Thanks to a delightful new friend I met online, I had company in the kitchen when I made a batch of soap. The plan was for her to come over and learn the cold-process method of soap making from me. The reality was that I learned just as much from her, if not more! She is a reader, like I am. We share the belief that if you want to learn something new, read all the books you can find on the subject and visit every web site that comes up on at least the first three pages of Google search results. She had done her homework and even experimented with the melt-and-pour method.
Our first endeavor was to find a recipe that didn't use animal oils. She is vegan and had never been in the same room with tallow. She was relieved to find out you don't have to render the fats yourself ... lard can be bought at the Food Lion. We found a recipe with four different vegetable oils, which I happened to have on hand in sufficient quantities. She donned her apron, gloves and safety goggles for the mixing of the lye. We opened the window. We weighed and poured and stirred, and stirred some more. Once the soap base was done, next came decisions about fragrances and additives. At one point, we stood in the middle of the kitchen brainstorming what we had on hand that would enhance our creations. We pulled rose petals from the freezer, crushed dried rosemary with mortar and pestle, and even threw in a little lemon juice to see what would happen.
The results? We had a great time! As for the soaps ... we'll have to wait and see.