Saturday, May 23, 2009

Look what I did!

I made soap! Not laundry soap, I always do that. Regular soap.

OK, so I cheated. I didn't make the soapy part of the soap. I took old soap and made new soap.

Let me explain.

You know Husband travels. And when he does I make him bring me these:

Hotel soaps are the key to this cheap and fun little project. You don't need all the same soaps or the same smells or the same colors. Hotel soaps tend to have pretty mild smells so it's OK to meld them all together and different colors look kind of cool. And if you don't have a frequent hotel visitor in your life, hit up your local freecycle group for some!

I used 12 soaps. Rather than grate them up into a powder, I kind of shaved them with a sharp knife, kind of peeling away the layers and chopping them into bits:

Then I threw in some quick oats for some bumpiness, since this batch is for some of my in laws, who are gardeners, and the oats should provide the texture to help remove dirt and whatnot from the gardeners' hands.

I oiled a muffin tin with some olive oil and put it aside.

I moistened the soap chips with some water. It's not a lot, just enough to really moisten the whole batch. Then I microwaved the whole thing for a minute. Then gave it a stir. It was still moist so I did not need to add more water. If it seemed dry I would have mixed in some more. I continued to microwave it in one minute increments until it was bubbling in my bowl.

Once it was good and bubbly, I took it and using a rubber spatula scooped the goop into the muffin tin:

The original instructions, which I got here, said that the soap should sit for a few days to let all the excess moisture dry up. For me, I found 24 hours to be good enough. When I took the soaps out of the tin they looked like this:

I plan to wrap them in little cellophane wrap with a raffia bow and a tag explaining what the heck it is. It's just a little gift for hard to shop for people.

But then I got to thinking about what a cute end of the year gift this could be. If I were going to do use this for teacher I would package together:

A small gardening shovel

A packet of Forget Me Not seeds (get it?)

A watering can

Some kind of home made garden stake saying something like Curly's Forget Me Nots

and this soap.

Seriously cute, relatively inexpensive, fun to do and meaningful.

If I didn't already have a plan for end of the year gifts I would do this. But I am going to file it away for next year. You can never have too many good, inexpensive ideas.

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