Monday, January 31, 2011

Lesont Wines

This is what you will be drinking if you are coming to my place for Chinese New Year. Thanks to Lesont Wines (the suppliers to MBS's Paiza Club), I got my hands on Champagne, Chardonney and Rose wines with real 24k gold flakes and one diamante-encrusted 95 point full bodied red.

The stock photo really doesn't show much. I laid them out on my kitchen counter for a group photo and you can see the sparkle from the crystals of the Diadema and the warm ember liquids glowing from within the rest.

I got a real kick from shaking the champagne and stirring up a gold storm. 

Lesont Wines are on facebook only, check-in to see when their next event is:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mahogany Salon

Getting my hair done at Mahogany Salon in various shades of Mahogany Brown. I got to munch on yusheng while my colour was processing. No pictures to share of how I look as my secondary camera (pic above) doesn't have flash and this (pic below) is what happens when taken against a mirror at night.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rose Soap

At first I thought I would mix this with other flowers but quickly thought the wiser of it. Roses are good enough on their own. In order to showcase this flower, I was going to make a rose soap like no other and hopefully better than something store-bought.

Rose water to melt down the white soap base that already contained honey and mulberry extract.

50ml of rose essential oil so the skin will glow from it's effects.

To make it interesting, I decided to stir a little pink rose compound into the little soap left.

It turned a brilliant neon pink like bandung.

Pat it down on top and leave it alone for 24 hours.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Borago Officinalis (Starflower)

I adore flowers and what better way to combine 2 passions than to find edible flowers, a much loved haute cuisine ingredient. I was pleasantly surprised to find a packet of gourmand Borago Officinalis seeds at a nearby plant nursery. A perennial in our lovely tropical weather, I am looking forward to the fruits or in this case flowers of my labour. 

This extremely useful little plant has edible leaves and flowers, with it's seeds yielding an oil as effective as evening primrose as a GLA supplement. Starflowers are THE original ingredient used in pimm's cocktail, nowadays substituted with cucumber. Commonly tossed in salads, it's beautiful blue flowers yield a slight honeyed taste that is excellent as a condiment for desserts. I read that the flowers were candied in olden days. I imagine using it to dress my cakes...can't wait.   


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sodium Hydroxide Solution

I found a chemical company that could sell me sodium hydroxide solution at the highest concentration possible without a license. At this level, lye is used as a cleaning agent and a pretty effective one at that, as my pristine white dishes showed. The problem starts when a higher concentration is required to make soap. Even 25% alkaline solution can burn a hole through a regular bowl, I think it was the high heat that amplified it's effects. Not to mention the irritation/burns it causes when it comes in contact with bare skin. Thank goodness I was prepared with safety goggles, rubber gloves and mask. Just never take the gloves off!

* updated on 6 Dec 2012: Lye is not detergent! It is highly corrosive and used as a stripping agent. It has been used in small amounts on 20-50 year old items that have accumulated dirt for only a short while.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Packing Bubblegum Soaps

It's the same packaging method as the previous 2 batches.

Only changed the wrapping paper to plastic kaleidoscope-print and used plastic gemstone stickers instead of wax seals.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Roselle Water

The flower of the Hibiscus sabdariffa plant is often used in infusions to make herbal tea or alternatively as a natural food colouring. It tastes pretty much like ribena so can be brewed for easy drinking. Thus, making it a great drink for CNY entertaining!

Chinese Medical Halls usually sell the dried version, but, you can easily get fresh roselle flowers from an organic farm. Brew a handful of fresh roselle buds with sugar and water for half an hour and you will have a strongly flavoured, floral fragranced drink to enjoy.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Packing Coffee Soaps

Animal prints to match the earth tones of this coffee soap.

Same as last time, I had to shrinkwrap it first then in animal print paper. The yellow sash is to hold the seams in place and print out the type of soap.

My wax seal, this time the red seal wax matches the animal prints perfectly =)

The finished 16.

Am going to give out this batch during CNY as well.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bubblegum Soap

I wanted to make this multi-coloured soap for quite some time. But first, I had to look for the perfect white base that I found in Camay fragrance free, dense, soft soaps.

I used generic pre-mixed essential oil called "Meditate" in an amiable scent that everyone will like.

It is time to test my liquid colourants before I progress onto cold processed soaps. The word is that colouring soaps from scratch isn't as easy as adding colourants. To acheive the colour you want, you need to use oxides, clays and naturally coloured powders. Food colouring will just wash out or worse yet, won't be absorbed by the soap base. Fact or Fiction?

The colours are definitely brighter than the usual oxides and clays. Hhmmm...I hope it stays that way. Colourants in small amounts won't stain your skin or tiles. But, am not sure about the quantity I used.

After 24hrs in the chiller, it came out in light pastel shades.

It takes 6 full-sized bars of soap to make 16 guest-sized bars of soap from 50gm to 80gm a piece.

As you can see, the colour is concentrated around in chunks. The conclusion is liquid colourants cannot be used to dye soap. *sign* back to sourcing for suitable colourants. Don't get mad when using this soap, I suspect it will all wash off leaving a tie-dyed puddle on your bathroom floor.

What's left is a colourfully cheery bar of soap to start and end your days with in a fruity floral scent. Hard not to like.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fiona Paxton Sylvie Necklace

Believe it or not, I have been looking for this necklace for almost a year. Then one day, I saw it hanging in On Peddar's display. It's the right length, the right colour and just enough design to make it interesting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

24k Gold Soap

A luxurious, generously cut bar of soap (250gm) to usher in the new year. For Nesti Dante's 60th anniversary, a 24k Gold and Iris soap inspired by Florence, Italy and made with all natural Tuscany ingredients. Inside it's soft metallic shimmer, this soap works up a frothy, creamy lather. At $17.50, finally, this is something everyone can partake of. This limited edition bar of soap is not to be missed! Is it a coincidence Iris essential oils are considered one of the most expensive in the world? I absolutely love the other Nesti Dante soaps fom fruity figs & almond to apocathery lemon balm & fennel, each bar smells delicious. The perfect hostess gift!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Packing Soap for CNY

My first batch of soaps turned out beautifully even though there are some blue stains (from the tray) on the bottom that resemble mould, it's not! I am going to package it to giveaway on Chinese New Year.

Each soap is shrink wrapped in plastic first as the essential oils will leak through paper. Thereafter, I put them in kimono print paper and try to wrap them origami style. After the first few, I gave up and started wrapping them as normal packages.

On to tie an obi for each to hide unsightly seams and also to identify what type of soap is within.

I am not quite done yet.

I have to seal it with my wax stamp. I tried the usual red sealing wax but it wasn't as pretty as the aqua blue wax from my candle.

And it's done!

I hope everyone loves it too!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spring Must Haves!

New year, new clothes!!!

Spring brings bright acid colours which are a great respite from the traditional red for Chinese New Year visitings. It also offers more variety in terms of co-ordination with existing items in your wardrobe.

Me? My usual palette is black, white and soft pastels. Hence, the occasional pop of colour is essential in bringing my wardrobe to life. And to neutralize everything, use Tod's roomy white bag. White being devoid of colour goes with everything and can fit all your stuff (atomizer, umbrella, recyclable bags, you name it). It's the quiet classic that's white hot!

3 fabulous and oh soo wearable looks for the year.