A couple naked cucumbers are huddled together in the refrigerator, for I stole their peel last night, put it in the dehydrator overnight, and today I pulverized it to put into Friday's soap, 'Cucumber-Aloe.' It's very exciting to pour a liquid into a log or box mold, wait the suspenseful 24 hours before unmolding it, then seeing what the resulting soap looks like. During one soap-making episode, I used a particular botanical and discovered that when the lye water mixed with it, it turned everything a horrid color. That didn't work out so well. Nevertheless, it's always an exciting venture, and I'm learning something about oils and lye.
When I mix the lye with the water, it gives off fumes - that fortunately dissipate once the lye is completely dissolved. Still, because I don't want the dogs to have to breathe the fumes during that short, choking interval, I mix the lye water outdoors. Sometimes I'll make a little nest in the snowbank where I can set the lye water to bring the temperature down more quickly.
Kevin made two molds for me: one is a box mold that I can use to turn out 44 bars of soap; the other is a log mold that I use for a 20-bar recipe.