Sunday, June 16, 2013

Soap Vacation

Now, this does not imply that I needed a vacation from soaping; however, I did need one from work, so while we were scheduled to set out for a Florida family union on the panhandle, I flew down a few days early to help out my sister. The flight was harrowing. It was bad enough I was sitting in the far back of the plane across from the bathroom, yet over half way through the flight, the flight attendant started reviewing crash landing protocol. I looked at my young 20-something seat mate and asked him if this was some new fangled safety thing. He tried to look cool, but shook his head. The flight attendant was making her way to the back , but stopped a very long time to instruct the unfortunates sitting in the exit row. "Hey, is something  wrong?" She smiled and said that we might have a bit of a rough landing since we lost an engine, but it happens all the time--"don't you worry about a thing." For the next 15 minutes, I pondered my husbands imminent single fatherhood and that I may never make another batch of soap again. I haven't even make goat's milk soap yet! Why have I put it off??? I have feared making goat milk soap and now this!!

We landed just fine. The flight attendant blatantly lied about how losing engines happens all the time. As soon as I landed, I called my retired pilot father. He said I should be grateful something exciting like that happened, cause in 30 years of flying, it never happened to him. It only causes a problem about one out of 99 times. Phew!!

My sister expressed some interest in learning how to soap, so I called hubby and asked him to throw a few supplies in the car. I've taught my little sister many things and I was happy to teach her soap, because I know she'll take it to a new level once she gets the hang of it and help me figure out the various soap mysteries that still elude. We'll be soaping sisters. Here we are when we just arrived to our beach house on St. George Island, Florida...right off Gulf coast in Northern Florida. She's the one on the left.

My sis is a master planner, so we planned to do our soap session near the end of our stay in the middle of the afternoon. We spent most of the week on the beach, but one day, ventured into Apalachicola for some shopping. I couldn't believe the the first shop I set eyes on was Rose's Botanicals The Soap Factory and Gift Shop. Rose's shop was beautiful and I really wish she was there, but her sales clerk gave me a quick bio. She's started as a gardener growing herbs and ventured into soap from that--been making soap 20 years! I wish I took a picture of her store, it was so beautiful, but I was too busy smelling every scent available of her her beautiful goat's milk soap. And to put a Florida spin on it, she had a whole wall of natural sea sponge embedded soaps. I bought a plain shell-shaped goat soap and this one...isn't it cool? I can't wait to try this...a built in sea sponge, how cool. Its scented with a lemon verbena. The sand dollar on top was one of my husband's swell finds on our morning beach runs and perfect to adorn Florida soap.  It's not addressed on this label, but most of her soaps use a combination of essential oils and
Rose's Botanicals--Natural Sea Sponge Goat's Milk
fragrance oils.

My sister bought one of her healing creams and I must say it's good stuff as we used it on my tough-as-nails 76 year old mother who fell down a few stairs and a passel of kid sea surf scraped knees. Good call sis, since we arrived just a day after a tropical storm passed through and those waves were rough.

For my sister's virgin soap voyage, I decided on a simple carrot soap using just three oils: olive, coconut and Crisco. I ran a recipe through Soap Calc and hoped it would be thick enough to support an ombre technique. I made two batches of lye for the carrot batch and the plain batch. It took forever to trace. I should have abandoned the ombre plans, but went ahead anyway. I was sweating bullets and screwed up. I wanted to add just a little white soap to my carrot soap, but slipped and added the whole thing mixing the white and carrot soap to pale orange--teaching technique while soap making proved too multitasking for my one-track brain. Sigh... I scented with a touch of lavender and it's marvelous! Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the final product. Really, carrot soap needs no adornment.

On the long drive home, I contemplated future summer soaps. Definitely, I'm going to make a calendula-infused soap. I was working on drying a bunch of chamomile. I dried it a few days on a screen and thought it was dry enough to store in a jar. Wrong! I came home to slimy moldy chamomile. This time, I'll put in in a low oven to dry out more thoroughly.

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