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