A Good Start to December

Hi there,

Since I wrote my last post about frigid temperatures here things have warmed up considerably. That's because it started raining again.  I think the rain started on Monday but on Tuesday it came down heavily.

I took in a workshop on soap making. Something I've always wanted to learn. My mother and I both always liked nice soaps. Perhaps she, more than I. In later years when I developed more skin issues, I became even more interested in soaps and what is in them. If you want to purchase a nice bar of soap like olive oil or scented soaps like lavender, they can cost a fortune per bar.

I can always remember hearing my mom talk about wanting to learn how to make soap. Although she had an interest, she never did get around to it. I suppose she was too busy being a mom and taking active interest and care in the extended family. However, mom did transfer her interest to me.  She even gave me a small book with the instructions which I've had now for a few years.  Besides being too busy to try making bar soap however, I also wanted to take a class and learn how to handle the ingredient of lye which goes into the soap.

I finally had a chance to do just that earlier this week.

This first batch of soap was made with essential oil but no colour.

The second batch of soap is made with cocoa colour and essential oils.

It takes 3 weeks to cure the soap and use it. The instructor will do that for us and we will all pick up a bar before Christmas.

It's always fun to learn new things. the best part was talking to other like minded people. The second best part is that I now have more know how. The workshop was free and we will all get a bar or two of soap when they are ready.  I am more than pleased with the benefits.

Before you get started on soap making there is an investment to be made in buying the "tools of the trade" as in any other hobby or undertaking.
I haven't calculated the full costs but some of these costs would be eliminated if you can make your own mold with materials on hand or use recycled materials such as the tofu cartons (you see on the tables) which can also be used as soap molds.
I know a place where I can get all the materials measured out for the two batches (as in the photos above) and it will cost $38 dollars Canadian (excluding the molds and other tools like immersion blender, whisk etc.).
This would make about 17 large bars of soap per mold. If you want them for smaller baths soaps you can cut them and get about 34 soaps per mold. Altogether you will have 34 larger bars of soap or 68 smaller bars for $38 (Canadian).

So as you can see it is much less expensive than purchasing a ready made bar of soap in the store and you can make them according to your colour and scent preference.

I'm glad I took this workshop.
Maybe next year I will make soaps for gifts 
(birthdays or Christmas).
First I need to collect all the tools of the trade. The instructor told us she used the same pots and equipment for soap making as she does for cooking but I prefer to keep them separate and will likely buy them all second hand.

I didn't take photos of the sky since last Sunday. 
We have had some nice bright days and now some cloudy ones.

I've decided to post the sunny photos and save the gray skies for another day.

Amazon was advertising for Black Friday.

These two photos (one above and one below) were taken in downtown Nairobi, Kenya earlier this week.
You can see it looks cloudy there and they are getting El Niño rains.

When I am about running errands, I will often take a coffee break and read a good book. Even if I only read a few pages.

Good coffee. The young lady barista gave me this treat for free because she liked my giraffe change purse from Kenya.

I'm reading "Moonstone" as recommended by one of the bloggers I read but I haven' t had much time this month to finish it.

Now that cooler weather is here, I find it harder to eat a lot of salads.  My body needs heavier sustenance and warmer foods at this time of year. so to make sure I get my greens, I try drink a smoothie on the days I don't get a salad. Home made smoothies often consist of a green vegetable (kale, spinach, romaine or a combination of them), a piece of fruit (half a banana, small apple or frozen or fresh berry medley), water, flax seeds or whey protein and water and blend well before drinking.

I make a green smooth at night when I haven't had time for a salad.

I've been keeping very busy as I'm sure most of you are.
I may not be posting as often but will post when I have something to share.
Some of you remember that I was thinking of attending the Salute to Vienna, Vancouver Symphony Program on January 1st.  Instead I've decided to attend my first Nutcracker Ballet.
I've wanted to see it for long so will finally check it off my list of things I'd like to do.

Please enjoy each and every day of this holiday season.
Have a safe and happy December where ever you are, and whatever you are doing.

If you are alone you can still enjoy the season by yourself or by inviting others to share with you.
Stay safe.

Joining with Skywatch Friday this week.


  1. Interesting blog. I really liked the cold but sunny weather better than the rain and wind.

  2. Oh I like the idea of making your own soap, especially as we in my household have skin problems. Have a nice December too xx

  3. I too am interested to learn how to make my own soap but until now have not the chance to do so. I love your sunny skies especially the one with the gold leaves. Coffee would be good for a lazy afternoon. Have a good day!

  4. Pretty sky shots! The coffee sounds delicious. Learning how to make soap, sounds like a fun time. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  5. Good morning, dear friend! As always, your photos are a delight to look at. Your sky shots are truly beautiful!

    How fun to make soap! I have always wanted to, but am a little daunted by the process. Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

  6. Of all the crafty stuff I've done and do, soap has never been one of them -- and I don't know why, because it looks like tons of fun and who doesn't love soap? Don't you love creating in workshop with others? It's more fun than anything!

    Sounds like you have quite the entertainment schedule going on! Good for you -- sounds terrific to me!

  7. Beautiful photos! Making soap looks like a lot of fun!

  8. The soap making was great fun, I'm sure. I enjoy "home made" soap, when I find it.

  9. What a fascinating workshop, it sounds really interesting.

  10. I have always wanted to learn how to make soap.

  11. What an interesting workshop and hobby: soap making. I also love joining workshops to learn a new skill but especially to meet and interact with like-minded people. I love the sky through the autumn leaves. And although I don't drink coffee, your cuppa looks yummy. Great post as always, Penny. Blessings Jo

  12. One of our mountain towns has a shop that sells nothing but soap; it's so beautiful people buy it to decorate their bathrooms.

  13. Hi Joyful, You did a great job of getting us started on the holiday season with this post. Someday I hope to do a workshop on making candles ... kind of like what you did with the soap. Congrats on getting the free coffee at Starbucks ... They know a good customer when they see one. ;-) Hope you are having a fine weekend!

  14. Lovely soap making... I think I could enjoy that hobby if I didn't already have too many obsessions.
    Wishing you the loveliest of holidays...

  15. Making your own soap...that is amazing! I have sensitive skin so I always worry about using store bought soap. Have a Merry Christmas Joyful!

  16. Making your own soap...that is amazing! I have sensitive skin so I always worry about using store bought soap. Have a Merry Christmas Joyful!

  17. We're kinda having the same weather. It's been freezing last week but now all the snow have melted. It rains a bit too. It's very strange for Russia not having thick snow and icy roads in December.

    I've always liked soaps. I love smelling their scent and wonder from what is the scent made of or taken from. But lazy me, I've never tried learning soapmaking. I guess it's interesting. And I guess that is a great idea to make sone as presents. Many people appreciate personalized presents. Good luck to your soap makung and wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!

  18. We switch from salad to soups for lunch in the winter. A lot of the same veggies, but warmer! I enjoy making soap and learned from a YouTube video. All my soap making stuff is from thrift stores and probably cost a total of a couple dollars, so it can be s cheap hing to do. It makes nice gifts, the kind I like to give -- somethIng that can be enjoyed and used up and you don't have to dust it!
    I hope you enjoy the season preparing for Christmas, too.

  19. a friend of mine makes soap and has a little shop in freiburg, she also sells it on markets. i love this soap and it's much better for my skin :-) so beautiful when you get the chance to learn those things!
    these days it's sometimes more spring than winter, but i enjoy the sun. at this time of year i often eat soup instead of salad. i love the different kinds of making it, today we had broccoli soup with creme fraiche and pine nuts ;-)
    wish you a wonderful christmas time xx

  20. The pictures are so amazing!:)


  21. I've never seen The Nutcracker, either, but would love to. I did keep our grand-boys so our daughter could take our grand-girl!!! That's as close as I'll probably ever get...LOL. HOPE you have a great week.


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