Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Charity Roses

Charity Roses is a collection of four very special roses with $1/ml sold going to the International Rescue Committee, San Jose office.I started working on this a few months ago, and finally have everything up and listed on Etsy. 

Each rose is available as a 1ml sample or 4ml full size roll on, diluted in organic jojoba at 5-10%. These roses are unique and hard to come by, and I might not be able to get more when I run out.

Pictured are the sampler tins, with two oils of your choice of two samples in a tin decorated with a vintage Japanese cabochon.

I decided on a refugee charity, because in addition to losing their homes and facing all the obstacles associated with that, refugees are likely to experience hate and other difficulties for being different. While I try to avoid politics in my business, I feel that is un-American to turn our backs on refugees, and I feel that this is one way I can show my support.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The ABCs of Essential Oils: Patchouli

Pogostemon cablin

Patchouli is one of those things you probably love or hate. And while I've met those who adore patchouli, it feels like the general public is wary of the scent. If you want to make perfumes, trying to find a way to use the oils you don't like is invaluable.

Patchouli has a reputation as a "dirty hippy" scent, and with its earthy odor, that might feel apt the first time you sniff it. It does have a strong scent, and if your first reaction is to wrinkle your nose up, try diluting it. A lot of essential oils are too strong in their pure state, so diluting it will help you appreciate it better. If you're still thinking "ew" after diluting it, don't give up hope.

Like other oils, you can find patchouli as an essential oil, CO2 extract, and absolute. I am a huge fan of CO2s and absolutes, which often have odor profiles quite different than the essential oil. While I haven't sniffed patchouli absolute (at least not too recently), the CO2 has a fresher scent that you might find more appealing than the essential oils. For the essential oils, you can seek out different distillation methods. I've seen double distilled, which removes parts of the essential oil, such as iron. "Light" patchouli, which is distilled in stainless steel, has not only a lighter color than dark patchouli, but a lighter scent as well. And then you can also explore aged patchoulis, with their richer, deeper scents.

Still not feeling the patchouli love? Time to move on to blending it. Add a small amount to a different single oil, like rose, and evaluate what it does to the rose scent. Split a blend in half, add a drop or two of patchouli to one of them, and leave the other aside. Go back a day later and sniff out the differences.

Arctander says, "Patchouli oil is used so extensively that it is hardly possible to specify its field of application," and goes on to list as "an important ingredient in Oriental bases, woody bases, fougeres, chypres, opoponax bases, powder-type perfumes, etc." As such, anyone who wants to work with fragrances beyond narrow subsets should learn go appreciate this oil. While you don't need to love it, rise above the hate, and expand your creative potential.

Orange Blossom
Ho Wood

Saturday, January 14, 2017

One Dozen Roses Sale & Update

First, the exciting news (for those who want to buy some rose oils, at least): I am selling the 4ml roll-ons at 50% off while supplies last. I will be switching from plastic to glass roll-ons, so all plastic roll-ons are on sale. Quite a few are gone already (4, 5, 9, 11, and 12), and some are low stock, so if you've been waiting to buy any of the scents, now is the time.

My last complete set of One Dozen Roses sold in December, and while looking to restock some of the oils, I noticed a few were no longer available for purchase. The following 5 scents will no longer be included in the set:

1. Ruh Gulab Monsoon- Rosa Damascena- India- Ruh
2. White Rose Otto- Rosa Alba- Bulgaria Essential Oil
3. Rose Enfleurage- South America- Enfleurage
4. Russian Rose Otto- Rosa Damascena- Russia- Essential Oil
6. Chinese Tea Rose- Rosa Odorata- China- Essential Oil

I personally love some of these, and hope to bring them on as additions so those who haven't experienced them yet will get a chance to in the future. I also have my eye on some rare and precious roses that might not work for the set, but would be available separately as limited editions.

These will be making a return in the set, along with sample vials and 4ml roll-ons available to purchase separately.
5. Rose Gallica- Rosa Gallica- Moldova- Essential Oil
7. Rose Apothecary- Rosa Gallica- Russia Absolute
8. Rose de Mai- Rosa Centifolia- Egypt- Organic Extract
9. Rose de Mai Absolute- Rosa Centifolia- Egypt- Absolute
10. White Rose- Rosa Alba- Bulgaria- CO2
11. Moroccan Rose- Rosa Damascena- Morocco- Absolute
12. Rose Anatolian- Rosa Damascena- Turkey- Absolute

I will be adding the following to the One Dozen Roses set:
Rose Damascena - Bulgaria - CO2
Rosa Alba - Bulgaria - Absolute
Rosa Damascena - Bulgaria - Essential Oil
Rosa Rugosa - China - Essential Oil
Rosa Centifolia - Russia - Absolute

I hope to have new sets available within a few weeks, so you can treat yourself or someone you love to One Dozen Roses for Valentine's Day.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The ABCs of Essential Oils: Orange Blossom

Citrus aurantium

The orange tree is one of the most amazing suppliers of essential oils, supplying us with unique fragrances from its many parts. In addition to orange oil and petitgrain, we have the flowers, which create one of the most divine scents. When distilled, we call the oil neroli, which also creates orange flower water. When solvent extracted, we call it orange blossom absolute. There is also orange flower CO2 extract, which is more similar to neroli in scent, and probably the truest to nature.

As with many other florals, the different types of orange blossom are expensive, and quality can vary. If you can't afford them, look for a high quality petitgrain or perhaps petitgrain sur fleurs, which includes the flowers in the distillation. If you see orange blossom water absolute, beware, this might not be your oil. It has a very dirty scent, which has it's uses in tiny quantities, but out of the bottle it is rather gross.

Where to use neroli or orange flower absolute? Besides blending it with other florals or citrus oils, you can use it in oriental, chypre, amber and colognes.

Mandarin Petitgrain

Ho Wood

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Figgy Pudding Body Scrub

Finished Product
Buying scrubs has been difficult for me, since they can be pricy and I go through them quickly. I've taken to making my own over the past several years, and here is a recent experiment: Figgy Pudding Body Scrub.

16 oz demerara sugar
2 oz fig powder
1 tablespoon walnut shell powder
Pumpkin seed oil
Dry ingredients
Mix dry ingredients together, trying to break up any clumps. Add oil to desired consistency.

I had these ingredients on hand, and had wanted to use the fig powder in a scrub. Mixing it with the demerara sugar worked out well, since they give the finished product a sweet scent.

I through in the walnut shell after finding a small sample bag and deciding I might as well try it. I'm not sure it adds much to the finished product, but it does add a finer grain to the mix.

I don't like my scrubs overly oily, so I went light on the oil, probably about 6 oz. You could probably add quite a bit more oil. The pumpkin seed oil has a bit of a nutty scent, and a dark color, and could be substituted with a more neutral oil.

I left out scent because I wanted to appreciate the light figgy molasses scent from the ingredients used. I had thought of adding some vanilla oleoresin or absolute, but those can be hard to mix in, and I wanted to make something quick and easy.

Other ingredients I considered but skipped include some sort of surfactant, like polysorbate, an antioxidant, and a preservative. If making this for sale, a preservative would be a must, since it would be exposed to water in the shower. Since this was for personal use, I left it out. Also, adding an antioxidant so that the oil wouldn't turn rancid would be necessary for a sale product, but since I'm using this up pretty quickly, I'm not concerned about the product going rancid.

The final result is a scrub that worked pretty well for me. The pumpkin seed oil did turn my skin a greenish-yellow, but soaping up after scrubbing solves that problem. The sugar crystals are a little large, but did not irritate my skin- if you try to really rub it in, I imagine it could hurt more though.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The ABCs of Essential Oils: Nutmeg

Myristica fragrans

Nutmeg (or perhaps mace) is a spice you're probably most familiar with from baking or cooking, powdered. Perhaps you've seen the whole spice in a grinder at a coffee shop. The scent is warm and spicy, perhaps a comforting reminder of holidays past.

When creating a perfume, it's best to have at hand several spices, so you can choose the one best suited. Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and all'll feel like you're in a bakery, or perhaps preparing the perfect chai.

While nutmeg essential oil is more easily found, for perfumery you should seek out the absolute. The scent is finer and richer, and will provide a warm middle note. The essential oil may work for aromatherapy purposes, but for perfumery, the absolute provides more depth and smoothness. Blend a small bit with jasmine or in a floral blend. Use it in an Oriental fragrance, or in any fragrance in need of some warm spice.

All Spice (Pimento Berry)

Ho Wood

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What's New and Why I Haven't Updated

I've been trying to write this off and on for awhile, but it's hard for me to write. However, it has effected my business, and where it's going, so I would like to write about it. Last year I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I had been experiencing a lot of pain off and on for about a year before the diagnosis. I'm not sure if it is really fibromyalgia or something else, but for lack of a better diagnosis, that's what it is. I am receiving treatment for it, which has helped, but I still have many days where I'm exhausted or in too much pain to do much. I have various other ailments, so work hasn't always been easy.

So basically I haven't been always up to making perfumes and such. I've gotten to be rather droppy and spilly, so mixing something up can be messy and wasteful. And you really don't want to spill those expensive essential oils, which are the ones I adore the most.

Going forward, I will be focusing on perfume making, and phasing out the bath and body products. Most of the products for sale now are perfumes, with the other products already phased out. I will be working on some new perfumes on days I feel up to blending, and I will be bringing back the solid single notes.

I will begin selling some perfumery materials, including essential oils, floral waxes, and absolutes. I am also thinking of adding perfume bottles, pipettes, etc. I want people to enjoy these materials, and I feel this is a good way to share them with those who might not be interested in the scents I make. I currently do offer several single notes diluted in fractionated coconut oil through my Etsy store, including 12 different natural rose oils.

I do intend to continue making bath and body products for myself, and I hope to blog about my various experiments. I have all sorts of crazy ingredients on hand in small amounts that I've wanted to test, but haven't gotten around to yet, so I hope to work on those soon. I will also continue my alphabetical essential oil profiles, with nutmeg next.

On my Ivre de Fleurs website, I have started adding a few different product categories. One is vintage, since I started collecting small perfume pendants and lockets with the hopes of using them for my products. I have decided not to do that, so I will be adding some of these to that website. I have also started adding a few jewelry pieces and some housewares I have made. Jewelry making has been a hobby of mine off and on throughout my life, and I most recently started it up again last summer after several years of avoiding it. I've found that jewelry making is something I can handle on all but my worst days. If I drop a bead, I don't have to throw it out (I do have to find it though, which can be tricky). And if working on something is hurting my arms, I can generally put it aside and come back to it as desired. It has made the last year bearable by providing me with a creative outlet on days that I couldn't bring myself to work on the perfumes swirling through my mind.