Temporary Break

I have taken the cart down today for a temporary break. I was going to wait until late July to take a two-week break while my assistant is out of town (last week of July and first week of August), but I’ve strained a muscle or ligament or something in my right side (rib area) and need to give it a rest. If it feels better soon I will put the cart back up as soon as I can.

If you need something for a gift or you are an international customer and want to time a package while you or a friend is visiting the USA, please email me and I will take care of your orders. It won’t be hard to take care of a few orders; I just need to limit them for a few weeks.

Thanks for your understanding (and I apologize for the lack of notice — this was unexpected)!

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Some links: Amber Incense review and more on scent perception

Julie of The Redolent Mermaid blog just posted a review of the new SSS Amber Incense. Her blog, which has a pretty new format, features reviews with gorgeous product photography and fun DIY project tutorials.

I also wanted to post a link to a recent article about scent perception because we’ve been covering that topic here on my blog for quite a few years. I’ve been tagging posts with the tag “genetics” to help identify the topic of the genetic basis for scent perception. If you’re interested in that topic you can search for my posts with the “genetics” tag to find more information. This particular article discusses a way to identify people according to their “olfactory fingerprint” because our scent perception may vary enough from one person to the next to make each one of us identifiably unique. An interesting thought! :)

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Update (notes on Rose Volupte, To Dream, and a gardenia mod)

I’ve let too much time go by since my last post, but I’ve been enjoying these early summer days and have been trying to accomplish a lot on both the personal and business fronts.

I have updated the website to move Rose Volupte from the Archive back into the Mixed Media Collection. So many people have written to me with concerns about the long-term status of Volupte that I think it’s best to move it back into the regular lineup. I have moved To Dream into the Archive, at least for now. I am out of stock of To Dream and will wait a bit before re-batching (I do have all the ingredients though — no problems there).

gardenia_smallerMy assistant has nurtured a prolific gardenia plant and has kindly shared some lovely scented blossoms with me, so I was inspired to return to the gardenia project I had begun several years ago. I had completed dozens of mods but wasn’t satisfied with any of them. I started fresh a few weeks ago (keeping all my previous experiments in mind), and I have something I really love. I need to increase the concentration and keep testing, but I think this is coming together very quickly. It’s nice when previous trials pay off later!

squirrel_smThe lettuce and tomatoes are doing great in my veggie pot garden. I’m enjoying ripe Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, but it’ll be a while yet before the full size Early Girls are ripe. I’ve had lots of beautiful lettuce because spring was pleasant but cool, so it grew like crazy. The picture at right shows a squirrel that decided to feast on one lettuce plant (they don’t usually eat a whole plant — they usually just like acorns). Luckily I had enough to share and he hasn’t come back for more.

frog4smI seem to have frogs living in the flower pots by the front door, and one likes to crawl up the side of the house and hide in the eaves. I’ve not seen them climb all the way up the wall before. I’ve had several get into the house this spring and had to herd them out the front door again. (They will hop in the right direction if I get behind them, which probably looks comical but is effective.)

That’s the end of the critter pictures for now. :) We have a deer with two young twin babies living here this summer, but we’ve not been able to get any pictures yet. We’ve only spotted them three times so far, never when a camera was handy.

Hope your summer is off to a great start!

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Checking In, and Amber Incense Review on Colognoisseur

Amber Incense was reviewed today on Colognoisseur. I like the categorization as an “intimate incense” because it does stay closer to the body as an all-natural scent. All bottle sizes are now available on the site.

I have two new scent formulas in progress. I started one of them quite a few months ago and am just getting back to it now; it’s an all-natural version of Forest Walk. The other new scent is something that I just started recently and am excited about. I’ve been wanting to play with a beautiful new rose oil in my ingredient collection, and I have a yummy blend started with that rose, apricot, patchouli, jasmine, oak, benzoin, violet, heliotrope.

I just harvested the first zucchini yesterday in the garden. The plant has five more zucchini that will be ready in the next few days. The lettuce plants are extremely prolific right now (I’m sharing the harvest with my parents because I can’t keep up), and the tomatoes are looking great. I’m growing all the veggies in pots with some organic dirt that seems to be making a big difference this year. It’s a special potting blend with organic nutrients and micro-organisms, and it seems to help nurture very healthy, strong plants.

You may have read about the aromatic compound called geosmin that is partly responsible for the smell of moist dirt and the smell of the soil after rain. It is produced by bacteria in the soil and the odor is so strong that the human nose can detect concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion, which this article says is equivalent to a teaspoon in 200 Olympic swimming pools. Our water supply has to be monitored for geosmin because water quality can be degraded by very small amounts. In very low concentrations outdoors though, the scent is quite pleasant if you like the smell of fresh soil. :) Geosmin is available for use in perfume (dosed in incredibly small concentrations), and you have probably smelled it in some scents that conjure dirt notes (Demeter Dirt and L’Artisan Voleur de Roses come to mind).

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Amber Incense is up!

I have added all sizes of Amber Incense to the site except for 34 ml. I’ll add 34 ml after another batch is ready. I also have a new batch of Cocoa Sandalwood almost done so I will soon be able to add 34 ml sizes back for Cocoa Sandalwood too.

I got some fun new ingredient samples and can get sniffing on those. :)

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Garden Pics Spring 2015

This morning was bright but cloudy, perfect for taking some photos in the garden.

Here is Climbing Pinky rose on the left and an overgrown Jacques Cartier rose on the right. Oak trees in the background.

Pinky
Here is Ballerina rose, a hybrid musk.

Ballerina
Here is Iris pallida, the iris that is grown to produce roots for use in perfume (orris root).

Iris
Here is my lettuce garden on the back porch. Love the new spring green leaves on the oaks that wrap around the cottage.

backporch
Here are my tomato and strawberry plants on the front porch.

tomatoes
It’s a beautiful time of year. Soon it will become hot and dry, and the plants will suffer, but spring is bursting forth for now. :)

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Testing, testing, 1,2,3…

I have been testing small batches of Amber Incense as I scale up the formula, making twice as much each time. I think I will put samples on the site within a few days. I’ll post again here when I put them up. It’s always hard to let a new one go and call it done. :)

We’ve had some beautiful spring weather, so I thought I’d share a couple of recent photos. Here’s a perfect blossom of the rose called Memorial Day.

MemDayRose

And here is a gorgeous anise swallowtail butterfly that my assistant hatched and brought over for me to see before she released it.

swallowtail_med

She’s an expert at feeding and caring for the caterpillars that then turn into these magnificent butterflies. We can help them out in our gardens by planting host plants (monarchs need milkweed; anise swallowtails like fennel, Queen Anne’s Lace, and parsley; pipevine swallowtails need Dutchman’s pipe vine), though do your research because some of the host plants can be invasive and may be best contained in pots or designated areas. If you’re interested in butterfly gardening, you can find a lot of info on the net.

I’ll be back soon with news about Amber Incense, and then I can get to work on the next new formula. It’s always fun to work on something new! :)

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