Our family had our first soap-making lesson during the winter of 1999-2000. The first soap we made on our own was made with tallow that we rendered that winter. We didn't add enough essential oil to cover up the smell of the tallow. The soap lasted us a long time (we made several kinds). Several years later, after purchasing The Natural Soap Book, we began making soap with oils instead of tallow, and more essential oils.
When I began making soap more seriously, I developed five scents: Apple Crisp, Ginger Snap, Lemon Pie, Minty Macaroon, and Orange Spice. A few years ago, I added Evergreen Forest, Sweet Birch, Vanilla Sundae, and Wintergreen. I plan to begin making a gardener's soap soon, and am always open to additional ideas and suggestions if you have a scent or kind you would like.
I make my soap in batches of 40 bars. Over the years, I have acquired various tools which have been a big help in my soap-making. Thankfully, the days of sitting on the floor (the largest flat spot), cutting soap with a big knife and a home-made strapping guide are over. A friend and fellow-soapmaker (and fellow-beekeeper and carpenter) made some soap-cutters about three years ago - a limited edition - and was kind enough to sell me one at a very good price. One of these days, I'll try to take and add some photos of the process.
One batch of soap - cut and curing.
Hand-made Soap is available at these locations:
100 Mile Market in Claremont, New Hampshire
Community Feed Store in Westminster Station, Vermont
The Village Store in South Acworth, New Hampshire
Walpole Grocery in Walpole, New Hampshire