Toys toys toys! -- Err, I mean, serious grown-up business supplies.
My mind has constantly wandered to soap. Making soap, the history of soap, regard for soap in various cultures. It's odd to suddenly give a shit about it. Though, actually, maybe quite predictable for someone like me.
It was Dwarf Fortress that got me interested. I love games where you start with nothing and eke out a civilisation using wit and wilderness (and as much beer as you can brew without your villagers starving to death). Soap is one of your manufactured items. You take fat from butchered livestock, and lye made from furnace ash, and come out with this vital commodity in dwarven healthcare.
In case the apocalypse happens, I want to know how to make the stuff that'll keep my underarms clean, so it's time to learn how to make soap.
Yesterday, I ordered the "Scrubby" starter kit and a book on soap-making from Aussie Soap Supplies. Hooray, hooray, they're in WA, so mail arrived today. I'm not working with lye yet. I am scared of hazardous chemicals, and want to make sure I'm comfortable going through the motions before getting my science face on.
The kit comes with pre-made soap, where all the lye has been used up in the saponification process. To make a nice bar of end-user soap, you simply melt the pre-made stuff, mix it with lovely things - oils, fragrances, grits, butters, etc. - and pour it in a mold to set.
From this step, I hope to get a feel for ingredient and mixture textures, and how they behave throughout the process. And to get my head around good hygeine practices, cos that'll be so important when it's time to use (and eventually make) the caustic lye.
I'm real excited about this. But can't start today. We just got a call from our rental agent about the house move, so the rest of my week will be spent prepping for prospective tenants to come through. Maybe it's for the best if I can't start soaping until after we've moved. Our kitchen isn't the best size for separating chemical things and food things. To be extra careful, I'll also avoid making soap that looks and smells like food.
Stay tuned. Learn with me. :)