Who Is
The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


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Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Classes and a MacBook Pro

I'm off again for visits, learning and sunshine.

In a few hours I'll be in Florida where I'll spend a couple of days with Mom again then drive down to Sarasota for more essential oil studies with Aromahead's Advanced Graduate Program.    I'm very jazzed about adding all this new aromatherapy knowledge into my Fall 2010 classes.

I ordered a MacBook Pro a few days ago which, sadly, won't arrive in time for this trip(but think of the fun I'll have when I get back).  In the meantime, I'll be at the mercy of borrowed computers and will check as I can.  I'll have lots to share when I return! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Simple Things: Sassy the Therapy Pug

Christina of Soul Aperture is once again asking us to share the simple things in our life.   This time, her theme has one important addition:  Christina is donating $1 to Doctors without Borders for relief for Haiti for every blogger who participates in the simple things today. 
One of the simplest pleasures in my life is our family dog, Sassy.  Her full name is Sassafras Catfish Pezzuti Fulcher, and she is a source of simple and deep joy in my life.

Sassy is always in the massage room when I'm working.  My clients bring her gifts and treats and usually greet her before me.  In 13 years of practice only two people have ever refused her in the massage room.  One lady was allergic, the other afraid of dogs.

She brings a gentle, grounding energy to the studio and is often right up on the table with my clients.    Today, I will let her share a few words with you.  Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

I greet folks when they arrive and let them pet me.
It's exhausting and I need a two hour nap afterward.

I keep Mom's massage clients warm and cozy. 

When someone is new and nervous, I make them feel at ease.

Here's a game Mom finds hilarious.  She calls it "ET phone home".
  Honestly, I could do without the humiliation.

Sometimes when I'm sleeping, I actually melt

Position is everything is life.

When Mom calls me to go for a walk, I stand firm at the top of the steps.
Her frustration amuses me.

Foot?  What foot?

I even keep Mom's students company when she teaches her aromatherapy classes.
Sometimes she can't get the student's attention because they fawn over my preciousness.

You lookin' at me?  You lookin' at me?

There's this Bean person that visits.  I can't compete with his ultra-cuteness.

  Personally, I don't see it.
I wonder if I could push him in the river.  Just a little.

I love to ride in the car.  Why does everyone ask if I'm comfortable?

All in all, I can't complain.
I have a pretty good life with my humans.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Exploring Aromatherapy with TFM:
Conventional (and TFM-style Unconventional) Methods of Using Essential Oils

Cyndy of 110Penned recently asked me to do a post on ways to use essential oils.  

There are many ways to implement aromatherapy into your life.  Below I offer two lists. The first list offers a few common methods and guidelines to help you get started. These guidelines are approximate. Exact recipes depend on potency and concentration of the oils used. If you want a stronger formula, adding a drop or two is easy, but removing a drop is not possible!   The second list is my not-so-conventional use of oils for your information and, possibly, entertainment.

Please keep in mind when using essential oils, they are powerful plant medicine and need to be used with respect.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution! 
Here is a post I did on essential oil safety, including some foolish mistakes I've made over the years.

Methods of Using Essential Oils: The Conventional

Room Spray: 10 drops to 1 oz of water

Use glass or PET plastic bottles.  Shake well each time and spritz into air for masking unpleasant odors and killing germs.  Avoid wood furniture as the oils will eat the varnish.

Full Bath:  2-4 drops (kids) 4-8 drops (adults)  Add essential oil after the bath is drawn.  Gently stir water to disperse oil.  Soak for minimum 15 minutes.  Relax and breathe deeply.  If you've never had aromatherapy training, use only oils that you are not harsh on the skin such as lavender, geranium, clary sage, cedarwood.

Tissue Inhalation: 1-4 drops  Add drops to a tissue and inhale.  Good in moments of stress, depression, fatigue.  Good for a "quick fix" and opening nasal passages.

Nasal Inhaler:  10-15 drops  Add essential oils to a small bowl, roll the cotton insert in the oils and pop it into the inhaler.  Superb for travel.

Room Diffusion:   Here is a long, detailed post I wrote last summer that covers all aspects of diffusion.

Cleaning: Here is another detailed post I wrote on green cleaning with essential oils.

Methods of Using Essential Oils: The Un-Conventional

In my 19 years of handling essential oils and using them on a daily basis, I've come up with some creative and unorthodox ways to use my oils.

The Sleeping Bag Rubdown

When Gianluca was six, I had him all tucked in bed for the night when from the kitchen  I heard a little voice asking me to "please diffuse some Eucalyptus" for his stuffy nose.  Mine really are sons of a died-in-the-wool aromatherapist.   Frankly, I was tired.  The notion of getting the diffuser, filling it with water, plugging it in, etc. all seemed too much to a tired mother in that moment.   Bottle of Eucalyptus radiata (best for kids) and a damp sponge in hand, I returned to his bedroom, picked up a nylon sleeping bag left on the floor from a recent camping trip, spread it over him and wiped down the sleeping bag with the oil.  He was thrilled to pieces and it only took 2 minutes.  

Campfire Sinus Relief:

I've mentioned in other posts like here and here  that ours is a family that loves the outdoors and camping in our 18' tipi.    If you've never been in a tipi there's always a fire burning inside and when the wood is damp, smoke can become a problem.  Nothing will stuff me up faster than a snoot full of smoke.  When this happens, I add boiling water to an old enamel mug (used only for this purpose) and add two drops of tea tree and maybe one drop of peppermint.  I stick my nose in the mug (much to the delight of everyone around who begins to laugh) and inhale deeply for several minutes.  Humiliation aside, this always makes me feel better because my nose starts to run and I can breathe again.

Aromatic FireWood: 
My husband and I have added 2-3 drops of essential oils of Atlas Cedarwood or Cypress to our tipi firewood, letting it soak in before lighting.  It doesn't last long, but that one minute of aroma is divine.

Aromatic Art:

Sometimes when I'm working on my art journal backgrounds, I'll add a drop of essential oil to the paint.  My journal smells divine!   When I made my altered art car, I added Bergamot essential oil to the rabbit fur lining.

Minty Ride:
I will put 2 drops of Peppermint on a tissue and stuff it in the vent of my car on long trips.

Fragrant Finances:
I've been known to infuse dollar bills with essential oils.  Place a drop of any essential oil (deep notes like cedarwood, sandalwood, vetivert, myrhh last longer) on a couple of bills and stick them in a ziplock bag overnight.  I like to think of the people's reactions who handle the money afterward.
  I also bless the bills before I use them.

Energetic Annointing:  I do a class on the Energetics of Essential Oils where I teach some of the less clinical and more energetic ways to use essential oils.

Yes, I may be something of an essential oil eccentric, but my world sure does smell good and I rarely get colds or the flu!.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to Create a Unique Pendant in 10 Seconds or Less

My mom loves jewelry.  She has boxes and boxes of the stuff, but she has a particular fondness for necklaces with beautiful hanging pieces. 

While visiting her two weeks ago, I asked where she found all those interesting pendants.  Her response flabbergasted me. 

She buys pins, snips a bit of plastic straw and slides the chain through the straw.  Viola.  Instant pendant.  

I loved this idea so much I had to share it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Component Blending Class: Photos + Journal Pages

I'm still feeling the flush of my recent advanced aromatherapy workshop.  It's such fun to be the student for a change!    We studied the chemistry, therapeutic uses, and blending techniques for a wide selection of conifer and helichrysum essential oil species. 

We made stuff, too.  Lots of stuff! 
A luxurious body lotion, a massage oil, an inhaler (this was a blessing on the airplane going home when a passenger behind me had a coughing fit.  I stuck that puppy up my nose and breathed in the bacteria-killing goodness), and a body butter (Enthusiasm Alert:  I am all about the butters now and can't wait to add them to my next Holistic Aromatherapy class!).  

Blending was approached from a chemical component perspective, looking at which components are most powerful within the oil.  We studied four species of Helichrysum and several species of Pine, Fir and Spruce.    I must confess that I never had much of a love affair with the conifers until this class.  I just lumped them all together under the heading of "Christmas Tree oils" and "oils good for breathing".   I am now jazzed about the myriad of therapeutic benefits this botanical group offers.

Below are some photos from the class as well as two art journal entries.  Enjoy.

Am I studiously calculating chemical components for my blend?
Or just trying to see the tiny computer screen?
  I'll never tell!

Butters, butters, butters, how I loves the butters!
I was dying to remove those gloves and
just squissshhh the cocoa butter in my hands.

Our fearless leader, Andrea Butje, teaching chemistry.

Fun with inhalers


Why so serious?  I was having fun, I swear I was.
(In retrospect, I may have been in the throws of a hot flash)

Puddle-jumper airplane (not for the claustophobic).
  See why you'd need an inhaler here?
Germs don't have far to travel from one passenger to the next,
not to mention the recycled air everyone breathes.

Had to visit one of these in honor of Julochka.
Day 1 Journal Entry

Day 2 Journal Entry

I'll be returning to Florida on February 3 for a five-day Advanced Graduate program, so stay tuned for more photos, journal entries and stories afterward!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

Jeanbelle Bodtke, my Mother, is 90 years young today.
And she really is young.  Young at heart with a young mind and body.

She goes golfing twice a week and doesn't use a cart but instead walks the course (9 holes).  She goes to exercise class 3 times a week and has been in the same class for over 20 years.  She runs around Clearwater going to yard sales, having lunch with friends and getting into who-knows-what.  She's never home when I call.   Mom is a member of the red hat society and volunteers everywhere.   She watches very little TV, mostly the news and reads constantly.   She had cataract surgery a few years ago and since then doesn't wear glasses.  Not even to read.

She followed her dream to become a nurse, even after she had three children.  Her attitude is always upbeat and happy.  I've never known her to be moody even though she grew up in the depression and had very little, is the child of an alcoholic, has buried two husbands and 3 siblings.   

We've had our differences over the years (I was the "difficult" child) and God knows we've had our fights.  But today, as I look at her with the eyes of an adult, I can only hope that I age as gracefully as she  has, keeping wit, intelligence and strength intact.

And I keep my fingers crossed that I inherited some of those genes that makes her want to exercise!
January, 2010

With her best friend, Brenda.

Picking fruit in her backyard

Classic "two-thumbs up" Jeanbelle.
We've joked about putting two thumbs up on her headstone.

Looking at old family photos together.

A surprise birthday cake at our last family reunion.

Curtseying after being presented with the cake,
making everyone laugh.

Mom, my Sister Rosemary and Moi.
Would Sassy be considered her Grand-dog?

Mom is a cool dresser, 

 Energetic Grandma,

Fun Great-Grandma!
(playing "pew stinky feet"with the Bean)

Happy Birthday Mom! 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tunnel Vision

Last Monday, my return trip from Florida included changing planes at the Detroit Metro Airport.   The gate for my next flight was in a different concourse and I could only reach it by way of underground passenger tunnel.

As I rode the escalator down to the tunnel I noticed a cast of brilliant blue/green light reflected on the floor at the bottom of the moving steps.  I was still too high to see the source of the colorful light but was sure there must be an aquarium in the passenger tunnel.

What I found was a light and sound display that stopped me in my tracks for a full five minutes.  
Curved glass panels with abstract art have been sandblasted into the back walls creating a flowing mural on both sides that runs the entire length of the tunnel, visually connecting the two sides.    As if this weren't enough, passengers are treated to a 27 minute LED colored light show which eminates from behind the glass panels, accompanyed by a beautiful a soundtrack. 

I looked around and wanted to say to someone, anyone "Hey, look at this!  Isn't it beautiful?"  But I seemed to be the only one who noticed this visual treat.    I stood in front of the entrance taking photographs for a long time as the light show changed and in that time not ONE person looked at the walls.  Not one stinkin person.  Or at least not one adult.  I did see a boy of about eight looking up at the sides as he and his parents traveled along the moving sidewalk.  But I swear, everyone else seemed oblivious.   Even if you travel that tunnel everyday, how can you not look at the walls??

I had to gawk, take pictures and of course, touch the cool glass walls, letting my hand drag along the mural as I stood on the moving sidewalk.

The stills are my photos,
the video is something I found on youtube.

This sign was posted at the tunnel entrance.
I'd prefer a sign that says this:

Welcome to the relaxation walkway.
Before passing through, please take a moment to notice.
See the colors.  Hear the music.

Take a moment to breathe.
Take a moment to just be.

I know I did.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday: How Do I Wish to Shine?


 It's again time for wishcasting!  Today, Jamie Ridler prompts us to be our best with the  compelling query "How do you wish to shine?"

I wish to shine in the arena of Integrity.  I wish to radiate Integrity.

/ɪnˈtɛgti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation –noun
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.

I wish to radiate Integrity in keeping the agreements I make with myself and others.
I wish to radiate Integrity in being true to my personal values.
I wish to radiate Integrity in the purity of my essential oil products.
I wish to radiate Integrity in speaking the truth in all that I teach.