christmas gifts: cold process soap

now that the holidays are over i can show off some of the gifts that i crafted. earlier in the year i had become interested in trying to make my own soap from scratch with the lye and all. i found a book and tried out the basic step by step recipe it had. actually i tried that recipe a couple of times - the first time the soap never reached saponification (i believe that's what it's called) because i was mixing by hand (so the soap never thickened). the second attempt at the recipe i used a stick blender and the process went much smoother. that soap turned out but i definitely learned some stuff that i did and did not want to take away from that attempt. so anyways, fast forward, i made four batches of soap dedicated to giving away as christmas presents. part of the reason that i made four batches was because i only have six of the decorative molds and then a nine bar birch mold and i wanted everyone to get one of each soap. i made two recipes, an oatmeal stout beer soap and a sore muscle shea butter moisturing soap. all my molds are from brambleberry - the decorative molds are a silicone mold that are so cute and easy to use. i printed out labels on sticker paper and wrapped the soaps in wax paper sealed with the label. next year if i make soaps again i do need to plan ahead a little better - since they have to sit in the molds for a bit and then they need to cure for about six weeks before they are usable i was really cutting it close and wrapping the soaps the night before i gifted them. next step with soap, i plan on tweaking the shea butter recipe and trying some roses or lavendar from the garden in the soap.
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