Friday, October 19, 2007

Sniff Sniff Mmmmm Ahhh

The house REEKS of Christmas smells right now and it's making me crazy happy. I finished up with the Jack Frost spray this afternoon and it's delish, a combination of spruce and fir needle, peppermint, and cinnamon cookies.

I have been feeling so guilty all day about my lousy little post this morning with no entertainment value whatsoever, that I decided to make it up to you all by posting a little more about the spray making process.

Firstly, the way I come up with new scents - it's not actually something I can explain very well. For me it's like cooking. I never ever use a recipe and I just make up new flavors or spices or sauces out of the blue. Mostly it's just internalized stuff from somewhere else. Like I've smelled (or tasted) something somewhere else and decided to do my own little riff on it. I read the ingredient list or description and begin to copy it, but using elements I like better or tried before and thought worked well. Sometimes I just throw a bunch of random stuff together, piece by piece to see if they play well together. Sometimes it goes too far and heads over the edge. But I've learned something and take notes (sometimes) and can try it a little differently next time.

I usually start by just holding a few open bottles of fragance under my nose. Add another one, take something away, etc. If it gets really yummy and I'm not sure sometimes I'll drop a few drops of each (counting them out for proportion) on a cotton ball, stick it in a zippie to marinate a few minutes and then sniff the whole bag later. Or I just do a little sample spray to spritz around the house, testing it on random passersby. Sooo, that's the whole secret. No marketing research or development team. Mostly imagination, riffs from things I've smelled before somewhere, either candles, bath preparations, side dishes at restaurants, a place I've visited that smelled really good, like the forest in the middle of a snowstorm.

And then it's spray making day. Here's how it goes. I bring up all the blue bottles, atomizer sprayers, towels, dropperettes, fragrances, etc. and set up the kitchen. The bottles get all lined up in rows. I measure out the fragrance or essential oils in each one as I move up and down the rows. Then I dig the cat out of the sprayer box. Then the bottles get filled with water. It's not an exact science there, it's an eyeball thing, just to the top. At this point the sprayers are screwed on tight to each top. I collect loose sprayers from around the kitchen floor where they are being tossed, batted and chased around the kitchen floor by both cats. Finally the bottles are dunked and washed in a sudsy rinse to remove all dirt, fragrance oil spills and miscellaneous dust and or cat hairs. They are get a chance to dry, stacked in trays, for a few days before the labels are affixed. That's it. It's not rocket science. But it takes time and it's a lot of stink while it's happening and a fair amount of clean up. Geez, I hope I'm not scaring people with cat allergies from buying my products. Its usually not that bad. But today, it's windy and raining and they are bored silly.

Oh, that reminds me. Sometimes people have asked me about sprayers on their bottles they've previously purchased that just don't work any more. It happens once in a while. They plastic parts get gunked up, or there's an occasional lemon in the bunch. Please, please, please let me know if you need a new one. I guarantee the spritzer 100% and am happy to replace just the plastic thingamabob if that's what you need. I know I had one too recently - instead of that nice fine mist it once had, it start sputtering like a tobacco chewing cowboy in a windstorm - that is to say, it mostly just spit in my eye. If this is your story too - toot me and I'll send you off a new one, no problem. The company gives me extras just for this purpose.

The cats hiding out from the rain. In their little front porch chair. The blankie cave. Wish I could squeeze in there too.