DIY, the bar soap edition

February 26, 2018

Making your own bar soap is easier than you think

You may remember that in a Green Ideas a month ago, I mentioned my own hesitation about homemade toothpaste, soap and detergent.  How could they be as good as the commercial stuff, and aren’t they a nuisance to make?  But my wife has started making soap and my sisters have started making toothpaste and laundry detergent – so who am I to argue??

So here’s the last of the trio: how to make your own bar soap.

First, two basic rules:

  • Making soap is a chemical process, so ingredients need to be measured accurately, by weight not volume. Chocolate chip cookie recipes may have a bit of leeway, but soap recipes do not.
  • Lye is sodium hydroxide, which can burn your skin, so it must be handled with care. Always add lye to liquid ingredients, not the other way around, to prevent splashing, and do it in a well ventilated area.

Then get a recipe, like this simple one, assemble your ingredients and equipment, and follow the process indicated.  For a ‘second opinion’, here’s the same process from a different source.  And here are a bunch more recipes.

One last tip: don’t get overwhelmed by TMI, too much information; just start simple, and then diversify into new recipes whenever you’re ready.

Happy soap making!

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Spreadin’ the love!

February 13, 2018

From flowers to chocolate, spread the love further with Fair Trade

It’s Valentine’s Day – I hope you’re getting flowers and chocolate!  Or maybe you’re the one buying them.  If so, why not look or ask for Fair Trade?

Fair TradeFair Trade is an international certification program that ensures reasonable compensation for the farmers and workers who produce products like cocoa, flowers, coffee and more (nicely explained here).  Fair Trade products are independently monitored to ensure they meet standards of financial and environmental sustainability.
Fair Trade chocolate still only represents a small share of the total market, so you may have to look for it – but Ferrero, Mars, Nestle and Hershey’s have some Fair Trade products.  Fair Trade flowers are still quite rate, but why not ask your florist, to get the snowball rolling?

And why stop at chocolate and flowers?  Here’s a list of Fair Trade products and brands available in Canada.

So off you go, hopeless romantics everywhere – and happy Valentine’s Day!