Monday, February 22, 2021



My garden was starting to look pretty wane. The brief blooming of the bulbs has passed and the time for trimming had arrived. I cut back my roses and hedges (Adam always says I denude them but they grow back even more vigorous), as well as the crepe myrtle and other random shrubs around the yard. So it looks pretty barren right now.

My violas are running out of steam but the sweet alyssum is happy still. I got the urge to hang out in the yard most of the weekend. I built a third raised bed garden and filled it with soil. I planted potatoes in the deepest tier. 

I also planted several clumps of two types of lavender. They don't do the best around here but the ephemeral time that I get to touch and sniff them is worth it to me. 

Thank you for all the underwear recommendations. I ended up buying one pair from Whiskey Dog Wares to try and three pairs from Hot Mango Undies (one being period panties). I am excited to give these babies a test run once they arrive. I am tired of riding in the Pinto. I need the cushy Cadillac seats. 

What I have been loving lately:

- Lifting heavy things

- Doodling again

- Fine line markers and pens

- Tinctures

- Collecting seeds and acorns and random nature things

- Rain

- Robins

- Organizing the craft/sun room shelves

What have you been up to lately? Look out for another Arcana Wildcraft post this week and a giveaway to go with it.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Pottery Mayhem: My Coffee Mug Collection


My sisters all live away from me. Granted one is only about and hour and a half away, but another is whole states away (in Texas) and the other is whole countries away (in Belgium). And I miss them. Terribly. I have had a history of pushing off my obsessions onto them. I gift them bags and boxes of wax, perfumes, candles, and yes, even ceramics. I have enjoyed buying and sending pottery to Heather and Darby. I would Lindsey too but I know she has a style that she prefers and I probably would not hit it on the head. Anyway, my sister Heather has become enamored of all things pottery and functional art. She recently asked me to show and tell. So here it is.

I apologize in advance for the craptastic photos. I refused to move my mugs very far in fear of dropping any. So in-door lighting at its worst is evident and no fancy schmancy props and set ups. I store them on these floating shelves. I am thinking of raising the ones in the back row up higher. Keep in mind these are (mostly) only my mugs. With the exception of two that are on their was to me. I do have other ceramic art pieces I can show if you like.

I know this isn't a mug but my J Pop Studios gar canister is amazing. It holds my Lady's Mantle tea. Plus I have two spoons. An owl from J Pop and a mushroom from Murava Ceramics, sadly it broke so I had to wrap it in twine and glue it back together. Too much tapping on the edge of a coffee mug I guess. 

These are my sentimental mugs that were gifted to me. The first two are from my best friend Ashley. She picked up the tea cup in Japan while she lived there at an art festival. The second one is an Ugchug from Nelson Studio. The one on the far right is a treasured gift from Tiggy at Future Primitive. Her partner, Matt, is a potter at Winchcombe Pottery in the UK, one of the longest running craft potteries in the country. I love this mug to pieces. It is light, easy to hold, the design and shape is attractive, and the sanded texture is appealing to me. I pretty much love everything about this mug. 

These four mugs I picked up while on various vacations to the Smoky mountains: Townsend and Gatlinburg, TN and then Nacoochee, GA and Murphy, NC. They started my craze, specifically the owl on the far right. 

Then began the Instagram pottery scouting. Elan Pottery was by far the most prolific at the time (and probably still is). I kept trying to score a mug on her Etsy page but they would slip by like slippery eels. Eventually, Leigh Anne started her Mug Club and dagnabbit! I was not going to miss out again. So I took a deep breath and clicked the 6 month subscription (which is still available by the by- but she no longer uses Etsy). It was worth it. These mugs (except the skull with crystal- that one I was able to score later as time went by) arrived with extras like magnets, pens, teas and whatnots. There were two more (sometimes you got a set) but I gifted those to friends. I love the tall stein and tumbler for milk or cold drinks. Some of these have a pearlescent glaze except the two with transfers.

Leigh Anne was very nice to work with. My last shipment (the highly anticipated crystal mug!!!!) did not arrive. And then didn't arrive some more. After about two months I emailed her and it had simply fell through the hole somewhere. So she generously sent two crystal mugs instead. Mug Club is clutch. Especially if you want a cohesive collection or you want to build it without the headache of missing releases or launches and you aren't too picky.

These guys are from one of my favorite potters, Cate, from CBe Ceramics. I have three mugs and two planters from her. The owls in the desert mug was a custom (she opens for customs twice a year, join her mailing list). The others were scores from releases that I had been closely following. Now I find it easier to just wait for her newsletter to catch an opening if I have a hankering.

I love the glazing, shape, feel, and artistry in her pieces. You get the intuition that she actually puts pieces of herself in her work. The sayings on the back make me smile too. I like the forest creature mug for milk and cookies. I am only slightly bummed the owls don't have a saying. I guess I should have requested one? Totoro is one of my favorite mugs period. I always hope to catch one more custom so I can ask for a No-Face mug.

These mugs are from the maker, Deanna at Hand to Earth Ceramics. I had one more with a pink full moon but it cracked and leaks so the girls use it to hold their toothbrushes. I love the sgraffito artwork that Deanna creates. The tall moon phase one in the back has breathtaking glaze, the colors and textures and incredible. The others look more like a spray painted ombre rather than glazes.

Kelsey's Starstuff mugs have evolved so much. These two mugs were from her earlier and simpler styling. I was able to score these back when she had an Etsy. I do love these bug filled mugs. However, I will say the resin is starting to lift despite hand-washing and gentle care. For the money invested in these that does frustrate me a bit, but they are still treasures for sure. I also asked her once how the acorns and such hold up on her mugs with use and washing but she never replied. I can't imagine how water would be good for that. Nevertheless, I am happy to own these mugs and count them as some of my most unique.

Pitch Pine Pottery  also included some of my beginning pieces. I grabbed the one on the left and a tea cup (gifted the tea cup to Heather), then later came the tent, the bat mug ornament and a hanging planter. I gifted my sister Darby a PPP moon mug too.  These were all during the Etsy days. More recently I purchased two painter's palettes. I do have my heart set on a bookish pipe smoking owl mug. I hope I am fast enough one day. I will say signing up for newsletters is the best route. Tara and Matt sometimes host subscriber only secret sales. That is how I got one of the palettes. 

One of my favorite artists and creators is Tiffany Thomas at TThomas Arts. I love following her on IG, she is so sweet and kind hearted. Her baby boy is the cutest too. Tiffany specializes in gemstone mugs that are sculptural, hefty, fascinating and one-of-a-kind. The teal sprinkle mug was love at first sight. It reminded me of my December birthstone of blue topaz. From time to time she will do a pre-order and I asked if she could include the cedar mug and sure enough she did so I scooped it up. These are hefty mugs that feel substantially luxurious. I secretly covet either a candy corn or a candy cane mug of hers next.

Shiyana is a very talented potter who has gone through a few iterations in her branding. She first started Ox & Otter as a college assignment but then it took off. She then was Earth Erra for a bit and now Erralajean. The mug on the far left is an older mug that I purchased second-hand. Then came the pink mug, the orange/black, then the purple and finally the moss colored one. I pre-ordered three gorgeous teal mugs and gifted them to a friend and a sister, but the one I kept for myself was broken when washing by being hit against the countertop. I use it to hold my toothbrushes. I find catching her pre-orders around Christmas time is the best option for getting an item you want. I also have a wax warmer from her that I use in my bedroom.

Another artist I find to be exquisitely talented is Michelle Strader at Silver Run Ceramics. Her sgraffito artwork is highly detailed and folkloric. The bearded raven was my first purchase (isn't he handsome?!!). I then picked up the snake for my youngest daughter who has a pet snake. She also has a matching jewelry dish. Then the curio cabinet mug was my next purchase. I also have an evil eye I picked up, along with a fox match striker and wolf incense burner. I am always game to add Michelle's art to my collection. Her wall art tiles are stunning as well. I have eyes for one of her rabbits. The symbols and alchemy on them remind me of Watership Down and I am there for that.

Ben at Scrimshaw Pottery was first introduced to me by following Nicole from Arrok Jewelry. She had purchased two of the tall ship stein mugs and I fell hard for them. So I scooped one up and then the skulls were begun shortly after and of course I needed one of those too. Ben is a fun creator to watch. I love that he hand paints each and every mug. No transfers used. Wow. Ben is great about having pre-orders. He has a fun alien mug right now. What I wish I would have picked up is his Krampus mug. Maybe it will return?

Callahan Ceramics is a popular maker. I was able to grab these two beauties during a Halloween/October release a few years ago. One is a bat cave coffee mug and the other is a Hogwarts tumbler. I enjoy both but don't reach for them as much as I should. Maybe once or twice a year.

Mushroom mugs... can one really have enough? My answer is a resounding "NO" therefore I have grabby hands with them all. These two came from Three Stars and A Sun Ceramics. The one on the left is a transfer I believe and was a pre-order. The one on the right is 3-D and hand sculpted. I had fast fingers for that one. I love both to pieces. The handles, glazing and motif with vignette is attractive to me. 

From here on are one-offs that I have. Just because I only own one of each from these makers does not mean I don't like them. It just means I was finally fast enough once. 

The technicolor daisy from Pine Zen Pottery is mind blowing. The walls are thin and delicate, the inner glaze is this juicy deep jungle green and blue teal color that makes my mouth water. The rainbow of hand-painted daisies is eye catching. I would totally collect more.

The tall mug in the middle is probably one of my most artistic. It is a fungus and lichen inspired sculptural piece from Lori Ellen Phillips Ceramics. I swoon every time I use it. I am scared I will drop it swooning one day. The finishes are glossy, satin and matte and the movement is admirable. I have an incense burner from her too. 

The last mushroom mug is by Little Garden Pottery. I chipped the lip but it still drinks just fine. I like this one for my teas. So I use it fairly often. 

DirtWorks Ceramics has blown up since I purchased this mug on Ahnalisa's old Etsy site. I love the galaxy of colors on this moon phase mug. It is a beast and I tend to use it for chilled drinks like iced teas and such. If she ever made a Hermit tarot card mug I would be all over it.

This footed cauldron with a huge moon spilling swirls of glaze was made by One:Eleven Pottery. I love using this mug. It makes me feel witchy.

The haunted house and pumpkin patch is a mug by Cornidez Studios. She has become very popular and her mugs are quite fun to look at. I was hoping to get a Headless Horseman or witch but they sold mega fast. I am happy with my wee haunted house though. The glittering black glaze is unique to my collection. 

The tall stein to the left is a drippy glaze from Made by Anisa. I also have a planter by her as well.

The owl and moon in the forest is by Christine Tenenholtz back when she had Red Hot Pottery. She simply goes by her name now. I love the stars and cedars on this one. He style is more simplistic now but beautiful nonetheless with stylized rainbows of color.

 The last mug is a chubby drippy confection by Pottery by M. I love the look and feel of it but the handle doesn't feel so great so I tend to hold it with my fingers around the belly. 

The tall thumb mug is from Namas Art Studios. I picked one up for myself and one for my sister, Darby. I like using it for iced drinks since it has a bigger capacity. This maker was a hidden gem I uncovered while trolling through Etsy for mugs to buy my friends and family for Christmas. 

The hand painted and thrown Totoro mug is from Wander and Flux. It has a lot of cute details on the back too. It is on the smaller side and very comfy to hold so I like it for hot tea at night. This was another one I stumbled upon while searing mugs on Etsy.

The big chonk blue pearly beast at the end is a recent purchase that Adam made for me as a gift from Fox + Phoenix Pottery. I have not even had a chance to sip from it yet. 

These last ones are some of my favorites. The one on the left was a random find at an antique sale at a local huge market a year or so ago... pre-COVID times. It is supposed to be vintage but I honestly have no idea. I just love it. 

The time bear aurora is one of my favorite art pieces. It is made by Claire McCauley and I adore it. It is so very cool. 

I was good for a while. I had not made a mug purchase in ages until last month. I now have a bat mug from Black Banjo Arts coming (to be fair I have bought a shirt from Ellie before and have drooled over her mugs for ages, so it was time). I also have a mug from Art By Ramiro Diaz on its way and a sparkling pines snowy moonscape from Mud Grove Pottery ( and hey! She actually has some left!!). 

I will still probably snoop around. I will still be gifting mugs. I have a mug for each week of the year. But hey. It really isn't any different than the hundreds of salt and peppers shakers my Mema collected, so it must be genetic thing. 

What do you collect? Which mug catches your eye? The more demure and simple or the wild and motley? Shapes? Color? Texture?

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Arcana Wildcraft: Valentine's Collection

 These perfumes were gifts from Julia. All opinions are my own.

Post Tenebras Lux- Notes: Light after darkness. Wildcrafted fir balsam, Canadian Douglas fir, red spruce, golden amber, Moroccan cedarwood, wild blackberries, bergamot, blood orange, and citron.

It truly does smell like sunlight in a bottle. Glittering and luminous the shimmering evergreens and effervescent citrus zing and zip playfully. The same spritely energy plays out on the wrists with aldehydic bergamot, turgid blackberries and puckering lemon frolicking on a bed of sun dappled balsam needles. This scent is lively and stimulating, tart and delicious. Like the best artisan lemonade accented with muddled blackberries and infused with pine bitters. I want to make this into a drink, for summer evening sipping by a campfire with lightening bugs flashing their love in the gloaming. This has skyrocketed into my top three best fruity scents.

Love- Notes: Splendid, dazzling devotion. A breathtaking vanilla accord is accompanied by fresh cream, sugarcane, soft musk, and a pinch of tea leaves.

In the bottle I get the old school chewable Flintstone vitamins. I know this is not a prelude to what it will smell like in its entirety so I toss that aside and slather it on. I do still catch whiffs of crunchy fruity Flintstone vitamins at first glance but then the tea emerges, with hints of currants and tannins creating a pleasant acidity. The earthy cola and molasses-like sugarcane notes are rounded out with the gentle vanilla cream. This has an old fashioned twang to it that brings to mind ruffled Valentine's and calico dresses.

Thundering Orgasm- Notes: A soft swirl of jasmine sambac absolute, the essence of wild orange groves, building to a crescendo of wild-harvested black spruce, rich amber resin, animal fur accord, black pepper, and a hint of sex musk.

I was eyeing up this beauty last year but then things got away from me and I didn't remember to order it before it left. I am so very happy to have it now. I knew I would love the play on jasmine and spruce, and can I just say that Julia's animal fur accord is growly good? If you like Merrywidow or Sea Wolves I think you should give this one a spin as it contains the best auras of both. Boozy and crisp jasmine pair beautifully with the wild oranges and evergreens. The opening is intoxicating and feral. Scintillating as first touches and possibilities. As the perfumes deepens towards the heart the citrus moves towards orange blossoms rather than fruit and I could swear there was a touch of deliciously skanky cumin in there heating things up. It smells like sex in a most metaphorical manner and I am here for it. I get a slight nod to Serge Lutens' Fleurs D'oranger and it is probably the similarity that jasmine and orange blossom can share. Either way I would dump Uncle Serge for Thundering Orgasm and that is saying a lot. The drydown pulls that animal fur and musk up from the depths and Sea Wolves comes to mind with its cozy and snuggly musks. This is the afterglow. The breath slowing. The nest making in the sheets. The ease of falling into dreams with a pleasant fullness.

Amorini- Notes: A playful mix of cherry candy, three vanillas, pink musk, guava, sugar, and a warm rush of cinnamon hearts.

I featured this scent two years ago and here was my description then:
"Plump little Maraschino cherry bottoms bob to the surface of this scent. It reminds me of the time when I stayed at my great-grandmother's house overnight. Granny Conrad made me a bowl of plain vanilla ice cream and dropped a generous helping of electric red cherries on top and poured a glug of the scarlet juice on top for good measure. It was the best bowl of ice cream I ever had as an 8 year old. These cherries remind me of just that moment. On the skin those cherries play in tandem with sweet guava jelly, if only briefly. However, I do think I must be asnomic to the pink musk because after a short interlude with the cherries and guava I then smell nothing but the very faintest amber for a period of time. Eventually a soft exhalation of cherry and vanilla rise from the skin but in an attenuated strength. I am going to play with this one a bit as I am not often asnomic to musks but I am sure it was bound to happen. I am at the very least so happy to have been gifted this scent memory though."

I wanted to revisit this scent, since I did gift this perfume to one of my cherry loving friends. I am thrilled to have it back in my clutches. 

On the wrist Amorini is sweet and intensely flavored, like a tube of cherry LifeSavers. From various distances between the scent and my nose it sometimes leans into cherry tobacco territory but then heads right back into cherry Push-Pop land. Either way I am enjoying wearing it and will not be letting this one go again.

These lovely perfumes are currently available at the Arcana Wildcraft website for the next while. I love that Julia brings back old favorites each season and adds some new flavor as well. It is comforting to know that a scent you adore will eventually more than likely make its way back around. Which of these four would you wear for Valentine's Day? I am leaning towards Post Tenebras Lux. Utterly delicious.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Arcana Wildcraft: New Layering Notes

 These perfumes were sent as a gift from Julia. All opinion are my own.

Julia at Arcana Wildcraft has released her Valentine's collections which I am working on featuring very soon. In the meantime here are a few new Layering Notes on offer. These are $20 each and work as stand alone perfumes or are perfect for adding new dimensions to your scent wardrobe. 

PB&J- Notes: Rich peanut butter, grape jelly, and a hint of toast.

Upon opening the tart sticky flavor of classic grape jelly peeks out while an under current of peanuts follows behind. On the wrist I am immediately back in the pews sipping the Welch's grape juice that serves as the blood in communion. That grape juice thickens and realistically portrays the self-same jelly. I don't know how Julia did it but the peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth and the crusty bread underlies all of it. I feel just like Violet Beauregarde but instead of turning into a blueberry I am transforming into a nourishing and tasty school lunch treat. 

Whipped Cream- Notes: Chilled heavy cream is deeply infused with Tahitian vanilla and then whipped into soft white peaks.

In the glass bottle a sweet and joyful cloud of sweet vanilla cream bobs about. On the wrist the sweet vanilla cream possesses a chilly finesse that lands it squarely in the Cool Whip territory. I used to be that impertinent kid who would take two fingers and swoop it into the Cool Whip container in the fridge whenever mom brought one home as the desire struck. I am sure it was a bone of contention. I think to make a point my step-dad wrapped up a tub of Cool Whip and gifted to it me for Christmas one year so I could have a tub all to myself (and possibly distract me from contaminating their own container). That year I also opened up a huge stack of paper plates since it landed in my lap to do dishes every single night of my childhood and I loathed it. So the paper plates were a gift to assuage that burden. Back to the perfume... there is even a slight ozonic dryness that reminds me of refrigerators and whipped cream canisters. It is a fun scent and I will enjoy wearing this.

Pistachio Ice Cream- Notes: Sweet, nutty pistachios blended with cold ice cream.

The pistachio is robust, overflowing with cherry-almond sweetness and nuttiness. Once on the skin the electric cherry vibes settle down into the creamy and soft pistachio that makes Haagen Dazs pistachio so delightful. There are even papery facets from the seed coat and a gentle floral halo surrounding it. 

If you enjoy realistic perfumes that are deceptively simple you really should check out Julia's Layering Notes scents.

So, would you want to smell like a PB&J? What strange or unlikely perfume would you want to have created?

Monday, February 1, 2021

Verdant Faerie: Botanical Perfumes

My friend Doreen is a talented all-natural perfume composer. She is also a talented aerial silk artist, writer and dreamer. Her posts on social media always make me smile and are welcome places to dwell. Here is a link to her blog and a link to her Etsy shop. She allowed me the honor of drawing a label for some of her scents and in return sent me some as a generous thank you. These are not for sale in her shop yet but I do know she is working on creating her website and I think she will be listing these for sale in the near future.

Stardust- Notes: Ancient resinous woods, powder-soft purring violets, fresh snowdrops, and a hint of dry pink pepper fluff.

The violets are tender and softly sweet. Their delicate faces are dappled in dew drops and surrounded by greenery. Watery and serene notes imbue the violets with freshness and a watercolor feel. As the scent settles into the skin the violets release their calming perfume with effortless joy. Stars, violets, and the faces we love, all imbued with the same essence, the same atoms, the same origin. A unity to revel in. 

Fancy French Lavender

A deceptively simple blend of authentic lavender suspended in organic oil. Exquisite blends of lavender absolutes and oils make my heart pitter patter. I spray a homemade blend of lavender, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense and fir on my pillow each night. This roller ball of lavender will get worn quickly, especially as a comfort scent and bedtime aroma. The lavender is jammy and evergreen, diaphanous yet full-bodied. It holds hints of rosemary in its heart. I am thrilled to have it on hand.

Woodwose- Notes: Agarwood and oakmoss, fire embers, gin.

I knew I would love this one. Afterall, it is named after a Sasquatch. Here in Florida we call those Skunk Apes. Well let me tell you, this beast is gorgeous (as I am sure he is no matter where he lives). The oakmoss is turgid with life, gilded with nuances of bergamot but then dusty with lichen as well. I simply love a good oakmoss. Threads of smoky fire and oud ruffle the edges and lend the suggestion of warm fur that holds the ghosts of campfires and cave fires where succor can be found. In the heart the gin adds a clarity that speaks of burbling cold creeks and juniper sap. This one will be a frequent companion on my skin. I am furry enough that he will feel right at home.

Rivendell- Notes: Soft woodsy sandalwood, fruit nectar, and a hint of green, fresh pine.

A Lord of the Rings based scent? For a girl who has the Hobbit theme for her ringtone? Or wears Shire shoes? Mmm hmmm. Already a fan. The fruits glisten on a silver platter set amid the airy ivy-clad arches of the magical elf dwelling of Rivendell. They smell faintly of citrus and dark berries and perhaps even something a touch creamy. Perhaps that is the sandalwood pulling through. It does have a creamy smoothness to it. The firs and pines are lovely mixed in as well. They begin appearing in the background after a few minutes of wear, slowly overgrowing the fruits. This is a beautifully refined woods aroma. 

Tres Patchoulis- Notes: Light patchouli, dark patchouli, and a 30-year aged patchouli.

Patchouli and I are very best friends. I like them all- earthy, dank, mineral, fresh, aged, sticky, dry, herbal and woodsy. This beauty starts with an almost fruity  and jammy sweetness to the patch. Like it is highlighted in blood orange nectar. In the heart the juiciness fades into a dusty rose hued patchouli bouquet. AS it settles the patchouli gets dustier and a touch earthy and dark with nuances of woods and bitter chocolate. This is wonderful and a treat for any patch lover.

Spirited Away- Notes: Cherry blossom, buttery almond croissant, soap bubbles.

This is one of my very favorite films and I love that Doreen appreciates it too. No-Face would be happy to wear this. The bashful and blushing sakura blossoms are made even more enticing by the addition of the tasty sweet almond essence. Rainbows of bubbles pop, releasing herbal elixirs curtesy of the soot sprites and Boiler Geezer, Kamaji. They clean away all the dirt and sadness embedded into the body. I was not prepared to love this perfume as much as I do. The cherry blossoms, almond and herbal soap combine to remind me very faintly of a Jergen's shampoo I used to adore, but this is much more lovely and thoughtful. Yubaba approved.

There are a few more perfumes I will be featuring from this collection in the weeks to come. I am so very happy for Doreen and her new adventures in perfuming. She is an amazingly lovely person and I am honored to know her. I hope you give her natural fragrances a whirl. Do you like botanical perfumes?