Saturday, September 23, 2017

Magic Rocks

There are loads of beautiful crystalline rocks 💎 on the property of our little casita here in the hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I’m guessing that these stones are what make the soil sparkle and why this mountain range reflects so much light. I thought these might be quartz, pink feldspar or perhaps a combination. However, after posting this on social media this was shared with me.

"All around the flanks of the Ancestral Rockies, groundwater entered the newly deposited basin sediments. These sediments were not composed of pure quartz, but of unaltered, chemically unstable grains of feldspar and iron and magnesium minerals, such as hornblende and biotite. As soon as oxidizing groundwater began to react with these unstable minerals, iron began to move out of the minerals and into adjacent pore spaces, where it formed an insoluble gel of iron oxide. This gel gradually crystallized to the red iron oxide mineral, hematite. Today, this hematite gives the rocks their red color that imparts a red-pink glow to the mountains (especially at sunrise and sunset). Perhaps it was the red hematite that inspired 18th century Spanish explorers to name the mountains “Sangre de Cristo” (Blood of Christ)." ~

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost starting point the Rocky Mountains here in northern New Mexico. What a magical place this is!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Santa Fe, New Mexico...Home!

In the span of the last two months so much has happened, you have no idea! It's been a tumultuous ride  emotionally and physically, that that has felt a bit like a roller coaster through hell. Luckily, the hellish part is over for the most part, what remains is a feeling of limbo as we hunt for a home.

As of today, Greg and I are renting a little two story casita in the northern part of Santa Fe called Tesuque. I'm absolutely loving the mountains here in northern Santa Fe with the spectacular sunsets, Pinon tree scented air, starry night skies, short eight minute drive into historic downtown.

Where exactly the perfumery will find its home in Santa Fe is yet to be determined. We are still on the hunt for the perfect space, or at the very least an interim location as I build the brand in this new community. I'm being flexible with the option of the new manifestation of the perfumery starting out like it did in LA, as a studio within our home OR it perhaps in a Live/Work loft space.

In the meantime I'm doing my best to set up shop in this temp space. The challenge is that there isn't much room and the prospect of setting up and moving yet again has little appeal. In the meantime I do have some product boxes and am slowly shipping out items to those who contact me privately via e-mail. Most of my tools and raw materials are in a storage pod, however if there is something you are craving please send me a note and I will see if I have it here or I can make it up for you.

What I am feeling might take place is a entire new product line based on New Mexico in the interim. I have already started making tinctures and infusions as well as obtaining other local materials such as beeswax.

Those of you who have been waiting on classes I ask for your continued patience. I'm updating the Art of Botanical Perfume which will be hosted in a different location and working on live classes. If you are interested in live classes in Los Angeles lets find a space and make that happen!

Although we are still in a limbo state, I am feeling much more grounded, clarified and ready to resume business as usual but in this very enchanted land of New Mexico. I absolutely LOVE it here and am so happy to have made the move.

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.