Saturday, April 19, 2008
Soap Making in Humboldt County
This photo is of a Freesia, one (of many) of my favorite flowers. I have quite a few "favorites." I absolutely love Gardenias. I grow lots of Roses. Jasmine is another favorite. And I almost forgot to mention how much I love Oriental Lilies! I have this irresistible tendency towards sweet fragrances.
Remember the cartoon illustration of the hungry character floating through the air toward the food with the smoke pulling it like a rope? That's the way I am with floral fragrances. I can never seem to get enough beautiful, sweet flowers around me. So, I have discovered a great way to express this passion for fragrance without having to plant all of these flowers in my garden......I make my own soap. I am a self proclaimed, successful herbal soap maker.
I started this endeavor about 5 years ago when I lived on a small homestead in Southern Humboldt. I attended a class introducing me to soap making that was taught by a friend of mine. I thought it interesting and promptly went home to announce to my family that I was now going to make our own soap. I had already succeeded in making all of our own whole wheat bread, raised our own chickens to provide our eggs, raised and butchered all of our own turkey and chicken meat, and grew and canned most of our fruits and veggies. So when I made this announcement, no one seemed too surprised. My first attempts did not turn out very well, but with tender encouragement from my husband, I kept trying until I got it right. I spent many hours on the internet researching recipes, borrowing books from the library and calling my friend to help me create a great bar of soap. After weeks of trial and error, I developed a bar of soap that fulfilled my expectations. At this point, I decided that I couldn't just make soap for my family; I had to make it for the entire county! Once I got going on it, I couldn't stop. I found so many titillating scents and fragrances to make into incredible soaps that I had to step up my production just to experiment with them all! I had racks and racks of curing soaps scattered all over the house and throughout my living space. All of this became the creation of my new business, "A Corner of Eden." I had to have soap displays made so I could sell the soap to local businesses.
I went to farmer's market every week to sell it. I spent my Christmas holidays attending boutiques and faires selling my specialty soaps. I put in lots and lots of hours promoting my handmade goods while raising the kids, managing the homestead, and generally keeping life running smoothly. Whew... I'm getting worn out just remembering all of that!
Several years later, our family made the decision to move away from the homestead. The circumstances in our lives had changed which made it necessary to move closer to town and off the farm. It wasn't the easiest decision I have had to make, but I was ready to accept it.
Since moving into town, I haven't gotten my soap business back up to the level I would like it to be, but I feel a change coming........It's time to make soap again. I can feel it. It's a creative burn in my hands that begs to express itself. Gardening can't fulfill it, cooking won't do it, only soap making will give my limbs the satisfaction they long for. I shall start as soon as I can get up out of this comfy chair and away from this warm fire... oh, wait a minute, is that the phone ringing? Did someone say that the grandkids are coming over to spend the day? Oh yes, and I have a test on Monday that I need to study for; and I haven't taken the dogs for a walk yet...
Hmmmm.... maybe I will just wait until tomorrow.....