I can't quite recall for how long I have been wanting to make soap. I've made all kinds of other goodies from scratch but never soap. At long last I decided I Must Make Soap and it could not wait a moment longer. A dear friend came over so that we could make it together (surely this must be the best way to make soap - or anything, for that matter - for the first time).
Now, this friend and I both seem to be instructionally-challenged, by that I mean that we both find it difficult to follow (or stick with) directions of any sort, we both have a tendency to want to try something different. We started off following one recipe and then, as we looked at our carefully measured ingredients and considered the amount of soap we though it would make, decided we need more. Happily, I had a recipe from another friend on file and we were able to slightly change our proportions and continue on.
I had some spices another dear friend had passed on to me after her sachet making (when she was clearing out in preparation for her big move) and I ground some up to add to our soap. We both were wanting our soap to look something like these beautiful bars. We added a few bottles of our favourite scents - orange, clove, cinnamon and tangerine.
It was incredibly simple to make, the longest part was waiting for the lye/water solution to cool to the appropriate temperature. So quick and easy!
What amazed me most is that one can take such simple, few ingredients and end up with something so beautiful and useful. It's magical to me. And actually, it is, to me, very much like gardening - take very little and with a touch of magic (and perhaps a bit of luck) you have such goodness. I love it.
In fact, I loved it so much that the very next day, after slicing up these bars and phoning my friend to rave about them, I started another batch with my boys. And now I can hardly believe I waited all these years to try it. Hmmm, it seems I've many years of soap-making to catch up on...I could make calendula, comfrey, chamomile...even nettle!