and a simple recipe

| There are few things in life more rewarding than making use of something you created with your own hands. It's so satisfying to cook with homegrown vegetables, decorate with homemade artwork or relax in a handcrafted rocking chair. The simplicity and authenticity of being a maker comes with a deep sense of purpose. It starts with seeing a need and then finding a solution through ingenuity and good know-how. |

| I've always marveled at people who live predominantly homemade lives. They've carved out their own little place in the world and filled it with things that would not exist had they not built them. It's such an inspiring notion! It's what motivated me to tilt the scales of my own home life to favor handmade goods. I now enjoy nothing more than rolling up my sleeves and creating something. |

| A few years ago, I got the itch to start making my own bath and body products. If there were levels of importance regarding the necessity of something being homemade, I'd say food and soap are right at the top. If it's going into your body or onto your body, it's best to know exactly what's in it -- and what better way to know than to make it yourself? |

| So began a series of late night, caffeine-fueled research sessions. I was determined to learn everything I could about how to make the best quality soap possible. After all, if you're going to do something, do it right! Of all the soap making methods I researched, Cold Process was the one I decided to practice. I wrote an extensive tutorial on my personal blog that you should definitely check out if you want to tackle the following recipe with confidence. It's called "Cold Process Soap Making for Beginners" and you can find it here: http://offbeatandinspired.com/2012/09/14/cold-process-soap-making-for-beginners/ |

| This Peppermint Vanilla Bean soap is incredibly refreshing and a great pick-me-up for early mornings. The little flecks of vanilla bean scattered throughout the snow-white bars may tempt you to take a bite, but please don't! You'll enjoy lathering up like never before with one of your very own homemade bars of Cold Process soap. |

Peppermint Vanilla Bean Soap (yields about 60 oz. of soap)

| 19 oz. water 8.1 oz. lye 12 oz. coconut oil 12 oz. palm kernel oil 12 oz. canola oil 6 oz. jojoba oil 9 oz. sunflower oil 3 oz. castor oil 6 oz. shea butter 2.25 tbsp. peppermint essential oil 1 tsp. Ground Vanilla Beans **When handling lye, please remember to take the necessary safety precautions. Work in a well ventilated area and wear a surgical mask, rubber gloves and goggles to prevent inhalation or contact with the skin!**

| 1. In a heat-proof plastic pitcher or bowl, slowly add the lye to the water and stir until the lye has fully dissolved. Cover and set it down in a safe place until the temperature drops below 125 degrees F. 2. Combine all of your oils (except the peppermint) in a large bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute at a time, stirring between until the oils are melted completely. Once the oils have melted, let it sit uncovered until the temperature drops below 125 degrees F. 3. Once your lye solution and your oil temperatures have both dropped below 125 degrees F, add the lye solution to the oils and mix with a stick blender until the solution thickens and reaches a light trace. 4. Add the peppermint essential oil and ground vanilla beans and mix with the stick blender until everything is evenly distributed. 5. Pour the mixture into your soap mold(s) and cover. Allow the mold(s) to sit for 24 hours before de-molding and cutting your bars. The bars must be allowed to cure for at least 4 weeks before you should use them. You can safely use them after 2 days, but they will be very soft and are likely to fall apart in the sink or shower. Allowing them to fully cure produces a hard and high quality bar of soap. |


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