Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tiny bubbles

As a school teacher, sometimes I am lucky enough to receive gifts at Christmas from students.  One of these Christmases 2 years ago a few students gave me colourful, scented, and beautifully decorated soaps, obviously handmade because each was unique.  After some detective work, I found out that one of the Moms in my class taught soap-making classes.  So I quickly enrolled in her next class, a few months later.

There is no real expectation that I will ever be able to make soap on my own, so I'm not sure the term "class" applies here.  D. guides 4 of us through the whole process.  She has a variety of colours, scents and add-ins for our soaps.  She also pre-measures all the necessary ingredients for the soap base such as:  olive oil, vegetable lard, and lye.  Not being so good with details, I'm glad D. does all the measuring so that I can concentrate on the all-important mixing and choosing the colour/scents combos.  The whole process is quite technical, and there are many places where a distracted person such as myself could go make mistakes.  I learned that all soaps contain lye (which is caustic), and that caustic = dangerous (actually, I knew this already) so I really would not want to make a mistake because someone could lose an eye.

4 of us have made soap at D.'s house twice a year since 2009.  Every session brings new scents, colours and textures.  So far I have made lemon, peppermint, blackberry, tomato-fresh, espresso, cacao, and rosemary scented soaps.

Above is a pic of my very first soap, tucked in its butcher paper while it hardens.  Lemon?

This one remains my favourite:  peppermint with black rice.  I love how the rice sunk to the bottom of the soap and looks like Cookies & Cream chunks.  Too bad I stuck my fingers on the top to check for hardness prior to cutting.  A lesson learned ... perhaps it is a class after-all.

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