Friday, October 21, 2011

Good Soap Does Far More Than Get The Dirt Off

I drove over to Kathleen's house today to make soap. I have done this with her once before and since then, I have come to realize the utter inferiority of any other soap but Kathleen's.
I tried to make it once myself but I was not patient enough and it never did harden correctly, even though Kathleen lent me all of her equipment and exact instructions. Also, martinis were involved.

Lesson: Soap-making is somewhat of a precise science. Martinis have no place in the process.

Well, you learn by doing. And failing. Or, you don't repeat the experiment in a timely manner and then all is lost but to tell you the truth- I am still using some of that not-hard enough soap. It is still better than what you can buy.

Here are the secret ingredients. Well, some of them.

Kathleen's friend Souix is visiting Kathleen so she helped today too.
Okay. If you want to know the truth, Souix and I mostly stood around and watched Kathleen. She let us weigh out the fats. By the time that process was over, our hands were thoroughly moisturized. We were scooping coconut oil out with our fingers. Mmmmm...
Play time!

We also opened and sniffed from the many, many bottles of scented oils which Kathleen has. Here's her dear old dog, Harry, guarding a box of them.

Harry was so polite and stayed completely out of our way. Unless we wanted to, uh, walk across the floor.

There were so many wonderful scents. Lime and orange and lavender and eucalyptus and rosemary and rose and even toasted rice. We passed them around and discussed good combinations but we let Kathleen be the final judge. She is the scientist AND the artist. An uncommon and beautiful combination.

For our first batch she stirred in orange oil and rosemary, I think, and then added orange peel.

Oh. If only you could smell this. Oh my. Oh yes. And the orange peel will give it a bit of a scrub, a bit of grit for exfoliation.

The second batch had lavender with a plum dye and oatmeal and oh, what else? Kathleen, I can't remember. She swirled the scents and dyes and oatmeal into the soap after it had been poured into the mold.

Here she is, making magic, with Souix doing the same thing I was.

But we weren't just taking pictures. NO! We were also practically swooning at the smell of it. Luscious in every way!

Besides making soap, we also talked, as you know women do. We talked about men (imagine that!) and about how Kathleen is feeling a bit superstitious concerning her birthday this year which is tomorrow. She said that since Dr. Blowsucker, her first oncologist, had told her that she would be dead before this birthday, she is almost afraid to call attention to it for fear the gods will say, "What? You're still alive? You're still walking around?"
And then they will rectify that mistake.
Which we all know is not going to happen. Look at that girl.
Go on over to her blog and check out the pictures and words there.
Then join with me in thinking really, really evil thoughts about Dr. Blowsucker who, if she hadn't found a different doctor probably would have been right.
And by the way- Blowsucker isn't his real name but it's close enough so that if you knew him, you'd know who I was talking about and even if you don't know him, it's pretty fucking accurate.

But, that is neither here nor there. We talked about men, yes, and dreams and life and roses as we toured Kathleen's yard and we talked about dogs and okay, I may have mentioned my grandson once or two thousand times.
It was good.
The air was cool and Kathleen's doors were open and her dogs were running in and out and we could hear the chickens and the sun poured in and the good smells and laughter poured out and yes, it was just a very good day.

And then we went to lunch in Monticello and that was lovely too.
While we were eating, I spontaneously reached over and hugged Kathleen and said, "Thank-you so much for having me over to make soap with you today."
It was one of those moments when your heart just takes over and becomes the puppet-master to your body, to your mouth. Dear sweet goodness. I meant it so much.

When you're like me and you have trouble with going out and doing things with others, to have a day where you feel comfortable in your own skin with the people around you- well, it's a blessing and you know it. What might just seem like a normal thing to do for some people is not-far short of a miracle for some of us.

And so it was for me today.

And now it is sunset time and Mr. Moon is out in the woods and he brought home about seven pounds of what I can only describe as homemade Goo-Goo clusters- chocolate candy with peanuts and caramel which a woman at the bank made for him to thank him for helping her with a car and I think about one of the things we talked about today which was that if I died, Mr. Moon would be remarried in three months or less.
I swear- I think there is a sign-up sheet somewhere for my possible replacement.

Now what the hell are we going to do with seven pounds of homemade candy? DELICIOUS homemade candy?

I don't know. I'm going to go make some chicken and yellow rice myself. And when he walks in the door, I'm going to pour him a martini. With tomolives. And I'm going to kiss him all over.

Those other women whose names are on a clip-board somewhere better know that I don't plan on going anywhere here for awhile. And that yes, Mr. Moon does indeed love homemade candy but he loves homemade soap and homemade soup as well. And he truly appreciates a woman who can clean out a hen house. Which I also did today.
And who can cook a mean venison roast. And who can grow potatoes and beans and greens.

Who is not afraid to get dirty.

Which brings us back to soap.

It's been a good day.

I am grateful.


  1. I am grateful too. I am grateful that you had a miracle today with someone that you trust and love. I am sooo grateful that you have Mr. Moon and he has YOU! And I am so, so very grateful that I found you and all your beautiful readers and your beautiful family...and that you keep finding me xoxo

  2. Mmm, that soap looks scrumptious. Makes me want to dust off my supplies. Do you know what Kathleen uses for that plastic liner for the molds?

  3. My sister started making soap, oh five years or more ago. I haven't bought soap since. In fact for my birthday she gave me half a batch of sandalwood vanilla scented soap. Sandalwood is my favorite scent but it's so expensive, the blend with vanilla not so much.

    girl time is good.

  4. I want some! Tell Kathleen ;)

  5. you lucky ducky!
    girl time and soap making and candy!
    that recipe looks fine...reminds me I'm overdue for whipping up my own batch. any favorite fragrance combos?
    I know just what you mean about having that kind of day with others,it's a gift when it happens like that.

  6. When I see homemade soap, I always want to lick it. I think that soap would probably taste as good as it smells. Glad you had a good, heart-filling day!

  7. liv- What can I say to that except amen?

    Amna- It is a thick plastic that I think was going to be thrown away at her job when she was working for the state.

    Ellen- No vanilla was injured in our soap today. I promise you.

    SJ- It could happen...

    Ms. Planting Woman- Ah. Lavender with anything. Mint with anything. Orange with anything. It's like cooking. But longer-lasting.

    Lora- Oh. I totally know what you mean. I want to eat that goop with a spoon. But I don't, knowing it has lye in it.

  8. I can almost smell those luscious scents! What a pleasant day...

  9. The last soap you guys made and gave to us was great. I know lime was one of the scents in it, but man did we love the smell of it.

  10. I want to make soap. And wash Dr. Blowsucker's mouth out with it.

  11. Ok. I have a soap project I haven't been following up on but I must DO IT!

  12. A- It truly was.

    Jon- It is the BEST!

    Denise- No, we need to use some horrible nasty soap for that job. I think he is just burnt out.

    Jo- You won't regret it.

  13. I am now wanting to get some homemade soap. Dr. Blowsucker almost killed Kathleen. We have to be vested in our health and get the best doctors we can find for serious conditions. I am glad that she did.

  14. I want to learn that. Or at least sidle up near someone who knows how to do that so I can smell all that stuff.

    There's a man at our farmer's market who is a soap man. He's big and brown and has thick long dreads and he smells like soap. We buy oatmeal lavender from him.

  15. The soap making is so fascinating to me. I wish I could have been there to smell all that wonderful.

    "I think there's a sign-up sheet somewhere for my possible replacement." This made me laugh so hard. I feel that way about A too. She would have a line waiting and I would be single forever. :)


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