I'm only going to go into detail about the latter, but we did make a very nice Sudanese Piaster Soup as well. This post will be on the soap I just made. Easy peasy.
I've been on a kick where I decided to make my own toiletries - it started with deodorant, went to shampoo, and today it turned to soap. I read an article on the Mother Earth News website that gave a simple recipe for homemade soap, and so I decided to acquire the ingredients and see for myself just what all this business was about.
Simple Soap Recipe
2 cups glycerin soap base
2 tbsp shea butter
essential oils of your choosing
colors of your choosing (food coloring)
You can buy the soap base from most craft stores. I found it at Michael's - 2 lbs for $10, but if I had thought ahead I would've waited and used the 50% off coupon or 40% off coupon that I found in my Saturday newspaper. I bought soap forms there as well for around $3.29. I put my first order in a week ago to Swanson Health, which has great prices on essential oils, shea butter, coconut oil, and jojoba oil (all the pre-requisites for your own beauty products). The products came on Friday, and I decided to use them today.
To start off, you need either a microwave or a double boiler. I opted for the double boiler because you can easily mix your colors and essential oils and see how things are turning out as they combine. I started with 8 blocks (the 2 lb brick is divided into 24, 1"x1" blocks) and a tbsp of shea butter. This made a little extra that what was required to fill 1 of my large soap forms and 1 of the smaller ones. The second set I only used 4 blocks and a tbsp of shea butter. This time I didn't have enough to completely fill the forms. The first set I made were lavender peppermint (and then dyed purple), and the second set was orange, tea tree, peppermint (dyed orange). Voilà! Here they are.
Eventually, I plan on making soap from scratch, but I think I need a mentor before I start combining dangerous chemicals that require all new cooking equipment because the chemicals can poison you. Just a thought. This one was a lot safer and beginner friendly. Don't be surprised if you get a small, special package from Pullman this year around our favorite winter holiday.