Saturday, September 21, 2013

Soap musings...

Over several decades, I have made most of the bar soap we have used at home.  It all began when I had 3 children, and the older ones would leave a bar of soap in their bath water and it would quickly be ruined.  Soap was relatively expensive for us ~ due to a Very limited budget.  So, I learned to make soap, and it turned into a small hobby.  I have given it as gifts, sold some through the years, and of course used it for our needs.  I have several stand-by recipes, including my "standard every day soap," Castile soap, and a wonderful shampoo bar.  I also save used cooking fats that I can't re-use for cooking, and when I get "enough," I clarify it, add some coconut oil and make soap from that.  Actually, that is one of my favorites.  It's as if breaking down the fats with so much cooking makes a nicer soap.  I have no idea of the science behind that, but there it is.

One of our grandsons is here right now and he and his Cub Scout Pack carved soap at a meeting.  It was not Ivory Soap, which in my mind is the "gold standard" for soap carving, so I bought a package of the Ivory so he could try it here.  There are several bars left.  I haven't had any Ivory for many years, but as I've used it now, the scent took me back to when I was a child.  I had forgotten how much I love Ivory Soap!

...what sort of person obsesses to this degree about soap???  Well, ask someone who collects aluminum cans for recycling how they feel when they have to drive by a can without stopping. (You know who you are.)

This morning, I took a bar of Ivory into the shower and used it for washing my hair too.  We do have soft water, by the way, so that makes a big difference.  My hair is CLEAN.  Not particularly tangled.  SOFT.  I think I like it this way!  And I think as long as I can afford it, I might just keep using Ivory.  My husband remarked also that it really does a great job of cleaning grease off his hands when he's been working in the garage.  Good Stuff.  Here is (to me) a very interesting article about Ivory Soap.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Play Dough"

About 35 years ago, a friend gave me a recipe for homemade Play Dough.  It is wonderful stuff.  I've made it many many times through the years for our children.  Currently, some grandchildren are here with us and I was asked to make some.  The Play Dough is in the plastic bag in the picture above.  So easy and quick to make and inexpensive.  It doesn't need to stay in the fridge.  It will keep a long time, if you keep it tightly wrapped between uses.  Here is the simple recipe:

Homemade Play Dough

2.5 cups of white flour
1/2 cup salt
1 Tablespoon alum (get in the spice section at your grocery store)

Combine the flour, salt and alum.

Bring two cups of water to a boil and pour that in along with 3 Tablespoons of cooking oil and some food coloring.  Mix and knead until it's uniform.  That's it!  If you wish, you can divide it up into smaller batches and color them differently.  This makes a nice gift for a child.
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