Monday, October 25, 2010

Dirty Dozen

from David Suzuki Foundation

David Suzuki Foundation has recently produced a Dirty Dozen list that names 12 most common but harmful chemicals you can easily find in regular beauty products, including lotions, cosmetics, shampoos, and body washes.

I'm blessed with a very open-minded and smart husband, and it is actually him who educated me about these chemicals years ago.  We got on Cosmetics Database and looked up everything we had in our household.  We were determined to throw out anything that got a hazardous rating of over 3. It turned out that we had nothing safe left to use.

Now, years later, I realize that I don't go down on the body care and cleaning isles in grocery stores, and I automatically skip flyer pages on these products too.   I make my own soaps, I whip up my own lotions, and I just LOVE the way my skin and my hair feel!   No nice fragrance or attractive packaging can ever convince me to go back, because I know my world is more beautiful.

Take the Dirty Dozen challenge and see how pretty your beauty products really are!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Soap Stamps - continued

For those of you who are curious to see the final product of an epoxy soap stamp, here are some photos of a stamp I made earlier.

From the top of the stamp

From the side

From the side

Impression on soap

I keep making the same mistake of not making the lines thick enough.  I find that the stamps create the best result with thick and deep lines.  

Have fun creating your own stamps and don't forget to share your work of art with me!


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Soap Stamps Anyone?

Before I get carried away, I just want to point out that there are many ways to make soap stamps, and mine is only one of them.  Since there aren't many (or any) Canadian soap stamps sellers, I kind of have to use what I have on hand to make my own.  So feel free to change a little to make it work for you!


You will need:

   1.  MP soap (or any ugly soaps you've stored out of sight)
   2.  Epoxy (can be found at craft stores)
   3.  sharp carving tools, such as sewing needles or tooth picks
   4.  paper,  tape, scissors
   5.  cotton swap
   6.  a long skewer

I use Easy Cast because it's the only one
I can find here.


Now let's make some stamps!

1.  Create small MP soap bars for carving.
     I choose to use MP soap because it'll save so much time later when I remove
     the stamp from soap.

2.  Create your design on the soap or copy the design onto it

Just outline your design here, no need to
 worry about perfection yet.

3.  Carve out the lines

Carve and make the lines deeper and wider.
This is a great time to polish on your design.
Use a cotton swap to wipe away loose soap scraps. 

4.  Prepare the soap

Use clear tapes to tape a piece of paper (both 
sides) and wrap the paper around your soap.

     This is a critical step, so make sure you get it right.
     Use clear, plastic tape.
     Be sure to seal the bottom with tapes or else the epoxy will ooze out and make
     a mess of your work space.
     Also make sure that the paper is tall enough to give your stamp a handle.

6.  Mix your Epoxy and pour

Follow the instructions that come in your box.
If you can make soap, you can mix epoxy.

      Since the mixture is quite thick, it's possible that some air gets trapped
      while you pour.
      Take a long skewer to remove any bubbles that are trapped in there.

7.  Wait and reveal!

It usually takes about 24 hours to cure and set. (Again, your instructions will tell you!)  After that, peal off the paper/tape.  Put the whole thing in the microwave and heat it for 10 seconds or until all the MP melts away from the stamp.
If you're using regular CP soap, I only know one way to get the stamp out: clean the soap off!

You might need to do some trimming work to make your stamp even better, but these are the basic steps for you to try.

Have fun everyone!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Herbal Shampoo Bar

Have you tried Chinese acupuncture?  Or Chinese herbs?

When I was little, I suffered from severe allergies, and it was Chinese herbs that helped me get my life back to normal.   My very wise mother knows everything there is to know about herbs when it comes to taking care of a family.  I often see medicinal herbs added to our daily meals, or take specific medicine on a specific day for various reasons.  When my brother or I get sick, she'll always brew a huge pot of ginger tea to "chase away the cold", as she'd put it.

The herb I used here is called polygonum multiflorum - sorry for this academic nonsense, I can't find a more commonly used term for it  flowery knotweed.  In Chinese medicine, it's believed to be beneficial to scalps and hair.

Some claim that this herb can slow down the greying process, some believe that it can stop hair loss.  Personally, I haven't reached the point where I have to worry about these two problems (knock on wood!), so I can't really vouch for the claims.   The only reason I add them to my shampoo bars is very simple: it makes me feel good inside.  ;)  I don't know much herbs survive the soaping process, but after finishing using one bar, my hair feels softer and shinier!   But then, it could be the fact that I modified the formula slightly this time..

In any case, I'll be using this herb again!