The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the snow had finally melted with the promise the area would soon be kissed with sweet, Spring-like temperatures. Having dropped her daughter off at her son’s university for Li’l Sibs Weekend, our heroine drove home to her loving husband of twenty-two years.
But horrors awaited behind the door of the place she knew as home…unspeakable horrors…drop cloths draped over furniture long ago were covered in a mist of sawdust and dreams, the sounds of a chop saw and oscillating tool and the steady thunk of a rubber mallet filled her ears, and a strange muttering was coming from her kitchen. Her kitchen! The heart of her home! The sunlight-filled room where she did so much of her work! What could it be?!?
It was her husband installing the new floors!
Soap opera aside, Jay did an incredible amount of work getting the floors installed in the kitchen on Friday evening and on Saturday after a morning event at church. Knowing what my schedule would be, and knowing that I had to make food for a Sunday church gathering, he made a point of having my primary kitchen work space done as quickly as possible so I could get to the stove, refrigerator, and a reasonable amount of counter space.
While I was waiting for him I decided to use my temporary kitchen (that would be my desk and the microwave that was relocated to the family room) to make a batch of melt & pour glycerine soap. These soaps I planned to make weren’t going to be a particularly special shape. They were going to contain a small toy! I had made a batch of these soaps years ago when my own children were small. After reading a soap-making post over at The Bluebirds are Nesting I decided to dig out whatever was left of my supplies and try another batch for some little people I know. Sometimes it’s hard to find a gift to make for a little boy, but these soaps would be perfect!
I purchased my new supplies at the dollar store. I found some plastic storage containers that were just the right size and shape to use as molds, a set of three cars, and a plastic snowman figure. The glycerine melt & pour soap I used was purchased years ago and stashed on a shelf. If you’re looking for something similar, this should work.
Working on my desk that I had attempted to protect with a sheet of plastic and an old towel, I started by putting one toy face down in each mold. I didn’t prep the molds in any way for this soap and it came out fine. I melted the glycerine soap in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s directions, then filled each mold with just enough soap to cover the toy, approximately 2-3 ounces of glycerine soap per mold. I left the molds sitting as they were for several hours and then gently pressed the sides of the mold away from the soap before inverting the mold and gently but firmly pressing out the bars of soap. The bars were allowed to sit for a couple more days before packaging for gift giving.
If you are looking for a gift to make for a boy, please try making these simple Toy Soaps. Every time your little guy washes his hands or takes a bath with this soap it will bring him a step closer to freeing the toy. Hopefully this will encourage thorough hand-washing!
Simple White Soap
As promised, Jay finished the kitchen work space first and I was able to make a double chocolate éclair dessert and brown the venison for my entry in the church Chili Cookoff. Then I was free to attempt a batch of Cath’s Simple Soap. I was eager to try it because my husband has developed a strong preference for shaving soap rather than the canned shaving foam and I’ve been looking for a good soap for him. His favorite is a hand-made bar he was gifted some time ago. As a fledgling soap maker I knew I didn’t have the skills to attempt anything at that level, so he’s been using a particular store-bought cake of shaving soap. I was hoping to find something he’d like better or at least find something just as good that might be less expensive.
There had been some discussion over at The Bluebirds are Nesting about the best soap to use for Cath’s recipe when Lux flakes are unavailable. I can’t get Lux flakes here, so after some internet searching I decided to attempt it with Ivory Original soap that I’d shredded in the box grater. I grated up three 4-ounce bars and had about 4 ½ cups of shredded soap. Knowing that Ivory contains a lot of air anyway I decided to go with it.
Despite my having the heat too high and scorching some of the soap a bit, I managed to follow the recipe and ended up with six large, round soap cakes. The cakes are soft and seem light for their size, which I assume is partly because I started with Ivory. But the recipe worked!
After letting the finished soap cakes sit out overnight Jay tested one and declared that it was just as good as the store-bought shaving soap he’d been using. The homemade soap cost me less than $1.00 US per cake, which is considerably cheaper than the other, so guess who has a new shaving soap (for now)? I’ll keep working on this recipe to get better at making it and will probably either try to tweak it or find another based upon Jay’s feedback.
For Your Information
While I was shopping for soap I checked prices at a couple of local stores. The Ivory Original bars were available for 10 cents per ounce of soap and the Kirk’s Castile bars were 30 cents per ounce. I suspect the Kirk’s bars would have yielded a harder, heavier bar of soap but I haven’t tried it yet. I found 3-4 ounce bars of colored, scented glycerine soap at the dollar store for $1.00 each. If I wanted to do something colored to go with a particular toy then I might try those, but I haven’t done so yet.
My renovation soap opera continues, but if you’re looking for a soap easy enough to make in the middle of a construction zone or a gift for a boy, I suggest the Toy Soap made from melt & pour glycerine soap. If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive shaving soap, give Cath’s Simple Soap recipe a try. Please let me know how it works for you!
Do you make soap? What advice can you give me?
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Update: This post was shared at The Art of Home-Making #93, Happiness is Homemade # 109, Roses of Inspiration #50, Bernideen’s Tea Time, Cottage, and Garden Party (2/22), The Homemaking Party (2/23), Five Star Frou-Frou #38, Pretty Pintastic Party #94, Home Matters Linky Party #75, and Best of the Weekend (2/19).