There is something about the raw beauty of earth that pulls me. This picture is of Australia at it’s most magnificent…. if there is such a thing!
My first encounter with awe was when I saw the Kanchenjunga – the second highest peak of the Himalayas. I must have been 9 or 10. And may be it was since then that I have always pondered about stuff. But not really cared about nature and its bounty. When I say that, I mean, I was the penultimate consumerist. Keratin treatments because I was never happy with my hair, peels because I was in anguish over my scars that I had from chronic acne for many many years… food, because I thought I would cook healthy meals but didn’t… shrinking clothes in the dryer because I could not be bothered hanging the clothes out, plastic bags because I never remembered to take my bags with me.
My sister is a greenie. It used be very annoying how she was always tuned in to nature, to waste, to be conscious about her foot print. We would laugh. Grateful that she did not install a tank in her beautiful Californian home to fill recycled vegetable oil to fuel her car.
And I am talking about a few years ago. So I am not entirely sure what happened. Something sure did. We installed solar panels in our home. I started putting my clothes out on the clothes line. I started following Crunchy Betty and almost entirely stopped buying serums, creams or lotions…. even hair masks, which I would be spending hundreds of dollars on without blinking an eyelid. I think it was the luxury of having worked for 25 years, having raised kids and paying off the mortgage. I felt like I deserved to buy whatever caught my fancy.
I started noticing poverty. I always did, but I started really noticing it. How some kids seemed really happy on the streets of India with rags on and peddling books that would give them some money but barely feed them, let alone give them the life they truly deserved. I looked at the woman washing herself on the streets of Vadodara, in a skirt, hunched over her boobs for privacy… because she could not afford to use the wash rooms down the street.
So I think it was random stuff that led me to watch a video of making goats milk by David Fisher. So I bought some lye, got some goats milk, froze it and made my first soap…. that was in February this year. It is fun, wildly creative, and I love the creative leeway I get exploring different stuff.
My favorite ingredient is oatmeal. I used to buy Lush Angels on Bare Skin and decided to make my own with home ground oatmeal, clay, shea butter and coconut oil… it was amazing. And then I discovered that even Lush, who I worship, and thought was fresh, fresh, fresh…. had artificial fragrance and synthetic ingredients!
So back to soaps…. here is my fav way of doing this… I soak organic oatmeal in water and then blend it. That is your oat milk and it cost pennies relative to what you would buy in Coles or Woollies. Read about the benefits of oatmeal. I am personally quite taken by oat meal and I believe I have used it in every soap! My inspiration for soap comes from nature… lemons hanging off a tree or mandarins…
So here is how I made this particular soap – I was with a dear friend when I noticed the bright orange mandarins… I got some home and juiced them. Then I dried the peels and ground them.
These are the ingredients that went into this baby: Oat and almond milk made with purified water, crushed orange peel, cinnamon and cloves, saponified oils of organic coconut, castor, sunflower, extra virgin olive oil, virgin shea butter, clove essential oil. I wanted the soap to be rustic… had seen something on pinterest that tickled my fancy. so decided I would “pour” the soap into a yoghurt bucket… (recycling in action!!). Essentially to make soap you mix the lye with water or in this instance with frozen oat and almond milks and then combine this solution with the blend of oils and butters. I keep a stick blender and pans specially for my soap…. you stick blend the lye solution and fat until it starts looking like pudding… a little before that you add the botanicals…. in this instance, orange peel and essential oils; pour it into the mould, leave it for a couple of days and voila, you have soap!!
The lye solution reacts with the fat over a few hours, known as the saponification process, as a result of which soap and glycerin are produced. The soap is then cut and then left to “cure” for 4-6 weeks, which makes it milder, harder and just plain gorgeous!!
Then we are ready for “a wicked scrub” … which is what I have named my little baby hobby business 🙂
There are loads of tutorials and talented soap makers out there who post videos of beautiful techniques that make it look easy peasy. My fav is this lady who is drawing art with soap…
My journey with soap is kinda chronicled on my facebook page… you can see how my recipes and technique has evolved over the past few months…
Am loving this journey and more than happy to connect with anyone who wants to watch or learn how to make soap! Specially if you want to gift it to someone special, there are so many pretty things to play with … like the one here…
And ah, about the “weather and the sky” in the title of my story…. that is what I have learnt over several years of coaching, growing, leading… that your thoughts and feelings are like the weather; your mind is hardwired to protect you, so it’s job is to constantly talk to you about what can go wrong and your feelings tell you something that is terribly important to you is happening… they are like the weather, and you are the sky.