Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DIY Gifting: Part 2, Making Soap with Dorothy Wisnewski

There's something tiresome about shopping for presents.  Not because I don't like to give, but basically because a) I hate shopping and b) it's hard to find meaningful gifts at the mall.  Since I've been making cookies every year for family, I have been hooked on the idea that giving presents doesn't have to be a consumerist act.  When you receive something handmade it is precious, there is only one of its' kind.  The birthday card my son made for me is a piece of him- his imagination, talents, and time.  
Since I have this DIY mentality when it comes to holidays and gifts, I was curious to learn what other people craft as gifts.  Knowing that my friend, Dorothy Wisnewski, is a craftsy lady I asked her to add to this thread.  Dorothy is a woman of many talents- she knits, bakes bread, speaks Spanish fluently, and is a full-time mom.  Lately she's been making soap.  Really cool soap- especially the soda bottle molded soaps!  Here's what Dorothy had to say about her adventures in soap making:  

I have been using pre-made blocks of natural vegan soap that I've been getting from a gardening company, and experimenting with different ingredients (mostly what I already have in my kitchen) to add to small batches. I cut off a chunk, melt it in a bowl in the microwave, wait until it's cool enough, add stuff, then pour into molds. Not exactly in the artisan soapmaking tradition of doing it all precisely and from scratch, but I've been having fun with it-- and avoiding the preservatives in other soaps that had been starting to really bother my skin. 

Cocoa and cinnamon seemed like a winning combo, given that I've had them in so many coffee drinks. I like that lots of potential add-ins (e.g. cocoa powder, coffee, etc.) smell fantastic and also are nice exfoliants, or good for your skin in some other way. As for the shape, I was rinsing out bottles to recycle one day when I looked at the bottom of a soda bottle, noticed the wild rose shape, and realized I could cut off the bottom and use it as a mold. And my latest "Frankenstein's soap monster" was born. Actually, I had the thought that it would be fun to make gross soaps for Halloween, like anatomically correct brains, hearts, etc.... but don't have that kind of mold. I may have to learn to make them myself, too!

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