I can remember my earliest memory of soap. I was 5 years old, and my brother was 3. He was always wanting everything I had, so I showed him my bar of soap and pretended to eat it. Well, I sold him on the idea that it was yummy soap, and he had to have it too. So "reluctantly", I handed over the soap, and watched gleefully as he ate a huge chunk of it. My Mother said he blew bubbles for a week...I know, I know...that was REALLY bad.
A year later, we were stationed in Korea (Yes, I'm an Army Brat), and my mother was washing clothes. The apartments we lived in, if you could call them that, was fashioned more like an oasis away from the rest of the world. We had an atrium of sorts and located off to the side was a facility to wash clothes. Now you have to forget everything Western to imagine how my poor Mother had to wash clothes. There was a faucet, a washboard, and a huge bar of handmade soap. It was unscented, and probably made of animal fat, but to this day I can remember the clean smell it provided. My Mother wouldn't let me touch it, but I sneaked a sniff as much as I could.
Almost 20 years later, back here in the States, I once again became curious as to how soap was made. I forced my poor husband to go with me to Michael's, where I purchased melt and pour supplies. The soap I made was ok, but I was a little peeved that my main ingredient was soap. I wanted to know how others before me made soap from nothing. I knew there was a way! My need to know the how & why forced me to stalk soapmaking like nobody's business. I bought books, I studied, I experimented, and I obsessed.
During this time, I had 2 children, and I had to put my soapmaking experiments on the back burner. Then one day, my children had fine little bumps in various patches all over their body. My pediatrician told me it was ezcema, and told me how to keep it under control. She told me to stay away from Johnson's Baby products, because they contained alcohol. Holy cow! What? Baby stuff is not good for baby? I realized that I could make the kind of soap that was better for my kids. So I started researching again, and the momentum for soapmaking began again. I knew roughly what I wanted for my family, but I had so many ideas, so I streamlined them into excel sheets. Soap was piling up around the house, so I gave them away to friends and family (whom I've also experimented ON, so they deserved some free soap). The amount of soap I made was disproportional the amount of space in our home. And then something wonderful happened....I found Etsy :) I joined an awesome soap team (Safeteam) and a wonderful regional team (Tennessee Valley Crafters), and I must say I love it all!
And my little brother? The big goof still tries to eat my soap......I guess that's my fault, though :)