A lot of people work with their hands after a day of stressful mind activity. Of course, the reasons why people engage in these activities are probably as diverse as their reasons for using computers or performing other activities. I find the crafts I work with very relaxing. It's also nice to see the pleasure that my crafts bring to other people when I give the results as gifts. The most important reason for working with crafts, however, is that I get to exercise my creativity in new ways. When you work with your hands to create a product that's equal parts art and functional item, you get to play with new ideas and ways of accomplishing the same goal. I hope that this page helps you understand better what my crafts mean to me. Please feel free to share your crafts with me. You can contact me at mailto:JMueller@mwt.net.
I've been working with soap for about three years now (perhaps longer by the time you read this). For some people, soap making means standing over a bubbling cauldron of steaming lye and adding precise quantities of lard to produce soap as an end result. Since my crafting time is limited and I've always preferred glycerin to lye.
I use a soap base in a technique called melt and pour to create my soaps. All I do is melt the soap base, add some scent, color, and other additives like skin softeners, then pour the result into a mold. It doesn't take too long to make up a batch of soap and everyone seems to enjoy the end result. One of these days I plan to get my own cauldron though and try the other variety of soap.
There are several places online that can help you get started with soap making. While I can't say that any one of these places is any better than the others, I do feel they've proven their merit by staying in business for at least a year. One of my favorite places to shop is Making Soap with Soap Crafters™. They sell a wide range of products at reasonable prices, including the melt and pour soaps that I prefer. Another great place to look is Majestic Mountain Sage. They offer some scents that you can't find at Soap Crafters (hard to believe, but true), and you can get other products like lotion supplies. It's nice to include lotion and soap in the same gift basket if you think the person recieving the gift will enjoy both.
More Soap Making to Come!