I attended a class this weekend on handmade soaps. It was really easy, but very precise and time consuming, and I came home with a huge block of soap that I am going to cut up and give away. The soap has to cure for several weeks before it is able to be used, but it smells fabulous!
I like making things by hand because it makes me more aware of the effort that goes into having items that we all take for granted. So when I saw this class advertised I just had to attend. It's not that I am going to continue in this, largely because there is a rather expensive investment for specific equipment that I might not use elsewhere, and it takes a lot of time to do properly. But it was fun and I was able to create something that I can now take to various parties over the holiday season as hostess gifts.
Soap making is nothing recent. I learned that ancient people were making soap around 2800 B.C. and that the lye ingredient was found by accident after the noticed that fats boiled with ashes from sacrificing animals cleaned the clothes they were washing in the stream. I then found by doing a Google search that the Ebers papyrus revealed that the ancient Egyptians mixed animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to produce a soap-like substance. But I think the addition of all kinds of chemicals to make lather and fragrance is a US manmade invention. I like getting back to basics when I can so even though this was a fun thing for me to do, if anything happens at least I can still stay clean.