Sunday, March 6, 2016

Folk School at Camp Mikell

Have you ever agreed to do something and then think… Why? Why did I say I would do that?!? Well that’s exactly how I felt when I agreed to teach a soapmaking class at Camp Mikell’s Folk School! I have been making hot processed soap for about 3 years, but I’ve been making basically the same recipe. I decided that I should study up on a few things before I taught the class. The more I studied, a little panic set in! I realized that there is so much I need and want to learn! But I pressed on!

We had a great location for the folk school. Camp Mikell is located in beautiful northeast Georgia. Our classroom was located along a creek and the sound of the rushing waters was so peaceful!

Our classroom - located along flowing creek!


Look at those cute bird houses on the classroom wall!

Rocking chairs on back porch of our classroom.
Too bad we were so busy we didn't get to enjoy them!
I arrived at Camp Mikell with my truck loaded down! Thank goodness my mom and dad gave me a wagon for Christmas!
It only took two loads to get everything in the classroom!
I unloaded my truck and got busy setting up the classroom. I brought way too much stuff, but I wanted us to have options as we were crafting our soap!

I had an awesome group of ladies to work with.
Not one of them had ever made soap before so we started off Friday evening with a lesson on lye safety. The Soap Queen: Ann-Marie Faiola has a great video on safety and we watched her video. The demo of lye on a chicken drumstick shows just how lye can burn the skin! The video kinda freaked a couple of the participants out, but I made sure they knew that we’d have no problems because we were going to wear our protective gear! Here’s the link to the video: Soap Queen TV Lye Safety and Ingredients. If you’ve never made soap, there are some very good videos on the Soap Queen’s YouTube channel. There are over 100 videos on her channel!
Saturday morning we started making our soaps. We made 6 batches of hot process soap using crockpots. We used different essential oils, additives, and even colored some soap. We used the same basic recipe each time with coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, and castor oil. Doing this allowed all the participants to measure oils, mix and pour lye, stir the soap and see the entire process several times. At first they were very timid about using the lye, but their confidence built up with each batch that we made. By the time we were on our 6th batch, they were very comfortable and they were in control of the soap making, which was a good thing, because I was getting tired! LOL!
Measuring oils

Mixing the lye, water, and oils.
Look at that protective gear! :)

Waiting on the microwave!

Mixing the lye and water.
Not the best place to mix it on the railing, but we worked with what we had!

While we were waiting on our soap to cook, we made lip balm, salt scrub, and bath fizzies. I introduced the participants to Handmade Beauty Box. Would you like DIY beauty and spa projects delivered monthly to your home? Handmade Beauty Box (HBB) is a monthly subscription service that does just that! Almost EVERYTHING that you need is included in the box and the ingredients are premeasured! You only have to add things like bowls, spoons, or things you’d find in your kitchen. I signed up for HBB because I wanted to try different recipes for products without having to buy a lot of materials that I might not ever use again. I decided to bring a couple of my HBB kits to use with the participants so that I wouldn’t have to haul so many different ingredients. The participants LOVED HBB!!! They loved how the instructions were easy to read and the boxes were easy to use with the ingredients premeasured. The best part is that HBB gave me a coupon code to share with the participants! And even better… HBB said that I could share that code right here on my blog! Use the coupon code CMSOAPS10 at checkout for 10% off everything on the Handmade Beauty Box website including subscriptions and single boxes! There are 3 subscription options: month by month, 3 month, and yearly subscriptions and you can cancel at any time!
Mixing ingredients to make Handmade Beauty Box salt scrub.

Reading the directions from the Handmade Beauty Box.

Handmade Beauty Box lip balm assembly line!

Making Handmade Beauty Box bath fizzies.
Final Handmade Beauty Box products!
Everyone loved the premade labels.
(We had "extra" lip balm because we didn't pour enough in some of the containers.
So me poured some in lip balm tubes.) 
Sunday morning we cut our soaps, cleaned up, and packed up.

A culminating event was a “show and tell” where all the participants of the folk school shared what they made. There were other classes going on at the folk school: pottery, painting, wool felting, woodturning, stained glass, weaving, knitting, quilting, creative writing, copper enameling, and more! I think our display looked awesome! We made 6 soaps (lemongrass & tea tree, orange oatmeal, citrus basil, lavender, sandalwood vanilla, coco beach), lavender and lemon verbena bath bombs, and from Handmade Beauty Box we made lip balm, bath fizzie, and a salt scrub.

We had a great weekend! The food was awesome and very yummy! Have you ever been to “camp” and had boiled shrimp, crab cakes, chicken cordon blue, cheese cakes, and more?!?! I think I was a little spoiled because it was sad Sunday evening when no one fixed my supper! J
Boiled shrimp! Look at that yummy chocolate cupcake!
Notice that I ate a salad also
We had a great weekend of learning! I look forward to participating in the next Camp Mikell Folk School! In the meantime, it’s back to the books to learn even more about hot process soap making!

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