Friday, 21 August 2009

Teaching soapmaking

Today I taught four people how to make soap. As I shall be moving house soon (Saturday 5th September, to be precise), I am trying to get rid of some things of which I have too much. One of these things is my oil collection. Much as it would be lovely to put them into storage and get them out again next time I want to make soap, I must accept that these things go off and leak, and that storing them is actually not a very clever plan.

I decided to put an advert on my local swap shop, offering to teach people how to make soap. This was in exchange for chocolate, wine, or loan of a tent next time I go camping (next weekend). I got one bar of chocolate, one tent, and one cake. We made two batches of soap, both of which misbehaved in an annoying way. Next time I teach soapmaking I shall have to make sure that I use a tried and tested recipe!

The first batch was a daffodil one. It was supposed to be moisturising. The soap decided to go all oily in the pan, and had to be attacked with a blender until it decided to play nicely. Alas, it did not trace as it was supposed to, and so I couldn't show this stage to everyone. It behaved in the end, though, and did at least demonstrate what soap looks like when it is ready to be poured into the mould.

Alas, during the proceedings one of the local residents decided that it would be a lovely idea to piss into my back yard. He declared that he would laugh if we noticed him. There is perhaps a small possibility that he was somewhat intoxicated. I am very proud of myself: I resisted the urge to hit him with a stick. My guests were also well-behaved, and refrained from pouring caustic soda on the offending item. Tempting, but ultimately likely to get us arrested.

The second soap was purple. Well, it wasn't purple at all, but it will probably be purple by the time it has finished curing. We put alkanet oil in, which is red.* This then turns purple, or lilac, or whatever it wants to be called. It was a bit over-full in its mould, and a bit came out of the top, but it will be interesting to see what it looks like with a forced flat top - normally I stroke it a bit and hope for the best.

The five of us seemed to get on quite well together - I really hope that we can get together at some point in the future and do some more crafty things together. There were some interesting talents within the group, including spinning. I have promised the remainder of my oils to one of them shortly before I move out (I might want to make more soap before I go, but she can have what's left), and we will meet up again at some point in her house to make another vanilla soap. In the meantime, I am thinking of making a soap which uses the oil infused with vanilla that I have had hanging around for an unfeasibly long time. It would be good to use that.

I had a fun time this evening. Tomorrow is sailing and avoiding being thought of as the sort of person who wants to get into a relationship (hopefully not too tricky, but not pinning too many hopes on that), followed by cutting soap, followed by packing, followed by organ practice (which has been sadly lacking recently, but I figure that I should cut myself some slack). Sunday will be a day of church, then lunch, then looking at a potential new house (could do with getting that sorted before I move out of this house), then packing the car, going to the parents' house and dropping off 1/4 of my remaining possessions (only four more trips in which I can do this), then cleaning out their fridge which will be full of rotting vegetables. Yay. Monday will be organ building work experience, day three. This promises to be fun. I suppose that the last two would only count as fun if you like that sort of thing, but it turns out that so far I do. A career I enjoy may be beckoning me...

*To be a little bit more precise, the alkanet oil is actually olive oil infused with alkanet powder. It starts off looking a little like blood, and then goes purplish when it gets put in something with the same pH as soap, whatever that happens to be. I started to infuse this one in the previous house - it has probably been infusing for something approaching a year now.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Since getting home from work

He came back to collect some more stuff. He went away again. I cried. I stopped crying. I brought some oils downstairs. I taught two people how to make soap. I did the washing up. They went home. I wrote a blog post. The end.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Well, I am happily settling into living alone. It is quite a revelation to have the whole house to myself all the time, and not to have anybody to complain if I don't clean the kitchen. Which, incidentally, I will be doing tomorrow afternoon, as I shall be leading a soapmaking workshop there, and don't want anyone to get the idea that I have no idea about kitchen hygiene. I am fairly sure that my theoretical knowledge, at least, is excellent!

Having given my bed away to a couple of friends, I am borrowing Serena's spare bed. I must take a photo of my new, improved bedroom, actually - there is an amazing amount of space in it. It is just the sort of bedroom I would like to have always. Such a pity that I shall be leaving this house in less than a month. The mattress is very comfortable, also, and I have a double duvet to go with it, despite the bed being a single bed.

I have also sent a lot of possessions home with Mother, and have offered to donate several pieces of furniture to some friends. The number of things that I own is slowly reducing. The house, of course, is not exactly tidy - the loss of my big bookcase has left the living room covered in books, and a search of my charity shop box for a shirt for Anne for Granddad's funeral has left the front room covered in the boxes that formerly resided on top of the charity shop box.

I am sure that this post was much more interesting than this in my head. It was also longer. Alas, my cognitive ability seems to be on holiday a little early (it's supposed to stay with me until tomorrow afternoon), and I therefore am having difficulty even making it to the end of this sentence. Perhaps that is my cue to give up and go to bed.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

May I live in interesting times

So, I am now single. The house, it would appear, is just the perfect size for me and my things. If only life could stay like this, and I didn't have to move into a room somewhere...

The wedding, it has to be said, did not go all that well. The bridal march fell apart in a reasonably spectacular fashion, when I lost my place and couldn't work out which notes to play. I played some notes, but there was no way and no circumstances in which they could have been described as well-combined notes.

And Granddad died a couple of days ago. The parents didn't tell me yesterday because they didn't want to mess up this wedding for me (just as well?), but they did tell me when I called today.

And there is a random little insect on my settee. I hope that this is not a bad thing. Ah well - it's a random little squashed insect now.

So, it has been a busy day. I am tired. I still don't know what the hymns are for tomorrow, but at least the bed settee no longer lives in the front room and I can access the piano in the usual fashion; this will aid my practice. Tonight I get to sleep on a proper bed! Yay!

On which note, I shall start the going to bed process. It will be a long one today. I predict a nap tomorrow afternoon.