Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Lady Oyolaela

Fruit & Flowers

When Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery has invited me to stay at her cottage in El Cerrito - little did I know that I signed up for an aromatic retreat among her bees, cats, fruit and flowers. And most importantly - made a new perfumer friend!

Rose Canopy
Laurie and I passed each other's paths virtually at Persephenie's shop (then called Blunda). Laurie was there in March 2009, and I arrived a month later for my Hanami exhibit. I fell in love with her whipped body frostings, and we exchanged emails, samples and beautiful greeting cards.

Laurie's Honey
It wasn't till last year when we drove to Yosh's party that I finally had the pleasure of experiencing her genuine warmth in person. She's literally as sweet as the honey made by the bees in her garden, which is redolent of the many aromatic plants growing within: jasmine, honeysuckle, lavender, geraniums and mints (the beehives are in the photo below).

Laurie's Bees

Rose Petals Bath
Nothing beats a morning stroll, getting my feet wet with fragrant dew from the mint and geranium; counting the petals of yellow roses shed in the bowl of water just outside my cottage...
Laurie's Herb Garden
The garden is so full of life, and the aromas weave from all directions. Laurie had a flower business in her past life, and her husband is a landscape architect. Together they make a wonderful team, and their home is just beautiful and full of little treasures to feast the eyes and the nose on. The sealing of the living room and kitchen is decorated with dried bouquets of hydrangae, and even the kitchen window is a beauty.

Kitchen Window

Angel's Trumpets
At nightfall, the garden and my room filled with the sweet, citrus and heliotropin confectionary maddness of Angel's Trumpet. I put a flower right by my bedside, and it never failed to bring a restful sleep.

4 Post Bed

Melon and helicrysum sweetened the last evening of my trip; including the company of a few perfumer friends who stopped to say hello (and goodbye).

Of all the things in the world, Laurie Stern reminds me of the Lady Oyolaela in the Neverending Story (excuse my spelling: I cannot find any reference to this wonderful character's name). She's a lady of the garden, and is the garden - and it is always in full bloom and brimming with luscious ripe fruit that put her guests under a spell: time stops at her garden and one would forget they need to leave and go about their business... Which was like a gift from heaven on such an action-packed trip.


And indeed, I didn't want to leave this place of serenity and friendship, and if it wasn't for my daughter I probably would never have... My only consolation was that I'll be back in San Francisco in less than a month, for the Artisan Fragrance Salon, and will be able to see all my perfumer friends again!

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At June 12, 2012 7:59 AM, Blogger Justine Crane said...

I could not have described Laurie better -- she is as sweet as honey and a true lady of the garden. I am happy you experienced Laurie's generosity as you have -- it is often unbelievable, like entering a fairy tale.

At June 12, 2012 11:10 AM, Anonymous Laurie said...

Aw shucks! Thank you Ayala for your beautiful words and wonderful visit! It was such fun having you here, and a great gift to get to know you better and to share our love of plants and our sensibilities about our work. Your photos make everything look so good! I'm glad it was restful for you. I deeply need the garden for my peace of mind, and the treasures it provides for us to make and send our perfumes out into the world.

I am loving your Tuberose Coconut Sensual oil! Yum!!! It's gorgeous.

And thanks Justine, both of you totally rock!


At June 12, 2012 9:30 PM, Blogger Gina Gotsill said...

Nice review of what sounds like a glorious visit!

At June 14, 2012 9:58 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Laurie, every moment with you was a treat and so special!
Your garden and home look amazing, the photos don't even begin to describe their beauty and how gorgeous everything smells!
So glad you are enjoying the White Potion body oil - I had a feeling tuberose & coconut will be your thing ;-)
Looking forward to seeing you again in just a couple of weeks :-D

At June 14, 2012 9:59 PM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Justine and Gina -
Thank you for commenting. And yes, Laurie is a sweetheart in and out. You should check out her perfumes and body products if you haven't already :-)


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