Thursday, 25 May 2017

Soap Dough–a soap making challenge

Soap Dough Lolly (138)

This is a challenge I was so excited about. It really taught me a new skill and I have new found respect for all cake decorators! The precision and skill that is required is beyond me.

For this challenge I had to call on my best friend Debbie, who is an award winning cake decorator. She has been living in Australia for the last 8 years and we have just reconnected after she moved back here again. What a great way to take up our friendship again. She taught me to mould and shape roses and leaves.

Soap Dough Lolly (91)

Soap roses and a palette knife

Soap Dough Lolly (94)

Moulding and shaping the soap lolly. This was harder than it looks. I really battled with the uniformity of the top and trying to get the “dipped” soap layer an even thickness was quite a challenge.

Soap Dough Lolly (96)

Debs took the plunge and started to add roses to the lolly i had made while I made the next lolly for me add roses to.

Soap Dough Lolly (61)

As you can see the “chocolate” strip was also quite thick. I was too afraid to roll it thinner as it kept on breaking.

Soap Dough Lolly (71)

Debs did a great job of adding the roses, while mine was much more basic and simple. She clearly has done more of this than me adn has an artistic eye for bunching the roses together.

Soap Dough Lolly (49)

Soap Dough Lolly (135)

Thanks Amy, as always this was a great challenge and I had a lot of fun.


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Do me a Favour

I have been neglecting the blog a little as I have been very busy making soap and re-stocking our basic line.

We made these favours a long time ago but they are still a favourite with most people who see them.

Ice cream favours

Monday, 27 March 2017

Essential Oil information–Black Pepper

Black Pepper – piper nigrium

black pepper essential oil

Botanical Info.   Black Pepper is distilled from the unripe pepper corns of the Piper nigrum which is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae.  Cultivated for its fruit, this is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5 millimetres diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit) and white pepper (dried ripe seeds).

Black pepper is native to India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper. Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavour and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. It is ubiquitous in the industrialized world, often paired with table salt.

History :.Pepper has been used as a spice in India since prehistoric times. Pepper is native to India and has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BCE. Black peppercorns were found stuffed in the nostrils of Ramesses II, placed there as part of the mummification rituals shortly after his death in 1213 BCE. Although little else is known about the use of pepper in ancient Egypt and how it reached the Nile from India.  Black Pepper was known in Greece at least as early as the 4th century BCE, though it was probably an uncommon and expensive item that only the very rich could afford. Trade routes of the time were by land, or in ships which hugged the coastlines of the Arabian Sea. By the time of the early Roman Empire, especially after Rome's conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE, open-ocean crossing of the Arabian Sea directly to southern India's Malabar Coast was near routine. Black pepper was a well-known and widespread, if expensive, seasoning in the Roman Empire. Apicius' De re coquinaria, a 3rd-century cookbook probably based at least partly on one from the 1st century CE, includes pepper in a majority of its recipes.

The Oil has a strong and sharp spicy smell.  Black Pepper Oil is a circulatory stimulant.  Therefore, it can be helpful with arthritis, neuralgia, general stiffness, sprains, and sciatica. It’s warming and spicy qualities helps to increase warmth of the body and mind, relieving sore muscles and joints, it can help boost the immune and digestive systems, stimulate the kidneys and disperse bruising by increasing circulation to the skin.

Benefits Emotionally it is an aphrodisiac, and also is said to both increase self confidence and to be grounding and stabilizing.. It is recommended for concentration and memory loss. Black Pepper oil is said to heighten alertness, assertiveness, and improve the user's self-image.  It is also strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral oil, warming and comforting for congestion, the flu, etc.

Some testing being done indicates that inhaling black pepper may be helpful for those trying to stop smoking.  

Suggested uses : Use is burners & vaporisers to add warmth to chills and colds and to create an atmosphere of 'getting things done'.

As a blend in a massage oil, or diluted in a bath, to assist with circulation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis and muscular aches and pains. Also it can be blended into a base cream for tired aching limbs, sore muscles, rheumatoid arthritis, stimulating the appetite and to help sort out bowel problems. In small quantities it can be used to reduce high temperatures. It increases circulation to the skin and is therefore helpful in restoring proper functioning of the skin.

Culinary : Add to cream cheese, mayonnaise or vinegar ( remember One drop goes a long way)or in stews and sauces.

Caution  :As with most oils there are precautions …..Black pepper oil may cause irritation to sensitive skins and using too much could over-stimulate the kidneys. It should be avoided in pregnancy due to its possible skin sensitizing effect.

Blends well with other essential oils such as bergamot, clary sage, clove, coriander, fennel, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, juniper, lemon, lime, mandarin, sage, sandalwood and ylang-ylang

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