Trying new things: soapmaking
Scents and textures have a big impact on our wellbeing, more than we realize. I’ve always been very sensitive to smells, colors, or weird textures (I just can’t eat mushrooms) and in 2020, I became more aware of the positive side and effects it can have on my life.
I’ve been reading about how all our senses work together to create strong memories, how they influence us, and how sometimes they can be time-travelers – teachers smell like coffee with cigarettes, perfectly baked potatoes are one of the things that remind me of my oma (grandmother) and certain perfumes, sounds or colors are strongly connected to friends or family.
And something simple like the smell of an old fashioned soap threw me back to the bathroom of my other grandmother where, in the late ’80s, a black cat terrified me although I liked cats. My dad always had to make sure that the coast was clear so I could use the bathroom without being blocked by a staring cat who slowly washes all her paws and fur :-).
When reading about our senses and the impact on memories, it made even more sense that I’ve been trying new food (red pepper no go, but I tried), experimented with new soap (loving Lush), make-up, and even got a super soft faux fur coat in which I can hide on cold days. Wearing it feels like a celebration :-).
One other thing that I focused on, especially during the darkest weeks of the last year is crafting. I finally learned how to knit and made all of our scarves and snoods, I started working with leather to create camera straps and decorated the whole house during the holidays. I went all in! And I don’t even care that the animals ate my carefully fried oranges lol.
Our latest exploration was soapmaking and sugar scrubs. It’s something that I wanted to try for a long time but I wasn’t sure I’d manage the chemical process- so working together with an engineer gets the stress of measuring off my shoulders while I can experiment with scents.
We’re clearly just beginners but learning with every batch we make. At the moment we’re testing the first few to see how our skin and senses react, what we like and what we want to change. Joeri is learning more about the different processes while I study the oils, scents, and natural colors. We aim to create something useful and joyful but natural.
Our first 3 soaps are:
Orange/lavender/shea butter/honey, lavender/coffee scrub/shea butter, and lavender/oats.
My first scrub was: Apricot kernel oil/lavender which smelled very relaxing and soft.
For the second, I used a mix of apricot kernel oil and avocado oil, lavender, and ground Chai herbs.