if not I'll catch ya later with another update soon, probably with dates on live, local classes.

The Emeco chairs are light and extremely cool, Greg and I decided to sell them since we are planning on going for a more classical type style in Santa Fe. While typing out the description I learned quite a bit more about the chairs and the company that have made me fall in love with them again!

The legend of these simple, sturdy, humble chairs begins with its founder Wilton Carlyle Dinges and the creation of the Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (EMECO), still located in Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Originally created in 1944 for US Navy submarines and warships to withstand harsh conditions such as salt water & air as well as an occasional torpedo blast. The story goes that Dinges tested the strength of the chair by tossing them out of a sixth-story window! By using salvaged aluminum, which was plentiful in 1944, Emeco perfected a 77-step proprietary process which yields aluminum three times stronger than steel resulting in a chair so durable that it has an estimated life span of 150 years.

The chair has survived seven decades of the military’s need and now is a fixture in restaurants, hotels, offices and film. Emeco’s all-aluminum chairs and stools come with a lifetime guarantee and tested to withstand 1,700 pounds of weight. Besides the aluminum is completely recyclable.

Divine Alchemy and Spalenka paintings ©GregSpalenka
Serrafina Pikala screen shot

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Massive Garage / Moving Sale

Saturday and Sunday (July 15 & 16)
8am - 2pm
Come early for best picks and to beat the heat!

16771 Addison Street
Encino, CA

Addison Street is between Balboa Blvd. and Petite Ave., 
Just north of Ventura Blvd., south of the 101 FWY.

Items include:
Vintage and contemporary furniture
Original paintings and prints
Musical instruments
Household Items
Kitchen items
and more!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Movers and Shakers

We are all moved out of our little woodland Mid-century modern house, whew, what a task that was!

As we packed and cleared out rooms, on our tail was a laborer who was painting and smoothing the ceilings. Then came the "stager", who brought all sorts of furnishings and decor for the house, as if putting together a set on a movie. You can see some of the results in the photo above and below, quite different from our more artistic/eclectic style.

Instead of bringing in art for the walls they used many of Greg's paintings and banners, along with a few of my pieces from my illustration days and a beautiful piece by our friend Kinuko called Queen of the Golden Wood.

The biggest transformation was the garage, which was Greg's studio and has now been staged as a family room. Although not quite our taste, the house looks great and officially went on the market last weekend!

In the meantime Greg and I have been catching up on some much needed sleep and getting things ready for a massive garage sale this weekend at my moms home in Encino. With the intention of making our load lighter as we set sails to enchanted lands, we have quite a lot to offer, including some very cool items like my vintage Emeco chairs, lab glass, loads of art and design books, etc. We will also have artwork including original paintings and posters.

My mom is unearthing loads of beads, threads and other trinkets from her needlework days making sparkly dresses for Charo, back when the cuchi cuchi gal would regularly appear on the Merv Griffin Show and perform in Las Vegas. I have such sweet memories of playing barbies with Charo at her Beverly Hills home during dress fittings. Since my mom has been having challenges with her eyes its possible that she may not be able to continue making some of the heirloom pouches that house the round solid perfume compacts, particularly the darker colors. More on that once I able able to resume perfume making and access my stash again.

Saturday and Sunday (July 15 & 16)
8am - 2pm
Come early for best picks and to beat the heat!

Addison Street is between Balboa Blvd. and Petite Ave., 
Just north of Ventura Blvd., south of the 101 FWY.

In terms of botanical perfume, my plan is to offer some live classes here in the Los Angeles area before we head out of state. I am also planning a special online class, updating the online course and getting product on the website again.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

In Motion

The day has come where juggling making perfume with the house renovation and moving has become way to complicated! Thus, for the moment I have put the Etsy shop in vacation mode and put all the product listings on my website at zero.

I am putting together some pretty awesome classes, which will appear shortly—make sure to sign up for my newsletter, follow this blog or my instagram account for the latest news.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sir Leaf and Madame Berry

In the 90's when I began my aromatherapy long distance learning class, I created a simple Bay Rum cologne which I re-made at several different points as gifts for the men in my life. The formula was based on putting bay leaves, allspice and cloves into a high quality rum and then adding bay laurel essential oil. The more times I made it the more complex the formula became and the more I was able to discern how I wanted to continue to expand, deepen and refine the notes.

The original Bay Rum cologne was most likely created by an inventive soul who infused the fragrant bay leaves from the West Indies, known as Pimenta racemosa, into local rum. Another story says that the cologne was derived by the co-distillation of the leaves into rum. Regardless, what we know to be true are:
  1. The cologne originates from the West Indies. 
  2. Bay leaves, Pimenta racemosa, were added to rum
  3. The pairing was popularized by sailors who then took it to other parts of the world.
A few years ago I started noticing that I had several bottles of the tincture in my studio and the fridge, so I put all of them together as a cologne. I first shared it at the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy conference at Bastyr in Washington, but kept it more of a secret for those who knew about it.

Since we are now in the middle of packing the house to move I thought it was a good time to share with a bigger network. I decided on the name Sir Leaf and Madame Berry while I was editing the photos yesterday, the words just popped into my sphere and I liked it. The fragrance features tinctures and essential oils of bay leaves, woods and spices, with a bit of Jamaican rum. The scent contains the characteristic warm fragrance notes of a traditional Island Bay Rum. Here's a review from a client...

"I’ve mostly used synthetic colognes in the past, which for me, were ok. But putting on Roxana’s amazing Bay Rum fragrance is like wearing a piece of art. There is a warmth, soul and personality to it that could only come through in something that is crafted with the care and passion that Roxana puts into her products. I love to sail and Bay Rum evokes thoughts of exotic spice islands, warm breezes and the sea." ~ Jeff Burne

Although traditionally worn by sailors and then promoted for men, the aroma is very uni-sexy, especially for todays modern gender neutral paradigm. As with all my potions, this item has been handmade with essential oils and plant tinctures which have been documented to contain numerous wellness attributes promoting inner peace and improved circulation.

Sir Leaf and Madame Berry is part of a giveaway I have started today (Monday) and is also listed on website. FYI, this is a limited edition with no written formula to follow, so if you fall in love with it make sure to stock up.

At the moment the bottles are slight different but all the same basic size and style and there are no dedicated cards to go along with it, just the two generic ones.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Phase Two: GREEN

Now that the perfumery has been moved and set up at home, I am in phase two of our move which consists of sifting through and packing up of our lives with a clear intent of putting this very cute mid century modern house on the market.

Although I mostly feel excited about the fertile adventure ahead, going through all "my stuff" has been quite depleting physically, mentally and emotionally! Not only am I in awe of how much I have amassed in the last seventeen years but mostly in the last three years since having the perfume workspace outside of the house. The furniture is all in storage for the moment. The decor items, many from Estate sales, thrift stores, received as gifts or found on the street are being evaluated. I definitely don't need so much lab glass (!), thus that's being put aside for a garage sale.

The most astonishing collection of items is amber bottles filled with different volatile liquids from finished perfumes, chords, individual essential oils, experiments, etc. Thus, I have decided to start including items in orders. Each week, beginning on Monday, I will share what will be offered on facebook, instagram and here at the journal. If it is something you would like get it included free with an order or purchase larger sizes until it is sold out.

The theme for this Monday is GREEN and I will be offering:

  • Spearmint and/or Cucumber/Lime hydrosol distilled late last Summer, both organic
  • A perfume experiment I called Verde, read more on Verde further in the post.
  • A BayRum cologne which includes essential oils along with tinctures of spices and herbs.
To receive the items above spend:
  • $25 choose a one ounce bottle of a hydrosol. 
  • $50 choose two bottles of hydrosols or a solid sample of Verde.
  • $100 choose four bottles of hydrosol, a 1 gram vial of Verde or a 4 gram bottle of the BayRum.
For orders over $100, use the criteria above to create your list, make sure to leave your selection in the "Notes to Seller" area when checking out or e-mail me.

Be aware that I may add items spontaneously as I find them while packing. Once an item is sold out there is no more, unless I have the formula and can re-create it.

I will also post the hydrosols, Verde and the BayRum on the site to be ordered individually.

At the moment I have not found the formula for Verde, thus all I can share is that, to my nose, it is a primarily green scent with notes of sweet tobacco and flowers. Some of the individual essences I am able to discern are fir absolute, choya and a floral component coming from jasmine, ylang ylang, boronia or perhaps all three. However, I could be completely wrong and the floral fruity component might just be the way the fir absolute has melded over time with the other essences. More than likely the formula is in one of the binders that was already boxed up. I never released Verde because I felt it needed more complexity and also I hadn't created a story for the fragrance.

I have also started a fragrance along the same spontaneous way that Impromptu first came about, more on that shortly. Pictured above are a few of the bottles with aromatic liquids that have been poured into a larger bottle. So far ten different bottles have been poured out and into a perfume in the making which will, obviously, be a one of a kind.

Also, keep in mind that we are on a fast track to pack, fix up the house, stage it and sell. Since there are so many unknown factors with my workspace in flux over the next few months, please be patient and restock your favorite scents now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Muse: Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta

Todays muse is the absolutely stunning Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta, a glorious example of how exquisite type & image can dance together. Even more impressive is that the two parts were created approximately thirty years apart!

The gem of a book was begun in 1561 under rule of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I king of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia. Georg Bocksay, the secretary of the king, created the book in Vienna to demonstrate his inventiveness and technical superiority over other scribes.

Later, under the rule of Ferdinand's grandson, Emperor Rudolph II, Joris Hoefnagel was commissioned to illuminate Bocskay's book. "Hoefnagel added fruit, flowers, and insects to nearly every page, composing them so as to enhance the unity and balance of the page's design. It was one of the most unusual collaborations between scribe and painter in the history of manuscript illumination."1

The books mastery of composition between the beautifully scripted words and carefully placed painted imagery eloquently embodies the conjunction of two art forms uniting in a synergy that together form a whole so much more than the sum of its parts.

This treasure, along with a trip to Austria in August 2003, ultimately inspired me to pair the terms “illuminated” with “perfume” when forming the concepts for my botanical fragrance business. I still feel an inner swoon when I gaze upon the exquisiteness of these pages.

Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta
Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 - 1600), and Georg Bocskay (Hungarian, died 1575)
Mira calligraphiae monumenta, fols. 1-129 written 1561 - 1562; illumination added about 1591 - 1596, Tempera colors, watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment and paper bound between pasteboard covered with red morocco
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles