Prompted by a friend's question, I have been thinking a lot lately about what brought me to soap making and why I love it so much.
10 years ago, when I was finishing my degree in chemistry and biology, I started making lip balms, body butters and other bath products for personal use. Books on the subject were not easy to find and the internet was pretty much nonexistent for me at the time. Supplies were also difficult to find but a local health food store carried a small amount of beeswax, oils and butters. I remember finding a book on soapmaking in a second hand bookstore. By flipping through the pages of that book, I could imagine the stuff I could make if only I could find lye. Lye was not easy to come by and I have to admit the process was a wee bit intimidating. So my dreams of making my own soap lay dormant for many years until recently.
I keep thinking about it and I realize my journey to soap making did not begin ten years ago. I think it actually began when I was a small girl. You see, I was the little girl who loved to make concoctions (LOVE that word). Unfortunately for my mother, that often involved her make-up and shampoos and whatever else I could find in a bottle. I loved squeezing toothpaste out of its tube. I loved watching a stream of shampoo as it poured out of its bottle. And I loved using my hands to mix this shampoo with its matching conditioner or a hand lotion or a powder. Mom, you knew I did this, right? Or have I unknowingly committed to something that was better left unknown. (Well, I know that you know about the time that I poured your make-up out the upstairs window because you caught me. Keegan got revenge for you when he was two years old and he smeared a bottle of cream all over my bed. I didn't get mad. I know karma when I meet it.) My experiments did not include only cosmetic products. I liked paints, glue and don't even get me started on mud. My mud pie adventures deserve a post all to themselves.
A couple of years ago I was reading something (blog, magazine, book). I wish I could remember what I was reading so I could give the author credit. The gist of it was that often, what makes a person happy as an adult is what made them happy when they were 5 years old. That thought has stayed with me as I watch my two boys grow up and discover themselves. It returns to me as I consider what seems to make me really happy as a 40 year old woman -- mixing and pouring but with less of a nuisance factor involved. I hope.