It is September and I am finally having to admit that summer is over. While I would love to have summer last a little longer there are some really nice things about Fall, cooler weather, leaves and harvesting all the summer crops. At this point our garden is starting to fizzle but we have lots and lots of herbs to harvest, so it is the perfect time to make soap. I love making soap because the possibilities are endless but one of my all time favorites is also one of the easiest to make. Fruit or Herb soap can be made with pretty much any fruit or herbs, although my personal favorites are strawberry and basil. I originally saw this on Martha Stewert (http://thecraftsdept.marthastewart.com/2011/03/fruit-and-herb-soaps.html) and her craft department had lots of beautiful examples.
To make the soap you start by selecting the mold you would like for your soap. Pretty much anything can be a mold, ice cube trays, milk cartons, plastic containers, etc. Last Spring we made strawberry soap for the Bee's preschool teachers and re-used the plastic cups from our apple sauce.Whatever mold you choose the most important thing is to rub the inside of the mold with a coat of olive oil. In the past the Bee has enjoyed doing this job, rubbing the inside of the molds with an olive oil coated towel.
To make the actual soap you need to start with a large block clear glycerin soap. You can usually find glycerin soap at any craft store, I think we got ours at Micheals. Using a sharp knife (I usually do this part on my own first) cut the soap into smaller cubes. The soap comes with lines carved in that makes this part easier. Next put the cubes into a microwavable bowl (I like to use a glass measuring cup which makes it easier to pour out) and place in the microwave for a minute. Carefully take out and stir, if there are any lumps you can out it back in until it is fully melted. While melting select the fruit or herbs that you would like to use, give them a rough chop and puree them with water or oil in the food processor or blender. Once the soap is fully melted mix the puree and pour into molds. After the molds cool for an hour or so, you are ready to pop them out and use them. This was a great project to do with the Bee. She helped oil the molds, pick the fruit and herbs, puree them, mix them in the soap and she loved popping the soap out of the molds. Most of all she was very proud to give them as presents to her teachers and friends!