At one point in time I had a cross stitch sampler hanging in my home that said, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without." That was our mantra when I was a stay-at-home mom and we were living on one salary.
All this talk of vacations reminded me that it was time for me to engage in what I call lazy soap making. It's easy. It doesn't involve buying anything, chemicals or special ingredients. You're only required to tuck those sample size hotel soaps into your suitcase when you're traveling. The Farmer brings them home all the time when he's traveling on business.
I just throw them all into a drawer in the bathroom until I collect a dozen or so. Gather them all together, rip off the paper wrappings. Don't worry about whether they are body bars, facial bars because we're going to mush it all together. Usually these soaps are scented mildly so in this case it won't turn into the battle of the scents.
Get a large plastic or glass bowl and your kitchen grater. Don't worry, we'll pop it into the dishwasher when we're finished and it will be sparkling clean.
Start grating the bars, one by one. I use this side of the grater. The idea is to break the soap up into small pieces, not necessarily into a powder consistency. Keep grating until you're finished. It's good if some of the bars are a different color because it creates a cool effect when it's all done.
You'll end up with a mixture that looks like this:
I transferred it into a large bowl so that it would be easier to mix. At this point I threw in a handful of instant oatmeal because I'm intending to give this batch as small gifts. The oatmeal makes the soap slightly abrasive, which is perfect for gardeners.
At this point I lightly oil a muffin tin to use as a mold. These make a nice sized round bar of soap. Put the prepared muffin tin aside.
Sprinkle the soap mixture with water. You're not going to need a lot, just enough to moisten the mixture. Mix lightly with a spoon and put into the microwave. Microwave on high in one minute increments until the soap mixture expands, bubbling up. If it seems dry, add a little more water. When it expands and is hot and bubbly, remove from the microwave and stir.
Be careful because the mixture is very hot. Spoon the soap mixture into the muffin tin, using a spatula to smooth it out.
Set aside to cool and set. I let it stand for a few days before unmolding. This way the excess moisture will evaporate and the bars will be solid.
Be sure that your family realizes it's soap and not white chocolate with nuts!!! Otherwise they might get what I call the Lifebuoy Surprise!!
I wrap the soap up in plastic wrap and decorative paper and tie with a jute bow.
And now you know what to do with those hotel soaps!!!