Sunday, April 28, 2013

Iris on Celadon & a New Blog Feature and a Giveaway!

Iris on Celadon


Yea!! The center motif of Iris on Celadon is complete and now I can settle into a nice rhythm of stitching the background pattern. I'm very happy with this design, it has the movement and balance I always seek and since I'm always weak for purples and greens together I'm very satisfied with the colors I chose for it.

I've decided to add a new feature to the blog that I hope you'll enjoy. Our lives need to include things for the sheer delight they give us and I plan on sharing some of those things that make me smile and add some beauty to my life. They are things I feel great enthusiasm for so this feature will be called -

My Enthusiasms!

For my first post I want to tell you of something particularly lovely that I've only recently discovered. I've mentioned in the early days of this blog that I love fine fragrance, Heart Note Alley being born of my affection for them. Most of my life my knowledge of scent was minimal and it wasn't until a friend visited Paris and sent me some really lovely scented Roger & Gallet soaps that I began to learn more. Thanks to the internet I was able to discover the story of the company and how I might order more soap and that is when I fell down the fragrance rabbit hole! LOL

Sites like Basenotes, Fragrantica, MakeUpAlley, and Luckyscent are some of the main portals!

To my amazement I found that there was now a whole new world of perfume that did not depend on big department stores and million dollar marketing programs to sell their creations. Products that were not focus group studied to create a concoction a big company deemed marketable, but liquid magic in a bottle that a true artist created. Artists gifted in creating formulas using everything from ancient recipes to modern innovative manipulation of molecules.

If your fragrance frame of reference is only the bottles you've sniffed with familiar names on store counters, I'm happy to tell you that there is a whole wonderful world out there of 'niche' fragrances that will take you to places you'd only dreamed of. Scent is the most immediate of the senses, going directly to our brain and its effects can be so profoundly felt it can have an incredible influence on how we feel. Many people have what they call their 'comfort scents' and I assure you I have mine. :)

One of the notes that I particularly love is violets and their lovely leaves and while quite a few of some of the best 'noses' have created some very nice violet fragrances they all suffered from being too light weight and too fleeting. When you spend good money on a fragrance you want it to possess two things - longevity and good sillage (sillage is the French term for the wake of a boat, in other words the scent you trail as you pass by) So it was with some trepidation that this could truly be achieved with that lovely note of violet that I obtained a sample of a new fragrance by one of the best niche perfume companies, Atelier Cologne.

Atelier uses natural substances for their fragrances but they incorporate some very unique ways of manipulating the molecules to create some of the most unique and beautiful scents you'll find anywhere. They received a challenge to create a new fragrance to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Galleries Lafayette in Paris. A stunningly gorgeous place crowned by a purple glass dome.

Thus was born Sous le Toit de Paris which translates to 'under the roof', a most appropriate name for a juice inspired by such a setting!

After reading the reviews I had my hopes up that I might finally find 'my violet' scent and when my sample of Sous le Toit de Paris arrived I was NOT disappointed. I think I actually heard a chorus sing when I applied that first spritz to my arm. There it was, THE violet I was seeking, like a soft deep moss lined bed in the forest I fell into the most beautiful soft pillow of violet I'd ever dared to hope for.

Hours later I would sniff my arm so it could happen to me all over again, and it never let me down. Violet fragrances are very calming and quiet, some find them a bit melancholy and only wear them on rainy days, and while this has a lovely romantic tinge to it, it is to me a place of escape into beauty and peacefulness.

I've shared my latest enthusiasm and I'm going to offer a 5 ml decant of Sous le Toit de Paris as a giveaway! Post a comment with a request to be included in the drawing and next Saturday I'll put your names in a hat and pick a winner. I Hope you'll share some of your own enthusiasms )


  1. First, I love your new design. :) Pansies are my favorite flower, but irises are a close second. The ones I have by my front door just started to bloom this weekend, the yellow ones, but I have some white, peach, and dark purple ones as well.
    Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for scents, very interesting info - I had no idea you could get 'specialty' scents like that. I don't think I've ever smelled a violet-based perfume, it sounds wonderful though.
    I've found that I really like a Chanel scent called Coco that I bought in Paris on my honeymoon, many years ago. When I was running low I went to buy a replacement at a department store here in the States, but I was very disappointed to find that the scent here had no longevity at all. After doing some research, found out that the stuff sold here is a different chemical formulation due to FDA regs. So now I plan ahead and ask family or friends going overseas to pick some up for me. Sad, but the only way to get the high-quality scent I want.

    1. Hi Carolyn! I love pansies and iris too. In fragrance the Florentine iris is the most sought after. The bulbs are dried for three years and then are made into what is called iris 'butter' and oh my but it is gorgeous in a well made scent. My favorite is Chanel 19 Poudre, a lovely soft dry iris that is suitable for any time of day or night.

      You are right, some things you just have to buy in Europe. I have the lady known as the French Shopper, at purchase what I can only get in France and some that are just less expensive there. She is so nice and very reasonable in what she charges.

  2. What interesting information on scents and perfumes - I've been lucky enough to have a husband who goes to Europe periodically and this explains why the scents he brings me are so much more enjoyable! I'd love to be in your drawing!

    I'm working on Heart Note Alley still, and hope to show you a progress photo in the near future...

    1. Hi Pat! I'll look forward to seeing your Heart Note Alley :)

      How nice that your husband gets to go to Europe, there are some really wonderful niche fragrance companies in not only France, but Spain, Italy, Belgium, and England. You'll have to have him bring you some samples.

  3. As always Kathy, I absolutely LOVE your designs and 'Iris Celadon' is just as gorgeous as all the others!
    What a wonderful story! I really enjoyed reading your story! I've never had the joy to smell perfume directly from Paris & all I've known is what is here in the US. Sounds like us Americans are definitely shortchanged.
    I would love to be entered in your drawing for a sample of that 'heavenly' perfume.


    1. Hi Christine, happy to include you in the drawing. I'm glad you like Iris Celadon it is definitely fun to stitch.

      Thankfully, many niche perfumes are becoming available here in the states and in fact we have some very talented independent perfumers across the country. Lulu Beauty is one in Seattle who has some really lovely floral fragrances, her 'Starlet' is a luscious gardenia.

      Samples of hundreds of fragrances are available from places like Luckyscent, Surrender to Chance, the Perfumed Court and I often check ebay and etsy for samples. If anyone has a real desire to explore the world of fragrance it is a good idea to become part of a 'split group'. In such a group people will purchase a bottle of some sought after perfume and then put it up for split where they'll sell it in small or large decants at the price they paid for it. That way they can keep however many mls they want and defray the cost by selling the rest.