I recently saw a beautiful foliage photo with the caption, "My favorite color is October."
Well, my favorite scent is October!
The crisp, cool air this month floats aromas like no other. The sweetness of decaying leaves, the green and slightly floral fragrance of chrysanthemums, the nuttiness of acorns and pine cones, the earthiness of a fallen summer. And those are just the natural aromas in the air.
Then there are carnivals, harvest festivals, and county fairs, carrying the scents of fried dough, cotton candy, and Italian sausages (even to a vegetarian, these smell delicious). And let's not forget the somehow comforting stench of farm animals mixed in with the fragrance of freshly baled hay. Apple orchards, corn stalks, and cider doughnuts. Sweet squashes and pumpkin pies.
Fall, especially October, is all about aromas.
Some of my favorite October scents aren't only for the fall, but they go hand in hand with harvest items such as pumpkins and apples: spices like cinnamon, clove, and anise.
My favorite way to scent my house in the fall, is to use spices like these in a simmer pot. What is a simmer pot? It's just water and spices, simmering uncovered in a pot on your stove. My mother used to do this when I was young, and maybe your mother, or your grandmother, did it too. It's very easy, and other than baking food in your oven, it's the best way to make your house smell like warm fall spices.
Take a small saucepan (I use a 1-qt pan) and fill it about halfway with water. Add your favorite smelling spices. Bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to the lowest setting, and let it slowly simmer and fill your home with delicious aromas.
Although I posted a recipe above, you really don't need to follow one, especially after you've tried it one or two times on your own. Nothing you mix will smell bad! You can experiment with amounts based on the size and openness of your home, and your preference for strength of aroma. You really can't go wrong with spices you already love, and it's a good way to use things like peels that you'd usually just toss straight in the compost:
Add your spices straight to pot or put them in a reusable muslin bag for easier clean up. You can even use a chai tea bag or mulling spice bag if you don't have the loose spices around! Just keep the heat on low, and never let the pan run dry (set a timer as a reminder).
If this is your first time using a simmer pot, let me know how it goes! If you've done this before, what are your favorite things to put inside? Comment below.
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I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"