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gigisiguenza

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This is from the point of view of the "sponging friend".

When I realised I really liked home made soap I asked my friend who makes it to give me a lesson. I would never have actually bought the equipment without knowing whether I could actually do it or not.
She happily gave me a lesson. She didn't just show me, I made my own batch with her. She enjoys having someone to discuss the process with I guess. I didn't know it was so easy to make basic soap.

My research methods are very like Gigi's. I have a folder with tons of info.
Unfortunately, I am a bit of a perfectionist and I find it difficult to just go with the flow and make a recipe and see if it is any good. I don't like the waste, I am not sure enough in my distillation of the research I have done and I guess I don't like the unknown result. I don't have much confidence in being able to work out if something is "conditioning" or "lathery". But I have now decided that all I have to work out is which bar I prefer over the other.

I can make Castile soap. No creativity, safe and sure recipe. Great end product if you wait long enough.

Other soap requires creativity, constant questioning of my choices of ingredients and then the worry that I will muck up the process. Rather than drive my friend mad, I drive you all mad! :)
Having had you all help me towards a fairly acceptable recipe I am getting to the stage of being more confident of just giving it a go and then concentrating on the qualities I want in a finished bar and tweaking the recipe.

So I am one of those people that needs a bit of help getting there. I don't mean to come across as "stealing" your research but it gives me confidence to get started. So thank you all.
Penelope I wish my friend had been more like you, because then I'd have a soaping buddy :)
 

BrewerGeorge

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I think you folks may be missing the difference between workman and craftsman / artisan. There are tons of people who want a simple, working recipe and have no desire to experiment or change it. Like our great (great) grandparents did. These are the workmen. I'm not so sure it's really fair to hold them to artisan standards.
 

Susie

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So I am one of those people that needs a bit of help getting there. I don't mean to come across as "stealing" your research but it gives me confidence to get started. So thank you all.
You can't steal what is given freely. I enjoy sharing recipes and information with folks newer than me, because a very short time ago it was me asking questions and "stealing recipes".

It is actually a rush when someone comes back to the forum saying they tried their soap, and it is awesome. And to know I had some small part of helping them have that moment.
 

Arimara

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I suggested MP, it was my first thought, because it is easier and she would get the instant gratification she wanted. She rejected it, because it wasn't the kind of soap I make. She has zero interest in learning anything.
Oh, I did read that. I'm sorry if I wasn't very clear. But I also have such admiration for the sheer creativity that goes into MP. I've lost touch with creativity save for thinking up recipes to try.

I think you folks may be missing the difference between workman and craftsman / artisan. There are tons of people who want a simple, working recipe and have no desire to experiment or change it. Like our great (great) grandparents did. These are the workmen. I'm not so sure it's really fair to hold them to artisan standards.
I understand where you're coming from but speaking for myself, When it comes to CP, HP, CPOP soaps, I barely see the point of adding more than a tiny bit of fragrance. I'm one who has little intentions of selling soaps, so looks doesn't matter as long and I like my batch. I think the deeper issue is that to a great degree, people need to do some leg work and research when it comes to soap making or any other crafts for that matter. There are many things that can come about without warning and they would need to know how to handle it whether it be What would happen if one runs out of olive oil and they need to tweak a recipe, or the dreaded "OMG, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SOAP" scenario (ie, alien brains, glycerin rivers, lye spots).

Some people may genuinely want a working recipe, I understand it to the fullest but if they are not willing to even learn how to run that recipe through soapee.com to verify it's safety, especially in case one gives a wrong proportion in that said recipe, I think it would be for the greater good if they don't learn to make soap CP or whatever process soap.
 

penelopejane

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You can't steal what is given freely. I enjoy sharing recipes and information with folks newer than me, because a very short time ago it was me asking questions and "stealing recipes".



It is actually a rush when someone comes back to the forum saying they tried their soap, and it is awesome. And to know I had some small part of helping them have that moment.

That's good to know! I will definitely share my success stories.

I think you folks may be missing the difference between workman and craftsman / artisan. There are tons of people who want a simple, working recipe and have no desire to experiment or change it. Like our great (great) grandparents did. These are the workmen. I'm not so sure it's really fair to hold them to artisan standards.

I agree. Some people only want pure 100% OO Castile no fragrance no additives. They don't need to research lots of different things. They just want a recipe that works. People have been making it for 1000's of years. What would be the use of reinventing a recipe every time?
 

janzo

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While we are on the subject of stealing recipes Susie, I tried your lip balm one. It is wonderful, glides on to my lips but you don't feel like you are wearing balm, no sticky residue. Thank you x
 

jules92207

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I think the differences in experiences have one thing in common - there is a big element of self-learning. Be it theory first and then practice, or the other way around.

What it isn't is just "show me all you know so I will know what you know and can do what you do" and each method certainly entails some form of theory learning and development which seems to be the thing that the friends in these examples don't want to do.

I don't think that you can actually teach someone how to soap - you can help them to learn to soap, which might sound like a small difference but is actually huge.
I totally agree with this. I first learned how to soap by watching a friend. I went to her house, watched her hp a batch a few times, looked at her book and supplies, asked questions, then I took it and ran with it. Now she asks me for soap!

She didn't teach me how to soap, but watching her made me want to learn how to soap.
 

Susie

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While we are on the subject of stealing recipes Susie, I tried your lip balm one. It is wonderful, glides on to my lips but you don't feel like you are wearing balm, no sticky residue. Thank you x
You are most welcome! Always glad to share!:smile:
 

penelopejane

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"I will PAY you to teach me!"

Penelope I wish my friend had been more like you, because then I'd have a soaping buddy :)

Wouldn't it be sad not to have someone to tell about your soaping success or failure. That's why this forum is so great. I live in the middle of nowhere (pretty much) but can still discuss the process with like minded people.
 

mandy318

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I'm going to get a little Zen for a moment. :lol:

I would love to share with others the fascinating process of making soap. I do share often with people who may not care to hear my constant soapy chatter. :)
But to really learn how to soap, I think you have to approach with certain amount of humbleness. Even for a simple uncomplicated bar, you have to be willing to entertain the things that could go wrong and learn how to prevent them before they happen. You have to grasp that some of the parts of the process cannot be changed, improved, sped up, or skipped--regardless of how simple or complicated the end bar is.

I'm skeptical that someone who can't slow down a minute to read a blog, or to hop on this forum and exchange ideas and ask questions really wants to learn how to make soap, or if they really just want to have homemade soap. I'm also not sure I want to feel responsible for showing someone how to handle lye, who I think doesn't have enough respect for the process.

There is one person who has asked if I would show her how to make soap and I don't feel the least hesitant about it, because she is interested in the making, in the process---not just the result.
 

brandnew

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I am coming from both sides.....I was introduced long distance by my best friend's big brother...the type that buys a book and has taught himself everything from fencing to pottery (and I still have some lovely pieces! ) lol He was mp-ing at the time....he is cp-ing it now! So through lotsa youtubing and accidentally finding smf I decided I wanted to jump in the deep end and try cp. That was 3 yrs. ago.....last year a fellow parent asked me to show her how to make it for a school fair....now I said I would but she would be 100% responsible for it as it would be sold. Well she invited her daughter in law to 'learn'...and I use the term VERY LOOSELY as the two of them sat and chatted the whole time. Needless to say the 2nd time round I wasn't so gullible......the problem with folks like that is , what has been mentioned before....they won't have the staying power when it gets frustrating. I think it would be great if someone were genuinely interested with whom I could share my interest... but instead I have made a wonderful acquaintance...long distance again lol ...on this site. And to know there are fellow soapers going through the same ups n downs with unpredictable soap...like today a new fragrance seized me soap like mad! :-? THREE CHEERS FOR THE SMF!!! YEAH!!!
 

songwind

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I haven't yet taught anyone to make soap, but my oldest does seem interested. She helped me make a batch of shaving soap the other week and had a lot of fun. So maybe I'll let me teach her over winter break or something.
 

amd

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I have been struggling with this question for several weeks. My company (meaning my regular engineering job unsoap related) has Brown Bag lunches - every few weeks someone comes in to speak about a topic during a lunch hour. The BB lunches are quite popular and have a good number of employees attend (usually in the 30-50% range). The lady who organizes them asked me to do one on soapmaking, and I've hemmed and hawed over giving her a yes or no. I don't think I could give enough good info about soapmaking in just one hour. If I decided to do it, how would I decide what's important and what isn't to fit into that hour? I can't commit to just showing up and making soap.

I learned from a friend of mine who lives some 1500 miles away. She doesn't sell, she just likes to make soap, she's single without kids, and even before I started making my own soap I was a soap hoarder, so I was an ideal candidate to send a bar or two to every 6-8 weeks. Anyways... she came for a whole week and we made soap every day. My friend also knew that at that time I had been researching essential oils, the chemicals in commercial skin care, and alternative skin care for two years - including reading a lot of "how to make soap" recipes, so I had a lot of ground work covered. (And yes, my friend still sends me soap even though I make my own now... cuz I'm a hoarder.)
 

dixiedragon

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I've had a couple of people want to make soap. Not as a hobby like we do it here, but as an activity they'd like to try. Even if you've only made a few batches, it's not that to do with an extra person or two. I print my recipe and have all of my equipment out and ready. I have a selection of 5 or so well-behaved FOs for them to choose from. I also have a selection of colors. The key is to control the process -- don't give them ALL the options, but a few choices. I mix the lye water ahead of time, and let them measure out the oils, etc.
 

dixiedragon

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I have been struggling with this question for several weeks. My company (meaning my regular engineering job unsoap related) has Brown Bag lunches - every few weeks someone comes in to speak about a topic during a lunch hour. The BB lunches are quite popular and have a good number of employees attend (usually in the 30-50% range). The lady who organizes them asked me to do one on soapmaking, and I've hemmed and hawed over giving her a yes or no. I don't think I could give enough good info about soapmaking in just one hour. If I decided to do it, how would I decide what's important and what isn't to fit into that hour? I can't commit to just showing up and making soap.
A lotion demo would be much more doable. Or if you really want to do a presentation on soap, maybe a PP slideshow with pictures, a handout with a basic recipe, and small sample bar to take home?
 

dixiedragon

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I actually don't see a problem with people being interested in the end product and not the process, assuming these people aren't planning to start a business selling or something. I compare it to Sips n Strokes. I have fun going to a sips-n-strokes session. All of the students painted the same picture. The teacher provided the colors and all the tools and walked us through step-by-step. I didn't learn much at all about painting. I don't know anything about different types of brushes, paint, techniques, etc. But I had a fun evening and I like the picture I made.

So if a person just wants to make soap under my direction, and maybe pick a color and a scent from a list of my recommendations, sure, sounds like a fun activity!
 

dixiedragon

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But then that is not teaching someone to make soap - it's making soap with them. That is something else entirely.
True. But I don't know if OP's friend has made that distinction? In OP's place, I'd try to clarify what the friend actually wants. Does she want to make soap one day, and pick her own color and scent? Or does she want to be able to make soap on her own, and just be provided with a reliable recipe and a list of tools? Or does she want to get really into the hobby but use the OP as her research assistant? Those are different things. I've had people tell me, "I'd love to learn to make soap" and what they mean is they want to make a batch of soap with me, and me tell them what we're doing and why. But they don't actually want to buy a scale, lye, oils and a mold and really get into it. They just want to do it once or twice.
 

gigisiguenza

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True. But I don't know if OP's friend has made that distinction? In OP's place, I'd try to clarify what the friend actually wants. Does she want to make soap one day, and pick her own color and scent? Or does she want to be able to make soap on her own, and just be provided with a reliable recipe and a list of tools? Or does she want to get really into the hobby but use the OP as her research assistant? Those are different things. I've had people tell me, "I'd love to learn to make soap" and what they mean is they want to make a batch of soap with me, and me tell them what we're doing and why. But they don't actually want to buy a scale, lye, oils and a mold and really get into it. They just want to do it once or twice.
Exactly my point. And there are a couple of friends who have been curious and just wanted to make soap with me. They don't really want to participate so much as see how it's done, to satisfy their curiosity, and that I enjoy and have no problem with. But someone who hints (without actually saying) they see this as a quick way to make cash (ie: make some batches, toss em on etsy, sell soap,.make cash) but has no real interest in learning the deep stuff, or doing research etc, now that person I have no interest in helping or instructing.
 
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