This year’s soap is made and maturing in the cupboard, hopefully safe from the mice who think it is literally good enough to eat. It will go whiter as it matures, and by Christmas it will be hard, white, fine grained soap with a nice clean smell and good bubbles. So nice to have so much of my Christmas shopping done already!
I make my macadamia, olive and coconut oil soap once a year, in time for it to mature by Christmas. Usually a few of us get together to make it. It means we can bulk buy the ingredients, and it takes about an hour of stirring to reach trace, and that bit is much more fun taking turns stirring and chatting meanwhile. We each take home a bucket full of soap at custard stage, to thicken a bit more, add final ingredients, and mold up.
The ones that turn out well I give away – they make lovely Christmas presents, and I so love not having to engage with the consumer hype. The ones that don’t cut neatly I keep. I actually still have a dozen bars of last year’s soap left still. The 4 kg batch of the recipe is usually enough for giving and keeping. The last scraps I put in a pump bottle, cover with water, and use as liquid soap in the bathroom handbasin.
This year I used cut down plastic soft drink bottles as molds – cut the top and bottom off to leave just the cylinder, and used packing tape to tape a circle of plastic cut from a yoghurt container to the bottom. It sliced into nice sized round bars of soap. It was hot and dry so they set really fast – just one day in the mold and they were ready to slice into bars.
This year I had some luffas to play with, so I made some luffa soap as an experiment, and it turned out wonderfully. I just put luffas in the mold and covered with soap, then sliced right through the luffa into bars. I wasn’t sure about them so I only made about a third with luffas, so I have a nice batch of luffas to add to the Christmas gift packages as well. The others I made some with my usual lemon rind and rolled oats added just before pouring into the molds, and some with a mixture of herbs given to me by a friend, including mashmallow and calendula.