I haven’t been writing. Here’s a brief synopsis of why.
*On January 29 a blog post on BookRiot, followed by The Huffington Post, about my Dead Writers perfume went viral. Nearly 400 orders were placed in my shop between then and the end of February. To put that in perspective, my previous high was 87 orders in one month…at Christmas. Usually, I get anywhere between 30-50.
*On February 16 things began to slow down to a more manageable pace (no longer working from 9am – 2am!) and my friends and family flew to Seattle to give me a baby shower! It was grand! We made onesies, everyone but me got really drunk, and my 13 year old cousin not only drew the phrase “Breast Milk Pump,” but drew an anatomically correct picture that was correctly guessed in roughly 7 seconds. During this weekend we watched Parks and Recreation, specifically the episode where Tom and Donna take Ben on an excursion of self-pampering they dub, “Treat Yo’ Self.” This became the mantra of the weekend.
Should I get this bacon Bloody Mary? Treat Yo’ Self.
Should I buy a new wardrobe even though I won’t fit into anything within the next month? Treat Yo’ Self.
Should we order the $100 per person chef’s tasting menu? TREAT YO’ SELF!
I’m one of those people who gets easily distracted by connections I make in my head and then don’t voice until 10 minutes into the conversation so everyone’s like, “What? How long have you been thinking of that? What kind of mental acrobatics did you do to arrive at this point?” Here it is:
I’ve been getting a lot of new customers to my shop who want advice on what perfumes to try. Most of them are intrigued by handmade perfume and wonder what it’s like. Others are just nervous about buying perfume they’ve never smelled over the internet which I totally get. If you want to Treat Yo’ Self to some fine perfume (see what I did there?) here is what I usually recommend.
First off… my top three selling perfumes are Dead Writers, Remy, and Georgiana. (That alone helps some.)
Antoinette: Do you like to smell like a bouquet of freshly picked Spring flowers? LOOK NO FURTHER. The jasmine, tuberose, moss, and bergamot work together to ensure that even if the winter makes you feel like you’re waiting for the guillotine, you’ll be transported to the Hall of Mirrors. History!
Clara: Are you a single lady who likes to hit the clubs and (gasp!) show a little ankle?! Then the sexy sandalwood and tuberose combination in this perfume will make you feel like a silver screen siren. No really. This one is basically a sex perfume. If you’re trying to be sultry, this is the one you want. One warning though: I am a migraine sufferer…this is my one perfume that I can’t wear because the smell is too heady for me. If you get headaches easily, don’t do this one.
Dead Writers: Do you wear patches on your elbows and sit in dimly lit rooms drinking black coffee or tea smoking packs of clove cigarettes (Djarum Blacks)? If this describes you, or you’re just the type of person who prefers a “dirty perfume” then put some of this on before you head out to work on that novel at the local coffee shop. Dead Writers is musky and has a stale smoke smell. It is lightened by some vanilla and heliotrope (a flower that in combination with the vanilla smells like a sweet milk creamer you might add to your tea). If you’ve never had a musky perfume and want to live dangerously without smelling homeless, go for the Georgiana. More on that below.
Georgiana: Are you a lady who dresses for dinner and… I can’t think of anything clever, basically you are Dowager Countess Maggie Smith elegance. Georgiana literally smells like a cup of Earl Grey tea. It’s my most subtle perfume and has a soft, sultry, smokiness that is perfect for an evening on the town. I wear this one when I want to be fancy. If you were interested in the smokiness of Dead Writers but don’t want to overdo it with the musk, then Georgiana is the one for you. The bergamot really brightens it up and it smells more feminine.
Maynard: Do you want to smell like the frontier? Maynard has a bunch of old timey ingredients (sassafras, gin, the sweat of men who founded cities) and somehow smells like clean root beer. What does clean root beer smell like you ask? Like Old Spice and root beer… but BETTER. That’s what. A gentleman friend took home a sample of Maynard from the aforementioned baby shower and told me yesterday that he “smells like a BOSS and gets looks from all the ladies.” That’s not to say a lady can’t wear this one. I wear it sometimes when I want to be the Boss. (I’m never the boss though, guys 😦 Too meek.) Basically if you enjoy root beer and like to smell shower fresh, May May be your pick.
Pamplemousse: Do you like to smell like a summer cocktail, not because you’re an alcoholic but because you just enjoy the scent? If you live in San Francisco, specifically the Mission, then you’ve heard of a restaurant called Beretta. They make a drink called Pamplemousse that is basically grapefruit juice, gin and St. Germaine (might have champagne too, can’t remember). Once I discovered this drink, my weekends for the rest of the year I lived there were booked. This perfume makes me think of happier times when I wasn’t pregnant and could drink delicious grapefruit cocktails and sit in the sun. On the skin: Pamplemousse has an intense grapefruit citrus smell for about 20 minutes to an hour which then melts into this amazing honey tea scent. All of my perfumes have layers and this one is probably one of my favorites to just sit there noting the smell of my wrist over the course of 8 hours.
Remy: Do you like to smell like honey and the Egyptian market? Perhaps you like something light, a bit powdery, and suitable for everyday wear. That’s Remy. I wear this perfume every day. The saffron and sandalwood gives it a slight exotic spiciness that is balanced out by sweet, sweet honey. Behind Dead Writers, this is the top seller.
Thoreau: Are you a gardener who likes to take the scent of earth and tomatoes with you wherever you go? This perfume is unisex and smells like a forest or a freshly tilled plot of garden, depending on your nose. The clary sage ingredient further has a head clearing property to it – if you’re a headache person, this one might be nice to sniff. If you like to smell like greenery, this one’s for you.
HRM Victoria: If you’re into pomp and circumstance and like a sugar scent, Victoria is your go-to. It smells like lavender and melted molasses. This one is closest in scent to what you might find at a Bath and Body Works…but there are three all natural ingredients in this one: French Lavender, Amber, and Vanilla. At BBW there would probably be at least 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce. The scent is very sugary, but the lavender gives it an air of regalness (word?). Lavender was, after all, Queen Vic’s favorite scent.
There you have it, my perfumes in a nutshell. Also, my new labels are done I’m just trying to figure out how to get them to print correctly using Windows 8. So if you order, you might get a label a bit different from what you see in the photos. I’m hoping to have better photos soon too, baby steps people.
First off, I finally got around to going through my perfumes and deciding on what to continue selling and what to discontinue. Unfortunately, due to slow sales and postal restrictions, Eau de Parfums (the alcohol based sprays) are the unlucky ones. If you’d like to get some while they last, I currently have a Half Off Sale going on in my shop. You can get a purse sized 10ml spray for $11.50 and the super pretty 1oz vintage atomizer for only $20!!! Here is the link, remember, once they’re gone, they’re gone:
Dear Canada, I’m sorry.
I love you and I hate to see you get burned but I can no longer offer free shipping on samples 😦 The shipping rate for my perfumes and jewelry has gone up for you too, from a mere $3 to $7.50!! I swear I didn’t want to do this but the US Post Office had an insane price hike on international shipments that started on January 27. It especially irritates me for you Canada because you’re only like 2 hours away from me!! All the other countries in the world always had higher prices but they are across oceans and time zones. IT’S DUMB! Anyway, I hope you can forgive me.
Thank you to all of my customers for being super rad. I’ve really enjoyed running this shop and sharing scents. I’m really excited for what’s in store over the next few months.
The tutorial I wrote a while back on how to make perfume oil was featured on the Offbeat Home website yesterday. Heck yes! I love the Offbeat Empire and I’m so excited I could be a part of it. Here is the link to my article as it appears on their site: http://offbeathome.com/2012/09/diy-perfume
If you’ve come from Offbeat Home and wanted to learn more (or if you’re a reader and have forgotten), here are links to some of my other tutorials:
Sara James from Tin Roof Soap Co. wrote this lovely review of my Marie Antoinette perfume. Check.it.out.
“I LOVE selling on Etsy.com – I have the opportunity to meet and mingle with creative souls all over the world, and I get exposed to new ideas and high quality products. This is about one of those creative souls and my experience with her handcrafted perfume.
J.T. Siems, owner and creator of Sweet Tea Apothecary, is kind of amazing. She has imbued her warm, stylish, smart, and creative personality into her products and her shop. Browsing through her online storefront is kind of like visiting a Victorian-era gift shop, complete with flowers, vintage lockets, and spray perfumes. Around the Etsy.com network, I kept finding myself drawn to her perfumes, luring me in with their whimsy (the store tagline is “Whimsical handmade perfumes and Victorian jewelry” – fitting, no?). After reading through the descriptions of the each perfumes, with names such as HRM Victoria,Her Grace, The Duchess Georgiana, and Thoreau and historical stories to fit each, I decided to go with La Reine Antoinette, with “gentle notes of Rose, Bergamot, and Jasmine accented by fresh moss will make you feel as though you’re picking wildflowers in the gardens of Versailles.” Swoon.” Read the rest.
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.
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.
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!!