A Sultry Summer Sale…

I’m on my summer holiday! Let’s celebrate the dreamy weather, my blooming, fragrant garden, and the sweet luxury of having time to spare with — A Perfume Sale!

See details and coupon codes, below…

Use the coupon code SummerHoliday2017 to receive free Priority insured shipping (domestic/US parcels only, please!) on all anointing oils, scent samplersbotanical perfumes in the 6 ml Moroccan bottles, and the larger size in the Minaret perfume bottles, from now through July 5th in my Etsy shop. 

As a bonus, combine my ongoing 10% off gratitude coupon code ArabesqueAromas with this sale on Etsy and, until July 5th, you can also apply it to my cookbook, The Fragrant Kitchen: Culinary Recipes from a Botanical Perfumer. The hard copies have sold out, the cookbook is currently available in PDF format only, 4th edition. (And it was recently complimented by a professional dietician, which meant a lot to me!)

Convo me on Etsy, or email me at arabesquebotanicals@gmail.com with any questions, custom listings, or requests. My Summer Sale ends on July 5th. Scent Subscriber Shipments, and further news, coming in the July blog/newsletter…

 ***

Arabesque Aromas artisanal botanical perfumes, pictured above are, top: The Star Seller, left: Veriditas, and right: Drann. Photography by Arabesque Aromas.

 

Vetiver Hydrosol, A Cinnamon Infusion, & Literary Perfumes

1001

Well, library work in Archives and in Special Collections is highly enjoyable and, I confess, there are several literary perfumes (and one very big, ever-growing reading list) swirling around in my mind as I write this! So stay tuned for summer. I’m also excited to say I have been accepted to Library School, where I will begin studying for my MLIS, Masters in Library Science, in the fall.

Pictured above is a glimpse of my very favorite shelf in the Tsakoupolos Hellenic Special Collection at CSUS. When I walk by I always pause, admiring the rows and rows of 1001 Nights & The Arabian Nights. They are so beautiful and rich, displayed together in English, French, Italian, German, and Arabic languages and in all of their illustrated volumes, ages, and editions. I’d absolutely feel inspired to make a perfume from this collection except — I’ve already designed a scent inspired by Scheherazade and her storytelling powers, (and the sheer power of storytelling!) almost two years ago. You can find a sample here!

In other news, my good friend and mentor Suzanne Catty has opened her own Etsy shop so I wanted to share the link. She sells the finest in hand-crafted botanical infusions, and for you sun-worshipers, Californians, or especially, those of you who are both, her Golden Brown (food for sun-kissed skin) is a particular delight. Also included in her shop is her cookbook centered around tea. So – do take a look!

alambiccus

In other news, my Spring 2017 Rose Geranium hydrosol is already sold out (Scent Subscribers had first dibs!) but my Spring/Summer 2017 Madagascar Vetiver hydrosol, which Suzanne taught me how to make several years ago, is now available.

Please note that it comes in a spray-top bottle unless otherwise specified upon checkout.
Hydrosol is distilled in the Alambiccus Gaggia upon receipt of order.
Shipping turnaround is 7-14 days.

alexandria

Lastly, Alexandria is back!
I haven’t been happy with the quality of cinnamon oils I’d been finding so I stopped making Alexandria for awhile. Fans of my Alexandria botanical perfume may find it slightly different as I’ve swapped essential oil for a botanical infusion made by me, from the spice itself! Hopefully, you’ll find it to be better than ever. Samples and the perfume are now available in the Etsy shop. Each perfume is handmade to order; shipping window is 7-14 days.

Introducing Arabesque’s Summer 2016 Scent~ Armoise

armoise1

My Summer 2016 scent “Armoise” is named for the perfume’s main ingredient, Mugwort, or Artemisia herba-alba. “Armoise” is inspired by the Artemisia family of herbs and their connection to the goddess Artemis. The perfume is composed of a variety of fresh, almost fruity, green florals like Tuberose, resting atop the exotic green notes of the organic, Moroccan Armoise, built on top of an even greener layer of earthy, heady base notes in an organic Jojoba oil. It can be sampled in 1 ml vials, here, or purchased in the 1/2 oz. size here.

The photo above is of a nook in one of my container gardens.
Pictured behind the Nasturtiums, and next to the Bergamot, is an Artemis tile that was gifted to me by my mom, who taught me how to garden. If you look to the left of Artemis’s face you can see one of her main identifying symbols, the moon. Despite the elements, and the seasons, I always keep this plaque outside in my herb garden, where ever I happen to be living, in honor of the feminine principle. Many of the plants in my garden were grown from seeds or cuttings given to me by female friends, too. Several of the plants in the Artemisia family have a very old connection to women’s bodies and women’s health. The Goddess Artemis was once thought to preside over childbirth and her symbol, the moon, is synonymous with women’s reproductive cycles.

My favorite Artemisia herb to cook with is Tarragon.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about the folklore and the benefits of the Artemisia family, here is an Herbal Fact Sheet from the Herbal Society of America.

Arabesque’s Solid Scents

solid perfume

Now your favorite Arabesque scents are available in solid perfume form.

The solid perfumes, blended into a 1/2 oz. base of beeswax and organic jojoba, are available in the following unisex scents: “The Holly, Moss and Ivy” “Drann” (inspired by ancient Ireland and the Celtic love of trees), “The Man of the Woods” (my DH Lawrence-inspired scent) and the first perfume I ever made, an earthy fougere called “The Green Mantle.”

Select your choice at checkout.

*Note: For those of you in California and other regions with extreme heat, don’t leave solid perfumes in your car or any place where they may melt. Keep them cool and protected at all times. And use your USPS tracking information when ordering to prevent perfumes from sitting in a hot mailbox upon arrival.*

 

Natural Botanical Perfumes by Arabesque Aromas

Scent, smooth, and condition your facial hair with Arabesque’s Aromatic Beard Oil. A diluted version of my botanical scents, the beard oil is available in 1/3 oz. minaret bottles in the following unisex scents: “The Man of the Woods” “Kyphi” “Merlin the Bard” “The Green Mantle” “The 1001 Nights” and also by custom request.

Select your choice at checkout.
And/or sample these unisex scents via my Masculine Scents Sampler.

 

turkish coffee

Just back (mostly) from a dreamy summer trip where I visited an old, dear friend in Olympia, Washington. We had tea, we had sipping chocolate, we had more tea, we had Turkish coffee with baklava and Turkish delight, we collected seashells and sand dollars on the beach of the Puget Sound, we took a train trip to Portland (where we met with another dear friend) and had yet more tea…

I hope everyone has as much delicious fun, this summer, as I’ve already had!
Midsummer 2016 Scent and Scent Subscriber updates and parcels are coming soon.
Cheers!

~Kirsten

The Dark Lady’s Mask~ A Book Launch & A Botanical Perfume

DLM

 

Hello everyone!

I’m excited to share the news of my friend Mary Sharratt’s new book with you. Her research on Hildegard of Bingen brought us together online in 2011, when she was kind enough to give me travel and research tips just as I was preparing for my own trip to Germany to see my longtime bestie and traveling companion, Brandi! (I’ve long desired to be a Hildegard-of-Bingen-Pilgrim!)

My longtime blog followers might also recall that Mary also made a guest appearance on my blog when her book Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard of Bingen was published.

And now she has written a compelling new book on Aemilia Lanier, an author who fascinated me last year in my “Women in Literature” class at Sierra College!

In honor of Mary’s new book, The Dark Lady’s Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Muse, which has come out today, I have designed a custom scent called “The Dark Lady.” The ingredients have been taken directly from a Shakespearean-era aromatic recipe for a sweetbag (sachet) that has been magically transformed into a botanical perfume by yours truly. It will be the prize in a forthcoming contest Mary will have on Amazon, in keeping with her new book…

Follow her on social media, below, to stay tuned on the contest details!
And now — over to Mary!

Unmasking the Dark Lady
by Mary Sharratt 

April 23, 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with worldwide celebrations to mark his legacy. But what about the women?

My motto as a novelist is “writing women back into history.” I’ve long been frustrated by the fact that the average intelligent, literate person can’t name a woman writer before Jane Austen. The Dark Lady’s Mask is my love letter to literary pioneer Aemilia Bassano Lanier, England’s first professional woman writer. I want to draw her out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

I first discovered her when researching the lives of Renaissance women. The daughter of an Italian court musician who may have been a Marrano, or a secret Jew living under the guise of a Christian convert, Lanier was one of the most highly educated women of her era. She certainly had the talent and expertise to write plays or secular poetry. However in England at that time, the only genre considered acceptable for women was religious verse. Lanier’s female literary predecessors like Mary Sidney wrote poetic meditations on the Psalms.

But Lanier turned the tradition of women’s devotional writing on its head. Her epic poem, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Hail God, King of the Jews), published in 1611, is nothing less than a vindication of the rights of women couched in religious verse. Dedicated and addressed exclusively to women, Salve Deus lays claim to women’s God-given call to rise up against male arrogance, just as the strong women in the Old Testament rose up against their oppressors.
The possibility that Lanier may also have been the mysterious Dark Lady of Shakespeare’s Sonnets only adds to her mystique.

My intention was to write a novel that married the playful comedy of Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard’s Shakespeare in Love to the unflinching feminism of Virginia Woolf’s meditations on Shakespeare’s sister in A Room of One’s Own. How many more obstacles would an educated and gifted Renaissance woman poet face compared with her ambitious male counterpart?
In The Dark Lady’s Mask, I explore what happens when a struggling young Shakespeare meets a struggling young woman poet of equal genius and passion.

If Lanier and Shakespeare were, in fact, lovers, would this explain how Shakespeare made the leap from his history plays to his Italian comedies and romances—the turning point of his career? Lanier, after all, was an Anglo-Italian trapped in a miserable arranged marriage. The names Aemilia, Emilia, Emelia, and Bassanio all appear in Shakespeare’s plays. His Italian comedies are set in Veneto, Lanier’s ancestral homeland. What if Shakespeare’s early comedies were the fruit of an active collaboration between him and Lanier?

These two poets had such radically different character arcs. We all know about Shakespeare’s rise to the glory that would enshrine him as a cultural icon. But there was no meteoric rise for Lanier. Though she eventually triumphed to become a published poet, she died in obscurity and has only recently been rediscovered by scholars.

I find it fascinating how the strong, outspoken women of Shakespeare’s early Italian comedies, such as the crossdressing Rosalind in As You Like It and the spirited Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, gave way to much weaker heroines and misogynistic portraits of women in Shakespeare’s great tragedies, such as frail, mad Ophelia in Hamlet. This change in tack leads me to wonder if the historical Shakespeare actually did have a bittersweet affair with a mysterious, unknown woman that cast a shadow over his later life and work.

I hope that The Dark Lady’s Mask can redress the balance and give Aemilia Bassano Lanier the accolades she deserves. Whether or not she was Shakespeare’s Dark Lady, she was certainly his literary peer.

Mary Sharratt’s novel, The Dark Lady’s Mask: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Muse, is released April 19 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. For a chance to win a free copy, “like” Mary Sharratt’s author page on Facebook and leave a comment on any post there before June 21. Five winners will be announced on Midsummer’s Eve, 2016.

Mary Sharratt, author of
THE DARK LADY’S MASK: A Novel of Shakespeare’s Muse
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2016

“An exquisite portrait of a Renaissance woman pursuing her artistic destiny in England and Italy.”
-Margaret George, internationally bestselling author of Elizabeth I

www.marysharratt.com

Tristan & Iseult

Tristan and Isolde 15th c

Introducing Arabesque Aroma’s
Spring 2016 Scent~

Tristan & Iseult

Apart the lovers could neither live nor die, for it was life and death together.
-Joseph Bedier, The Romance of Tristan & Iseult

A soft, dreamy, calming, velvety unisex scent made primarily of Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile, Moroccan Rose, and a precious, smooth vintage Lavender, “Tristan & Iseult” is available to sample, purchase in 3 ml, or my 10 ml minaret-capped bottles.

A story of courtly love, the romance of Tristan & Iseult gained popularity within Arthurian literature and is a subject that many writers, artists, and musicians from the medieval era onward have explored, depicted, and interpreted. There are many versions of the story, and its evolution over time can be read about here.

I’ve also included a link to a PDF of the full story via Project Gutenberg’s version by M. Joseph Bedier as quoted above; The Romance of Tristan & Iseult is available, here.

In particular, and for obvious reasons, Tristan and Iseult was a greatly-favored topic among the troubadours. Here is a link to one of my personal favorite songs from this era, circa 13th century, The Lament of Tristan, from the cd “Trouveres & Troubadours” by Jehan de Cheney. (I’ve shared this before but it is so good I think it bears repeating!)

Arabesque’s “Tristan & Iseult” botanical perfumes will ship within 1-2 weeks of purchase.
And my esteemed and greatly valued Arabesque Subscribers will automatically receive their samples, along with Vetiver hydrosols, in the first shipment by the end of March.

Have a wonderful, romantic, and magical Spring, everyone!
~Kirsten

***
Featured Image: Tristan and Iseult Drink the Love Potion, “Tristan de Leonois” c.1470. Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

Arabesque’s 2016 Botanical Scent Subscription

Queen of Hungary water clear pic

Arabesque’s 2016 Botanical Scent Subscription:
Featuring 6 seasonal parcels to delight your senses!

Natural Botanical Perfumes by Arabesque Aromas

Happy New Year!

With all 2015 Arabesque orders shipped, and all 2015 homework long since submitted, I have been musing over the New Year with a cat on my lap as life slows to a softer, sweeter pace. I have been enjoying the parcels of treats and goodies that have been arriving in my post office box, too! These festive trips to and from the post office make me think, invariably, of my business, and what my clients might like to find in their mailboxes from Arabesque Aromas in the coming year.

So, for 2016, I have designed what I hope you will think is a sumptuous subscription, indeed!

Here is the 2016 Botanical Subscriber’s Shipping Schedule:

 

Late Spring:
(1) 2-oz fresh-distilled Vetiver Root hydrosol

MidSummer:
(1) parcel of sacred, handmade Rose Petal botanical incense

Early Autumn:
(1) 2-oz organic handmade Moroccan-inspired spice blend for cooking
(1) 2-oz organic handmade herbal salt blend for cooking

Early Winter:
(1) 2-oz botanical, seasonal, handmade Rosehip and orange peel potpourri

PLUS three perfumed ingredients:
Two samples of my new, yet-to-be-born botanical perfumes of 2016
and (1) 3-ml bottle of an Arabesque botanical perfume of your choosing whenever you request it during 2016.

Arabesque’s Botanical Scent Subscription includes Priority postage, insured, within the US. $125.00/year

 

Become a Subscriber here.

calendula petals

above: organic, edible Calendula petals, harvested from my garden, 2015.

And top photo, 2004, from a maceration of the wonderous 14th century Queen of Hungary Water, made with fresh, personally-harvested, fragrant botanical ingredients. I used Rosemary Gladstar’s variation.

Midwinter Tidings!

trier

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ARABESQUE! 

December News:

~Two bars of Rebecca’s delicious, handmade soap in The Holly, Moss, and Ivy scent remain. And fresh, complimentary batches of The Holly, Moss, and Ivy, The Awakening, and The Thousand and One Nights botanical perfume await you.

~My themed Scent Samplers make pretty nifty gifties, and can be sent directly to the recipient. I hand-write gift cards upon request and am always delighted to play the role of Secret Santa whenever required!

~Several hardbound copies of my cookbook remain.

~I am feeling excited to make my end-of-year donation to my non-profit of choice for 2015, Bird Note. Here is a link to their Bird-themed Christmas Carol, from last year. (My cats are huge fans of this song. Usually they prefer that I play it with the windows open, at least five times in a row, while they gaze outside, and drool, and dream… )

~In the above photo, from May 2011, I am lighting a candle at the 12th century St. Peter’s Dom in Trier, Germany with my dear pal Brandi. School is finished for 2015, and now I am just intent in keeping my own metaphorical candles lit in my small corner of the world. Despite the news outlets and social media, I am keeping an eye on what is dear, and sacred in my life…. and am wishing the same for you!

ks trier

The Holly, Moss, and Ivy…

hollymossandivy6

The Holly, Moss, and Ivy botanical perfume

Always excited by the evergreen symbolism that accompanies Winter, I have decided to mix up a seasonal batch of my botanical perfume “The Holly, Moss, and Ivy” this year.

I first created “The Holly, Moss, and Ivy” in 2012 when I moved from Los Angeles to Northern California. The kitties and I took a cozy 19th century log cabin in the woods two miles outside of downtown Grass Valley. A very large, wonderful old Holly tree, cut into a traditional topiary-style, stood at the entrance-way of my front yard, which was bordered by an equally large and wonderful Ivy hedge. (This hedge was full of buzzing honeybees that summer, and I loved to stand nearby and just listen to them.)

Winnifred Kitten, in our new back yard.

My new surroundings were constantly inspiring to my perfumer’s nose – and eyes – each of the three seasons I lived there. And this scent was born from that enthusiasm.

“The Holly, Moss, and Ivy” botanical perfume is a sweet, earthy, warm, resinous, yet slightly powdery scent, composed mainly of Peru Balsam, Patchouli, and Lavender with a touch of Clary Sage and Vanilla. The scent is also available to sample and via Rebecca’s beautiful handmade botanical soaps which are available in the “Holly, Moss, and Ivy” scent throughout the season. They are harmoniously-blended to perfectly match and strengthen this green, unisex botanical scent in the fougère style. (This soap also has similar notes to The Awakening, and The Man of the Woods, and can be layered with all three botanical perfumes.) Arabesque soap-and-perfume gift sets will also be seasonally available.

(Note: Orders containing the Holly, Moss, and Ivy soap will ship the first week in December. To ensure availability, pre-orders are not only welcome but encouraged.)

hawthornesoap1

 

My first Winter in Grass Valley was also the first Winter in a long, long while, that I could go outside and gather all of the Christmas greens I wanted from my own front yard! Quite a luxury for me!

I look forward to doing the same this year in Nevada County, and can already see and smell the fresh Cedar boughs, tied together with a red ribbon, adorning my front door!

 

kings n queens

I will leave you with a traditional English song on plant folklore and how beautifully it is intertwined with the seasons, taken from a book that I always keep on hand this time of year: John Matthew’s The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. 

O, the holly bears a berry as white as pure silk,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
When the ewes give their milk.
And the Lady bore the Green Man
Our first hope for to be,
And the first Prince of the springtime
It was the birch tree,
Birch tree, birch tree,
And the first prince of the springtime
It was the birch tree.

O, the birch he bears a leaf-o
As green as the moss,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
To dance in the grass,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
That merry we might be.

And the Princess of the Maytime
Is the young hawthorn tree.
Hawthorn tree, Hawthorn tree,
Hawthorn tree, hawthorn tree.
And the Princess of the Maytime
Is the young Hawthorn tree.

O, the Hawthorn bears a prickle
As keen as the sun,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
To die in the corn,
And the Lady bore the Green Man
Our harvest for to be,
And the first Queen of the autumn
Is the old apple tree.
Apple-tree, apple-tree.
And the first Queen of the autumn
Is the old apple tree.

O, the apple bears a fruit-o, as blood as it is red.
And the Lady bore the Green Man
Our last hope for to be,
And the first King of the winter
He was the holly,
Holly holly,
And the first King of the winter,
He was the Holly. 

robin at chalice well gardens

May your winter months be merry and bright!

~Kirsten

Photographs:
-During a visit to the Chalice Well Gardens in Somerset, UK, the day after Christmas, this little Robin seemed to follow me everywhere. England, 2008.
-Departed Kings and Queens taken from a Winter trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. 2008.
-Hawthorn berries harvested from a tree just outside my home at the base of the Ivy tree, with Rebecca’s soap, Grass Valley, CA. 2012.
-Miss Winnifred Iselda Kitten, bird-watching in the backyard of our Grass Valley home. CA. 2012.
-The Holly, Moss, and Ivy botanical perfume nestled in the crevices of my Italian Plum tree, Grass Valley, CA. 2012.

A Succulent September

Natural Botanical Perfumes by Arabesque Aromas

 

chopin

 

The Awakening botanical perfume

“She reminded him of some beautiful, sleek animal waking up in the sun.”

― Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Now ready to ship! My favorite Arabesque Aromas perfume ever returns as my Fall 2015 scent.
“The Awakening” is a fresh, complex, green, blooming scent inspired by the also-blooming main character, Edna Pontellier of Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening published in 1899. A tragic yet beautiful story very much ahead of its time.

The main perfume ingredient in “The Awakening” botanical perfume is the deliciously complex and deliciously green Tasmanian flower, Boronia. Though initially created as a Summer perfume in 2012, I discovered that “The Awakening” is spicy and deep enough to carry it’s wearer into Autumn and Winter quite nicely. It is also a unisex scent.

The blend contains the essential oils of Peru Balsam, Patchouli, Black Pepper, and Boronia. Each bottle contains a small piece of seaweed, harvested myself in Malibu, CA. Seaweed seemed an appropriate symbol for Edna’s oceanic, feminine, inner life…

The perfume is available in 1 ml sample sizes, 3 ml bottles, or 1/3 oz. in my signature minaret-style bottle.

A wonderful website devoted to the work of Kate Chopin can be found here.

 

k and s and a

 

Sasha of Astral Boutique came for a visit. She brought me a fragrant armful of peaches from her tree, snapped some cute photos of us, and we cooked a fantastic dinner together. Pictured on my lap is the ranch darling, overall star of the show (AND Winnifred Kitten’s best friend) Amelia.

Where would we be without our friends?!

soap!

Available while supplies last… 

And speaking of friends… This handmade soap, made by my friend Rebecca, was specifically formulated for use in concert with Arabesque’s “Alexandria” botanical perfume. A customer favorite, “Alexandria” is a fiery, sensuous botanical scent featuring pure Rose and Cinnamon essential oil; two precious perfume ingredients that were highly regarded by the ancient Egyptians. The combination will strengthen, layer and extend the lasting power of the “Alexandria” scent on your skin. This soap can also be used in concert with my Fall 2014 scent, “Virelai.” Soap designed and created exclusively for Arabesque Aromas by the exquisite Ballerina Farmer Artisan Aromatherapy.

figgylicious

My Black Jack Fig Tree — fig season is one of many reasons that September is my most favorite time of year! 

D ackerman post and medieval pic.

And introducing

The Circle of Melissae:
A Virtual Circle and Online Community for
Kitchen Witches, Cat Ladies, and Other Like-minded Souls, we are…

 

 Inspired by the magical turnings, cycles, and rhythms of the year.
In love with honeybees and their ancient symbolism of divinity and divine messages.
Intrigued by bats, birds, and the animal kingdom.
Smitten equally with the celestial, and the terrestrial.
With plants, flowers, minerals.
With the elements. The seasons.
With trees and their folklore…
Concerned with the artisanal. The creative. The handmade life.
And always aspiring to purity, beauty, love, kinship, community,
and the heartfelt path.

***
Annual Membership Subscription is $60.00
Inquire further at arabesquebotanicals@gmail.com.