Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013 Soap Challenge ! -- Holly Swirl

Singapore celebrated her 48th birthday on 9 Aug 2013. I was getting tired of the typical 'National Day' soap in red and white, with stars and crescent moon or a Merlion; and I wanted to create a soapy version that embodied the true 'spirit' of Singapore.

So, when Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks shared the Holly Swirl, I knew that it would be the perfect technique for the soap I had in mind. The Holly Swirl is essentially a swirl in a swirl technique created by Holly Bailey of Missouri River Soap Co. You can see her lovely Green Apple and Rose Soap here

Bramble Berry is sponsoring this month's prize. The winner will receive a signed copy of Anne-Marie Faiola's new book Soapcrafting as well as everything needed to create one of her recipes in the book. Second and Third place winners will receive free registration of next month's Soap Challenge Club. So exciting!!!

My entry for this month's Soap Challenge is the "Singapore Sling".

The Singapore Sling is a long drink created by a Mr Ngiam Boon Tong who was working as a bartender at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel Singapore sometime before 1915. Today, there are many versions of the original recipe. MeiMei and I were happy gals when we found a bottled version in our local supermarket.

Our inspiration ... 
Singapore Sling


The cocktail mixture was heated gently to allow all the alcohol content to evaporate. The leftover mixture was poured into an ice-cube tray and allowed to solidify in the freezer. I used part cocktail mixture (sans alcohol) and part distilled water combination in my recipe.

I prepared a slow moving blend of Avocado Oil, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil and Palm Oil and lined my favourite 2 lb mold from Bramble Berry. Choice of colourants: Copper + Gold Mica, Merlot Mica, Red Oxide and Yellow Oxide. Fragrance blend: Pineapple Cilantro and Kumkuat FO. (colourants and FO from Bramble Berry)

M&P embeds that MeiMei and I prepared in advance.

Pineapple slices and Maraschino cherry M&P embeds 

I did not manage to take any WIP photos (A-G-A-I-N). I was head-scratching most of the time as I watched the cocktail mixture turn my lye solution from a bright red to yellow to orange-red and the soap batter morphed from dark orange to bright yellow. After I added my colourants to a portion of it, it turned a sad brown.

Then I carefully pushed the embeds into the soap ... only to watch them sink ... *wail**

Fresh soap

It was v-e-r-y different from what I had planned and I was getting really frustrated. Then MeiMei came hopping along and squealed, "oooohhhhhhhh!! It's ssssooooooo NICE Mummy!"

My heart melted :)  I felt renewed. Sprinkled some glitter and everything got better - magically.

Freshly cut. I love the swirls but the colours turned out very dark due to the reaction of the cocktail mixture. 

"Singapore Sling" soap

"Singapore Sling" soap

I love the Holly Swirl and will surely use this technique in my soaps! Thanks Amy for this soapy challenge! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

2013 Soap Challenge ! -- Mantra Swirl

This month's soapy challenge is the MANTRA SWIRL technique.
Amy Warden (Great Cakes Soapworks), the creator of The Soap Challenge Club, taught us 2 different mantra swirl techniques. I opted for the advanced / modified mantra swirl technique to enter for the challenge. I love this technique as it showcases the swirl on different sides of the soap when cut.
I used Amanda Griffin's slow-moving recipe, replacing rice bran oil with olive oil and shea butter with mango butter; and Cranberry Fig Fragrance Oil from Bramble Berry. MeiMei suggested that I use Yellow, Pink and Green for the 3-colour technique of the advanced / modified mantra swirl.
So, after watching the various videos provided by Amy (numerous times!); I finally felt "confident" enough to embark on my new swirly adventure.
Preparation: (clockwise) mold with dividers, hanger with chopstick taped to it, 1 tsp colour pigments in 1 Tbsp olive oil, Cranberry Fig FO, Mango Butter and blend of Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil and Castor Oil.

I wish I had remained calm enough to snap some photos of the soaping process. I was home-alone and was battling a fast tracing batter with impossible dividers! HA!

Earlier, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for diligently taping down the dividers to the mold - very securely ... then I realised when it was time to remove them that they would not budge and ended up cursing and scratching madly at the "invisible" tape to pull them off !

When they (the dividers) were finally removed, I had to bang the mold several times to smooth out the surface and immediately ploughed my hanger contraption through it. Next was the mantra swirl on the top - was I supposed to do a "S" or an "8" ??

This was the aftermath of my soapy war ...

Pretty happy with the result, I sprayed the top with rubbing alcohol and placed a piece of cardboard over the top of the mold. 2 hours later ... quite horrified to see tiny bubbles on the surface of the soap! urgh!

The soap was unmoulded after 2 days and cut. I fell in love with it instantly! WOOHOO!!


Kiddos and I decided to call this - DAZZLE! ... cool lah!

Peacocky !

I finally unmoulded the slab of Peacock Swirl soap after letting it sit for a week. It was still a little soft when I cut it into bars but manageable.
These bars have been curing for almost a month now... they smell GORGEOUS and quite PEACOCKY I must say!
Super pleased with these beauties!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2013 Soap Challenge! -- Peacock Swirl

Hello! It has been a while since my last blog post in February. I am back!

I decided to join a Soap Challenge Club organised by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks. This month's soap challenge is the PEACOCK SWIRL technique. I have daydreamed about this peacock swirl soap since I first saw it made by Amanda Griffin of Lovin' Soap back in October 2011! See her post here.

I normally work with Melt & Pour and have only experimented with several batches of CP; so I was pretty excited and even robed in MeiMei to assist me. We googled for inspiration and decided on 5 colours - Black (charcoal), Blue (ultramarine blue), Teal (hydrated green chrome), Copper (copper + gold sparkle mica) and White (titanium dioxide). All the colourants used in this soap are from Bramble Berry.

Both Amy and Amanda had generously shared their 'slow-moving' recipes. I finally decided on 70% Olive Oil, 20% Coconut Oil, 5% Avocado Oil and 5% Rice Bran Oil. I also used Bramble Berry 's Kumquat and Energy in equal proportions. GOSH! I am so in love with this combination! YUMMY!!

Here's our lil peacock adventure (my 1st Soap Challenge ever!) :

Preparation - Bramble Berry's 18-bar slab mold, comb/rake, colourants (I ended up using plastic cups as I was unable to find my squeeze bottles! Things always go "missing" when I need them! BOO!)

Mold, Comb and Colourants

I think I got an emulsion??
Attempting an emulsion

Bottom layer scented with Kumquat & Energy Fragrance Oils, coloured soap is left unscented.

Base layer with titanium dioxide, waiting to pour the colours

I wish I had my squeeze bottles! ... and MeiMei asked, "Why are your hands shaking, Mummy??" erm ... "coz I am S-U-P-E-R NERVOUS?!?!!"

Shaky hands = Wriggly lines

MeiMei & I inserted the comb and started to pull it through the soap (together) ... very slowly and carefully... then IT HAPPENED. The colours started to turn muddy and the soap refused to pass through the comb and was pulled to the lower end of the mold. The skewers must have been positioned too close to one another! Not wanting to give up, we wriggle the comb ... we kindof  did a jiggly dance at 3/4 of the way ... by the time we pulled the comb out, we went "yyyeeeeeeee". It looked pretty messed up!

Our muddy struggle with THE comb

Grabbed my chopstick and started swirling. I enjoyed this part and was relieved that it had some resemblance to all the pretty peacock swirls that I have seen. The blue and green colours had disappeared. We were disappointed that our lil peacock adventure did not quite produce the effect that we had hope to achieve. Nonetheless, it was exciting. It made my hands shake!! I popped on the lid of the mold and brought the kids out for dinner.

After swirling

15 hours later, I jumped out of bed the moment I opened my eyes, grabbed my GooGooMonster glasses and ran downstairs to take a peep at my soap. A-W-E-S-O-M-E !! It had a wee-little bit more blue and green and NO ASH!!

15 hours later ... My 1st Peacock Swirl Soap !

I will have to wait till tomorrow before I can unmold the soap and cut into bars. There will be a separate blog post to share with everyone the peacock swirl soap bars.

I must admit that I have gotten over the initial disappointment and am pretty pleased with the end result. I am truely in love with this soaping technique and it has been such wonderful experience taking part in this soap challenge which has brought together 122 international soapers. Thank you Amy for setting up the Soap Challenge Club! Looking forward to more soapy challenges!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Rose

Rose Soap

Some say love, it is a river,
that drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor,
that leaves your soul to bleed

Some say love, it is a hunger
an endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower,
and you, its only seed

Its the heart afraid of breaking,
that never learns to dance
Its the dream afraid of waking,
that never takes the chance

Its the one who won't be taken,
the one who can't seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying,
that never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong

Just remember that in the winter,
far beneath the bitter snow
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love
in the spring becomes the rose.


I fell in love with this song when I first heard Bette Midler sing, many many years ago. 

Happy Valentine's Day ! xoxo ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Holyrose by Nature's Little Treasures

12 years. I have come full circle.

2012 was an eventful year. I was involved in several projects - Singapore Garden Festival, Seletar Mercedes-Benz Charity Golf, Christmas Bazaar at Takashimaya and a rebranding exercise. I am indeed blessed to have met so many kind and generous individuals who saw the potential in my products and believed in me. I am most grateful for all the opportunities.  Thank you ... thank you ... thank you!

I faced many challenges in the past years. Times when I was most lonely ... I have also learnt the true meaning of Friendship. Thank you my dear friends - B, K, E, M&M, J ah jie ... thank you for your love and support! A BIG thank you to beautiful Miin for your amazing designs!

I am Holyrose. This is my passion. Thank you everyone ... YOU made this possible!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Lunar New Year 2013 !

Soapalicious Goodies for Chinese New Year!

新年快乐,万事如意 !

Wishing everyone a very happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!