I’ve always maintained that a little bit of jealousy is instructive. Properly managed, those little twinges can provide a direct and easily traveled pathway to the back corners of the mind where interests and desires you didn’t even know you had yet are stirring. So, when I recognized that I was envying my friend Kim Instagramming and writing about learning to make soap, it was a helpful nudge that I wanted to be doing it myself.
I first got into soap making five or six years ago (or maybe longer) and really enjoyed it but then I moved into a tiny apartment with no ventilation in the kitchen and a cat who didn’t belong to me and I stopped doing it. But now I have space to work near a window. I even had a lot of the supplies socked away in a corner of a difficult-to-reach cabinet, which now that I think about it, I must have moved with me two or possibly even three times. The only thing I didn’t have was a dedicated mold, and I made do with a long, narrow wooden box I found at work. It worked, but was a little too deep and narrow to easily line neatly, so I’ll look for something else before I make the next batch.
And there *will* be a next batch. My mind is already spinning with different oil combinations I want to try out and fragrance possibilities and various ground-up things to mix in (oatmeal! orange peel! coffee grounds! pine needles?). This is a very basic soap made with roughly equal amounts of coconut (for lather) and olive (for softness) oils. Even though I didn’t add any fragrance to it, the bars have a subtle scent that doesn’t smell like coconut or olive (or lye, for that matter), but just like clean.