Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home-Made Soap

A couple of nights ago I decided to try my hand at making my own soap.

I have a vague memory from childhood of my family being on a vacation, somewhere in the South, and being at one of those villages that re-enacts a different time period. You know, I think there's one in Virginia that re-enacts colonial life. Do you know what I'm talking about? Anyway, in this vague memory, we watched an elderly lady make lye soap. She used actual animal fat and lye and stirred it in a big cast iron pot. She made big slabs of crudely cut, off-white lye soap. My parents bought some and I remember the elderly lady warning us that if you got lye soap in your eyes it was the most terrible pain you could experience! I think once we got home and started using it, I was actually a little afraid of that soap. Getting soap or shampoo in your eyes is one of your worst fears when you're a kid.

I tell you that story to now say - that is not the kind of soap that I made. I admire true, authentic home-made soap. I love it when I'm perusing an outdoor market and I come across someone selling all-natural, home-made, organic soap, scented with herbs and essential oils. My favorite is lavender. But that's not what kind of soap I made either.

The kind of soap I made came from a box from Hobby Lobby. It included rough-cut bars of opaque and translucent glycerin soap, artificial dyes, artificial scent, and plastic molds. I used the microwave to melt the glycerin bars, scented them with cheap smelling "cucumber melon" scent, and dyed them very unnatural colors. Neon colors actually.

But it was still fun and I still think they look cute. I remember in high school when cucumber melon was ALL the rage. Girls in the drill team locker room literally doused themselves in the Bath & Body Works spray. But high school was long enough ago that I've somewhat disassociated that smell with those memories. Somewhat.

So that was my soap making experience. I would definitely do it again - the kind I did was super easy. However, if I ever make soap again I think I will look for a more nature-based kit, maybe with a little lavender or patchouli oil inside.

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