Friday, September 23, 2011

Bad Monkey Soap

My sincerest apologies for not logging on sooner, folks!  I have been crazy busy and haven't had a chance to sit down and collect my thoughts so that I could share them with you.  I started a new job a month ago and have been juggling a ridiculous schedule.  I'm still broke, but now I'm busy and broke.  It's a strange state to be in.  :P 

I haven't had a chance to make soap in over a month, so it is with great shame that I have no choice to but share the very last batch of soap that I made with you.  I wanted with all my being to hide this batch in the Ugly Soap Closet of Shame and pretend it never happened, but alas I have nothing else to write about so here goes.  Please be kind.  No mother likes to admit or be reminded that her baby is not cute.  My poor little bubble babies are definitely the opposite of cute.

Long ago and far away, my stingey self decided to "splurge" by buying a one pound bottle of fragrance oil because it was on clearance.  The scent of this oil was  Banana Cream Pie.  The main reason I chose this scent was because it reminded me of a former boss.  I used to work with a bunch of doctors, and one in particular blew my sheltered little mind one day.  He walked into the office, asked everyone in the room, "Do they still make qualudes? Man, I miss qualudes!! I used to get so high on them and then I would eat an entire banana cream pie.  Those were the days."  He smiled nostalgically and then turned around and walked off just like that.  It probably took at least an hour for me to get my jaw up off the floor. 

Fast forward to me digging around in my cupboards years later and thinking, "Heeeyyyy, I never did make any soap with this scent.  Let's make some today!"  I ran off to the local grocery store to buy some banana baby food to throw into the batch.  Soap newbs, you heard that right.  Who doesn't want to rub pureed bananas all over themselves in the shower, right??  Oh la la!  Actually, using fruit in soap is mostly for label appeal (put the word banana on a soap label and people literally go bananas), but all it really does is introduce a different form of sugar into your chemical equation (a.k.a. soap recipe) in order to produce more lather.  Of all the fruits I've experimented with in soap, banana has been my favorite.  I literally lurked the baby food aisle for a while while I experimented with different recipes.  I'm sure it made the cashiers extremely nervous when I would buy one packet of baby food at a time since I don't have kids.  I can only imagine what they were imagining as they tried to figure out what the heck I was up to. 

So off I went back to my little kitchen to brew up a batch of banana soap.  Everything went off without a hitch... except for one major detail.  Apparently, the fragrance oil that I purchased for super cheap had a lot of vanilla in it.  Soapers, you know exactly what happens when you use a vanilla-based fragrance oil in a batch of soap.  The whole thing turns the color of  poo.  Much to my horror, as I cut my log of soap into slices, I couldn't help but notice that my bars of soap looked exactly like something that monkeys would fling at each other.  Since the soap smells like bananas, it got me wondering if the turds that monkeys like to fling happen to smell like bananas if those monkeys recently came off a banana bender.  These thoughts are not something you want running through your mind as you're scrubbing yourself clean with something that looks/smells like monkey dookies.  *sigh*  :C 

So Dr. Qualude, I dedicate my monkey-poop-looking and Banana-Laffy-Taffy-smelling soaps to you.  Thanks for the memories! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

This is your brain on soap...

Some Seriously Pink Soap!

I've been trying to figure out a way to show you the different stages of cooking a batch of soap because it is some pretty fascinating stuff, but my main problem was that I don't usually like to color my soap (I get a thrill out of seeing the natural variations in color that the soap produces on its own based on the ingredients in it) and I figured it'd be harder to see the action on "blank" soap.  Because I had been wanting to make some watermelon-scented soap for a while, I figured that by coloring the soap pink it would make it easier to see all the crazy things that the soap does at the various stages of the cooking process.

I decided I was going to make some Agua de Sandia soap.  Those of you who are familiar with aguas frescas have already started drooling, I guar-ohn--teee!  Agua de sandia literally translates to "watermelon water" and is a tasty and super refreshing Mexican concotion.  All you do is blend watermelon, sugar, and water and serve it over ice.  That's the simple version - I'll get to the fancified version in a bit.

Some soapmakers use a little trick of adding sugar to their soap in order to make it lather more.  A spoonful of sugar not only helps the medicine go down, it also helps the bubbles go up!  This saves them from having to invest in pricey oils or additives that would boost the soap's lather.  I figured this was the perfect thing to do for this batch, since my recipe called for watermelon scent and water and all I needed was sugar in order to make it a true agua de sandia formula.  The problem?  I didn't have sugar in my pantry.  Technically.  What I DID have was a box of sugar cubes.  Sugar cubes make me happy because they're like tasty Legos.  Who can resist building sweet little structures out of those teensy squares??  I was a little nervous about how hard it would be to mix the cubes into the lye water, but thanks to my stick blender everything worked out juuuusssst fine.

Here I am thinking, "Hmmm, sugar cubes....  Should IIIII or shouldn't I?" 
(Yes, I am aware of the fact that I am sweating profusely.  Monsoon season makes for one very muggy environment and my little swamp cooler is useless at providing any sort of relief.  Useless!!!)
After beating the living tar out of the sugar cubes in the lye water, I poured the mixture into the oils.  This is when the saponification process begins. Here's my stick blender whirring away and mixing everything together.   It looks almost celestial, kind of like the stick blender is the center of a pink nebula.

Stick blending the oils and lye
After blending for a bit, the soap thickens up and gets to what is called the "trace" stage.  This is where it leaves a pattern behind when you pick up the spoon or blender.  There are different stages of trace and each one serves a different purpose.  For example, if you want to make those awesome swirls in the column swirl video I shared, you take your soap to a really light trace.  I take mine to a really thick trace before setting the crock pot on and starting the cooking process.  See:

Pink Pudding!!
(Or soap at thick trace, if you wanna get all technical on me!)
Once you start cooking the soap, the first thing it does is start to "turn" on itself.  The edges start rising up and curling over, like so:

Run for yer liiiiives!  It's a Pepto Bismol tidal wave!  :O
After some more cooking time, the wave gets bigger and bigger....  This is actually my favorite part because when you look in the middle you can see a little pool of glycerine forming.  This is part of the magic of making your own soap.  The chemical reaction between lye and oil magically creates glycerine.  Glycerine is really good for your skin because it helps to moisturize it.  When commercial soap manufacturers make their soap, they take out the glycerine and sell it seperately because the glycerine is worth more than the soap.  Who do they sell it to?  To companies that make lotion!  Those brilliant bastards!  When you take the glycerine out of the soap it leaves you dry and itchy, so you go running for lotion for relief.  Sneaky sneaky!!

*cue "Glycerine" by Bush (...the band, not Sr. or W.)*  
It's starting to look like a half-brain, dontcha think?
After some more cooking time, the soap wave completely takes over.  If you get the soap too hot, it foams right up and can crawl right out of the crockpot and attack everything around it.  Think of the movie, "The Blob."  EEEK!!!

What do you see in this "cloud" of soap batter? 
I see that the poor Cheshire cat suffered a tragic accident involving an acid peel and a garbage disposal, resulting in his face looking like a chewed wad of bubble gum... 

Once the soap has finished cooking, you let it cool down a little bit and then mix in your scent and whatever additives you might have set aside.  You stir stir stir, and then glop your smelly taters into your mold.

Ooooh, pink mashed potatoes! Nom nom nom!!!

Once the soap has cooled down and hardened, you pop it out of the mold and cut it into bars.  I like to let mine sit for a week or two in order to harden and dry a bit more, but the nice thing about hot process soap is that it's ready to use as soon as it comes out of the mold.  Sweeet.

How many of you remember the Log jingle on Ren & Stimpy?  Good times.

Hope you enjoyed seeing the different stages of soap!  I was honestly surprised at how pink this batch turned out.  Holy hot pink, Batman!!   Next time I'll tone it down a little.  As it was cooking and bubbling away, it looked like a big throbbing brain.  Mojo Jojo immediately came to mind, although I also couldn't help but think of Pinky and the Brain...  hmm, guess I had cartoons on the brain and it wasn't even Saturday morning! I'm already plotting my next batch of Agua de Sandia soap based on a fancy version of the drink that I found online.  It calls for agave nectar and mint, both of which I happen to have handy.  I have packets of peppermint tea sitting around begging to be used, and I think the contents of them will look nice swirled into the soap because the tea leaf flecks are dark, so it'll make them look like watermelon seeds.  AY CARAMBA, I can't wait!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jason's Birthday Buzz beer soap

Beer Soap for Jason

Every Sunday, a group of us gather to play volleyball.  The official name varies between Bisbee Extreme Volleyball (with a side of Extreme Bocce Ball) and Drunk Volleyball, depending on who you ask.  I look forward to Sundays because I get to spend time with people I really like and I get to showcase my utter lack of 1) athleticism, 2) coordination, and 3) shame.  I have a ball being terrible at volleyball, and I'm actually pretty surprised that they haven't asked me to stop showing up yet.  Bless their kind and mostly patient and okay-with-losing-if-they're-on-my-team hearts.  I'm terrified of the ball, as you can see in this pic of Melissa getting all Randy "Macho Man" Savage on Jason's arse. 

Jason is the mastermind behind the weekly volleyball gathering.  Each year there is a lot of buzz surrounding his birthday because he throws himself one hell of a bash, and each year a lot of people get buzzed at said partay.  :P  This was my first year attending the party, and I was amazed at the number of tents that people set up for the night.  This is how epic the party is, people actually camp out!  Being the wild and crazy party animal that I am, the highlight of my night was having a 3-year-old little boy show me how to roast marshmallows; I was back home and in bed by 10 PM.  The next day at volleyball, I was chatting with Jason's 13-year-old daughter, Eva, and she said she went to bed around 2 AM.  I think I need to get out more. 

My tradition is to give people soap for their birthdays.  I'm waiting for someone to get insulted by my present one of these days by thinking that I'm hinting that they need to bathe more.  ;)  Because I knew how big Jason's party was going to be, I hatched an idea that instead of giving him soap the night of his birthday, I'd instead make soap for him from the leftover beer that flowed freely at his party.  Call it a sort of sentimental souvenier, if you will.  I'm all about that. 

Those of you that haven't tried beer soap yet are totally missing out.  Beer makes awesome soap.  It adds to the lathery magic of soap and imparts color to it as well as the slightest hint of nutty scent (unless you drown it out with other scents).  I think this is entirely appropriate, since beer makes people slightly nutty too.  Slightly.  ;)  Stout beer makes dark bars of soap and light beer makes light colored soap.  Jason had kegs of locally brewed beer on tap at his party.  If you're not familiar with Dave's Electric Beer, check out the info and cool pics of his Bisbee brewery here.  If you're not familiar with Bisbee itself, let me just tell you that we take beer pretty seriously around these here parts.  Case in point:  our Brewery Gulch.  Google that shiz, people! 

Anyways, the day after his bday Jason rolls up to the volleyball court like a badass with a keg in the back of his truck.  I had a little Tupperware bowl ready to go.  Feeling very much like Oliver Twist and trying very hard not to say "Please, sir, I want some more" in my best orphaney accent, I approached Jason with my idea of stealing some of his beer to make him some soap.  Lucky for me, none of the men there chased me away for trying to commite the sacrilege of using beer for something other than drinking.  I reassured Jason that Eva wouldn't smell like beer if she used my soap.  That would likely be frowned upon by her teachers at Lowell Junior High.  :P  His son Roman (the fastest volleyball retriever in the west), however, is in high school and would probably earn street cred points amongst his peers for smelling like a brewery.  ;) 

The magic's in the mix:
beer and agave.
(I love that they're the same color!)

I decided to throw some agave nectar into the batch  because it's only natural to pair beer and tequila.   Call it a crazy hunch, but I'm thinking people at the party partook in the imbibing of tequila along with the beer.  The natural sugars in agave pump up the volume of the soap's lather as well, so why the heck not add it?! In case you haven't noticed, I happen to live in the southwest and agave plants grow wild around here, so why not use local stuff in locally made soap?  Represent!!

Nope, you're not looking into a glass of beer. 
This is what the "batter" of beer soap looked like
as it went into the crock pot to do its saponification thang!

Broke-ass soapers out there, if you can get your hands on some free beer, try brewing up a batch of beer soap!  If someone is ready to toss out some old beer that went flat or is no longer drinkable, snatch it up and use it in soap!  Consider it the best kind of recycling there is and go around bragging about how green and earth friendly AND skin friendly you are by making beer soap.  Let me warn you, though: because you are replacing all of your water in the batch with beer, you have to be extra careful when mixing the lye into it because it gets very hot and very angry and can volcano all over you if you're not careful and take the proper precautions.  It also stinks like a mofo until you incorporate the oils, after which it instantly smells nice and nutty and hoppy.  Making beer soap is definitely an adventure and definitely worth the extra effort, though, so try it out!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Decorating on the cheap (a.k.a. dollar store magic)...

My Labeled Ladies
(plus a dude soap)

Let me start off by saying that I'm no photographer.  I use a crappy, tempermental, I-wish-I-could-give-it-Midol-so-it-would-play-nice camera that I bought used.  It was a floor model that people would pick up and play with at the store and I was mighty proud of myself for buying it so cheap instead of having it thrown away when it was done being abused.  As a result, I take crappy pics with my crap cam.  It might help if I signed up for photography classes or at least read the owner's manual, but I'm far too stubborn for such nonsense.  Pshaw, I say! 

Today I wanna talk about my dollar store finds.  I love going on the prowl in dollar stores for stuff I can use in soapmaking.  The last trip I took there was to find stuff to dress up my soaps with.  I had a bunch of naked soap laying around that I needed to give to some friends for their birthdays (several real birthdays and one fake birthday because the fake birthday girl was eager to try my soap but her real bday was over a month away.  I'm looking at you, Charlene!!  ;)  Happy fake birthday to ya, and many mooooooore!!!!  *jazz hands*).  Some people make soaps that look absolutely fabulous in all their naked glory.  Not this chick.  My soaps are modest and like to cover up.  They're ladies.  They don't go prancing around in their birthday suits showing off their goods to anyone who will look at them.  They wait for that one special person who is going to unwrap them... and rub themselves all over them... and use them until they've wasted away after giving all that they could give.  It always starts off so sweet and romantic-like and ends up tragically, doesn't it?  But I'm not bitter or anything.  *sigh* 

So anyways, I was very excited to find decorative paper for only a buck at, you guessed it, the DOLLAR store!  Imagine that?!  For one little dollar, you get a pack of 40 sheets of fancy paper.  Each sheet gives you several strips of papers (us soapers like to call them cigar bands) that you can wrap your soap with.  So for less than a penny, you can make yer soap purty.  Momma liiiike!

Pile o' Papery Goodness

Back in the day, I tried my hand at rubber stamping and failed miserably.  A stamper I am not, alas. It just wasn't in the cards for me.  Or should I say, it just wasn't in the handmade cards for me.  Boo hoo.  However, one of the best things to come out of that fiasco was that I found the world's coolest little paper cutter.  No, it doesn't cut little papers.  It's little and it cuts paper.  Check it out:

My cutter. 
Noooo, it's not emo.  It's not that kinda cutter!!

Before finding this little gadget, I had to use those big scary paper cutters at school that could cut your paper into nice, straight strips but could also cut your entire hand off in the process.  This little guy won't even give me a paper cut.  So nice!  You just slip your paper in under the clear thingy and then push down on the orange thingy and then slide that thingy down to the other end of the thingy and VIOLA, a perfectly cut paper!  I give great directions, don't I??  :D

Cutter In Action.
(No blood was shed in the making of this strip.)

Pretty Paper Strips
a.k.a. cigar bands
(Heyyyy, wouldn't it be cool to start a band named Cigar?? Cigar band?  Get it??)

Once you have your strip of paper cut and ready, you wrap it around the soap and then tape it together.  I like to use double-stick tape because I consider it the ninja of tapes, which automatically makes it awesome, because I really like that it hides between the layers of paper instead of being out in plain sight.  Once the band is taped in place, I write whatever I want on the labels so that people know what kind of soap they're getting.  Pretty darn cool, eh?  The labels instantly jazz up the soap and make them more presentable.  Hope this inspires you soapmakers out there to check out the dollar stores in search of soap "clothes."  I'd love to see what you come up with!  :)

My Soap Labeling Tools
(all dollar store items except for my snazzy cutter)
((...the markers are washable, just like my soaps!  teeheee))

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Internet is for soap p0rn!

Margie's (Hill Country Haiku) amazing soap

Let me first start off by saying that I'm not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to this blogging stuff.  It's okay, though, because my favorite color in the big crayon box was always cornflower blue.  It's a dark color, but it has a cool name (Corn has flowers?? What!), so suck it you bright colors with your dull names!!! Anyways, I was wondering why everybody stopped commenting after my very first blog post.  Just about the time that I was getting ready to assume the fetal position in a dark corner of my apartment and rock back and forth muttering to myself about being unloved, someone was kind enough to clue me in to the fact that I had the comments section of my other posts disabled.  D'oh!  I've resolved that issue (I think), so now I'm back and yabbering away again about all things soap!  Bear with me, people, I still have a lot of things to figure out when it comes to this blog thingamajiggy! 

Anywho, allow me to let you in on a dirty little secret:  soapers LOVE to look at p0rn! Oh yeah!  And best of all, it's FREEEE!!!!  We spend hours in dimly lit rooms staring into our computers uttering phrases like, "Oooooh, look at that!  That's hot!" and "*tilting head* How in the world do they do that.... I've never THOUGHT of trying that!!" and "Yeahhhhh, I bet that feels sooooo good!"  Before you go and git yer panties in a scandalized bunch, let me explain that our definition of p0rn is looking at pics of soap and at videos of people making soap and not babies.  We're a pretty shameless bunch, always posting pics and vids of our stuff. ;) Oh those soapmakers, such exhibitionists they are!!! And thank goodness for it, because few things make me happier than being Little Miss Soap Voyeur and drooling over everyone's amazing creations. 

That being said, let me show you the latest soapmaking video to make my gloves moist and my goggles fog up.  My fellow Bisbeeites, prepare to have your tie-dye loving socks rocked.  Margie of Hill Country Haiku soap made some amazingly awesome and mind-altering soaps using a technique called a column swirl that's super hot in the soaping world right now: Wavy Gravy Soap  Prepare yourself for three minutes of soaping pleasure.  You might need a cold shower afterwards.  Just don't drop the soap. 

(For those of you who didn't catch the word play in the title of my post, go to YouTube and search "The Internet is for P*rn" by Avenue Q.  You can thank me later.  It is a well-known fact that I hate musicals with a passion.  They make me angry.  However, I laughed until I almost cried when my musical-loving friend Alicia played this song from the musical Avenue Q for me.  Imagine a Cookie Monster-ish looking/sounding creature belting out the words, "Just grab your d*ck and double-click for p*rn, p*rn, p******rn!!!"  Oh my!!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The box is the best part!

I've heard lots of people complain that they spend oodles of money on a fancypantsed gift for their kids only to have said kids completely ignore the gift and spend all their time playing with the box that the present came in.  This here soaper-who-totally-embraces-her-inner-kid understands that those kids know what's up.  Boxes RULE!  I love boxes and am always on the lookout for free ones to use as curing racks.  Simmer down, 90% of boys and 10% of the female population!  Yes, I do love boxes and racks.  No, it's not as dirty as you think.  You see, soap needs to sit and cure for a while so that it becomes harder and lasts longer in the shower.  Who DOESN'T love something that's hard and lasts long?  Oh soapie, me love you long time!!  Teehee! Okay, okay, enough innuendo.  Sheesh.

When I first started soaping, I scoured the interwebs for the perfect mold.  I went overboard and bought a ridiculously fancy but awesome mold that made perfectly shaped bars.  The problem was that it made LOTS of perfectly shaped bars.  I have no business making 72 bars of soap per batch.  That's more soap in one batch than I can use up in one year.  Since I don't sell my soap it was kind of dumb to cough up that much money for a mold that I'd only use once or twice a year, especially since the best part of soapmaking is experimenting.  Experimenting with a 72 bar batch is costly and risky, since part of learning involves epic failures and throwing away batches that you could never even bring yourself to use on your worst enemies ("Scrub with THIS, you dumb terrorist!!  muahahahahaaaaa  Why are you crying, you sissy??").  Once I came to my senses and realized that perfectly good bars don't need to be perfectly shaped, I found a mold I was very happy with.  BTW, this applies to people too; don't overlook those of us who don't have perfect shapes because your judgey arse might just be missing out on a  perfectly good person.  People who embrace calories and curves need love too, dammit! *steps off soap box*

$2 Perfectly Good Soap Mold (a.k.a. ice cube bin)

Revel in the simple beauty of my new soap mold.  It only cost a couple of bucks, but it allows me to be creative and make more batches and spend less money.  I get 8 - 10 bars out of this mold (depending on how stingey I'm being when I cut the soap into slices).  It also helps me take out my agressions because after I glop my soap batch into the mold and let it harden, I stick it in the freezer for a couple of hours and then proceed to beat it like it owes me money until the "loaf" of soap pops out of the mold, at which point I take a knife to it and cut it.  Yeah, I'm pretty gangsta!  ;)

Once the soap is cut, I let it sit and cure.   Soapmakers use all kinds of things as drying racks for their soap, but I'm a cardboard kinda gal.  I think carboard boxes are the perfect way to let soaps sit and breathe before they're ready to do their job in the shower.  I have no shame when it comes to acquiring these boxes.  The other day a sweet old man was telling me his life story and was getting to a juicy part when I happened to glance behind him and noticed a box sticking out of his garbage can.  My pupils dilated and I blurted out, "OOOH, can I keep that box you threw away?? I collect them," at which point Sweet Old Man blinked at me in stunned silence and probably thought I was some crazy person living under a pile of boxes.  A couple of days later I'm at Coolest Steve in the World's house when my cardboard-radar eyes spotted a case of water bottles packed in a box sitting on his kitchen table.  Again, my eyes dilated and I asked if I could have the box even though he was still using it.  Being the nice guy that he is, he proceeded to take all of the water bottles out of the case just so I could have it.  Whattaguy!!  A few days after that, I was shopping at a grocery store when I happened upon a shopping cart full of boxes that some stocker had left behind.  Inside the cart was the holy grail of cardboard boxes, the absolutely perfect box to dry my soaps in.  Pupils fully dilated, I had to fight the urge to do a victory lap around the aisle while pumping my fists in the air in Rocky-like glory. 

THE. Perfect. Box!!!

What makes this the holy grail box of all boxes?  The simple fact that one batch of soap fits perfectly into the box.  I managed to score 3 of them that day, and now I stalk that particular grocery store in hopes that I'll find some more someday.  If anyone finds more of these boxes and gives them to me I shall love them forever-and-a-half plus eternity, THAT's how much I adore these oh-so-perfect boxes!! 

Maybe if you see these boxes in action you'll understand why I love them so.  Here goes: 

Exhibit A:  The Perfect Rack

Beautiful pair, ain't it??  The box on the right is cradling an entire batch of cherry almond goat milk soap, and the one on the left is holding a batch of soap-scented goat milk soap.  :P  No really, it's soap scented!!  Well, if you want to be all technical about it, it's scented with "Country Clothesline" fragrance oil, and clothes that hang on clotheslines smell like the soap they were just washed with, sooooo... Soap-scented soap! ;)

So what's the moral of this meandering story?  That some of the best things in life and in soapmaking are free.  And that if you want to watch my pupils dilate and make my heart skip a beat, give me some of your leftover cardboard boxes.  And that all boxes are beautiful.  The end. :P

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Love the way you lye...

Before you go and thank me (hopefully not in the form of a punch to the throat) for getting the Eminem and Rihanna song stuck in your head after reading the title of this blog entry, let me share the original version of the song with you.  Shout out to my friends Victoria for introducting me to this song and to Christie (R.I.P., sweet lady) for introducing me to her "Coming Home" song.  Feast your ears on the hauntingly gorgeous song below:

I'll give you a moment to collect yourself after listening to the song.  Here's a Kleenex, my soggy-eyed friend!

So, back to soap.  You need two ingredients to make soap:  oil and lye.  Lye is the part that scares people away from making soap from scratch.  Wimps.  I scoff in their general direction.  ;)  Lye is the part of soapmaking that I find most thrilling, to be honest (*insert cheezy lie/lye joke here*)  :P  It blows my nerdy mind how such a caustic material becomes such a gentle one as soon as it meets oil.  Kind of like "When Harry Met Sally"...  you take two completely different things, bring 'em together, and viola, you've got magic because together they balance each other out and create something completely new and awesome.  Whouldathunk science could be romantic?

I get a secret thrill whenever I go to the hardware store to buy lye.  I don't know if it's because it makes me feel tough (I can just hear the clerks thinking to themselves "Oooh, look at that badass chick over there buying all that scary lye!  Don't mess with her!")  or because I'm afraid that I'll get tackled by some undercover cop who thinks I'm using it to make meth.  Either way, it's terribly exciting! 

Here's the thing about lye:  it will eat your face!!  (...or whatever part of your body it happens to land on.)

Are you terrified yet?  You should be.  Just imagine that this big, bad, fuzzy wuzzy bunny is a face-thirsty batch of lye just dying to get at you.  The only way to save yourself from its reign of terror is to wear protection:  gloves, long sleeves, a face mask to protect yourself from the fumes, and goggles so that you don't end up creating your own literal version of "She Blinded Me with Science!" as you're whipping up a batch of soap. 

Now this is where the broke-ass soaper in me gets to whine and complain.  The price of lye has really gone up, plus it's a lot harder to find nowadays.  Thanks a LOT, meth addicts, for messing up the good clean fun that us soapers were having.  *shakes fist angrily*  I buy my lye from a certain major retail home improvement store geared towards chicks (...tough chicks who strike fear in the hearts of the clerks with all the lye that they're buying up.  Humor me, people!!!)   Unfortunately, there's no way I can make soap without lye and there's no way I can save money on lye unless I buy it in 50 pounds sacks, but that kind of defeats the purpose if you don't have the moola to pay for said ridiculously huge sack of lye in the first place.  *sigh*  What can ya do?