Every woman needs a therapy hobby. Something she can do that is unrelated to both her job and the upkeep of her house that occupies her mind and hands and that produces something either useful or creative.
In the good weather, I garden and make a variety of canned and pickled veggies.
In the bad weather, I make bath products.
The unwitting recipients of the outcomes from these little therapy projects are normally friends and family or co-workers, who are gifted little bags of bath fizzies, lip balm, hand cream or cold-process soap with their Christmas packages. These recipients normally at least pretend to be grateful for them. And every year, I try to make something new that I haven’t attempted before. Sometimes these new projects are a big hit. Sometimes they are an epic fail. I nevertheless dress up the outcomes and foist them on my ersatz Toiletry Victims.
Last night, I attempted to make Bubble Bars, (à la Lush) for the first time, as a friend requested that I give them a try. There are several recipes available on the web; they vary in terms of both ingredients and ratios. All the recipes involve mixing some variation on baking soda and cream of tartar together with a powdered detergent and some corn starch, adding a series of oily, viscous or otherwise soapy-like liquids, and then forming the final product into a bar that can be cut up and crumbled under a running bath. Easy, right?
So I measure and mix these powders together, choking as I go, because I ignored the warning that I should use a respirator mask so I wouldn’t choke (because respirators are for wimps). I added a few festive candy flower sprinkles and tiny embeddable paper scraps to help it look festive.
Things took a downhill turn after that.
The directions read “combine the liquid ingredients and drizzle into the dry ingredients, mixing and kneading with gloved hands to combine thoroughly.” No problem. I mixed the liquids together. They promptly polymerized into a mass that resembled the Ectoplasmic Residue from Ghostbusters. My attempt to “drizzle” the substance resulted in my glopping the wad of goo into the center of the powders (resulting in more coughing). I then started kneading the mixture, which commenced to expanding at a prodigious rate. The consistency was sticky enough to pull off one of my vinyl gloves and devour it like a giant purple macrophage that had encountered a hapless amoeba. I began punching down and kneading with more vigor, in hopes that it would behave like bread dough and give up some of its excess carbon dioxide. No luck. I suddenly wondered if this was how Lucy felt in the candy factory; I simply didn't have enough hands to contain the growing mass of purple squish. It quickly overflowed the mixing bowl and began to mushroom up and over the side of the bowl, landing with a series of plops on the counter like so many bubbling purple cow pies. It began disgorging the candy flowers and paper trinkets. I was reminded of the birthday cake from that episode of Our Gang, expecting at any time it would start making that “wheep-whoooonnnk” noise, and a rubber boot or the neighbor’s dog would pop out.
Time to set on the stove and stir
I finally managed to gather the entire mess onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and began to roll it firmly. It deflated enough to form into a log so I could cut it into slices. I left them on the counter to dry overnight.
Tonight will be recipe # 2, I think; I’ll keep you all posted.