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Showing posts from January, 2014

The Natural Soap Book by Susan Miller Cavitch

The latest book I've been reading and toting around in my little project is The Natural Soap Book by Susan Miller Cavitch, written in 1995. While not nearly so old a book as Soap , it's still older, well, now that I give it some thought, I was already a high school graduate when it was published, so in the overall scheme of things, it's darn near hot off the presses.   (Have you noticed all the plaid and neon the cool kids are wearing these days?  It's just like when I was in high school.  See, nothing's changed!) Anyway, it remains a mostly relevant, thorough lesson in soapmaking, and not just for the beginner.  It includes short overviews of successful soap businesses, how they started, and what makes their businesses unique.  I appreciated the view of soapmaking before the influx of easily obtainable saponification-hardy fragrances and colorants, as well as supplies.  While examining the appendix, I only recognized a couple of the companies listed, none o

Soap: Making It, Enjoying It by Ann Bramson (with update)

I had to start my series with Soap: Making it, Enjoying it by Ann Bramson.   From what I've been able to gather, it's sort of the grandmama of modern soapmaking, written in the 1970s. . The Good: -an overview of soapmaking in a most non-overwhelming, unintimidating way -a history of soap from ancient times to soapmaking as an industry in America, along with the evolution of advertising -an easy-reading book, 100+pages The Not-so-Good -by today's standards, includes numerous pieces of misinformation -very simple recipes do not utilize many oils and additives currently used in soapmaking -geared toward the beginner, not especially informative for the experienced soapmaker The book itself is an example of the history of soapmaking, and as it is only a rudimentary lesson in soap, many things have changed in the 40-plus years since the book was written.  Many aspects would make modern soapers do a double-take.  A few examples: -Recommending a scale that measures

My newest project

It all began when I received my copy of Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola.  I cozied down under my quilt that night and paged though the beautiful pictures and recipes.  It was such a simple luxury--turning real pages in a real book.  I didn't have wait through a hiccup until the page loaded, I didn't have to click anything, and best of all, I didn't have to look at a screen.  It got me thinking. There are HEAPS of fabulous sources for information and inspiration on the internet, and as rapidly as new techniques and supplies keep appearing, it's an effective vehicle for the constantly changing soap world.  I've noticed the explosion myself in my 3-ish years of blogging, to the point that it can all get a little overwhelming.  (And admittedly, in writing this blog I am piling on more--such as it is.) some of my recent reading But this is not so much about a criticism of the online soap community, but instead, an arousal of my interest in books on soapmakin

Tea time soaps

Well, I haven't posted since the week of Thanksgiving.  You see, as Bob Cratchit would say apologetically, "We were making rather merry."   And merry it was, with parties, family, wall-to-wall Christmas music and movies, food, company from afar, a successful deer season, blizzards, presents, cold snaps, and yet more food.  My life also seemed be one long Christmas craft show with a show every weekend but one since Nov. 2.     But here I am--rested up, over a bout of cold/flu, readjusting to a somewhat normal schedule, with a soap cupboard that looks like Cindy Lou-Who's house on Christmas Eve.  Perfect.   A cafe in a neighboring town, The Fuller House , recently began carrying some of my soaps in the adjoining gift store.  Big glass jars of beautiful loose tea blends are one of the popular items.  The owner suggested I incorporate some of her teas into soaps for the shop and gave me some tea blends to try out.  This is a black tea called Monk's Blend.