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Soap Crafting    by Anne-Marie Faiola order for
Soap Crafting
by Anne-Marie Faiola
Order:  USA  Can
Storey, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

With the holidays not that far off you might wish to try a more personalized approach to gift giving this year by making something special to give family and friends, like handmade soap.

This isn't as complicated or difficult as you might think and using Soap Crafting by Anne-Marie Faiola as your guide you'll find this task is actually a lot of fun.

Dubbed The Soap Queen, Faiola owns a firm, Bramble Berry, a company that sells soapmaking supplies in Bellingham, Washington, so she naturally has a vested interested in convincing people that designer soap makes an excellent gift. Actually, it does.

In this inexpensive how-to guide you'll find instructions with step-by-step photos for safe and easy soap making. If you are a beginner you might want to keep it simple for your first few soapmaking sessions. The opening chapters not only explain basic soapmaking techniques and describe the tools/supplies you'll need, but also provide a tutorial on producing a basic cold-process batch.

There's also information on understanding oil choices, choosing colorants and the use of essential oils and fragrance oils.

Once the author explains the basics she devotes the rest of this book to some of the creative, fun things you can do, like playing with color, different types of molds you can utilize, and creating super swirls that will enable you to craft one-of-a-kind soap masterpieces.

Faiola also looks at creating soap inspired by food, such as avocado moisturizing bars and coconut milk bars. If you wish to explore even more interesting soap additives, there are suggestions on how to incorporate coffee grounds, oatmeal and even green tea into the mix.

'Soapmaking involves most of the senses smell, touch, sight, and sound (most of us will likely avoid the fifth sense, taste). Unlike art that sits on a wall, your handcrafted creations can be used daily. Not only will your soap wash away dirt, but its artistic nature will nourish your soul at the same time,' writes the author.

She also notes that 'soapmaking is a delightful hobby and makes a fantastic springboard for a small business. It's a great creative outlet for anyone who enjoys colors, fragrances, and alchemy the process of transforming something common into something special.'

Beautifully illustrated with color photography, the book's spiral binding allows it to lay flat when open. Also, pay close attention to the Soap Safely sidebars that highlight precautions that should be followed when soapmaking.

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