One thing I can not love more about crafting and creating is that it is a portal, to anywhere in the universe I want to go. I am like Dr. Who with my Tartis, I can wind up anywhere in any time, in reality or lost somewhere in a fictional place full of fictional smells and sights. Creating, is a universe all it’s own. You close your eyes, and take a deep breath and you are off…. Following artistic inspiration. Then you open your eyes and you get to work translating that inspiration into a creative process which comes to an end when the art object has been completed.
It started with the lovely scent of rose which had been designed for use in soaps yesterday. I was inspired, thinking soon will be Valentines Day.
For me, nothing is as romantic as fairy tales. You know, those old stories that start with once upon a time and end with happily ever after? So soon, my mind was running along the line of valentines day, rose scent and the romance of fairy tales….
Once upon a time, Snow-White and Rose-Red were living in a small cottage in the wood with their old sickly mother who could not work to care for them. No one knows what had become of their father…. Snow-White and Rose-Red were as different as different could be. Snow-White loved literature and to be quiet while being very housebound. She cooked and cleaned and cared for their home. Rose-Red was a bit more daring and boisterous and creative making traps to set for the animals that roamed the forest so that her family would not starve. They were as close as two sisters could be….. One day, a bear came to their door and he knocked upon it and asked to be let in to sleep by the fire. At first the girls were scared but he spoke to them softly and eventually they let him in and brushed the snow out of his fur. He would become a winter fixture by their fireplace and they would come to care for him and would enjoy his company. Secretly this bear was a prince who had been changed into a bear by an evil little dwarf . Snow-White and Rose-Red, ran into this horrid little dwarf very often. Rose-Red found the dwarf often in the woods, he was forever getting himself into jam, getting his beard stuck under a rock or falling into the river and needing rescuing, and like the kind girl she was, Rose-Red would free him. He was never grateful. One day, the bear came across the horrible little dwarf and the dwarf attacked the bear and while defending himself the bear killed the dwarf. The spell was broken and two young girls who had faced their fear and challenged themselves and had remained open to that which was not easy, found they had created lives that had been improved. The bear prince would marry Snow-White while his even wealthier brother would marry Rose-Red. Thus they lived happily ever after.
Ok, so for this craft you will need a few things. Many of them you can get from your local craft shop, vegetable glysterine, some sort of coloring agent something natural like juice from the pomagranate works well, or you can use good old fashioned food coloring from the supermarket. Scent, you can probably buy at the local craft shop. Most of them will carry at least rose and lavender scent for soaps and candle making. It is also nice to have additives such as olive oil and or aloe or some other substance that is healthy for the skin to add to your soap. You can even include dried herbs and flower petals so long as no substances that are harmful to the dermis have been sprayed on them. You will need a soap mould. They come in many shapes and forms with different numbers of soaps you can pour. Pick one you like. I picked these because, come on, this is Cafe Primrose, and these lovely victorian inspired shapes and victorian style roses fit us perfectly. These soap moulds may or may not be available at your local craft store. I also have a mould for guest soaps in the shape of various sea shells and some that make soaps shaped like chinese characters and even Celtic designs. Choose what appeals to you and you lay it out fresh and clean and dry on your counter top and you are ready to start.
Now you are ready to start your soap making! First, chop up your glysterine, this is the hard part as Glysterine is hard and cuts like butter cutting it can be a bit slow the knife will just sink in it slowly like quick sand. Once this step is done it is time to put it into a plastic measuring cup that can go into your microwave.
Microwave the vegetable glysterine till every little block is melted and is no longer visible as a cube. Then, mix in whatever scent you like. In the case of this soap we used a lovely rose scent and some coloring orange and purple, since I had no red. But you use whatever color and scent you like. You also mix in at this time, whatever additives you like. Your dried herbs, and your aloe vera and your olive oil (i advise using about half a teaspoon of olive oils and possibly even less of other liquids, you want your soaps to harden so too many liquid additives can result in soap that is too soft or that doesn’t harden properly so take care with your additives.) Mix it all up together and take it to where your soap mould/s are laying on the counter top and pour your hot soap carefully into each indentation, till it is full to the very tippety top but not over flowing. Then, all that is left to do is to wait. Usually it takes about a half hour to 40 minutes for soaps to harden in the soap mould. Then you turn the mould over and you push them out carefully. Then it is up to you if you wish to wrap them or not. Some people like to refigerate them for a few minutes once they have become hard enough to move from the counter. That is fine as well though you might want to watch out how long you leave them in for and sometimes, due to refrigeration soaps can sweat a bit and then it is kinda icky… But your soaps your choice.
This is a very fun project to do with kids. It is simple and doesn’t take all day, clean up is easy….. And you have something useable at the end. I have also found it economically worth while to make my own soap this way.
You can find these soaps and soon more soaps from the Literature Collection on my etsy shop. They will be available by two, four, six, and eight. So if you don’t wish to make your own, but like me, find meaning in this old story, click on the Etsy ad on the blog and check out what I have.