Tag Archives: Soap Making

#IWSG: Creative Outlets Besides Writing

I have a ton of things I want to write about, but somehow I can’t get myself to actually write. I started trying to use my new Mac Saturday evening. So far, it works but is still a bit hard to use. The WordPress app for Mac isn’t available in the app store, so it is a pain to install. I’m just using my phone now rather than WordPress.com in Safari, because at least I know how to work this.

It’s time again for our Insecure Writer’s Support Group or #IWSG check-in. This month’s question is about creative outlets other than writing.

I must say I”m not terribly creative. I don’t do any artsy things and am no good at music either. No, not all blind people are musically talented! I tried my hand at learning to play the keyboards and guitar for a bit, but didn’t like either. Granted, my guitar lessons were while I was at summer camp in Russia and the instructor spoke Russian and English only. This was before I knew English, so it took me half an hour to figure out what he meant by the “strings”.

If we expand creativity a bit to include crafts, I have tried a ton of them. I started out trying to make cards in 2012, not realizing how inaccessible this craft is to blind people. I should’ve known, since the blindness agency used to offer card making courses but specifically to the partially sighted only.

Then I tried mixed media, which was similarly inaccessible. Then came polymer clay, which should be doable but not by me. I tried to learn to crochet and loom knit too.

Lastly, I tried soap and bath and body product making. I still love that craft and would someday like to pick it up again, but I can’t do it independently. This is when I realized that the problem may not be exclusively with my blindness, but my cerebral palsy affecting my fine motor skills too.

So in short, no, I don’t do any creative things other than write. But I’d love to learn.

Four Skills I’m Pretty Good At #Write31Days

Welcome to day 15 in my #Write31Days challenge on personal growth. Today, I have another list post for you. One of Lisa Shea’s journaling prompts on self-esteem has us write about our skills. What things are you pretty good at? Here goes.

1. Writing. I’m by no means a bestselling author – I have only had one piece of writing published in a book so far. I also make a lot of typeos in my writing. Overall though I consider my writing to be pretty good.

I started writing at about eight-years-old, wanting to become a children’s fiction author once I’d grow up. Now my husband is one of my worst critics when it comes to my children’s fiction, saying my stories aren’t very imaginative to say the least. Then again, when he compliments me on my blog posts, I take it all the more to heart.

2. Calendar calculation. You didn’t know that’s a skill? It is! My husband can’t tell whether October has 30 or 31 day without looking at the calendar, so I’ve got to believe that calendar calculation is a skill. It refers to being able to tell what day a given date in the past or future falls on. I’m not nearly as good at it as I used to be some twenty years ago, but am still pretty good.

3. Researching topics of interest. When a topic captures my interest, I can research it for days on end and will quickly get to know a lot about it. As such, I know a lot about psychiatry – more than some so-called professionals would like me to know. The flip side si that I cannot convert all my knowledge into practice. For example, I know a lot about soap making, but after those first few attempts, I haven’t tried making soap on my own again.

4. Relating to other people in a unique way. Particularly to people with cognitive, intellectual or developmental disabilities. I consider myself pretty good at relating to my fellow clients at day activities. As such, I have been known to come up with some ideas for sensory activities.

What skills are you pretty good at?

Weekly Gratitude List (July 27, 2018) #TToT

Today, I’m participating in Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). I have been looking at this link-up for a few weeks and wanting to participate, but somehow, never managed to actually go about it. I don’t promise I’ll be able to share ten things I’m thankful for right now, but I’ll try.

1. Sunscreen. It’s incredibly hot and sunny here. So hot in fact that it’s not funny anymore. I originally wrote “sunshine”, but then realized at this point I’m not thankful for the sunny weather anymore. I am, however, thankful for sunscreen. I recently started on a new medication and the doctor didn’t tell me it can cause photosensitization, which means you burn more easily when in the sun. This I’m not amused about, as I did explicitly ask about risks or side effects. It’s summer, man! It’s over 30 degrees Celsius. Thankfully I found out before starting the medication.

2. My sun hat. My husband bought it for me last year provided I promise to wear it. I never kept that promise until this week. It looks pretty cool on me or so I’m told.

3. Fresh fruit. Last Wednesday, I went to the supermarket with my mother-in-law and bought some peaches and blackberries. I’ve eaten them all by now, so maybe I’ll need to ask my husband to buy new fruit or take a trip to the supermarket myself again. I love love love fresh summer fruit!

4. Focaccias. Don’t know whether I spell this right, but they’re delicious and my husband bought some for us earlier this week.

5. Money in the bank. I received my disability benefits last Monday and that’s always something to be happy about.

6. My support coordinator. My main home support worker is on vacation now, but my support coordinator is thankfully able to fill in for her somewhat. This means I’ll at least have some home support.

7. My mother-in-law. She tries to come by on the days that I don’t see my support coordinator. I’m truly grateful to have her.

8. The fan my husband bought for in our bedroom. Thankfully, they weren’t all sold out by Wednesday, so I slept really well last nght in spite of the heat.

9. Being back in the blogging mood again. For those visiting from #TToT or otherwise unaware of this, I have been blogging on WordPress ever since 2007 and on other platforms ever since 2002. I have a terrible habit of dropping in and out of the blogging mood though. It seems it relates a lot to my general mental state. As such, I’m hoping to stay in this mood for a while.

10. Soap making. I made melt and pour soap again yesterday, this time with the help of my support coordinator. It makes me so thankful to have seen the result when she did the pouring bit, which wasn’t much better than mine. I don’t mean this to offend her at all, but it’s good for my self-confidence to see sighted people make a mess too.

Yay, I succeeded! What have you been thaknful for this week?

Pineapple

Last week, I discovered a writing prompt on a blog that asked us to share our favorite recipes incorporating pineapple. Now I really cannot cook that well, so other than a pineapple and banana smoothie, I have no idea. However, something else came to mind.

One of my main hobbies is soap making. I started this hobby in 2016 after having tried out many other creative hobbies unsuccessfully before, including card making, jewelry making and polymer clay. It’s so frustrating to be blind and extremely clumsy sometimes. As a result of this, I often need a lot of help on any of my creative endeavors except for writing. That includes soap making.

Earlier last week, I’d been thinking of a way to pick up the soaping craft again. I’d not been doing it much for over a year due to not having the support system to help me. Before that, I’d made soap at my old day activities in the institution, but my new place couldn’t help me with this.

I started looking for a soaping buddy. No luck. Then I thought maybe I could try soaping independenty after all. After all, it’s not more dangeorus than cooking and, though I just said I cannot cook, I in fact did cook independetnly many yeas ago. Making a simple melt and pour soap requires less preparation than cooking a meal.

So last week when my husband was at work, I went to business. I deliberately chose to soap when my husband was at work rather than when he was home, so that I couldn’t take out my frustrations on him. As it turned out, the soaping went pretty well. I decided to make a simple soap with just one colorant and one fragrance oil and no additional ingredients. That fragrance oil was pineapple. So here you have our favorite recipe incorporating pineapple.

Yellow soap with pineapple fragrance oil

You just need three ingredients:


  • White melt and pour soap base

  • Yellow water-soluble colorant

  • Pineapple fragrance oil


First, I cut the soap base into small cubes. Guessing how much soap I’d need, didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I’d expected. Then I melted the soap base in the microwave. This is not ideal, as the heat may not be evenly distributed through the soap, but I didn’t want to add complexity by melting my soap base in a double boiler. It worked fine for me. Once the soap was melted (which takes only about 30 seconds in the microwave), I added in a few drops of colorant and fragrance oil. The colorant and fragrance oil bottles I used have a dropper, but I just guessed how much I’d need, as you can never be sure the dropper works properly. Then I stirred quickly and poured the soap into the mold. You only have a few minutes from taking the soap out of the microwave to pouring it into the mold. If you see or suspect bubbles in your soap, you can spray alcohol over them, but I didn’t do that this time, as I cannot actually see where the soap bubbles are. I then left my soap to harden for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good.