The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

Natural (aromatherapy) perfume creation

Natural (aromatherapy) perfume creation

One of my biggest passions and indulgences is I design ‘scents’ from pure aromatherapy oils.  I’ve been doing it on and off since I was a teen, mixing orange blossom, neroli and rose to make what was my signature scent for the first few years of my adult life, and then adding other elements to the mix like champacha and melissa, or blue lotus.  I got away from it for the longest time, and then came back to it recently, so I’ve designed and trialled scents and mixes for a variety of needs for a while now.

I’ve designed a kick ass migraine cure, that smells great either as a dispersal bath oil, rubbed on the temples or even in soap – I’ve made one of the best ‘I’m down I need a happy scent’ pick me ups *ever* and I’ve walked friends through making some of their own signature scents, while treating others for problems with their feet, or back.  I’ve even got a safe for pregnancy morning sickness ‘cure’ that works on me and I get nauseated at the drop of a hat, pregnant or otherwise.

What I lack though is cohesion.  I’ve got no reason to sell the scents properly – I’m not interested in making soaps on a regular basis (and envy people like one of my new blogging friends, Amy, from Great Cakes SoapWorks – she makes AMAZING soaps) for their artistry in creating soaps,  but I’m a goddess at creating scents.

So I’m throwing it out there for everyone to comment on – what do you think I should do?  I’ve got the space to keep a small amount of larger bottles of perfume settling and developing, either in our garage once it’s cleaned, our conservatory (winter only, it’d be too hot in the summer), or in our walk in wardrobe, so that’s not a problem – I think the problem is why would I make perfumes and who would I sell them to?

I could sell them as an adjunct to bi-polarbears and create scents that are both lifting and cleansing, but the problem then becomes that I’m offering what could be seen as a ‘treatment’ for mental health.  I could try making soaps again, though after my last lye burn, I doubt it…. or I could just set up the site and learn how to make the perfumes in micro batches, which will mean much more accurate measuring, some more experimenting and of course, better tools.

Or – I could sell the recipes – either in e-book format, or print, with photos and *stuff*.  Not that I need another book to write, right now, but of all the options, that’s actually the way I’m leaning.

Whatcha think?  If I could explain exactly how to design, or give recipes for some of the most gorgeous scents I’ve ever created, and how I made them, would that be of interest to you?

Enhanced by Zemanta
Friday free for all – life after gall bladder surgery

Friday free for all – life after gall bladder surgery

It’s been close to ten years since I had my gall bladder removed (this September) and just lately, I’ve found that all the niggly little problems I’ve had with my digestive system are worse than usual. I don’t know if I picked up a stomach bug on top of everything else in the last few weeks, but one of the big changes I’m trying to make, alongside the whole ‘flylady’ thing is to fix my diet once and for all.

Here’s the science part

One of the biggies that I’ve never really managed to take on board is that my diet had to change – and for a while it did – I’ve already mentioned that I’m really unhappy with the weight I’ve gained – I suspect mostly from my love of coca-cola (which is now, once and for all, being relegated to a once weekly treat) and the fact that I love sweet tea and will drink about 8-10 cups a day (big mugs too).  So if I cut that out, I can probably start losing some of the weight right?
Well, that’s the complicated bit – because I have no gall bladder, my body doesn’t cope with fat at all – so I also need to introduce ‘better’ foods – whole grain where possible, like bread and rice and pasta.  But it’s even more complex, for reasons I can’t explain.

-Gallbladder = Celiac?

One of the things I was told after having my gall bladder out was that I’d have different food sensitivities – never thought I’d miss it, but honestly, I wish I could eat food like normal and not need to worry about this stuff.  Without straying too far into TMI, if I’m not careful, I start to become listless and have problems with everything I eat.  I have to head back to about the most simple diet I can – chicken soup, or freshly made soups from veggies (my favorite is carrots and coriander or sweet potato and chorizo).  I have to cut pasta out for a while too – in fact anything made of processed wheat (bread, noodles…the works).  When it’s *really* bad, I can’t even cope with milk, which, unfortunately is where I am right now.  I’ve hit that really listless, really sensitive sense of smell, not exactly nausea, but uncomfortable pressure at the top of my throat kind of feeling that basically makes me feel like food is the worst enemy in the world.
The problem is though, I’ve only started having *these* problems since moving south – I’m not sure it’s the water so much as the water *content* if that makes sense.  If I switch to bottled water for a week or two, I cope slightly better – so I’m wondering whether the ‘hard’ water down here.
For now, all I know is that I need to make some adjustments.

So what can we do?

I’m thinking about introducing the changes a bit at a time – in part because it’s difficult to  adjust to changing fibre content overnight (I would guess anyway), but in part because it’s going to take a bit of adjusting our food buying habits too.  I’m already pretty good with meat and make sure I buy lean stuff as often as possible, so hopefully this will also help.  We’ve been doing quite well with introducing more veggies and stuff – but I’ve decided, for a bit more accountability, I’m going to start sharing recipes – menus for the week and other notes.  I’m not great with cooking or planning, it has to be said, so I’d love feedback or ideas.
It’s not going to be *here* though, mostly.  As I’m doing the whole ‘put my life in order, sort out my writing life, get on with blogging’ project, I’m going to do most of the family stuff over at MountWashingmanjaro – where I’m going to talk Flylady and de-cluttering, menus, frugal living and more.

Friday free for all – life after gall bladder surgery

Life is a set of processes

My partner and I were recently talking about coding and how language, and understanding language is almost like learning to code.

He argued that you can’t apply maths to language and that it was more ‘variable’ than code, which is true, but the perspective of language as a learned coding system has stuck with me ever since that one conversation.It got me to thinking – there’s an optimal way to do everything – or maybe several optimal ways.  And there’s no one universal truth – instead, there’s what we make of our world and how we interact within it.

A while ago now, we changed the slogan of the site to ‘Live, Thrive, Survive’ – a three-step mantra for anyone diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

First you have to learn to live.  It’s not the easiest part of the process – in fact, in many ways those first steps are the hardest.  Learning to view your ‘disorder’ as an integral part of how you interact with the world and, more than that, learn to live within the boundaries that presents.  This first step also includes adjusting to your medications and learning to cope with your therapies.

Thrive – once you’ve learned to live with bipolar disorder, and have adjusted to your meds, and other therapies, finding the essential ‘you’ and nursing it.  Many with any disease feel like that is the sum of their parts, where, we believe that everyone is unique, and we encourage people to find that essential uniqueness and flourish within it.  You may want to take up a hobby, or learn something new.

Survive – Life isn’t all about us and it isn’t easy.  Learning to survive when buffeted by hard times is an essential coping mechanism.

And that’s a process – one that I talk about in more depth in my book ‘Pictures in the Dark’.

What do you think?

Making it easier on myself

Making it easier on myself

D Kai Wilson-Viola, 2010


I’m infamous for biting off more than I can chew – it might be the Scottish in me, it might be the fiery red hair – even though in that picture of me I actually had black hair ;),  it might just be that I always feel I have to make up for *something*.  Goodness knows what, but I’m highly competitive with myself mostly.  What I do know is that for about two months now I’ve had this growing list of things that I need to take care of – I was midway through designing my hosting site when Christmas pounced in my house, I’m trying to do the fly lady project, make over my son’s room, and lots of other things – I’ve always been a bit ‘butterfly’ in my approach to stuff, but I’ve definitively gotten worse since I fell and banged my head a few years ago.

So, I’m making it easier on myself.

First rule got instituted this weekend with the arrival of a really nice case for my iPad – with a keyboard.  Night times are for writing/editing/fiction – so no more laptop unless I’m on a tight deadline.  Or if I want to veg, I can.  I don’t veg nearly enough, and I’m beginning to think it shows.  Right now, I’m using the opportunity to get my blogging schedule back on track and plan as much of the next few weeks, which leads me to…..

I’ve got a list in word, called ‘the never ending todo list’.  It’s now six pages long, but I’m not going to panic if I can’t get it done straight away.  Instead, once a week, I’m going to print it, stick it on my clipboard and mark it off as I go.  At the end of the week, I’m going to move what I managed to the ‘always growing accomplished list’ along with a record of my word counts and edits and everything else I do so I’ve got a work diary of sorts, plus I can see how my work ebbs and flows for one of the projects I keep putting off.

In other news, Phillip Pullman, one of the writers I grew up reading, and greatly admire, just about sums up how I feel about the INSANE government cuts to libraries.  In Gloucestershire, where we live, we’re losing 11 libraries – I don’t talk politics very often (because of readership + neutrality, to a point) but this is just mad.

Now, wish me luck, for I head out to the doctors to find out what in the merry heck is wrong with my poor arm – I suspect I’m going to be told that something has gotten into my vein, but that doesn’t explain the ominous bruise on the other hand…..sigh.

Enhanced by Zemanta
The best laid plans…

The best laid plans…

Tennant Kilt

There's nothing cuter than a man in a kilt....Image via Wikipedia

Funny that I’m using a poem line given last night was ‘Rabbie Burns night‘. (‘The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee’ ).  Being a wee Scottish lass…ahem, sorry.  Seeing as I hail from Scotland, it’s become a bit of a tradition in our house to at least celebrate Burns night, and St Andrews Day with Haggis, though, to be fair, it’s usually a case of ‘any excuse’.

We celebrated with lots of haggis, neeps (swedes) and tatties (potatoes).  No kilts, but only because my other half was so busy sorting out brownies and other fun stuff.
I don’t always make it clear but I’m a full-time copywriter – I own my own copywriting company (Digital Steward) and I work as a subcontractor for a couple of great companies.  I’ve always got work, so I guess I’m more secure in my job than most freelancers.  What I don’t like about it, of course, is that it still flows much like freelance work does sometimes.  I think I’m going to have time off and I don’t.

So all of these plans for writing up the last of these queued blog posts have been put on hold, for now anyway – I’ve got articles and case studies to write about a complicated server-side process (which I quite happily understand, go me) and no other half until probably somewhere close to 8pm tonight (working late).  So the blog posts are there, ready and waiting (with another two called ‘How CSI can make you a better blogger’ and ‘How House can make you a better blogger’) but for now it’ll have to wait.

Be good while I’m working, huh?

PS. if you’re interested, I’ve posted a recipie for Chicken Balmoral on my other site.

Enhanced by Zemanta