Thursday, November 05, 2009

Soapmaking and Creative Karma!

Tonight I was entirely thrilled by the Soapmaking Class that I took at the Community College. Our Instructor was at first very quiet, but as the class began, I really started to enjoy her knowledge, and sense of humor. I feel that if she were not my "class instructor" and if she didn't live a ways away from me, we might have a lot in common and could become friends, or at least two women who share some ideas about crafts, farming, family, and green lifestyles. I am excited to visit her blog tomorrow, as I just won't have enough time tonight because it is already midnight and I am TRYING to make it to bed before my recent 3-4am time. (seriously. I have literally been going to bed between 3-4am for a couple of weeks now. How ridiculous is that?!) So, if it didn't sound creepy-stalkerish, I would say, out loud, that I feel a friendship could be had, between the instructor and myself.

There is just so much to do, and it seems like there are NOT enough hours in the day to do them. But seriously, I can go to sleep around 1-2am and somewhat function, but 3-4am.... can't happen. It just can't.

So, back to soapmaking. When I first decided (a year ago!) that I wanted to make my own soap, I started reading online and was put-off by the complication, mathematics, and danger associated with "true" soapmaking (lye, saponification, etc.) I decided to start with melt and pour glycerin soaps. I thought it would give me a feel for soapmaking and decide if it really was for me. It was simple. It was fun. The end result smelled great, but honestly, it wasn't the soap I was looking for. I was looking for Goat's Milk, Oatmeal, Honey, or patchouli orange soap. I was looking for sensitive skin soap. I was looking for eczema friendly soap. Allergy friendly soap. BABY Friendly soap. Paraben and SLS-free soap. I just felt that there was SO much more than glycerin melt and pour soap. But I didn't know where to begin, how to begin, or if I even WANTED to begin. I wanted to save money and buy my own soap. I wanted to control the ingredients in my soap. I wanted to soothe the itchy, dry, allergy and eczema prone skin that I had also passed on to Ardyn.

Then.... I had Marek. And my life became enswirled by my toddler tornado and bombarded by breastfeeding, double diaper duty, and eventually potty training and baby-food making. I was doing good to keep my head "above water"... let alone investigate soapmaking, PAY for the supplies, teach myself to do it, and actually find CHILD-FREE time to do so. After all, it isn't wise to involve children in lye mixing activities. Not to mention that I couldn't focus on one task long enough to even get it started, let alone accomplish anything.

Along came the fall continuing education flier at my local community college. Filled with Wire Jewelry, RAW Beading, Sewing, and yes, Soapmaking. These things, I believe, come to me as destiny. Some may call it an act of God. I don't care what YOU call it, but I know that things happen to me for a reason. I know that sometimes, when I start thinking of things in my brain, and I roll them over in there, sometimes in complete silence.... it is ironic how many times something will appear before me and just call out to me "this is your sign! Do this now! It IS possible." People may think I am nuts, but I share this sentiment with my mom.... Things happen for a reason. There is a reason that you may have never heard of something before, in all your 30 years, and then, one day, you hear about it, it interests you, and after that you are suddenly bombarded with information and random snippets about that exact thing. To myself, I call it "Creative Karma." I put it out there, and somehow, it comes back to me.

So, creative karma was screaming "soapmaking." And while I wanted to take a class a week at the college, in varying crafty endeavors, money just wasn't on my side. But I VOWED that I would take soapmaking. Well, by the time I had raised myself the money, I called, and the class was full. AND I was SO Disappointed. And by that time, a SECOND Class was sceduled, but was ALSO Full. Oh Creative Karma... Why do you taunt me so? But I was told that my name would be placed on a waiting list and that I would be contacted when they could fill another class. Well.... here comes that karma again. It really is kind of evil that I am calling it Karma at all this time, because it really was a series of unfortunate events. Namely, the instructor had her first ever "soapmaking" accident in her 6 year history of soapmaking. While preparing soap to take to that second class, she was pouring soap into her molds and there was a "volcanic" eruption of sorts which splashed hot lye soap directly into her eye.

Not everyone knows that lye is really Sodium Hydroxide... which can cause very serious chemical burns, and is used as a drain line opener. I know this because I personally have a sulfuric acid burn, sustained from 99% Sulfuric Acid in drain line opener. I received it when I was working at a Hardware Store Warehouse and was a "Loss Prevention" (Security) Officer. I was involved in security, and another part of our job responsibility was to clean up chemical and material spills. I actually had quite the background in safety at that time, and was the person who taught safety classes and things of the sort at the warehouse. And ironically I was the officer on duty when a forklift operator speared a pallet of drain line opener. Of course, hindsight being 20/20.... we should have immediately pulled the MSDS Sheet and known that it was much more serious and toxic than the average person probably knows, and that in addition to our neoprene gloves and neutralizing lime, we should have had Neoprene Boots, Goggles, and PERHAPS Neoprene suits. At the time I was working with a wonderful Maintenance Team Member, who was older than I (I was just like 19 at the time) and I trusted him and thought his knowledge on these chemicals was all we needed. Looking back, we both made mistakes.... but that's how it goes. So anyway, while picking up a 50 POUND bag of Lime to "sprinkle" over the spill to neutralize the acid, I slipped in "splashes" of acid that we didn't see, and fell INTO the acid. Yep. Slick (no pun intended.) on my part. Well, the driver of the forklift had speared the pallet and didn't know that he had missed his "fork slots" until he had gone a whole aisle over.... so he had a nice dripping trail down the aisle, and then a giant puddle where he had removed his forks and set down the pallet. this caused some type of splashing. To add to the issue, there were a couple of lightbulbs out in the aisle where the spill had landed (a safety issue and a neglect issue of sorts) and therefore it was darker than usual and difficult to SEE the full spill, which is how we missed the "sprinkles and splashes" and how I stepped into some and slipped. And the fact that I was carrying a 50 pound bag of lime didn't help my steady cause any. So, anyway, hands landed in the lime, butt landed in the lime, and legs.... and my FOOT landed IN the large spill area, and the acid immediately ate my pantleg from the knee down, and ate my leather oxford shoe AND my sock right off my foot. So right at the area where the tongue of your shoe meets your ankle, I had a severe acid burn. Immediately it started eating through my skin. Unless you have felt that sensation, it is difficult if not impossible to explain what it feels like to have acid eating your skin away. So the maintenance member who was working with me got onto our cart and we sped away towards the showers, where I stripped off what was left of my pants and started rinsing. He clocked the rinse from outside the shower room, and although I kept telling him "come here and look at this!" he was all modest and shy and wouldn't enter the room. He found me a blanket and by the time my "required rinsing" was complete, I was wrapped up and escorted to the cart again and whisked off to the exit where a company van was waiting, filled with MANAGEMENT and I was whisked off to the Emergency Room where I received saline flushes and sulfadine cream. I followed up with daily, bi-weekly, and weekly visits to the ER for flushes, cleanings, and wraps to my ankle. For a while I was told it was severe enough to require skin grafts. It freaked me out seriously. And then I found that it would heal, although I had a "forever" scar aout 2-2.5 inches in diameter. So. That was my acid experience. And after that my employer did a huge revamping of their spill cart, placing the 50lb bags into smaller flip top totes with scoops and buckets to make the spill cleanup safer and more efficient.

So, sorry.... back to the teacher. She was unfortunately injured (although not permenantly, thank goodness) by the lye in her eye, and had to cancel the class and undergo treatments and medical care to heal her eye. And she now wears safety goggles.

But because that class had to be "canceled," they rescheduled it and I was able to take the next class. So, in a Karmic way (not that I am suggesting the teacher was INJURED so that I could take the class.... but it is interesting how things come together sometimes) the very afternoon that I called about getting IN to the class, I was told it was full, and later that evening was called back and told that there would be a rescheduling. (Now you all think I am a witch who hexed my teacher, don't you? I really belong on Eastwick, it's true. My powers are unprecedented. I'm kidding. Seriously.)

So, tonight was the class. And it was wonderful. And I brought home a pringles can of soap (yep, that's her clever mold for round soaps!) and now I need EVERYONE I know to start saving me their pringles cans and lids. LOL. In 24 hours I can slice the soap into bars. Then It will cure for 1 month, and then I can use it. I am so super excited, because via Facebook, I learned that my friend Kristen also makes soap. It is sometimes very very eerie how much Kristen and I have in common. The breastfeeding, the cloth diapering, the love of animals and farm life. I covet her garden and her fresh eggs (I really really miss my garden and have ALWAYS wanted my own chickens for eggs!) and now, she pops up with soapmaking? Will it ever end? (that's mamma karma!) So now, I am hoping *disclaimer, Kristen does not know this yet* that she will agree to entertain me with soapmaking discussions and that I can invite myself to her farm sometime soon and see how and where she makes her soap. My goal is to have my first batch of soap made before Thanksgiving. I want to make Patchouli Orange soap, because I LOVE Patchouli Orange, and my father-in-law also uses Patchouli soap.... and so I would like to make a batch that I can split between us and surprise him with some for Christmas. *hopefully.*

So before Thanksgiving, I have some supplies to gather. I want Evan to make me a mold, or have enough pringles cans gathered to make a batch. I need a couple of silicone spatulas (heat safe) that I can designate for soap making. I am considering knocking down some of my Pampered Chef spatulas for the cause, because I have owned them since I started selling in 2002, and now the silicone is sticky and I don't like using them in the kitchen. I also need to dig out an enameled stock pot (I think I have one or two in the garage that I had set aside for canning and can also use for soapmaking) and I need to get a cheap stick blender and a digital scale. In a pinch I can use a handmixer (I have an antique Hamilton Beach Chrome one) or my blender (which i NEVER use anyway, so good use for it) I need some goggles. I need a large pyrex measuring cup (8 cup) and lye, oils, and essential oils. I can't use the expensive Young Living Essential Oils that I use for aromatherapy, because one recipe calls for as much as 4 ounces of oil.... and that would be NOT cost effective to use that much expensive oil in soaps! I would like to use some ground oatmeal in my soap, and also honey, as I have a couple of jars of raw honey harvested from the Outlaws' Timber this summer (the family has bee hives located there, how cool is that!?) So. I have things to gather, and things to pay for. I am really not sure that is even remotely possible before Thanksgiving, as the bills this month are IMMENSE with the addition of two License Plate renewals to our regular bills, and Evan and I have birthdays (AND Our first official date since Marek has been born 7 months ago, and the FIRST time Marek will stay away from me overnight!!!)

So I may be overly optimistic. Especially considering the calendar is filling up INCREDIBLY fast, and the house is a wreck. I really need someone to take these kids for like TWO DAYS so that I can clean. I can't even keep this house picked up, let alone CLEAN. It's really affecting my brain. I have piles of things to do, piles of things to organize. The sewing area is a DISASTER (post emergency Halloween costume sewing) and I have so much that I need and want to sew, it's insane. but I can't seem to get away from the daily tasks of FEEDING kids, washing laundry and dishes, and the like, to both CLEAN the sewing area AND sew something. Baby steps. I am trying to not let my head spin around. It's getting a little hectic.

After soapmaking class tonight, my head was just reeling with thoughts, ideas, plans off action.... It was too much. I called my own cell phone three times on the way home to leave MYSELF messages of things to do and lists to make. That's how nuts it's getting.

And then I have all these brilliant ideas, like "I'll make my own crackers from scratch" and tear out articles from my magazines on making my own organic yogurt (we eat a LOT of yogurt, especially mixed with fresh fruit, in these parts!) and I have Christmas Stockings to sew, and Pajama "dresses" to make for Ardyn, and Fleece diaper covers for Marek, and an iSpy bag for Michele's Allison (which is on my list forever now!) and then my MOM wants me to make her kitchen curtains next week... and I have all my Bum genius OS diapers torn up and waiting for new snaps and the correct die size (which I have to order tomorrow online) and then I have to set about 1400 snaps (seriously) to get those finished. I am hoping for a diaper a day once the snaps arrive. The computer desk is a landslide of papers. I have bills to pay. I can't even reach my closet or my makeup table in our room. We desperately need to go through Ardyn's toys and put up small "choking hazards" because she doesn't understand that she can't leave them lying on the floor, and Marek has really started to step up his army crawling this week and I almost broke my leg trying to get out of the bathtub fast enough to pry a choking hazard out of his drooling mouth this afternoon. I have magazines to read. I have a guest list to make for my Usborne book party. I have Thanksgiving invites to send out to family. The kitchen needs cleaned. The floors need mopped. The diaper pail is full again and if it's nice this week still, I need to get some out in the sun before there isn't any sun anymore. I have a defective Baby Bouncer to ship back to Fisher Price and a broken humidifier to get rid of. I need to get a few groceries, clean out two freezers, and finish y husband's to-do list so that he can change lightbulbs, replace smoke detector batteries, switch the door on my dryer to the other side, and pump out the pond and cover it for the winter. It's hard enough to remember what I need to do, let alone remember what I need to remind OTHER people to do. Ugh.

So, let's talk about MOPS now. I am really enjoying MOPS. I missed the October meeting, but this month was great. We did "freezer meals" and we all broke up into groups. Each group had a station in the kitchen and each station was in charge of a specific freezer meal. There was Chili, Italian Beef Hoagies, Sloppy Joe's, Beef Stroganoff, Tacos, etc. Our $5 "meeting fee" for the month allowed us each to take home 2 freezer meals, and for another $6, we could make another 3. I just did two, and chose Italian beef Hoagies and Beef Stroganoff. We also brought home a neat little freezer meal cookbook with contributions from our fellow MOPS and also with tips and ideas on how to freeze and prep various meals.

So, this has me motivated to do more frozen meals, but this also reminds me that I NEED to get the freezers cleaned out. But this is not a one person job.... especially when that one person is myself who is in charge of two children who can't be left alone. Naptime is getting shorter and shorter these days... and so it's barely enough time for me to take a shower or bath.... let alone accomplish anything. Marek is my good napper right now. Ardyn is the nap resistor. She is really starting to give us a hard time about sleeping in general. She can go to her room and still be awake two hours later. Her new thing is that she wants us to leave the door open when she goes to sleep. Otherwise she is pitter pattering and opening the door and standing behind it and being all goofy and awake. I have learned that if I let the dog into her room with her and shut the door to keep him in, it's okay to keep her door shut and she will fall asleep, and then we can let the dog out later. He isn't thrilled with this prospect, but it works.

Well, I am feeling pressured to make lists now, and I still need to go to bed, and it's almost 2am. Jeez. More later, and if you are still with me, holy cow. Thanks.


Abiga/Karen said...

Wow, you are busy! Linked to you from Antiquity Oaks site. My daughter used those type of cloth diapers but she can't seem to wash the ammonia smell and irritant out of them for the baby to wear. How do you wash yours? Blessings.

dazed said...

Hi! I know that lots of people have ammonia "stinkies" With Microfiber.

My wash cycle is consistent and I haven't had an issue yet. I do a cold prewash with no soap or additives. Then I do a HOT wash with a cold rinse, with detergent (Oxyprime) and a stain fighter (Oxyboost) in every load. Then I do a second rinse with cold water, which removes the excess detergent, if there is any. When washing diapers you use HALF the recommended amount of detergent. You also have to make sure you have an additive free detergent that will rinse clean.

Hope this helps! I only use the Bum Genius overnight, otherwise we use fitteds and prefolds.

Good luck!

Michelle said...

Take a break woman! im tired just reading this lol .


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