Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Blog-Dirt and Soap


It's been a long time since I've blogged. This is my third blog, Soap & Dirt, to ramble about my latest passions. The soapmaking is a new bug that hit about last August. My grandmother was a utilitarian soap maker, making just enough of the beige-colored rough-hewn chunks made from pork lard to keep her family in the clean. She used to store it under her bathroom sink in the large round plastic container, an old hospital wash basin, I suspect, and probably the same container used to mold it. My goodness, when it was done, she must have taken a sledge hammer to it to break it up. I thought it was beautiful. I loved the smell. When I was little, I'd crawl under the sink and dig em out and admire them. She passed away a few years ago and the last of her soap has been used up. My sister suggested we learn how to do it, but frankly, the thought of using lye terrified us, and there it remained--something on the bucket list yet to be done.

Last September my husband and I dragged the kids out to the Yankee Peddler Festival. Over a huge area, vendors sprawled over meadows or nestled within tiny forest clusters selling their wares--lots of jewelry and gorgeous wood work, mostly.  I stopped at a soap vendor whose specialty was olive oil and beeswax formulas for lotion, creams, lotion bars and soaps, while my teenagers and my husband stood back and waited for me to sniff my way through the little hut. A wholesome middle-aged woman, decked out in period prairie gear, and holding a basket smiled, and gave her pitch. What hit me was this women had flawless skin!--and so did the four or five other ladies working the booth. Now, certainly, this humble small company, Morning Song Gardens, didn't import face models holding baskets to work their shows. I bought a sheer green organza bag filled with an all natural soap, a pomegranate/calendula cream, and a small lotion bar. Now, while my skin isn't too bad in that I don't have a ton of wrinkles--it's come at the expense of a lifetime of oil slick skin, clogged pores,  pores visible from 6 feet, and zits. Shame on me for not expecting much, but this stuff was fabulous. I wrote raving testimonials on their website and ordered more. My skin wasn't oily anymore. I didn't have to use 6 grease absorbing blotter things to get through a work day, nor was my skin dry. It was Mama Bear just right and was just the shot of motivation I needed to make this stuff myself! And there you have it...an obsession with all things soap, oil, and essential oils was born.

Two of my other passions are quite dirty--gardening and trail running. I blogged myself silly for several years about the running, but got tired of it. I still run, max a half-marathon, a few times a year. My gardening started many years ago, when my two children were just babies, but back then, didn't have the Internet or cool things like blogs to chronicle the adventures. Now, since I've discovered soap, I want to expand my gardening to include things in my soaps or cosmetic preparations. With gardening, there is dirt, and when dirty, one needs a bath, which requires soap. So, there you have it--practically like yin and yang--only with soap and dirt.

By day, I work full-time as a Career Development Specialist for a university. So, in between writing resumes and preparing my students for the job search, I dream of my next batch of soap.

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