An Interview with Holistic Perfume Designer… Kathleen Currie from SMOKE Perfume.

If you have been following my blog for over a year, you will know that last summer I started interviewing Perfume Designer/Makers from the United States and Canada.  I personally LOVE perfume, I love my sense of smell and I am intrigued by perfume designers!  Over the past year I have also spent mass amounts of money on rare essential oils with my business partner Sheena Nordman to start making amazing smelling concoctions that once in bottles, are called perfumes.  My interest in perfume has been around since I was a teenager, so it has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to shine light on the Natural Perfume Industry now that that is the only kind of perfume I will wear.

I found Kathleen Currie from SMOKE Perfume on Instagram when I was looking for inspiration in my Solar Infused Beauty business.  Upon finding SMOKE Perfume, I was in love…the packaging…direct connection to my heart…wooden hand made perfume bottles…flowers…products going out in the mail…perfume made around the cycles of the moon…this was magic for sure.  I’ve spent the past 6 months following SMOKE Perfume on Instagram, and being continuously inspired and amazed.  I caught up with Kathleen over the internet to learn more about her inspiration and practices as a holistic perfume designer.


1. Did you used to wear perfume before you created your business?
  I’ve always been attracted to the mystery and femininity of perfume, even as a
child. However, I didn’t start wearing it until 2006 or 2007? I decided it was
time to find my “signature scent,” and really dove into the world of
perfume…trying to discover what I liked. I was in my early twenties, had just
graduated college, moved to a new city, and felt drawn to the old school,
feminine glam of having a “signature scent!” I’ve worn perfume ever since.
2. I love that you have a New Moon Body Oil and a Full Moon Body Oil, how
does the moon affect your creations?
  I study herbalism, and creating medicine in line with the cycles of the moon is
classic to the herbal tradition. Personally, I’ve been working with the cycle of
the moon for years, and find that it’s a powerful and comforting touchstone to
come back to every two weeks. I like working with the moon for the oil
infusions, it adds to the formula for me in a deeper way than if I didn’t. I don’t
know how much it affects my actual creations (other than the moon-based body
oils), but it does influence my creativity, which affects my work, so…



3. Can you tell us about your inspiration for the Cypress New Moon Body Oil?
  The cypress oil was an extremely personal creation. I was deep into my
herbalism course at the time. I was (and still do) leaning on plant allies in a big
way. I was also in the midst of some deep grieving, conflict, and confusion. On
a particularly rough morning, I found myself driving out of town to a beach
along Lake Pontchartrain. As I walked the beach, deep in my thoughts, I
stumbled across a huge cypress tree that had fallen in a recent storm. I
immediately became inspired to forage the fresh leaves. I decided to infuse
them into an oil, and it happened to be the new moon (magical moment!).
Researching the energetic properties of cypress, I found it is an ally for those in
deep grief and trauma, a cooling plant rooted tall and strong in the water. It was
a comfort to me, and helped shift some of the intense emotional energy I was
working through. All my products begin like this—as a tool I use in my own
healing work that I then offer out.
4. Have you studied perfume making with anyone? 
Yes—Mandy Aftel has been a valuable mentor for me. I’ve studied with her
several times now.
5. Your packaging is unique and intriguing, how did you find your style?
  Thank you! It was partly born out of necessity. I didn’t have the funding to get
packaging custom made when I started, and making something handmade just
appealed more than a mass-produced box. Working with wood made sense
given the raw nature of my work.
6. Could you rattle off a few of your favorite essential oils?
 I love clary sage, vetiver, jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, bergamot, lemon grass,
cedarwood…I could go on and on!
7. Where does the alcohol come from that you use to make perfume?
  I purchase organic perfumer’s alcohol from
8. If I were a fly on the wall when you were making a perfume, what would
I observe?
  You would witness a highly dreamy yet focused obsessive;)! It is mainly a
process of editing, when I really get going there’s a lot of note taking, sniffing,
and material sampling. Oh, and I always have a pot of tea close by!
9. Tell us about your inspiration for the Wellspring Scent, what type of person
did you have in mind when you designed it?
  For Wellspring, I wanted to create a scent around ylang ylang. This oil had
become an ally for me, and I was enjoying it so much just on it’s own. I knew I
wanted tit to be a musky floral, but also with deep green notes. The ylang is a
heart oil, and is a good oil to have around when you feel spread too thin. I
wanted this scent to speak to anyone who needs to find their inner
wellspring…a scent to dig into our inner reserves and keep moving forward
10. Did you have a particular ritual in mind for the Ritual Perfume?
  I’ve always valued rituals, and this was my homage to that. I had a more
witchy, dark, feminine, coven sort of ritual in mind.
11. What are some of your perfume making rituals?
  I work slowly, taking months if needed. I like to make a pot of tea (usually
green) before sitting down to work. I often (but not always) will base an entire
scent around one ingredient (like the ylang in Wellspring).
12. Where would you like to see yourself as a Perfume Designer in 5 years?
  I  hope  in  5  years  I  am  still  expressing  myself  joyfully  and  creatively!
Thanks so much for the interview Kathleen! I adore Wellspring and the Full Moon Rose oil. I can’t wait to try some of your herbal smokes in the future…

The last basket of the DETOX CSH program…

Community Supported Herbalism

DETOX Spring Basket Program

Prepared by Amber Friedman

DETOX time is a great time to strengthen up your heart and healing from emotional trauma of everyday life.  We spent the past 2 months detoxing our liver, gallbladder, awakening stagnant energy in our bodies. Now the final part of the series is to bring in the love and detox from painful emotions stuck inside of us. This month you will find products that boast roses! Local roses and roses from other countries, alongside local herbs and berries to support our nervous system while detoxing and healing.

Gentle Balancing Heart Cordial.  This is one of the tastiest mixes I’ve ever made!! Yum Yum! Sometimes it helps the medicine go down when you add a spoon full of honey! Peach Leaf Tincture used to be standard gift to someone who lost a loved one, it tastes like almond extract and is really relaxing and supporting. In this combo Peach leaves are mixed with St. John’s Wort flowers, Cherry Blossoms and Hawthorn Berries. Take a dropper everyday or 2 times a day as needed.  Even if you don’t think you are experiencing grief in your current state…I guarantee you that old grief is lingering in you and it’s best to clear it, detox and free yourself.

French Clay Face Mask needs to live in your fridge. It would like you to use it as soon as possible on your face. If it feels like the right consistency slather a layer onto your face, leave it till it is almost dry and then rinse off with a warm face cloth. Once you have detoxed your face with this mask use some of your new Rose Face Cream to moisturize. Roses are an astringent for your skin making your skin very soft and clean.  Green French Clay is a detoxifying clay whose benefits come from it’s unique mineral composition.  It includes dolomite, manganese, silica, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and calcium.  The green comes from the clay’s iron oxide and decomposed plant matter.

Rose Face Cream is luxurious and moisturizing for all skin types. It is made from solar infused rose oil mixed with almond, avocado, argan, jojoba and coconut oils and rose essentials oils.  Heart healing begins with self-love and roses are here on earth to help us love ourselves and others.  Adding roses into your life is a wonderful heart medicine. If you look around you will probably find roses blooming all around you right now.  The herbs that grow in your area are often there for a reason, they are a gift of healing waiting for you to use them.

The Little Smelly Pillow wants to stay with you and bring you comfort. It is filled with lavender, roses and mugwort. Mugwort helps you to have lucid dreams. Lucid dreams are great medicine for healing, a time to ask questions, visit old friends or meet up with current friends.  Herbs are so complex and they can go everywhere, they want to go everywhere, they want to support you in your life at all times. Hold onto this pillow when you’re feeling down and relax into the shifting energies it can provide.

This is the last basket of this series. Thank you for being part of the DETOX program. I will invite you all to sign up for my next CSH basket program which starts in September and runs for 5 months. The cost is 250$ and it covers immunity, nervous system, self-care, digestion and other fun issues we all have.  Registration for the program starts June 7th 2017. Enjoy!


Amber Friedman.

Sample Night at my place tonight 7-10pm

Wow! I have been really busy in the studio making a lot of magic potions and soap for Sample Night tonight at my place from 7-10pm.

I wanted to make a list of almost everything I will have for sale so you can think about what you might want to sample and buy.

Adrenal Gland Tonic 50ml – 25$

Superman Tonic 50ml – 25$

Rose Facial Serum 30ml – 20$

Coffee Bean Face Serum 30ml – 15$

Facial Elixir 30ml – 15$

After Sun Body Lotion 120ml – 15$

Daily Detox Tincture 50ml – 15$

Yellow Dock + Dandelion Bitters 50ml – 15$

Kukui Nut Oil 60ml – 18$

Palo Santo Room Spray 30ml – 15$

Juniper + Sage Room Spray 30ml – 15$

Grief Relief Box this includes a Room Spray, Body Oil and Tincture 50ml bottles of each – 40$

Various Soap Bars 6$ each

Patchouli + Orange


Vanilla + Orange



2nd Basket of the DETOX program is out on May 11th 2017

Community Supported Herbalism

DETOX Spring Basket Program

Prepared by Amber Friedman


DETOX time. Springtime is known in the herbal kingdom as the time to DETOX, Spring Clean Up.  If you listen to the plants, they are all inviting you in to eat bitter roots and cleanse for the new season. Every item in this month’s basket was created to support you in your clearing process. Detoxing can sometimes make you feel a little off, because the toxins are all pouring out of your body. Take some extra time to give your body special care while you go through this detoxing monthly series.

Mineral Rich Herbal Vinager.  Apple Cider Vinager is a standard at our house.  I like to infuse lots of different herbs in apple cider vinager and use the vinager in my salad dressing recipes so that I am getting a daily dose of vitamins and minerals each day.  This combination of Nettles, Burdock, Calendula and Dandelion will work on your liver while also purifying your blood.  The herbs in this recipe also promote healthy kidney functions, and has a positive affect on your skin. Liver is connected to skin.

Daily Detox Tincture is a lymphatic based recipe designed to help move things through your lymphatic system to keep you healthy and strong. Cleavers, Dandelion and Oregon Grape are all wildcrafted here in Powell River, BC. This tincture will be most effective if you take it everyday 3x a day, until it is gone. You can read more about the benefits of lymphatic moving herbs here.

Juniper + Sage Room Spray was designed to clear out different energies that can linger in your space.  Sage is a very powerful cleansing plant, many people use this plant as a smudge to clear the energy of themselves and their surroundings.  Juniper is a new plant to me, it’s growing at the end of the block so I figured I should get to know what it has to offer. I infused some of it in gin for this room spray.  Juniper is also for cleansing and it also brings along uplifting and stimulating properties.

Nourishing Lip Balm is extremely nourishing for you lips because it is full of exotic moisturizing butters like Shae and Mango Butter, there is also joboba and avocado and a soft vanilla scent.  When you are doing lots of personal work and detoxing your body it is good to also bring in the self-care.  Take some extra time to give your body special care while you go through this detoxing monthly series.

First DETOX Basket is going out tomorrow…

Community Supported Herbalism

DETOX Spring Basket Program

Prepared by Amber Friedman


DETOX time. Springtime is known in the herbal kingdom as the time to DETOX.  If you listen to the plants, they are all inviting you in to eat bitter roots, strengthen up with nettles, cleanse for the new season. Every item in this month’s basket was created to support you in your cleaning up process. Detoxing can sometimes make you feel a little off, because the toxins are all pouring out of your body. Be gentle with yourself as you begin your DETOX journey.

Dead Sea Salt Soak is a filled with natural healing elements.  Dead Sea Salt contains 21 minerals including magnesium, calcium, sulfur, bromide, iodine, sodium, zinc, potassium. Magnesium is important for both combating stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging, and calming the nervous system. Calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation, and strengthening bones and nails. Potassium energizes the body, helps to balance skin moisture, and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise. Bromides act to ease muscle stiffness and relax muscles. In this DETOX bath salt soak there is the cleansing energy from powdered Douglas Fir Needles and Cypress essential oil.

DETOX Tea is a combination of Yellow Dock, Wild Yam, Vitex Berries, Sassafras, Dandelion Root + Leaf, Alfalfa Leaf and Lemon Balm.  This is a liver based formula to flush out toxins, it also has some great bitter properties and hormone balancing support. This tea is made up from a lot of roots, when you are making tea from roots it is best to place 1 tbsp herbs to 1 cup water bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.  I like to make it in big batches and keep some in the fridge to drink as iced tea.

Using Activated Charcoal in soap has a lot of amazing skin benefits.  Charcoal soap has the ability to control facial oil and draw away the impurities that build up in the pores while removing dead cells.  This is a great soap to help fights odours, soften and condition your skin, reduce pigmentation and draw out dirt and oil.  Give this bar of DETOX soap a try on your face and the rest of your body.  It has a bit of Tea Tree essential oil for added benefits.

Burdock + Dandelion Bitters was inspired by an orange bitters that I made last Spring. I made it with coconut sugar because that’s all I had in the house and the warm spicy sweet taste of the coconut sugar was just delicious.  This year I mixed tinctures of Yellow Dock, Burdock Root and Dandelion Root together with a simple syrup made from coconut sugar and molasses.  I wanted to use molasses because it aids the benefits of Yellow Dock.  Yellow dock is an abundant weed and possibly one of the best herbs for the digestive system and liver.  It contains biochelated iron which is readily absorbed thus making it a top notch herb for anemia and fatigue.  This tincture is best taken before meals or in cocktails to help support the liver.  You can take a dropperful a couple times a day, everyday, until it is gone.



6th and last basket of Winter Series is out…

Community Supported Herbalism

Monthly Basket Program. Feb/March 2017

Prepared by Amber Friedman


It’s time to enjoy sweet, cleansing, nourishing, detoxing, repairing + restoring herbs. This was a fun basket to make and maybe one of the sweetest ones yet (chai honey).  I want to thank you for being part of this program and I look forward to supporting you in your path to wellness in the future.

Last month you received a Facial Elixir and this month we’re going to follow it up with a Rose Face Mask.  Green French Clay is an excellent detoxifying clay whose benefits come from it’s unique mineral composition.  It includes dolomite, manganese, silica, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and calcium.  The green color comes from the clay’s iron oxide and decomposed plant matter content. Apply this face mask to your skin and once it is almost fully dry, wash it off with a warm face cloth. Then moisturize your face with the Facial Elixir, or your preferred face moisturizer.  Store in the fridge for future use, and use within a few months.

Chai Infused Honey is one of the most delicious infused honey’s I’ve ever made!  It is a combination of star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cloves and turmeric.  I wanted to make an anti-inflammatory honey that tasted amazing.  Try taking this honey everyday by dipping your finger in, or putting it in your tea.  It’s also a great digestive aid, try taking it before or after meals to prevent bloating and upset stomach.

How could I create a smudge stick in a bottle? Hum. I thought about it a lot, did some research and came up with this powerful cleanser that smells heavenly.  Sacred Scent Room Spray is a combination of myrrh tincture, palo santo + cocoa essential oils in distilled water.  Palo Santo is traditionally used as a dried piece of tree bark from Peru (and other hot places) that you burns and cleanse yourself with it’s smoke. Here it is in a bottle mixed with sweet cocoa.  Use it to relieve stress, chronic pain, discomfort from colds and flus.

Repair Tea is a blend of many different herbs that help the body to heal, repair and restore itself. This is a tonic, a supportive tea to drink at anytime.  It will help you to be stronger, healthier, bring balance to all your systems. It is gentle, yet effective.  Packed full with vitamins and minerals, enjoy this tea at anytime. Rosehips, Horsetail, Raspberry, Alfalfa, Lemon Balm, Joji Berry, elderberry, Chamomile and Roses a blend to balance and restore, every part of your body, mind and soul.

The soap of the month is an australian pink clay mixed in with coconut oil, olive oil, mango butter and shae butter to nourish and moisturize dry winter skin.  The australian pink clay helps to balance skin while providing added hydration. This soap bar is scented with and uplifting blend of Ylang Ylang, Blood Orange and Patchouli essential oils.


5th Baskets are out tomorrow… Theme* ////Self-Care////

Community Supported Herbalism

Monthly Basket Program. January 2017

Prepared by Amber Friedman


The fifth basket has arrived. It’s full of self-care products because well it’s the middle of winter and a new year…what better time to say, “I’m going to take care of myself”? Now is the time. If you don’t have a self-care routine I’m here to challenge you to make one, today. What do you do to take care of yourself? Making art, writing, exercising, and visiting with friends are some of my favorite ways to care for myself. I also take lots of time by myself to think and reflect on my life choices. This basket is a wonderful way to care about your body, mind and soul using minerals, herbs, and oils.

Facial Eixir is a combination of nutrient dense plant and nut oils to help moisturize your skin and tone your nervous system.  Solar infused oils of Calendula, Lavender + Roses lend great support to your nervous system. Use this face oil in the morning or at night, great for all skin types.

Uplifting Citrus Body Lotion is a blend of essential oils to lift your spirits and relieve tight stressed muscles.  Solar infused oils of Rosemary + Douglas Fir get things moving around inside of you, releasing stuck energy therefor providing your body with more energy to work with. This lotion is amazing anyday, also great in the winter to moisturize dryer skin.  Another great for all skin types design.

Chapped lips are a common thing in these winter months. Once you get some chapped lips you’re more likely to have out of control chapped lips that then start cracking and might turn into cold sores or other herpes outbreaks. I designed this Herpes Destroying Balm to combat the herpes virus using solar infused oils of oregon grape root, licorice + lemon balm. I also added in some honey, anti-viral, mint and poplar essential oils.  I recommend drinking lots of water if you suffer from chapped lips, and using this lip balm as a preventive and healing remedy.

A little support for the Liver please.  Liver Tonic Tea Blend is made from local herbs available to harvest at various times during the year.  It is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, folate, potassium, phosphorous, and vitamins A, B + C.  It tastes great too!

The soap of the month is full of moisturizing butters, mango, macadamia and shae.  If you’re into wet felting I think it would be cool to felt the balls of soap, otherwise enjoy some luxurious soap in a new shape.  This is an unscented bar of soap, for a change.



Amber Friedman.

3rd Baskets’ out tomorrow at Ecossentials…

Community Supported Herbalism

Monthly Basket Program. November 2016

Prepared by Amber Friedman

The third basket is here! We are half way through the basket program. Don’t worry if you’re freaking out that there is only 3 months left, I do a Spring Detox that starts when this program ends and I still have spots available! My focus for this month is on REST + RELAXATION.  It is so easy for us to get stressed out over what we think is normal life. Work, Families, House Chores and Personal Work…”not enough hours in the day” can be heard ringing out through the voices at gatherings.  We have to take care of ourselves, our body, our mind and our souls, needs attention and nurturing. It is important to make this time.  Here are some herbs to help you kick back and relax in the darkness.

This month I made an amazing relaxing and infection fighting soap, from Lavender essential oil and almost all the lavender I wild harvested last summer.  It smells amazing and looks so pretty that I made another batch with roses a few days later just to keep up the herb infused soap theme.

Calcium Rich Tea Blend is beneficial for women and men at all stages of life. Calcium really helps people who have a hard time sleeping, people who have heavy and painful bleeding cycles, and really anyone! Lots of herbs you could probably find in your region, over a few seasons.  Horsetails, Nettles, Raspberry Leaves and Peppermint are all easy to grow or find in the region that I live in.  It’s worth looking around for these herbs, or planting them, where you live so you can always be strong.  Try this tea before bed or in the afternoon.

 Herbed Salt & Pepper is a tasty salt to sprinkle on just about anything. I am sure it would be delicious on roasted potatoes, we ate it with tacos one night and it was amazing!  Roses have strong healing powers they help you relax, fight infection in digestive tracts and intestines, they also help to heal a broken heart.   I think the winter season is the perfect time to get into our hearts and do some work.

St. John’s Wort Tincture is another wonderful herb for this time of year to keep your mood high, to help ease any muscular pain from the weather and it tastes great! This batch of St. John’s Wort is tinctured in Grande Marnier for an extra tasty natural medicine. It is safe for children. I find St. John’s Wort works best when you take it on a regular basis. If you have pain at night, try it before bed for a more restful sleep.

Throat Coat Balls could natural medicine ever taste so flavorful and actually kill strep throat and other evil viruses that you might come in contact with?? YES!! These throat coat balls are a longtime favorite of mine.  I have seen them work miracles, and my kids love them.  I suggest taking a few a day if you have an infection or strep throat, otherwise you can use them as a preventative and eat one a day. Cut them in half for kids. The are made from powdered licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow, goldenseal, peppermint essential oil, carob and honey.  I rolled them in slippery elm for their magic finishing touch. ENJOY!

Amber Friedman.

Second Basket is ready for pick-up…

For those who live in Powell River, BC your baskets will be ready for pick-up after noon on Saturday, tomorrow…Oct. 29th. Enjoy!

All those waiting patiently the mail will get out EXPRESS POST on Monday…


Community Supported Herbalism

Monthly Basket Program. October 2016

Prepared by Amber Friedman

The second basket is finally here! It is full of supportive herbal products to help you relax, get your circulation working, help you to fall asleep, soothe a sore throat and support your adrenal glands.

Throat Soothing Tea Blend a tasty blend of licorice root, cinnamon, echinacea root, slippery elm bark + ginger root.  Slippery Elm comes from the inner bark of a tree that grows here in Canada, it is a soothing herb that can be used for healing inflammations, burns, sore throats and digestive issues.  I would use the decoction method to make this tea. Place a 2tsps of the tea in a pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil then let simmer, covered, for about 10-20 minutes. Strain out the herbs and drink. If you find the licorice is too strong, steep it a bit less.

Sleepy Oil is a really fun combination that I designed to help people to fall asleep when they are restless.  It has some sedative herbs in it like Chamomile and Tonka Bean. I harvest Cottonwood Buds in the spring and made them into an infused oil that I use for treating people who are experiencing a lot of pain from arthritis to various injuries.  It is very relaxing!  Try it behind your ears, on your wrists, or anywhere, before you go to bed.

The Douglas Fir Bath Salts are another super relaxing and decongesting mix to help you take a rest and clear your mind and body from things that may be bothering you.  Dead Sea Salt is very purifying and clears toxins from your body. If you’re not big on baths, I suggest you make some time to relax in the tub and invite some healing into your life.

Adrenal Gland Tonic  is one of my most popular products, it has been selling off the shelves since it was created.  It strengthens your adrenals by balancing your hormones and stimulating liver function.  Dong Quai is known as one of the most useful female tonics, it is nourishing to the blood, strengthens the uterus and it has a regulating and normalizing influence on hormone production. I think I’ll do a post in the next two weeks going over the health benefits of all the ingredients in this formula. It is best taken daily until it is gone.  If you have high blood pressure or are on heart medication please check with your doctor  before you take this.

Shae + Clay Soap Bar is a very moisturizing soap made with Shae butter and Australian Pink Clay. It is scented with essential oils of peppermint + rosemary. It’s a great wake up soap!  ENJOY!

Amber Friedman.

Biggest batch of IRON SYRUP!!

Alright super exciting! BIGGEST batch of iron syrup that I have ever EVER made in my whole life! It was really fun to make and I pulled a classic Amber with not having enough of two ingredients and phoning up a friend at 9pm asking for Blackstrap Molasses and then bombing to town to buy 50$ jug of Brandy. Not that 50$ worth of brandy went into this batch, about 1 1/4 cup brandy went into this batch.  The total size of the batch was 3250ml!

I decided to exercise my photography skills while I made this massive batch of Iron Syrup and here it is.

You can find the recipe on my blog in a different post, send a message if you can’t.