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?

Monday, July 11, 2011

This is where the magic happens. Ohhhhhh yeaaaahhhh! Bow chica bow wowww!

One of the first things people ask me when they find out I make soap is what soapmaking process I like to use. I proudly proclaim that I am a CPHP ho (that's Crock Pot Hot Process for you soap newbs). I can't get enough of it. I love me some crock pots and have 2 that I use just for soaping and 1 that I use just for candlemaking, plus I have others that I use for cooking. Keep in mind that I live in a tiny apartment with a kitchen the size of a closet, so it's quite a feat to have that many crock pots living in one space.  They keep me company every cold and lonely night.  :P

First let me show you the crock that started it all. BEHOLD!!

*cue the sound of angels singing*

This is the crock pot that my mom gave me. I was a sentimental fool when she gave it to me because she claimed that it was given to her as a present at her bridal shower 40 plus years ago. This of course filled my heart with mush and lovey doveiness for the longest time and I soaped away with it happily... that is until I realized that my mom's memory is not the greatest. Case in point:  recently she showed me a pink onesie that she had dug up and claimed that I used to wear it when I was a baby. I didn't have the heart to tell her that the onesie was actually from the generic Cabbage Patch preemie twins she had sewn for me when I was a kid. A much-too-old-to-be-playing-with-dolls kid. I think I was in junior high if I recall correctly; the picture of me with the twins features what I like to call Quail Bangs and I didn't discover Aqua Net until I was in 6th grade, so do the math people!! But I digress.  (Fun fact:  for the longest time, I thought the saying was "but I die grass..." because I don't get out much and the first time I heard it was while watching Wayne's World.  Yes, my life is sad.) Anyways, judging by the funky decor on this crock pot (I love the lobster next to the knob) I'd say it's circa mid-1970's so it's still mighty impressive that it functions so well after all this time. 

I was a CP (cold process) soaper for the longest time until I finally tried my hand at CPHP.  This is the video that inspired me to make the transition.  I love that it's a time lapse video and that it's only a minute and a half long.  TV and the interwebs have left us with the attention span of a goldfish, so this video is perfect:  Hot Process Soapmaking in a Crock Pot

Why do I like CPHP so much?  The main reason why is because I'm a tightwad and I can get away with using less fragrance oil or essential oil to scent my soap.  Also, I lost too many CP batches to cheap scents that caused the whole batch to seize and turn into a smelly pile of angry mashed potato-looking soap.  With HP, I haven't had that problem.  Hip hip HOORAAAYYY!

So here's my tip for fellow broke-ass soapers out there:  buying new is for suckas.  Happily take donations of used items (free is good and so are the stories behind the life of the item you just received) and don't bother buying fancy, shiny, new things.  If you're a skilled soaper, the soap you  made in a free crock pot will be just as good as the soap you made in a $60 fancy schmancy crock.  If you can't get soaping tools for free, then buy them for hella cheap at places like Goodwill or yard sales.  It's always thrilling to find something for practically nothing if you just look hard enough.  :)

So that's the end of my first lesson kids.  Time for recess.  But first, enjoy this gratuitous shot of my parents on the day of their wedding.  D'awwwwww!  <3

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Welcome to my blog! Thanks for taking a look. :)

Practice safe soap!  Always wear protection.  ;)

My name is Denisse and I am a soap-aholic.  For reals.  Everyone I talk to about my hobby is fascinated, or at least pretends to be, so I figured it would be a good idea to share my thoughts and findings here since almost every person I talk to wants to learn more about making soap. 

Let me start off by saying that soapmaking is a wonderful hobby.  I love it.  It makes me happy in so many different ways.  However, it also gets expensive very quickly.  Ask me how I know.  In the beginning, I went overboard buying every single soapmaking item I could find.  I can honestly say that I've spent thousands of dollars making soap with all kinds of fancy doodads and ingredients.  I've gotten to the point now where I've realized I can make some pretty kickass soap without top-of-the-line fancy stuff, which is what this blog is all about.  Money's also really tight right now since I'm between jobs and am Living La Vida Broke-a.  This is why I decided to go with the name "Broke-Ass Bisbee Soaper."  Please don't call me BABS for short, since I have neither the schnoz nor the vocal talent to live up to the name Babs.  :P  Hope you gain some useful insight from my blog and that you enjoy reading it.  I'm excited to share my hobby and thoughts with you.  SQUEEEEE!!!  Let the soaping begin!!!  :D