Blending, Layering, Mixing

My husband is a personal chef–he cooks for people who are too busy to cook. He cooks for us, too, healthy, fresh meals. After a few days of original meals, I tackle leftovers, combining vegetables, starches, and meats into new combinations. They never taste anything like the original, but carry the memory of the original dish into the new one. It doesn’t taste like leftovers.

color wheelWhen I start a collage, I combine paints and glazes into different colors than in the original tube. I use sponges and cheesecloth and tape to create a mix of textures. Collage is a combination of different items to create a whole new piece of art. Words, images, photographs–all transformed into a new look.

Perfumes hold special magic for me. I am a lover of niche fragrances–the scents not found in department stores, and often scents that are unusual, different, and not popular. They are not related to the fragrance fad of the moment (fruity-floral is the current rage), instead they are created by “noses” (a perfume designer) who want to recreate a memory, emotion, or sense of time and place. Even these scents, however, are often not complete. Serge Lutens may have built the perfect winter fragrance in Arabie, but it leans toserge lutens arabie the sweet side, and while I love dates and figs, I wish there were a bit more edge to it. No problem. Simply put on the edgy, gingery body lotion by DSH, Gingember, and there is a perfect blend.

I mix the slightly cloying Honey & Lemon by L’Occitane with a spritz of Jo Malone’s Verbena de Provence. The dry verbena chased with a breath of lavender cools down the honey and sweet lemon and creates summer on your wrist. While I love using richer, spicier scents, like Caravelle Epicee, in the winter, I can bring back a whole summer’s day by the Honey, Lemon and Verbena combination.

It’s not that one thing isn’t enough, it is the joy of something new, something beyond what is offered, something that you create yourself. Whether it is art, food, or fragrance, the joy of layering, blending and mixing is a delightful alchemy to be tried and enjoyed.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach. She can be swept away on a fragrance.  Image of color wheel:  Serge Lutens Arabie:   (c) 2007 All rights reserved.


2 thoughts on “Blending, Layering, Mixing

  1. Ok, now you make me want to go spend a stash of money to make a perfume collection! Love scent but hate most of the ones available (and they hate me because they become rancid on my wrist)..
    Sigh. so where does one find these collections of interesting fragrances in sizes tiny enough to sample?

    —– is a wonderful place to play. Samples cost $3 each for the most part, and have saved me hundreds of dollars. They sell only niche fragrances, so you don’t have to worry about all the department-store stuff here. You can also go to Aedes de Venustas (must be Latin for “Bad Marketing Move”) and get 7 samples for $14, I think. That’s The guys who work there are incredibly helpful and can guide you if you know what notes you love (or hate). has a great database of scent composition, and if you want a younger crowd to tell you what they think, has a huge rating service. All niche sites.

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