Checking in…

A week ago I had the pleasure of spending a day with a family friend that I’ve not seen in years, and then last weekend some of our relatives from Sweden came to visit. It was great to see everyone.

I’m having some work done in the cottage the week of Sept 21 and will have to move everything out of the workroom for a week. I need to keep the shopping cart down until after that, but I will continue to fill orders via email for those who need things in the meantime. I won’t be able to take any orders, even by email, the week of Sept 21, so please plan ahead if you need something before October. I can’t believe how fast the summer is going.

It was well over 100 degrees here today. There is a haze on the horizon, sadly, from the wildfires in the area. No fires are dangerously close to us right now, but they are close enough to cause a smoky haze in the air. Everything is so dry; we really need rain this winter in CA.

Editing to add a note: If you will need an order during Sept 20-28, talk with me ahead of time and I could pack your order ahead to ship on the appropriate date. I’ll have access to email and could ship during that time, but I would need to pre-pack the order before Sept 20. I’ll have the lab back up and running after Sept 28.

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Birds and Butterflies!


A few days ago I watched the first flight of a gulf fritillary butterfly after it emerged from the chrysalis; I was babysitting it for Nancy and had the fun of watching it emerge. The butterfly took a little while to fly off, flapping and drying its wings before it was ready to fly. Then off it went high up into an oak tree.


The next day, I watched a small bird (maybe a finch?) bobbing back and forth wildly as it rode on an anise hyssop wand, eating the seeds from the dried flower pod. The bird was too heavy for the branch so the branch kept falling over to the ground and then popping back up, but the bird held on and kept eating.


It had a pretty yellow breast. We have house finches with red breasts and also these small birds with yellow breasts (not sure what they are). My pictures aren’t great because it was hard to focus while it was in motion and I couldn’t get very close, but it was still fun to get a few photos. Maybe someone can identify it for me.


I’m still working on the gardenia, and getting some medical appointments done while on my time off. My side injury seems healed, and we have family coming this Friday through Sunday.

Hope your summer is going well!

Posted in Gardening, Sonoma Scent Studio Updates | 8 Comments

Drawing for sample sets, and a quick update

You can head over to Cafleurebon if you’d like to enter a drawing for sample sets from SSS, Ineke, and Cognoscenti. The post is about how artisan perfumers name their scents. Naming can be hard!

My side injury is feeling quite a bit better. My assistant is going on vacation soon though, and then we have family coming August 7-9. I will plan to keep the cart down until after August 10 since this is a busy time and since I’m trying to get some medical appointments out of the way now too. I’m still filling orders for people who need gifts or who are timing international packages, so do email me if you need something.

Hope everyone’s summer is going well!

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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! :)

Just editing this to add a link to another online article on this same study about our olfactory fingerprint. This is fascinating, “Researchers then repeated that sniff test on another 130 subjects. But this time they did a blood test, too, to figure out each person’s HLA type—an immune factor that determines whether you’ll reject someone’s organ, for example. They found that people who perceived smells similarly also had similar HLA types.” They suggest that taking sniff tests may become a first line medical screening test someday.

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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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