Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Soap Number...One?

Hey, look...

I totally made soap. 

So, my mother is a woman of action. Once, when my father was asleep upstairs, she decided that the kitchen and the dining room would be better as one great big room. She got a sledgehammer out of the garage and started to knock down the wall. 

I took a soapmaking class last summer, when we still lived in Denver. Then I ordered some supplies and left them in a box. I bought a book about making soap. Then I packed everything in a container, moved it cross country, into a friend's garage, then into my own apartment. A few weeks ago I picked up a few more things I needed. I read some posts about soaping on the internet. I planned to make soap but put it off by fiendishly knitting stripey socks...well, you get the idea.

On Saturday morning I needed to mail a package, so I put it in a shopping bag and walked down to the local post office (go postal union!) in town. On the way home I stopped in the Goodwill. As luck would have it, it was 50% off of everything day, and I got two enormous pots with lids for about eight bucks. One of them was just right for soap.

When I got home, it was too late to start making soap. I dragged the box of supplies out of the bedroom. 
I needed to have dinner, and you can't interrupt soap making. I found my scale and measured out the fats. 
I was nervous about the spatula I had bought for mixing the lye solution being too short, and planned to get another one. I put on rubber gloves and carefully added the lye to cold, distilled water. I never bought an immersion blender to stir the soap with, and I didn't have a proper mold, just old 9 x 13 baking pans lined with freezer paper. I stirred the thickening mixture with my widest spatula for a good half hour and added apple and juniper berry oils when it began to trace, poured it into my pan, and covered it with a blanket. Clearly, I was entirely unprepared for this soapmaking thing and it would have to wait for another time.

So here's what I've learned:
Always check the Goodwill.
Curing soap makes the whole apartment smell awesome (back off on the apple next time, though.)
Apparently, if I'm going to be a woman of action I've got to do it while I'm not looking. 

Today: 32 bars. That's a lot of cleanliness.

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