One benefit to being unemployed and broke is that you are forced to get creative for the holidays. That, or go into debt. I’ve inevitably ended up doing both. My family and friends have been alerted to the fact that I am going handmade or bust this year, so here goes nothin!
My first Christmas Craft is Honey Almond Oatmeal Goat’s Milk soap (sorry it’s a mouthful…of SOAP. HA.). ahem. There are many reasons this is a wonderful gift. First off, it’s fairly cheap to pull off (especially if you have a 40% off Michael’s coupon). Secondly, it’s EASY. Third, you can’t get the kitchen TOO messy because, well…it’s soap.
I adapted Angie’s oatmeal soap recipe after I found out I had everything she used already sitting in my cart. To this recipe I added honey and some almond extract. There have been no scientific studies on how these two additional ingredients will mesh – I will let you know post-Christmas if any of my recipients develop any rashes.
For 3 bars of soap, here is what I used:
12 chunks of Goat’s Milk Soap
approx 1/3 cup of slightly ground oats
72 drops or so of Sweet Almond soap extract (so that each chunk got 6 drops)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Grind up some oats ever so gently. You don’t want them to be powder, but big flakes won’t work well, either. I used my coffee grinder.
Melt that soap! I put the blocks into a bowl and microwaved for 50 seconds to start, then 10 seconds at a time until everything was just melted down. When the soap was a nice warm liquid, I added my oats, soap extract, honey & almond extract. I found it helpful to not take too long during the mixing/pouring stages, as the soap hardens back up fairly quickly. However, as I found out the first time I tried this, another great thing about making soap is that you can just throw the bowl back in the microwave and re-heat! (So don’t waste any hardened bits!)
Before pouring, I chose to sprinkle some whole oats around the border of the molds for decorative purposes.
Pour the soap into your molds, and feel free to sprinkle some more oatmeal on top (er, bottom).
After a good little while (I waited an hour just to be safe), pry those bad boys out, wrap em up all nice and pretty, and give them to someone you love! (Or someone you don’t love, if it turns out my 2 magic ingredients cause harm)