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I come to you today feeling a lot grateful and a little tired.  The rain is pattering on my tin roof, the turkeys are cooing, and life just got slower~  It has been a couple weeks since a friend and I got together and laughingly made soap.  The sense of bonding over making soap for family is a sacred thing.  Women and families have done it for centuries.

In the past few weeks, I have observed nature and people participate in the hustle and bustle.  The end of summer frenzy to collect our nuts and check our stores.  The desire to attend community events, yet the inner-longing to just stay home and look within.  The grace to show our Creator our gratitude by saying so.  And the harvest of a Community, through our beautiful children.  There are so many beautiful babies around ~ And the desire to express our souls through art, which is synonymous with baby-making.

With those thoughts I bring you images of our soap making.  Ever since 1999, I have been keeping a Materia Medica.  A collection of recipes and experiments with herbs, oils and natural remedies.  My basic soap recipe comes from Country Living – Handmade Soap – Recipes for crafting soap at home.  I have gladly purchased essential oils from Creation Pharms, formerly of Boone, NC.  Mike Hulbert wrote the text for this book, and now lives in Michigan with his wife, who is an herbalist.  I have profound gratitude to Beth Jefferies Barnes, who took time out of her day to teach me to make soap, on that Ridge, back in time.

I wish my photos could truly express the richness of these experiments, but I find life is so much brighter and harder to capture.  I have only included two images.  The rest can belong to the art of your imagination.  See yourself with a friend instead.

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One begins by collecting ingredients.  This time I used coconut oil, olive oil, grape seed oil lye, water, rosemary and peppermint essential oils.  Prepare your lye and water separately and safely.  Then, set up your oils on the stove.  Have a thermometer handy to check the temperature of both set ups.  When you achieve the desired temperatures, mix together slowly and stir.  The first time I made soap, my teacher asked me to stir the entire time by hand.  You’ll be ever more grateful for the batch.  Otherwise I use a nice hand mixer, kept only with my craft supplies.  After you reach a consistency where the soap traces, pour into your molds.  I use a loaf mold made of wood by my husband.  I slip a trash bag over the mold and pour into that.  This way the mold slips right out to cure.  Have patience for 4-6 weeks.

If you find you have always wanted to make soap, say it out loud.  Say it several times.  Then, write it down.  Begin by going to your library and finding a book, or searching the internet.  Collect your resources, which you may even have in your home now.  Find a friend who might split the cost with you.  Brew some tea and be a part of this generation learning what our ancestors did, and passing it along.  Remember.  Take Part.

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