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DIY Scented Candles Even A Noob Can Make

Like most of my ‘projects’, my first time making DIY scented candles started with a whim: I had a long Christmas break and thought it would be fun to make my own candles at home. Lazada sells convenient candle making kits, most of which are from China. I ordered them in early December, and they came just in time for Christmas!

Although I like artsy stuff, I am not someone who is skillful with my hands – I’m clumsy af, so I suck at things like sewing, weaving, painting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Fortunately, making candles is relatively easy, or at least easy enough that even I couldn’t mess it up too badly.

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The kit cost me RM65, and came with everything I needed to make eight medium-sized candles, including metal containers (they sported bright, colourful designs), cotton wicks, four packets of soy wax (200g each), a stainless steel jug for melting, sticky tape to fasten the wick to the bottom, wick holders to keep them in place, a stirring spoon, dye blocks as well as four bottles of 10ml fragrances. I think it’s a reasonable price, as after making the candles I still had a lot of wicks left over, and I since I can reuse the equipment, I’d only need to buy wax and fragrances the next time I want to make candles.

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I didn’t want the kitchen smelling like fragrances, so I used the portable butane stove we usually reserve for hotpots. Didn’t have a big stainless steel pot either, so I used a clay pot (necessity is the mother of invention) to double as my boiler. The jug should not be heated directly over the flame as the heat would be too intense for the wax, which would cause it to scorch. Using another pot filled with water helps to ensure a low and steady temperature.

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While waiting for the water to boil, I trimmed the cotton wick and fixed it to the bottom of the container using the included sticky tape. The wick holder can be placed across the top to hold the wick in position when you pour.

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Using the spoon, I stirred the wax until it was completely melted.

Professionals who make candles to sell usually use a thermometer while making their candles, since different types of wax (beeswax, soy wax, paraffin) have different melting points. As I didn’t have one, I just winged it (ie making sure the pot wasn’t bubbling too much).

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Once everything had melted, I added my desired dye and stirred it until the colour was even. Once it had cooled down a little (but not to the point of solidifying, I poured the mix into the containers.

I made a couple of mistakes here.

  1. I added the fragrance right after the dye had melted. The temperature must have been too hot, which caused the fragrance to evaporate (?), so the result was that the throw (how far the scent carries across the room) was pretty weak.
  2. I poured everything in one go, which caused the candles to ‘sink’ in the middle once the wax had cooled. Apparently this is because the wax cools down faster at the sides, since the container is cooler. To avoid this, you’ll either have to keep the containers at a warmer temperature, or use the double pour method, where you first pour 3/4 of your mixture, allow it to cool, then top up with more wax to make the surface more even. I think this is quite a hassle though, as it means you’ll have to keep some of the wax. In my case, I couldn’t do that as I had a bunch of different colours and scents to work on, and only one jug.
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Despite the flaws, I was pretty happy with the end results!

I had four scents: lavender, vanilla, rose and lemon. The scents were actually quite pleasing when I held the candle up to my nose, but as I mentioned, I think I put them in too early so when I lit the candles I couldn’t smell much of the fragrances.

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Gifted a few to a friend as a Christmas present!
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Making my own candles was surprisingly fun (although it did take me three hours and my back felt extremely sore from having to sit on a low stool – sorry lah I’m old lol) , and I did feel a sense of accomplishment even if they didn’t turn out perfect. Maybe once I’ve had a couple more practice runs, I can start making more luxurious candles – like those pretty ones with flowers and stuff.

My candle making kit from Lazada : link

Have you tried making your own candles? Share your tips with me below!

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Stir-Fried Longevity Noodles

Hey good people!

It’s Day 4 of the Restricted Movement Order in Malaysia. Things have been pretty uneventful in the house – been spending it working on stories, doing some part-time writing gigs, catching up on games (playing Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor rn) and sorting out some old photos. It’s difficult to keep away from negative news when my dad has been tuning in to the TV 24/7. Of course everyone is feeling worried about the recession hitting (which I’m sure it will with how things are going), but there’s nothing we can do about it now except play our part and hope that things resume some normalcy in the coming months.

But enough doom and gloom. I made some food! 😀

PS: I’m not the best cook, but I survived living on my own while I was at uni in the UK, so it’s not like I’m terrible at it or anything lol. But don’t expect gourmet-level recipes.

STIR-FRIED LONGEVITY NOODLES 

Longevity noodles, also known as e-fu noodles, are soft and silky wheat noodles that are often eaten at celebrations such as birthdays and weddings, since they symbolise longevity and prosperity. The strands are long and thick with a slightly chewy texture. You can easily get them at most Asian grocery stores. We had some leftover roast chicken from lunch, so I thought of tossing some ingredients together to make stir-fried noodles.

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 packet of longevity noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 squid, cleaned and sliced into small pieces. Marinade with salt, pepper and sesame oil to taste
  • 4 pieces back bacon, sliced into strips
  • 1 bunch choy sum
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce + 1 tbsp concentrated chicken stock, mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • PS: we had roast chicken from lunch earlier, but you can replace it with a protein of your choice)

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Method: 

  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. Boil noodles for 8 minutes. Remove and blanch in cool water. This is to halt the cooking process and keep the noodles bouncy and al dente.
  3. Fry the back bacon until crisp. Set aside.
  4. Stir-fry garlic. Add in squid and stir fry quickly. Then add in vegetables, roast chicken and oyster sauce mix. `
  5. Add noodles in and toss everything evenly. Add water as needed if noodles look too dry.
  6. Garnish with back bacon. Serve.

 

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Tada!

It was quite tasty, if I do say so myself. lol

Getting fresh ingredients might be harder if the restricted movement order keeps up (some wet markets have been ordered to close since they can’t implement crowd control), so we’re trying to make fresh and healthy meals while we can, before resorting to canned / instant food.

I hope everyone is holding up well, wherever you are. If you do have access to fresh ingredients, then this is a great time to hone your cooking skills. Stay safe and healthy!

Food Galore – Chinese New Year in Ipoh 2019

It’s a little worrying that at barely 30, I’m already having trouble remembering things, lol.

There’s just an overload of information coming in on a daily basis that it’d be impossible to function without clearing up some ‘space’. Which is why it’s so important for me to keep blogging, no matter how busy I get. How else can I look back on what I’ve been doing at a particular point in time?

So here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to over the holidays 😀

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One of my favourite parts about the Chinese New Year celebrations is the food. There’s a reason why people call it ‘comfort’ food – because food is often associated with fond memories and feelings of safety and warmth. It’s such a good feeling to have awesome home cooked food to dig into the moment you step into the house. 😀

In this case, upon arriving in Ipoh, my cousin YS (who is a great cook) had made a big bunch of pork and century egg dumplings in a light, savoury broth. The thickness of the dumpling skin was just right, and the filling had the right balance of fat and lean for a tender, melt-in-the-mouth texture.

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Then my uncle came back from visiting friends with a big bag of these fried snacks called “Phoenix Balls”. Apparently they used to be served as appetisers at Chinese banquets, but you rarely find them these days.

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The inside was a mix of pork, shredded carrots and egg, enveloped in a chewy layer of pork fat taken from underneath the pig skin, then battered and deep fried. I really liked the textures, despite the ball’s oiliness – there’s the crisp from the shell, the chewiness from the pork fat, and the soft tenderness of the meat.

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Then the cous wanted to make charsiewbao (pork buns) so we helped out. It’s a lot of work, since everything was made from scratch, from the dough to the pork filling. Folding the buns into the proper shape was an art on its own.

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Presenting the ugliest charsiewbao in the world.

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Ready for the steamer!

Enough about food though – since it’s the Year of the Pig, here are some cute (and unique) porcine decorations around the house.

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Alcohol in a pig shaped glass container. The alcohol is poured out from the butt lol.

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Literal piggy bank

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These were friggin adorable – squishy pig dolls.

Hope you’re having a great CNY as well! 🙂 It’s back to work tomorrow. Sigh.

 

Making Lamb Chops + Fried Oyster Mushroom

It was my day off and I was feeling hardworking over lunchtime so I decided to make my own food. I don’t cook often because the kitchen is my mum’s domain and I always get shooed out for ‘making a mess’ (and then she complains that I don’t know how to cook).

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Marinated spicy lamb chops from Carrefour. Can’t really go wrong with that, right?

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Made fried oyster mushrooms as a side dish. Dipped the shrooms in beaten egg before fluffing them over with fried chicken powder.

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I don’t have a deep fryer, so the frying pan was the best that I could do. I went by estimates so I took them out when they looked cooked lol (they were). They turned out surprisingly well!

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For the chops, I first thought of grilling them but then decided it would take forever so I poured some water in and covered them for 10-15 minutes. I was again surprised when I plated it because it wasn’t overcooked or undercooked – the powers of winging it. lol

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Didn’t have much of the sauce because it was oily. But the meat and mushrooms turned out decent! Sure, it wasn’t restaurant quality but I’d give myself a pat on the back and a B+.