Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Dope on our Soap

Being as I've told the girls that the point of Christmas is to give a gift to each of our loved ones to represent how much we love them, you can imagine that it's important to me that they make gifts for the people who are meaningful in their lives.

What to give, however--that can be a toughie. It's important to me both that the gift be primarily the child's own creation, or at least her own invention, and that the gift be viable in its own right--that the recipient be genuinely pleased to receive this gift.

We still have some thinking to do on some ideas, but (SPOILER ALERT!) last night and this morning the girls helped me make their gifts for Willow's teachers and some of their relatives. Our awesome idea? Melt-and-pour-soap.

Now I know that melt-and-pour soap isn't REAL soap in most people's minds (Cold-process has it beat, and that's a skill that I almost have all the infrastructure to start learning, but a friend who tried and abandoned the hobby a while ago gave me a TON of vegetable glycerin, and using it really is super-fun), but it does have a lot going for it. It's quick and simple, for one, it results in a mild and moisturizing soap, for another, and you can fancy it up quite a bit with some nice essential oils and dried herbs, which is what we did:The girls took turns counting out the ounces of vegetable glycerine, then each girl chose an essential oil and a dried herb for her soap. The cool thing about kids is that they chose combinations I would never dream of trying together--peppermint essential oil with dried eucalyptus leaves? Vanilla essential oil with lavendar flowers:
I was following the suggestion of this tutorial on the Soap Queen's blog to stir in my herbs until they seemed mostly suspended in the melted glycerine, and then to pour it into the mold, but I didn't do it right and so our herbs mostly just escaped to the top:
Still very pretty, though, I think.

Of course, with two little monkeys as my primary assistants there were a lot of hijinks, I can assure you, and several blown batches. But the best thing about soap-making is that the failures can be the most fun, because instead of giving them away, we get to use them ourselves:

Now, for the gift bags.


Anonymous said...

MP soaps may not be "real" soaps, but man, are they works of yours and these:

And my dh likes glycerin soaps anyway.

julie said...

Oh, freakin' wow! I'm not normally a fan of soaps in novelty shapes, but how much would I like a glow-in-the-dark soap shaped like an alien's head?

So much.

Anonymous said...

LOL...yeah, my kids would so go for that too. We're big sci-fi fans in this house. I'm thinking we might try to make them next year.