I have been busy with all kinds of DIY projects lately, and today I'm going to share a technique that is pretty easy, and applicable for all kinds of projects, not just the particular ones I used it for: image transfer!

There are lots of ways to transfer images to your projects (wood, fabric, furniture, whatevs), and a nice link round-up can be found at The Graphics Fairy

For my projects, I used a simple wax paper transfer method. My first project was turning a new wood crate from the craft store in a shabby, vintage style crate for holding shoes at our front door. The small, flimsy basket we had was overflowing, and G forgot more times than not to put his shoes in there. I won't say he's gotten much better at remembering, but the crate sure looks a lot nicer!

First things first: the new, raw wood crate!

And because raw wood is not the look I was going for, I painted it with a "stain" of brown acrylic paint heavily diluted with water. I also sanded the crate a little to get off any sharp splinters. I didn't worry about that initial stain being neat or perfect, as I was painting it over anyway, and only wanted the stain to show through a little after I distressed the finished piece.

For my crate, I went with a matte, chalky finish paint. It's got a rustic, shabby-chic vibe and is super easy to use. I used Enchanted from the Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint collection.

Now, the image I wanted to use on the front of my crate is also from The Graphics Fairy, a beautiful old French shoe factory advertisement (which I thought was apt, since this is a shoe box, after all).

Wax paper is too fragile to try feeding it through your inkjet printer by itself-well, I'm sure some people have been able to do it, but I didn't want to risk a nasty paper jam. So my trick it to cut the wax paper to fit a plain piece of 8.5 x 11 paper, and I used a little bit of spray adhesive to attach them together evenly, smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles. 

Depending on what your image is, be sure to reverse it before printing so text doesn't look backwards after transferring. The Graphics Fairy already has a reversed version of this image, so it was easy peasy! 

Then I printed out my image (this is a project just for inkjets, I'm not sure if it will work with laser jets printers). Then, while the ink was still quite wet, I carefully placed the paper on the crate and began smoothing over the paper with a sturdy card. Press firmly over all portions of the image to really let the ink soak in, but don't use so much force that you disrupt the paper's position or tear the wax paper. If the paper shifts too much, you could smear the image. 

Once you are sure the image has transferred to your liking, gently pull it up and behold your masterpiece!

This definitely has the vintage vibe I was hoping for! However, it would ideally be a little bit darker for my tastes. I've read that some people get the wood lightly damp before transferring and that intensifies the amount ink that soaks in. I may try that in the future, but it still turned out great! I used sandpaper to wear down the paint on the edges of the crate and where natural weathering might occur, and then I sealed the whole crate with a few coats of Krylon Crystal Clear spray.

For my second project, I used THIS lovely autumn themed pumpkin label for a hanging wood pallet sign. This was a new, dark wood sign from Michaels. 

I wanted the wood to look lighter, more weather-worn, so the image would show up more clearly. So I painted the sign with a diluted mix of cream and light brown acrylic paints.

Here you can see the image (a black and white test version) that I reversed and used adhesive spray to attach the wax paper to plain printer paper. I  actually wanted the image to print out a little larger than 8.5 x 11 inches, so I spliced a little extra paper to a regular sheet to make it approximately legal size.

I think next time I will definitely try making the wood a little damp (but not too damp as that can make the ink run and smudge)- because my final result was lighter than I'd hoped and I didn't get all the details and vibrant colors from the label. To me it looks pretty authentic and worn out-but I wish the image stood out just a little more. I sealed this with Krylon Crystal Clear as well. This is currently hanging in my kitchen for the fall/ Halloween/Thanksgiving and I think for Christmas I may do another one.

That's all for today, hope you all have a great Thanksgiving if you celebrate that sort of thing!

Cocoa Pink is having an early Black Friday Sale from Friday, October 30th-Sunday, November 1st so I am cranking out this long overdue review! The sale will be for 10%-25% off your order depending on your purchase amount, and they also open up their entire scent list for purchase and custom scents. The order I'm reviewing today I got right before they switched to their fall/winter scent list.

Behold my haul!

I got :
Coco Mango Body Butter in Marshmallow Fireside
Shampink in Indian Donuts
Dry Oil Spray in Seaside Picnic
Hairspray in A Little Piece of Heaven
Squeaky shampoo in Tahitian Monoi Cake
Perfume Oil Drams in:
Butterfly Forest
Black Apple Noel
Indian Donuts
Cinderella's Carriage
Marshmallow Fireside
Fluffy Green Tea

I got free samples of their sugar scrub in Lavender Clouds and the Shine Sweetie conditioner in Bonfire Celebration

I'll cover the bath and body products first.

Coco Mango Body Butter

Love this formula. It soaks in quickly and isn't too heavy, but is rich enough to make a dent in my dry skin. It's tied for favorite body lotion with Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butter and Sugar and Spite's lotion. I got this in Marshmallows Fireside and it is a perfect layering scent to go with a lot of my fall perfumes.


I've used this before and really liked it (and love that they changed that silly previous name, to be honest). It's sulfate free but it does still foam up pretty well. My hair is really fine and prone to being limp some days, staticky and frizzy other days. If I use this too many days in a row, my scalp does start feeling kind of greasy. So what I've discovered works best for me is to rotate products. One day I will use just this, the next I will wash first with the Squeaky shampoo, then with the Shampink, the day after that I will use a regular shampoo and then the Shampink. That's been keeping my hair from getting too weighed down or too dried out from sulfates. YMMV. I got this in the scent Indian Donuts- which is one of those confusing but delicious scents that are part floral, part gourmand. The scent isn't overwhelming, but I do catch whiffs of it when I dry my hair and it's warmed up, and I also smelled it a little when I got caught in the rain last week and my hair got wet. So, it sticks around but it's not too pervasive. Other scents might act differently. of course.

Dry Oil Spray

I haven't really used this much since yet since it's a more summery scent (Seaside Picnic- Airy whipped cream, snow white cake crumbles, cotton candy frosting, aromatic white tea, and coconut limeade tempered with gentle sea breezes).I would say it's slightly more oily than Solstice Scents' glaces, with a less fine mist, but not quite as greasy as CP's regular body oil spray. I find the glaces more versatile as I can almost use them as fragrance mists and don't mind getting a little on my hair, but this spray isn't really suited for that.


I am loving this! It's not a super strong hold hairspray- it will not carry you through a windstorm unscathed. But it's not sticky and doesn't leave my hair crunchy, and the scent I got is strong and really gorgeous (A Little Piece of Heaven-Ceylon black tea accented with gentle notes of clean sun dried cotton, white rose petals, breezy transparent musk paired with dewy blades of summer grass.). It smells fresh, like roses and tea mostly- there is an alcohol base scent to it, but it fades quickly. It just smells like some fancy, expensive hairspray you'd get at a salon.

Squeaky Shampoo 

This is Cocoa Pink's clarifying shampoo. I love this scent- Tahitian Monoi Cake (Vanilla cake batter injected with candied citrus, moist white cake smothered in whipped buttercream icing touched with nuances of Polynesian Monoi oil).I hadn't tried this scent before but have read it's a strange tropical floral/cakey combo, and I thought it would make a nice shampoo, and it does smell like a sweet, dense cake with tropical nuances. I'm undecided about the formula. The texture is almost shower gel-like, and it doesn't foam much at all. I know it's psychological, but I like my shampoo to foam at least a little without having to use a ton of product. This is one I'm torn about. I like being able to choose my scent, and the fact it's sulfate free-but...I will finish this bottle before I decide if I will get it again.

Soft Bubbles Sugar Scrub

I got this in the Lavender Clouds scent (Sleepy Spanish lavender essential oils softly blended amongst French vanilla clouds and fluffy marshmallow pillows), and wow, I am really loving their marshmallow note. It's wonderfully fluffy and realistic. I have truthfully already finished the sample and am just going by memory- it's delicious and strangely edible-smelling because there's this sweet marshmallow and mellow, relaxing herbal lavender, and it left my brain confused. Do I eat it, or stuff a dream pillow with it? The texture is kind of fun to poke at- spongy and bouncy feeling. Not super foamy, I wouldn't use it as a soap replacement, but it's got a nice grittiness to it, and some light lather.

Shine Sweetie Conditioner 

 This is a thick conditioner, more like a hair mask, so I've only used this maybe once a week or so, and it does the job. I just use it on my ends only and leave it for a few minutes, and it does soften and detangle nicely. The scent was Bonfire Celebration (White sand, cool salty sea air meet with the fragrances of sandalwood, sparkling, pink champagne and wisps of smoke from a crackling bonfire), which I've tried before and smells nice, but not so much like the description. Mostly like dryer sheets.

And now, the perfume oils!

 Butterfly Forest

 Warm sunbeams peek quietly through majestic, ancient oak trees entangled within lush English ivy setting the paper thin wings of Pipevine Swallowtails, Painted Ladies, and Monarchs aglow in a breathtaking display of color. Purple sandalwood, ancient wood, English Ivy, Firelight Peony petals, snow white musk and a single drop of Oud.

 I get soft, diffusive woods and some airy florals, and can definitely get some fresh white musk too. I like this most on cold sniff and after first applying. Once it's dried down it loses some complexity, and reminds me of stealing sniffs of jars of face cream and body lotions from my mom or grandma's dresser as a child. It just makes me think of those dainty tubs of perfumey lotion from Avon that I thought were so fancy and mysterious when I was little. I wish the initial application scent lasted longer, as it's really lovely. The dry down goes to fancy face cream with a little soapiness. It lasts quite a while once it dries down-I wore it overnight and got traces of it the next morning.

Black Apple Noel

  CP Black, juicy Golden Delicious apples smothered  in a mouthwatering sticky sweet caramel coating and rounded out with ghostly ribbons of vanilla bean noel.

This is a blast of caramel on cold sniff. The caramel registers as a little sharp and medicinal (alcohol-y?) almost to my nose on cold sniff, but it goes away when I put it on and it smells delicious. The apple is fairly muted throughout, it's not a particularly bright, tart, or juicy apple to me. The vanilla bean noel is a lot more prominent. I haven't tried their "Black" note on its own so I'm not sure where it's at exactly, but as a whole this is a sweet, foodie scent with some deeper, perhaps amber tones. It's not a super dark or heavy scent at all though, just rich.

Indian Donuts
 cakey sugary donuts with pistachios, cardamom, a splash of rose water and a dusting of powdered sugar.
I got this mostly to compare with Solstice Scents' Cardamom Rose Sugar, which to me smells precisely like gulab jamun. That scent is heavier on the cardamom and brown sugar notes, with only a faint hint of rose to me. This scent inverts that profile. It is much heavier on the rose, with some sweetness and very little spiciness and bite from the cardamom. It is a gentler, softer scent, more "perfumey" than Cardamom Rose Sugar, which to me is way more gourmand. I like it a lot though- but I find CRS to be a more in-your-face literal representation of the thing than Indian Donuts. 

Cinderella's Carriage
 What did Cinderella really wish for? We think it was this blend of Coconut Cream Pie with Marshmallow Meringue, Sweet Pumpkin, Spiritueuse Double Vanilla, and Vanilla Bean Noel. We think this is the REAL reason the prince fell in love, who could resist Cinderella in sexy foodie?

 I think I get why this is a popular scent! It's this mash-up of the yummiest gourmand scents- cake, vanilla, pumpkin, marshmallow. I don't really get any coconut cream pie but the scent is plenty busy without it. It is VERY sweet, it reminds me of a gourmand you might find at Bath at Body Works, but made just better. The dry down is mostly a strong dose of vanilla bean noel. I sort of prefer it after first applying when I get more cake and pumpkin, but if you like super sweet gourmands, this would be a safe bet.

Fluffy Green Tea

We took our fabulous Green Tea and blended it with Marshmallows.  A customer’s special request!

This one doesn't really work for me. I like tea scents, I like marshmallow. But in this one- I don't care for them together. The green tea smells authentic to me, to its credit, it's not a generic, impressionistic spa green tea, it's quite astringent,clean, and bracing. But paired with the sweet marshmallow I keep getting a chemical-ly, antiseptic tone that's off-putting. It just isn't my style, I guess.

 Marshmallow Fireside
Toasted vanilla marshmallows over a roaring fire.  An excellent rendition of BBW's version.
Can someone please explain to me why Bath and Body Works has never (to my knowledge) turned their Marshmallow Fireside candle scent into a proper bath and body line? It's an egregious oversight, in my opinion. Maybe a "smoky" scent on the body is seen as too "out there" for the general clientele, I don't know. It's just silly. So I've been looking a long time for a perfume scent that smells like the candle, and this here is it. My HG toasted marshmallow. Sweet, sweet relief! It's a perfect balance of warm, cozy, charred wood and lightly crispy, caramelized marshmallows. It's not nearly as smoky as Solstice Scents Smoky Mountain Mallow, and is more toasted than Sixteen92's Toasted Marshmallow, which is mostly fresh marshmallow to me. I got it as an oil and a lotion and think it's also a perfect layering scent. It translates really cleanly to lotion format, too. I still get all the nuances of the oil in the lotion, which doesn't always happen.

Alright, now go forth and buy all the things!

Lysa from Sugar and Spite recently moved from California to Salem, Oregon (so jealous!) and the move seems to have inspired LOTS of new creations and a gorgeous new aesthetic. Lysa has always been aces at using vintage ephemera in her artwork in quirky and unexpected ways, and her new lotions, scrubs, and soap labels are no exception. 

After getting settled from her move, she released a line of bath and body products in scents designed to layer well with the various perfumes she offers. The scrubs and lotions were originally released in glass packaging, which was exciting since they're so useful for re-purposing and they just look extra special, in my opinion. I got my hands on a lotion and scrub in the glass jars but it looks like shipping them was cost prohibitive, so it's back to plastic we go. It was worth a shot!

For my haul I got a body scrub (8 oz) in Sister Witch, a lotion (8 oz) in The Bee Queen, and a bar soap in Strangefellow.

Sister Witch
a steamy cup of earl grey tea, wee lavender buds, and sweet milk

I'm normally underwhelmed by lavender (can take or leave it), but not in Lysa's scents. I LOVE her Forever as Now perfume (lavender, tonka, french vanilla, sandalwood, Egyptian musk) especially layered with Haus of Gloi's Cozy Sweater, so I was pretty sure I would like Sister Witch. It's a perfectly executed, relaxing, gentle lavender with a hint of tea. I would eventually like this a lotion, because it would be a great bed time scent.

As far as the scrub formula goes, it's a non-foaming moisturizing scrub, but it's not greasy at all. I get virtually no oily residue. It's firm, with a gritty, stable grain that doesn't instantly dissolve. Nothing worse than a wimpy scrub that feels like a waste of time! I normally like foaming scrubs best, but this one is my absolute favorite of the non-foaming variety.

The Bee Queen
  rich honey, horchata, sticky beeswax, and woodsmoke

 This lotion could easily serve as perfume! It is STRONG. Like, all day strong. I don't think I've ever used a more tenacious scented lotion. I've used it on my legs in the morning going to work and when I've come home in the evening I can still catch hints of it. The texture is that of a creamy yogurt. It's a good balance between a heavy butter and a lighter lotion, and it soaks in quickly. The Bee Queen is a potent floral/honey to my nose, and it's a little cloying when I first apply it, but once it settles and the woodsmoke comes out, it's compulsively sniffable. I don't know if I smell any cinnamon or milk, but it is pretty sweet with other notes grounding it. It reminds me a little of the now defunct Honey Tree from Haus of Gloi.

tonka, amber, musk and pepper, with a sugar cookie base

I would probably get more of the nuances of the notes in this if I had the scrub or lotion, in the soap, it smells awesome but a little more muted than I imagine other forms would be. It smells mostly like sweet oatmeal cookies to me. I have never been a big bar soap person but I love Lysa's because they don't leave me feeling too squeaky (which I hate) and they have a lovely, creamy foam. Plus the bars are just pretty to look at, often with swirls of mica or extra garnishes on top. These are hot process soaps and have a neat sparkling "geode" look to them.

And of course my order was full of assorted Halloween goodies- candy, a card, fake vampire teeth, a sticker, and soap and scrub samples. Can't say enough good things about the packaging, it's always a treat to open one of these!

Also, it looks like these have been popular enough that she's released matching perfumes for them, in case you want the whole layering experience.

Sixteen92 released their Halloween Collection on October 1st, so we are going to pretend I am very timely and seasonally appropriate with my review (even though I've been sitting on it, as a Circle subscriber, for...awhile.) In my defense, it IS indeed more fall-ish since my review of the Fall 2015 collection so I feel more like reviewing these. Let's get to it before I get distracted by something shiny and put it off for another week, shall we?


Tobacco leaf, tonka, crushed cocao pods, aged vanilla, red woods, dried spices

When I first received the package, this one played with my nose in some bizarre ways. I kept smelling strange things like yogurt and tortillas. Something tangy or yeasty or bready or unctuously sweet. Perhaps the tonka and cocoa combo, along with almost syrupy tobacco produced this effect, I can't explain it. Now that is has aged a bit I smell way more cocoa- but it's not quite candy-bar sweet, it's got some woodsiness weaving in and out tempering it and there's the vanilla/hay of the tonka. The yogurt and tortilla first impression has receded thankfully, and I find this much more wearable. Sillage and lasting power is minimal, lingers close to the skin. Not full size worthy but it's nice.

Baba Yaga

Fiery dragon’s blood incense, sweet woodsmoke, dried herbs, dripping candle wax, forest dirt

Yep, this is all the incense. Incense and a little bit of dusty dried herbs and a hint of sweetness. It's got stronger sillage and staying power than many of the others. I like the smell of this in the vial but it gets a little overpowering when I wear it.


Tart cranberry, benzoin, fir needle, dark chocolate, smoldering incense, dry leaves

How is that that I don't have any perfumes with cranberry? This is REALLY excellent. It's got a mostly sweet/bright, and just slightly tart juicy cranberry opening with a well-blended hint of chocolate, and it dries down to a super sexy, woodsy incense blend. This reminds me a little bit of Monarch from Solstice Scents (minus the cranberry)- it's got the unique fir/incense thing going on- and has the same "red" deep, musky vibe. This would be my full size choice for sure.

Morgan Le Fey

Black patchouli, amber resin, vanilla bean, warm gingerbread

This is for the patchouli lovers, as this is BAM! patchouli. It's dry, not terribly sweet to my nose. The gingerbread is not a cute little cut-out man with gum drop buttons, but a deep, dark, dense loaf of cake packed with spices and barely any sugar. It has kick, y'all. And you better like patchouli. You've been warned.

Black Annis

Absinthe, black honey (vegan), raw sugar, balsam, labdanum, crushed fern

This and Hecate get my vote for most unique scents from both fall collections. I don't even like anise all that much (I'm never falling over myself to get the latest absinthe interpretation), but anise like this is an exception! The honey and anise play perfectly with each other- the anise keeping the sweetness in check, the honey mellowing the anise's sharp licorice facets. It's got a subtle green herbal tone as well. It reminds me a little of Solstice Scents Sun Warmed Honey- with that chamomile note which almost salvaged it but was in the end still too cloyingly sweet for me. Black Annis succeeds for me where Sun Warmed Honey did not. This one is complex and just fun to journey with!

Last year I bought a "Choose Your Own Adventure" custom scent from Alchimia Apothecary based on my memories of my grandma- and I detailed the experience and the scent HERE. Suffice it to say, this is the best custom I've ever made, and a generally good experience as the owner, Erin, really seemed to "get" the tone and feeling I was going for with this. I know it's based on my grandma, but it does NOT have a stereotypical old lady smell. Not in the slightest. It's green, peppery, vivacious, with some soft florals and a gorgeous agarwood drydown. The black agar was Erin's idea, and it absolutely made this scent special and totally unique.

So, I bought a 5 ml oil last year, and I have only around 1/4 left- so I checked to see if by chance she keeps records of the customs she makes, and she does! I was interested in trying my custom as an EDT, and Erin was helpful and thorough with my inquiry and told me the differences one might encounter between the oil and an alcohol based perfume. I went ahead and ordered it ( $25.00 for 1 ounce) along with a special September limited release, Pool's Closed. Erin wrote me a few days after I ordered and let me know that since my original blend was stronger than others typically are (an extra note or two I believe) she found that the perfume concentration ended up being closer to that of an Eau de Parfum. There was no extra charge or anything, she just wanted to let me know, which was a sweet gesture and a happy surprise, as the stronger, the better! 

The scent translates well, I think. It may take some aging for any clear differences to start appearing, though right now it smells pretty much like my oil. I love the bottle and love seeing my grandma's name on the label- it brings back good memories of her and times gone by, and that was well worth the price of admission.

Pool's Closed was only available during September 2015 (not sure if it ever will come back) and I feel like a jerk for not reviewing it sooner. The notes were: 

Water Notes – Fresh Ozone – Citrus Notes

Damp Autumn Leaves – English Ivy

Smoke – Damp Woods – Cool Earth

I haven't tried many of Alchimia's scents besides my custom (they have cut way back and are focusing on customs while letting other vendors stock their house blends), but I have seen plenty of people say that they are really good at green and watery scents. From what I've smelled, this is an accurate claim. Pool's Closed is lovely and smells just like one of those first chilly days of fall- cool, leafy, with very soft hints of chlorine water, stone, and a very subtle woodsmoke. It dries down to almost a skin scent, a little like Haus of Gloi's Ploughman minus the leather. It's atmospheric and I'm pleased with it (sorry!). Baby Bibb was  a free sample and I haven't seen a description anywhere, but it is a very bright, garden fresh green scent, so I'm guessing Bibb lettuce is involved. It's really nice too! Yep, I would trust them with aquatics and greens for sure. 

Anyway, current events. I meant to get this post done a while ago, and I have SO many great hauls to share with you, and fall releases are the bee's knees, but the past couple weeks have been distracting. I've written a few times about losing several family members this year, two aunts and an uncle. My dad was in the hospital for a while, then I had that weird issue with my eyesight. Good times. So two weeks ago my last living uncle got diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor. He got diagnosed on a Wednesday and they did surgery on that Friday. I was pretty tore up, after this year I admit I was sure I'd be going to another funeral soon. But he pulled through! Surgeons were able to remove 80% of it and he will need radiation for the last 20% and is currently getting lots of PT, but he is strong and eager to get it beat. I am never one to count my chickens before they're hatched, but he has gotten over a big hurdle, that's for sure.

A couple days ago I had to go to a periodontist and had a small tumor removed from my gums, which, being super nervous about any kind of dental procedures, let alone ones that involve blood and cutting, wasn't easy. But I sucked it up because, seriously, my uncle was posting selfies on FB of his bad-ass scar two days after brain surgery, so it would be pretty lame for me to freak out over a tiny (comparatively speaking) gum tumor. I did get a prescription for an Ativan to take beforehand for my anxiety though, and that made me suitably loopy, to where I barely remember any of it. It was kind of surreal. I remember the nurse saying I had nice skin, and I told her it was just makeup, and she said something about liking Bare Minerals, and I told her she should check out Silk Naturals as they have lots of Bare Minerals dupes. I feel kind of bad as I've never actually purchased from Silk Naturals, though I've been considering it, and I never give recommendations for brands I haven't tried! Who knows what else I said! I came home right after and slept most of the day. I am still a little sore and the lesion is still healing. I will find out the biopsy results in a couple weeks. The doctor doesn't think it's something bad, but now that I got the actual removal taken care of, I'm worrying more about the test results. Because worrying is what I do. That part is harder to cut out, unfortunately.

In the past month or so I've started playing around with perfumery materials, starting "at the bottom" with fragrance oils from Rustic Escentuals. I deliberately did this knowing that these oils aren't really ideal for perfumes, but I wanted to get a sense of the differences between candle and soap fragrance oils, better fragrance oils and blends, and real essential oils, absolutes, Co2s, and aroma chemicals. This is my highly unscientific and fumbling attempt, and I admit it hasn't been easy, but it has been educational!

I put in an order to The Perfumer's Apprentice on August 13th for a variety of products as well as some roll on bottles and pipettes. My order shipped the next day and I received it on August 17th, all the way from California to Ohio. Excellent TAT! Everything was packaged securely-no leaks or bottle breakage. I like how clean and clear the labeling is for everything-it looks very professional, and, I don't know, lab-like? Like I need a white coat and some beakers and some funny plastic goggles to handle these materials. And they are serious, undiluted business, so that's not too far from the truth- they are potent so handle with care!

I bought three fragrance oils, which are very affordable at 3.50 for 15 ml. Whereas Rustic Escentuals fragrance oils were mostly stand-alone blends that probably work best in soaps and candles, these are single notes that ring more clear and authentic to me. It's hard to explain, but while a lot of the RE scents were really nice, some VERY nice indeed, they do have a sort of "soap and candle" vibe to them, but the PA scents seem more true to life and something I could wear on my skin- more perfumey, basically. The black tea and peony fragrance oils smell pretty much like their namesakes, but the dirt I found to be more impressionistic-quite warm and earthy and complex- not exactly dirt though.

I also bought a variety of pre-made accords, some of which have formulas linked, which is handy for knowing which aroma chemicals compose the blend. I also got some real rosewood,  galbanum and guaiacwood, as well as an aroma chemical, Iso E Super. This is everything I got:

Peony Fragrance Oil
Black Tea Fragrance Oil
Dirt Fragrance Oil
Iso E Super
Green Leaf Accord
Bois des Landes (woodland) essence
Marine and Ozone Accord
Honey (miel) essence
White Musk Key Accord
Galbanum (Turkey)
Guaiacwood (Paraguay)

The accords are all lovely- standouts include  Bois des Landes which is just this wonderful blend of forest elements- I get coniferous notes and greens, very fresh and deep and woodsy, but not too Christmas-y. The honey essence is actually more of a floral scent than I expected. It reminds me of the honey note that I think I've encountered in Sweet Anthem's scents, it's difficult to quantify how, exactly. But I just know it's not the super sweet, almost brown sugary honey layering note that I've tried from Alkemia. The Green Leaf accord is a punch in the face of bright, biting, almost peppery fresh leaves- it's the kind of green that Darling Clandestine is known for. I'm probably reaching for frames of reference here- I don't know what notes different indies use, of course- just the vibe that these are giving me.

Iso E Super is a large molecule aroma chemical- because of this some people may have trouble smelling it on cold sniff, but it's a pretty popular element in modern perfumes. It's kind of a "behind the scenes" ingredient that adds a diffusive, beautiful, cloud-like aura to scents. I can smell it clearly, however. It has a smooth, soft vanilla and cedar-woodsy scent. It does have a modern feel to it, like something you might smell pumped into certain popular young adult clothing stores. Try not to hold this against it, however, it's quite nice. If you want to spend a hefty chunk of change, you can smell it featured in Molecule 01, or, you know, you can just get some from PA and dilute it to no more than 21.4%, and have you own blend.

Galbanum is pretty much the most intensely real dirt scent I've ever smelled. It is precisely the scent of digging with bare hands into wet dirt and pulling out green things, roots and all. It's pungent, fresh, and earthy- pretty amazing stuff. Scents like this highlight for me the big difference between the genuine article and crafting fragrance oils. The latter certainly has a useful place, but the real thing just oozes potency and quality. They aren't ready to wear and need dilution at times to reveal their true nature, but the potential for greatness is obvious.

Guaiacwood befuddled me at first. It wasn't readily apparent to me when I bought it that guaiacwood is actually a semi-solid paste, and this kind of freaked me out when I saw the top of my vial had these fuzzy white thread things in it. I wrote a worried email to PA and someone got back to me within a couple hours assuring me that crystallization for this material is normal (not mold!) and that I can gently heat to melt. So I used a double boiler to melt the contents, then diluted a portion of it to 10% in fractionated coconut oil in a separate vial for future use. It has a fascinating smoky scent, almost BBQ but not quite. Definitely savory and woodsy- I can imagine lots of uses for this! 

don't be alarmed!

I also bought some 5ml roller ball bottles and mini pipettes, which seem to be of good quality. I'm doing this by drops right now but maybe someday I'll get a digital scale so I can be more precise.

I highly recommend trying Perfumer's Apprentice if you are interested in DIY fragrance, or just want to get your hands on materials to learn more about them and appreciate them in your favorite scents. I was very happy with the TAT, packaging, the customer service I received from my proudct question, and the quality is outstanding. Prices are very reasonable, fragrance oils are all $3.50 for 15 ml, and the other items have a variety of sizes/price points, but there are plenty of accords, aroma chemicals, and even essential oils that start at around $3.00 for 4 ml. I am already plotting another order with some autumnal sounding ingredients so I can dabble with some gourmands and earthy fall scents!

If you have any questions about these please leave me a comment!

The forecast in my area today calls for a sunny 80 degrees, but here I am sitting with my Sixteen92 fall and Halloween 2015 Circle subscription samples. I'm not quite in fall mode yet (though that could happen any day now), so I feel like I can be somewhat objective about these, not yet sucked in by the promise of corn mazes, apple cider, chilly rain, and pumpkin all-the-things. 

In Part 1 today,  we have the Fall 2015 collection!

Bela Lugosi's Dead

night black clove bud, tobacco absolute, smoked benzoin resin, flame

This one is intense! Spicy-sweet with clove at first, with warm, almost syrupy hints of tobacco trailing not far behind. At the base there is a sense of smoke, of something gently smoldering. This is a scent I like a lot, but I think I prefer it on G, and he immediately took a liking to it as well. This has a similar vibe to Salem, minus the damp leaves and leather. 

(Every Day Is ) Halloween

an overflowing candy pail, the crunch of leather boots on fallen leaves, cold stones, damp air, and a wisp of bonfire smoke

This reminds me a lot of Grimm, with cocoa and earthy, damp notes. I'm not sure what kind of candy is supposed to be in the pail, but it smells like cocoa to me. There is a hint of wet, decaying organic matter that smells a little pungent and rotting, not necessarily in a bad way, but it is unnerving. Not as light-hearted as it sounds, this is more atmospheric. Like trick-or-treating on a dark, lonely street where you are the only one left out on the road, stealing nervous glances towards the shadows. I like this scent best when I catch little wafts of it floating around me, less so when I huff directly from my wrist.

Last Exit for the Lost

orchard apples, woven wood baskets, dried hay, distant chimney smoke on cool air

Apples! Lots of apples. Bushels of them, with hints of earthy, scratchy hay and very soft tendrils of smoke. This is a decidedly non-spicy apple. No apple pie or anything like that. These are fresh, raw and piled high in their baskets. Cooler, with suggestions of Cellar from Solstice Scents without the chill of the stone foundation. I like this on cold sniff much more with the apples being more prominent, but once it dries down the smoke and hay notes, it become kind of dull and nondescript to my nose, vaguely boring. I think I've encountered the same phenomenon with some other fruity scents from Sixteen92- Raven from last fall coming to mind, the Orchard Keeper from this spring. Shadow Show continues to be a favorite, however, so it may not be a trend but rather just a curious coincidence.

Lucretia, My Reflection

orris root, immortelle, white sandalwood, blackened vanilla, star anise

This smells like soft, powdery, muted anise at first with pale woodsy notes. As it dries down I get something very faintly warm and sweet. I've read that immortelle can smell honeyed, hay-like, even musky, so maybe that's what I'm smelling. It ends up as a comforting skin-scent with virtually no anise that I can detect. It's pretty and different from the others. Makes me think of a melancholy Victorian gentleman visiting the crypt of his long lost love, a la Ulalume.


Creamed pumpkin, spiced bourbon & Tahitian vanillas, sticky marshmallow fluff

Yummy! This is a creamier, boozier pumpkin than in the Anniversary scent Masquerade Party, which actually smelled kind of smoky on me. That one reminded me of a Haus of Gloi custom I made a while back with woodsmoke, caramel, pumpkin, and marshmallow. I used way too much woodsmoke in it and while I liked the smell, it wasn't really wearable for me as a perfume. But I digress...Spellbound is sweeter, it does have a sort of scented candle vibe, but that's not a problem for me, as this is delish. It fades to a pleasant, gooey marshmallow scent. It doesn't last much more than two hours on me, at best. But, all in all, it's a solid choice for those wanting to jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon this fall. There might be others out there with better longevity though.

I liked this collection well enough, but none of them really stood out to me as potential full size buys. I found the Halloween Collection to be more compelling for me, and I am tempted by a couple of those. Reviewing those soon!

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