Friday, July 29, 2011

Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Testing Giveaway Ending

This is just a reminder that the contest is ending this weekend!  You still have time to enter, just go "like" my new Facebook fan page then, comment about any of my work in any online social network, then leave me a comment with your name on this original post S.O.A.P. Testing Giveaway  Bamble Berry is about to announce the winning fragrances to the public.  This is a great time to experience what's coming out of the pipe line!  US and Canada entries only.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Manly Soap?

I made up this essential oil blend based on Cedar Wood and Anise Star, then added a little bit of Vanilla, Patchouli, Clary Sage, Cassia & Clove.  A light bulb lighted up in my head, so that's how a spicy manly man should smell like!  Woody but sweet, yet has a little kick.  Now comes the problem, how should I name this?
 I used turmeric for yellow, cocoa powder for brown and activated charcoal for black.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lots of Cupcakes

One day, this nice lady contacted me through my Etsy shop specifically looking for dessert related soaps.  She is opening her new salon and want to dress up her store front window with local handmade soaps.  She has her logo designed to look classic 60s Hollywood glamour with a little modern funkiness.  And she bought this vintage cupcake tower that hold 30 cupcakes to go into the display window.  After many emails and photos back and forwards, I'm put in production.  I'm very excited!  Here are some cupcakes I'm working on, this batch is scented with my own concoction of different fig fragrance oils out there, smells so good:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Back to Nature Formula

Back in early May I started my road trip back to nature and developed a Cold Process soap formula just for that line.  One of the main oil used in Back to Nature line is Pistachio Nut oil.  I don't know if you have noticed, all material prices have gone up (maybe because of the gasoline price hike??).  It no longer pencils out to use Pistachio Nut oil.  Every since I've trying to find a good replacement formula to achieve the same goodness of the original recipe.  I think I found one.  This new and improved (at least I think so) repipe contains Flaxseed oil, or also called Linseed oil.  This is such a great oil, it's conditioning score is high up there and the level of omega-3 is comparable to fish oil, but it is such a soft oil, so soft it's INS value is negative!  In order to incorporate Flaxseed oil into the recipe I have to reformulate it to up the hardness scale.  Enough of talk, here is my new formulated Back to Nature line of soap, will only use essential oil or just naked.  One batch is done with 1/2 water and 1/2 coconut milk and scented with Lavender EO blend, the other one just plain naked.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Going Banana

About a month ago I made my first banana (fresh) soap, see my blog entry Honey Banana Milkshake Anyone?  Being first time making a batch that had 3 notoriously known to overheat Cold Process soap ingredients: honey, banana (fresh so tons of sugar), and fresh cow milk, I was being conservative and the outcome is just so so.  But it is a good experiment.  This time I can actually plan better now that I know what color the banana can actually turn the soap into.  Here you go, banana soap take #2, cake style!  I used Papaya Coconut fragrance oil on the bottom and mixture of citrus fragrance oil on the top.
I rolled up some tiny tiny soap balls from the honey almond coconut milk soap (last monday's disaster)  scrap and decided to do cake top on the loaf.  Curious about what disaster I just mentioned?  Here's the blog post: It's Always a Good Idea to Have Plan B

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Naked Soap

I have a confession, I've never done a batch of naked soap (no scent & no color added) ever!  Well, at least before Monday night disaster that statement is true.  Why you asked?   It's like water, I find it boring and why on earth would I drink water if I can drink, let's say, iced tea?!  Ok, fine, then you asked, why now then?!  I will reveal that next week.  :P
So, if you read my previous blog post It's always a good idea to have plan B you would know that Monday night I attempted double batch.  Where did the 2nd loaf go?!  Teh dah!  Here it is!  The naked 100% coconut milk soap that smells naturally milky.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's always a good idea to have plan B

Monday night I don't know what got into me, I attempted to make 100% coconut milk cold process soap without using any water.  In the past I had bad record of success in making cold process milk soap using 100% milk and no water.  I would say 50% of the times I tried I failed.  I've learned to leave 100% milk soap alone and just soap with half water half milk.  100% milk soap and me, we simply don't get alone... sigh.  Like I said, I have no idea what got into me last night!  LOL
I guess I didn't put the wine out for the soap gremlins, they decided to come visit me that night just to mess around.  This is the time where I would say having a plan B would be helpful!  And guess what?  I didn't have any!  It was 11:30 pm and my pot of soap was obviously not working.  Oh forgot to mention this is also my first time attempting one big batch to split into 2.  Yes, I don't do big batch, I love how I can pay all my attention into detailing small batches.

Anyway, since it was so late at night and I had to go to work the next morning, the only thing I can think of is to hot process it instead.  I can't bring myself to waste all that oil and butter and lye.  But hot process takes a long time to do.  I need to clean up my mess and go to bed.  All of a sudden a light bulb popped in my head.  Didn't Pam (one of my soap buddy) just showed me how to HP using conviction oven?  So I poured my "failed" batch into 2 loaf molds and send them right into my oven on 175 F and set auto cook time for 2 hours.  Then I proceeded to clean my mess up in the kitchen thinking these are all going to be the so called "naked" soap, no scent and no color, not my style but at least there will be soap.  Only 40 minutes passed the start time I took a final look before going to bed, and I found the loafs all puffed up bubbling.  Oh boy, they are already done, faster than I expected.  Since I'm not in bed yet why not just mix in the Honey Almond EO blend and oatmeal colloidal + dark cocoa powder like I originally planned?
 This morning I had to try it under running water and sure it's soap!
 PS. they aren't my hands!  I got free hand model so I can take photos!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

Great Cakes Soapworks surprised me with this Versatile Blogger Award yesterday, thanks Amy!
The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1 – Make a post and link it back to the person who gave you the award (and include their website address)
2 – Share 7 random things about yourself
3 – Award 7 recently discovered bloggers with this award and contact them to let them know they have won

Hum... what do I want you to know about me...

1.  I'm Chinese, or as my honey calls me, his China woman. It's ok, I got him back by calling him my banana (you know, yellow outside, but totally white inside)!  Oh, don't worry, it's all good, we are just silly like that, no harm intended!  My family immigrated to the US when I was 13... or maybe 14... honestly, it was so long ago I don't remember...  Don't even try to guess my age!

2.  Till today I still have trouble pronouncing "L" and "R" all in one word.  My honey likes to make me say "Ferrari" or "the color of my collar," it amuses him every time I try.  So to return a favor, I laugh at his English style Chinese (backward grammar).  I remember clearly how difficult it was for me to learn English in High school.  I didn't understand why everyone talks backwards!

3.  My most recent favorite movie is Star Trek (2009).  I swear, I'm not geeky!

4.  I got a nickname, Evily, from one of my ex-coworkers.  He wrote on my dusty car hood one day that I should take the "M" out of my name and substitute it with "V" because Emily is too nice for my feisty personality.  I actually like it!  And now it has been my little sporty's (car) license plate.

5.  I rarely eat chocolate and I don't like anything vanilla.  I know, I'm weird.

6.  I'm obsessed with shinny object (actually just diamonds and gemstones, yes honey you have to keep on buying them!), oh and fur, dead or alive, sorry vegans...  I love any animal with fur, short or long.  Currently I only own one, my Sushi cat.  Doesn't he look like white rice wrapped with black seaweed?!
(Closed caption by Sushi: Mom stop pointing that "thing (camera)" at me, leave me alone!)

 7.  Ok, last one, my all time favorite color is purple (any shades), the least favorite is hunter green (yuck).

Now, my nominations are:
In the interst of Annie
Tenth Avenue Soapworks
Anita's La La Land
Two Blooms Design Studio

Monday, July 18, 2011

River Rocks, at least that's what I think I was making!

Last week I attempted making M&P rocks.  It came out ok, not spectacular, but acceptable.  This week, I moved on to using other medium to make more rocks!  I wouldn't call this rebatch since I didn't really melt it in heat.  It's more like I made some CP soap, shredded up finely within a week while it is still relatively soft.  I shredded one bowl of ivory white with some peach swirl, and an other bowl with pink, red, and black.  Then I just randomly took globs with my fingers from both bowls and kneaded into organic rock like forms.  Well, at least I think that's what I was making!  After letting the rocks dry out a little, I took them to the sink and gently tumbled them under warm water.  Now they carry slight sheen on the surface like river rocks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's Rock

I always envy those who make crystal kind of rock formation soap.  I've done it before but... far from good.  I bought this new silicone mold designed for making coal like soap for Christmas.  But I'm using it to make my rock soap looking more realistic.
I made some different intensity colors of orange and brown with sparkling mica and chopped them up in tiny little bites for embedding.
Then sprinkled these bites from light color to dark in layers into the mold and poured more soap layer by layer.
 This is my first try, not really what I expected, but still look like rough gem.  What do you think?  At least they smell really good in Yuzu fragrance oil!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Soap Cake Cut!

Ok, did you wonder how it really looks like cut?  I did plan for the cake to turn brown to contrast with the white and peach icing.

I should have been more patient.  I used orange pop mica because I wanted soft orange icing.  But when I pipped it it totally looked neon to me and I though it would mellow down.  It didn't until 48 hours later (usually 24 hours later I would be able to tell the true color)!  Anyway, this is what I had in mind so it is consider a success, phew!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Honey!

My hubby is getting older tomorrow!  Can't tell you what number it is, he'll kill me!  Anyway, he probably will tell me to stop making soap that looks like food, but I can't help it!
I made the mini loaf cake a week ahead with Black Raspberry Vanilla fragrance oil.  Since it had vanilla the cake is very likely turning brown over time.  Then I whipped up a batch of heavy traced soap scented with Lychee Res Tea, colored half into orange, the other half nothing.  I iced it first.
  Then attempted to decorate the cakes.  Yes, attempted, this is my virgin cake making, real or soap.
Gosh it is so labor intensive!  I thought I was never going to finish!  The minute I got them done I lifted up the tray to put into my oven so no one will touch them before they are set and harden up.  Then... oops... I grabbed the tray too fast without looking at where my thumb was...  I put a bit dent on one of the corner!
Hurry up, I found some previous scrap soap balls I made from Drama Queen and drop them right on the corner.  Can you tell they are cover ups?!  Phew... saved by the balls!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

S.O.A.P. Testing Giveaway, Finally!

Woohoo~   I finally got my act together!  If you have not read any of my S.O.A.P. testing blog posts maybe you should!  I have so much to give out!
Like these owls
and silky body spray
and natural liquid soap
and emu oil goat's milk cream
oh, and don't forget these dressed up "dessert"
Here's how you enter:
  1. Click on my new facebook page and like it
  2. mention my soap(any or blog or etsy store whatever you like) in any social network (facebook, twitter, blog)
  3. leave a comment on this post with your name and link to #2 so I can go check it out!
Deadline is July 31 ,2011.  I will make my hubby draw TWO names out of a box randomly.  Yes, there will be TWO WINNERS!  There are totally 40 pieces and I'm going to split that in half, each winner gets 20 pieces.  It is GRAND!!!
**Limited to USA and Canada entries only, sorry, no international at this time**

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Update - Honey Banana Milkshake Soap

Here the update I promised!  If you have not seen the soap a week ago read this post first: Honey Banan Milkshake  It did get darker in time and I have to say, still smells yummy!  Not sickening sweet, thank God, phew, I'm not a fan of super sweet anything.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Restless - Jewelry Section

This past 7/4 long weekend was just way too hot to soap.  For some reason my soap is getting harder to remove from the silicone molds.  I'm thinking it's because the humidity level is higher now.  It is very frustrating to me because that means I have to change my habits soaping and maybe reduce the lye solution ratio.  I've gotten so used to having it easy for good 6 months!
Anyway, here are some of the jewelry pieces I've done.