Actually, I have now made soap three times. Except the second time no actual soap got made.
The first time I made soap, it was a wild success, except for the ugly brown color it turned when I added the mint leaves from my tea bag. No big deal. Lesson learned.
The second time I made soap, or rather attempted to make soap, it was at a Relief Society activity, where I was in fact teaching other people to make soap as well. I felt confident in my ability to teach people because my success rate so far had been 100%. Indeed, how could I fail?
Well, something went horribly wrong when I added the lye to the water. I now know that this was due to using an aluminum pot. We were lucky that I chose to do this step outside, because as it turns out, when lye and aluminum interact, they cause toxic fumes. And the lye burns holes in the bottom of your aluminum pot. Or your friend's aluminum pot, as the case may be. And even if all of this happens outside, if you leave the door to the church open, the fumes might be blown in by the wind, causing the entire group of women who are supposed to be learning the secrets of soap-making at your feet to run for cover.
Upon arriving home (at 11pm due to all the time spent cleaning up the toxic waste I created), I laid in bed for at least two hours unable to sleep while dwelling on that massive failure, and also reading as much as I could on "lye poisoning". And I slowly convinced myself that I and every other member of the Relief Society need to rush to the emergency room to be treated for our exposure to lye. Well, about one o'clock in the morning I decide that I need to call poison control. Yes, I do it from my bed, waking up Paul, and causing him to think I am (even more) crazy.
"I think I might have lye poisoning," I tell the operator.
"Well, what are your symptoms?" She asks.
"Well, I don't really have any symptoms. But I was working with lye and aluminum tonight and it created toxic fumes that I was exposed to."
"If you don't have any symptoms, you are probably okay."
Now I know.
The third time I made soap was another wild success, bringing my success rate up to 66%, which is something I think I can feel good about. And Lindsay was here to help, which made it even more fun. Actually, that's what made it even doable, because I didn't really want to expose my children to lye, and they follow me around like groupies to a rock star.
So, Garland 3rd Ward Relief Society, if you want some soap, let me know. I owe you. And I'm really glad we all didn't die
PS That is a picture of the actual soap I made.