Remember that book, All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten? Well, all I really needed to know I learned from soap making. After twenty years, I’ve decided that making soap and life have a lot in common. Both involve a long learning process, can be joyful and frustrating and have taught me many things.
There is no one perfect bar of soap or one perfect way to live
In a bar of soap, some people want large bubbles and lots of them. Others want a creamier feel. Some want scented, some unscented. Others like essential oils, some only like fragrance oils. Some want added botanicals, glitter, round shape, rectangle shape, square shape, color, no color, you get the picture. My idea of a perfect bar of soap and a perfect life will be different than yours. I like a routine, you may crave adventure. I like living in the suburbs, you might enjoy the excitement of city life or the quite of the country. Each of us chooses what is right for us.
If you want to make a good bar of soap, or a good life, surround yourself with quality ingredients and quality people
I won’t use old oils for my soap, they will turn my soap rancid quickly. I need to invest in a variety of good, quality oils. This way, when I formulate my soaps, I don’t have to reach far to find what I need. Just like I want quality people surrounding me in my life. Friends who will laugh and cry with me, who will support and encourage me. Friends who will help me be that same kind of friend to them.
Don’t be afraid of making a mistake in making soap or in life
One August, I decided to try making a red soap. A red and white striped candy cane for Christmas. I bought what I thought was a red mica (mistake #1), and made a very large batch (mistake #2). Once I started soap making, I got fancy, swirled some activated charcoal in it and let it cure. I loved how it turned out…until I used it. It bled red. I mean, it looked like Psycho in the shower, it was that bad. I looked at the mica and realized I used a bath bomb color, so at least it was body safe. But what was I going to do with all that soap??
Took me a few days but since Halloween was the next month I called it “Vampire Soap”, put a label on it that said “caution, bleeds red” and sold it as a gag gift. Turned out to be my best mistake. I had to make another two batches, and now I make it every August. Life seems to follow suit. When you mess up, see if you can make lemonade out of the lemons. If you can’t, learn from the mistake (read what you are buying before you buy it & experiment in small batches) and move on.
If someone snubs your soap or you, don’t take it personally
I like lavender. In fact, I absolutely love lavender. Most of my soaps have lavender in them. Hard for me to believe, but some people don’t like lavender…in fact, some people hate lavender and therefore, hate my soaps. (I know, shocking…) Some people don’t like me either. Maybe I remind them of someone in high school they didn’t like. Could be they are busy with their own life and just don’t want any new friends. Or maybe it isn’t about me anyway. Whatever. I’m not gonna waste my time trying to change their mind, about me or about lavender. God bless them on their way.
We need to take time to enjoy the soap and life we create
When I create a new scent, I want to breathe it in. When I create a new formula, I want to feel it on my skin. I want to enjoy my soaps. It won’t be in my shower forever though. My soaps last between three to four weeks and then it is gone. Life is also short, and each moment is different. I swear yesterday my kids were toddlers, today they are grown and out of my house. I was so busy raising them I have no clue where that time went. I’m determined to make the best of what I have left. I want to spend time holding my husband’s hand and experiences, laughter and friends to share them with. More sunrises and read less cleaning. I’m done with being in a constant state of doing, I want to enjoy my soap and my life.
What do you do and what have you learned from it?
Yours in Gratitude,
Mindy Wolfle says
Angela, You are one of my more recent friends and I am so fortunate our paths have crossed. I’m one of those people who you either like a lot or not at all. Hooray for us and all we have learned throughout our lives. Can’t wait to see you soon for lunch and to hear more of your soap stories (which are really about life itself). Love, Mindy
Angela Carillo says
Thanks Mindy. I look forward to a lot more breakfasts, and maybe some lunches with you too!
Angela, this article was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t relate to it more. Now I just need to start making soap with a Jaiden because he absolutely loves it as well. Although, since he is your biggest fan, he feels only you have perfected the art of soap making…. and calls it art!
Thanks a bunch for sharing what soap making has taught you as I think we can never stop learning from our friends.
Have a great one, keep making soap, and holding hands with Brian.
Angela Carillo says
Thanks so much Jackie. You know I have a soft spot for Jaiden, I hang his fan mail on my wall. Tell him he’s right, soap making is art. Start with melt and pour soap, it’s fun and you’ll get some quality mother-son time in. I know he’ll enjoy making it with you.