Two Tone (Superfatted)

Two Tone

Two Tone (Superfatted)
Contents | Olive Oil (Olea europaea), Water, Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao)(*), Sodium Hydroxide, Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis), Castor Oil (Ricinus communis)(*), Essential Oil (Ylang Ylang, May Chang, Jasmine, Gardenia), White Kaolin Clay, Bamboo Charcoal, Paprika.

Sample bar weight: Approx 51 gms (start of curing)
Full bar weight: Approx 103 gms (start of curing)

Curing completion date | 18 March

Visit the soap store here for more info on the ingredients.

* Ingredients sourced from sustainable and/or organic farming.

I worked on my layering technique again and am rather please with the outcome this time around. For starters, no accidents with the layering itself – I was very patient and took my time. Same went for the little bits of swirl. I was careful not to overdo things and after 16 hours of bedding & insulating, it was hard and cool enough to unmould (a pop into the oven for 5 minutes did the trick) and as you can see (sort of), no two bar is the same.

I also received my new soap stamp just before unmoulding so you could say that these are test soaps for the stamp. On hindsight, I could wait for the bars to be a little bit harder before stamping (probably within 24-32 hours) but I’m happy with the results. Am thinking of stamping the other blanket side with my other soap stamp but we’ll see how it goes.

This recipe isn’t exactly perfect – I managed to screw up by not adding in my infused oil, hence making up for it by adding paprika powder at trace, resulting in a speckled look. If I were to do this again, it would definitely be just the infused oil. I also played around with some powders I received in the mail last week.

The bottom layer contains kaolin clay which is used because of its ability to draw impurities from the skin without drying it out while exfloliating, cleansing and stimulating circulation. The top layer has Japanese bamboo charcoal, a natural treatment for acne-prone skin as well as ezcema due to its antibacterial properties. It is also known to draw impurities from the skin and pores, making it suitable for acne-prone skin. To help keep skin, especially sensitive, smooth and soft, I threw in some sweet almond oil and castor oil.

Scent-wise, I took a different turn and went for a flowery approach. I have a sensitive nose so strong scents give me a headache plus I also don’t like my floral scents too strong. Since my new stash of oils came in (last week too – it’s Christmas all year round at my place!), I looked around for some nice combinations. After sniffing the blends, I decided on ylang ylang, jasmine, gardenia and may chang. Yup, I use my nose to just find a blend simply because that’s how I work – I follow my nose. It’s not overpowering and very gentle on the nose.

Yes, it was a good soaping day! Now back to my assignment on the side effects of apidexin.

Continue Reading

Our home

I never posted about our apartment since we moved in last August. So for posterity sake, I decided to take a few pictures of the place. It would appear that we have “broken into” this place. It feels very much like a home with zero unpacked boxes lying around except those that are left that way intentionally. We took over/adopted furniture from Nil’s deceased grandmother and everyone, especially his dad, is glad to see it in use. “It’s such a pity to see it sitting in the garage. I’m sure Grandmama would want it to be in use.” I got a chance to have my own workspace and area. The next upgrade would be when we purchase a house – I want my own atelier or workshop!!!!

So without any delay, here are pictures of our 120 sqm (I think) ancient (yes, am not joking – it belongs to our landlord’s wife’s parents and they – our landlord – aren’t exactly young) apartment.

A day in my life: Living Hall

A day in my life: Dining Hall

A day in my life: Office-playroom

A day in my life: Kid's room

A day in my life: Kitchen

(Click to see a larger pic)

Continue Reading

Quilt #5: Noah’s Stripey Cuddly

Quilt #5: Noah's Stripey Cuddly (Front)

Quilt #5: Noah’s Stripey Cuddly
Width | Approx 75 cm
Length | Approx 84 cm
Pattern details | Inspired by A Quilt Is Nice’s stripe baby quilt here. Top made from cotton stripes from stash (Coton & Colour, Nil’s trip to India and www.fabric.com)
Batting | PSR Quilt Bamboo batting (0.9 m x 1.25 m)
Backing | 100% cotton fabric from www.inespatchwork.com
Binding | 100% cotton fabric from www.fabric.com

I had been thinking of sewing a nice warm blanket for Noah (since I made one for Eva – it’s not so warm but she likes it) but never found the time or inspiration. When it was decided that Eva was going to stay with my father-in-law for the week, I decided to dust off my sewing machine for good and get back to quilting. I dug out a few different fabrics I have in my stash and came up with a few combinations. What initially was to be a repetition of about five stripes turned out into a double repeat of 13 stripes of different fabrics. Nil insisted that I use the fabric he bought from India to add some colour while I insisted that I wanted something pleasing and co-ordinating. We settled for what is the end result – this stripe colour combo.

Quilt #5: Noah's Stripey Cuddly (Back)

Because it had so much going on for the top, I decided to stripe to a simple (but not too plain) backing with a stripe of the remnants of the top going across. I hunted the Internet for local fabric suppliers and came across this very lovely black-grey pinstripe pattern. So it was black for the back – I figured it would bring out the colours of the top piece.

For the batting (yes, it’s my first time using batting for quilts), I settled for bamboo batting but only because the cotton ones were out of stock. It is a first for me – basting and batting. Took me an afternoon just to bast the quilt and even then, I didn’t really do a great job as it showed on later when I machine-quilted the top. To make matters worse, my sewing machine doesn’t come with a walking feet so my top fabric ended up bunching. This also resulted in the back puckering – as you can see in the photo above. It took me 2.5 hours just to machine-quilt the top (about 30 minutes or so just to test out the sewing and get the right tension – GAH) and mind you, I was just doing stripe outlines. Towards the end, I cheated and skipped some stripes. It adds some variation to the pattern thought but I think I botched the stripe for the back portion.

The tag on Noah's quilt

And I haven’t even reached the part about the binding. It has been ages since I last sewn binding on anything so I did a couple of errors which resulted in me having to use a zigzag stitch instead of topstitching as I normally would. Well…I don’t think Noah would care if the errors were obvious or not – it’s a bit annoying though. I reckon in time, I’ll forget about it…just like how I forgot about those errors I made with Eva’s blanket!

And oh, those are the woven labels I had made originally for the store’s handsewn items. Since the store is in hibernation until further notice, I thought I would use them for my personal projects, namely sewing and weaving.

Y’know, I’m quite proud at having completely my first batted and quilted blanket. It’s a little on the small side – smaller in terms of length – compared to Eva’s blanket. Instead of getting a nice 116cm as I calculated, I lost a good 30 cm or so due to cutting and trimming. Still, it’s a nice size for Noah…for the first two years before it becomes a cover for his blanket (like what we do with Eva’s – mind you, she’s attached to hers and won’t even let us keep it!).

Mmmm, the sewing machine is now back in the cupboard. Time to focus on my other crafts – soaping and knitting namely. Am so itching to get back to designing lacework too!

Continue Reading

Bubble test: Chocolate Marble Loaf

The Chocolate Marble Loaf is nearly cured with two days left to go. A “lick test” last week revealed that the soap is safe for use – it just tastes like soap and no burns. So before I put the bars away in a cardboard box for storage (or start packing them for gifting/sampling), I like to run a trial on my own test bar (I keep a bar for myself – makes no sense to make soap and not keep one for yourself!).

Testing out my Chocolate Marble Loaf soap

It’s a large bar as you can see and thick too. Would probably suit a man better than a woman but no biggies – you’re not supposed to wash your hands with just one hand and I think it’s better to have a slightly bigger bar for the shower but if it’s too big, especially for teens, you could cut it into half (it takes some force as the bar has harden up considerably). Still, the size and shape is not the issue here as I have ceased to use this mould for a variety of reasons.

At first sign of use, I wasn’t very convinced about the bubbles. This soap doesn’t really produce a lot of the fluffy, light bubbles which you saw with the test on the Grapefruit soap here. But as you go further into the washing process, you get a very nice and creamy lather as you can see in the pic below.

The resulting foam

Now we’re talking. After washing my hands, drying them and taking a pic of the bar, I’m still surprised to see lather on it. In fact, nearly 10 minutes later, the bar is still coated with lather! Talk about some staying power.

I got Nil to use the bar as well and as usual, his comment is that it’s soapy. Heh. My take on the bar? It’s yields a nice creamy lather and even though it’s unscented, my nose picked up a slight hint of cocoa (no sweet chocolate fragrance – sorry, folks!). It’s not too drying on the skin which is a relief for me as my hands have started to chafe and crack really bad this past two weeks due to the sudden cold spell.

The test bar

Now that this test is done and the soap has passed with flying colours, it’ll be packed off to either the storage box or to Nil’s family and my friend for testing while I get back to reviewing some Bogner attire! Hurrah!

Continue Reading

Coming up…

Review: Savon de Mika

Soap reviews!

But first, I’ll need to pick Eva up from my father-in-law’s place, head off to Lyon where my mother-in-law is and stock up on Asian goodies! Hehehe.

Continue Reading

A little bit of indulgence…

Macarons!

…in the form of macarons (not to be confused with its coconut-version sister, the macaroon) from the local patisserie. It costs a bomb thought – about €4.50 for 100 gms (the equivalent of about six macarons). Not fab for my waistline but it’s a once-in-a-blue moon treat for the adults.

Hm, this blog has become a little bit picture-heavy of lately. I wonder if it’s good. Personally I like blogs that have a good balance between pictures and text. Craft, food or soap blogs with just text and nothing else but text bores the heck out of me mainly because I’d like to see what all the hype is about.

Continue Reading

V-Day anyone?

With Valentine’s Day looming just around the corner, I wonder if people have started planning or are in the middle of it OR they just can’t be bothered with it.

We don’t usually celebrate V-Day in this house – heck, I don’t even have my Christmas gift. We have been delaying on the gifting for a variety of reasons but mainly because we don’t need all those things. There is always something more important than buying wants.

This time though, I’m tempted to splurge on myself and buy some flowers. Why not? I reckon it’ll bring some cheer to the house as well. Maybe get Eva to choose from the florist, etc. In some countries, V-Day isn’t just for lovers but extend to include friends and family. I reckon this site – http://www.valentinesdayflowers.com/ – would give us both some ideas as to what will be nice.

Worse case scenario? Just buy whatever that’s available!

Continue Reading

Spring Breeze v1.0 (Superfat)

Spring Breeze v1.0

Spring Breeze v1.0 (Superfat)
Contents | Olive Oil (Olea europaea), Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Cucumber Juice, Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Macadamia Nut Oil (Macadamia ternifolia), Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis), Mugwort Powder, Yogurt, Goat’s Milk Powder, Fragrance.

Sample bar weight: Approx 48 gms (start of curing)
Full bar weight: Approx 87 gms (start of curing)

Curing completion date | 8 March

Visit the soap store here for more info on the ingredients.

* Ingredients sourced from sustainable and/or organic farming.

This is the failed Spring Breeze rebatched (read: cut up, melt and pour into a mould). I did the rebatching this morning and the loaf cooled down pretty fast. My house is not very warm – about 20°C at most so that’s probably why. By evening, I could unmould and slice up the loaf. I took a lot off the edges as I used my silicon mould which didn’t give a perfect rectangular or nearly square shape that my previous couple of soaps have. As a result, the full bars are a little lighter.

I kept the trimmings in a separate container, all roughly chopped up as I’m planning to use them in my next soap (hush, cannot tell!). I did get the hubs to try out a small cube and he thinks it’s nice, although a little light on the lather (that will fix itself up after the usual curing). The fragrance isn’t too overpowering but a smidgen of cucumber coupled with some mint.

In terms of ingredients, I used cucumber juice and some yogurt to give it a creamy feel. In the rebatch, I tossed in some mugwort powder and goat’s milk powder to give it a bit of colour as well as smoothness. Cucumber is a natural astringent whereas mugwort is known for its healing properties and it is said to help tackle skin conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis. It also helps reduce abnormal cell production and promote healthy cell growth.

Although I like how this rebatched soap looks – rustic and very handmade – I will give this recipe a go again in the future just to get a hang of what went wrong and how to fix it (I have my ideas and a strategy on this). It won’t be any time soon thought as I think the hubby is starting to give me the evil eye! Plus we are running out of curing boxes (and I’m swamped – have to do some read-up on pentair heat pumps)! Gah.

Continue Reading