I went to Pike Place Market this morning, after a lovely breakfast of coffee and doughnuts at Top Pot, to get rose petals so I can make fresh rose water. I’ve been experimenting with different floral waters, so far Chamomile being my favorite, and thought I’d give the old reliable rose a try. There were a billion nerds there for PAX.
My etsy shop has steadily been increasing in views and sales over the last two weeks. This is super amazing happy fantastic! I started selling July 6 and have hit 31 sales, I’m told this is good for a new shop so yay me! Today started out normal enough with an IM conversation with my husband. We basically only hang out together and when he’s at work we talk all day online. We need to set more boundaries.
I complain here often about my lack of photography skills and lack of an iPhone with Instagram capabilities to mask said deficiencies with cute filters that make everything look like vintage polaroids from 1978. Well, yesterday I found a way to ninja Instagram onto my three year old Android phone that refuses to allow me into the app marketplace. How did you do this? Ask all the other people who use dinosaur technology. I went to Google Play (I have no idea what that is) and it asked me if I would like it if they downloaded Instagram to my phone. Why yes Google, I would. I’m ok with invasion of my privacy by a corporation like Google when its apparent that they take the time to listen to my internet rants and then psychically fix them.
What does this mean for you? You’re probably asking. It means you can expect more photographs from me in which you can actually see the details of the picture. This is awesome news if you like my tutorials. Not so awesome if you don’t like photographs of cats. Because I’m home all day and they do cute things. I take pictures. Deal with it. Here’s what I’ve been up to in the last 24 hours since Instagram set me free:
And yes, all of these photos were taken within a 5 block radius of my apartment. I live in a bomb ass neighborhood, yo.
Yeasayer, darling of the Brooklyn indie scene, is back with a cacophonous sophomore album, Fragrant World. In this, their second offering, Yeasayer holds onto the poppy synths that give them their dance punch, while departing into darker territory with what they’ve dubbed, “demented R&B.”
And Fragrant World is exactly that–demented. At times pop-laden and upbeat, at others shrill and disturbing, Yeasayer has done a remarkable thing in that it has crafted an album that spans material from opposite spectrums of emotion and vibrancy and melded them to optimize dance hooks.
For an example of demented R&B, one need look no further than “Longetivity.” The vocals mirror something akin to Aaliyah (Yeasayer’s Chris Keating cites her as an influence on the album) with the crashing sonorous quality found on the now defunct band The Unicorns. This quality is further found on “No Bones” and “Demon Road.” Interestingly, many of these songs have a chilling sound quality as they deal in darker subject matter with an emphasis on skeletons and demons.
When Yeasayer isn’t experimenting with their Halloween-esque demented R&B, they are back to doing what they do best–upbeat synth dance music that sounds like Depeche Mode, Hot Chip and Passion Pit got together and started a super group. See “Fingers Never Bleed,” “Blue Paper” and “Damaged Goods.”
Fragrant World is a departure. Fans looking for an upbeat dance party will definitely find tracks to jam to here. Those with darker inclinations (think She Wants Revenge) will also find value in the album. Yeasayer’s newest might take a few listens, but at its heart is the same clamorous, synth dance music we’ve come to expect and love.
Originally published on Mxdwn.com
Tired of TSA throwing out your perfumes or relegating them to a checked bag and spilled contents? Then have I the tutorial for you. We’ve talked about making perfume oil and eau de parfum, so it feels right that we should now discuss solid perfuming.
Making solid perfume is incredibly easy and fun! Once you get the process down, it only takes about 15 minutes and you’re left with endless gift possibilities. You can put your perfume in a locket, compact, tin, pocket watch…seriously, any kind of small compartment will do.
No complicated maths this time around (HECK YES) so let’s get right to it!
What You Need
3 essential oils or fragrance oils depending on what you want. If you want all natural perfume, only use essential oils. Fragrance oils can contain synthetics but have already been diluted in carrier oil so they tend to be less irritating. When choosing essential oils, make sure to look up any health advisories they may have as not all EOs are skin safe. Brambleberry has a nice, affordable selection of both EOs and fragrance oils. If you would like just one specific scent (lavender, jasmine, etc) it’s ok to just use one essential oil.
3 pipettes or glass droppers
2 small bowls – use ceramic or glass as you will be melting the wax. I put the glass bowl over a candle and melt but you can use a stove or microwave.
1 tablespoon beeswax
1.5 teaspoons of Jojoba or Sweet Almond Oil. Trader Joe’s has a nice Jojoba in their spa section that is both affordable and great for dry skin beyond your perfuming needs.
Locket or container for your perfume
Let’s Do This!
In our other tutorials we talked about a perfume being made up of base, heart, and head notes. If you need help deciding what essential oils to use and in what order, refer back to the sections “The Basics,” and “How Do You Pick the Right Oils to Go Together?” in the tutorial on making perfume oil.
Alright, in this recipe, we are going to use 40 drops of essential oils. As we learned previously, the ratios of base, heart, and head are:
2 parts base : 1 part heart : 1 part head
That means we will have 20 drops of our base note and 10 drops each of our heart and head. Math, we have conquered you!
Using your pipette, count out 20 drops of your base essential oil. When finished, put the oil and the pipette aside. Next, use a clean pipette and count out 10 drops of your heart essential oil. Finally, using your last clean pipette, count out 10 drops of your head essential oil. Put your pipettes and oils to the side, they are done.
Next, measure out 1.5 teaspoons of Jojoba or Sweet Almond oil and mix with your essential oil concoction. Stir it up and sniff to make sure you like the scent. If you don’t like it, toss it now and repeat the process until you’ve found a combination you like. If it smells heavenly, then let’s move on to wax melting.
That site I mentioned earlier, Brambleberry, carries beeswax or you can find it at your local health food store. Slice off a tablespoon of beeswax and place it in your empty ceramic/glass bowl. Melt the beeswax thoroughly so that it is completely liquid. I prefer to do this over a candle but however you can melt it is fine. Once it has been liquefied, pour your essential oil/jojoba mixture in with the beeswax and stir over low heat. If you see solids form when you pour the perfume into the beeswax just gently stir it until the mixture is liquid again. Once your perfume/beeswax concoction is stirred and thoroughly liquid, pour it into your container. If you have a small locket I advise using a pipette to transfer the perfume so that it doesn’t spill. Be advised that the wax will start to harden so if you do use a pipette make sure it’s one you don’t care about as it’s hard to get wax out.
Let your locket or container sit open for the next 15 minutes. Marvel at the wonders of science as you watch your liquid perfume slowly solidify. Once it has cooled down and looks hard, close the lid. It’s ready for immediate wear/use, but solid perfumes tend to smell amazing after they have sat untouched for a week. I’m not telling you what to do, but I am. Wait. It’s worth it.
If your perfume comes out mushy that means you might not have added enough beeswax. The beautiful thing about making solid perfume is that if you mess up… you can just re-melt it and fix.
As you have no doubt noticed, melted wax is messy! Soak your bowl for a bit and then rub it down with a paper towel. Try to scoop all the wax out with the paper towel before putting it in the dishwasher.
I hope your solid perfume came out amazing and that it was a fun experience. I got into perfumery after making a solid perfume locket for a friend as a birthday gift. You never know where life will take you.
This gem of an Etsy feedback came in regarding my Georgiana perfume. This brave soul bought a 5ml bottle without having sampled it. Here’s what she had to say:
A smell of lace and pearls and the richly curled hair of fine ladies in an English country manor. Sweet, genteel, dignified, opulent yet intimate, it transports the mind to the chambers of Grandes Dames and the arms of noblemen. As ponies and coaches no longer deliver our parcels, I received this fragrant jewel almost as quickly as the blink of my eye.
I’m pretty sure we’re destined to be best friends.
Warning: I’m going to use the word “badass” like 50 times because there is no other word to describe the awesome that is Doc Maynard. I’m supposed to do a tutorial today, but, well, I’m just so excited to introduce my men’s colognes that I couldn’t wait to share a little history lesson behind the inspiration for my first cologne.
I first heard about Doc Maynard when I read Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Seriously, if you like steampunk, alternative history, zombies and badass female heroines, you need to get on that stat. At that point, I didn’t live in Seattle, I was still in either Los Angeles or San Francisco I don’t even remember, so frankly nothing outside of that had entered my mind and I just thought he was some made up character. NOT SO!
After I moved here, I got really interested in local history because there’s a ton of it and, well, BONESHAKER!! I went on the Underground Walking Tour (yes! you can go underground to old Seattle that burned down) and that was basically a love song to Doc Maynard. So who was this mysterious man with the name straight out of Tombstone or something?
Doc Maynard was a frontier doctor and friend to the Native Americans, famous for becoming one of the founding fathers of Seattle. After losing his fortune in Cleveland, he bade farewell to his family promising to send for them as he made his way to California seeking a new life. He totally didn’t send for them though because he found out his wife cheated on him… but he didn’t want to totally screw her over so he stayed with her for a time (nice guy!). On the trail to Oregon he used his medical knowledge to help fight cholera which proved fortuitous as he met the love of his life, the widow of the wagon train leader, Catherine Broshears. He accompanied her to Puget Sound where he got involved in logging and swindled San Francisco for 10 times what he paid amassing a small fortune. But it was city building that interested Doc Maynard saying that he wasn’t interested in wealth, just building the greatest city on earth. He opened a store, became Justice of the Peace, befriended local Native Americans, helped start brothels (he felt vice was necessary on the frontier) and even petitioned for a separate Washington Territory. It was at his urging that Seattle was named for Chief Seattle, leader of the local tribe and his bestie. At that time, Seattle was an upstart little village that made its fortune first with logging and then ultimately being the last stop for supplies on the Alaska Gold Rush Trail. Jesus, this dude was awesome, I need to visit his grave. Writing this I was getting jealous of such cool state history but then I remembered I’m from New York.
Aaaannnyway, I make my fragrances with historical and literary figures in mind and when I decided that I wanted to venture into colognes… Doc Maynard was the first person I thought of (actually second behind King Henry VIII but I haven’t perfected that yet). This cologne is a tribute to Seattle’s original badass and brings to mind sasparilla and old saloons. The sassafras lends a root beer scent while the underlying juniper berry (used to flavor gin) smells fresh and clean. Layers of moss, sandalwood and tobacco round out this cologne.
I LOVE HISTORY!!
I’ve dubbed today, Tutorial Tuesday, and on this most wondrous day of DIY, we shall be fancy and French. Remember how we learned how to make perfume oil? Well, today we’re going to learn how to make the gold standard: Eau de Parfum. Translated by Google, Eau de Parfum means “Perfume.” :O
So what’s the difference between perfume oil and Eau de Parfum? Well, for starters, Eau de Parfum is probably what you’re used to wearing. Instead of using a carrier of Jojoba like we used in our perfume oil, Eau de Parfum has alcohol and is what you buy at most stores. It’s that friendly little spray bottle that you can carry in your purse and spritz on throughout the day, or you can be all 1930s awesome and have an atomizer bulb.
Alright, so now that we have the terminology down, let’s get to work.
If you have not already read my tutorial on how to make perfume oil, go there first. Read until the section: The Maths. Then you will be sufficient expert in basic perfumery and blending so that we may begin. Go ahead. I’ll be here.
The Maths for Eau de Parfum
Ick. More math. But don’t worry, Eau de Parfum math is arguably easier in that you can get Google to do most of the work for you. For today’s lesson, we are going to use a 10ml atomizer bottle. As you recall from last time/what you just read, each ml has 20 drops, sooooo:
20drops X 10 ml = 200 drops
Our perfume today will have 200 drops. Alcohol based perfumes are generally comprised of the following parts:
20% essential oil
70% alcohol (190proof)
10% distilled water
So if our essential oils comprise 20% of 200 drops, that means that we need 40 drops total of essential oil. 70% of 200 is 140, so 140 drops of alcohol. 10% of 200 is 20, ergo, 20 drops distilled water. (Thanks Google!)
This makes figuring out how much of each essential oil a lot less complicated. Since our note ratios are:
2 parts base: 1 part heart: 1 part head
That means the drops will be:
20drops base: 10 drops heart: 10 drops head
SO MUCH EASIER!! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I say base, heart, and head then you get an F on your homework of reading.)
What You Will Need
1 – 10ml atomizer bottle (you can do a search online for this, or you can re-use an old perfume bottle. Just make sure you wash it out with some rubbing alcohol and then maybe run through the dishwasher.)
3 essential oils or fragrance oils depending on what you want. If you want all natural perfume, only use essential oils. Fragrance oils can contain synthetics but have already been diluted in carrier oil so they tend to be less irritating. When choosing essential oils, make sure to look up any health advisories they may have as not all EOs are skin safe. Brambleberry has a nice, affordable selection of both EOs and fragrance oils.
7ml of 190 (preferably) proof grain alcohol. If you can get your hands on some Everclear, that is the best you can get for make-at-home perfume. Unfortunately, Everclear is illegal in many states. You can also use grape alcohol. Short of Everclear, buying 190 proof alcohol is sort of tough because it’s hard to find and when you do find some, it tends to be sold in big bottles that are often expensive. If you’re serious about perfumery, spend the money. If you’re just having fun, it won’t kill your perfume to just use some vodka you can get at the store. Just get the highest proof available. Do not use rubbing alcohol. No! Bad!
3 pipettes or glas droppers for your EOs
1 measuring cup that has ml units
1 small funnel
20 drops of distilled water (optional) I say optional here because a lot of the times the distilled water makes your perfume cloudy. If you don’t care, use the water. If you do, don’t use the water, it won’t kill you.
Tag or label for your perfume; I usually just use some masking tape when I’m experimenting.
Let’s Do This!
[The process is pretty much the same so some of this will be copied and pasted from my previous post. I’m not re-inventing the wheel here guys.]
Clear off a workspace; wipe it clean and put some newspapers or table cloth down to prevent spill damage. Make sure that all your materials – bottles, droppers – are clean. Next open up your base note and insert your pipette. Gently squeeze the bulb and let go to get the oil in. Carefully (and slowly!) count out 20 drops of your base note into the 10ml bottle. When you’re done, close the EO lid and put it and your pipette to the side. Next, open up your heart note. Count out 10 drops; then put that EO and pipette aside. Don’t shake yet! Last, count out 10 drops of your head note. Once you have transferred the 3 EOs into your 10ml bottle, close the lid of the bottle and shake it up gently to let the oils mix in with each other.
Now, YOU HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK! Sorry, Eau de Parfum oils and alcohol like to go to the dance just as much as the perfume oils. Don’t deny them! Put your bottle in a dark place for a week before adding the alcohol.
After the week has passed, check your oil blend to make sure you like it. If you do, let’s move forward. If not, chuck it and try again. Blending essential oils for fragrances can be challenging, don’t always expect to get it on your first try.
Get your bottle of blended EOs, your funnel, measuring cup, and alcohol. Over the sink, pour out 7ml of alcohol into your measuring cup. Once you have this, stick your funnel into the bottle of EOs and pour the alcohol into the funnel. This minimizes the mess and is nice because you don’t have to sit hunched over counting out 140 drops with a pipette. Put the lid back on your bottle, shake it up, and put the bottle away. You didn’t really think you’d get away with waiting the month did you?
What You May Notice About Your Eau de Parfum
After your month has passed, smell your concoction. Does it have a strong odor of alcohol? That’s generally ok. Test it out by spritzing a little on your pressure points. The alcohol smell should dissipate after a few seconds and your gorgeous perfume notes will be left behind. If, however, the alcohol is all you smell after some time has passed, you might have put in too much alcohol, you might not have a good blend of EOs, or it’s possible that you need to let the perfume sit a bit longer. While Eau de Parfums are ready to wear after about a month, I’ve found that the 3 month marker is the sweet spot. After 3 months, these perfumes really shine.
You now know how to make two varieties of perfume. For our next Tutorial Tuesday (which may not be on a Tuesday, let’s see how ambitious I am), let’s learn how to make solid perfume, shall we? Stay tuned.
Last week was a pretty good week for me – I found out that one of the articles I’ve written will be re-published on a bigger website with more traffic than lowly me could ever hope to acquire on my own, and I was notified that my shop was given a positive review by a respected perfumista (out this Fall). If this was Tumblr, this would be the part where I include a gif of Michael Scott dancing or something.
Feeling validated and confident, I sang my own praises from mountaintops (my apartment, to my husband, Facebook friends, and cats). And then my husband said, “That sounds like a big bump in traffic that’s coming your way in the next two months. Do you have enough inventory? Are you prepared?”
Me: [Long pause] You’re right. A perfume storm is a’brewing (yes I really do speak like that).
So I ran to the other side of the room and busted out all the perfume ingredients and set to work. For two days, I counted drops on six different perfumes. Realizing that I had run out of two ingredients, I rented a Zipcar and made my way to the supply store here in Seattle where I proceeded to buy at least $70 worth of oil that wasn’t on the list. When I got home, I realized that I had not done a proper inventory of my most used essential oils. Mid-pour, the painful truth presented itself. I was 80 drops short of Tahitian Vanilla!
I wanted to kick myself. I can understand if I run out of Morrocan Rose or Saffron if I’m not paying attention, but vanilla?! WTF, me? Vanilla is one of the most basic, universally loved ingredients in fragrances. Some snooty people say that an affinity for vanilla is the mark of an undeveloped palette. To which I say, if people like vanilla then what the hell does it matter?
But yeah, planning. Excel sheets. File Folders. I need all of these things.