Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What Type of Product -- Spray, Oil or Perfume -- Should I Use?

From the email bag:

"I'm just wondering if you can tell me what the differences are between your healing oils, room/body sprays and perfumes/balms? Or is it simply just preference?"

I love it when a customer is curious enough to ask questions like this! Here was my answer:

Thanks for asking!

There are a few differences and, yes, there is an issue of people's preference that I'm addressing as well. The healing oils were my first products-- still the ones I use most for myself. They are safe enough to use for a massage or for a body oil after a bath or as a very light perfume-like product 2-3 times a day. Which I think is important for therapeutic effects.

But most people do not think of those original strength oils as being strong enough for perfume. And many people confuse therapeutic aromatherapy with perfume. So I would get those complaints... which I resisted giving in to for many years. But I recently discovered that I like a few of my products extra strong for use as a healing perfume myself. They smell like perfume and that was intentional. And if you only use a few dabs here and there -- as you would with a perfume -- they are safe enough for most people most of the time. And a few of my customers totally swear by the perfume balms and say that nothing works as well as that for anxiety and other purposes.

The sprays, though, are a little different. This might stretch your belief system but many people (including myself) find that energy healing works especially effectively in the aura that surrounds a person's body. My flower essence aromatherapy products are all Reiki-infused. So using the sprays around your body seems to address things subtly better. My personal experience is that certain ones (Inner Strength & Protection, for example) work tremendously better that way. 

I use the sprays particularly for their convenience -- especially if I want to change the feeling in a room. I use the oils if I want to use them extensively like a body oil or for a massage. I use a dab or two of the perfumes if I don't.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Should I Use Mama Love Regular Strength or Triple Strength?

Triple Strength Mama Love for Restful Sleep
Regular Strength Mama Love for Restful Sleep
For the longest time, I only made Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy Oils to strict aromatherapy standards for most people to make use of as extensively as you'd like. You could use it as massage oil, pour it into your bath, use it as an after-bath body oil, or even as a very light perfume. You could put my smallest size in your purse and use the larger size as a more economical alternative at home. And it was safe enough for most people most of the time—something my customers concerned about sensitivity could appreciate. (And that included me!)

But lately I've been introducing triple strength formulas. Surely, that can't be considered aromatherapy-safe, is it?

Well, you should not use my triple strength formulas for a massage—the amount of essential oils in that product is really too much for a full body massage. And the safe-for-massage standard is what aromatherapy guidelines tend to be based on.

But some people wish my formulas smelled stronger! They want to use them as perfume because they smell so good. And I always envisioned them being used as "healing perfume." You dab a little behind your ears or on your neck, maybe on your wrists or on a chakra point or two. Smelling good makes healing fun!

Using perfume for healing purposes is not a new concept. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used it for emotional and spiritual purposes as well as for seduction or just covering for poor hygiene. They used a carrier oil, as I do, and varied the dilution according to the purpose. Aromatherapy-safe massage, body and bath oils are used extensively over a large body area. You have to be concerned about overloading the body, and a heavy dose of essential oils isn't really necessary when you are using a product in that way. Perfumes, however, are meant to be used sparingly so people prefer a product like that to be made strong.

My triple strength formulas are a safe -- I'd call it conservative -- perfume strength. About 10% dilution, safe enough for most people to use as perfume would typically be used. Perfect for certain formulas I want to use as I go about my day. I can take a small jar or roller bottle with me in my purse and make use of it as I wish.

But there are times when I actually prefer my original regular strength formulas. Take Restful Sleep, for example. A dab or two or three of Triple Strength is great. But if I'm going through a particularly stressful time that is keeping me up at night, I like to pour a little original strength into my hands and rub it on the soles of my feet and all the way up my legs and lower back. I'll put a little more on my solar plexus and maybe on my upper back and neck. And, basically, that's a fair bit more product than the intent behind "healing perfume."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I'm in Another Juried Show!

Rebirth, © 2013 Sheryl Karas
This piece has been selected for the National All Media Juried Exhibition at the Chico Art Center, here in Chico, CA. It's done in pastel and acrylic on cradled panel and is called "Rebirth." It depicts a Desert Sagebrush blowing in the wind and represents the sometimes chaotic process of renewal after a devastating defeat.

This is a relatively large piece for pastel: 30" x 30." I'm pretty proud of it because I was able to capture the feeling I wanted to express pretty well. It's also the most successful piece I have done using techniques I've been innovating that allow me to use pastels without the need for framing.

The show will run from July 24 to August 14 at the CAC, 450 Orange Street, Chico, CA. There is a reception tomorrow, Friday, July 24, from 5:00-7:00 pm. See you there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

NEW!!! Triple Strength Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy in Roller Bottles

It's real perfume! Triple strength Mama Love was actually my original intention: a healing product for emotional and spiritual well-being that you could use as if it was perfume.

But I tended to be overly sensitive to a variety of things when I started my Mama Love business. So my original formulas were made to strict aromatherapy standards for most people to use as extensively as they want to. You could use it for a full body massage or pour it into your bath! And I—and a number of other people—used it as a light perfume, too. Not strong enough for true perfume lovers, but pretty nice.

But I always wanted real perfume. So now, finally, I have that, too. Used like perfume—a dab on your neck and wrists, maybe on a chakra point of your choice—it is still safe for most people. But you'll enjoy the scent a fair bit longer, and—unless you use my original formula as a full body massage or bath oil—you'll likely enjoy stronger effects.

Organic, Reiki-infused, and designed with intention for your highest well-being, Support for Troubled Times is one of the first ones I've made available in my shop. Triple strength versions of my other formulas will follow soon. You'll find them in the Perfume section.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Potatoes with Rosemary and Lavender

Tonight when I was cooking dinner, I happened to look over at my stash of dried Lavender blossoms and thought: "Hmmmm! I bet that would be good with potatoes! I wonder if anyone else has thought of that."

Of course, they have!

Here are some links to recipes for potatoes with Lavender that sound awesome to me. Most of them have Rosemary as well, which I LOVE. If you don't have fresh Rosemary and Lavender in your garden, I carry it in my Etsy shop.

Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary (from
Lavender Roasted Potatoes (from Boulder Locavore)
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Lavender (includes sweet potatoes!) (from Sprout & Pea)
Lavender and Rosemary Smashed Potatoes (from The Kitcheneer)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

More Releasing Worry and Fear Healing Balm is Available

A few weeks ago I announced that I was planning to discontinue my flower essence aromatherapy healing perfume balms. They were too pricey at triple strength my original formulas. And too time-consuming to make.

So I marked them down considerably and there was a great rush to buy them. My best-selling formula "Releasing Worry and Fear" sold out right away. Great for me but very sad news for one of my regular customers.

She wrote to me privately and said that, while she liked the other versions of this product, nothing helped her terrible anxiety like this healing balm. Tug, tug at Mama Love's heart. Especially since I knew I still had a stash of empty boxes and jars left.

So I made another batch. And I will do one more after that. By the time that runs out, I'll have a new triple strength product for sale. (I happen to like the stronger version myself.) But right now I have some more of these balms available -- at their new lower price -- until they are gone.

Find them in my Etsy shop!

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy in Roller Bottles

A new option for my best selling Reiki-infused, flower essence aromatherapy healing oils—roller bottles! Larger than my dram sized bottles but still small enough to fit in your purse. Convenient to use and they resist spilling! I'm just starting to add them to the listings in my shop. Releasing Worry and Fear is the first one to go up today. Choose it as a "Style" option when you buy it.
Find it in my Etsy shop!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Branching Out Again in the Art Realm

Psychedelic Op Art inspired by the plant-form of high desert Yucca.© 2015 Sheryl Karas
School has been having quite an effect on my art life. I've been taking classes at the local community college to update my software skills in multimedia and explore future directions. It turns out that I couldn't resist the urge to take some art classes, too. I thought it would be a boost to my creativity, and, on some level, it was. I had a big shot of creativity: for getting my school assignments done.

There's nothing wrong with that. I LOVED my printmaking class last semester, for instance, and will post some of the pieces I did here once I have them scanned. And I liked doing the work. . . in a hobby kind of way. Cutting linoleum blocks, in particular, is surprising meditative and pleasing. And maybe I'll find a way to continue with it. But the subject matter and style I naturally gravitated towards in that class is so different from the painting I do, it could be a different person who did it. As is the art I do in my multimedia classes—all in Photoshop or Illustrator with an occasional foray into Corel Painter or On One software, too.

And there's nothing wrong with that. Many artists—Picasso is one who comes to mind—worked in more than one style throughout their careers and sometimes alternated between them.

But I had a plan, and that plan required focus. I intended to use school to work on my portfolio so I could apply for MFA programs in Studio Art. The plan was to teach while working on my fine arts career. But MFA programs want to see a focussed portfolio: proof, they think, that you are a seasoned artist with a significant body of obviously related work. Undergraduate education, however, is designed to expose students to a wide variety of new possibilities. That's one reason I LOVE being a student. But the unintended consequence this time is that I became so enamored of the new things I was learning that my old work suddenly lost its appeal.

And then, being an older student, I got to know some of my professors as equals and potential friends. And what I learned, at that point, threw my plans into total disarray. I can be disciplined and focus on a single body of work in order to present a unified portfolio, but getting an MFA in order to teach doesn't look like such a great course of action. Many of my teachers are struggling to get by. The outlook for full-time teaching after getting an MFA is bleak! The new norm involves piecing together a living with adjunct faculty positions—if you can—while freeway flying from college to college up and down the state of California. Once you've taken into consideration the time and gasoline it takes to do it, and the stress of not knowing what and how many classes are going to make enrollment each semester, it sounds like a crazy amount of pain and misery for the $75,000-100,000 worth of debt an MFA degree would likely entail.

I put some effort into exploring fully funded MFA programs—even went to visit the UC Davis campus on the recommendation of one of the Chico State professors I respect. But all that did was make me want to work for the school instead.

So the plan has changed. I'm looking for decent work while focussing on being an artist instead of preparing, yet again, to try to be one. And that's what I planned to do this summer. I started one large mixed media painting and planned a few others. All in a series, focussed, like a good career artist ought to be doing. And then suddenly the graphic arts part of my personality angrily took control, and I made a number of digital art pieces like the one at the top of this blog. And, like any good graphic artist, I immediately wanted to see this piece on a scarf or a pillow case or a bedspread. (Because, I really see no reason why fine art shouldn't also be functional art that anybody could enjoy.)

But that's right for me. Doing multiple genres of work all at once, or alternating between them, is what I ought to be doing. I let go of the expected career path a long ways back. Having a great career doing something related to the arts is my current work direction. That, in addition to doing art, takes me out of the need to limit my creative expression, so I can branch into any direction I want as an artist. And that's what I really like to do.

Large Scarf
Pillow Case or Throw Pillow
Duvet Cover