I am a student of the Creative Arts, as well as a practing crafts person. In order to learn more about the use and preparation of lye and the making of soap, well of course, I have to read about it.
“Lye–a strong alkaline solution or solid of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, made by allowing water to wash through wood ashes. It is used to make soap and drain and oven cleaners. The chemical formula is KOH or NaOH.”
It makes me wish I’d paid more attention during high school Chemistry classes.
But I read on, and research how to use fireplace ashes and filter rain water through a barrel, and how soap was made hundreds of years ago. And then I research how craftspeople of today make handmade soaps. I practice their techniques and borrow a recipe or two.
I can make soap. Out in the barn. Which makes the surroundings smell so nice you’d never guess that there are animals around.
The recipe I’ve found most success with includes coconut oil, olive oil, lard, lye, rainwater and fragrance oils. Lemongrass is at the top of my list. When the rosemary grows a little more out in the garden, I’ll pick and dry some of that. It will go in a special soap–to relax with after a long, but creative day.