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My Humorous Journey

Someone recently asked me how I got started in my soapmaking hobby.  I always tell people it started with candlemaking.  True, but I've been thinking back over all my forgotten attempts at craftiness.  This is gonna be long!

I guess it started back in the day, when the country decorating craze was in full swing.  I loved to pour over Country Living magazines (obviously before Pinterest!), dreaming of a home like the ones on those pages.  I was a very young mother at that time; a newly married military wife transplanted in Southern California, far away from my Midwestern home.  I didn't have much money in those days to spend on "home decor", but I tried to find a way to somehow pull off the country thing.  Those magazine pages were full of people whom, I believed, breezed through their days, throwing together this and that for the perfect touch of charm in every nook and cranny.  I didn't realize that these homes were, although real, staged within an inch of their lives and put together by genuine professionals and not crafty homeowners with lots of time on their hands.  I was very naive!  My desire to fill my own space with casually strewn pieces of country whimsy led me to tackle: "The Wreath".  You know what I'm talking about - grapevines and straw, with huge complicated bows and ribbon tails stuffed with fake flowers and tons of baby's breath.   Yep, I had one for every door, room and holiday and in every shape and size.  Unfortunately, they usually all looked like a young child had made them.

Then I was on to something I was actually pretty good at - cross stitching.  If I couldn't have the actual objects in my house, I could stitch works of art depicting the simple homespun lifestyle I imagined.  My best friend and I, both Midwestern girls missing home, found a wonderful stitching store right in the middle of LA, CA, and we spent as much time as possible in that store (MariPat's; I wonder if it's still there?) We would put our kids to bed and stay up late into the night stitching.  My problem was I always went overboard with my designs. I had visions of walls lined with intricate masterpieces I would pass down to my children.  You could get stitching patterns of paintings and such, and my favorite artist always depicted rooms and scenes featuring lots of antique furniture, flowers and quilts - always quilts.  I would always choose the most complicated and ridiculously time consuming patterns, guaranteed to be abandoned before completion.  I would like to point out that I actually did finish several very nice pieces. They are in a box in the basement and I don't have any takers to pass them down to.  LOL

Fast forward to the present.  Like I said I started this with the candles.  I was floored by the selection of fabulous fragrance oils on the market.  Again, I must admit that the fragrances were the real draw that got me hooked and, right in line with my obsessive nature, I had to have as many as possible!  The descriptions are all so tempting! I got interested in the MP products and such, started looking at soap on the internet and Youtube videos and the rest is history.

I guess it took twenty some years for me to find my creative self, and this just feels so right to me.  This is surprising, because I was incredibly intimidated at first!  I had to start simply and work my way up to better techniques, so I couldn't get in over my head.  I love the process, the science of creating recipes, and walking into my curing space and seeing all those little beauties lined up and smelling so good.  (I "check on my babies" literally every day and am sometimes a little sad when they are purchased.)  I think my favorite part is cutting a fresh batch.  It's thrilling to see what's waiting on the inside and I'm still always amazed that I was able to pull off something so cool.  The best part, though, is that the possibilities are endless, and there is always something new to learn.  Maybe this will be the skill I can pass down.

I'm interested in what draws others to the world of soaping.  I think each crafter's personality is truly palpable their work, and I'm still somewhat awestruck by how many of "us" there are out there.  So what about you??  I'd love to hear some other stories from my fellow soapers!


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