I decided that out of all the goodies in the magazine I wanted to try making soap. The instructions are a basic melt and pour...the supplies are available at your local craft store. (PS...I heart AC Moore. They post coupons on their website and I never pay full price when I visit on a Tuesday...I am a marketing executive's dream).
Hours and hours later, a friend and I had made three different kinds: lemongrass, eucalyptus, and Martha's suggestion, peppermint. As you can see, we took the layering idea and ran with it. The peppermint ended up looking a little more like 1-2-3 Jello, but that's okay. Wrapped up in some cellophane and presto! You have a pretty inexpensive gift that took effort, time and thought.
So very important: Martha, while magical and the queen of all things crafty, sometimes lies (I like to think her interns lie and imagine what a better job I would do if employed by Martha Stewart Living). The directions said the soap will "pop out" of the mold. Yeah, that's a total lie. If you use a loaf pan as directed, freeze it after the soap dries....and then you need to use an ice pick to free the chunk o' soap from the frozen pan and then a knife to "trim" the sides to make sure it doesn't look like Freddie Kruger broke into your kitchen to wash his blades before shoving the bars down your throat and muttering "You're all washed up, kid."
So here's a better idea, invest in some soap molds. The lemongrass bars I made in a cupcake pan and my god they are cute...and pop out much easier. But I do not suggest the loaf pan or anything Pyrex.
After it's all said and done, soap making is a lengthy process and we all know how I feel about lengthy processes. But considering I now have kitchen shelf devoted to the left over glycerin base and all the fragrance, I will be trying again. Stay tuned kids!