Practicing happiness

This post is part of a series of articles related to happiness and the proposal of practicing slow activities to slow down our wild rhythm and remember the flavour of the things that have been made without hurry.

You can see here how to council slow moments in your daily life, as well as a list with other activities you can practice.

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First of all, I wanted to clarify that the soap that is done by recycled oil is used to wash clothes and the one that is for personal use is made by new oil. As I had the feeling that this wasn’t going to be easy, at least at the beginning, I wanted to do a more valuable soap, and having a 100% organic soap to use was valuable enough for me.

Now that I have understand the process I’ll try with the recycled soap too, because recycling something that contaminates so much as the oil has a lot of value too. But for that I’ll need to collect one litre of used oil and for now I only have a 10%.

All this began with an Aloe Vera plant that is getting bigger than its pot. Sometimes I use its leafs as a body milk, specially this summer after sunbath. But still too much production to me, so I looked for other ways to use it.

I knew that Aloe Vera is often used on cosmetic products, so I thought on soap. I looked for and found that above all, it has antiseptic and healing properties and it also regulates the excess of oil on the skin, so it was perfect for me.

If it is not your case, don’t worry because by its combination of substances, Aloe Vera is able to act in profundity and in different ways, depending on the kind of skin that is put on. It has the capability to bind oily skin as well as to hydrate dry ones.

In the receipt I backed up to they also used Mint, because of its relaxing properties that soften expression paths.

I’ve said back up because I picked up ideas from here and there.

I’ve have to say too that my first experiment was a total failure. This are the steps and results of the second that is doing better. I’m absolutely not an expert, but I wanted to share with you my experiences hoping that you get inspired by them!

Let’s get our hands dirty!

Ingredients:

– 4 leafs of Aloe Vera.
– Dry leafs of mint. I didn’t have mint, but I bought it from the herbalist’s shop.
– 1 litre of new oil.
– 1 litre of water.
– 190gr de lye.

Precautions:

Lye is really dangerous, so you should use globes during the whole process and be very cautious, lye shouldn’t touch your skin. After pouring the lye into the water it will produce gas, so is better to get away of the room. Also, you shouldn’t use anything made by aluminium because it reacts with the lye. And finally, the tools that are going to be in direct contact with the lye, you have to save them for this use only and do not use them for anything else anymore.

Materials:

– Washing-up bowl
– Something to move
– Gloves
– Blend
– Shapes. I used muffin shapes so the bars were already individual, and a bigger mould which tablets I cut after.

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1. Boil the water with the mint to make the infusion.

2. While the water gets cool again, we peel the Aloe Vera leafs. The best way I found was to cut it in two and take out the jelly with a spoon. When finished, we have to blend it all and save it for later.

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3. Strain the water and put in on the washing-up bowl, by the window or underneath the smoke extractor in the kitchen. I saved some mint leafs to add them at the end and give the soap a more handmade look.

4. Pour carefully the lye into the water and go outside the room for a while. After that I move the mixture a bit and left it to cool down.

I’ve read tons of articles about the process and they give different instructions, so I’ve picked up ideas and drew my own conclusions after the results of the first experiment.

In the moment of pouring the oil into the water, both liquids should be on similar temperatures. In the first instructions I followed, they boil the oil to match the temperature with the water that is hotter after the reaction with the lye. However, the more hot is the mixture, the more you will have to be blending after. So next time I waited until the water cooled down to the temperature of the oil, an it worked.

5. Pour the oil into the water while moving with the ladle.

6. When finished, change the ladle for the blender and add a tablespoonful of salt, they say it improves its texture.

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I’m not sure about how much time should long this process. The goal is to get a consistent mixture, but I don’t know if it should look like mayo or purée.

This is how it looked my mixture when I got tired of blending. Now I think it needed more time.

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7. Now add the extra ingredient, in our case the Aloe Vera blended previously, and if you want, some leafs from the infusion.

In some tutorials they add the extra ingredient after adding the oil, but I think is better to assure you have your soap, and then get creative.

Looking back in time, I would say that if it is your first time, is better to try it simple, without extra ingredient. That way, if it fails, is easier to determine what is the problem. Maybe in my first time I put too much Aloe Vera but I’m not sure.

8. Yes, we can pour the liquid in the shapes! Cover it with a tower, it helps the saponification process.

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9. After 24 hours, the most tense moment, we can open and se what happened during the night. It is supposed they should have a solid appeal and it is the moment to cut the bigger ones into more small tablets if it is your case. I waited 3 days because mines were still too liquid.

10. Finally, we have to wait 30 days to the soap get mature. Until that moment we won’t know for sure if our experiment has worked fine. But this is what all this is about, experimenting the emotion of each step, learning how to bear the wait and enjoying the success. This is the real value of the process.

I have one week left to being able to use it, and I am counting dow the days!

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My main piece of advice is to no give up the first time, because I learnt a lot from my mistakes and I promise it gets better next time!

I would really know from your experiments, and if you found ways to improve my receipt, please share them to get better results next time!

If you are interested on knowing more activities to get slow moments, please stay turned in by clicking the “Follow” button on the right down corner of this page.

I hope you liked it!

P.S. As always, please excuse any errors in my english! Feel free to correct anything you want through the comments.

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