Book review (+ giveaway): The Natural Soap Chef

Making soap has always intrigued me – part craft, part chemistry, part alchemy – so naturally I was excited when a copy of The Natural Soap Chef crossed my desk.

Author Heidi Corley Barto has capitalized on years of soap-making experience to pull together a thorough soap-making primer. She gives you all the information you need to make soap in your own home, including lists of essential equipment and ingredients (and where to buy them), as well as an array of recipes from the simple (Basic Olive Oil Soap) to the complex (Vanilla Lime Soap Mosaic).

The directions are clear and concise, and after reading through the introductory chapters – complete with helpful step-by-step photos – I felt confident that with enough time and space (and adequate hand and eye protection – lye is nasty stuff) I could make a bar (or twelve) of soap.

With “gourmet” soaps ranging from cucumber melon to chai tea to grapefruit to almond cookie, there’s surely a soap here for everyone. And at the end of the book, you’ll find neat ideas for crafty packaging – after all, homemade soap is a terrific gift. Hm – Christmas crafting, anyone?

Now, I must admit that despite my confidence, I didn’t tackle soap-making. Frankly, there are limits to what my 300-sq-ft apartment can sustain, and a homemade soap-making operation would push them past capacity. (What if it got on my yarn?!)

Would you like to try making your own soap? I’m giving away a copy of the book, so this might be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me: What’s your ideal soap “flavour”?
  2. Make sure you leave your name and email address, so that I can contact you if you win. (Unfortunately, we can only ship prizes within Canada.)
  3. Do it before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012. I’ll randomly choose and announce the winner on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. Good luck!