Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sage, Rosemary and Time


Saturday in the late afternoon, once all the orders had been packed, I headed over to my local family owned nursery. Autumn is the best time to plant here in the woodland because of the amount of rain we tend to get. Mom had given Greg and I a gift certificate for Christmas which I had saved just for this time of the year.

Potted grasses at the Nursery in late afternoon sun

I had my heart set on rosemary for the south border of the lot to create a nice screen from the neighbors while providing an extra food source for the honey bees. They absolutely adore the rosemary ground cover on the back slope. Other perks are that it grows well here and can handle the summer heat with little water.

For the front slope, which is the biggest and barest part at the moment, I wanted to pick up more sages, matilija poppies, artemesia and cistus. All of those are performing fabulously, with the added benefit of providing more nectar and pollen sources for my little winged friends.

I also was keen on picking up some violets. My mom brought over a nice sized clay pot of a cutting from her garden, which are the ones I use in the tincture for Gracing the Dawn botanical perfume. Since they are coming up gangbusters in her garden I figured perhaps its a good time to purchase them. No such luck, the nursery doesn't carry them, thus I will have to go elsewhere.

photo: Iceberg Rose

The nursery was however, well stocked on rosemary, sage salvia allen chickering purple rock rose cistus purpureus and the hardy white iceberg roses. No matilija poppies though. Thus we loaded up the car and on Sunday I spent almost all day digging holes
in the front slope. My initial idea was to put the white roses in between the native Rosa californica down along the bottom. However, when I started digging I realized that most of the entire front edge of the property is granite. Thus, instead, I dug out the native roses and moved them to the midslope area, on the other side of the matilija poppy batch. I'll be putting the cistus, aka rockrose, down at the bottom. The one I currently have in that location is doing great, unlike the roses that seemed very sad.

As I dug out the California roses I was quite shocked to see that they had actually managed to send shoots of roots down INTO the granite! My goodness. In text where I have written descriptions for my perfume Rosa, inspired by the native rose, I mention it is "an ancient survivor of the California woodland." I now have new respect for the plant and the term survivor. I hope it will be much happier in the mid-slope area where there isn't quite as much hard granite to deal with. Fingers and toes crossed. Meanwhile the cistus, aptly named "rock rose" should be quite happy down there.

photo: Cistus purpureus

The garden, after five years is finally starting to come together a bit. I'd still like to get rid of the icky Eucalyptus trees and plant more oaks in their place. However, in the meantime, the California cottage look is coming along quite nicely. By spring I should have some nice photos to share.

Iceberg rose planted among California native sage Salvia Allen Chickering

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gift Guide: Mermaids and Sea Nymphs


Another collection of handmade beauties from Etsy. This one is for the Mermaiden or Sea Nymph on your list. Me, I'd like some of those chocolate seashells please.

NEW CLASSIC CLUTCH by Upstyle in San Diego
Blue Waters -- Photographic Print 4x6 by Kties in Croatia
Fossil Coral Ring in Sterling with 14kt Gold by Betsy Bensen in Portland, Oregon
Five Edible Chocolate Filled Seashells Samples by Andie's Specialty Sweets in Los Angeles, CA
Urchin Bowl and Votive Holder by Element Clay Studio in Asheville, North Carolina
and
GreenWitch Solid Natural Perfume Compact from my shop


GreenWitch Illumination, Limited Edition Print by Spalenka

For her I've selected GreenWitch solid, a Sea Chypre which featuring seaweed absolute. If you listen closely you just might hear the call of the sea.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Scent of Gratitude



For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wafting my deepest gratitude to each one of you as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States. I'm so grateful for all of you who stop by here, who comment, those who appreciate and support my creative endeavors, new and old. From the deepest crevices of my heart I send you my love.

My SOTD, Scent of Thanksgiving Day, is Q solid layered over Chaparral liquid. I'm wafting in uni-sexy, woody instead of the standard floral for festive holiday gatherings and outings. The perfume devoted to Peace seemed like a good candidate as well, but, in the end I wanted something more Autumn-like.

Image: La Belle Dame sans Merci by Frank Cadogan Cowper British, 1877 - 1958 via ArtMagick

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gift Guide: Shabby Chic, Pink and the Vamp


Here's a few beauties I found on Etsy weaved in with some of my pieces. The first collection is for the romantic, lover of shabby chic and vintage style.

Bed from Painted Cottage in New Jersey
Vintage Crochet Bedspread - Coverlet from Ethanol in Portland Oregon
Large Coral Branch from EveryEskimo in Michigan
and the Page 47 mini compact from my shop.

I choose Page 47 natural solid perfume because it is a soft and feminine floral vanilla fragrance.


This second collection is along the same lines but pink with a touch of the Girly Girl.

White Chocolate Raspberry Macarons
from The Whimsical Spoon in Charlotte, North Carolina
Pink Moon 8x12 Print by MKendall Photography in Atlanta, Georgia
Ballerina Series Blush Tank by ClaireLa Faye in Portland, Oregon
and Lyra solid perfume compact from my shop.

For her I chose the sweet, floral oriental profile of Lyra in her pretty pink crochet pouch.

Off in a completely different tangent we enter the world of the red, hot diva who likes sophistication and bling.


Set of 3 Holiday, Soy Wax Candles by Accessory Closet in Cleveland, Ohio
Red Rose Cocktail Hat w/ Black Netting by Sai Sai Arts in Nashville, Tennessee
Vintage Red Ruffle Stilettos by CaptainCat in Portland, Oregon
and Vespertina liquid botanical perfume from my shop.

I chose Vespertina liquid for this vamp who likes rose and jasmine in her perfume with a bit of mystery. The melding of floral, incense and botanical musk seemed right up her alley.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Choose Me



The question I most often get asked regarding my line of natural, botanical perfume is "Can you help me choose?" Usually it's a perfume for themselves, sometimes for a friend or relative. Thus I've prepared this guide to help out.


VANILLA
Aumbre
Page 47
Q
Lyra
Cimbalom

+++

AMBER
Aumbre
Lyra
Q
Page 47
Cimbalom

The FLORAL family encompasses many flowers including:

JASMINE
Cimbalom
Lyra
Page 47

+++

ROSE
Rosa: The liquid is more earthy featuring oud, while the solid is sweeter.
Vespertina

+++

VIOLET
Gracing the Dawn

+++

LAVENDER

Vera


CARNATION
Aurora: Not true Carnation but it does contain Carnation absolute from France and related notes.

+++

SEASIDE, BEACH or OCEAN
Green Witch
Page 47

+++

MEN / UNISEX
Chaparral
Q
Aumbre
(I have a male friend that wears Green Witch)

CITRUS
Blossom Eau de Cologne

+++

ORANGE BLOSSOM
Vespertina liquid

+++

SWEET
Lyra
Peace
Sierra Solid Gold

+++

SPICE

Sierra Solid Gold
To Bee
Aurora
Aumbre

FRUITY

Sierra Solid Gold



WOOD

Chaparral
Q

+++

SANDALWOOD
Peace
Vespertina

+++

DESERT

Chaparral

+++

CONIFER
Sierra

+++

FAIRY / FAERIE
Q
"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

Gracing the Dawn

+++

SMOKE

Chaparral
Q

+++

GREEN
Hedera helix
Green Witch

+++

HERBACEOUS

Chaparral
Vera

+++

EARTHY

Terrestre
Chaparral®

+++

CHYPRE

GreenWitch
Gracing the Dawn
Hedera helix

+++

CALIFORNIA

from the Californica series
Q for Quercus agrifolia, the California native oak
Chaparral for the California biome
Sierra for the California redwoods
Vera an ode to Ojai, California
Rosa for the California native wild woodland rose
Page 47 for Malibu beach and the coastline

+++

CHRISTMAS
Sierra Solid Gold
To bee

+++

MAGIC

Sierra Solid Gold
Vespertina

+++

VAMPIRE QUEEN

Around Halloween a customer asked me what a beautiful Vampire Queen from long ago would wear, I suggested layering Vespertina with some dark and woody like Q, Terrestre, Chaparral or even To Bee. Another idea is Rosa with something darker layered over her like the three mentioned above. I've layered Terrestre over Aurora liquid to get a really nice leather.

+++

ROMANCE

For this category I have selected scents that contain Ylang Ylang, Rose and Jasmine since those are the essences most often connected with the heart, the Goddess and have aphrodisiac properties.
Vespertina
Rosa
Lyra
Aurora
Page 47

+++

CALMING

All illuminated perfumes have the ability to add a sense of calm and serenity since they are made
with vibrational essences from the plant kingdom. I personally find that Chaparral, with the high
quantity of frankincense, to help me find peace. Some customers have found it by using Aurora,
others with Page 47 and Vera. It really will depend on what aromas induce that particular feeling
for each individual. For some it will be fragrances that are from woods while others it will
be those derived from flowers, etc. Due to each persons stored memories the sense response
may differ. Generally in aromatherapy the scents associated with instilling a sense of calm
are Lavender, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Tangerine and Chamomile.
 
+++
 
ENERGIZING
In aromatherapy essences associated with being energizing are Peppermint, Juniper, Rosemary
and Eucalyptus. Since these have a very strong menthol and medicinal note,
I tend to use them sparingly in the fragrances I create.
Chaparral
Vera
GreenWitch
 
+++

GROUNDING
Terrestre
Aumbre
Q




Still not sure? Consider a sample pack and or gift certificate.
Feel free to send me an e-mail roxana illuminatedperfume com
Here is a link to illuminated perfume reviews to assist in more clarity.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Quercus Press

I'm a geek, if you haven't noticed. Ben just sent me over this video on Vimeo of a dude out east who reproduced a Websters dictionary from 1898. As a letterpress printer, bookbinder and lover of dingbats I just think this is one of the coolest things in the world....and the name of his press is Quercus! Does it get any better?!

Pictorial Webster's: Inspiration to Completion from John Carrera on Vimeo.



Quercus Press

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Eau Natural in the LA Times


Monday morning on October 3rd Denise Hamilton, critically acclaimed author and perfume contributor to the LA Times Magazine, stopped in for an interview. She was gathering data for her monthly column which would focus on natural perfume.


As of late Denise has been promoting her latest novel Damage Control at local book stores here in Los Angeles and beyond. While visiting at the house she mentioned that she has come across a large contingent of people who love perfume but can no longer wear them due to allergies. As an alternative for this chemically sensitive tribe, which includes myself, she decided to focus the November column of the times on natural perfume.

The perfume community has embraced Denise and her new book wholeheartedly. Here is a snippet I found written by Angela over at Now Smell This:

"When I cracked open the novel Damage Control, I knew I’d have some good reading ahead. The dedication began, “This one’s for the perfumistas.” Add that the book’s author, Denise Hamilton (shown above right), is the Los Angeles Times’ fragrance columnist as well as a bestselling crime writer, and I was ready to call in sick and spend the day on the couch, book in hand."

Although I had "friended" Denise on facebook prior to her visit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Upon opening the front door I felt an immediate kinship and offered her some water botanically enhanced with her choice of jasmine, frankincense, or agarwood hydrosol. After spritzing her with each one she settled on jasmine.

We sat down to chat with our jasmine elixirs and a tray freshly made cara sucias (a type of Argentina scone). I told her my story beginning with graduating from Otis when it was in dowtown up to the present. I showed her the oak grove, which with the help the local community, we managed to save. We walked out among the oaks onto the hillside to observe both thriving hives of rescued bees, one of which was from the LA Times building.

I then brought her into the studio where we began an olfactory exploration with a collection of vintage fragrances, many of which Denise was intimately familiar with. Since her most recent article for the times had focused on precious oud I had her sniff a few different varieties my my stash. She also experienced a sneak peek (sniff) of the new perfume I've been working on which will be released shortly.


By mid afternoon Denise was completely satiated. As she left I took her into the front garden pointing out the different plants which had been tinctured and infused for perfume.
I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity to spend some time with Denise and been included in the article, which you can read in it's entirety by following this link.

Images: LATimes Sunday Magazine cover and page 32 full size and segment, Damage Control book cover and photo via Denise Hamilton's website, photo of the author by Blake Little.

Friday, November 4, 2011

For the Love of Ivy


A bit of poetic entanglement, a Hedera helix review by Donna Hathaway:

" It reminds me of her wonderful sea chypre GreenWitch, but Hedera Helix takes another direction. Instead of being of the sea, it is essentially of the forest, a walk in magical woodland where every step brings up the aroma of the greenery underfoot and the slightest breeze brings the scent of living things in all their mystery”

Read the review in its entirety directly at Perfume Smellin' Things and leave a comment to be entered in a draw for a sample set including Hedera helix the solid and liquid.

Image: La Pia de' Tolomei by Dante Gabriel Rossetti via Artmagick

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow


On the day of graduation from the Otis College of Art and Design in downtown LA several factors united to produce one incredibly magical day. It was May 1985, the school was located in downtown Los Angeles in what at the time was considered to be the murder capital of the world. MacArther Park across the street had been cleared out of the derelicts and arranged for the ceremony in a palette of festive 80's colors.


Marilyn had made Ben and I beautiful crowns to wear that day. Just before the ceremony, I was called into the office of the Communication Arts department head, Shelia Levrant de Bretteville. Shelia offered me a teaching position at Otis beginning next month with the high school summer program. I was thrilled, especially since this was the program I had attended during the summer between high school and college which ultimately resulted in attending Otis.


The commencement speaker for the graduation was local artist David Hockney, wearing his trademark non matching socks. After the ceremony I was invited to a dinner with Ben, his parents and friends of the family. One of these family friends was the design icon Ray Eames.

I was not aware of Ray and Charles Eames until I went to art school and met my first husband Ben. For the most part I was pretty clueless about graphic design until entering Otis in the autumn of 1981. Having Ben , who had grown up around all things graphic design and Eames broadened my awareness profoundly. I even considered a major in design instead of illustration, with one friend urging me to become an art director because of my conceptual skills.

At the graduation dinner Ray Eames gifted me with an ultra modern black designer pen which I used daily until the ink ran out. That was one really special day as I stand here, in the world of natural perfume, on this rose strewn road looking back at all those sign posts.

"There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge." ~ Robert Henri

Yesterday Ben sent me the trailer for a new film about Charles and Ray I can't wait to see it! The crown Charles is wearing in one of the photos was made by Marilyn. Marilyn and John both appear in the film.



Photos by Andrew Neuhart, Patch, from an Otis Continuing Education Catalog cover designed by Jeffrey Vallance