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How Well Does Spirulina’s Colour Hold Up in Cold Process Soap?

I’m so happy to be able to write a little blurb about experiments in the studio again! I wish I had more time to do this amidst all the changes at work, but I’m happy for the occasional opportunity all the same. 🙂

So how does spirulina fare as a stable, all-natural colourant in CP soap? I reckon it does pretty well, all things considered. 🙂 Here’s what it looked like when I first sliced our Fiddler’s Green soap:

FG04

The powder itself looked a dark, deep blue-green which turned into this lovely fresh colour the day after I poured the soap into the mold.

Then 3 weeks later, this is what the colour looked like:

IMG_7761

Not exactly stable, but still produces a good strong green. It lost most of its blue component, to take on a more mature, olive green kind of shade. Interestingly, the powder that is in the swirl on the surface of the soap seems to have stayed quite prominent:

IMG_7760

I was hoping that it would retain its strong blue-tinged green, but I’m still happy with the results all the same. For the lowest layer of colour which was at its most concentrated, I used 25g of spirulina powder in about 2.6kg of raw soap (yes, that works out to be one rather expensive load of colourant for a bar of soap!)

It will be interesting to see what the colour looks like 6 months down the road. 🙂 Will try to remember to post pics when I can.

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New Soap – Fiddler’s Green

I made this soap 2 days ago, when inspiration hit and getting down to making a completely new soap felt like a breeze. I’d been toying around with a formulation for gym buffs and people with severe acne or folliculitis for some time – and this is the result.

When I first cut this soap I spent a good 5 minutes just admiring the amazing shades of green on the cut surfaces (and trying not to tear up from sheer joy – I was thinking of the many ingredients I have used in the past which very sadly turned to a dull brown over time due to oxidation, or high pH environments). Spirulina powder was the magical ingredient that gave this soap its luxurious green colour, and I read that it in its natural state, it thrives in a high pH environment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the colour will hold for months to come!

Fiddler's Green collage

Another thing I’m really excited about is its essential oil combination of sweet marjoram (new!), bergaptene-free bergamot (also new!), cypress and pine. These are all well known as being antibacterial and antifungal, so they should be helpful for those of you who have chronically inflamed pores / hair follicles. I recently had an enquiry from someone who had symptoms that fit the bill for folliculitis, which gets worse when the damaged hair follicle becomes infected by bacteria, yeast or fungi (here are some images, but beware, some are pretty gruesome). None of our existing soap bars were tweaked specifically to have strong antibacterial and antifungal actions, so I’m hoping that Fiddler’s Green will fill that gap.

That’s not all – marjoram, cypress and pine essential oils have wonderful soothing and healing properties for muscles as well. I won’t go so far as to say that this makes it the perfect post-workout soap to take the edge of sore muscles the next day, but its scent will certainly help you be in a placid, happy state of mind. 🙂

There is also a little story that I would like to tag on to this soap. Just recently I learned that the parents of an acquaintance of mine were about to go through a divorce. When I popped into her shop to say hi to her a few days back, this normally bubbly, jovial lady was on the verge of tears. She told me her story and I felt my throat and chest knot up. What a shock it must be for her, and her family. But what could I do to comfort her?

Then I thought of other friends who have their own struggles. Unemployment. Illness. Discrimination. Troubled children. All wishing to find themselves in a better place.

According to Irish folklore, Fiddler’s Green is the equivalent of heaven for sailors. There’s a traditional song of the same name that describes it – I used to listen to it when I was a child, when my father played it on a CD. 🙂

So my wish for you, my friends, is that you will all find your Fiddler’s Green while you still walk this wondrous place we call home. I am just a soapmaker…but I want to do all I can to help us all make our little space on earth a little brighter, a little cosier, a little friendlier,

even if it’s through something as mundane as a bar of soap.

Virtual hugs from me. 🙂

p/s: Fiddler’s Green will be available for sale on April 17th. Hang in there, I’m still working out its product page. :p

pp/s: A special mention goes to all my friends who saw this soap as food (specifically, kuih talam) – I found someone’s blogpost from 2010 which has an almost identical design! :))

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Songbird Is GO!

I tweaked and tweaked, made notes and plotted, after the first trial batch I made last month… and now I’ve arrived at a formulation for Songbird that looks set to stay (if you all enjoy breathing it in and admiring it as much as I do, that is!).

Voila!

Locked down on the scent too. The virginian cedarwood, cypress, pine, eucalyptus all stayed, but I did away with the bergamot because it wasn’t really contributing much to the blend (it had faded away so much that it wasn’t really there anymore–and it’s way too expensive for me to use for now). So our study is now bursting with mildly minty, woodsy scent that definitely brings to mind a verdant, mountainous scene under a bright blue sky, populated with coniferous trees as far as the eye can see.

It’s a brief respite from the lousy haze that we have outside now, for sure!

These will be ready in time for Urbanscapes on June 16th. If you do come (and you really should, if you love all things art), I’m hoping you can follow your nose to locate my stall. :p It’ll be PACKED, for sure.

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What’s In Stock, and Something’s Afoot for Christmas

Hi everyone, just thought I’d do a quick list of what’s available in the shop right now:

  • Breakfast Bar
  • Clarity (but it’s just one bar left before you have to wait for the next batch that’s ready on Nov 11th)
  • DreamTime
  • Goats Milk and Honey
  • Goats Milk and Patchouli (current best-seller that keeps going out of stock :p )
  • Summer Fizz
  • Tangy Lavender

And there’ll be something really special coming up for Christmas. Want first dips in getting news of this limited edition seasonal soap? Sign up for my newsletter on the left, or click here.

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Soap Pre-Orders and Reservations Available

Seeing how this happy problem of me running out of stock of soap is happening more frequently these days, I’d like to highlight that you can always pre-order your soap so I can better estimate how much soap to make for each batch.

You needn’t pay anything up front. Just send me an e-mail to let me know what you’d like me to reserve for you, and I’ll advise you on when it will be ready. When the date rolls around, I’ll remind you about your reserved soap so you can make arrangements for payment. If I don’t hear from you after 3 days, or you change your mind about your order, not to worry. I’ll just release your reserved soap and make it available for sale.

Hope this helps!

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Out Of Stock – Goats Milk and Patchouli (GMP)

Alright you GMP fans, you’ll have to sit out the next 4 weeks till the next batch is ready. The last few Goats Milk and Patchouli bars flew off the shelf on Tuesday when a couple of customers paid me a surprise visit to stock up on their soap stashes (thanks Cheng King and Sophy!).

More GMP goodness will be available sometime in mid October. I’m so glad that you all enjoy it so much.

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Out Of Stock Till End of September: Breakfast Bars, Summer Fizz

Sorry folks, I haven’t been able to keep up with production quite as well as I thought I would, so these two soaps won’t be ready for sale till the final week of September. :”> My last 6 Breakfast Bars went out in a 12 Soaps For The Year package (thanks Nentze!) this morning. I’ve just one bar of Summer Fizz left at the moment.

Dark Chocolate, Spiced Coffee, DreamTime and Tangy Lavender are all curing as we speak, and they’ll be nestled in their muslin bags in a weeks’ time.

Oh–Happy Merdeka Day to all Malaysians. Let’s all channel our energies towards bringing real, positive change in our country. One baby step at a time. Don’t hold back. 😉

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Stocking Up

Okay, I’ve got a happy problem–the only soap I have that’s ready for sale is Goats Milk and Patchouli. Everything else, believe it or not, has been sold out, and new batches are out on the curing racks right now:

Soap on curing rack
Soap on curing rack

These will be ready in the final week of August. And I’m not through with this round of production yet! There are still more to come. I’m trying my bestest to keep up with production, scheduling a batch every 2-3 days. It’s hectic but there’s no denying I’m enjoying the challenge. 🙂 With the new wholesale orders (and lovely new customers, hello there!) coming in, I’m making adjustments to my estimations of what to make, how much and when.

So I do apologise if you were thinking of getting soap this week–could you hold out for another week or two? All I have at the moment are the 30g sample-sized soaps for the Sampler Pack of 3. If you’d like to go ahead and place your order, please do–I’ll reserve your soap for you and will advise on the earliest date I can have them delivered to you.

At the root of all this excitement and activity is the fact that you have played a tremendous role in supporting what I do. Thank you for your affinity towards my all-natural soap, and you can be sure that I’ll always have the best of interest at heart for your skin’s wellbeing. I’m grateful and humbled.

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Now Available – Sampler Pack of 3

I’ve had a lot of people ask which kind of soap would be suitable for them, or telling me that they weren’t sure of which scents they’d really like. So I’ve decided to put up a listing for a Sampler Pack of 3, where I’ll bundle 3 bars of soap weighing over 30g each, so you can try 3 different soaps at a go! I guess it makes sense too, for those who need to find out which kind of soap is suitable for their sensitive skin, without having to worry about purchasing the ‘wrong’ kind of soap.

Just e-mail me with your choice of samples and I’ll pack them up for you in a jiffy. 🙂 Hope you’ll find this useful! Purchase the sample pack here.