I was inspired by yet another fabulous idea from Martha Stewart when I saw her make these Fruit & Herb Soaps. She has a fabulous video tutorial on her blog (and step-by-step instructions) so I won't go into a ton of detail here, but I'll give you a basic idea of how it's done! I thought these would be a perfect gift for Mothers Day for my many moms (3!) and alllll of my many sisters-in-law (10!).
I started out with a giganto tub of glycerine soap, which I purchased at Michael's using one of my 40% off coupons. So it was only $24 instead of $40. I popped the whole block out of the tub and started chopping it up. I found that the easiest way to do this was to use a loooong knife and hold the handle in one hand, and then cover the end of the blade with a pot holder, so as not to stab myself, and then just gently rock the blade back and forth until it made it all the way through. I then cut it into cubes for easy melting.
As per Martha's instructions, I used a heat-resistant glass measuring cup to melt my glycerine in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between.
Meanwhile, I gathered my fruits and herbs:
Some fresh lavender from my very own garden (feeling very Martha Stewart-y about that).
An orange and a lemon and my Ultimate Chopper. It is SO ULTIMATE! And it needs to be cleaned on the outside. Yick.
I peeled the orange and lemon and tossed the peels into the chopper, pulverizing them into teeny little bits. Then I added them to my melted glycerine.
I stirred it around for a little while, letting it cool some before pouring it into the greased molds so that the citrus bits would be evenly distributed.
I used applesauce cups as my soap molds.
Then I did the same thing with my lavender, only I had to add water to get the leaves to chop up correctly. Then I just placed a paper towel over a cup and poured the lavender-water out onto it, using the paper towel as a filter. I carefully removed the paper towel, squeezed out the excess water, and left it out to dry some so that the lavender wouldn't stick to it too much. I was then able to sprinkle it into the glycerine. Here I'm using yogurt cups as molds. I also decided to do some strawberry soaps at the last minute.
I let the soap sit in the molds for about 20 minutes before sending them to the freezer (freezing helps release them from the molds).
After 2 hours in the freezer I popped them out and they looked great! One warning though- allow the soap to sit out at room temperature before you try packaging it. Because they've been frozen, they'll develop a layer of condensation. The moisture along with the thin layer of oil (I used olive oil to grease my containers) gives the soaps a slippery coating. Once they were at room temperature (and all done sweating) I just wiped them off with a paper towel and they were fine.
I thought the soaps were so pretty, I didn't really want to hide them with wrapping paper so I wrapped them in cellophane instead. I took a jar that was about the same size around as my soaps and wrapped the cellophane around it, taping it at the seams, then slid the jar out so that I was left with a bag that was just the right size for my soaps. I added the soap and tied it up with a ribbon and tag, and I think they turned out nicely! I love how colorful they are without any food coloring or dyes.
Happy Mothers Day, ladies!!
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