The Lovely Luxury of Simple Soaps

"They charmed...with smiles and soap."

~~Lewis Carroll
Here is one of our favorite vintage~inspired soap dishes all dressed up for spring...and nestling the simplest home~made soaps!


Remarkably Easy~To~Make Gift Soaps.

Note: This project first appeared in our book, Frugal Luxuries, published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997.

You will need:

  • 1 or more bars of inexpensive soap (we like to use Ivory)
Hint: avoid soaps with oils as they will never dry enough to hold their new shape.
  • Grater
  • Optional: crumbled, dried herbs such as Rosemary (we used it in this project) mint, lavender and the like
  • Mixing bowl
To Make:

Grate the bar of soap into the bowl as you would a firm cheese. (If you are making a large batch we've found the shredding attachment on our food processor makes short work of the project.)

Add dried, crumbled herb bits.

Mush the soap shavings up with your hands and shape into little rounds. Be sure to pack the soap so that it is solid. Air bubbles will cause it to crumble once it's dried. If it seems too dry to shape, simply add a few drops of water to soften.

Allow to dry thoroughly (several hours or overnight). It will harden.

Make as many as you would enjoy using or giving. I often make several gift soaps at one time in order to stock our gift pantry. We collect a variety of soap dispensers (new and vintage) to use to display our simple soaps (as in photo above) and/or to give as gifts. (They make a great token gift or included as part of a larger gift basket.)

Note: If you like, you may tint your soaps by adding a small amount of food coloring when you're mixing them! Also, if you're using an unscented soap you may also want to add a drop or two of peppermint oil (or other scent) to your shaved soap...but not too much or it won't dry properly!!


Quick Reminder!!

There's still time to enter into our "Frugal Luxuries" book give~away!

Just make a comment on any entry after 3/17/10 and your name will be entered into our random drawing! The more comments you make, the more chances there are to win!

We'll announce the winner next week...

and tell you about our new give~away for April!!

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all.

With love and good thoughts from,

Tracey and Family


P.S. I also wanted to tell you that I am linking up with Cindy from

My Romantic Home

for her
Show and Tell Friday"!

Please stop by Cindy's charming blog to take a look at all the lovely images...and wondrous links she offers us!


Natasha said...

This is such a lovely idea. I will have to try it out some time.

Happy Easter!

Best wishes,

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Thank you Natasha! It really is so very, very easy and takes only a few minutes to complete! It's an especially fun project to do with the children (so long as they're old enough not want to eat the soap :)!

Happy Easter to you and your sisters!!


scrappy quilter said...

I love this idea too. What a great way to decorate with soaps. Hugs

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Carol!! Thanks so much for the kind words. You probably recognize this idea from the first Frugal Luxuries book...but it is so useful (also incredibly easy thrifty and pretty) to make these up on a whim that they can be used in so many ways!

Happy and blessed Easter to you and your family my kind friend.


French-Kissed said...

Hi Tracey,

Thanks for visiting French Kissed and leaving your comment for it led me here to your delightful blog. We embrace the same philosophies of spinning something beautiful and useful from practically nothing and putting lovely old things to new uses so this will be a great friendship. I know I will be inspired each time I visit your wonderful site. Hope you are enjoying a fabulous weekend at that you have a happy and blessed Easter.


Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Jermaine, you are so kind! Thank you so much for the nice comment and good thoughts. I found your lovely, lovely blog through Charmaine about a year ago and am, ordinarily, a quiet admirer.

However...your wondrous post this morning compelled me to thank you for sharing such beautiful thoughts, images and philosophies...I do believe you are a kindred soul! Wishing you a blessed and happy Easter weekend.


Storybook Woods said...

Such a simple idea and a wonderful gift xoxoxo Clarice

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hi Clarice!! I have to tell you that I showed your chocolate scone (a.k.a. rocks) recipe to the girls and they are wanting to make it up this weekend! I'll just have to keep them out of sight (i.e., no displaying them prettily atop cake plates or under a cloche';). I don't want to be tempted to eat them all!!

We are wishing you and your lovely family a blessed and happy Easter weekend!


Victoria said...

What a great and budget friendly idea! I'm definitely going to try this:) I figured I'd have to buy an expensive soap making kit and molds, thank you so much for sharing this!

Your newest follower:)

Vintage Girl said...

Hi Tracey, what a great idea, I've always wanted to try my hand at soapmaking yet never have. This looks like something I can handle, so pretty and what lovely little gifts! I have different shaped soaps in glass covered containers in my bathroom...they look so pretty. I also have an antique dish filled with them on the cabinet in the bathroom. I use some and others have their job to give off a beautiful scent each time someone walks by. I always will remember my grandma loving these little soaps and as a little girl I thought when I get older I'm having me some of those beautiful soaps...and I do. They make me smile. I hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful Easter. Hugs, Heather

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Welcome Victoria!! I'm so happy you like this idea. It's also a great way to make use of those little soaps from hotels visit and the like!

Happy Easter to you and your family.



Audra said...

You know I am going to have to give this a try. As luck would have it (Frugal Luck!) I picked up ten bars of Ivory for ...$1.50 at a close out place. Now I have a use for it! Can't wait to make these!

Happy Easter dear've inspired me for so many years with you wonderful book..Frugal Luxuries(still going to have to get Frugal Luxuries for all seasons!)and I feel so blessed to have you as mentor for the finer things in life on a shoe string budget.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello Heather!! Oh my goodness these are just the easiest things to make and there is so much you can do with the idea. We've even used candy molds and miniature bread pans (from Rosie's kitchen basket when she was little)to shape this simple soap! Thanks so much for the kind note. I hope you and your family enjoy a blessed and happy Easter.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Hello Audra!!

That IS good luck...positively serendipitous! :) I'm excited to see what you do with it all!! I also want to thank you so very much for your generous, kind words. They are appreciated more than you know. Wishing you a happy and blessed Easter my sweet friend.

Love and hugs,

P.S. Hope you're feeling better today.

~ellen~ said...

This sounds like so much fun! I have wanted to try making soap, but the lye scares me. This seems like a quicker and more fun alternative.

Thanks, Tracey! I hope you and your family are having a lovely Easter holiday. :)

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

Happy Easter to you Ellen! We're enjoying the day down here in San Diego with my Dad...having our own earthquake adventures!! The blessing is that there seems to be not much major damage and no injuries!
Blessings and good thoughts to you and yours my friend!!
Love from,

The original "FRUGAL LUXURIES" ~ Based on the books by Tracey McBride ~ Established 1993

A warm Thank You to all kind souls and kindred spirits who generously take the time to leave a comment...your encouragement, trust and support are deeply appreciated...please know that we read each and every message and will respond as time allows.


Frugal Luxuries
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"FRUGAL LUXURIES: Simple Pleasures to Enhance Your Life and Comfort Your Soul" was written by Tracey McBride and published by Bantam Books, NY, in 1997. It was the first of its genre to synergize the elements of simplicity, frugality and gracious living.

After more than a decade, FRUGAL LUXURIES has never been out of print and is now more relevant than ever.

"It's our hope that a new generation, faced with a teetering economy, will also find this information helpful and enlightening."

Sending Good Thought to Our Special Band of Kind and Kindred Souls!

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