Friday, November 4, 2011

Soap of the day - Lillac

Lillac - $5 a bar + postage

I love making this soap - both because I like the smell and blue is one of my favourite colours. As I've pointed out before I never know what wonderful patterns are going to show up throughout the soap - these two photos are taken from just a few bars apart, and already the difference in the pattern is remarkable!

This is why no two bars of soap are ever exactly the same!

Lillac - $5 a bar + postage

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Soap porn!

One of the great joys about making soap is the interesting and often surprising patterns that turn up inside your soap.

Rose Soap

This is called "soap porn" - I kid you not!

Some essential oils and essences can change the colour of the soap, as can botanicals, such as Lavender.

Lavender Soap

Of course, we also add colours to most of our soaps. We only use natural colours, such as oxides that come from the earth, or colours that have come from plants.

HeMan Soap

All our soaps are now 100% saponified olive oil, scented using essential oils. Each long lasting bar is $5 - buy 10 at a time and recieve free postage Australia wide!

Grapefruit Soap

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whoo hoo! I won!

I won a prize! First time in years that I've entered anything. Needless to say, I'm very happy.

The winning picture is at Eckersleys in Brisbane (city) if you would like to see it in person, but if you can't get there, here it is...

In other news WarmSigh will be hanging out with all the other lovely people of BrisStyle at the Mother and Child market on the 8th of October at our usual spot on Racecourse Road, Hamilton.

As well as our usual soaps and lotions I'll be offering prints of my art, Zoe's bee photos (amazingly detailed!) and we will also be set up to take photos of children so that I can create portraits - either "normal" or turning them into fantasy creatures!

Looking forward to it - the BrisStyle markets are the BEST!

Monday, June 13, 2011

You want us to eat what now?

Question: Why do we see adverts on TV telling us to drink milk and eat meat? Do they feel we have to be convinced that it's good for us?

We see ads telling us that "Lamb is good". Milk ads bombard us. Recently women have been told to "embrace your creamy treats" in an ad for cream cheese. Interesting that their focus group is women. I'm sure men eat them too - but I guess women are still in charge of buying the groceries.

While they are pushing products full of fat and cholesterol, we are being told by health professionals to cut back. Do we listen to the TV or do we listen to our doctors? Too often we are swayed by what it on TV instead.

Since giving up all animal products I feel fitter, my skin looks so good that people are commenting on it, I have so much energy that what use to be troublesome chores are now pleasurable activity and I'm losing weight.

How can any of those things be bad?

So why do we see the ads in the first place? If these things are bad for us, why are they pushing them?

Ohhh, there's a term! "Pushing"! Where else do we hear this term? Drug pushers!

There is no doubt that there is a similarity between a creamy cheesecake and drugs - both make you feel good, at least for a little while, and both do your body harm!

Enough said. Don't pay attention to the ads. Think for yourself instead!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kind Living Cafe, Maleny

Recently we went for a short holiday in Maleny. One of the reasons we picked that as a destination was because of the opening of a Raw Vegan restaurant, "Kind Living Cafe".

OMG it was good!!! Popular, it always seemed a bit like Dr Who's Tardis, with just enough room to fit another two or three people in. People were happy to share the larger tables with other groups, and everyone smiled at each other and were very happy - not one cranky face in the place!

Possibly the food had something to do with that.

We were the last to leave and took this photo then - we should have taken it when we got there to show all the people enjoying themselves! My suggestion, get there early as they get busy. The first day I missed out on chocolate cake because we got there so late! Oh the humanity! (I got it the second day, and it was worth waiting for!)

Raw tart with figs and - stuff. YUM!

Raw Chocolate Cherry cake. As good as it looks!

This is my new favourite food. Kelp noodles with nut cheese sauce.

Zoe's pick was the Zuchinii noodles.

The peacan pie was delicious!

The "small" cafe salad

This was Zoe's favourite desert. It was a Raw Vegan tart with dates and coconut

I had the Kale salad, which was very refreshing!

I also had a cappuccino made with soy milk - it was so good! (oh haha!)

I give this restaurant 10 out of 10 for freshness, 10 out of 10 for originality, 10 out of 10 for taste! They keep their prices down to a level that means anyone can enjoy their food.

At the moment they are only open for lunch. Hopefully they will soon be open for dinner too! Although, thinking about it, maybe it's good that they aren't. You can have too much of a good thing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shampoo and Conditioner

I've been asked several times if I make shampoo.

The short answer is "no". However, that is not the full answer. Please read on!

Shampoo isn't soap. Shampoo is a whole bunch of chemicals around a base of detergent.

The reason for this is our water. Soap leaves a "scum" around the bath, taps, on the shower curtain, right? That is the reaction of the minerals in the hard water from our pipes combined with soap and dirt. The softer your water, the less soap scum you get. It's not the fault of the soap, it's the fault of the water.

However, you CAN use soap on your hair. It's better for your hair because it doesn't strip all the oils out of your hair like detergent (shampoo) does.

(Zoe Farris) (Eliza Leahy)

Zoe's hair Eliza's hair

Let me digress for a minute.

Conditioner. Yes, you need conditioner - but only if you use shampoo! Shampoo removes all the oils from your hair and makes the hair shaft rough. You then pour conditioner over your hair, it covers the damage and you think "boy this shampoo and conditioner are good!"

No, they aren't. They are just 1. causing damage then 2. covering it up again.

Back to soap. Washing your hair with soap leaves a unpleasant cover on your hair, we have already established that. And it's the hard water, not the soap, that's to blame.

So what can we do about it?

The answer is so easy it's astonishing. Add an acid. Remember your grandmother telling you to add some lemon to the rincing water? That was because when SHE was little they used soap on their hair. The result was beautiful glossy hair that could be grown to great lengths because it wasn't being damaged by the chemicals in shampoo.

I personally use vinigar because it's much cheaper then lemons (I prefer to eat the lemons!). After I wash my hair I put one inch of apple cider vinigar into a cup, fill it with water, and slowly pour it over my head, making sure it covers every hair. Caution though - don't get it in your eyes! It stings!

It might take a couple of washes for you to get rid of any damage done by the shampoos over your long use of them, and to get use to using the soap and vinigar rinse, but keep at it, it's worth it!

Don't just use any soap though. If you can get a handmade soap made for the purpose you will be using something with good quality ingredients. As per my previous post, most commercial soaps have mineral oils or animal fats in them, and do you really want to be rubbing animal fat into your hair?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pet Peve of the week

Dove soap and it's "1/4 moisturizing lotion" claim!

The list of ingredients

Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowater or Sodium Palmitate, Lauric Acide, Sodium Isethionate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Cocarnidopropyl Betand, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5, Yellow 6

That's a bit confusing, so let's break it down.

1. is a surfactant (a detergent or wetting agent which lowers the surface tension of a liquid)
2. a vegetable based stearic acid
3. beef tallow (yes - ANIMAL FAT)
4. palm oil
5. lauric acid can be either coconut oil or palm kernel oil
6. is another surfactant used for creamy dense lather
7. is the salt derivative found in stearic acid
8. is another synthetic surfactant derived from coconut oil
9. another name for coconut oil
10. another name for palm kernel oil
11. fragrance oil
12. shea butter
13. common table salt
15. another preservative
16. color white
17. color yellow
18. another color yellow

Yes - it contains not only beef fat but palm oil! But let's move on...

Where is the moisturizing lotion? Well, there is no "lotion" in soap. What there is, is unsoponified oils. When we make our soap recipe we add up the oils and calculate the amount of lye needed to turn it into soap. Good handmade soap always leaves some of those oils unsoponified (not turned into soap) to give a soothing rich lather that WILL NOT DRY the skin. ALL the lye is used up - but not all the oils.

So what the recipe for the above Dove tells us is that some of the oils are left unsoponified.

OK, fine - which oils? Let's look. The highest percentage ingredient always goes first.

3 - beef fat
4 - palm oil
5 - either coconut oil or palm kernel oil

So, use Dove soap and that moisture you are feeling is beef fat.

Use a good soap from a handmade source and it will be either olive oil, or another vegetable oil. (I use a high percentage of olive in all my soaps)

Just make sure that your handmade supplier doesn't use Palm Oil - it's bad for you and it's bad for the Orangutans.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What is "the Ultimate" in soap?

I wanted to make a soap that was special. I might have gone overboard a bit...

Over the past week I have collected ingredients. Today I finally managed to find the last one - raw, undyed, unbleached, un spun silk.

This soap has everything I could possibly think of to make it so good for you - it's practically a visit to the beautician and a holiday on a tropical island, all rolled into one.

It has over 20 different ingredients

olive oil
ricebran oil
sunflower oil
soy bean oil
coconut oil
castor oil
evening primrose oil
macadamia oil
jojoba oil
sesame oil
sweet almond oil
shea butter
coco butter
mango butter
vitamin E
grape seed extract
French pink clay
and of course, the thing that you need to make it all into soap - lye.

When I was mixing this I only used my blender for a few seconds, then I hand stirred it for about fifteen minutes, used the blender for a few seconds, hand stirred, etc. This took much longer then usual, but I wanted to get it as smooth as possible, and have 100% control of the thickness. Two hours in the kitchen in February in Brisbane - I must be mad! I'm certainly hot!

But I think it will all be worth it.

It's now in the oven, where it will sit with the heat on very low for the next three hours. This will add to the mellowing as well. Tomorrow afternoon I'll take it out and look at it.

I admit it, I'm excited!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Queensland Floods - and soap

You'd expect a lot of lather, wouldn't you?

Actually, the soap has come in very handy. I had a lot on hand, so much of it went into boxes and was delivered to people who needed it. Not just people who were living in evacuation centres, but the people who volunteered to clean up. They were very icky after long days shovelling mud, and I thought that they would like some nice homemade soap to help them get clean again. It was very well recieved!

We have also been selling soap to raise money for the Premiers Flood Appeal. So far we have sold...

4 Bars of Beer Soap = $20

2 bars of Cranberry Soap = $10

2 bars of Sensitive Skin Soap = $10

2 bars of Castile Soap = $10

2 bars of Rose Soap = $10

2 bars of Green Tea = $10

(I'm over the pictures, so just the facts, mam)

2 bars of Apple Pie = $10

1 Banana Cake = $5

1 Lemon Myrtle = $5

1 Goats Milk and Honey = $5

1 Kaffir Lime = $5

1 Dog Soap = $5

Total so far = $105 (unless I've added it up wrong)

If you would like to help, please go to - at the moment 100% of my store is being donated, and I'd like to keep going with that, but might have to drop it to 50% soon, otherwise I won't be able to eat next week!

If you would like to help but don't need soap, and search for "Brisbane Flood" and that should bring up all the listings.

Thank you to both BrisStyle and the Australian Flood Relief for their help on Etsy, selling for this great cause.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

French milled - or hand milled - soap

On this lovely wet and rainy day I have started my first Hand Milled soap - also sort of known as French milled, only they use stainless steel rollers and I'm using a wooden spoon!

The soap I have already made I chop finely or grate and put in a double boiler, then I melt it, adding extra oil and some scent once it has totally melted, before putting it in a mold to set.

The advantage is an extra smooth texture. Looking forward to seeing it!