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Slowing Down A Little

After a 3-hour wait at the gynae yesterday (yes, that is the average waiting time with my doctor), we know we have a baby who’s growing at a normal rate, and is in good health. At 28.5 weeks, he’s estimated to weigh in at about 1.4kg and is a very active little bundle indeed. 🙂

On the downside, the additional weight I’m bearing overall seems to be putting even more pressure on the sciatic nerve running down my right pelvis. It means that everytime I start moving after remaining stationery, whether standing, sitting or lying down, there’s a chance my right leg might just give way from under me with no warning whatsoever. I used to be able to catch myself just in time to prevent an outright fall, but these few days I have actually just crumpled into a heap on the floor or crashed into doorframes. 🙁 The pain in my hip itself is fleeting, thank goodness, but the falls it can cause is much more of a concern.

So I’m really glad that I could push out those last few batches of soap when I did. My body’s telling me it needs a break from all the standing around, hovering over the soap pot and bending over molds and cutting soap up. :”> In the meantime I shall still be busy handling customer orders, formulating new soap recipes, reading and researching, and getting my accounting books in order.

And reserving whatever physical strength I have to hug, kiss, cuddle and carry my two darlings.

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Clarity Soap Now Available!

Heads up! Do you have:

  • oily skin that doesn’t ever feel tight, or is always flaring up with acne or pimples?
  • bacne (acne on your back)?
  • a runny or bunged-up nose from a cold or flu?
  • a head that feels like it’s stuffed with cobwebs, making you feel sluggish and your thoughts unable to flow?

Well then, this soap just might be able to help you get over those symptoms (albeit perhaps only temporarily). Clarity was formulated to include the sharp, mentholated scent of eucalyptus essential oil, along with the purifying properties of french green clay and activated carbon. All of them work together for the purpose of decongesting — be it your skin, your nose, or your mental state.

Sounds like it could be something for you? Read on here, and maybe even give it a go for yourself!

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Brandon Turned 3 on Monday

My darling son has technically gone past the “terrible two” stage and is now officially three years old.

Mummy, papa and mei mei love you dearly, Brandon. May you find reasons to laugh and smile incessantly each and every day of your life. We’re always here to give you plenty of cuddles, kisses, love and encouragement whenever you wish for them.

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Experiment: Curing Soap While In Cotton Muslin Bags

Given Malaysia’s generally high levels of humidity, I’m wondering whether it’s actually safe to leave my stock of soap in their cotton muslin bags for long periods of time to continue curing past their usual 4 weeks on the drying rack.

So I’m going to try this out: I’ve picked a few bars of my new batches of soap to be dressed up in their cotton muslin bags, and am allowing them to sit amongst their other — uhm, brothers and sisters? — to cure in open air, as is normally done. Every 3 days I’ll be checking in in these dressed soaps to see whether anything funny starts growing on the surface of the bars or the bags.

The reason why I’m concerned about this is two-fold. Firstly of course is my customers’ safety. I don’t ever want to send you a bar of mouldy soap! I’m taking as much precautions as I can especially since everything I have in the store doesn’t contain artificial forms of preservation.

Secondly is to do with production efficiency and storage. I’m still figuring out how many bars I have to churn out and at what frequency to ensure a steady supply of soap. It’s tricky business trying to ensure that I don’t end up having too little or too much stock. Too little means I can’t meet demand, and too much means having valuable storage space being occupied, and soaps losing their fragrance because of essential oils evaporating since I don’t shrink-wrap them in plastic.

An alternative to continuous air-drying past the normal 4-week curing time is storing my soap in air-tight containers with silica gel to keep them dry. I am already trying this out. So far no mould has shown up (my soap has been in there for about a month or more now) but having to constantly check and replace the gel is proving to be a bit of a pain.

Ah well, let’s see how the next few weeks go. 🙂

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Now Curing: Dark Chocolate Soap

Reformulated and prettified! This fresh batch of Dark Chocolate soap contains generous lashings of cocoa butter and anti-oxidant rich cocoa powder that will leave you with soft, silky-smooth skin after each shower. It doesn’t smell strongly of chocolate, but you might just catch a whiff of the cocoa butter in the shower. (I still occasionally stick my nose into my stash of cocoa butter just to inhale that heavenly scent!)

Dark Chocolate will be available for sale from March 22nd. As always, pre-orders are welcome — just send me an e-mail. Have yourself a lovely weekend. 🙂

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Now Curing: DreamTime Soap

Ah, hello there prettily-swirled soap! I made this batch a few days ago and they are now curing. Yes they do look quite different from the ones I made earlier , and I think this design will stay. 🙂

Available for sale from March 21st (but you can always order ahead by sending me an e-mail).

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What Are A Soapmaker’s Instruments?

I read somewhere that one soapmaker likened churning out a batch of cold process soap to making a banana cake in your kitchen. They are both just as easy or complicated to make, depending on how fancy you want the outcome to be. Now that I’ve been making soap for quite a while I can see how that comparison came to be. :p

Here are some photos of the utensils I can’t do without when I pull on my gloves to make a batch of soap.

Stainless steel pots. The one on the left is for making the lye solution (sodium hydroxide + water), while the larger one on the right is for warming up the oils. It’s important not to use any utensils that contain aluminium, as the metal reacts with sodium hydroxide and won’t do anything good for soap. Trust me on this, because I found out from first-hand experience. Ahem. :”>

Clockwise from bottom left corner: 2 heavy duty plastic pitchers (to measure out lye and for containing raw soap), 2 slotted spoons (to mix lye and oils), melamine mixing bowl (I usually mix my raw soap in there), another heavy duty plastic pitcher containing hand blender attachment, two stick thermometers and a rubber spatula (for scraping off every last little bit of soap from the sides of my mixing bowl).

My two stick thermometers (also known as meat thermometers). Very important, as I have to keep track of the temperatures of both the oils and lye mixtures, ensuring that they both fall within the same range of between 32C and 42C, before I can mix them together to get saponification going. Falling out of this temperature range can mean a failed batch of soap (so I read), although I have yet to experience this.

You can find these thermometers at specialty baking shops, the more uppity departmental stores and also your local hardware store. I bought mine from Isetan KLCC, as I was still holding down a full-time job nearby at the time.

And finally, the item that works the hardest for me — my trusty Philips hand-held blender. Without it, I could be stirring my raw soap mixture for 3 hours before it saponifies enough to be poured into molds! Thankfully it usually takes me just 5-10 minutes tops to bring my raw soap to trace.

So there you have it — a little tour of my kitchen utensils that help me make soap. Isn’t it great that they’re familiar items? No fancy specialty gear needed. And for the record, all these are used ONLY for making soap — I don’t use them to prepare any of my meals. While I take great pains to make sure they are thoroughly cleaned after each soapmaking session, I can do without the possibility of having traces of soap, essential oils or at worst, LYE, in my food!

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Save A Bundle With Our New Package Deals!

Finally — I’ve managed to work out my numbers so that you can enjoy my soap all year round, and save a lot of cash at the same time!

Introducing our Soap For The Year package deals, where you can opt for 12, 24 or 36 bars of soap to be delivered to you for FREE via PosLaju on a monthly basis (or all at once — you choose!). Savings go from 10% all the way up to 37.5% (the latter is based on the assumption that you go for the 36 bar package and opt for all my larger-sized soaps priced at RM20 each).

Pick any combination of soaps that is available in the shop, and if you change your mind midway during the year, because you saw a new soap variety available, or you think your skin needs a little change in routine, no problem — just let me know how to alter your order by sending me an e-mail. Easy! 😀

Like the idea? Then hop over to the Package Deals page for full details on each bundle to see which one would suit you best. And as always, feedback is most welcome because I’m always on the lookout for ways to serve you better.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!