Jan 11

Currently Playing: Chopin’s “Fantasie” Impromptu

piano-octopusI’ve currently picked up a piano piece that I had started playing last year, Chopin’s “Fantasie” Impromptu.  I don’t have any parts of the song ready to post yet; I’m just getting my fingers back in shape with some Hanon exercises and doing slow practice on the metronome for now.  So here’s a video of one of my favorite pianists playing the song.

Here is Vladimir Horowitz playing Chopin’s “Fantasie” Impromptu:

 

Jan 08

Tiki Love

vintage-hawaiian-postcardAs a fan of tiki culture, one of my favorite places to blog for on this site is the Tiki Room.  I even designed the theme for it, though it’s a bit outdated now and I just don’t have time to update it. However back in the day I created many WordPress Themes, including the tiki one, for other site owners to use, and I even have a few themes on the WordPress site from then.

We had a chilly weekend at home, so I did some needed post-NYE house cleaning while relaxing to my new tiki mix, which I spent the last week putting together (yes, it takes about a week of serious searching for each mix I make!) and I have just added it to the Tiki Room.  There are a few different genres of tiki music, but for this one I focused on exotica lounge tiki music because I find it to be the most relaxing, and it’s actually my favorite kind of tiki/lounge music to listen to.

You can find the Tiki Pleasures mix here.

Jan 04

Important Steps to Take When Starting a Site

milky-wayIf you are starting a new site, I would recommend considering three things: choosing only a few niches that you are passionate about and really have time for, selecting or creating a site design that you are happy with, and creating some base content before focusing too much on building visitors.

Choose niches that you are passionate about.

Here’s a little background information on how I chose my current niches…

So I recently started over, with only three sites with three new beginnings: Uteki, Tasty Tulsa, and White Fox Bath & Body. Before I discuss the beginning of a site, let me explain a bit about why I chose these three topics.

I chose these three because I know that I am consistently passionate about these things (even if I don’t always keep up with them as I’d like to), and here’s why… I’m attracted to making an online magazine style site like Uteki because to me, editing and adding to it is like creating a patchwork quilt or a magazine collage. After I had graduated high school, I dated a guy that suggested that I make a magazine collage. He told me I simply needed to cut out magazine pictures that interested me and paste them onto a posterboard in some way that I enjoyed. He pointed out that it was an easy way to be creative, and he was right. That night I stayed up late making one, just having fun setting all of the images together. Adding to this site is always fun for me in the same way because it’s a way to celebrate the different seasons, to add pops of color to the site with the images, and to share some of my own projects. It also gives me a bit of breathing room to explore other hobbies in one place if I want to, and to experiment with different site techniques.

Tasty Tulsa was an easy choice for a site that I wanted to have, because I know I’ll always have a passion for good food. This is a site that I started with my sister a few years ago and we had a fun time with it; when she moved away I stopped working on it, but I occasionally post there these days.

White Fox Bath & Body showcases my bath & body items that I love making, like soap, candles, and perfume. Having a separate site for this was a no-brainer because it is different from these other sites, focusing on physical products rather than content.  And it’s a hobby that I love to do!

Choose a design that you are happy with.

It was also important to me to have site designs that I was comfortable with before putting a lot of time into growing visitors; getting the right design was an essential focal point for my beginner sites. One of my downfalls in previous years was spending way too much time tweaking the designs of my sites. This was a bit baffling to regular readers, who would visit a site that looked different every few months. Doing a site design overhaul is great every now and then, but spend some time choosing a design that you feel happy and comfortable with, so that you can focus on other aspects of the site once you’re settled in.

If you haven’t already discovered the joys of WordPress as a platform, I would highly recommend it, as they have many great free site themes to choose from. It’s also simply one of the best platforms out there.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your starting content.

Few things will turn away a site visitor as much as landing on a site that looks bare. There’s nothing like getting those emails where people ask why there’s so little on your site, which I have gotten, so just start experimenting with different kinds of posts that you find interesting.

In the beginning, a site is like a star, floating amongst a vast galaxy of stars. When you’re first building a site and adding content, at least for most people unless you’re pre-selling it, you write and nobody knows about it – it’s your own private space. This gives you a bit of freedom to experiment with writing styles and different types of posts, and you sometimes forget that someday people may be reading your site. Then you get a trickle of visitors, and if you’re like me, you start to rethink your content, and with that you also naturally focus more on writing useful, quality, inspiring, and ever-changing content in the future. Growing an audience builds these strengths as a blogger by keeping you a bit in check.

So now that I have chosen topics that I enjoy, have designs that I am happy with, and have established some content on these sites, I can think about where to take the sites from this point.

 

 

Sep 12

Blending Fragrance Chords

Apple of My Eye Perfume from White Fox Bath & Body

Apple of My Eye Perfume from White Fox Bath & Body

I’ve played music for thirty years now, which is why I love thinking of blending fragrances in musical terms. Just like in music, fragrances have notes that range from high to low, and creating a balanced fragrance chord is a great way to achieve a complex, interesting blend.

This weekend I made a perfume which I dedicated to my daughter, called “Apple of My Eye” for the Etsy shop. I started simple, with three scents, wanting to keep the apple dominant and make a pure and fun fragrance blend. It contains a fragrance chord with a top, a mid-range, and a base note. Apple is the major fragrance, which is more of a top note, and it also contains a smooth mid-range floral ylang-ylang, and just a dash of a base patchouli scent. I experimented with different amounts of each and finally arrived at a fragrance I really enjoyed.

Here is a list of top, mid-range, and base fragrance notes to make “chords” with. Also, you can experiment with making chords within each group, as well as making broad chords containing fragrances from each of the groups. Playing around with chords is a great way to start getting an idea of how fragrances work. Feel free to experiment, and remember to have fun with it and find a blend that you love. I have been surprised to find how much I like, and also dislike, certain combinations!

There are many factors to consider when choosing fragrances, but I want to focus on fragrance ranges and chords tonight.

The top notes are usually invigorating and the first scents you smell when a perfume is sprayed; then the mid-range scents are known as the heart of the perfume and are often smooth, evolving scents; and the base notes are underlying scents that stay with you the longest.

Here are some examples of fragrances to work with, categorized from top to base.

Top Notes:

  • Clean
  • Citrus
  • Ocean
  • Mints
  • Ginger
  • Non-citrus fruits
  • Neroli
  • Creams

Mid-range Notes:

  • Green
  • Herbal
  • Sweet florals
  • Richer florals
  • Rose
  • Nuts
  • Spice
  • Smoke

Base Notes:

  • Animalic
  • Francincense
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Moss
  • Wood
  • Earth
  • Amber
  • Musk

This is not a hard and fast rule for notes, because some of these types of scents can belong to different groups. For instance, consider the wood group: rosewood can fall into the top note category, while other soft woods like sandalwood can be wonderful heart mid-scents.

A balanced chord is thought to contain at least three different notes. In my newest one, I did use one from each group listed above, but you can also make a chord using three notes from the same section if you like. After all, the famous Chanel No. 5 has the heart scent ylang-ylang as its top note. So be open to different blends, and you’re likely to have fun and find some fascinating combinations!

Aug 31

My Goodie Box of Fragrances Came In!

Fragrances rsI’m so excited because I got a goodie box of new fragrances in!  I am trying out some new fragrances that I haven’t used in my bath & body products before, including the smooth and mysterious ylang ylang, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

I have always loved ylang ylang mixes, and am most interested in trying out this scent to make some new fragrance blends of my own.  Ylang ylang is also a wonderful aromatherapy scent that can go into calming fragrance mixes, as well as stimulating ones, so I may have to make some aromatherapy blends, too!  Oh the possibilities…

Typically, I gravitate toward fruity scents, but this time around I also ordered patchouli and lavender fragrance oils to experiment with.  So, here are some things I want to work on for my Etsy shop:

  • Make an apple based perfume for my daughter and see how it does in the shop
  • Make a fruity perfume for my sister, Christine, and see how it does in the shop
  • Create some aromatherapy blends
  • Try out the new scents in some soaps
  • Make some new cloud fresheners (I used to make happy felt cloud air fresheners for my old shop and want to make some new ones because they are pretty adorable)
  • Organize my craft room

Excitement!

 

Aug 30

Chatty Writing

NaNoWriMo-BannerNovember is just around the corner and that means that I will most likely pick up my novel which is in the works when I (hopefully) jump into NaNoWriMo again. Between the exuberance of fresh autumn air and the excitement of a group writing session that comes with goals, I usually get very excited about the event and also get quite a bit of satisfaction from it, even though I have yet to write 50,000 words in one month. I am currently about 35,000 words into my novel and do hope to finish it this year, once I commit myself to working on it again.

What brought this to mind was when I was listening to TED talks today, and heard the WaitButWhy blogger talk about how some of his blog posts are 30,000 words long.  [Insert sound of screeching to a halt].  Yes, unless he was exaggerating, he has 30,000 word blog posts.  I thought I was doing pretty a-okay with my novel, but there is obviously much room for improvement.  I went to check out his site, and sure enough, there are some very chatty posts.  What I’ve seen looks entertaining, too.

So, as of today, and it is difficult for me to post goals because I know how bad I am at falling short of them, I plan to write something here every night: it could be a bit of inspiration, thoughts, recaps of events, but something.  I believe I need to practice being more of a chatty writer.  And besides, things have been too sparse here since I started this blog section.

That way, perhaps by November, I will be more likely to achieve that big 50,000 word goal, and may learn a thing or two about writing along the way.  I have always been amazed at how some writers at NaNo can pour out thousands of words in a day and I wonder if those writers just go with a stream-of-consciousness approach, have a highly developed chatty writing skill, or if they are just prolific at their craft.  One thing is for sure, practice is a good thing.

Jun 14

Introducing White Fox Bath & Body!

Coconut Lime Soap

Coconut Lime Soap

One of my favorite hobbies is mixing fragrances and making bath & body products with them.  This could be attributed to the fact that my mom was a huge scented candle fan and I have been one my whole life, too!

A few years ago I had a candle shop, but closed it due to time constraints.  That didn’t stop me from making scented goodies, though, I still made them for friends and family, and have been experimenting with soap techniques and recipes for over a year now; you may have seen some of them in our craft section.  I have finally arrived at a recipe/method that I love and decided to put my new items in a new Etsy shop: White Fox Bath & Body.

Mint Mojito Soap

Mint Mojito Soap

The name for the shop is derived for my love for wildlife and my two favorite animals are the Arctic fox and the elephant, so I went with a ‘foxy’ name.  Also, I decided to tie in my favorite charity, the World Wildlife Fund, and donate 5% of all sales to it.

It’s a great way to make use of one of my favorite hobbies and I hope people enjoy it!

Cherry Bomb Soap

Cherry Bomb Soap