Monday, June 29, 2015

Aftelier Bergamoss Solid Perfume

Guys. I won something. An amazing thing. A beautiful thing. And I was so excited when my name had been drawn that whooped out so loud I scared my husband. 

Mandy Aftel, of Aftelier, held two giveaways recently, one on Instagram and one via Facebook. Both giveaways were for an antique watch case filled with her new perfume solid Bergamoss. I entered both and was drawn for the Instagram contest! My beauty (valued at $265) arrived a week after the contest ended in a dazzling golden bubble mailer. Tucked inside the mailer was a glassine envelop housing a pull-drawer box.

The artwork on the front of her business card. 

The bottom of the box.

This bag. I love it. Mandy's attention to detail and high regard for craftsmanship is evident.

The treasure inside. Isn't she lovely? After tinkering around with some light research, the grouse hallmark indicates that it is Swiss made and 0.800 silver. The lack of a "Swiss Made" stamp may indicate the age between 1880-1887. I am obviously not an expert on antiques but I do appreciate their histories, stories and journeys. 

The etching makes me swoon. The little village, the flower, and cresting waves. 

Bergamoss. The hue of the glass outside the case foreshadows the perfume's depth of color within, an ancient living green.

Swirling my finger tip on the firm yet silken surface releases sparks of antiqued citrus in the air like so many dandelion wishes. Warm skin acts a catalyst, caressing out more depth, excavating nuances of spice and fruit flesh. All the while that rich golden green oakmoss sings. Bergamoss enchants me with her timeless luxury and quiet beauty. 

The antique case compliments the fragrance inside seamlessly. It looks and feels and smells like a treasure that has laid hidden in an attic for a century. A silver flash of sunlight dances on the surface, catching a little girl's eye who has been playing in the trunks of old gowns and shawls. She wanders over to the dust draped table and picks up the watch case and cradles it in her hand. Scents from lifetimes ago warming in her palm and rising to the rafters. Golden green shafts of light. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Passport Cover Tutorial

I had to take my passport to be scanned over to the military base so I could get clearance rolling and the trip to and fro in my bag jostled and scruffed my passport up a wee bit. It got me thinking that it would be nice to have a cover to help protect it and maybe even store my ID inside of for when I need to get through customs. Thus the birth of my down and dirty quick passport cover tutorial. It is not ultra refined but it IS quirky and does the job.


Timtex: roughly 10 by 6  inch piece
two fat quarters of coordinating fabric
mini hairband
vintage button

I chose a heavier weight cotton for durability purposes. I had these two half yard cuts of Echino fabric made by Kokka, a high quality Japanese fabric brand, that I had been hoarding for several years. They have a light canvas cloth feel. Plus the buses and cars rocked... transportation... going places... passports!

Cut two rectangles of Timtex or other heavy weight interfacing: 4" by 5 1/4"

Not perfect but close enough.

Cut five total rectangles of fabric: two for the cover of the book and two for the lining and one for the pocket that the passport will slide into: 4 1/2" by 5 3/4" each. 

Next, cut out two pieces in any fabric choice to create an additional little pocket for an ID: roughly 2 1/2" by 3 1/4".

Remove plastic backing from the Timtex and adhere to the cover fabric pieces using a hot iron, as directed.

Here are my pieces all lined up and ready to go. The left are my covers with the interfacing attached. The brown buses are my lining, the single on the right of the buses is the passport pocket with a double folded and ironed edge (do this on the LEFT side of the fabric when right side up). Lastly, the tiny pocket on the far right with a corner cut off. Just eyeball it. ;-)

Ironing the edge down on the passport pocket.

Sew down the folded edge. I used a zigzag stitch for fun factor. 

Place the tiny ID pocket right sides together and sew around the short side, corner and top using a 1/4" seam allowance. See below.

After sewing along the three sides shown: clip corners, turn inside out, press and top stitch.

Place tiny ID pocket on the left lining side (as if you were holding open a book, one lining is the inside left and the other is the inside right). The tiny ID pocket can be placed either vertically tall or horizontally long, whichever is your preference. See photos at the end of the post for clarification. 

Next, make your loop for the closure by taking the tiny hairband and spearing it with a needle near one end. Take some thread and tie the end of the hairband off so it stays pinched.

Lay the hairband down along the left edge of the left lining on top of the tiny ID pocket. Stitch along the left edge of the tiny pocket and over the hairband (back and forth over the hairband to secure it) and down across the bottom, using 1/4" seam allowance.

Take the right hand lining and place the large passport pocket on top, lining up along the right hand edge. stitch in place using 1/4" seam allowance.

Place the covers and the linings right sides together, making sure the fabric is correct if directional (no upside down cars or anything, unless you want it that way). Stitch them together along the sides and top, back-stitching at the beginning and end for security. Stitch as close to the Timtex as you can without going on top of it.  Leave the bottoms open. 

Clip the corners and turn inside out. It will be tricksy with the Timtext, but you can do it! Iron down and tuck in the bottom. Top-stitch all the way around the rectangle, close to the edge. Press with the iron.

Sandwich the top and back covers and use a blanket stitch along the spine to join the two sides. I used all six strands on the embroidery floss.

Two passport covers.

Slide the last page of the passport into the large pocket on the right side. This one has the tiny ID pocket placed vertically.

This one has the tiny ID pocket placed horizontally. The cars are upside-down on this passport pocket. Totally on purpose. >bites lip<

Check out my mad cool vintage buttons. The green one is an old bakelite button from eBay. Vintage buttons are sweet. 

These really weren't too bad to whip up. 

Thanks and happy sewing!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sonoma Scent Studio: Amber Incense

Amber Incense is Laurie's newest all natural perfume creation. Laurie crafts her fragrances in two categories: mixed media (which uses some natural and some synthetic materials) and all natural. I love that Laurie chronicles her perfume making process on her blog. You know when beautiful aromas are in the making, from seed to fruit and the bumps that happen along the way. Reading her posts regarding the creation of this particular perfume created a well of excitement. I just could not wait to experience it. 

The deep golden copper juice tells the story from the start. Frankincense bold and kingly herald the opening, with a honey sweetness sweeping in behind. And ultimately that is what this scent reminds me of, honey and incense. Viscous, holding a drop of sunlight in its belly. As it dries down, a soft cedar note materializes, all the while holding onto the golden frankincense honey. The projection is soft and the longevity is nice, quite a few hours. I will be buying this again. It is too beautiful to pass up. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bath & Body Works: $9 Candle Sale

My mom spoils me. Sunnee posted on Facebook about the $9 candle sale at Bath & Body Works about a month ago and I shared it in case any of my friends wanted to partake. I mentioned not being able to buy at the time and my mom texted me and demanded I tell her three scents I wanted. And to recommend some she might like. Moms are awesome. 

When she brought them over the other day I noticed the new packaging sleeves. Very nice! I hope they are helping to reduce the amount of breakage I hear about that occurs during shipping. 

Rainforest Gardenia- Notes: White florals, lush green undertones, fresh bamboo, and sweet apple water. 
A nice soft and watery gardenia scent. 

Vanilla Bean Marshmallow- Notes: Vanilla and marshmallow.
It smells more like a creamy vanilla custard to me. 

Ocean Driftwood- Notes: Beachside oak, mahogany and fresh air.
It smells just like Mahogany and Teakwood to me. 

I am excited about my new candles but I am kind of bummed that Ocean Driftwood is just a new label for a same old scent. I like Mahogany and Teakwood but I was looking for something different. More salty and driftwood like. Have you found any new favorite scents at Bath & Body Works?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Haus of Gloi: Coconut #3 Perfume Oil

Haus of Gloi released three exclusive coconut perfume oils during their summer product launch. These perfume oils were created using an expensive pure coconut oil and came in three formulations: Coconut (a pure coconut fragrance using coconut CO2 extraction with some added benzoin), Coconut #2 (a lighter and brighter version of coconut with added frankincense, elimi, benzoin and vanilla) and  Coconut #3 (a darker flanker with added vetiver and labdanum). I obviously picked #3, because anything with labdanum needs to be mine. These 5 ml bottles ran $30 each and are vegan. 

In the bottle this fragrance holds its secrets tight. Once on the skin they whisper forth tales of dank briny holds in the bellies of schooners, galleys stocked with coconut flesh gathered from tropical isles and the ancient wood crates they call home. Dark, dry, salty. 

This may be a difficult scent for some to wear, but it is undeniably an experience. I see myself layering this with vanilla based perfumes, gardenias and At The Beach 1966 to give them more depth and complexity. If I feel a little salty I will wear it as is. 

I think I may be coming around to these perfume oils. The more I try them, the more I like them. Kind of like sushi. Or exercise. Or Leonard Cohen.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Melting Basket 39 & Summer Love

Wax tarts I would like to buy again from the previous basket include: LCP French Quarter Cookies, UTC American Cream, Scentsy Bonfire Beach a nice Marshmallow Fireside scent, LSC Bombshell.

Nene's- Vanille Abricot type
Nene's- Vaniglia del Madagascar (I Profumi di Firenze perfume dupe)
Super Tarts- Blossom my very very last Super Tarts wax!!! >tears< 
Lasting Scent Candles- Peridot Rock Candy
Lasting Scent Candles- Xanadu
Lasting Scent Candles- Temptation
Lasting Scent Candles- Scrumptious Vanilla Bread
Vintage Chic Scents- Breathless in Providence
Up The Creek- American Cream/Pink/Marshmallow Noel custom loaf chunk
Alamo Candelaria- Santiago Blackberry
Starlit- 7 Up Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake <3 gift
CFTKR- Caramelized Crimson Pear <3 gift
CFTKR- Caramel Pizzelle
CFTKR- Orange Juice Cake
Long Cane Primitives- Pomegranate Honeydew Cotton Candy Frosting <3 gift
Rosegirls- Vanilla Bean Noel mini melters
Rosegirls- Raspberry Sauce mini melters
Rosegirls- Cotton Candy Frosting mini melters
Rosegirls- Over The Moon
Rosegirls- Cereal Killer Crunch Berries
Rosegirls- Strawberry Cereal Killer Ice Cream <3 gift
Streetman- Salt & Lime

If you would like an in depth melted review of any of these scents above in the current basket, please let me know and I will do it just for you. 

Summer is zipping by, but as it quickly passes it is bringing the much needed restoration and invigoration that I needed. I can feel my creativity flowing back from the deep ebb, almost drought, it was in these past several months. My old Singer has been getting much love from me. My Bible has too. And so have my knives, cutting board and hand mixer. My weights and tennis shoes. My yoga pants have actually been used to yoga. I mean, how great is that?! Weight and worries drop away like unwanted bricks that I did not even realize were pressing me down. 

I am currently working on a strip quilt, a square scrap quilt I have been sewing for several years, a small Liberty of London lap quilt, a passport cover tutorial, a huge embroidery hoop display for our bedroom, and I have been itching to use my beloved Liberty of London fabric stash to sew a dress for myself. I am thinking like the kind where you take a shirt top and sew a waistband and skirt onto it. Something comfy but kind of cute. 

I hope the summer has been bringing you renewal too. And not too much heat and humidity. Any trips or crafts or projects going on in your neck of the woods?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Handmade in Florida Fine Artisan Soaps

Handmade in Florida restocked last month and I set my phone alarm clock so I would not miss it the minute it happened. The owner, Zahida, decided to delay the opening about 10 minutes to allow more people to browse and get an idea of what they wanted. When the cart buttons were opened I quickly added some soaps and a lip balm. The products arrived packaged with care and beauty. 

Along with the four soap choices, I was sent three generous sample chunks. Handmade in Florida's scent descriptions in italics included.

Blood Orange & Gogi Berry Splashes of blood orange juice and sweet Satsuma orange wedges, combined with the nectars of ripe gogi berry and island mango.

Sweet Orange Chili Pepper A sweet and spicy blend of orange, bergamot, tangerine, cassis, neroli, chili pepper and sheer musk.

Southern Charm A delightful blend of sweet raspberries, juicy peaches and fragrant white magnolias on a warm musky base. 

Serenity This soap is scented with essential oils from lavender, eucalyptus and mint. It sounded relaxing and refreshing and that is just what it smells like. Sweet bedtime baths. At times the lavender appears, herbal and rich, then the spearmint takes over with a minty sweetness. This is my kind of soap scent.

French Lime Blossom I bought this for the beautiful rosette top. Yes I am that shallow. But it is gorgeous. As delicate as a French confection. Notes of linden tree, violet and white lily compose this sophisticated ivory floral soap. There is an almost cucumber like undertone that feels fresh and aquatic that must come from the lily. 

Summer Nights is a fruity floral scent that my eyes love more than my nose. The fragrance is pretty but flits through my mind so fast as to be forgotten. I have since gifted it to my sister, as she liked it very much.

Inner Peace was the one I wanted most. Top notes of sweet orange and lavender followed by a warm blend of patchouli, incense and golden amber... inner peace... And her description is spot on. The fragrance gently unfurls with a soft patchouli that is balanced between heady and transparent. I am in love.

These soaps have a texture all their own. Firm, yet rubbery, they have a bouncy feel that is quite fun! Of course the lather is abundant and soft, and it rinses with nary a bit of residue. The soaps run $8 each and the lip balm was $3.50. I see myself buying the soaps again for sure. The quality and craftsmanship is unmistakable. 

Handmade in Florida is an exquisite company from product to packaging and would make beautiful gifts as well. Do you have any local handmade soaps or products that you have tried? Have you tried Handmade in Florida?