I've been wanting to do something non-bookish on the blog but couldn't think what. I'm not much for cooking, I can't garden worth a darn, and I don't sew, knit,or do anything creative. Then I remembered that I make soaps, bath salts, and sugar scrubs, and that's both creative AND crafty. Every other Saturday, or when I remember :D, I'll share some photos and recipes and chat a bit. I'm by no means an expert, it's a casual hobby, though for a few years I did have an online store. I still sell if you ever want to place an order.
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Some people have inquired about how I make the soap and what bases are available. I use melt and pour soap, which I purchase online. I then add scent and color and give it a shape or design. There are numerous bases available, some can be purchased at craft stores such as Michael's while a greater variety, and quite honestly, a better quality, can be found online from various vendors. Over the years, I've shopped at several different online vendors, and several chain craft stores, but I've been happiest with Brambleberry. They're not cheap but the quality is excellent, they have a fantastic selection of bases and other supplies (I want all of the molds that they sell, lol), a wonderful blog with fantastic tutorials, and good customer service. For casual soap making, you'll probably do fine purchasing supplies from a craft store. If you want to experiment or you get bitten by the soap making bug, look online and try different vendors. One place I used when I first started buying soap making supplies online had amazing molds but awful customer service so I stopped shopping there.
What kind of melt and pour soap bases are available? Oh my, it seems like just about anything you can imagine. :) Both Michael's
Now, the different bases obviously have different colors and scents so you have to take those into account when designing your soaps. The honey soap is of course a golden color so if you want a purple soap, that's the wrong base to use. The goat's milk base is a creamy off-white so if you want white, you need the white M&P base. Or, if you are in desperate need of white, or whitish, soap and you can't get out to buy a white base and can't wait for an order to come in, you can combine bases. Specifically, the goat's milk and the clear (NOT the olive oil! It has a green tinge). The whiter you need it to be, the more clear base you'll add in. It won't be pure white but you will get a whiter base than using all goat's milk glycerin. And yes, I've done this several times. :D
With so many different bases available, you can let your inner artist AND you inner scientist loose, and experiment. Get creative! Take chances! If a batch turns out wrong, you can melt it down and start over, melt it and make something completely new, or keep it as is and use it yourself at home. The bar soaps in my kitchen and bathroom are mostly my mistakes or my experiments. Visitors never know what they're going to find to wash their hands with. :D
Next time I'll talk about molds, what you can use, how to use them, and some of my favorites.