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Dec 20, 2017
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Somewhere Over The Rainbow
Hello, Soaping geniuses!

My name is Jessie and I've been lurking and posting (a bit) and though I read through the pinned posts, I'd never introduced myself. That's just rude and inexcusable, right? :rolleyes:

So here are my bonafides:

I'm originally from San Francisco, but in a very roundabout way, I now find myself living in El Salvador as an expat. Last known addr was San Antonio, TX, where my oldest son lives.
San Antonio is where I began reading and watching soap making vids. I don't remember exactly how or even why I got interested in soaping but I seem to recall watching a YT vid that was a "recommended for you" about it in between my watching crochet vids. Which was my one overriding passion. Still is but I've now added making soap as well. I'm always either thinking about hooking projects or soap formulas. It's maddening! But in a good way. :p

Had I known how much I was going to miss the oils and other supplies I could very easily get in the U.S., I would've left part of my yarn stash there and packed my hand luggage with coconut oil and lard! Leaving the States with that kind of stuff is MUCH easier than going back.

Anyway, that's it, except for my personal stuff: I'm a grandma of SEVEN, to which one more will be added in Nov of this year. Some of my beautiful grandchildren were conceived and others came with their moms, but ALL of them are cherished. I also am the mom of 4 senior and elderly cats. The 2 eldest are almost 13 y.o., the 2 "youngsters" are almost 7. They're all a handful and with very distinct personalities. I did have a canine furbaby but she died this year from cancer. She was 11 y.o. and just as frisky as when she was a puppy until she got sick.

Last but not least, I lost the love of my life in late 2010. I didn't meet him until my 41st bday but we used to joke that in the time we had together we spent it joined at the hip. Until he died we hadn't spent more than a week apart and that was on a pre-programmed vacation. I still miss him terribly and have conversations in my head with him about soaping 'cause he would've become as passionate about it as I am.

My epistle is done. I hope to learn and grow as a soaper here. There are SO many helpful ppl, that are generous with their knowledge that I couldn't have asked for better teachers. Thank you for your wonderful forum! :shower:
Welcome Jessie, I see you have been here since December 2017. Hope your enjoying your soaping experiences and have been learning lots.
I'd never introduced myself. That's just rude and inexcusable, right? :rolleyes:
Howdy from Colorado! Not rude or inexcusable at all! And you certainly made up for the delay by providing us with an interesting, informative post! I'm wondering if you crochet soap sacks? I used to know a few soapers who made pretty, fancy, or plain soap sacks. I was jealous because I don't do handwork. My mom and sister have all the talent and patience in that department. I'm curious to know which oils/fats/butters are available to you?
Thanks, @earlene, @Dennis, and @IrishLass for the welcome!

@Zany_in_CO I don't make soap sacks. I can't really afford it because all the yarn I have is what I brought with me from the States. Worsted weight cotton yarn doesn't exist here! I do make hand-sized washcloths, but I'm not even selling soap yet, only giving out the bars that I think are good to my family (it's only my nanny and "brother-from-another-mother".

As for oils & butters: no butters, not even the "real" stuff is readily affordable ($3+ for a cube!). The cheapest oils here are either palm or soy or a combination of both. There's a shortening that seems to be 90% or more palm with the rest being tallow, but I can't find accurate content information. Olive oil, both regular & XV; HO sunflower, HO canola; these are all fairly cheap. Unrefined CO 76F is $8/lb, which isn't cheap for me because I'm on a limited income.

I tried to have my caregiver find lard for me and all she could find was the dregs of cooked pork. It worked but, even after straining it 2x, there was a color that I tried to intensify with some coffee. It worked well but ppl here hear the word "lard" and their faces screw up horrendously! It has a reputation for being only for "poor" ppl who can't afford to buy their soap in a store. There's a lot of prejudices here, unfortunately. Ppl in the States think there's a lot of prejudice there but they're the ones that haven't been overseas. Latin America, like in India and other Asian countries, there's a cult for light-colored skin. If your skin is dark (what would look like a tan to you and me) and you have straight hair, you're a second-class citizen. Awful but it's cultural.

I love soaping too much to not try all the oils available and see what I can come up with. Castille soap is coveted here but no one understands (though I try very hard to explain) how hard it is to make, especially in the high humidity climate. The last Bastille I made was in San Antonio, TX but it stayed in my humidity-controlled studio apt. It hardened beautifully and my nanny loved it! I can't even get it out of a mold before a week's time when I tried a small batch. It's STILL malleable after 4 months!! Crazy.

I hope to keep learning as much as I can but it's kinda difficult because no one in this area is really soaping with only the bare minimum like I am.

Thanks for everything, Happy Soapers!
I'm 75, retired, and on fixed (SS) income as well, so I hear ya! It sounds like you have a ready made (and persnickety) customer base for Castile/Bastile soap! As it happens, I have a recipe for what I call "Quick Cure, No Slime" Castile that I'm happy to share. It's out of the mold the next day; cut the day after that; ready to use in 2 weeks but improves over time of course -- 6 weeks or more. PM me if you'd like to try it. I'm happy to help if I can. :)

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