Sunday afternoon watercolour

It’s been a little while since I’ve done some drawing/painting and so my goal today was to take the young guy to the beach for some beachcombing …

Nobbys Beach

Nobbys Beach

followed by some foraging in the community garden. Once home I then pulled out my adored watercolours and did a very simple backdrop for some lovely bright flowers the young guy had picked on our foraging expedition …

Watercolour and flowers

Watercolour and flowers

I then had a play around with Photoshop to create a different feel …

Photoshop adjustment

Photoshop adjustment

All in all a relaxing Sunday!

Kerry Che x

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èrlithe now located in Newcastle, NSW, Australia

The past 3 years living in Tasmania has been a wonderful experience, however, I am incredibly excited to be back in Newcastle and it has a lot to do with being close to the sea.

If you follow this blog, you may be aware that I grew up in Jersey, Channel Islands. It’s a small island and so the coast is never that far away. Because of this, I feel an affinity with the coastline. I kind of get my bearings from it (which I desperately need due to my very poor sense of direction!). The sea makes sense. The smell is familiar. It smells like home!

The one thing that I found disconcerting in Tasmania was not being close to the sea. Being inland confuses me. A strange sense of unease comes over me when I am inland. It makes no sense of course. I think it simply comes down to knowing what you know and the comfort of familiar smells.

Jersey is an island of castles and forts by the sea. One of my fondest memories is of a school trip to stay overnight at St. Aubins fort. We were taken there at low tide and overnight the fort was surrounded by the sea. I peeked out the small window slits as I settled to sleep. I was up at the crack of dawn whilst all my class mates were still fast asleep and snuck outside. It was then I had one of the most memorable moments of my life – alone on a fort wall, surrounded by the sea and sea air with the first rays of the rising sun.

Mont Orgueil Castle

Mont Orgueil Castle

Around 2006 I got to take my son to see where I had grown up and have a run around on the beach where I played as a child:

St. Brelade Bay

St. Brelades Bay

And now here we are back in Newcastle enjoying the smell of the sea!

Newcastle Beach, NSW

Newcastle Beach, NSW

I’ve pretty much got all of our belongings from a 4 bedroom house kind of sorted and squashed into a 2 bedroom home. My perfume supplies have been the last thing to tackle and I’m almost there! There are some exciting plans afoot now that I’m back in Newcastle, which I won’t announce just yet – just to keep you all hanging in suspense of course! Like I know you will be

: )

Now that my perfume supplies are basically unpacked, I’ve spent the last couple of days tweaking a sharp green floral fragrance I had started working on some time back in Tasmania. I’m excited with how it’s smelling on the scent strip. I’m now just letting the ingredients get to know each other a bit before I dilute to test on my skin. Here’s hoping it plays as well on skin as it does on the strip. Otherwise it’ll be back to the drawing board.

new èrlithe fragrance in the works

new èrlithe fragrance in the works

Kerry Che x

 

My learning to draw journey.

It’s another dreary, rainy winters day here in Tasmania. The plus side of the rain is that the temperature is somewhat more mild in comparison to the recent freezing, icy temperatures we’ve had.

I should be packing but I’m not. Instead I’m having a lazy day.

Back in September last year I wrote a blog post that I was learning to draw. I’ve been somewhat reluctant to share my drawing endeavours here on the blog because I’ve been trying to only focus on perfume related articles. Yesterday my favourite perfume blogger Maxine Claudelle of ‘hertwoscents’ wrote a fabulous blog entry: “cross-pollination”. It’s a wonderful post about how “learning about art is a wonderful support and partner to learning perfumery.” Maxine has a beautiful way of expressing her thoughts and is doing a fantastic job of sharing her journey with learning perfumery. Her post ‘cross-pollination’ has inspired me to occasionally share on this blog my other pursuits – particularly my learning to draw journey which I was going to keep entirely separate from this blog. So separate in fact, that I recently began another blog specifically for that purpose: Mabel Star. In case you are wondering about the name, I had tried to use my own name but it wasn’t available. Given that it had taken me a million years to come up with èrlithe, I chose a random generator for the blog name. I now quite like the name Mabel!

Here are a few little sketches I haven’t yet shared on the Mabel blog:

The picture that I based my OkArt inspired sketch can be found here on Fubiz.

I love watercolours and so I’ve been dabbling a little with that medium. On one of my walks I picked up a leaf and had a go at doing a watercolour leaf. I was quite happy with my first attempt.

leaf

 

As I’m progressing on my journey and trying to find my own style I like to also have a go at copying other artists work that I admire. Beth Emily is a Tasmanian born artist now living and working in Melbourne. Inspired by her beautiful creations I had a go at her hummingbird piece and this is what I came up with:

And a final watercolour sketch I’d like to share is inspired by the work of Conrad Roset:

IMG_0989

It’s sad to have to temporarily put my perfume making on hold but the learning to draw journey is a great portable activity to continue on with to satisfy my need to create!

èrlithe is moving!

Boy does time fly! I was really shocked when I realised my last entry here on the blog was November last year!

If you’ve recently been to my èrlithe website you would have seen this announcement:

èrlithe are moving

Yes that’s right, we are moving! After recovering from the niche markets and lead up to Christmas followed by attending the opening Mona Market in January, my husband and I made the massive decision to leave Tasmania and return to our former home in Newcastle, NSW.

In order to do this we have needed to put our home in Tasmania on the market and wait for it to sell. This required a massive down size in order to be able to fit back into our smaller home in Newcastle – garage sale, followed by donations to charity and the remainder in a skip! Sadly all of my perfume making equipment had to be put in a cupboard so that the house looked more desirable to potential buyers and I can tell you having everything stored away is not conducive to running a business efficiently! As such, I’ve had to knock back markets and wholesale enquiries which has been very disappointing. Caring for children, continuing in my part-time employment as a Registered Nurse and in my research position at the University, helping my husband set up his company, as well as keeping the house and garden spotless for frequent home inspections has been very tiring!

So, my beautiful perfume business has been on a temporary hold. Our home here in Tasmania has finally sold and we will be moving next month. We will be sort of ‘homeless’ until the end of July as once we leave Tasmania we have to wait for our tenant in our Newcastle home to move out. I’m hoping that everything will be settled by the end of August and that the perfumes will be back online in September.

I am excited about returning to Newcastle and being close to family and old friends again and it is going to be fantastic to be back near the beach.

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Newcastle, NSW, Australia

In the meantime I apologise for the unavailability of my perfumes from the website (although online stockist chikii still has a few left in stock and they are on sale!) but I will be working hard to get everything up and running again as soon as possible.

Kerry Che x

Solid perfumes

Recently I went for a lovely drive to The Honey Farm located in Chudleigh, Tasmania. Chudleigh lies in a little valley with the awesome Great Western Tiers as the backdrop. Chudleigh is also very close to Mole Creek Karst National Park – an area renowned for underground caves, underground rivers, caverns and glow worms! It is a breathtakingly beautiful, pristine part of the world.

The purpose of my trip was to pick up some beeswax for my solid perfumes. The beeswax has a beautiful rich, honey aroma. Here it is:

Tasmanian beeswax from Chudleigh

Tasmanian beeswax from Chudleigh

And here are the solid perfumes made from the beeswax with jojoba, essential oils & absolutes: Solar, Rose Tea & Forest.

SOLAR: is a radiant blend of juicy citrus, jasmine grandiflorum, bitter orange absolute and amber.

ROSE TEA: is a bohemian rose & tea, with a heart of rose centifolia and damascena delicately surrounded by tea notes of bergamot, rooibos red tea and frankincense, on a base of patchouli and oud.

FOREST: dappled rays of citrus dance amongst the fir and pine trees, before casting light on an earthy forest floor of vetiver and incense.

These have been a real delight to make. There seems to be something calming and meditative about the preparation of solid perfumes – I think it has to do with the grating and melting of the beeswax! After adjusting of ratios, these have turned out to be a lovely creamy consistency that melt right into the skin leaving an intimate veil of scent.

These will initially only be available at the Launceston niche market. I should then have them available online in the new year.

 

èrlithe will be at Niche & Co this year!

I’m very excited to announce that our application to attend this years niche market in Launceston,Tasmania was accepted! There were over 500 applicants with only 51 places available!

The extra great thing is that 20% of sales will be donated to St. Giles to support children with disability in Tasmania. Here’s the date to mark in your calendar for those in or visiting Launceston:

53292_stgiles_niche posters 2

 

I’m also hoping to have a few new items available for sale on the day which will eventually make their way to the website. These new items are solid perfumes and fragranced bath salts.

The solid perfume fragrances that I have settled upon are: jasmine, rose & red tea, fir and neroli. Jasmine is my “smell” of the month and the solid perfume has turned out to be insanely gorgeous. I just wish there was such a thing as ‘smell -o-net’ so you could smell what I mean!

Trialling solid perfumes

Trialling solid perfumes

Natural Jasmine Perfume recipe (formula)

Today I would like to share with you the formula for my own personal jasmine natural perfume. Formulas are not often shared so why am I doing this? Simply because over the years I have learnt a lot on the web about many topics that I am interested in, thanks to generous people willing to share their knowledge and experience.  It is in this spirit that I want to share a personal fragrance formula that I love based on jasmine.

Jasmine is a much loved flower, offering a rich and heavy narcotic floral scent with an animalic background. The sambac variety is deeper, spicier, less sweet and more intense than the grandiflorum. The grandiflorum variety showcases delicious sweet fruity notes. From an aromatherapy point of view, jasmine is uplifting, rejuvenating and energising with aphrodisiac qualities. The blooms continue to emit scent long after they have been picked from the plant. I can vouch for this – I picked a little sprig last Friday on my way to work. I popped the sprig in my top pocket and all day I was gifted with the most amazing wafts of jasmine. I kept forgetting I had it in my pocket and found myself wondering on occasion where the lovely smell was coming from! I still have the little sprig on my desk. The blooms are now completely shrivelled but are still emitting a scent – 5 days later, amazing!

Today, I collected a much larger bunch, which will keep the house smelling fantastic for days.

The following formula I do not sell. This is because I use a few ingredients that can be hard to come by and so I reserve it for my own personal use. I apologise that it is not a perfume formula that you can whip up today. If you don’t have an extensive perfumers palette you may not have some of the ingredients on hand and so will need to purchase before you have a go. In addition I have used a handmade organic peruvian cacao nib tincture (aged 4 months before filtering) and vanilla bean tincture (aged 9 months) in pure natural grape alcohol as the base for this perfume. It is well worth going to the effort of making these tinctures.

If you are not inclined to make your own perfume, I hope it gives you a little insight into the process I use to create perfume.

This perfume is what I’d describe as a rich oriental spicy floral – my favourite!

JASMINE SPICE NATURAL PERFUME

Measure in a sterilised small measuring glass (30ml glass) using disposable pipettes.

Cacao Nib Tincture 83 drops

Vanilla Bean Tincture 72 drops

To this base add the following:

Balsam of Peru eo 4 drops

Australian Sandalwood eo 3 drops

50% Opoponax absolute 3 drops (equivalent 1.5 drops)

2% Indole (natural isolate) 10 drops (equivalent 0.2 drops)

10% Blackcurrant Bud absolute 5 drops (equivalent 0.5 drops)

25% White Cognac eo 3 drops (equivalent 0.75 drops)

10% Violet Leaf absolute 4 drops (0.4 drops)

Jasmine Sambac absolute 4 drops

Jasmine Grandiflorum absolute 2 drops

Jasmine Grandiflorum Concrete 1/64 teaspoon – just under

Rose Maroc absolute 2 drops

Bitter Orange Flower absolute 2 drops

Cardamon absolute 1 drop

Pink Grapefruit eo 2 drops

Blood Orange eo 3 drops

Bergamot (bergaptene free) eo 4 drops

5% Basil absolute 10 drops (equivalent 0.5 drops)

Blood Cedarwood eo 2 drops

Stir together, pour into a bottle and allow to marry for at least a week – preferably 2 – 3 weeks. After this time, strain through a funnel lined with unbleached filter paper. Decant into a 4ml bottle.

This makes just under 4mls of perfume at around 15% concentration.

Multiply as required to scale up. For larger volumes I would recommend converting the drops to weight to ensure accuracy in subsequent replication.

Jasmine Spice natural perfume

Jasmine Spice natural perfume

NOTES ON SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS

I use Opoponax absolute – not the essential oil. There is a vast difference in smell! The absolute is much richer and deeper. It is also the consistency of syrup and so it is best to dilute before using.

Indole is a natural isolate and even at 2% dilution is quite strong – smells a bit like moth balls. It occurs naturally in jasmine and helps add a little radiance. I’ve only added a dash, so it wouldn’t hurt to leave out as there is already plenty of jasmine in the perfume. If you would like to know a little more about indole, Victoria on her blog Bois de Jasmin writes beautifully about all things olfactory.

Blackcurrant Bud absolute – I adore this, although some liken it to cat pee! I don’t smell that myself. To me it smells earthy, fruity and wine like. Only a small amount is needed to prevent overpowering.

Cognac essential oil – this has a dry, tart, wine like aroma. It is used as a modifier to add a bit of lift to the blend. It is only needed in minute amounts, unless you really want the full dry, tart experience.

Violet Leaf absolute – has a very cool, green, leaf like aroma. This has to be added very carefully, otherwise your perfume will become a very “green” scent. Just a little bit, hints to the freshness of leaves whilst adding a long dry out to the perfume.

For the citrus oils I like to keep them in the 2 – 3% range in the finished perfume due to the issues with photo-toxicity. For this reason, I also only use distilled oils (not expressed citrus oils) and choose bergaptene free bergamot. Nonetheless, I recommend that perfumes containing citrus are not applied to skin that will be exposed to the sun or UV rays within 24 hours.

Basil absolute should be kept at less than 2% of the fragrance concentrate. Here it is used at 1.5%.

I normally have the base ingredients representing a higher ratio in my formulas, however, the tinctures here are acting as a base. To help the longevity of your fragrance, make sure your skin is well moisturised with an unscented product where you will apply the fragrance. This gives the perfume something to hold on to.

If you give this a try I’d love to know how it went and what you think. Also, if you make any adjustments, I’d love to know what they were and how they turned out.

Hope you have a shiny, happy day x

P.S. 23/06/15 I just thought I’d add the following in case readers were unaware: natural jasmine absolute is restricted in commercial fragrances by IFRA due to the potential for skin sensitisation. Jasmine Grandiflorum absolute is allowed at a maximum of 0.7% in the finished fragrance and Jasmine Sambac absolute at 4%. Rose absolute is restricted to 5% of the fragrance concentrate. The above recipe has the Jasmine Grandiflorum at around 0.9% of the finished fragrance and the Rose Absolute at around 6% of the fragrance concentrate – so both are above the IFRA limits. The Jasmine Sambac is ok at around 1.8%. As this is a recipe for personal use, if you choose to make it, it is at your own discretion. If you are concerned you can halve the Jasmine Grandiflorum and Rose absolute and see how it smells.

As a precaution, I think it is good practice for personal safety to always check that online fragrance recipes are using ingredients within recommended usage limits by IFRA and if they are not, at least you are aware and can make an informed decision as to whether to go ahead and make the blend. (When I was starting out years ago I followed an online lip balm recipe. The cinnamon essential oil looked a bit too much so I halved it – thank goodness I did, because even with using half the amount of the cinnamon my lips instantly swelled to twice their size and became extremely red!

The Good Scents Company is also very good for such information.

 

Diversional Therapy

Sometimes I like to try something I’ve not tried before, especially when I feel like I’m getting completely lost in day to day activities. So, today I’m going to indulge myself and diverge from the usual topic of natural perfume. (for those only interested in perfume – I do apologise!)

I’ve recently been following the wonderful Mr. Finch. He did a shout out for The pale Rook – a doll artist based in Norway, whose dolls are just delightful. I’ve never sewn before, but was so inspired by the work of mister-finch and the pale rook that I thought I’d have a go.

I currently have a bird in progress (based on an Abigail Glassenberg pattern in The Artful  Bird) and an attempt at a doll. The poor birds legs are dreadful, due to the fact that I used the wrong wire and couldn’t shape them very well. I secured them so superbly, I couldn’t remove and just had to persist with dodgy legs. I am in the process of figuring out appropriate leg and arm patterns for the doll. I think both will have to wait a little while for completion. But I’m pretty happy so far with the attempts.

bird body

bird body

doll body

doll body

I’ve also started a learn to draw course. I’ve never attempted to draw because I thought a natural gift was required (given that both my kids and husband can just draw). The course has been wonderful for helping me simply get pencil to paper. I’ve also discovered that it is incredibly relaxing. It is amazingly meditative and hypnotic. I plan for just 20 minutes in my evenings to draw and before I know it 2 hours have passed! Of course my youngest son is delighted that he is getting to go to bed a little later! I’m excited to be up to the part on how to draw faces. I was very happy with my first attempt at a side view of the head. I quite like the look of the constructive lines, so I left them there. Here it is:

side profile1

Where have I been?

Oh my goodness, it has been 5 months since I last blogged.

So where have I been? Well, earlier this year I was offered a job that was basically too good to knock back. The offer also coincided with me questioning where I wanted to go with making natural perfume. The problem I have is that I come up with lots of ideas and wonderful new blends, however, the whole labelling and product photography limits my ability to release these new perfumes in a cost effective manner.

I don’t have the skills to take my own decent product photos and printing labels has been a real pain. I don’t seem to be able to work out how to do my own labels and all printers (local and online) that I have contacted seem to have very large minimum orders. So, I feel quite restricted in being able to release new fragrances. I’m also not particularly good at marketing my perfumes. Workshops I’ve been to, seem to suggest bombarding people with constant Facebook and Twitter updates, newsletters and almost daily blogging. Personally, I hate receiving a never ending stream of marketing tactics from anyone.

So, I simply let the natural perfume business hum quietly in the background and allowed myself the chance to become immersed in the job I was offered. Well, yesterday I put in my resignation. For many reasons, the job wasn’t what I had hoped it would be and I found myself frustrated. When you also receive sad news that a person you know has just died in a horrific car accident leaving behind a young family, you just think dang it, life’s too short to be frustrated every day.

my daily walk to work has come to an end

My daily walk to work has come to an end – instead I shall simply head straight back up the 194 stairs when I reach the bottom!

I prefer flexibility in my life and so I have returned to my usual casual clinical and research work. This gives me more space to work with my natural perfumes as well as to be open to other creative possibilities. In fact I’ve decided to learn to draw – I will tolerate child like stick figures no more!

When I first began my natural perfume journey one thing I noticed was a distinct lack of perfume recipes. Most were simple aromatherapy blends and anything more than a basic blend never seemed to perform well on the skin. It takes a fair bit of time and experimentation to get a perfume how you want it, so naturally no one wants to share their hard earned formula. However, I’ve decided that instead of releasing new blends I concoct, I will occasionally share an actual formula on my blog. Am I worried someone will take that formula and start their own brand? No. Good on them if they do and can make it work. In fact I’d be flattered if someone thought one of my formulas was good enough to start their own brand with. Formulating the blend is but one small piece of the puzzle. The ability to market is a huge part of the process to becoming successful. Also, some people will copy initially to get an understanding of the process but once they learn the new skills and gain confidence, I believe most would then branch out by tweaking the formula to meet their own specific needs or simply do their own thing. What I would hope people would take away from me sharing my own formulas, is an appreciation for what goes into a natural perfume.

So, keep an eye out on this blog. I have a couple of blends I think are worthy of sharing. I’m thinking a spicy jasmine and a truffle tuberose.

Truffle Tuberose

Truffle Tuberose