Mint & chocolate cupcakes and Christmas cheer


You guessed it, I have been at it again.  I really do like making soap but this time of the year, I do have a purpose.  It is nearly Christmas and everyone I know will be getting soap – sorry to spoil the surprise, folks :)  Also, I have been selling a small amount.  A Bridgetown friend has sold a few bars for me and I have sold some to friends and rellies.  It is a seasonal thing.  Soap makes great small Christmas gifts.


I am even thinking of setting up a stall at the local markets during holiday weekends like Easter and, maybe, I will get organised and have a stall leading up to next Christmas.  I have even come up with a name – Soaping Passion – what do you think?

006copyCupcake soaps are so popular, I just had to have a go at making some.  I knew I would eventually so, ages ago when I saw some silicon cupcake moulds, I bought them.  The soaps turned out rather well, even if I say so myself.

Ok … of course, there were a few problems but I blundered my way through them.

The base was coloured with brown oxide and the fragrance was Brambleberry Chocolate Italian Spice (which, by the way, smells divine).  The fragrance will discolour the soap brown but I wanted to ensure it was a nice chocolate brown so I added the oxide.  You would think the base would be easy, being plain, but I am fast learning that nothing is easy when it comes to soap making.  The bloody fragrance made the batter rice so it was a bit of a drama getting it into the moulds.

The icing was coloured with titanian dioxide and chrome green oxide and sea clay.  I was going for a green swirl but the batter was too thin when I mixed the green with the white and, in the flurry of getting the batter into the icing bag, the green and white virtually merged.

Normally, I have problems with the batter going too thick too quickly but, just because I needed it to be thick to pipe, this one did not move.  The fragrance was Brambleberry Spearmint Eucalyptus.  Because it did not accelerate trace, it would be a keeper but for the fact that after a day or two, you can barely smell it.

Given my total inability to pipe a decent meringue, I was very excited that these turned out as well as they did. They look real.


I have called these guys Christmas Cheer.  I wasn’t trying to make something Christmassy, I was just wanting a colour to go with the green balls and hit on pink.  When I cut them, it was Maus who commented that they look Christmassy.  I think she is right.  I  do like the ball look.

015copy The soaps are much bigger than I planned.  I decided to make them the same size as these blue guys but misinterpreted my own calculations – I took what was the total batter weight as the oil weight so I ended up with much bigger soap.  Oh, well, all the more Christmas cheer.  :)

The white is coloured with titanium dioxide and the pink is neon pigment – fired up fuschia and the fragrance is Brambleberry Cherry Blossom.  The fragrance did not cause any problems but is very light so I won’t be buying it again.

I think this should be the end of soaping for a while unless I get off my bum and do start that stall at the local markets, otherwise, soap will take over the whole house.

Date Slice


The other week, Maus came into the study and said “I feel like a date pillow”.  As I am sure you all know by now, Maus’ wish is my command.

I interpreted what she said as ” I want you to make me a date slice.”  I stored the information away.  “I can do that,” I thought. “I have some date paste that needs a purpose.  I could kill two birds with one stone.” Continue reading

A rose by any other name


As you can see, I am back to making soap.  The temperature is rising and I have a rule: I won’t go outside when the temperature is above 30°C.  Well, that is my preferred option but, over summer, garden maintenance requires that rule be broken almost on a daily basis.  At least, as the temperature rises, the garden chores pull back somewhat.  This means I have more time to make soap! Continue reading

Candied pumpkin


I still have 14 pumpkins from last year’s crop and I am told it is very difficult (impossible?) to store them over summer.  Shit!  I was under the impression that they could last out the year.

Oh, well, …  I haven’t given up hope.  Everything I have read says keep them in a cool dry place.  As you all know, there is no such place during an Australian summer.  The only other advice I have read to prolong their life is to wipe them with disinfectant.  This protects them from  bacteria.  I washed my pumpkins in diluted Pine-O-Cleen, made sure they were perfectly dry, then put them in the cool room.  Here’s hoping.

Postscript:  I have just read this post where a pumpkin soaked in a weak bleach solution was still perfect after nine months.  There is hope. Continue reading

Preserving rhubarb.


It’s rhubarb season.  If you have a couple of crowns in your vegie patch, it won’t be long before you are over stewed rhubarb and custard.

Last year was my first rhubarb season.  At first, I stewed it and told Maus she had to eat it all because I planted it for her.  When that didn’t work, I took to freezing the excess but I have limited freezer space so, very soon, I had to come up with another plan. Continue reading