Product Packaging – What a Waste!

Did you know that the average Australian discards around 200 kg of packaging waste per year? That’s a lot of valuable resources being wasted. Packaging waste is an environmental problem for these main reasons:

  1. It pollutes our air, water and soil
  2. It produces a lot of greenhouse gas emissions
  3. It takes a lot of energy to produce

So what’s the solution? Reducing the amount of packaging we use, (or avoiding it all together) is one of the most effective ways of reducing the total footprint of gas emissions produced as a result of waste going to landfill. Also, by using recycled materials for packaging, we can recover some of the energy used to create it. For example, the process required to produce glass initially from raw starting materials involves a lot of heat. The obvious benefits of recycling glass packaging materials is to reuse and save our natural resources  – but the most important benefit of using recycled glass is that the energy required to produce it is considerably less than the energy required to produce glass from raw starting materials.

For the discerning and educated consumer, product design capability extends beyond the product itself to also include the brand philosophy. A progressive brand will always consider the environmental impact of their products and packaging. The philosophy here at Mood Alchemy is simple – “Clean and Green”. Every product in our holistic aromatherapy range of soy candles, reed diffusers, massage oils, room fragrance sprays and goats milk soaps stays true to our eco-friendly brand philosophy:

cropped_logoNatural product ingredients (sustainably sourced)

cropped_logoEnvironmentally responsible

cropped_logoMinimal packaging made from recycled materials

cropped_logoHandmade in Australia

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When comparing product value in a particular market category, make sure you are comparing “apples with apples”. Consider the lifecycle management of the product, and ask yourself these important questions:

  • What function does the product packaging serve – and is it absolutely necessary?
  • Is the packaging made from recycled materials? Can the packaging be reused?
  • Have the product ingredients been sourced from sustainable and renewable sources?
  • Is the product Made in Australia – and all the positive economic benefits to society that come with that? (Remember that buying locally from small business means that the money cycles back through the local community for everyone’s benefit.)

As the discerning consumer, you have a choice as to how to spend your dollars – so make sure you choose wisely with a long-term view. Choosing Mood Alchemy products – which are made from recycled packaging materials with minimal outer packaging – is a positive way to participate in the reduction of environmental damage. Lets keep moving together towards a culture of sustainability.cropped_logo

Essential Oils as Natural Insect Repellents

Aromatic plants and their essential oils have been used since antiquity to repel insects. The repellency of certain essential oils appears to be generally associated with the presence of one or more volatile mono-terpenoid constituents.

Based on several scientific studies, the most effective plant derived mosquito repellent compounds have been found to be:

  • Eugenol
  • Citronellol
  • Geraniol
  • Cineole

Naturally derived essential oils are a complex mixture of components including minor constituents, in contrast to synthetic pesticides which are based on a single product. A synergistic combination of natural compounds provides a broad-spectrum approach to repelling a range of insects, and they are more likely to be durable towards an evolving insect resistance.

How do natural insect repellents work?

Insects such as mosquitoes are attracted to odours emitted by the skin (lactic acid and moisture) and from the breath (carbon dioxide).

Female mosquitos bite animals and humans for the protein found in blood, which helps in the development of mosquito larvae. Natural insect repellents work by covering or neutralizing the alluring human scent, making a person unattractive for feeding. In addition, insect repellents also irritate the feet of mosquitos – preventing them from landing on a person or surface that is in close proximity.

mossie3

Mood Alchemy’s “Al Fresco” range of natural insect repellent candles, reed diffusers and mists has been purposely designed to enhance your enjoyment of the Great Australian Outdoors. The all-natural fragrance is a synergistic combination of the most effective plant derived insect repellent compounds. Products in Mood Alchemy’s “Al Fresco” range have been formulated with the most effective concentration of insect repelling essential oils – based on scientific evidence. With a natural fragrance designed to complement the Australian outdoors, Mood Alchemy’s “Al Fresco” range is environmentally responsible and stays true to our eco-friendly philosophy.

Using natural insect repellents is a positive way to participate in the reduction of environmental damage. Just as nature intended!

Essential oils as Natural Antimicrobial Agents

The use of essential oils as natural antimicrobial compounds has attracted growing interest in recent times. Antimicrobial agents destroy the airborne microorganisms which are typically the source of unpleasant odours. The effective antimicrobial action of various essential oils and their discrete components on different species of microorganisms, such as Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus delbrueckii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been previously observed and reported.[1]

The measurable antimicrobial activity of essential oils can be increased by the efficient encapsulation of the oil in a solubilizing carrier. This encapsulation increases the equilibrium concentration of essential oils in the aqueous phase, and the antimicrobial activity has been found to increase with increased essential oil concentration.

In general, if a microbial disinfection action is desired, the best option appears to be the use of a delivery system formulated with an emulsifier with high affinity with the essential oil components. This enables the solubilisation of the component molecules in aqueous phase at a high concentration, preferably higher than the water solubility.

Natural sugar eglucose estersters obtained from renewable raw materials of vegetable origin have proven to be very effective essential oils emulsifiers. These non-ionic solubilisers consist of fatty acid molecules as a lipophilic group with a glucose molecule attached as a hydrophilic group. The requisite antimicrobial compounds are immediately available on emulsification, and antimicrobial activity is evident over short time scales.

Each Mood Alchemy Mood Altering Mist is a premium room fragrance spray that is environmentally responsible. Formulated only from all natural ingredients including a high concentration of pure essential oils, and a non-ionic vegetable derived solubiliser, they are a highly effective natural room deodoriser. In addition, Mood Alchemy Mood Altering Mists are a PEG-free and non-ethoxylated product. They are as natural as can be!cropped_logo



[1] Journal of Biotechnology 159 (2012) 342–350.

 

Handmade Canberra’s Upmarket

Mood Alchemy recently exhibited at the Handmade markets, a quarterly upmarket held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

Handmade Market & Shop Handmade is a unique concept, created to connect the makers of beautiful things to people who appreciate them – in other words Mood Alchemy and our discerning clientele!

The uniqueness of our luxury mood altering aromatic products was on display, and confirmed that there is a real and obvious need for people to “chill out and unwind” after a stressful day at work. Mood Alchemy’s Cruisy blend was a top-seller – our signature mood blends clearly resonate with the Canberra community!

Some points of difference that define the Mood Alchemy brand are:

 We have created a holistic range of all natural aromatherapy products – including soy candles, reed diffusers, massage oils, room fragrance mists and goats milk soaps.

cropped_logoOur luxury range of mood altering aromatic products are packaged in unique artisan glassware – made from eco friendly recycled materials.

cropped_logoWe design our own fragrances – using the power of natural aromatic essential oils to influence the mood and hence reduce stress levels.

cropped_logoOur signature mood altering fragrance blends are created entirely from pure essential oils – we DO NOT use synthetic “fragrance oils”.

Do not be deceived – these synthetic fragrance compounds ARE NOT the same and they do not offer the therapeutic benefits of the natural essential oils extracted from sustainably grown plants (see our article “The Benefits of Natural Aromatics” which explains why!)

Generally, synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemical products (often toxic) and/or are a structural modification of a natural product. Synthetic fragrances are typically easier to manufacture and hence less expensive.

However, the demand for natural aromatics continues to increase rapidly, as the more informed and discerning consumer places increasing importance on environmental and health considerations when assessing product value in this market category.

Mood Alchemy’s Mood Altering Aromatic products are fragranced only with pure and natural essential oils. Using all natural eco-friendly ingredients and hand made techniques is a more expensive and time consuming method of product fabrication – but we believe the end result is a higher quality product which is so much more satisfying. We hope you agree.cropped_logo

 

Colour Therapy

Mood Alchemy is excited to announce the introduction of Colour Therapy to complement the mood altering properties of our luxury aromatherapy products.

The use of Colour is a truly holistic therapy which dates back thousands of years to ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Indian cultures. These ancient cultures believed that when energy did not flow harmoniously through the body, a phase of unbalance was entered into and psychic and physical pathologies were created, resulting in illness.

Colour Therapy (also known as Chromotherapy) aims to balance and enhance the body’s energy centres (chakras) by using the colours of the light spectrum to heal the mind, body and spirit. Put simply, colors are certain wavelengths of electro-magnetic energy, and these individual colours can resonate with the energy of each of the seven main chakras of the body, restoring balance. Balance in the body’s energy centres is essential for holistic health and wellbeing.

In modern times, there is now a wide professional acceptance of the link between colour and mood. For example, architects and interior designers use colour to influence a work space or retail outlet. When the eye observes light of a particular wavelength (colour), it is thought to stimulate the cortical and hypothalamic regions of the brain, which are associated with our emotional responses. Hence certain colours can influence your mood just by looking at them, and in doing so trigger a sense of wellbeing – making you feel good about yourself.

To complement Mood Alchemy’s unique aromatherapy essential oil blends, we have now introduced specific coloured glassware packaging to enhance the mood altering properties of our products.

 

Cruisy & Blue Colour Therapy = soothincolor_mang and relaxing.

Reminding one of the colour of the sea and the sky, Blue is the colour of peace and sensitivity; it indicates that the person is interested in matters of a metaphysical nature. Blue invokes balance, serenity, peace, flexibility and mental promptness, emotional control.

Healing properties: Blue is cooling, calms strong emotions like anger, aggression or hysteria. Brings tranquility.

Blue links with and stimulates the throat chakra. The throat chakra is often referenced as the “power center” and “the greatest center in the body” because it is the primary center of expression and communication, through speech.

Blue Colour Therapy is available in Cruisy Mood Altering Candles, Mood Reed Diffusers, Mini Mood Candles and Mood Massage Oils.

 

 

Feisty & Red Colour Therapy = stimulating and forceful

Red is the colour of the vitality of energy, of warmth, of passion, of dynamism. It can be a sign of an exuberant personality subject to frequent mood changes and presenting intense feelings.

Healing properties: Brings warmth, energy and stimulation, therefore good for energy, fatigue, colds, chilly and passive people.

Red links with and stimulates the root chakra, at the base of the spine, causing the adrenal glands to release adrenalin. This results in greater strength.

Red Colour Therapy is available in Feisty Mood Reed Diffusers, Mini Mood Candles and Mood Massage Oils.

 

Zesty & Green Colour Therapy = growth and renewal.

Green is the colour of awareness and a tendency to self-realization.

Healing properties:  Releases emotionally suppressed trauma. Green is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body.

Green links with and stimulates the heart chakra. Green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing effect.

Green Colour Therapy is available in Zesty Mood Altering Candles, Mood Reed Diffusers, Mini Mood Candles and Mood Massage Oils.

 

Foxy & Pink Colour Therapy = nurturing unconditional love.

Pink is associated with a positive view of life.

Healing properties:  Pink is a soothing colour on all levels – physical, mental and emotional. It can be used to soothe conditions of anger and feelings of neglect. Pink can be used to awaken compassion, love, and purity. This colour encourages unconditional love

Pink Colour Therapy is available in Foxy Mood Reed Diffusers and Mood Massage Oils. Also available in Pregnancy Mood Massage Oil.

 

Clarity & White Colour Therapy = illumination and focus.

White contains all the colours of the electromagnetic spectrum. It emphasizes purity and illuminates our thoughts, giving us clarity.

Healing properties: White is the perfect color; for it is all colors in perfect balance and harmony. White light raises the vibration of one’s consciousness and the body, bringing clarity in all aspects of one’s life.

White Colour Therapy is available in Clarity Mood Altering Candles, Mood Reed Diffusers, Mini Mood Candles and Mood Massage Oils.

 

The Synergy of Mood Alchemy’s Aromatherapy Blends

Mood Alchemy has created a unique range of mood altering aromatic blends – especially suited to the modern lifestyle. Each of our mood altering blends has been developed specifically to encourage a particular mood state – based on the spectrum of action of particular essential oils (the volatile liquid components of aromatic plants).

There are two biosynthetic pathways present in nature that are responsible for the two main chemical constituents of essential oils:

1)     The Terpenoid biosynthetic pathway – this produces Terpenes: Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes & derivative compounds such as alcohols, esters and aldehydes. (These organic compounds are the major synthetic building blocks within most living organisms.)

2)     The amino acid metabolism – this produces Phenylpropane derivatives.

The mood altering effects of essential oils can be traced back to these two main active constituents and their interaction with the emotional centres of the brain via olfaction.

The synergistic effects of each unique Mood Alchemy aromatherapy blend is outlined below:

 

Cruisy

Mood Alchemy developed the Cruisy mood altering aromatic blend to encourage a relaxing mood state. Our Cruisy blend utilises the properties of Terpent alcohols and esters, which combine synergistically to create a calmative effect  – hence improving the mood. These compounds also have the potential to relieve anxiety and stress. Cruisy has a fresh grassy scent interspersed with the floral influences of Lavender.

Monoterpenoid ester compounds have a distinct and rapid relaxing effect on the central nervous system. Controlled trials and observation studies have indicated the ability to reduce anxiety and facilitate better sleep.

Sesquiterpene alcohol compounds participate in active communication with a number of receptor systems in the human body to impart very specific effects. During clinical trials these compounds have been found to be useful in the treatment of insomnia.

Mood Alchemy Products available in the Cruisy mood altering blend include aromatherapy soy candles, mood reed diffusers, mood massage oils, mood mists, mood bars, and mood oils for vaporisation.

 

Feisty

Mood Alchemy developed the Feisty mood altering aromatic blend to encourage a stimulating mood state. Our Feisty blend primarily utilises the properties of Terpent alcohols and oxides, which combine synergistically to create a stimulating effect, resulting in improved concentration levels.

Feisty has a highly penetrating minty / camphoraceous scent.

The active components also have a stimulant effect on the cold receptors inside the nasal passage – which facilitates easier breathing. Mood Alchemy’s  Feisty blend may act as an effective nasal decongestant.

Mood Alchemy Products available in the Feisty mood altering blend include aromatherapy soy candles, mood reed diffusers, mood massage oils, mood mists, mood bars, and mood oils for vaporisation.

 

Foxy

Mood Alchemy developed the Foxy mood altering aromatic blend to encourage an aphrodisiac mood state. Our Foxy blend utilises the active components found in Monoterpene esters and Sesquiterpenes to equilibrate the nervous system and to help combat nervous disorders. These actions may assist with impotence and frigidity problems.

Foxy has a distinctly sensual oriental floral scent with earthy undertones.

Sesquiterpenoid compounds participate in active communication with a number of transmitter – receptor systems in the human body. They aid in strengthening the nervous system, while Citrus sinensis is traditionally known as the “oil of communication and happiness” – and may be particularly useful for reducing anxiety and nervousness.

Mood Alchemy Products available in the Foxy mood altering blend include aromatherapy soy candles, mood reed diffusers, mood massage oils, mood mists, mood bars, and mood oils for vaporisation.

 

Zesty

Mood Alchemy developed the Zesty mood altering aromatic blend to encourage an uplifting mood state. This particular blend utilises the properties of Monoterpene hydrocarbons (the major constituent of citrus peel oils) and Sesquiterpenes, which combine synergistically to help cope with stress and aid recovery from emotional trauma.

Citrus peel oils typically consist of a very high content of Limonene, which has powerful antiseptic properties. They also contain a large assortment of trace compounds, (eg sequiterpene nootkatone) which are responsible for the complexity and depth of the fragrance. The olfactory character is pleasant and refreshing, and this gives rise to an uplifting interaction with the emotional centres in the brain.

Mood Alchemy Products available in the Zesty mood altering blend include aromatherapy soy candles, mood reed diffusers, mood massage oils, mood mists, mood bars, and mood oils for vaporisation.

 

 

NEW – Clarity

Mood Alchemy developed the Clarity mood altering aromatic blend to encourage a focusing mood state. Our Clarity blend primarily utilises the properties of the Monoterpene hydrocarbons, (in particular pinene), and Phenylpropanes which combine synergistically to bring mental Clarity while assisting with the alleviation of tension and stress – hence improving the ability to focus. In particular, Frankincense is renowned for its ability to slow down and deepen the breath – making this blend conducive to meditation.

The high Monoterpene concentrations present in this blend also provide a detoxifying effect, due to the action of free radical scavengers. The associated powerful diuretic properties may assist to expel the build up of uric acid in bodily joints.

Mood Alchemy Products available in the Clarity mood altering blend include aromatherapy soy candles, mood reed diffusers, mood massage oils, mood mists, mood bars, and mood oils for vaporisation.

 

DISCLAIMER:

For any medical condition – always consult a qualified medical practitioner.

Aromatherapy is a complementary healing practice and should be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.

Individuals should exercise their independent judgment in determining the appropriateness for a particular purpose or use.

Essential Oils and Pregnancy

When used correctly, the volatile liquid components of aromatic plants known as essential oils may help to alleviate some of the minor discomforts associated with pregnancy.

Pregnancy and labour place heavy demands on the female body. Enormous hormonal changes occur as soon as an egg is fertilised – and it is these hormonal changes that give rise to pregnancy symptoms such as:

Nausea

Back ache

Oedema (swollen legs and ankles)

Moodiness

Essential oils may assist in the relief of these symptoms via inhalation and massage – hence providing both physical and emotional benefits. Towards the end of their first trimester, many women may experience a heightened sense of smell. Inhalation is one of the safest ways to enjoy essential oils during pregnancy, and when used under proper dilution – most oils should not cause any problems during a healthy pregnancy. The first three months of pregnancy are when the most care must be taken with essential oils and massage. However, it is important to note that the pure essential oils extracted from plants are highly concentrated substances, and certain oils that have the potential to stimulate the uterine muscles may best be avoided during pregnancy – for example:

Basil

Cedarwood

Cinnamon

Juniper

Rosemary

How can essential oils be used to alleviate pregnancy symptoms?

1. Nausea

Nausea is due to a particular chemoreceptor being stimulated. This chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ) and associated vomiting centre are located in the medulla – the lower part of the brain stem which connects the spinal cord to the cerebellum.

Stimulation of this CTZ triggers nerve impulses along several cranial nerves, which lead to the stomach and diaphragm and abdomen muscles. This is what results in the vomiting action. Nausea is the awareness of the vomiting centre being stimulated.

Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is active in the autonomic nervous system – the system that is concerned with controlling automatic bodily functions. Acetylcholine can stimulate the receptor sites involved in the vomiting action – so by inhibiting the uptake of Acetylcholine, the vomiting action can be prevented.

Some essential oils which are known to act as Acetylcholine inhibitors are:

Lavender

Frankinsence

Ylang Ylang

2. Back ache & oedema

Massage with essential oils diluted in a carrier oil during the pregnancy helps to promote circulation, and may assist with reducing the incidence of varicose veins, muscle cramps and the fluid retention associated with oedema.

Mood Alchemy’s Pregnancy blend has been specifically developed to support women during the times they experience pregnancy related symptoms. Our Pregnancy blend utilises the active properties of Monoterpene ester compounds (found in Mandarin and Lavender) which combine synergistically to balance the emotions and soothe the spirits.

Pregnancy has a fresh, sweet aroma which can also be deeply relaxing.

Mood Alchemy Products available in the Pregnancy blend include soy candles, pulse point potions, mood massage oils and mood oils for vaporsation.cropped_logo

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

For any medical condition – always consult a qualified medical practitioner.

Aromatherapy is a complementary healing practice and should be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.

Individuals should exercise their independent judgment in determining the appropriateness for a particular purpose or use.

 

2012 Home & Giving Fair

The team at Mood Alchemy recently attended the Home and Giving Fair in Melbourne. This annual Trade Fair is the largest for the Gift and Homewares Industry, and showcased a comprehensive collection of products specific to this rapidly growing and diverse industry.
The outcomes of attending this Trade Fair were very positive for Mood Alchemy as we identified some major points of difference that define the Mood Alchemy brand  :

Mood Alchemy soy candles and reed diffuser products are proudly “Made In Australia”

cropped_logoMood Alchemy  soy candles and reed diffuser products contain only natural eco- friendly ingredients

cropped_logoMood Alchemy soy candles and reed diffuser products are fragranced purely with Essential Oils – No synthetics

cropped_logoThe range of Mood Alchemy Essential Oil Fragrances are defined by Mood Groups – potentially offering psycho-therapeutic benefits

cropped_logoMood Alchemy Mood Altering Candles are created using precision handmade techniques to produce the most perfect  product possible – free from defects such as colour zoning and frosting.

cropped_logoOur soy candles and reed diffuser products are very competitively priced

So – our valued customers can rest assured they are experiencing the most innovative in Mood Altering Aromatics – and a high quality Australian Made product as well.

Enjoy!

The Mood Alchemy Team

 

The Power of Natural Fragrance

The ability of natural aromatic fragrances to affect our moods and enhance aspects of our lives is well documented. Throughout history, numerous civilisations have utilized these scents for their healing and cleansing properties, in addition to the simple pleasure that a pleasant fragrance can bring.

A significant revival of interest in the healing properties of plants occurred in the early 20th century – when a French chemist coined the term “aromatherapie” in 1937 as a result of his investigations into the therapeutic benefits of natural aromatic plant extracts, also known as essential oils.

Today, these properties are rediscovered as our approach to health and wellbeing is reconsidered in response to the pressures of modern life. Using natural essential oil fragrances in our daily lives is one way of countering some of the negative effects of stress. These scents may help us to relax and unwind, energise and restore balance by ministering to our metal state and our emotions.

The word “Perfume” stems from the Latin “per” – meaning through, and “fumum” – meaning smoke. Early perfumes were produced by burning natural plant materials to produce a fragrant smoke – known as incense.

More recently, the fragrant ingredients used to create contemporary perfumes are categorized by their “notes”. A well balanced fragrance consists of Top, Middle and Base notes – just like music!

Top Notes: These are small molecules and are the first notes that you detect on smelling a fragrance – hence they create the first impression. Top notes are typically fresh, sharp and bright scents – initially powerful and intense, stimulating the senses – but they are also the first notes to disappear.

Middle Notes: These start to come through after the disappearance of the Top notes. Middle notes are generally warm and mellow essential oils that provide the heart and soul of a fragrance. They give the fragrance complexity and pave the way for the emergence of the Base notes.

Base Notes: These are the “theme” of the fragrance, and are usually heavy, exotic and sensual – typically derived from woody or resinous plant materials. These scents will be the last to be detected and they “fix” the whole fragrance. They slow down the volatility rate of the top and middle notes –so these earlier notes don’t evaporate too quickly.

All Mood Alchemy soy candlesreed diffusers, room fragrance mists, and goats milk soaps are fragranced with pure and natural essential oils – blended harmoniously with compatible essence families. Each Mood Altering Aromatic fragrance is perfectly balanced using top, middle and base notes.

Remember to keep an open mind when choosing your Mood Alchemy Mood Product, as individuals can respond differently to a particular fragrance.

Natural aromatic fragrances can be a powerful tool in countering the stresses of modern life – they are nature’s gift to our mind, body and spirit.

The secrets of a perfect soy candle

Here at Mood Alchemy we strive to bring you the most perfect product possible.

After extensive testing and development by our research chemists, we have discovered the secrets to making a perfect soy candle – and now we have unlocked them for you below……….

 

 

Problem: The glass candle container appears to have areas of different colours on the container sides.

 

 

 

Secret : The colour zoning is caused by “shrink back” of the soy wax from the container wall. This occurs when the temperature differential between the container and the wax is too high – and the wax does not adhere to the container sides. It can also occur if the candles cool too quickly after they have been poured. The secret is to have the containers and the soy wax at similar temperatures when pouring.

 

 

 

 

Problem: The soy wax has cracked around the wick.

 

 

Secret: This occurs because the coefficients of thermal expansion are different for different materials. So the soy wax and the wick material will expand and contract at different rates when subjected to a temperature change – resulting in a gap between the two materials. The secret is to insert the wick into the soy wax slowly and at alower temperature – in order to allow the system to reach thermal equilibrium. This will reduce the differential rate of thermal expansion between the soy wax and the wick material.

 

 

candle

Problem: A chalky white substance has appeared on the top of my soy candle.

Secret: This is known as “frosting” and is indicative of a change in the crystal structure of the soy wax. This structural change can occur under these conditions:

(i) The soy wax pouring temperature is too high.
(ii) The soy candles were cooled too quickly.
(iii) The soy candles were stored at too cold a temperature.

 

Problem:  The flame is large and smoking.

Secret: The wick is consuming the soy wax at too high a rate. The secret is to keep the wick trimmed to approximately 5 mm for each burn session of the soy candle.