The First Lesson in a Long Line of ‘Em

Compact. That is the first thing I thought of when I opened my first Soap Crafting Club kit from Bramble Berry. It was efficient and pleased the part of me that likes things simple and ready to go. It was kind of like getting a cake mix. Not too much effort on my part with a good end result. The kit contained pre-blended oils along with almond oil, essential oil and lye. There was a nice 2 lb. wooden soap mold and a silicone liner. A packet of annatto seeds for natural coloring. The extra purchase was the book Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola which contains great soap recipes, helpful pictures and soap tips. In addition to all this, there is an on-line site with video tutorials, a place for fellow soap club members to share and an additional chance to “get together’ to talk about soaping in a future forum. Can’t go wrong!

The first package

Before I even started making the soap I had already learned several helpful things from the site and the book. I learned that spraying the top of soap with a mist of Isopropyl alcohol can keep the soap clear and ash free. That “tenting” the top of a soap with cardboard before wrapping it with a towel will preserve any design on the top. These are all good and helpful things to know and good lessons to follow and I am a basic rule follower. But.

You see, I have a hard time following instructions as they are given. My mind wanders into possibilities and unless you know me enough to reign me in there can be trouble! Like this first lesson, for instance.

The first soap to make is the recipe in the Soap Crafting book for natural colors. Remember, the kit has everything in it and I have this book and on-line help and instruction. But the issue started with the thought of making a natural yellow soap and scenting it with pine. Yellow and Pine. I couldn’t get past that. Pine Sol? Pine and Yellow? The idea wasn’t meshing with me. Did I mentally shut up and follow the plan? No and there is the whole reason I took the class. To learn by following the plan!

The soap process started so easily with this kit. Measure the water, add the lye. Sit it aside. Use the annatto infused oil and blend with the rest of the pre-blended oils. Mix the lye and oils. Achieve trace. Achieve a beautiful yellow soap that would smell like pine.

Annatto infused oil

But it wasn’t green. So the first thing I did, following along the natural coloring idea was to add dried parsley, promptly turning the beautiful yellow to a pea green. Pine smelling pea green!

Peas

This created additional work by adding a blue oxide to “save the soap” and turn it pine. I spent several frantic minutes that could have been avoided if I had followed the lesson so easily presented to me. This is what I do to myself sometimes by not following the plan. The oxide save worked but it brought me full circle to the reason I took the class in the first place. To learn to make soap by following instructions. To trust that someone else knows what they are doing and are helping me become better and more aware of how to make good soap. First lesson learned and it was not anywhere in the book.

Pine Soap and a Lesson Learned
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