I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Homemade Soap Second Edition

I learned a few things last year. I solidified my recipe into something that has worked well so far. All my Dove-only bars failed miserably even though they passed the first two rounds of inspections. By the time I had brought them to work, they had continued to shrink and develop cracks as they dried, so they went directly back into my bucket to be redone this fall.

Since there was roughly ten pounds (I was just guessing by volume. I didn't weigh any of it) of Dove soap already waiting for recycling, I decided to buy some soap to be used to that end. There was no way I would acquire enough soaps through the summer to add to them. At first, I thought my recipe called for three pounds of soap, and that I would be having two pounds of Dove to one pound of whatever else. Turns out my memory wasn't so accurate. It would have to be half and half. I found Ivory soap on Amazon - pretty much the cheapest on the market, I think. Anyway, I ordered twelve bars of Ivory with aloe - sounded good to me anyway. Aloe is good for your skin and the bars were white. Turns out twelve bars wasn't enough, so I have three pounds of Dove soap that gets to wait until next year. That's okay. That still leaves me with ten batches to do this year.

So what am I doing different this year? Last year, I wrapped my bars after a couple days of drying - one day as the block straight from my mold and another day after they've been sliced into bars. That third morning, I'd groom the bars to make them pretty and presentable, and then I'd wrap them in typing paper - it's what I had and it looked nice - then I packed them into my bucket. It seemed that I wrapped them way too soon. Later (I forget how long), I decided to check my soaps and discovered that they were still damp and the paper had soaked it up, and in some cases they had molded. No damage to the soap, but the paper certainly wasn't presentable any more. I didn't learn my lesson. I rewrapped those soaps and repacked them into my bucket. When I got them to work, I needed to move those soaps to the shelf where they would be available for use in the cabins. Lo and behold, still some of those soaps wrappings had molded again. After rewrapping again, after all summer, it would seem they were finally dry enough.

This year, I'm not wrapping them at all this winter. I got some wax paper and I'm layering the bars between the the paper with spaces between them. I hope it works - it should - I have my fingers crossed. Maybe early next spring I'll wrap them. As they are packed now, taking the bucket to work would damage them unless I'm really really lucky. Maybe if it was only a car ride to work, but there's a trip with a four-wheeler and then a trip in my boat.

So far I have three batches of nice white bars and one with a blue cast to it. The rest will be shades of light brown - lighter than last year.

Last year, after going through everything I'd brought and discarding the warped, cracked, and broken ones, I had three baskets of like thirty-six bars each. I used one basket. When all is said and done, it looks like I'll have several years worth of soap to use, and in the future, there won't be more than three or four batches to do each year. Maybe not even that much. That's not counting the three left over batches I won't be able to do this year. So, I anticipate having to do half as much next year as I did this year.

There she blows. I'll be sure to keep you informed of future developments. Stay tuned.