Last year I was really inspired by some gorgeous soap Mimi made and I love the shop Lush but not the prices so much! However if you like body and bath products go into their store or look online as the ideas are lovely. I went in there this week and I am way off in my soap prices. A medium bar of soap was $14.
Last year I wrote about the types of soaps I tried as I made about five types and this gave me a lot of gifts including laundry soap and wool wash. In the end it is personal preference but my own favourite recipe is from Cath and you can find the recipe here.
This is easy and you don't have to worry about caustic soda. I times the recipe by 6. It was a lot to handle. If it is your first time I think make the recipe as it is. I would love to try this in the crockpot too but I haven't done that yet so I cant report on that!
In it I use goats milk and power, both from powder.
It qualified in my use it up challenge as I had most of the soap flakes, the powdered milk and all the rose buds that I dried last year.
The Lux soap flakes are something Australian readers will know but overseas this may not be known. It is pure white soap flakes. They look like this:
You need a very low heat and keep stirring and milk is added. It begins to melt and look like mashed potatoes.
Eventually it melts and you keep going until it is runny and looks like potato soup! When I say eventually I mean for this amount I would say this took close to two hours, on a low heat and stirred most of that time. This was my own doing making such a big batch. I think the single batch still took about an hour to go from flakes to beautiful liquid. Patience.
Follow Cath's directions. Mine are just added observations.
Once it is runny I then use my stick blender and blend it until it is smooth and glossy. It becomes quite shiny and gorgeous. At this point I added a big spoon of vanilla bean paste. This gave it a lovely colour and the seeds gave it little flecks. And a yummy scent!
I had been looking for a good container for a mould. Then I noticed my caterers size glad wrap box was just right! I filled it with baking paper to line it.
The weight of the soap made the box sag so I wedged something heavy on each side to hold it straight!
When the soap is liquid you have to move quite fast as it re sets pretty quickly.
Then I dotted on my rose buds. I did this in rows so when I cut it into slices I wouldn't make a mess of them.
Also I had a bit left over so I filled two little bread loaf tins as well. They were lined with baking paper.
At this point it was so much fun! The melting part took forever and I was thinking why oh why do I always multiply things? And will I ever get this stick blender to not smell like soap? etc.
But once it is melted and gorgeous it is all worth it!
Then it took all my strength to leave it alone to set. Late at night, long after I went to bed, I got up and decided it was set enough to slice up. This was also so much fun!
I made pretty giant chunky slices.
It is sitting like this drying out. I really like it!
I am planning to make bath soak, wash cloths and bubble bars. Then I would have individual gifts and the makings of bath and body gift baskets or kits. Plus I will have lots to use myself as I love anything bath related. A soak in the bath is heavenly to me.
So this week I am making the bath soak and maybe some muslin bags full of oatmeal, milk power and scent.
Jane mentioned one of her resources is shells. I am thinking how shells would be lovely in a bath themed gift to decorate a basket or jar and how the right shaped shell could be used as a scoop for bath salts or soaks.
I just realised I have two baskets of rose petals so they can go into what I make next and maybe a body scrub...
So that was my week one! Have you started making something to build up your gift supply?
As the year goes on I notice I end up with a mix of things.... projects that take ages, batches of things that are quick and easy.... works in progress. They just all add up over the year. Come December you have a lot to choose from. And with things you love you also have luxuries that would cost a fortune in the shops! It is lovely!
Today I am going back to my cupboard to see what I have that I can use. I have jars, bottles, muslin, scoops, little boxes, milk powder, rose petals.... Think of what you have that you can use up and turn into lovely gifts!
I hope you are having a good week!
Thank you so much to everyone for comments and helping me to reply and help where needed.xxx
Picture for Lorraine (see below!)