One of my favorite things to do is to make things with my own hands with natural and organic materials (from scratch if possible). Ana, my friend from the hills of Antipolo has been one of my Martha Stewart-ish inspirations since I've met her. Her family likes to make things, too! She is the brains behind BodyFood as its official soap-master maker for 14 years now.
It's been about 8 years since we've met and collaborated on her Ladies & Babies Tea Party and Bazaar which I blogged about here. She has these really creative and entrepreneurial get togethers yearly which we happily join or attend to buy unique finds and natural or healthy products. Last year's Tea Party and Soap Exhibit was a sweet success! Read all about that here. Earlier this year was an Artisan Fair which she collaborated with other merchants. Too bad I didn't make it because one of my kids caught a bug but I did blog about it here.
Yesterday, I attended her Soapmaking Workshop which I have been meaning to attend since she decided to teach it to the public. The venue was the home of her younger brother, Vitty Gutierrez who is a master artisan builder! He calls his home The Bee House because there are always bees buzzing around.
We had some of the day's sessions outdoors which was so refreshing for city folks like me. Just look at our grand classroom, so out of the box - literally!
These are some of the basic materials needed. I felt like a badass naturpath chemist! Look at the adorable watercolored notebook made by Ana's mother, Tita Emma Gutierrez. She always has charitable projects for her artworks. Read her blog, Frogglerocks on her beautiful life up in the boonies.
I was so happy to be with friends and basic soap chemisty classmates, Cat and Chicho :) I loooove being a student again. In life, learning never stops!
After a lecture on the chemistry behind coldpressed soapmaking (no cooking involved!), Ana then brought us indoors to choose our essential oils and other natural additives. Bodyfood soaps aren't cheap. It is because all of the ingredients are so premium. She uses distilled water, essential oils, pure raw honey, shea butter, extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, golden jojobal oil....the list of amaaaazing things she has in stock can go on. These things cost a lot. We were taught not to uses (synthetic) fragrances in making soaps because...why would you (lather fake stuff on your skin which absorbs into your body?)
Ana compares soapmaking to cooking. If you use good ingredients, then the outcome is nothing short of wonderful. Which is what all of her soap creations are, masterpieces.
|Gigantic block of Shea Butter and Raw Honey with Honeycomb in bottles!|
For lunch and merienda, Vitty and his wife prepared salad, pasta (from scratch!), roast chicken, and Tita Emma made a yummy mango-chia seeds in coco cream dessert. We also had fresh iced tea and delicious dayap cake. (Ana!!! I can't stop thinking about this!)
The rest of the afternoon was spent watching our soap mentor do her magic. She chose a decadent chocolate and cocoa butter soap with other divine additives -golden jojoba oil, argan oil, virgin coconut oil, ginger, tagetes/marigold flower tincture.
Look, she expertly does the layering trick to the soap block! I hope to be able to do the same one day soon :)
Viola! My final product is a sight to behold! Look at the gradient coloring, proof that this soap was make with fine natural ingedients. All I need to do is wait until July for it to cure properly before my family is able to relish all of this goodness. For now, we enjoy the scents it has brought into our bedroom. Pure love, made by my own hands. Perfection!
For product updates and future workshops with Ana of Bodyfood, please follow her on Instagram @anagutch. I might just see you in one of her family's DIY gatherings!