Friday, May 29, 2009

New Shampoo Bar Pics + Baby Birds

Before the soap is cut it rests.

Oh it sounds so cozy, like putting your feet up after a long day and grabbing that novel you've been aching to finish. But for cold process soap the resting phase is when the real work happens.

It is during this time that the magic happens - oil, water and lye merge chemically to enter the phase known as saponification - the transformation into soap. The substance hardens, colors fluctuate, and lye is absorbed. That's it - it's all so simple.

This is the one of the reasons I enjoy making soap, especially cold process soap. It's an excuse for me to play "home chemist" in my kitchen, something I truly enjoy. I loved my chemistry classes in High School and now, well . . . . I think my chemistry teacher would be proud. :o)

And so I have endeared myself to the cold process and enjoy spending a little time at the stove, a good deal of time with my nose in books researching the healing qualities of oils and herbs, and nursing an imagination whose heart beats to someone faraway desert chime.

And so I give you, after a week's worth of promises and your lovely patience, two new soaps - Desert Dream and Bay Rum #2 (both Shampoo Bars).

Enjoy the pics. I took these after they were poured.
+---+---+ )O( +---+---+

Baby birds

I've been feeding baby birds on my porch, just two of them, not much smaller than their parents now. They're juncos. I know this because their parents pop around every now and then, more infrequently now than last week. They have some brown bodies and a dark black hood that hides their shining eyes. Beautiful. They remind me of pilgrims, heads shrouded, eyes hidden beneath a pall of prayer.

The birds are so lovely, so innocent. Just ten minutes ago I stood at my back screen door and watched one as she ate, splitting the hulls of the sesame seeds in her scissor-like beak. She didn't mind me watching her, but eyed me curiously. Beauty is everywhere and I see it in her.

Birds are always singing, flitting and flying through the air, giving away their songs of joy, songs of sorrow. The swallows have finally returned, bringing with them warm days fecund with the promise of a hot summer. Purple heads and throats, silk white bodies. Songs in the evening air.

I cannot imagine a life without birds.

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