After some wonderful encouragement from a sweet lady, I made the plunge and finally made my first ever batch of homemade soap. Back in May I purchased all the necessary makings based on the recipe my friend sent. However, I was terrified of working with lye. Honestly, overall it seemed like such a challenging and unknown task.
Then I found myself about to start back at school and I realized, the one project I really wanted to complete during my break I had not completed. I contacted my soap making mentor, watched a couple online tutorials, purchased a stick blender, and whipped up a batch of soap while the kids took their three hour naps.
The lye, when mixed with cold water, caused quite the heat reaction. Because of this I made sure I wore my gloves and safety goggles. I chose coconut and olive as my oils and shea butter as my "nutrient oil". For my essential oil, I opted for lavender as it was the only one I had in sufficient quantity. I had to keep reheating the oils so they stayed warm while I waited the 30 minutes for the lye to cool to 100 degrees F to match the temperature of the oils. Once this happened, I used my stick blender for about 4-5 minutes. When it started to firm up, I added the shea butter and lavender oil, stirred one last time, and poured into my molds.
As worried as I was that I would harm myself in the process, I suffered only minor injuries - a tiny oil burn from a droplet and a small abrasion from cleaning the stick blender. Nothing from the lye. I guess I need to be more vigilant during the non-lye steps, too. I also completed much of the process outside with the dogs locked in the side yard. I believe keeping safe was probably the toughest part of the process followed by matching temperatures simultaneously between the oils and lye/water mix.
Twenty four hours later, I cut the soap loaves. The smell was delicious - I almost wanted to eat it. Alas, I do not have pica and therefore did not end up eating any of the soap. The kids were so excited to finally see the almost finished product. Both kids just kept sniffing it and saying, "Mmmm".
Then the wait. It takes 4-6 weeks for the soap to finish curing and then it can be used. However, I did get some instant gratification as there were some soap bits left over from cutting and cleaning. WOW! They left my hands feeling so soft and as T Rex said while I was cutting it, "My soap will make soap suds, I hope" (quoting from "My World", a favorite book the kids read). My dear little guy, "Mother's Soap" is looking pretty good thus far. In the mean time, my laundry room, where the soap has been curing, smells wonderful!
It's been four weeks since the soap was completed and I have gifted a couple of bars and used one for myself. I love it. I cannot believe I did not get into this sooner. I am already plotting my next batch. I even have a couple people asking to watch so they can also learn.
To my dear sweet son - my soap does indeed make soap suds.