Midwinter Tidings!

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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

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The Holly, Moss, and Ivy…

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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.)

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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.

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A Succulent September

Natural Botanical Perfumes by Arabesque Aromas

 

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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.

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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.

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Introducing Arabesque’s Summer 2015 Scent~ The Thousand and One Nights!

1001 nights

When I was researching One Thousand and One Nights I learned that the earliest version was written in Persia in the 10th century — I had had no idea it was that old! Many versions and translations now exist today, some emphasizing the fantastical and adventure aspects of the stories, other emphasizing the more erotic and romantic aspects. Here are two audio clips from the latter camp. Both verses come from Book Three and this specific translation is by E. Powys Mathers, published privately in London, 1923. The first is Musk Kisses, though I quite liked There is Myrrh too. (I suspect that there are many exotic perfume ‘recipes’ hidden within the pages of this vast story!)

I chose to avoid using the more predictable ‘Eastern’ perfumery ingredients such as Jasmine, Neroli, Oud, and Sandalwood when creating this perfume. Instead, “The Thousand and One Nights” botanical perfume smells like inhaling the fragrance of a wonderful, dark, beautifully-carved wooden spice chest — it is a sultry, spicy, unisex botanical perfume made with Patchouli, Clove, Cinnamon, Sweet Orange, Madagascar Ginger and Ambrette Seed essential oils in an Organic Jojoba oil base.

And speaking of musk kisses, the scent of Ambrette Seed, which comes from India, is often described as ‘musky’ and personally, I can’t get enough of it these days! I distilled some Ambrette Seed this summer and the hydrosol, when used as a body spray, makes a very nice compliment to the botanical perfume. Note that the Summer 2015 Ambrette Seed hydrosol is quite a limited edition batch, available only while supplies last!

1 ml samples, 3 ml bottles, and 1/2 oz. minaret bottles of “The Thousand and One Nights” botanical perfume are available in my Etsy shop.

And in honor of the clever storyteller Sheherazade from One Thousand and Nights, I’ll close with a wonderful Brainpickings link to a talk that author Neil Gaiman did on the organic, living and evolving nature of stories called “How Stories Last.” It is just wonderful.
I think Sheherazade would agree.

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Arabesque’s 2015 Fragrant Distillations

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Every Summer I distill aromatics with my small copper tabletop still, The Alambiccus Gaggia. The result – fragrant, steam-distilled hydrosols – are aromatic, medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary treasures!

On offer this year are the fresh-distilled hydrosols of Witch Hazel, made from organic Witch Hazel Bark, Vetiver Root Hydrosol from Vetiver I imported from Madagascar, Spearmint harvested fresh from my garden, and wildcrafted Melissa or Lemon Balm.

They are available in my Etsy shop June-September and also by special request. An excellent resource for learning how to integrate the use of hydrosols into your daily life is Suzanne Catty’s Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy available on Amazon in a hard copy or via Kindle.

My first distillation of 2015 happened on May Day Eve, as pictured in sequential steps below, courtesy of my botanist friend, Ty Wheeler. The result was a fresh and — we thought, quite surprisingly floral –Spearmint hydrosol.

Pictured left to right, below, are my beautiful plant materials, gathered in preparation for several distillations: Fresh Spearmint from my garden, soaking in the round bowl is Organic Witch Hazel bark, and soaking on the right in the rectangular bowl is Vetiver root from Madagascar.

distillation day 1

For a single distillation, fresh, clean water must first be added to the copper still. In my case, I used fresh, Northern California well water!

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Then the fragrant plant material is added. It rests in a metal and mesh basket on top of the fresh water inside the copper container. When it reaches the proper temperature the hot water then passes upwards and through the plant material, producing a fragrant steam which results in our end product – a hydrosol.

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Here I am preparing the still for the distillation…  it is important all screws are tightened and seals are properly closed to enable the hot water and steam to travel through their required channels.

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Time to hit that glowing red button and begin the distillation, which typically takes about an hour and a half. (And, yes, enjoy a beer or, in my case a Dark and Stormy, while we wait… )

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Pure, Steam-distilled Essential Oils from ‘the Milkmaid of Fragrance’

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Now offering two exotic, high-quality, steam-distilled essential oils

I was fortunate to manage a wholesale essential oil company called Natural Extracts for seven years in the Hollywood Hills. Not only did I learn a lot, and get to smell and collect many exotic ingredients, but now I also have a lot of interesting inventory as a result!

I used to love pumping the kilo and gallon-sized orders, as pictured below, December 2011. While filling the containers with the giant and uber-powerful pumps, I always felt like the ‘milkmaid of fragrance!’

milkmaid of fragrance

To see more photos from my days at the essential oil company, Natural Extracts, visit my business Facebook Page.

I am offering Ylang Ylang Complete from Madagascar and Australian Sandalwood (extra-strength) while supplies last. 1 ml samples of the steam-distilled extra-strength Australian Sandalwood essential oil and the Ylang Ylang Complete, Madagascar, are available for purchase at my Etsy shop.

Buying steam-distilled essential oils, when possible, is important to me as it indicates a purity, and an absence of chemical solvents. In my humble opinion, steam-distilled essential oils are well worth the few pennies extra in terms of quality. And Australian Sandalwood is a sustainable alternative to Indian Sandalwood essential oil, the supplies of which have been over-harvested and all but exhausted.

pumping ess oils

Essential Oil samples ship via First Class Mail.
Essential Oils ship Priority Mail, insured, within the US and First Class Mail, without.

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A-Pay-What-You-Will-Sale…

harvesting pomegranates

Arabesque is expanding!
Help my business to blossom
by participating in my
Pay-What-You-Will-Sale

 

I am excited to say that Arabesque Aromas is growing in myriad ways this year. I am working on a second book, going to school, creating a small, scholarly tour of Ireland for 6-8 people, planning a new web site, and shopping for new botanical ingredients. (Not to mention all of the new perfumes that are whirling around in my head, asking to be born… including a scent inspired by One Thousand and One Nights!)

To help fund the expansion of Arabesque, I am offering a Pay-What-You-Will Sale on digital copies of my aromatic cookbook The Fragrant Kitchen: Culinary Recipes from a Botanical Perfumer.

To participate, simply Paypal your contribution of $6.00 or more to kirstentulipani@gmail and I will email you a full-color PDF of my cookbook.

(Happy to also email the PDF as a gift with a note to third parties.)

Thanks in advance for helping me to fund the growth of my business!
I am very excited to share all of this newness, richness, and beauty with you as the year unfolds!

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Between the floral and the exotic… Arabesque Aroma’s Spring 2015 “The Temple of Flora”

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My newest scent was inspired by the title of Robert Thornton’s The Temple of Flora, a book from 1807 which first caught my attention last year via the Public Domain Review. (I am an enthusiastic subscriber of their newsletters!)

Their current newsletter makes for a very interesting Spring read, exploring the late 18th to early 19th century Romantic era attitudes concerning sex, gender, and science within the world of botany. (The illustrations in The Temple of Flora, created by a variety of Thornton’s contemporaries, and as seen above, are lush sensuous, otherworldly treasures — not to be missed!)

My botanical perfume, The Temple of Flora, is also lush, sensuous and otherworldly. It reflects the 19th century Romantic penchant for earlier times and exotic places and is made with Neroli, Jasmine, and Bergamot essential oils blended into a heavenly base of Agarwood, Peru Balsam, and Sandalwood. I hope that you will love it!

Patrons of my 2015-2016 Scent Subscription will automatically receive samples of The Temple of Flora in their mailbox next week.

1 ml samples and 1/3 oz size bottles of The Temple of Flora are also available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Finally, introducing my new sampler, The Ancient Worlds. Includes my 5 Arabesque Aromas botanical scents that were inspired by ancient worlds… makes a beautiful gift and is best enjoyed listening to the album Towards the Within by Dead Can Dance! ha ha!

Happy Spring.

(Illustrated Plate: Egyptian Water Lily from The Temple of Flora, 1807, Robert Thornton.)

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Getting to Know Your Botanical Perfumer…

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Recently, at The Phoenix Rose boutique in Nevada City, CA, a young customer asked me about my collection of botanical perfumes that are displayed at the counter. As she smelled each perfume, she looked up the ingredients in the little burgundy book that accompanies my collection, written out very lovingly and carefully, in my own hand. She wasn’t at all ashamed to say, out loud, that she she had no need to buy my perfumes. She felt she could just recreate the scents she liked for herself. And probably, she said, thinking aloud, she would start selling her own perfumes, too. She slipped one of my business cards in her purse. “How hard can it be?” she said. She looked at the price tag on my 1/2 oz minaret bottle of The Green Mantle. “Seventy Dollars?!?!” she said. “Oh my god. That’s a fortune. I am definitely going to start selling my own perfumes.”

She proceeded to describe a blend of her own that she also had in mind. I pointed out that, should she proceed in making this perfume, she would probably give herself or her clients a severe case of sunburn due to the high level of photosensitive oils in the recipe. I wasn’t surprised to hear that she had absolutely no idea what I was talking about… But I was, indeed, alarmed!

Our encounter, as irritating and insulting as it was, brought up several key points for me. First and foremost, it served as a potent reminder to know who you are buying your natural products from. Essential oils are beautiful, precious and romantic things. They are sensuous, exotic, seductive and extremely tantalizing! But they are also extremely powerful, and need to be used wisely. Safely. And respectfully.

This young, green girl also inspired me to muse upon the value and substance of my own background and experience. And what lies behind my $70.00-80.00 price tag. (A sum which I feel to be quite modest, as I intentionally price my creations for accessibility.) I found myself musing over what, exactly, made me the botanical perfumer I am today.

Behind a carefully-cultivated nose, and my arabesque aesthetic, is quite a practical education. And about fifteen years of hard won experience! For those of you not familiar with my background, here is a brief recap…

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In a nutshell, I’ve studied with Mandy Aftel, Jeanne Rose and Kurt Schnaubelt. And I’ve mentored with Suzanne Catty for many years. (If you do not know these people by name, you can search for the considerable list of books they have published, between them!) I managed a wholesale essential oil company for seven years. I’ve been a botanical volunteer in the Huntington Botanical Gardens, Pasadena, for three years, mentoring with the Head Gardeners there, while also studying herbalism via Rosemary Gladstar’s excellent program The Art & Science of Herbalism. I have an academic background in art history and plant folklore, am well-traveled and have studied the contents, the history, the recipes, and even viewed original pages of medieval herbals. Then there is my very own tabletop still, The Alambiccus Gaggia. And my intensive year of study in the art of making spagyric tinctures under the tutelage of a master teacher (This was one of the most rigorous and demanding things I have ever done!)

I have also taught seasonal classes on plant folklore, been invited to lecture to large groups of people, and have appeared on two nationwide television shows. And all of these experiences have become, magically, intellectually, and alchemically, a part of my work today…

(Yes, how hard can it be, really!? Hmm.)

You can visit my web site for a brief clip from my 2007 television appearance on Noelle Katai’s aromatherapy-inspired show “Everybody Nose” where I discuss candle making with beeswax, herbs, spices and essential oils. The full episode still airs on Veria tv, as well. Email me for details.
(But – no laughing at my funny green apron, please!:)

And if you are searching for some other skilled botanical artisans, I am happy to make some recommendations. I know many talented, qualified artists who create beautiful, professional, plant-based products that are works of purity, integrity and value.

My aromatic cookbook The Fragrant Kitchen: Culinary Recipes from a Botanical Perfumer also has a substantial Resources section at the back. It includes: a book list, helpful organizations, reputable sources for purchasing tools and ingredients, and a list of skilled artisans who I know, trust and love.

My thank-you coupon, 10% off of orders for Arabesque customers and subscribers, continues in my Etsy shop. Coupon code is *arabesquearomas* upon checkout.

With love, and gratitude.
~Kirsten

Pictured above:

Me, in the Huntington Botanical Gardens, Pasadena CA 2008-9. Photo by Mara West.

My arabesque insignia, hand-colored by me.

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A New Year of Artisanal Aromatics: Arabesque Aromas 2015 Scent Subscription

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Enjoy a year of botanical perfume, handmade incense and fresh-distilled floral water in 2015!

Subscribe to Arabesque Aroma’s 2015 Scent Subscription and, throughout the year, receive fragrant artisanal goodies in your mailbox:

(3) samples of my 2015 botanical perfumes as soon as they launch.
(2) samples of my handmade botanical incenses (Kyphi and Rose Petal Incense)
and
(2) 1/2 oz samples of my fresh distilled hydrosols. (Organic Peppermint and Organic Witch Hazel.)

Since 2009, Arabesque Aromas has traditionally launched one to three new oil-based scents each Spring, Summer, Fall and Midwinter. I traditionally distill 1-3 hydrosols per summer, and seasonally create handmade botanical incense.

This listing covers the cost of 6 aromatics plus prepaid shipping costs from within the US.

Note that the perfume subscription rotates seasonally into 2016, so regardless of what season subscribers purchase their subscription, they will receive one full year of aromatics. The first perfume sample to ship to current subscribers will ship in late March 2015.

Hydrosols ship in Summer of 2015. Incense ships in the Autumn of 2015.

Samples and aromatics will ship to subscribers via First Class Mail.
International buyers welcome! Please convo me for a shipping quote or email me at arabesquebotanicals@gmail.com.
Thank you!

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