Friday, May 29, 2009

Saturn Day & Night Events



I have been invited to be one of the featured artists at the California Craft and Folk Art Museum Global Bazaar. Here is the text from their website:

"Along with LACMA's annual event, LACMA MUSE ART WALK, CAFAM will be featuring over 15 local vendors, offering the best in handcrafted, fair-trade, and artisan-produced items. Some one-of-a-kind treasures you will find include ceramics, handmade candles, vintage image magnets, jewelry, clothing, hand-blended fragrant oils, hand-blown glass, and more. As always, CAFAMs award-winning Museum Shop will be open with a further array of worldly treasures! Music and refreshments will be provided."

The location is the California Craft and Folk Art Museum Courtyard located at 5814 Wilshire Blvd., across the street from LACMA.

I will be bringing an array of all our scented delights as well as some of the brand new perfume lockets created in collaboration with Lori Patton of Heartworks by Lori.

Please stop by and introduce yourself. Master Gregorio, the illuminator of our perfumes, will also be on hand. We look forward to meeting you and sharing the world of botanical perfumery.


In the evening we are off to a fund raising event for Project Peace on Earth to finance the upcoming June 7-12 pre-production trip to Manger Square in Bethlehem, Palestine. Greg and I met Steve Robertson (the brainchild of Project Peace on Earth) and his loving wife Teresita when we all did the "Heart Virtue" Saturday workshop together. We are delighted to be contributing our talent to help raise funds for this extraordinary event.

I have been formulating a perfume for Project Peace On Earth for some time now. At the event I will offer a short educational presentation about botanical perfumery and the quest to manifest a Peace Perfume. I am looking forward to everyones feedback on what the is the scent we most associate with peace.

In early 2008 Greg began collaborating with the renown T’angka painter Romio Shrestha to create an image together for Project Peace on Earth. The image manifested within a few months and is now available for everyone. Be the first to view an awesome, hot off the press 32"x47.5" limited edition giclee print of the Peace Has Begun artwork!

Created by Greg and Romio this art embodies the spirit of Project-Peace On Earth, and the union of east and west cultures.

There will be two limited edition versions for sale, (300) 26"x39" lithograph posters at $50.00 each, and (25) 32"x48" high end giclee prints at $1000.00 each. These prints will be numbered, signed, and embossed by the Peace Has Begun seal. Available for pre-order at the May 30th fund raising event mentioned above, and online now at the Spalenka shop on Etsy. The editions will be available end of June for pick up at a gala celebrity signing, and for shipping. Order now, as these will sell out fast.

Photograph at top embellished perfume locket, Peace Has Begun Image ©Greg Spalenka.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Save the Oaks


The scent of the day is Q, Quercus agrifolia, devoted to the Coastal Live Oak. I started my fragrance line with this botanical perfume. The intention connected with Q is to bring awareness to the native Oaks of California. This path was revealed when a contractor bought the empty lot next to us to build a huge McMansion. We organized our neighborhood to protect the Oaks and the development of the lot.

To my regret, the contractor that we have been wrestling with has come back from the dead. Although the bank foreclosed on his other project, like a horror film, he has returned. We received the letter from the city informing us that another hearing has been set. Good grief, here we go yet again!

I'm feeling quite distraught at the moment. Intending that in the morrow the feisty self will be back, ready to once again organize the neighbors to defend oaks and land. I am calling forth Soverieignty, the Celtic Goddess of the land, to help us. According to the book The Celtic Way of Seeing: "Sovereignty holds the the axis mundi. She is the one who bestows "rulership" to those who are in right relationship with her."1 Thus, please anoint yourselves with Q and appeal to Sovereignty for her assistance.

I took the photo at top on Monday while hiking in Malibu State Park. It is a gigantic Quercus lobata we came across on our adventure through the woods.

1. The Celtic Way of Seeing by Frank MacEowen, page 52.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Roxana at Indie Perfumes

I've been blessed once again by the eloquent word smithing of a lover of aromatics. Lucy Raubertas, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Sniffapalooza Fall Ball, has written a very succinct and beautiful review of our botanical perfumes. Please head on over to her blog to experience beauty filled prose. I am so humbled, thank you very, very much Lucy! It's such a pleasure when someone who really "gets" what these handcrafted botanical perfumes are about, especially when it is an individual with poetic skills like Ms Raubertas.

Sugar Ray Leonard



In the eighties my husband Greg spent time with Sugar Ray Leonard when he was in training for his second Duran fight. This was just after Greg had done the illustrative journalistic project on Tyson. The difference between the two people were extreme. Leonard was the consummate gentleman. Always calm, always in control. The article Greg created several pieces for was called, "The World According to Sugar Ray Leonard", and it was about his obsession with control.
Sugar Ray's ability to control helped him discipline his mind and body to fight and become a great champion, but it was control that was also threatening to destroy his family. Through therapy and other measures he was able to find a balance. Interesting, this reminds me a bit of Spock in the new Star Trek film directed by JJ Abrams.
Greg attempted to show symbolically with this portrait that Sugar Ray was "boxing himself in" with these emotional issues. The blue square he draws around himself represents the boxing ring but also his life. Greg took Polaroid pictures of him and the ring while he was on the assignment. Some of these pictures are collaged into the background.

This painting is part of a "Best Father's Day Gift" poll on the Etsy blog called the Storque. Please head on over and cast your vote so that this original painting!

Here's how to vote:
1. Go to the Etsy main page here: http://www.etsy.com/
2. If you have an account, sign in by clicking the "sign in" button in the upper right corner.
3. If you don't have an account it's super simple to create one by clicking on the register button in the upper right corner.
4. Once you are signed in, go to this link and click on the little circle just under the photo on the left side. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "cast your vote" button.
The photo may change places throughout the week. Intending it moves up to number one! Please help out.

Thank you so much!

The painting was created in 1996 and is ©Greg Spalenka It measures 11"x15" and was created using graphite, acrylic, oil paint, tape, collage, Polaroids, on illustration board. It is signed on back. Check it out on Greg's shop on Etsy: www.spalenkaart.etsy.com.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Genesis Revisited

The artist Dave McKean recommended this and I am passing it on, it is quite brilliant. Enjoy!

"To convey the logical absurdity of trying to squeeze the round peg of science into the square hole of religion, I penned the following scientific revision of the Genesis creation story. It is not intended as a sacrilege of the poetic beauty of Genesis; rather, it is a mere extension of what the creationists have already done to Genesis in their insistence that it be read not as mythic saga but as scientific prose. If Genesis were written in the language of modern science, it would read something like this." - Michael Shermer



"Genesis Revisited"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vote for ROSA!


The perfume devoted to the California native wild Rose, Rosa, has been nominated in an Etsy poll for "Which flowers make your garden grow?" Vote for Rosa botanical perfume as your favorite May flower.

Here's how to vote:
1. Go to the Etsy main page here: http://www.etsy.com/
2. If you have an account, sign in by clicking the "sign in" button in the upper right corner.
3. If you don't have an account it's super simple to create one by clicking on the register button in the upper right corner.
4. Once you are signed in, go to this link and click on the little circle just under the photo on the left side. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "cast your vote" button.
The photo may change places throughout the week. Intending she moves up to the top! Please help out.

Thank you so much!
Cheers to Roses, in particular the California wild rose which is blooming right now.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rosa at Scent Hive


Rosa has received some praise and lovin' over at the Scent Hive on this beauty filled Sun day. Please click on this link and read about natural body care items that spring from a bed of roses.


I took some photos of the Rosa flacon filled with the pure extrait and the pouch a few weeks ago. Above is one of the shots which I then took into photoshop and added an old black and white reproduction. The engraving is part of an image titled "The Sphere of Love", supposedly the symbols in the corners are letters which spell LOVE. Read more about Rosa and why I equate this perfume with "love" here at in this journal entry.


In the quiet of the studio today I am working on several perfumes. The scent filling the space in this sacred moment is of the rich and heavenly Orchid flower, Vanilla.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Q, Quercus agrifolia



I have been working on a new batch of Q, Quercus agrifolia, the botanical perfume devoted to the California Live Oak. Since I have gotten some on my hands and am now inhaling it throughout my activities, I've decided to deem the Scent of the day Q!

Here are a whole bunch of links which include a few reviews, in no particular order, and some of my entries here at this journal. Enjoy.

"I love fragrances and everything that my favorite ones evoke but I was truly captivated by Roxana's Q perfume the first time I experienced it. It evokes something ancient and at the same time very intimate and personal. To me it's a "remembered" fragrance that taps into the green world of Faerie in the same way that a painting or sculpted image can. When I wear it, which is often, I feel closer to that elusive and magical world." ~Wendy Froud


Q perfume at the the Illuminated Perfume website

We give a portion of every sale of the 7gram flacon of Q to the California Oak Foundation.
Please help out in creating more awareness for these beautiful native trees of California.

Illuminated Image for our perfume has been created by Greg Spalenka, ©Splaenka

Friday, May 15, 2009

Heartworks by Lori Giveaway Winner

Thank you to Lori and all the fabulous attendees that came out for this giveaway. The winner of this months Etsy Artist Feature Giveaway has been chosen. Whew,we had quite a lot of entries, but, alas, only one gets to be the recipient of a very own Heartworks by Lori art pendant. The lucky winner is TrayMona. Congrats!!

Please come back next month when we will feature yet another luminous talent from the Etsy community. I just recently discovered this seller and am so very excited to introduce her to all of you. It's a secret until then.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Celtic Lunar Month: Hawthorne

"Youngthes folke now flocke in everywhere
To gather May buskets and smelling Brere;

And home they hasten the postes to dight,

And all the kirk pillours eare day-light,

With Hawthorne buds and sweet Eglantine."
~ Spenser

We now find ourselves in the sixth moon cycle of the Celtic Tree Alphabet. From now until June 9 the benevolence of the Hawthorne, also known as Whitehorn, bestows us with wisdom and protection. This mighty evergreen has been utilized extensively as a protective hedge plant due to its thorns and is part of the Rose family. The small, rosy apple-like fruit, or berry, is utilized in medicinal preparations as a cardiac tonic.

Like most of the trees in the Ogham calendar, Hawthorne is native to Europe as well as Africa and Asia. The species prevalent in the time of the Celts was the Cratcegus oxyacantha. The animal totem associated with the Hawthorne is the crow. The Hawthorne is one of the three triads of trees, along with Oak and Ash. It is said that the Hawthorne tree may provide a portal to the realm of the Fae and has this sentence equated with her; "Her power is to open what is shut; to shut what is open." Be mindful, the fey folk do not wish you to cut the flowers of this sacred tree.



"The fair maid, who on the first of May,

Goes to the fields at the break of day,
And bathes in the dew from the hawthorn tree,
Will ever strong and handsome be"
~ A Beltane chant


Teachings of this May blooming tree, represented by the letter "H" for Huath, center on cleansing, protection and defense. Emblematic of hope, fertility, protection and peace. During this month consider creating protective charms, amulets or bouquets with the bundles of the thorns or leaves. Make sure that it is of the pleasant smelling variety, some species give off a rotting corpse-like stench once cut. I use the dried leaves and find there is no ill odor.

As we conduct Spring cleaning in our homes and gardens now is the time to evoke the Hawthorne to facilitate clearing out our inner cobwebs with her powerful magic. Use the leaves of Hawthorne if you are interested in creating a "flying ointment"; a magical salve intended to open the doorways of perception. Here is a recipe to create your own infusion. Once you have an infusion you can use that as your "flying ointment" or take it a step further and use the infusion as the base oil in a solid perfume.

There is a dualistic aspect to this tree which manifests itself in various interpretations. The glorious blossoms that present themselves just in time for Beltane celebrations, are found amidst thorns. Symbolically seen as containing yin and yang aspects, this is where the concept of balance enters. We are asked to accept this dualistic Earthly realm we reside in by embracing the union of opposites within each of us.

"Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself.
I am large, I contain multitudes."

~ Walt Whitman, Song of Myself


I am tincturing Hawthorne for the perfume Greenwitch. Thus, the Scent of this day shall be the botanical perfume devoted to the White Lady known as GreenWtich.

Culinary and Medicinal Uses from the GardenGuides website:

Both ancient and modern herbalists have successfully used hawthorn for its food and health benefits. Modern science shows that hawthorne contains chemical components which are sedative, anti-spasmodic and diuretic. If you intend to use it for medicinal purposes, look for C. laevigata, C. monogyna, or C. pinnatifida, as these hybrids are known best for their medicinal uses. Read how to make a tincture or an infusion using hawthorne flowers or berries.

The hawthorne berry is one of the best cardiac tonics available, and is often used to treat high blood pressure.

Hawthorne berries are used to treat childhood diabetes. See Cautions.

Hawthorne flower tea is a safe diuretic.

Hawthorne berries, dried and crushed and made into a decoction, eases diarrhea and dysentery, kidney inflammations and disorders. See Cautions.

The young hawthorne leaves can be used as a safe, and non-nicotine tobacco substitute for those who desire to quite smoking. Enhance the flavor and help heal the throat by adding yarrow, mint, coltsfoot or mullein.

Chewing the hawthorne leaf has been known for centuries as a safe way to give nourishment, revive energy, and a feeling of well-being. That is why it can be used to treat those who have problems with apprehension, insomnia and despondency. Chewing hawthorne leaves takes away that "tummy grumble" when you"re hungry. That is why the hawthorne became known as the "bread and cheese" tree, giving as much sustenance as a plate of bread and cheese.

The hawthorne leaf-buds are good cooked (10 to 20 minutes) and have a similar taste to lima beans. They make a great addition to chilis and soups.

You can make jellies and fruit sauces from the berries, just make sure you strain the sauce. Hawthorne berries contain their own pectin so the sauce or jelly will thicken nicely.

Hawthorne flowers are edible and make an attractive addition to salads and other dishes.

Hawthorne seeds can be roasted and used in a manner similar to coffee.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“Your Blog is F@*%^$&# Fabulous”


Trish over at Scent Hive has bestowed upon this journal the “Your Blog is F@*%^$&# Fabulous” award. Wow, thank you Trish! I've secretly yearned for one of these awards ever since I noticed that my daughter and her friends received similar awards on their blogs.

The award comes with a two part "to do list", part one is somewhat of a challenge but do-able. The challenging portion is that I must list five other blogs I am an avid reader of. Well, I must admit, I don't read many blogs. However, after pondering I came up with a few, my blog awards go to, in no particular order:

1. Lillyella and the inspirational muse Nicole. Her blog is very pretty and inspired me to take the plunge to upgrade mine a few months ago. I've learned so much from Nicole and am so grateful for her friendship, her aesthetic and savvy business sense.

2. Storque is one of my daily reads, filled with interesting stories about fellow art spirits and the vast universe known as Etsy. Today I found an entry about LOST by Katie, how synchronistic!

3. Design Sponge is a blog I was introduced to years ago when my graphic designer suggested I get my own blog. Grace Bonney of Design Sponge offers beauty filled and clever ideas for your home. She also features quite a few creative souls. I adore the "look" of this blog along with the excellent content.

4. Poppytalk offers food for your inner artist. This little gem came my way from a link to photo of Blue Poppy Jewelry studio from my friend Lisa. Poppytalk is a proponent of handmade and serves up a bounty of well designed objects and fun.

5. Painted Threads is a blog created by my fellow artist friend and Otis graduate Judy Perez. Judy and I met while at art school. She now creates gorgeous, mouth dropping quilts and contributes regularly to her blog. Her blog, like her quilts, are intricately woven with bits and pieces from her spirit as an artist and mother. I choose Judy last year when I was part of a similar favorite blog tagging thread.

Part two requires me to list my top five addictions;

1. Chocolate

2. My husband, Greg Spalenka

3. The raw materials of botanical perfume...today it's Fir absolute.

4. Tea

5. From the TV show realm...LOST & Fringe. We don't have TV hook-up, but that doesn't stop me! Gotta love i-Tunes and i-Pods.

Here are the rules for those of you who just got this Your Blog is F@*%^&# Fabulous! Award:

1. You pass it (the award) on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.

2. You list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.

3. You copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post.

Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

Image up top was nabbed from Scent Hive and then modified in Photoshop so that the color was more in my palette.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FLOWER POWER


The hillsides of California become ablaze with the blossoming of native flowers in March and April. The California Lilac known as Ceanothus and the wildflowers like the Lupine and Poppies start off the colorful festival.

To my delight I had the opportunity to experience the bounty of California's floristic spring treasures twice this weekend. On Friday morning I drove over to visit my friend Meghan who lives in the Malibuo Lake region of the Santa Monica Mountains. Meghan is a treat to spend time with, she is a smart and adventurous soul with a warm an loving heart. Her knowledge of California plants is quite vast and she has the mind of a scientist, the heart of an artist and experience of tracking. The sum of all those parts equate a grand time whenever I have the opportunity to visit with her.


I drove along Mulholland Highway out to visit my dear friend who is currently working on a masters degree in English and had just gotten back from South Africa. The morning drive was glorious with the blue expansive sky above me and the glorious California landscape dappled with native oaks stretched out before me. Buried teenage memories of treks to Junior Lifeguard Camp at Zuma beach bubbled to my mind and made me yearn for a dip in the Ocean.


Our mission with Meghan was to find a specific patch of Rosa californica, native wild roses, that grow en masse and were most likely flowering. Meghan had taken me to this same exact location back when I was researching the plant for the Rosa botanical perfume. At that time the flowering shrub was dormant. When we came upon the cluster this past Friday I was thrilled to see them flowering and deliciously seduced by their hypnotic fragrance.


From their we continued our journey along the trail to witness the blossoming of several other native flowers. We also encountered native turtles swimming in the Creek. This natural water source begins in Simi Valley at Hummingbird Creek and travels all the way to the Pacific Ocean weaving it's way through several cities and the Santa Monica Mountains.


On Sunday the second adventure into California native plants presented itself as a trek out to Claremont to visit the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens. I had been told about this vast native garden at the foothill of the San Gabriel Mountains while at a landscape design class at the Theodore Payne Foundation.

It took us a good solid hour to get out there with part of the journey along the infamous route 66. The gardens are extremely beautiful and display up to 70,000 plants with 2000 California native species on 86 acres of land. Founded in 1927 this is an ideal location to view the extensive variety of color, texture and pattern.


Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens is closed part of the year, so plan your trip accordingly and be prepared for an awe inspiring experience that will open your mind to what California native plants are. Far different from the stereotypical cactus plants that so many associate with Southern California.

Photographs©Roxana Villa, opening shot was taken at the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden. Other photos were taken in the Santa Monica Mountains and at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us


The oflactory terrain is vast like our Solar system, partly due to our own perceptions thrown in like variables in a scientific equation. One persons heavenly scent is another's hell. This was the path that I navigated while pregnant with my daughter Eve. All aromas became amplified, some that I cherished became dreaded, treacherous areas to avoid at all costs. I must admit, it was an extremely uncomfortable period for one sensitive to scent.

Motherhood for me was somewhat planned, certainly no accident. My physical and mental body was fairly prepared because I had been doing regular yoga for years as well as receiving massage on a monthly basis. My massage therapist, Ione, is a friend I had met in New York through yoga. Ione is one of those individuals who veer into uncharted territory of alternate medicine and consciousness. One of the qualities I cherish in friendship.


When I discovered that a child was developing in my womb I did what most women in America do. I sought out an OBGYN recommended by a friend, started taking specific vitamins, and on the advise of Ione looked into some alternate ideas like home birth. During this process I was extremely nauseous most of the time and vomiting daily.

The main triggers for my discomfort came from the smell of "the refrigerator", fresh gardenias and garlic. I remember running for my life whenever someone opened the door to the refrigerator and begging Ben not to drive by Chinese restaurants with me in the car. The gardenia bush happened to be blooming during my first trimester of pregnancy, luckily it was in the far end of the yard and fairly easy to avoid.

It was a very surreal period of extremely heightened olfactory awareness. Although at the time I had not read the Patrick Suskind novel "Das Parfum", eventually when I did read the story I found myself completely sympathic to Jean-Baptiste Grenouilles plight of extreme odor sensitivity. Many of the odors I now associate with that era of nausea took years to be reincorporated into my smell scape.

In the end I chose to deliver my child at a Home Birth facility with midwives in a large birthing tub. The patronizing OBGYN who told me I was too petite to push out a baby was dismissed. Exactly ten moons after the conception I pushed out my sweet little girl on a cot of an examining room of the Birth Center. Instead of a traditional labor with a prolonged period of contractions, my body to chose to conduct the first stage while I was deep in sleep. At four in the morning on January 27th I was jarred out of sleep by a contraction. I woke up Ben who began timing the contractions. They were intense and only minutes apart. We called the midwife who advised we come to the birth center immediately. Eve was born just a couple hours after that first contraction with no drugs what-so-ever.


It was the birth of Eve that opened up my vista of the power of alternative medicine and nature. First by choosing to raise her completely holistically and as consciously as I could. As a parent we have the opportunity to learn quite a bit from the experience and our children. Secondly I used much of my early aromatherapy training on healing her fevers, ear infections, etc. I would use Lavender essential oil in her baths, to cleanse the air of impurities and a drop on her pillow at night. When she went to sleep at another's home one drop of Lavender on her pillow would facilitate a sense of ease and remind her of her own Lavender scented pillow at home.

When we lived in the big house in Encino I had a large garden of medicinal and aromatic plants that Eve grew up with. She has been raised with mindfulness and alternative medicine, supplemented by Waldorf education. I find her to be a very sensitive, perceptive and creative individual. Eve often gives me valuable input when I compose a fragrance and has a her pulse on what is transpiring with trends, particularly in fashion.

When I began creating custom perfumes Eve requested one for herself, this was the early manifestation of what is now known as the botanical perfume Lyra. Her favorite aromatics are from the citrus family and continually makes comments referencing the mommy smell. I asked her this morning where the mommy smell usually manifests the most and she said, in the clothes that you leave on your bed. Interesting!

This post is part two of yesterdays entry titled "Mother Nature" and has been created in tandem with four other mothers and bloggers. Follow these links below to take the journey into Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us.

Part One: Mother Nature
Perfume Shrine: Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us Together
Scent Hive: Mothers and Kids and the Scents that Bind Us
Ayalas Smelly Blog: Mothers, Children and the Scents that Bond Us

More on the botanical perfume Lyra here at this journal.

Imagery: Most of the images here are old black and white engravings which have been scanned, cleaned and put placed on parchment, all utilizing the tool Photoshop. The picture by Eve was taken by me in 1999 in what was once my garden in Encino. The photo was utilized for a Christmas card. ©RoxanaVilla

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother Nature



One scent that binds my mother, my daughter and myself is heavenly Neroli, essential oil of the flowers from the bitter orange tree Citrus aurantium var amara. Categorized as a floral and a top note, Neroli is one of the most beloved of all the raw materials in the perfumers palette. This treasure imparts fresh floral and citrus notes to a perfume when mindfully blended. In aromatherapy the scent is often used in formulas for both babies and new mothers due to it's gentle and uplifting properties.

Neroli is like a divine being from the fairy realm whose intoxicating fragrance arrives before her, soothing you like a lullaby into a euphoric dreamy trance. When she blossoms forth into this earthly manifestation she bestows yet more gifts of elixirs for the skin, healing massage oils and tonics for the respiratory system.

I chose Neroli because it was on both my mothers scent palette and my daughters. A scent palette is what I refer to when I construct a custom perfume for an individual. As a child, visiting Buenos Aires I was often spritzed with a traditional Eau de Cologne titled Colonia de Bebe. The main note in that cologne, as in classic cologne formulas, was Neroli.

Neroli was named after the Italian princess Anne-Marie de la Tremoille, the Countess of Nerola. She is responsible for introducing the scent to the fashion community of late 17th century Europe.


Unfortunately I do not possess a bottle of Colonia de Bebe, all I have are my memories of how much I adored the scent. In November 2005 I decided to create a traditional eau de Cologne which spurred on the Lavender perfume titled Vera. Last May I revisited the genre and formulated a light and fresh eau de Cologne that contains some of the same language of the beloved Colonia de Bebe. In fact when my mother inhaled it she exclaimed "Colonia de Bebe!"

The orange tree blesses us with several essences, they include orange essential oil from the pressed or steam distilled rinds of the fruit. Orange juice essence, a fairly new raw material that is derived from the distillation of the juice. Petitgrain, the distillation of the leaves and small twigs of the tree. When the waxy, white blossoms of the tree are water distilled the essence is referred to as Neroli, however, when an absolute is created it is deemed as Orange Blossom.

In morphological terms each of these parts have different associations. In aromatherapy we use flowers in our blends to uplift and blossom open the heart. Further investigating flowers we see that they have four parts: sepals, petals, stamens and pistils. Flowers can be very erotic, like women, and attract pollinators like the bees.

Thus Neroli, an essence derived from flowers with a rich history, feels like the one that weaves it's fragrant web from the oranges of Seville in Italy, to Colonia de Bebe in Argentina and the here and now of the orange groves of Los Angeles. Like these white flowers my mother, my daughter and myself are only here on this plane in physical form for a brief instance, yet let's hope that our lasting impression will be like the memory of Colonia de Bebe and linger on. With that line I leave you with a photo of my mothers mother Ani. The photograph is from 1931 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Her memory is very much alive in me with olfactory delights from her apartment on Avenida Libertador in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This journal post is written in tandem with three other mothers who happen to also have blogs. A part two of this post can be found here. Please follow these links to read their musings on "Mother and Kids, and the Scents that Bind Us." Beginning with Elena Vosnaki of Perfume Shrine, who birthed this idea followed by the Natural Perfumer Ayala Moriel at her Smelly Blog and Trish Vawter the author of the blog Scent Hive. Each of us is bonded by scent and by the common tribe we share, motherhood.

Related journal entries:
Vera and my first EDC
herb + citrus = EDC

Nom de Plume


The Earth Perfume Name Game has ended and produced a lovely name for our solid perfume! Thank you so much for all those who participated, from the those who contributed names to all those who voted.

Terrestre (french for 'of the earth') shall be the new name for the solid botanical perfume devoted to our Earth. This nom be plume was contributed by Felicia who will now be sent a Terrestre solid perfume as her gift for winning this game.

Here are links to the original post about the creation of the fragrance and the name game I and II.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,

Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same.

~ Walt Whitman

Terestre is available at the Illuminated Perfume boutique on Etsy, including mini sizes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Artist Feature and Giveaway: Heartworks by Lori


Here we find ourselves, once again, at the Etsy Artist once a month feature. Today I bring you a very special individual who I owe much gratitude to for helping me with my Etsy shop and awareness. She is a friend, a mother and a very creative hardworking gal. I bring you...drum roll please...Lori Patton of Heartworks by Lori.

The picture above is Lori with some of her works of heart during the Comic Con in San Diego, California at Greg's booth. Almost all those pieces have since sold, however, if there is something your heart desires Lori can create it for you. She has created many custom items for me that I treasure.

Lori is the sister of a dear buddy of Gregs, Brad Weinman. Brad came to Greg one day mentioning that his sister Lori was extremely fond of his artwork and wanted to create jewelry with it. After a few e-mails Lori came over for a meeting here at our little house in the woods and shared with Greg her ideas. Greg then shared his vision. Eventually the master-art-minds melded and Lori's line titled "Adorning the Muse" was born!

When I saw how beautiful the pieces were I asked Lori to do some of my artwork as well. She most gleefully accepted and soon I too was part of the "Adorning the Muse" collection. Since then, Lori has opened a shop on Etsy which features some of the pieces from this line as well as the work she has collaborated on with other Etsy artists.

Besides her talent as a jewelry artist and business woman Lori is also a mother to three very lively young lads and a wife to a very charismatic and handsome gentleman. Her life is indeed full!!


The best selling item Lori and I have collaborated on is necklaces and lockets which feature the bee logo from my perfume company. (Pictured above) Currently we are working on a new project which I will share with you all shortly. If you are still on the hunt for a beautiful, unique, handmade item for Mother's Day, than Lori's work may be the perfect fit.

See Lori's art jewely shop on Etsy here: www.heartworksbylori and her website here: www.heartworksbylori.com, find her on twitter here.

Now...time for the interview, let's get kto now Lori a little better.

1.) What is the one thing you find most inspiring to feed your creative spirit?

The one thing that is most inspiring to me is the beauty of art, whether in illustration form or photography. I love to look at pictures and images that are profound and too deep for words. They invoke and stir up emotions within me that compel me to create. It's like diving into another world and I love to stay there and play. It transports me out of this reality and into a different one, a more creative one. I dream with my eyes wide open and create in that sphere.

2.) What is your favorite scent from the natural world?

My favorite scent from the natural world would have to be lemon. I have a lemon tree in my backyard and sometimes I just pick one and hold it up to my nose and smell the beauty over and over and over again. I love how it smells even without cutting it open...it exudes freshness.

3.) If you were Queen of a village what would you wish for your kingdom?

If I were Queen of a village, I would wish for everyone to love one another and do that by serving each other. What better example of love is there than to prefer others and meet their needs? Think of how much peace and unity there would be if people wouldn't be caught up in selfish gratification, but focused on loving their neighbor as thyself...it's one of the greatest commandments, and as Queen, I would strive to set that example for everyone to follow.

4.) How did you find yourself creating jewelry?

I started creating jewelry back in 1991 when I got tired of seeing such high prices for the jewelry I wanted to buy. I taught myself over the years how to make jewelry through trial and error and I've evolved over time. My styles change and grow as I do and I build upon techniques learned and create pieces that I personally love and would wear. I've always had a passion to make things with my hands and a little piece of me is infused into each piece I create. It all makes sense now that I look back and realize that there was a reason why I took Wood Shop, Metal and Plastics in school! It all prepared me for this amazing journey.

5) As a work at home mom of three young boys what tips can you give other work at home moms?

Being at home with my boys is such a blessing! In order to run a business from home, I've learned the importance of prioritizing my time and schedule. Family comes first, so often times I'm up till after midnight finishing jewelry or packing up orders. I make sure I take care of them and then I have my 'fun time' with my business. Make sure you love what you do or else it will be just a duty void of joy. Having a disciplined schedule really helps so you're not tossed by a flood of unexpected orders or having to run errands last minute or anything else that comes your way. Also, use your business and practices as teaching opportunities for your children. I love to teach them about working hard and earning money for your labor and craft as well as how to take care of customers and other special details of running a business. Kids are smart and they pick up tons of information when they're exposed to it. I make sure to include them in part of my business, even if it's something as small as sticking a label on a bubble mailer...they'll feel special and gain a sense of worth and responsibility, which will be helpful as they grow older and join the workforce one day.

Thank you so much Lori for sharing a bit of yourself with all of us!

The Giveaway!
For the giveaway today Lori has selected an item from her Adorning the Muse collection which features one of my illustrations! The image is based on an illustration I created for the cover of the LA Times Health section. This is how Lori describes the necklace on her website:

"Resistance" is beautiful in shades of brown, blue & green!
This work of art is captured in an oval lace edged bezel and showcased on an exquisitely detailed antique oxidized brass filigree. Strung on a tiny brass rolo chain and secured with a spring ring clasp. Length- 16 inches.
Pendant measures 1 3/4 inches

Here's how to enter:
Begin by leaving a comment on this post mentioning your favorite item from Lori's etsy shop. You may only enter once and you must include your first name -and- etsy username or email address with each entry or it will not be included.

For additional entries, you can do the following and post in the comments to let me know:
(2 extra) Twitter this Giveaway and supply your twitter name
(3 extra) Follow my blog (if you already follow, just let me know)
(3 extra) Subscribe to the Heartworks by Lori newsletter on her website (if you already are a subscriber, just let me know)
If you do any of these you must let me know for your additional entries to be included. You got the let me know part right?

The giveaway ends Thursday, May 14th at 1opm PST with the winner announced on Friday, May 15th.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Won't you come into the garden?

“Won't you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you”
~ Richard Brinsley Sheridan


The lovely and gracious editor of Sniffapalooza Magazine, Raphaella Brescia Barkley, has included our Rosa in her favorite Rose perfumes. Read about it in the latest issue of Sniffapalooza, in Part Three of Raphaella's Roses.

“I'd rather have roses on my table
than diamonds on my neck.”
~ Emma Goldman

Read more about Rosa here at this journal.

“And she was fair as is the rose in May.”
~ Geoffrey Chaucer

Monday, May 4, 2009

Q Review at Perfume Smellin' Things


A review of Q, our perfume devoted to the splendid California Coastal Live Oak, is up over at Perfume Smellin' Things. The magical mystery tour has been transcribed by Beth in the poetic language of a bard or a troubadour of the court.

Q Review at Perfume Smellin' Things

Prepare for an enchanting story, perfect before bed here on the west coast. Scent of the day for the morrow is Q.

Image titled Divinus ©Greg Spalenka www.spalenka.com

Contact



Dr. Kent Clark: Nice to smell you again, Mr. Kitz.
Michael Kitz: You too.
Dr. Kent Clark: [aside] Wouldn't have pegged him as a Polo man.


On Twitter a few weeks ago I read a tweet by friend and fellow artist Dave McKean. He mentioned watching the film Contact with his son. I had forgotten about the film and decided that the next opportune moment I would watch it with my daughter Eve.

The first time I saw Contact was in a theater when it was first released back in 1997. I remember being so inspired that I came home and started sketching. The sketch soon tuned into a painting that is now beloved by many and hangs in our home.

Greg, Eve and I all watched Contact this past Saturn evening. (Saturday is named after the planet Saturn.) This film has a terrific story, is extremely well crafted and superb actors, all of which make an equation for excellence. Here are a few of the quotes that stood out for me and really touched deep into my heart.

~

Executive: We must confess that your proposal seems less like science and more like science fiction.
Ellie Arroway: Science fiction. Well you're right, it's crazy. In fact, it's even worse than that, nuts.
[angrily slams down her briefcase and marches up to the desk]
Ellie Arroway: You wanna hear something really nutty? I heard of a couple guys who wanna build something called an "airplane," you know you get people to go in, and fly around like birds, it's ridiculous, right? And what about breaking the sound barrier, or rockets to the moon, or atomic energy, or a mission to Mars? Science fiction, right? Look, all I'm asking, is for you to just have the tiniest bit of vision. You know, to just sit back for one minute and look at the big picture. To take a chance on something that just might end up being the most profoundly impactful moment for humanity, for the history... of history.

~

David Drumlin: I know you must think this is all very unfair. Maybe that's an understatement. What you don't know is I agree. I wish the world was a place where fair was the bottom line, where the kind of idealism you showed at the hearing was rewarded, not taken advantage of. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world.
Ellie Arroway: Funny, I've always believed that the world is what we make of it.

I've chosen Earth Solid Botanical Perfume as the scent of the today. We are currently in search of a name for this perfume. At the moment Terrestre is winning in the poll. Please stop in and vote at this link, if you have not yet done so. Thank you so much to all those who have.

Painting detail at top from Sol y Luna ©Roxana Villa
Merkaba painting ©Roxana Villa

The official website for the film Contact
Dave McKean on Twitter
A list of quotes from the film Contact

Friday, May 1, 2009

That lusty month of May


The big seasonal wheel has reached an important spoke this day. The day has many names most often referred to as May Day and Beltane (Beltaine) in the western world. I adore this ancient Celtic holy day and feel it's fabric woven deep into my bones.

Beltane marks the shift to the "light" half of the year. Traditionally at midnight ancient folk would gather boughs and flowers to adorn their homes in honor of the wakening mighty Sun in the morning. This eve I shall gather native oak leaves for the creation of the fragrance Q, for Quercus. I will then meticulously clean the leaves, allow them to dry, cut them and make a tincture and infusion. The tincture is for the alcohol based liquid perfume where as
the infusion into oil will be for the upcoming solid version.

The custom of honoring the bounty of Spring is still celebrated by creating May Day floral bouquets to hang from doors. My inspirational friend Nicole of Lillyella did a "How to create a May Day Bouquet" on her blog today. They are so pretty and great fun to make. Floral garlands made with raffia and clippings from your garden are other beautiful ways to decorate the hearth.

At Waldorf Schools all over the world there will be dancing around the Maypole. My daughter Eve participated in this activity beginning in first grade. It is so beautiful. If you have the opportunity find out if the Waldorf School near you will be having their traditional May Day festival or faire this weekend. They are usually free and a pleasure to witness the dance of the Maypole.

The marriage of the Lord and his Lady, God and Goddess, is another aspect of this day. This sacred union between the masculine and the feminine is seen as a blessing for the upcoming harvest. If you take a hike or walk this weekend become conscious of the images of this dualistic aspect in nature


I've been told that the veils between the worlds are at their thinnest during the Eve of Beltane and Samhain. According to Caitlin and John Matthew, authors of several books on Celtic wisdom, "...the thresholds of Beltane and Samhain are prominent points for both spirits and humans to change their shapes."1


I assembled some lovely items to an ode to this day by creating a treasury om Etsy titled Beltaine. Here is the names and links to these wonderful artisans that have allowed me to feature their imagery here on this day.

1. Opening image at top, Oak Tree photograph, is by Lupe of Honeytree Photography Gallery on Etsy. I placed it in here since I will be going out to harvest leaves of some California native oaks this eve.

2. Flower Cluster is a fine art photograph printed on metallic paper by Carl of Bucks County Frames, perfect example of the blossoming Earth as we move into the Spring.

3. The Pearled Nest Forest Nymph pendant is created by Jacqleen of Sea Unicorn located here in the City of Angels, Spring and her Fae folk.

4. Heart bowl is handmade loveliness by Red Hot Pottery, emblematic of the love between the Lord and his Lady, as well as my love for the native oaks. This item sold, I am intending that the artist has another so that I can swap it out in my treasury!

5. Thin hammered 14K gold band is by Elizabeth Scott in Albany, New York. A gold ring for the Lord and his Lady and to the many circle of people who will gather to celebrate Beltaine!

6. 5 Needle Felted Acron in Pool Blue by truLuxe located in Boston, ode to the Oak and her fruits.

7. Angilene Fairy Wings is by Priddy Lallo attire for the Beltaine dance.

8. Hanging May Day Basket is by Henry and Zoe Studio a beautiful adornment for honoring the return of the Sun, our planets source of light and warmth.

Thank you so very much to these amazing artists and the beauty they create. Here is a link to the treasury I created with even more lovely finds. Be aware this will expire on May 3rd in the evening.

1. Caitlin and John Matthew, The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom, page 151

Beltane Perfume journal post: May 2007