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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Just getting started in soap making

Hello all!
I want to tell you all a little about myself before we jump right into my soap making adventure... I am a mother of 4 wonderful children I actually gave birth to and another 2 that are my stepchildren. I am married to one of the most wonderful (and patient) men in the world! I was born in Texas on an Army base and my husband is Cuban-born. The majority of my life has been lived in the "sunny" state of Florida. I am a labor and delivery nurse at night and I am a novice soap maker during the day when my children are at school and my husband is at work. So now onto the soap discussions...

Why Soap?
Well, as I stated above, my husband is a very patient man. I have never really found my niche in life other than my love of labor and delivery nursing. When I met my husband about 3 years ago one of the first things I noticed about him was that he worked very hard but in his spare time he had a hobby he loved... car stuff of course! I got to thinking... my entire adult life had been spent either furthering my career and/or education and raising my children. Not that any of that is a BAD thing but I had never done anything for myself regarding stress relief and some form of outlet. This is when the endless parade of hobbies began. I have crocheted, quilted, done photography, made jewelry, and then came soaps and body products. At the beginning of each thing, I loved it and I thought... this is it! This is my THING! Then boredom set in and I went on searching for the next thing to try. As I said before, my husband is a very patient man... because if any of you have ever started any one of the previously listed hobbies, you know that they are not cheap. So it always happened the same way... Try something new... realize I can do it... get overly excited... spend a ton of money on supplies... do the hobby until I get bored... store the supplies in a corner of the house... allow the supplies to collect dust while I try a new hobby... repeat...
Within the last couple of months, I found cold process soap making. I tried it and viola! A new exciting hobby! (Do you see a trend here?) I'm being honest with myself this time. I truly love soap making... it is challenging and creative all at the same time. The problem with this particular hobby is the cost of the supplies can quickly add up, especially when a lot of the process at the beginning is trying to figure out the perfect recipe or in other words, experimenting! I have done a lot of research in books, the internet, and other blogs. I highly recommend this. It will save you some money because you can read about other people's mistakes and avoid wasting your supplies. Another bit of advise I would give to someone trying soap making for the first time is to start simple. I started out with a 5 lb soap mold! For those of you new to soap making, a 5 lb soap mold is rather large and you must use a lot of oils, liquids and lye in order to have one mold loaf. There are several ideas that can be used in place of an authentic soap mold... just get creative!
Thus far, I have made several natural soaps (no added dyes or fragrances). The first was my Espresso Coffee Soap followed by my Cinnamon Oatmeal Soap. These two were enough of a success to get me hooked! Then I tried a chocolate soap using a different technique called CPOP or Cold Process Oven Process (In this technique, the soap is made in the traditional Cold Process fashion, then placed into a 170 degree oven for about 2 hours, then the oven is turned off but the soap is left in the oven over night). That's probably TMI, sorry.. anyways, that batch was a complete disaster! I have currently sworn off CPOP soap making. However, I may try it again in the future when my supplies aren't so scarce. I then made another batch using the standard Cold Process technique. This was my Peanut Butter Chocolate Soap. It smells wonderful and looks like a big chunk of chocolate swirled peanut butter fudge. After this, I got brave and made a batch of Baby Soft Soap and I added color to this one. When I added the color, it was red and green (it is early December after all  but by the time my soap had cured, it turned pink and purple. So, again I went back to my old standby natural soap! Today I made my Chocolate Silk Soap! I'm super excited to see how it turns out! I made the chocolate portion using the standard cold process I have used in all of my successful batches of soap. The top was made using a technique called whipped soap. So far so good! I put this one in the refrigerator just this afternoon. I will take it out tomorrow afternoon and slice the loaf! Fingers crossed!
In addition to all of my other hobbies listed above, I am also new to blogging so I welcome everyone to view my Etsy shop and let me know what you think! I have many other items on my page as well. As time goes on, I will be posting different listing explaining what they are and how to make them. FYI, the deodorant stick is the same recipe I use every single day!

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