Friday, April 30, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Fire and Smoke

Round and round we go, finding our selves at the Celtic holy day and one of the fire festivals known as Beltane. It's no coincidence that this splendid Spring point of time also falls on Arbor day. Celebrations for Beltane/Beltaine, also termed May Day, begin this evening when fires are lit welcoming the light, the return of the Green time, and the marriage of Earth and Sky, Lord and Lady.

As many of you already know, Celtic and pagan traditions are very dear to my heart as they are to Beth. Thus, as co-conspirators in the awakening of the senses, we have chosen to focus on the fragrance and flavor of fire, which manifests itself as smoke, in today's edition of the Perfume Illuminated Project.


Beltane heralds in the Summertime and is one of eight solar Sabbats. It is an occasion where the veils between the worlds are at their most transparent and the Faerie Queen may be spotted riding on her white stead. The festival has a strong association to elemental fire, referring to the return of the light half of the year and the rising of lusty passions. Traditionally bonfires are built and leaped over as an act of purification.

The fragrance of smoke in natural and botanical perfume is primarily derived from the essences of Choya Nakh, Cade and Birch Tar. This trio of aromatics is very strong and is best utilized in small amounts. If put on a scent strip undiluted Choya Nakh will last for months, indicating it's steadfast and tenacious nature.

Choya Nakh is the result of the distillation of sea shells within earthen vessels in India. I immediately feel in love with this raw material the first time I inhaled it's strong aroma. It's not for everyone, like Patchouli it seems to cause a love it or hate it reaction. The word Choya stands for "traditional distillation in an earthen vessel", other Choyas include Choya Loban (Frankincense, Boswellia serrata) and Choya Ral (Shorea robusta an Asian tree).

In constructing a perfume for Beltane consider notes from the green, floral, fruit and wood families as the main thematic elements with just a hint of smoke for the purification aspect. Since water is another key elemental of the festival I'm really liking the addition of Choya Nakh, aince it is from sea shells. Where as in the past I anointed myself with Q for this threshold into the new season, today I will choose the solid Page 47. Page 47 is a lusty earthy floral beach scent that was created last August in celebration of my birth date. This fragrance has been reformatted slightly and will rebirth anew on May 27th.

"Thanks invisible physician, for thy silent deciduous medicine, thy day and night, thy waters and thy airs, the banks, the grass, the trees, and e'en the weeds."
~ Walt Whitman, "The Oaks and I"

I've written quite a bit about Beltane here at the journal, read the entry from 2008 here and 2009 here.

Events that you might enjoy this weekend to get into the theme of Beltane is the Renaissance Faire and May Faires happening at Waldorf schools throughout the northern hemisphere. This afternoon I am off to our local Waldorf school to help set up for tomorrows fair where you will spot a splendid Maypole for dancing. The photo above is from Eve in 3rd or 4th grade participating in the Maypole dance with her class at Highland Hall Waldorf School.

FLAVOR: Beth Schreibman Gehring
Please continue reading about Fire and Smoke at the Windesphere Witch blog

IMAGES: Opening painting by John Melhuish Strudwick. The images of the Shell, the Nose and Mouth are old engravings that I have cleaned up and modified. The photo of the MayFaire dance is by Ben Neuhart.

Ode to Lyra


"A rich, full-bodied, sweetly tinged amber, floral fragrance that evokes the essence of Fall with its warm sensuality. Through a veil of tropical flowers, the amber and somewhat licorice tinted base glows leaving a dry down trail of light citrus so as not to allow the amber to overpower." and "The glowing amber floral fragrance exudes an ethereal waft of a bonfire note arising then transitioning in a light citrusy orange drink at the end of my sensory-awakening tramp in the cool, late October forest."
~ Victoria Austin, Sniffapalooza Magazine

Fragrance family: FLORAL, ORIENTAL

The sweet headiness of this botanical natural perfume lies in the melding of Jasmine and Ylang Ylang at the heart. In aromatherapy circles these essences are considered relaxing, euphoric and strong aphrodisiacs. The word aphrodisiac comes from the name of the Greek Goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite.

"...vivacious, euphoric affair with the immediacy of flowers, especially the fresh, almost fruity piquancy of what seems like orange blossom, jasmine and tropical ylang ylang singing out of the bottle like alto voices in melodious thirds. Inspired by the brightness of the night-sky asteroid near Vega but also the heroine of the book "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman, the floriental Lyra is shining with its own bright veneer. This white floral composition is especially appreciated in a natural blend as there is none of the florist shop headspace of department store fragrances: rather the blossoms exude a deeper, more solid, hefty presence in the accompaniment of a classic warm base of ambery resins and hesperidic overtures. Perhaps the only drawback is the rather limited lasting power, but this is something that can be easily amended by re-application."
~ Elena Vosnaki, Perfume Shrine

There are twenty different essential oils, absolutes and C02 extractions in this perfume. The solid and liquid perfume versions have been created by hand utilizing pure, plant essences. Main notes include: Amber Accord, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Citrus. Many experience an anise note, although there is no anise or fennel in the ingredients.

"Lyra is described as a "veil of tropical flowers, [with an] amber base, and an effervescent twilight of citrus notes." It is an extraordinarily lovely and subtle creation, completely wearable at all times, and smells to me less like a perfume and more the way I wish I actually smelled. It evokes the sweet, soft scent of a beloved child's skin."
~ Heather, Memory and Desire

The fluid liquid fragrance is in a base of organic grain and grape alcohol available in samples packs, a 1 gram glass vial and the French, Chanel type, flacon.

"Lyra is orange and bergamot over amber. According to the website there are tropical flowers in there, but I don't get much, certainly not anything that I would normally think of as tropical: no hothouse gardenia, no over-the-top tuberose. I could be crazy but I think there's a touch of heliotrope in there. It's tropical in that bright, sparkling way that Patou did with Colony, but there's no pineapple."
~ Tom, Perfume Smellin' Things

I created an amber accord in the base of this fragrance that is a sumptuous perfume on it's own and appears in other fragrances as well, like Aurora.

"Lyra- This one feels complex and multifaceted. There's a candied orange in there that doesn't become too sweet. Unlike Tom, I did get the tropical flowers, and surprisingly enough- I liked it. A lot. Out of the four here, Lyra is the strongest and most tenacious, but it stays close enough to the skin to make it very wearable."
~ Gaia, The Non-Blonde

Scent Hive
Perfume Shrine
Memory and Desire
Perfume Smellin' Things
The Non-Blonde

Images: Solid and liquid photo montages and vanilla beans by Roxana Villa, Illumination by Greg Spalenka

Thursday, April 29, 2010

May Flowers

"Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~ Hans Christian Anderson

Beginning on Saturday May 1st, also known as May Day, there will be a gathering of vibrant and bright luminaries here at the Illuminated Perfume Journal. The festivities begin with our illustrious resident Bard, Ms. Beth, who opens the circle and beckons us to come dance around the maypole and celebrate this very, Merry Month of May.

Please join in the fun for daily reads on the theme of May flowers from writers and artists coming together from all parts of the world with their own unique voice. A few of our illustrious band of merry makers include:

Lighting the Beltane Fires by Beth Schreibman Gehring
Memories of a Perfumed Secret in the Forest by Donna Hathaway
ScentScelf of Notes From the Ledge
Lee of The Beauty you Love
Ayala's Smelly Blog
Vaida of VaidaArt
Perfume Illuminated: Mimosa
Kelsey of A Kingdom by the Sea
Eve of Smile Because it Happened
Greg Spalenka of Artist As Brand
Roxana at the Lillyella Blog
Nikki Sherritt of Gabriels Aunt
Perfume Illuminated: Nasturtium
Jennifer of Sacred Cake
Thongbai Tatong
Jade Shutes
Guest: Ida Meister
Nicole of Lillyella
Perfume Illuminated: Sweet Peas
Laurie of Sonoma Scent Studio
Saorise of La Mome
Guest: Laurie Stern
Jill for the Artisans Gallery Team
Jen of Sewn Natural Studio
Trish of Scent Hive

May 27th, special edition:
Tom Pease
Lucy of Indie Perfume
Beth Schreibman Gehring
Donna Hathaway

Perfume Illuminated: Magnolia
Lynn of LillyBonBon
Leah from AskingLeah
Fringe, Dennice Mankarious

Images: Opening image ©Roxana Villa, painting ©Greg Spalenka

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Bar

Self Magazine, a publication I use to do illustrations for in the eighties, did a fun interview with Rebecca Mader. Rebecca is one of the Losties playing the part of Charlotte Lewis, a nod to CS Lewis and perhaps Lewis Carroll.

Rebecca mentions a workout method she swears by called Bar Method. She states the it is a combination of pilates and ballet, sounds intriguing and up my alley. The website explains that Bar method "integrates the fat burning format of interval training, the muscle shaping technique of isometrics, the elongating principles of dance conditioning, and the science of physical therapy to create a revolutionary new workout that quickly and safely reshapes your entire body."

Hey, I'm there....although I can imagine the first few classes will be brutal and followed by aromatherapy salt baths.

Let's see, what's a good natural perfume for Rebecca from my line? I suggest something with a little zing and sparkle like the floriental spice Aurora liquid and the solid version for workouts.

In the Flow

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
~ Albert Einstein

I ponder this quote by Einstein on a daily basis. It became clear to me as a child that if I wanted things to change then it would be best for me to create the motion toward change. This concept can be applied to all aspects of our lives and when done is quite fertile, although sometimes uncomfortable.

During a presentation at the San Diego Comic Con a few years back by
Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison. Grant spoke of the caterpillar as the perfect symbol for what is currently transpiring on the planet. How all the consuming we have done has converted us into big, fat sleepy caterpillars. For those of us interested in evolving it is now the time to make our cocoons and change into something new.

With that concept in mind, I finally did something that I've been pondering for years but never quite had the "guts" to do it. I cut off my long locks! I know this sounds so silly and vain, especially given all the catastrophe on the planet. However, I do have a bit of silly and vain in my DNA, whether I like it or not. Thus, best to embrace who I am.

In keeping authentic to who I am and where I find myself in this moment I decided to embrace the silvery locks that have begun manifest on my head. In almost every culture around the world women tend to run away from who they are and attempt to look like something they are not. Sometimes the illusion is well done and in other cases it is quite silly. I am thinking particularly about the mother character in the 1985 film by Terry Gilliam, Brazil. It is quite sad that the media has convinced society that women need to look a certain way, I find it rather repulsive that the force of media is so strong.

For the last few months I have been looking through magazines to find examples of women who have embraced their wisdom filled locks. To my regret I couldn't find it anyway. I have friends who have boldly stepped into embracing their authenticity and those are my role models along with the style maven Jennifer Butler.

Thus, I choose to cut off the long locks that have been part of my style pattern that is nearing a decade of life on this planet. There have only been a few instances where I went for the short look, priarily in high school and when I was pregnant with my daughter Eve.

Here are a few more photos of my new "do"as I embracing who I am even more fully and encourage others to do the same. In the photo my earrings were custom made for me by Lori of HeartworksbyLori who also puts together the solid perfume lockets and necklaces I sell in my E-shop.

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay.
The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery."
~Harold Wilson

Opening painting titled Commutio ©Greg Spalenka, available as a print or a postcard. Photos by of me by my daughter Eve Neuhart.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Bees choose YOU

Oh, this is so wonderful!

Queen of the Sun is the latest project by Taggart Siegel, the director of "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" a fabulous documentary I mentioned here in September. The world premiere of Queen of the Sun took place just a few days ago in Nashville. Intending it was well received. Bee sure to look out for it when it comes to a city near you.

Perfume Illuminated: Earth

"The poetry of the earth is never dead."
~ John Keats

Fertile Earth, where we dwell and plant our seeds, is the topic of this installment of Perfume Illuminated. The crust of the Earth is rock composed of oxygen, silicon, aluminum and iron. In some parts of the world the ratio of this divine cocktail will be slightly different. For example if you ever visit Puerto IguazĂș in the province of Misiones, Argentina you will notice that the earth there has an intense orange red cast to it. This is due to the decomposition of iron-rich rocks.

Earth is one of the four classic elements in Greek philosophy and one of the four basic elements in Alchemy. The most used symbol to denote elemental earth is the quartered circle. The alchemical symbol is a downward-pointing triangle, bisected by a horizontal line.

Elemental earth is connected to the mineral kingdom and our sensory experience of this world through touch. Associated with the North, elemental EARTH, is home to our connection to the here & now. Located in the base chakra, this is the place of manifestation, control & restraint and grounded in experience. Home of the Male, strength and ability to create magic. The spirit medicine of Snake dwells here with the ability to move swiftly, above and below the ground, to shed what no longer serves and be born anew. Read more about elemental earth here at the journal by following this link and here for the real dirt.

Aligned with the energetics of this post today I choose to cut my hair. It was a bold decision on my part which required a great amount of courage and leap of faith into the recreation of myself.

"Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?
Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself."
~ Henry David Thoreau


The notes in perfume with the strongest fixation, least volatile, are those classified as basenotes. These dark, viscous raw materials are the foundation of a well structured botanical perfume, without them the fragrance would be fleeting and have little depth.

Within our palette of magnificent essences those most often characterized as "earthy" reside in the base note domain. The aromatic profile of these fragrances is dank and musky with a vegetative element. Some of these include Vetiver, Patchouli and Oud. Depending how you perceive Earthy others in this group might include: Hay, Labdanum, Angelica Root, Oakmoss and Galbanum.

For an Earth perfume, how about beginning with a bit of earth—literally! At the Whole Child, Whole Parent Expo a few years back one of the attending biodynamic farmers gave me a packet of biodynamic earth. I decided to tincture this material to use in the future edition of Terrestre as a liquid. A very dirty tincture to be sure. Since salt is associated with earth in alchemy I will be adding a bit to the pure fume.

An earth accord can be made simply by combining any of the ingredients listed above. Before you begin consider going out and sitting on the Earth. Close your eyes and experience the ground quality of Earth, how she supports and feeds you. FEEL yourself on the earth, let going of the mind and come into your body. From this place of the here and now begin considering which notes to use. Consider including mushroom absolute and essences from roots since these firmly contain a strong imprint of the earth.

FLAVOR: Beth Schreibman Gehring
Aren't you curious how Earth manifests itself as a food flavoring? I sure am! Meet me at Beth's table to sample a bit of epicurean Earth at the Windesphere Witch blog

Opening painting: Earth Mother by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1882
Other images created using old engravings by Roxana Villa

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Peace on Earth

“Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness
should be waiting for us in our graves - or whether it should be ours here and now
and on this earth.”
~ Ayn Rand

Peace + Earth = Peace on Earth

The scent for this day celebrating the Earth is a little alchemy, an aromatic equation. I have layered Terrestre solid over the the liquid perfume devoted to Peace, thus producing Peace on Earth!

"No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
and no culture comparable to that of the garden."
~ Thomas Jefferson

Seems extra fitting on this day to wear a perfume constructed from the organic, natural materials of the earth. The grounding affect of the aromatherapy essences contained within Terrestre facilitate the "here and now" while the perfume devoted to Peace imparts elevation and serenity. Layered together a synergy is born with the whole being far greater than the sum of it's parts.

"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair."
~ Kahlil Gibran

Earth Day was the brain child of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson forty years ago. Thanks to visionaries, 40 years later, Earth Day is a prominent event across the planet. What are you doing today? Take at the very least a moment to be in the garden or park and experience the beauty and bounty of the Earth. Perhaps, beginning today, that intention will manifest for more citizens of the Earth and we can truly begin stirring our beloved Spaceship to greener pastures.

"Even the smallest person can change the course of the future."
~ Galadriel from Lord of the Rings

Peace Perfume bottle ©Roxana Villa
Tombstone photo ©Greg Spalenka
All other photos © Eve Neuhart

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Gift Guide: Mother Earth

To commemorate the bounty of Mother Earth and honor our Mothers I have compiled a special gift guide. The guide is meant to facilitate grace and ease if you plan gifting your self or another individual on the two upcoming special days.


"There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew."
~Marshall McLuhan, 1964

Celebrating Earth Day with a perfume made of the natural raw materials that come from the earth and are healing to mind and body seems most fitting. Don't you think? Elemental Earth is
the home of our connection to the here & now. It is related to the base chakra, the place of manifestation, control & restraint and grounded in experience. Home of the Male, strength and ability to create magic. The spirit medicine of Snake dwells here with the ability to move swiftly, above and below the ground, to shed what no longer serves and be born anew.

The fragrances most related to this energetic imprint are Terrestre solid and Sierra Solid Gold Perfume. Both these fragrances are in a solid round format, like the earth. The essences contained have an earth bound quality. The formula for Terrestre was created during Earth Hour with the perfume released last year on Earth Day. Sierra Solid Gold contains drops of a magical accord for prosperity.

Fragrance family: WOOD, CONIFER
Notes: Precious Oud, Labdanum, Cedar, Patchouli, Distilled Indian Earth, Vetiver, Indian Rose and Galbanum

Sierra Solid Gold
Fragrance family: WOOD, CONIFER, GOURMAND
Notes: Frankincense, Myrrh, Wood, Conifer, Rosemary, Spice and Citrus.


"The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Mother provide endless amounts of love, nurturing and patience. To help facilitate this sense of grace in mom consider a fragrance composed of flowers or essences associate with the above mentioned virtues.

In aromatherapy Jasmine is considered a euphoric with applications for treating depression, anxiety, sexual challenges and facilitating greater creativity. Within magical circles Jasmine is associated with the moon, the feminine and elemental water. The illuminated perfume containing the most obvious note of Jasmine are Cimbalom and Lyra.

Fragrance family: FLORAL, ORIENTAL
Labdanum, Indonesian Patchouli, Indian Jasmine, Ginger and Orange.

Fragrance family: FLORAL, ORIENTAL
Twenty different essences including: Amber Accord, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Citrus.

If your mum is in need of rest consider Vera with her bounty of Lavender essential oil or the perfume devoted to Peace.

Fragrance family: HERBAL, FOUGERE
The primary fragrance notes include: Lavender, Orange blossom, Hay, Honey.

The perfume devoted to Peace
Vintage Sandalwood, Tobacco, Vanilla Orchid Bean, Champa, Blue Lotus, Clementine, Ginger, Neroli.

For the mom with the gracious and abundant heart mirror her with the fragrance of Rose, a perennial symbol of love and beauty.

Fragrance family: FLORAL
Main Notes: Precious Woods, Frankincense, Patchouli, Rose, Jasmine, Spice and Citrus.

Fragrance family: FLORAL
Leather Accord, Vetiver, Precious woods, Rose, Rose Accord, Citrus.

If mom is yearning for the Ocean, the Sea Chypre perfume GreenWitch is devoted to the Greek Aquatic Goddess Tethys.

Fragrance family: CHYPRE
Oakmoss, Labdanum, Seaweed, Jasmine, Rose and Bergamot.

Still not sure, how about one of the many sample packs: Liquid Perfume Samples, Solid Perfume Minis, the Ultimate Natural Botanical Perfume Sampler or a Gift Certificate.

If mom isn't into fragrance but a lover of nature give her something to adorn herself with, a antique inspired necklace with an ornamental iconic bee image.

All of these items can be found at my E-shop by clicking on this link here. All items arrive beautifully presented and ready to gift.

Bee Beautiful!

The little art deco Bee Leaf necklaces arrived in the mail from Lori yesterday. Although the sun was starting to go down when I arrived home I was able to snap a few photos. I'll be doing more today, even though we find ourselves under a canopy of grey and are likely to get rain. Not complaining, please more rain and a bit of good light for the photos too.

This necklace, like the lockets, feature the iconic, ornamental honey bee I created with Greg. It was an eight page poetical fancy about a velvet corseted bumblebee that inspired the imagery as part of my branding. I realized while reading the enchanting tale that the bee was the perfect mascot. More on bees shortly, in the meantime, enjoy the visual treats. These necklaces are in the same three jewel toned colors as the lockets: royal purple, vivid green and teal.

So now you can adorn yourself with imagery and botanical, natural perfume from a small indie biz that supports organic agriculture and whole living!

Gather ye rosebuds

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying;
And the same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
~ Robert Herrick

Energized by yoga, renewed by a good nights sleep and warmed by hot tea with honey, I'm ready. Carpe diem my friends! It was Quintus Horatius Flaccus from Venusia, a Roman poet, who termed Carpe diem. The literal translation of this popular phrase is pick, pluck, pluck off, gather, referencing to make good use of your time here on this earthly plane.

As I prepared breakfast in the kitchen this morning Greg exclaimed "Look! Coyote!" Coyote has been very present lately, I've been seeing him almost daily, usually in the early morn or at twilight. Symbolically Coyote is the trickster, he creates chaos and makes life interesting. In Native American creation myth is Coyote is our parent and creator. He many lessons and very appropo for me this day as I am very frustrated with the world of perfume. I have this sense that Coyote has stepped in to illuminated my path and remind me who I am and to stay focused despite the chaos and tricks. Read more about Coyote medicine at this link and this one.

I have chosen a painting by one of the masters of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood to adorn this post today. The painting is named "Gather Ye Rose Buds" and that is what I will be doing this day for I am part of a show this weekend and need to make haste on stocking the apothecary shelves with delicious fragrant treats.

Opening painting, Gather Ye Rose Buds by John William Waterhouse, 1909

Monday, April 19, 2010


"The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say,
but what we are unable to say."
~ Anais Nin

This quote by one of my heroines is true of all the arts. While in Austria a few years back a very representational painter said that the colors in my paintings did not occur in real life. At the time I thought, what an odd statement. In hindsight I see it was perfectly appropriate for "his" perspective as one who strives to represent exactly what he sees.

In art school, while drawing pre-Columbian artifacts at the Natural History Museum I came to realize that non representational work stirred me more than photo real work. I can appreciate the level of mastery in depicting something to look as real as possible, but to me there is a lack of soul contained in the expression.

I suppose it has to do with mystery. For some it is very mysterious to be able to draw or paint an object to look photo real. For me, it lies more in the energetics that the object or image is imparting. Not to say only primitive works hold this type of endowment. Works of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and my husband Greg Spalenka are some of my favorite representational artists. Must be that romantic element, sure to seduce someone with a Pisces Moon and Venus in Libra.

I have been re-organizing my notes for upcoming presentations at art schools and institutions all over the world. Once I have the schedule I will post it here, just in case you'd like to stop by for a visit. I'd love to meet the readers of this journal in person.

Old engraving on parchment Roxana Villa, "Silence" cropped painting ©Greg Spalenka

Friday, April 16, 2010

Perfume Illuminated: Dandelions

Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
But they don't get around

Like the dandelions do.

~Slim Acres

The above than normal rainfall this year has produced splendid hues of green throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. The native Quercus agrifolia remain green all year while the other species of oaks commonly found here, Quercus lobata, lose their leaves and regain them in Springtime. For the most part the only other constant green throughout the year are the Rhamnus shrubs, also termed Coffeeberry and the holly like shrub Toyon. The very green non natives begin to appear in January and about now are in full abundance. Among these European immigrants are the dandelions, the topic of today's illuminated post.

Arriving to America in the 1400's the plant was named after a lions teeth due to the look of the sharp serrated leaves. Through the herbalist David Crow I became aware that these plants we term weeds are excellent for cleansing the liver and contain an abundance of nutrients. The entire plant is edible and has been consumed as both a food and medicinal herb throughout history. Dandelions are mentioned as far back as the 10th and 11th century in the texts of Arabic physicians. Read more on the medicinal history of this plant here.


As far as I am aware there is no dandelions essential oil, absolute or C02 extract for sale. I imagine if there was the essence would be similar to the aroma of the very green Galbanum or Violet leaf. The sharp bitter green taste would probably translate as a sharp, bitter aroma with perhaps a hint of spice. So, how would we go about recreating the scent of dandelion for perfume? First begin by going to the market, or garden, and fully experiencing the plant. The color, the texture, the aroma and the taste. Here is my suggestion for creating a dandelion accord
that you could build upon based on your own observations and adding some tincture or infusion of dandelion.

Dandelion Accord for Botanical Perfume
Jasmin Sambac
Galbanum essential oil, C02 or absolute
Violet leaf absolute
Pink Peppercorn

FLAVOR: Beth Schreibman Gehring
Please continue reading about Dandelions at the Windesphere Witch blog

IMAGES: Opening image is a Dandelion print by Etsy seller Sarah Miller from her shop Crackedpale. The second beautiful dandelion print is titled I Dream by Etsy seller Maleah of Urban Design and the third print of the toy car amidst the dandelions is called Vroom by Mindy Strauss. Thank you to all these talented artists who generously allowed me to use there work!! The botanical print of the Dandelions, the Nose and Mouth are old engravings that I have cleaned up and modified.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scents That Sing "Spring!"

"And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underworld and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins."
~ Algernon Charles Swinburne from When the Hounds of Spring

Ah, it's Fragrant Friday and I am participating with fellow bloggers under a united theme of Spring organized by fellow natural perfumer Ayala Moriel. Please follow the links at the end of this post to travel to the other participants in this blogorama feast..

Spring sings primarily of green to both my nose and vision, especially after a good healthy dose of rain like we have had this year. It's the color and scent of fresh grass, leaves and new life. Each day I hear the birds chirping their happy little tunes which provides a nice musical score while I write or formulate perfumes.

"Green how I want you green. Green wind. Green branches."
~ Federico Garcia Lorca

In the natural botanical perfume palette it is the scent of Galbanum Resin, one of my very favorites and oh soooo very green. The other note in the palette I find extremely green in Violet Leaf absolute. Both these essences can only be used in minute amounts or the blend will be completely overtaken by the verdant . I won't go on about this since I have just about exasperated the subject of green here at this journal.

On a visual level I the conifer absolutes, like Fir, Spruce or Pine, contain the essence of green in their chroma. This trio is thick and viscous imparting a gorgeous vivid color to a botanical perfume.

Another way to obtain the hue of green is by tincturing specific raw materials that when put to alcohol will give up their color as well as their aroma. Some work best than others, I encourage you to experiment to find the one you like best in both aroma and color.

As mentioned above I also attribute Spring to life. Transitioning from the cold and dark of Winter to the warmth and light of the Spring feels rejuvenating. If you are still feeling a bit in the doldrums consider using Frankincense essential oil as a single note perfume or in the bath before bed. Jan Kusmirek in his little book"Aromatherapy for the Family" mentions Frankincense when experiencing the sense a burnout.

Before I say adieu, here is a green perfume contribution from my own botanical fragrances:
Smell Me, 1 gram, first trail edition. Based on the journey Alice takes through Wonderland this scent is fresh, lively and green. There is only a small amount of the first trial version left. Here is a few words from a lovely client:

"On me it started out with a beautiful citrus burst of blood orange and lemon with bits of burnt marshmellow and earth( I think the voilet leaf is most pronounced here). Then evolves to wonderful fresh cut grass- reminds me of a wheat grass shot mixed with some fresh roses that are just barely blooming. In the dry down Smell Me is a big bright rose intertwined with a few jasmine flowers, juicy oranges and cedarwood to round out the scent."

Now, for those of you who love scented products please visit the blogs of my fellow participants, many of them have put lists together of their favorite Spring Time products. Ayala is having a giveaway at her SmellyBlog, be sure to enter!

Katie Puckrik Smells
Perfume Shrine
The Non Blonde
I Smell Therefore I Am
Notes from the Ledge
Scent Hive
Savvy Thinker
Perfume in Progress
All I Am A Redhead
Ambre Gris
A Rose Beyond the Thames

IMAGES: Opening image ©Greg Spalenka, visit his shop here, Pine Cone and Smell Me photo by Roxana Villa and Scents That Sing Spring image supplied by Elena of Perfume Shrine.

Sweet as Honey

The honey bee art locket necklaces have arrived. Which is your favorite jewel tone hue? A deep royal purple, a vivid emerald green or the vintage teal blue? Did you know that the color teal is named after a duck? The teal blue isn't quite in my palette, oh well, it still has a vintage quality to it which works within my style guides.

These lockets have recesses on each side so that you can put two small pictures within them. Regrettably the American company that makes them for me does not have little trays to fit inside. For natural perfume lockets you'll have to go with the oval one at the moment, but, know that more are in the works. Isn't it grand that they are made in America! Lori Patton of Heart Works by Lori puts them together for me from archival prints which I send her. It's an American made piece on all fronts.