Maus thinks I am obsessed. I don’t know why. She complains that I only talk about one thing. And for some reason, she doesn’t think it is normal that I spend all my spare time watching YouTube videos. I don’t know what her problem is. I think I am normal 🙂
You see, I just love soap making. It is so addictive, it is hard not to love it. I have considered the reasons and discussed it in detail in a previous post, Pavlov’s dog and intermittent reinforcement. The more I get obsessed with making soap, the more I think I am right.
It is that elusive dream that the next batch will be perfect. And it can be very creative. I have been thinking about the creative urge of late. In our modern world, most people don’t have the time to explore their creativity but in retirement, we can all let loose.
I just love making things. I am always on the lookout for things to make. But I am a practical person so I don’t like making things for the sake of it. The other day, Maus and I had a go at making sausages. It was moderately successful and I am sure we will give it a go again but I am not sure whether sausage making will be a sticker. I tried tempering chocolate but I was too messy and too much chocolate around the house is very bad for my weight.
I make all our own bread but we don’t eat much bread so I can’t do that too often. I make our yoghurt in my fabulous electric yoghurt maker. It cost me $8.00 about thirty years ago. It makes 2 litres of yoghurt for about two dollars (If I buy the long life milk on special). But it takes us a while to eat two litres of yoghurt.
And, of course, we grow our own vegies. Each year, I try to grow what we eat regularly so we are less and less reliant on the supermarkets. The trouble is there is only so much two people can eat. There is a limit to the bread, yoghurt, jam, syrups, pickles and chutneys we need.
Soap making is in a league of its own. It can be very creative and, best of all, is a consumable without being fattening. So many of our friends and relatives are at that stage (age or social awareness) in life where they don’t want more things. Soap is not, as Maus’ mum coined ornaments, a dust collector. I am not making piles of little things that no one wants. It is just soap to be used. And when it is gone, I will make some more 🙂
The top photo is my raspberry coulis cheesecake soap. For a first attempt, I am stoked with it. I was way too impatient (the story of my life) and piped the cream too early but, otherwise, it is exactly what I planned and, if I say so myself, really does look like cheesecake. Next time, I swear I will wait until the soap batter is thicker before I attempt to pipe it.
I wanted a sea theme for this soap as it has sea clay in it and pink sea salt sprinkled on top. I was going for wispy swirls but, alas, the batter got extremely thick very quickly (clays will do that), my wispy swirls are more like blobs. Still, the colour is grand, exactly what I was going for. Maus – the literal one – has an issue with green soap with sea shells on top. She tells me it should be blue. I must admit, she has a point. I don’t know why I was going for green with a sea theme but there you go.
Believe it or not, this soap was a raging success. I wanted to make a masculine soap. I am calling this one Iron bark. It is supposed to look like wood. I know it doesn’t but I don’t really care. The fact that I was able to control the batter long enough to squirt five colours into the mould makes me very, very happy. The soap smells divine (sandalwood) and has a lovely texture. The problem was my colour selection. I was worried about going too brown but clearly I didn’t go brown enough. Maus told me not to add purple but I did (and don’t mind it) but, clearly, less neutral and more brown is required. It is just too pale. Next time, next time…
This is a new lavender soap. I have been meaning to make one for ages then, the other day, my sister said she wanted 6 soaps. I asked her what she wanted and she said, “You know I like rose and lavender”. I had neither on hand so I thought I’d better make some. Rose soap is a killer to make because the fragrance causes the soap batter to seize, rice and, generally, misbehave. Most florals do that but for some reason, lavender does not misbehave very much. Again, I was going for wispy swirls (like the two front bars on the right) but, again, the batter got too thick too soon and I ended up with too much unmixed mauve batter. Damn it. It is no big deal but … next time, next time.
Now if making soap was not an obsession enough, I happened upon a YouTube video when I was watching one of the thousands I have watched of late and came across a thing called “soap dough” and “soap modelling”. I was instantly smitten. I soon learned that a lady by the name of Bee Iyata, from Sorcery Soaps, is the guru of soap dough.
Essentially, you take saponified but not cured (ie, not hard) soap and mold it like modelling clay.
When I was trimming my lavender soap, I got the scraps together and started kneading them and, before long, I had a workable blob of mauve soap dough. It wasn’t long before I was in the drawer looking for a flower cutter and all these little flowers were born.
Of course, that was the start of something big. I started searching the web for a recipe for soap dough. I now have soap in yellow, 4 shades of pink, blue, orange, 2 shades of brown, black, white, 2 shades of green, red, gold, mauve and purple.
Whilst I was oohing and ahhrring at all Bee’s creations, I saw a little mouse sitting on a bar of soap. I loved the idea so much, I decided to make a little mouse of my own.
Then I started watching YouTube polymer clay videos. It has taken all my strength not to order some and start modelling. People are so talented. Anyway, before you could say “Rumpelstiltskin”, I was trying out polymer clay techniques with my soap dough. Alas, it was a complete failure. 😦 I was trying to make leaves but they looked nothing like leaves so Maus and I spent quite a few hours hand shaping all these leaves out of my failed attempt. I am sure I will find a use for them.
I have so many ideas I want to try, I can’t keep up with myself. Soap coffee beans instead of real ones for my cappuccino soap. And why not soap cinnamon sticks? I have seen a cute sheep I would like to make, therefore, I will need some soap grass for the top of the bar so he won’t get hungry. And what about some bumble bees for my oatmeal milk and honey soap? And, yeah, I have set my heart on an Over the Rainbow soap for when marriage equality eventually becomes a reality in Australia.
I think Maus may be right. I could be a little obsessed.