Bird Nest perfume - Lunar Amulet for the 3-30-14 New Moon

This new moon's lunar amulet perfume is Bird Nest, blended with pure plant oils and extracts woven into a sweet bouquet of woods, grasses, hay, and leaves. Hints of sweetgrass, lemon myrtle, and vetiver open to a heart of juniper, cedar, and oak twigs, then to dry hay padded with feathers and leaves. 
A tribute to spring. 
I was excited about this perfume and had to put in some beeswax/soy container candles too. These are topped with sweetgrass and labeled with a gorgeous letterpress printed illustration by Kelly Louise Judd of swanbones. 

March 1, 2014 New Moon - Lunar Amulet Perfume: Grapefruit & Basil

This has been the longest, coldest winter EVERRRR! This New Moon, I am focusing my energy on the upcoming arrival of warmer, brighter days, beginning with a burst of Grapefruit and Basil. In this solid perfume, White, Pink, and Red Grapefruit essential oils are bursting from a base of basil EO and absolute. This does not last on the skin for more than an hour, but the scent is full of energy and bright, juicy, hypnotic citrus throughout its life. There are a few left in the Limited Edition section of my Etsy shop, for anyone needing an aromatherapy form of sunshine.

Medicine Pouches with Black Sage Solid Perfume - A Wearable Smudge Wand

I  handmade each of these over the course of several long nights at home as a way to take a break from perfume and appreciate the meditative nature of working with leather. I love working on projects that are completely different from what I usually do because it adds more depth and consideration to everything else I make.

These black leather medicine pouches are limited edition amulets that I handmade to hold an antiqued silver finish perfume locket featuring a large black onyx stone. The black onyx is known to protect from negative energies, and here it protects the pure essences distilled from three varieties of sacred sages living inside the locket. This energetically cleansing natural solid perfume and anointing balm is captured in a base of beeswax and tinted with bamboo charcoal. 

There are six of these available, each cut from an up-cycled vintage leather skirt and detailed with charms of black bone, black onyx, black tourmaline, black rooster feather, and dark silver findings. 

The sage perfume is powerful, herbaceous, dark, and lovely to wear. It is like having a smokeless smudge wand to carry with you in times of reflection, energy cleansing, spirit cleansing, and meditation. 

Rosehip Elixir

For a while I resisted expanding my offerings beyond perfume- But when I began making face oil for myself and offering it to friends I ended up with a legion of addicts. For the past two years we have been testing every type of oil on our skin and hair and I finally settled on this recipe. Then it got even better - Swanbones (Kelly Louise Judd) created a gorgeous illustration to adorn the bottle. Then it got crazy - the first batch was gone within the first week of listing it online, and now I'm hoping the ingredients for the next batch arrive in time to ship your orders on time! I can't wait to hear your feedback and I hope it offers some relief from this long winter.

Jasmine Tea - lunar amulet perfume for 1-30-14 new moon

Tonight's moon is a black moon (second new moon in a month) as well as a supermoon as well as the lunar new year. Happy year of the Horse! Be sure to concentrate on your intentions tonight and use the moon's power to enhance, focus, and manifest your visions. The horse may hurry them along faster than expected. ;)

To finish the tea series, this cycle's perfume is Jasmine Tea. A classic scent, a simple blend, and a delight to wear on any skin type. The smooth green tea leaves are infused with fresh Jasmine petals and brewed with honey. It has been quite a winter and I have tea on my mind 24/7. But I promise the next moon will have a drastically different theme for you. (And there are just 2 extra jasmine tea refills...message me if you want one! They won't be listed)

AND, To celebrate the year of the Horse, the 20% off Horse cologne special will continue until February 3rd. 

New Perfume Amulets

I have been working with Scarlett Garnet on a revamped line of Black Forest Amulets. I love the evolution of these designs and the new full face stone lockets incorporated into them. I'm also especially in love with the Dark Heart of the Deep Woods Amulet, which arrives with your choice of wood oil inside, tinted black with charcoal, and displayed on a chain meticulously wire wrapped with tiny gemstones by Garnet.

London Fog - Lunar Amulet Perfume for the 1-1-14 New Moon

Happy New Year AND New Moon! This is a very fresh start ;)

This moon I continued with the tea theme and made my favorite tea into a perfume: London Fog.
A London fog is a concoction of black tea leaves soaked in bergamot peel oil (Earl Gray), brewed in warm milk, and sweetened with a shot of vanilla. I cannot express my love for this beverage deeply enough- it gets me through the winter.

This scent is comforting, mellow, and addictive- I have found myself applying it obsessively. There are nine extra locket refills left from this batch in the limited edition section of my Etsy shop, and yes, I'm saving this recipe just in case I need to come back to it someday :)

10 New Perfumes created from Layers: Alchemy for Strange Women

I love layering perfume oils over the solids. Or even single notes with other solids. This past week I did an Instagram series of my favorite combos. If you happen to have any of these pairs at home, try them together! And leave a comment if you have discovered any other good pairings. 
These are my top 10 recommendations: 

Frankincense & Cedar + Winter Kitty = Solstice Incense (aka Frankinkitty)

Palo Santo + Bollywood = Exotic Spice Bouquet

Jasmine + Astral Projection = The Sweetest Dream

Decadence & Debauchery + Violin in the Attic = Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (OMD!)

Tuberose + Satin Corset = Sugar Plum Fairy 

Fireside Story + November in the Temperate Deciduous Forest = Autumn Bonfire

Nightshade Garden + Coyote = Spiced Citrus

Black Forest Cake + Horse = Ladies, what else could you possibly want?

Evergreen Mountain + Sand Dollar = Coastal Mountain

Blue Spruce + Moss & Ivy = Forest Equinox 

Lavender & Honeysuckle: Lunar Amulet perfume for the December 2, 2013 New Moon

Lavender & Honeysuckle is a sweet floral botanical perfume (which I rarely create) with deep honey undertones. This bright bouquet is accented with orange flower, ylang ylang, and jasmine and is anchored with a base of amber, beeswax, vetiver, and vanilla that holds to the skin after the flowers fade. Several varieties of lavender are blended to arrive at this delicate and feminine blend that stays close to the skin.

There are several extra from this batch available in the Limited Edition section of my Etsy shop. If you can't wait until Spring, this will hold you over.

I have also been blending my homemade recipe of organic Lavender & Honeysuckle tea! I made a batch of this last year and it was gone in like, seconds, so this time I'm making more. I will be including a tea sample in each order of this perfume refill, and they may end up in some other orders this month as well ;) 

Palo Santo Lip Embellishment - a limited edition for Hadley

Last year Hadley, a mysterious and insanely tasteful fashion designer, opened a store in Kansas City. Its beautiful. If you're here, then visit. I was happy to be curated into her little space with this special edition of palo santo lip balm, tinted slightly black with charcoal. I think there are a few left, and if you want one of these from afar, you may want to ask if she ships, because they are only here.

Lunar Amulet Perfume for the November 3, 2013 New Moon: CIDER

Autumn! Yes!! There is a satisfaction this time of the year that cannot be matched; the harvest, filled pantries, backyard bonfires, rain, and staying home cooking. I havent gone to the orchard or made spiced cider yet this year but if I DID, this is what it would smell like ;)

This sweet apple-like accord is spiced with cassia, ginger, cardamom, and Tonka. The warmth of the cassia (hot cinnamon) wears down quickly to allow the smooth fruity and slightly floral tones of pressed cider to surface. After a few hours only hints of spices remain.

Starting a Creative Business - 3 important concepts to understand before you start

It has been 5 years since the the beginnings of For Strange Women began to form in my mind and manifest into strange perfumes. Before this I thought I had to live a life that required me to "find" that perfect creative and flexible job in a sane and healthy work environment... and the search itself was exhausting. Once I realized that my dream job was a figment of my imagination, I was able to design it from scratch... after all, I was a designer. Since then I have been committed to helping others do the same, because some of us just can't be content any other way. Here are a few things that I am asked frequently, and they are a little difficult to answer, but I realize they are extremely important in helping a creative entrepreneur figure out how to begin.

1. How do you decide what is is you are best at/supposed to do/commit to?

Stop thinking of it as a commitment. The thought of commitment itself is paralyzing, especially when you can not imagine just where something will take you within 5 years. In highschool I danced and played violin, and my teachers from each would tell me to quit the other and focus all my energy on one thing so that I can be the best at it, and I refused. In college, I spent most of my time writing and recording music, sewing, and making short films, and after college I taught myself graphic design and photography. I have worked as a screenprinter, promo photographer, stage construction crew, graphic designer, and videographer/video editor. Now I am making perfume and continuing to learn new things. It would be easy to be discouraged 5 years ago, having no training and little experience with the art of perfume. Although we are all told that we should use our existing skills and build upon them, I also think the importance of learning new things and being curious is often discouraged for no good reason other than fear. I was not convinced from the beginning that perfume would become my life- I had no idea. So don't overthink it, just play.

2. I have all these great ideas and no motivation to do them- what is wrong?

Anyone can tap into the realm of collective consciousness and receive great ideas. If you don't act on them, you can be sure the idea will move on to someone else who will. Making the ideas actually translate to real life is the talent that entrepreneurs possess. 

3. I'm a designer and I can easily brand other businesses but it feels impossible to pinpoint what my own branding should be... why can't I settle on my own brand and how did you?

a. This goes back to the commitment issue. Start with something that works, even if it isn't perfect, and know that it's really ok to change it later. As an example, check out these early photos and graphics from FSW in 2009- it has evolved a lot.
 This all may look similar to what I do now but the details for me have changed many times. My ideas, style, and inspiration is ever evolving and the more time I spend doing what I love, the more solidified my expression becomes.

b. Also, recognize your ego, which is your false sense of self. A "brand" is like taking your ego and inflating it to uncomfortable proportions, making it really difficult to create a public face for yourself that also feels authentic to who you are. If you were to accurately brand yourself, it would be a mess because you are complex and multifaceted. In design we are trained to simplify, which is easy to do with someone else's ego but not your own. The best way to find a comfortable medium is to journal a LOT. Ask yourself detailed questions, like "If I could have any 3 people on my board of directors, who would they be and what would be their input on this brand?", and "What are the 5-10 most important messages/ideas that my brand needs to always express?" Then start building your brand based on the things you have written down. Separate your "sense of self" from the project- when in doubt consult what you have written as guidelines in your journal and stick with them as if someone else had written them.