Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's Time to Come Clean!

Isn't it beautiful???

Look! Sunshine! I’m so happy to see the sun. It’s been nothing but clouds here for so long. Pictures are so much prettier when they’ve got blue sky in them.

After reading yesterday’s blog post about my having a hard time getting my clothes on, City Boy has offered to help me get dressed. Oh, please, as if! Get your collective minds out of the gutter, will you? After 27 years of marriage, the man has seen my tiny hiney in all it’s dimpled glory and trust me, he’s in a bigger hurry than I am to get me properly covered.

So here’s the deal. I live on a twisty, windy little country road that has virtually no passing available. Double yellow line all the way from town.

This is the double yellow line going down the road in front of my house.

This is a double yellow line, up close, for all of you who ride bicycles.
So why on God’s green earth do these cyclists feel the need to come out here to ride their little two wheelers? Today there were a couple guys from the university out here. They actually show up quite often, wearing their little spandex WWU outfits. I’ve grown rather weary of having to follow along behind them; they take up the whole bloody road, riding side by side.

Cyclists in tight fitting spandex taking up the entire lane on my twisty, curvy doubled yellow lined road.
I’m so tired of cyclist using my tax payer dollars for their little biking enjoyment that I’ve developed a game to play with them. It’s called bowling for bicycles. Now, you could make it a simple game and just run into them from behind, but that would take the sport out of it. What you do is sneak up alongside, then open up your car door, smacking the one in the rear in the…well…rear! Send him flying far enough to knock down his buddy and mark down your score. If you’re lucky, there’ll be a whole herd of them (or are they flocks? Perhaps a gaggle; I never remember) and you can actually bowl a strike!
Now...are you ready? Here it is! Winsday!!!!
Yup, and most of you have already guessed what I'm going to be asking you. I want to know your most embarrassing moments! That's right, folks, bring it on. Come Clean! It's good for the soul...or at least for a laugh. And if it turns out you're able to not only laugh at yourself and get others to laugh along with you, you could just find yourself with a gift basket full of handmade bath and body care products valued at over $50!
Now, here's a twist you likely hadn't considered; not only will the winning entry win the grand prize, but I'll be sending out a second gift to one lucky winner who's name will be drawn from the comments that get posted! So even if you've not got the most embarrassing story, you could still win!
I'll be accepting stories all day on Winsday and Thursday...then letting you know on Friday who our winner is =) Have fun!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Nuts and Trees...and such

I do enjoy a good laugh now and again. Growing up the greatest source of entertainment seemed to be my mother. (Hi mom.) She'd wear her clothes backwards. (Hi mom!) Yup. To town, even. If you're old like me, you'll recall those polyester pants that had that funky little pleat sewn into the front of the legs. Remember those? Maybe pleat isn't the right word, but suffice to say it was a distinct identifying mark.

One day we came home and listened to Mom's story about how she'd gone shopping that day, and it wasn't until she was in the dressing room trying on pants that she realized she'd been walking around with those pants on backwards! Trend setter...yeah...that's what we'll call her. Except that no one picked up on it.
A few years later I came home and was sitting at the counter and she was asking me how my day was at school. She turned her back to me so she could stir something on the stove. I nearly fell off the bar stool laughing. She turned back and gave me the strangest look, asking what was so funny? Um...V necked sweaters are usually worn with the V in front, mom.

Ah....I'm so glad this nut didn't fall too close to that tree...

Here are some recent pics I took of my favorite model. Darling works for french fries, it's really nice! I'm sure you can tell that I was fiddling with the color on this first one (she's not naturally yellow, you know!)

I'm rather fond of the black and whites; I'm not thinking she's going to be fond of the one below =) Or perhaps I need to pay her in more than fries?

So anyway, I just came home from Bible Study. Normally I'd wear jeans or slacks; for some reason I decided to wear a skirt tonight. Dug down deep through my drawer and found a pair of black tights (why on earth did I buy four pair of brown tights? Does anyone know?) Tossed on the skirt, a turtle neck and the most darling new jacket...well, new to me at least. A thrift store find of 99 cents, and let me tell you it's smashing! Someone had gifted me with a pair of shoes, which really looked like boots if you had on pants. Nice, tall heels (which I don't need at 5'9", but what the heck, they were free.) Looked pretty darn good as I left the house. Most expensive thing I had on was my underwear!

Anyway, I was helping in the children's program tonight, so had to sit on the floor (I kinda forgot about that as I was dressing, dern.) That's when I got a good look at my tights. They weren't black. They were navy blue! My skirt and shoes were definitely black. My tights were definitely not! Good thing it was just the kids. Oh, yes, I'm sure the ladies who were there with me noticed. I tried to pull my skirt down low over my calves and ankles.

As I self consciously sat there with my blue tights (not black), my mind drifted from the bible study at hand to how my mother used to wear her clothes backwards. Good Lord, thank you for getting my clothes on frontwards!

Grabbed a small blizzard on the way home (I know, I know!), then went to my room to change. Which is when I realized the most horrible thing. My skirt was on backwards!!!! Yes! It was!!! Buttons and all...they ought to have been in front, and the tag behind, but somehow in my haste, the buttons were behind and the tag in the front! Do you think anyone noticed? Do you think I pulled the look off okay? Maybe I'll set a new fashion trend...

Okay, so this nut is a little closer to the tree than she'd like to be. But hey, I've now come clean on yet another embarrassing little moment. Will you come clean when the time comes?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I just got these cool posters in the mail from my friend Ramona at the BLM in Oregon. Darling and I are doing a demo on adopting a wild horse at Super Saturday in a couple of weeks and these posters are to hand out. Cool, eh? (Did you know I spoke a second language? Yep, American and Canadian, eh!)

"City Boy...can we get ducklings?"

The answer was no. No ducklings. No more animals, he said. Hmph. It's not like we've got that many. Two cats. Three dogs. Seven chickens. Two horses. Six sheep. That's not too many.

Perhaps I shouldn't list how many of each we've got...that way if I decide to get a few more chickens, he won't notice...right?

I came across a blog tonight that talked about Guinea Hens. Have you ever owned a guinea? It's a pleasure everyone ought enjoy at some point. We had them years ago, back when City Boy, the little Geek Boy and I were still living in town. Town was not the best place to keep barnyard foul, so before long they were living at Hovander Park. I'd tell you the story, but I think instead you ought to read the blog post I came across. I'm thinking it's booger worthy...see what you think.

Did anyone watch the Oscars last night? I didn't watch much...did manage to catch Tom Cruise. I'm not a Cruise fan; thought it funny that he received such applause. Perhaps they were afraid he'd jump up and down on their chairs if not encouraged to stay up on stage? And talk about a politically correct Oscar night...well, I'd rather not.

Moving right along...

Six, Seven, Eight...

It's a lot easier to get ten sit ups done when you begin with number six. I'm beginning to lose hope in ever getting my inspiration jeans on. I've completely ignored them hanging in my bathroom. My middle is just as round as it's been since eating turkey at Thanksgiving...and Christmas...and all that candy last Halloween... It doesn't help that City Boy is home so much these days. Do you know that man only works 14 days a month? Yet another reason the empire he works for can be considered evil. Not that I mind having him home, but he either takes me out to dinner of feeds me huge, delicious meals here. I know...I should complain of such a thing! But my jeans don't fit, dad gum it! They just don't fit. And I hate to think I wasted that 99 cents at the thrift store! I guess I can't complain too loudly...he didn't buy me chocolate for Valentine's Day. (Please picture that little eye rolling emoticon here.)

I need an Oreo cookie...hang on, I'll be right back.

I wish we'd gotten the double stuff ones. Not that I'm eating them, of course...

Are you getting excited to learn about the contest? Want a little clue as to when it is? Tough. Not today. Just keep coming back, and coming back...and pretty soon you'll find it. The theme? Coming Clean...

Okay, then...just a peek at the prize basket! But don't tell anyone else I let you look!

Happy Sunday, Y'all!

Answer me...why are you here?

1) Oh, Tracey, you're just so darned witty and I'm completely addicted to your blog! I can't go a day without it!! (Thank you, you're so kind for saying that!)

2) I'm just waiting to see what other stupid, embarrassing things you do. (Thank you...sort of. Glad to at least keep you amused at some level.)

3) I was doing a Google search for big bottoms, this is where it led me. (Ha! Fooled ya, didn't I?)

I installed a new stat counter which lets me see exactly what people are looking for when they find me through Google... It would appear that in order to build traffic to this blog I'd need to tweak the titles of my posts, eh?

Okay, on to other things...

I was here earlier this morning trying to post when my computer froze up. Since I had other things to get done, I hit the restart button. I know to some of you the proper terminology is 'rebooting', however, around here rebooting is generally when City Boy gives me a second swift kick in the arse to get moving. So, you go ahead and reboot; I'll just restart as it's a lot less painful.

Before I was interrupted by my little computer glitch, I was going to thank Pea for putting a little booger link together for me! I sent it on over to Slick so he could let folks know he'd gotten an award for his post on the spelling bee. Now, don't ask me why it made me laugh...it just did. Likely because it was so absurd. But again, I warn you...if you go over there, his blog isn't exactly to every one's liking/taste.

Upcoming Contest!

No, I'm not going to tell you when, other than the details will be posted later this week. So you'll just have to keep coming back to find out, won't you? And there's a pretty decent prize (I think) for the winner. Like, oh, a huge basket of bath goodies with a value of over $50! Okay, perhaps just a wee hint...you'd better begin thinking up all of life's embarrassing moments =)

Have a terrific Sunday everyone, and God Bless!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Finally, the perfect Blogging Award! Or...

Why Slick Had me Awake at 3:00 am...

A picture of Darling's smile.

Whenever I come to my blog and see your comments, it makes me smile. I often then go visit your blog (if you've got one), and read what you've got to say. Sometimes I leave comments, and I'm always interested in reading other people's comments as well. And if I see someone commenting on your blog whom I've yet to meet, well, I tend to click their name and follow the link to their blog. It's a fun, distracting way to pass the afternoon, evening, early morning when perhaps I ought to be doing something else (cleaning toilets? Never! Sleeping? Well, that's a novel idea...)

Skipping through blogland in this fashion is how I came across Slick's blog. If you read the comments left by others here yesterday, you'd have seen that Slick was among you, confessing to thinking the piglets were cute. He also requested that I not let word of that get around, but since he left the comment here, I don't see any harm in repeating it here (I promise, Slick, I won't come over to your blog and leave feedback concerning your affection for little pink piggies...really, I won't. I promise!)

Now, if you click Slick's link, I feel I must warn you in advance that Slick's blog is not for everyone. I only say that because the first post I read there was Slick telling off some woman who'd written to complain about his language. I find this interesting, myself, that people will read your blog and then send you mail to either complain or let you know they're praying for your soul. In fact, I'm a bit jealous. No one ever writes to me complaining (okay, that part I'm not jealous about) or to let me know they're praying for me. What, am I not worthy of your prayers? Are you not concerned with my soul? Humph...I'm a sinner, too, y'know...

But I digress. I didn't spend a whole lot of time in Slick's little world; I didn't watch the video of him talking to his daughter (after reading his tirade directed to the woman complaining about his language, I thought I'd rather skip that little treasure of a video.) I did, however, skip down to the post he'd left the following day where he explains exactly what a redneck gentleman he is. And he made me laugh, out loud. And as I told him, I rarely laugh out loud at people's blogs. Chuckle, giggle, yes. LOL? Well, let's just say I'm prone to typing it more than actually doing it. And I think we all know why that is. To truly LOL for me means there may be boogers on my screen.

But again...I digress. But not really, for Slick was also complaining about not receiving any blogger awards. And I thought...yeah...I didn't get a blogger award, either! Never mind that I've only been blogging for a few weeks. But Slick, well, I'm not sure how long he's been blogging, but he did make me laugh. Out loud, even. And this surely is worthy of an award.

For some strange reason, these were the thoughts running through my head at 3 am this morning. I'm sure Slick is getting a good laugh knowing that he had me awake and unable to sleep at 3 am. Something tells me not many women would admit this publicly. Go ahead, Slick, you redneck southern gentleman, give it a good guffaw. Go ahead, get it out. Now let me tell you exactly why I was thinking about you...

It occurred to me that perhaps I ought to create my own blog awards. Something special to give to those people who really get a good snot...er...snort out of me. I'll call them the Booger Blog Awards! There was a second option, of course, as when you get to be my age, and if you've got a full bladder, you run the risk of laughing so hard you pee your pants. But somehow I didn't think the Wet Undies Award would be a good one...people may get the wrong idea!
But back to boogers: Of course, I won't be sending the winners a real live booger, that would just be gross. No, I'll need to come up with some sort of cyber booger to send to people when they make me snort snot all over my keyboard. I'll have my graphic artist come up with something. Of course, I've no clue how to write html...maybe someone out there does? That way my booger can actually have a link, like other blog awards do. I think that would be neato.

But back to Slick. Dahling...since you made me laugh out loud, and since you're whining about not getting a blog award, I'd like to offer you the first ever Booger Blog Award! When the little Booger Blog Button is created, I'll send it to you to proudly post on your blog site, K? And now you know why you had me awake at 3:00 am.

Now that I've got all that off my mind, I'm headed back to bed...

Friday, February 23, 2007

What's this all about??? Snow! Hey, you eastern states, take it back!

Okay, read on. I just had to gripe a bit.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pig Latin

City Boy and I often have a discussion as to whether or not this is a farm. He says no, as he clearly does not want to be a farmer. I say yes, as I do want to be a farmer. To help us settle this debate, I have looked up the definition of 'farm'; these are a few of the definitions that were given:

1. a tract of land, usually with a house, barn, silo, etc., on which crops and often livestock are raised for livelihood.
2. land or water devoted to the raising of animals, fish, plants, etc.: a pig farm; an oyster farm; a tree farm.
3. a similar, usually commercial, site where a product is manufactured or cultivated: a cheese farm; a honey farm.
4. to cultivate (land).

With these four meanings, I can be pretty sure that I live on a farm (minus the silo.) I may not make my sole living from it, however, I do raise livestock and have provided a bit of vegetables over the years. The land has been cultivated, even if just minimally. And I produce sheep milk soaps, thanks to the sheep out there in the pasture.

Hence, I can consider myself a farmer.

Why is it, then, that I still have farm envy? Is it because I've so many friends with bigger farms?

Today I went to visit some farming friends of mine. They've got a large tract of land where they raise calves, and most definitely make their living from it. The calves come to them as day olds, they live in these cozy little hutches which I call Calf Loos (kinda like the dogloos, you know? Only for calves. Unless they happen to have one of those buffalo-calf crosses there, in which case I call them calfabufaloos...) In the summer, when it gets a bit too cozy (also known as bloody hot), there is a shade screen stretched above the hutches to help keep the calves cool..
The hutches are lined up in rows; there's a vent at the top of the dome to help control the temperature and of course the door in the front for those most adorably little calfie faces to hang out!

The hutches actually have plenty of room for these babies to move about it; no need for you to worry and think about those poor little veal calves who have no space. I've even seen them kick up their heels a bit! The hutch keeps them safe from predators as well as isolating them should there be any form of illness. Once they grow up a bit, they get to go into the big barn (pictured at the top of the page.)

The calves get fed a special formula; the bottles get pulled along in this cart and dropped into the opening in the hutch. The calves know the routine, let me tell you! By the time the last calf has it's milk bottle, the first ones have already emptied theirs and they need to be picked up.

While we were there, H (I've debated...do I use real names? Or just initials?) asked me if I'd liked the snow this winter. Um...no...not really. I told him snow was a four letter word. He said yeah, kinda like Tracey. I looked at him with a puzzled look. Um, no, couldn't he count? Tracey had six letters...unless...hey! Watch what you're saying there, buddy! Call me a four letter word... Why are you laughing like that, H?

Darling and I had really come over to see the more recent addition to the farm, though; piglets! Now I ask you, is there anything cuter than a baby pig? I mean, really? They're so cute and smiley and pink...and cute!

Okay, not that one. He was big and ugly, and had freaky blue eyes....

Oh, yeah! Now that's what I'm talking about!
Major cuteness going on here!

Take me home with you...I can do tricks!

Who needs a dog? I'd make the perfect house pet!

I don't eat much...

Such a good mamma, letting Junior play piggie back.

Do you speak Pig Latin?

Wait a minute...what have we here? Ahhh...there's H, trying to hide from the camera! Silly H...

You'll need to do better than that...

Okay, I admit it. I left there a bit envious. My friend D tells me I ought not be. "Yeah," I said, "it's a sin. I'll ask forgiveness later, but for now I'll be envious." I promise, D, I'm over my farm envy for tonight. I'm going to head off to bed with visions of pink piggies dancing in my head! (I wonder if City Boy will let us get one?)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Dating Diaries…

Well, at the urging (aka nagging, whining, blackmailing…) of some of my faithful readers (who, for the moment, shall remain nameless until I get a little dirt on them), I shall tell the story of the Booger Date. I did not want to do it, but it would appear I have little choice in the matter…however, when the dirt is dug up you can be certain that those nameless (for now) readers shall be exposed (that’s not a threat, dearies…it’s a promise!)


Decades ago my mother had a friend who lived just up the road. My sister and I knew there would be no ride home from the bus on sunny days; we’d be walking the half mile up hill while our mother and her crazy friend were out having a blast on their horses. Why would I call the woman crazy? Well, for Christmas one year she gave us a jar of dead goldfish that she’d fished out of our pond. Another year we got a box of road apples…aka, horse poop. Crazy.

This crazy neighbor’s father was one of 12 children. She was the oldest of a whole passel full of cousins. One afternoon my mom, sister and I came home from shopping to find a note on our front door; “Hi, I came over with my 19 year old cousin and his black Porche convertible. Will come back later tonight!” My dad came in from working in his shop to read the note and smiled. “And for who’s benefit do you think she left this note?” he said with a smile and wink in my direction. I’m certain I perfected my eye rolling ability as a teen.

Later that night, true to her word, my mom’s crazy best friend showed up at the door with her bearded cousin and his fancy automobile. I guess she thought it would turn my head. I think he thought it would turn my head. But could it pull a horse trailer? No. In fact, I rather made the off-handed comment that it looked like an elephant had sat on it. I’m not so sure he was impressed with me at that point.

The Porche driving cousin was visiting from California for a week. In that time he borrowed his older cousin’s horse and we went out trail riding a couple of afternoons. And then the inevitable happened…he asked me out on a date. Well, one date wouldn’t hurt, right? I mean, he’d be leaving the next day and I’d never see him again…

As I said, this was decades ago. I was a senior in high school. And what do high school students do on Friday evenings in September? They go to football games. I’m not certain that’s where the cousin had in mind, but that’s where we went. Now, I must admit to the fact that I was not part of the popular crowd at school. No, not even close. And yet somehow we ended up sitting right in front of them. The air was a bit chilly, and I’d been getting over a cold. My nose was beginning to run a bit, and I kept sniffing…trying to keep it from being noticeable.

I don’t recall what was said. Does it really matter? My nose was running. Someone said something funny. I snorted. Snot flew out. Everywhere. People in front of me thought it was raining; I can only imagine the disgust from the popular crowd behind me. I was sure I’d completely grossed out my date. But hey, after tomorrow I’d never see the guy again, right???

Oh, if I’d only known…
And somebody...if you've got a more embarrassing first date story, I'd love to hear it!

It's Winsday!

I've not really got a prize lined up...but I'll think of something. Perhaps note cards with barns? There've already been several suggestions and preferences mentioned. If you've got an original idea, toss it on out there! If you'd just like to vote for your fave, you can do that, too! I'll put all your names into a hat and have Tait draw the winner late tonight :)

Now, I've got a couple more updates coming along...but it's 3:30 am, for crying out loud! I'm going back to bed and will be back at a more reasonable hour; if you get here before me, be sure to pop back in. Soap is on the way, and I think I may have a Taffy update, too!

Okay, I'm up...

So what's new? How about this...Taffy's teat! Yes, there's just enough milk to be able to actually see it now, and her weight is shifting just a wee bit. I think we still have a ways to go, but progress...progress!

Snow on the hill this morning. Bleck! Go ahead, say it with me...Bleck! We hate snow, don't we?

With Taffy showing signs, I've moved Quiet Storm over with the other sheep. This won't last long, as she can't have grain and they're screaming their little woolly heads off for it right now.

Oh, and soap! But I'm in a bit of a rush at the moment...City Boy needs my help getting the car into town; something about a new muffler today. So once again I leave you...but I shall return! (Mostly because I want to check to see how many of you come and read you barn comments! Keep 'em coming!!!)

Back again!!!

City Boy's car is now getting an updated muffler...and I'm back in blogland where I can unviel the soap! So, you recall how the soap looked in the mold, just before we covered and insulated it? Pretty gold in color, eh? Well....

Look at it now! I sprinkled glitter over the top just before insulating it, which is the shiny bits you're seeing. You'll also notice that there's a bit of white; this is because the color wasn't stirred completely into the raw soap, but left with a bit of a swirl.

The method of soaping I use is called Cold Process; it takes a day or two for the lye to settle and become completely neutralized (occassionally, a batch that's been mis-measured can take a bit longer.) There is always a bit of excess moisture that will evaporate out of a batch of soap, which will shrink it but also make it harder and create a longer lasting bar. But typically, if the lye has neutralized, the soap is safe to use; it will just melt away quicker in the shower. I tend to slice my soap the same day it comes out of the mold; some people wait another day, but it often depends on how hard the soap is.

How do we know if the lye is neutralized? Well, you could take the cowards way out and use a pH strip. Or, you can grab one of your kids and have them perform the tongue test. Perhaps your most gullable. If you can't get them to do it (because you've used them for this task before, and they're gun shy), then a different child. They may turn you down, though, because they've seen the gullable child's reaction to lye heavy soap. Find your City Boy and ask him to demo for a photo. If this fails (because he's laughing too hard over the memory of the gullable child attempting to eat a bar of soap that looked remarkably like a brownie), you'll be forced to do the tongue test yourself.

You can either stick your tongue directly to the soap, as pictured, or just wipe a wet finger across the bar, then touch it to your tongue. If you feel a zap or tingle, your soap may have a little lye that hasn't quite fully saponified (in other words, it hasn't completely neutralized yet.) However, this should not be considered lye heavy. Lye heavy leaves no doubts; think of a tongue on a battery, or electric fence...the shock will send you reeling backwards. I highly recommend doing the tongue test with a big, comfy chair behind you to break the fall :)

All that's left to do is package up your soap!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Soap: It's What's For Dinner!

Can you hear that little musical ditty they play along with the "Beef, it's what's for dinner" ad in your head? After an afternoon out, City Boy and the kids walked into our house and, with one quick whiff, they could hear it. They got all excited, too. "Mom's cooking!" the children cried in thrilled, yet astonished, amazement. City Boy was hesitant, and yet it appeared to be undeniable when he walked into the kitchen; mmmm...mouth watering pot roast.

Or so they thought.

Dreams and hopes were dashed immediately when they found I was rendering down tallow, the fat from a cow, for soap instead of preparing a hearty meal for my family. But they should have known better. I do not cook. I hadn't meant to get their hopes up, but come on, why would I be cooking? They know my motto by now. Soap: It's What's For Dinner!

The wisest thing my father in law ever did was insist that his boys grow up learning to cook. Their mom was a fantastic cook, and their dad (obviously capable of seeing the future) told them that if they married a woman who didn't know how, it would be wise for them to learn. A couple weeks after marriage vows were exchanged, City Boy realized just how right his father had been, and he gave thanks to his mother for all those lessons in the kitchen. Why is that? Well...since you asked..

I was going to try a recipe that was some form of casserole. I don't really recall what it was, to be honest; I just remember it needed pork. I didn't have any, so I got all creative and found something I thought would be a good substitute. No, it wasn't chicken, just sit down and I'll get to that. I think there were beans and rice...green beans, not those mushy brown beans. That would be just gross. City Boy was due home and I just wasn't into the whole Betty Crocker or Martha thing...but I did know he expected dinner when he came home so about ten minutes before he got there, I began tossing stuff into the casserole dish and got it into the oven. Smelled pretty good, too. But smells can be deceiving.

City Boy came home with a smile on his face. I handed him a plate as he grabbed a soda out of the fridge. He sat down and scooped up some of the green bean and rice dish, and without thinking about it, stuffed a heaping forkful into his mouth.

You know, after raising two children, I still never saw anything exit the mouth as quickly as my green bean and rice dish exited City Boy's mouth that evening. "What's wrong?" I asked. "What the @%#^& did you put in this?!" Well, there's beans, and rice, and hot dogs...

Needless to say, City Boy's father's prophecy was fulfilled.

Okay, so you already knew I wasn't some super cook after the whole cake incident last week. I do, however, know how to make a loaf of soap! Wanna see? Set yourself down and I'll walk you through it; not the details so much as the basics.

First things first; measure out your oils and lye, have all your utensils handy, and make sure your mold is lined.

Lye is caustic; make sure if you handle it to be wearing gloves so as not to burn yourself.

I line my mold with freezer paper, shiny side up. This allows the soap to be removed easier.

I needed 36 oz of water. For fun, I added the color to the water first. I added a liquid color called brilliant blue along with a powdered violet.

Pouring in the lye; note the reaction of the color. Blue rarely stays blue in soap, it almost always turns to a purple shade once the lye hits it.

Pouring the lye water into pre-measured (and melted) oils.

Some of the oils I use are solid at room temp, such as coconut and palm. They need to be melted down first. You can see by this pic that there's still a chunk not melted. That's why I'm hand stirring at this point; lye water is hot and will finish melting the oils.

A girl's best friend is her stick blender!

With oils melted, I begin using the stick blender. Notice how it's beginning to thicken up?

The soap is getting opaque looking, but still not at 'trace'. I add a bit more powdered color for good measure :)

This is what 'trace' looks like; whatever you're stirring with will leave a trace behind it as you're stirring.

Once at a light trace, I add my fragrance oil. Some fragrance oils will cause your soap to accelerate trace, or even sieze, so it's best to test new FO's in small batches.

Now it's time to pour into the mold. This fragrance accelerates trace a bit, leaving me with a rather chunky look. That's okay...embrace the difference!

Unless you've used honey or milk, you'll need to insulate your soap. I put down freezer paper, then cover with a couple of towels. You then set your soap out of the way and leave it for 24 hours.

The most important thing you'll learn (aside from how much lye to use) is how to clean up. This is raw soap...very oily and still caustic if you touch it. If you make soap, you're hereby granted a 24 hour break from doing the dishes. Tomorrow this will be soap; it will wash right out with no problem.

Now....the soap must sit overnight and you must wait until tomorrow to see the finsihed product! BTW...this is the soap that Laura and Rosmeary have won :)