Soap 101: Studies in self-reliance
Michelle Rafalowski wears goggles and gloves while handling chemicals, including liquid lye, during a soap-making workshop. (LARISSA MULKERN)
More workshops to come
Self-reliance workshops are $15 each, plus a materials fee when necessary. For more information, contact Global Awareness Local Action at 539-6460 or register via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming programs include:
March 12: Treat Your Skin With Chocolate - Make Organic Cosmetics
April 9: Fly fishing - Gear, Knots and Casting
May 14: Fire by Friction - Bow Drill Creation
June 11: Book Binding - Coptic Stitch Notebooks
July 9: Natural Building Materials
Aug. 13: Edible Wild Plants - Wild Food Walk
Sept. 10: Basic Sewing Machine Introduction - Tote Bag Creation
Oct. 8: Beer Brewing Basics
Nov. 12: Campfire Cooking - Dutch Oven, Reflector Oven and Pot Suspension
Dec. 10: Simple Sauna - Making and Using
The workshop was the first in a series of 11 self-sufficiency-themed classes co-hosted by Global Awareness Local Action (GALA) of Ossipee and the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School of Masardis, Maine.
For this class, she brought along some marigolds to add to the soap recipe, explaining that the flower has healing properties and is good to use on skin burns.
"You get a feeling of empowerment when you know how to take care of your life and you don't have to buy everything at the store," she added.
During the class, students learned that a basic soap recipe includes mixing liquid lye with a combination of olive, coconut and palm oils; a small amount of essential oils that come in a variety of fragrances such as lavender and peppermint; and an exfoliant such as tea, nuts, oatmeal or spirulina. The combined ingredients are blended and poured into a safe cardboard or plastic container - just about anything other than aluminum - and cured for up to a month.
As student Michelle Rafalowski heated ingredients in the adjoining kitchen, she talked about how the class is an example of practical chemistry that she can replicate in the advanced-placement biology and chemistry classes she teaches at Wolfeboro's Brewster Academy.
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