Snowbound Soap

Welcome to the end of first snow day of the year! I’ve been snuggled up inside all day hanging out with my plants and baking cookies (with a quick jaunt into the cold to play capoeira to shake off my cabin fever).

Snowbound Soap -

I’ve been waiting this whole unseasonably-warm season for an excuse to post about my favorite new  creation: snowbound soap.

Snowbound Soap -

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Lavender and Honey Soap

My newest tea purchase was pretty much the opposite of what the box promised.

boring, unfortunately


Not only did this stuff taste more like plain old boring hot water than honey lavender calmness, I managed to lose my fancy thermos on the day I took this to school. Losing a thermos and being sent to 4 different offices before you find the lost and found, only to find that they haven’t found your lost thing ≠ stress relief.

Still, honey lavender sounds like a pretty delicious combination. Not wanting my box of boring tea to go to waste, I used a a little to make some soap.


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Carrot and Calendula Soap

So the thing is: I saw this baby food jar and it was really cute.

baby food jar


I wanted to buy it because it was so jar-ish and round and I wanted it for my jar collection. The problem? I have no baby to feed it to (and let’s be real, I’ll probably just make baby food when I have a baby because so far I haven’t met a DIY I haven’t liked. Except knitting. And making pickles. I digress.)

As it turns out, baby food is something you can add to soap. Sound gross? It’s not; the only ingredients in this stuff are pureed fruits and vegetables and water.

Using a an adapted recipe from the Nerdy Farm Wife, I made 12 pretty little bars of carrot calendula soap. The carrot gives it a great color but doesn’t do much for the scent since it all gets saponified, so you’ll need to add something extra if you want your soap to actually smell like carrots.

Also, I’d heard that using salt water will help your bars come out harder but had never tried it before this batch. Holy smokes, does it make a difference!


Now that I’ve got the whole function thing down, I took a stab at improving the form of my soap and took four extra steps that made for a really pretty bar. First, I added dried calendula flowers to the batter. I’ve got gobs of them lying around because I have eczema that attacks every winter with the might of a thousand jellyfish and calendula’s good for weird skin stuff. Second, I used my new soap stamp to put a little mammoth tusk in each bar after I sliced them up. Third, after the bars had hardened for a few weeks, I used a vegetable peeler to bevel the sides. See how the corners are square in the naked picture and kind of smooth in the wrapped one? That’s beveling. Finally, I designed wrappers for my soap so that anyone I give a bar to knows exactly what they’re getting.


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Love the Way You Lye: You Can Use Lye Without Burning Yourself Silly

mmm, lutefisk

mmm, lutefisk

Lye is dangerous stuff. If you’ve ever thought about making soap (or lutefisk, ew) but have been too scared, allow me to assuage your fears. If lye were a Ghostly Gondolier who haunts Venice, I would be the Scooby-Doo team who shows up to reveal that the boatman is really just an loser who wants to steal valuable medallions. By way of a clumsy metaphor, I’m trying to say that understanding what makes lye so scary can be a great way to face your fears.

The Ghostlier Gondolier is nothing but a wimp named Mario

The Ghostlier Gondolier is nothing but a wimp named Mario

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Mark Your Soap with a DIY Stamp

Now that I’ve been making soap for a while and have mastered making usable bars, I’ve been wanted make them a little more attractive.

I grew up in a house that strictly used Dove soap and have always liked the little dove on each bar.


With that in mind, I set out to make a stamp so that my bars of soap could have their own mark.

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Making Soap

Ever since I was little I’ve loved making “lotion potions.” My cousin and I would hunt through my grandma’s drawers, pulling out every hotel-sized lotion, soap and shampoo we could find. We’d grate the soap, mix up the lotions and sometimes even add a spritz of my grandma’s perfume – Eternity, which my grandpa still buys for her every year on her birthday – to make our creations smell good. Now that I’m all grown up (and have my own drawers full of stuff), I still love mixing up potions. There’s just something magic about taking whatever I can find and turning it into something that can clean, heal or beautify.

Soap is no exception. I started making my own soap last year for Christmas. It seemed easy enough and I wanted to give my brothers shaving brushes and soap. I ended up with 15 extra bars that I gave to my grandmas. They loved how soft it made their hands and so I, being the queen of dry skin all winter long, started making it for myself.
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