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Soap maker cleans up for Easter

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Felica DeRoza makes decorative soaps (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Easter bunny has Felica DeRoza’s sympathies; she now knows just how hard it is to make eggs.

She puts a tiny, bubblegum-scented one in each of her Easter baskets.

The handmade items are just two of the many she makes from soap and sells through the business she started two years ago, Butterfli.

“The tricky bit was getting the colourful spots on the egg,” Ms DeRoza said of her most recent collection. “I mixed up separate batches of purple and pink soap and dripped it onto the drying egg.

“The consistency had to be just right or the spots would run together while drying. I think it was the mould I was using but the eggs were very hard to make. The mould complicated matters because it held the spots upside down during the drying process.”

Her decorative cupcakes are extremely popular. They look and smell so realistic people sometimes can’t stop themselves from taking a bite. “Sometimes people won’t believe me when I say they aren’t edible,” said the 39-year-old, who also runs a mobile massage business. “There is a label on the outside of the soap that says ‘for external use only’.

“One lady called me up and said, ‘Felica, I tasted your soap. It’s soap’. I said, ‘That’s what I told you’.”

She began making soap in 2015. The year before, she’d started a line of body creams and lotions; her hope was that the soap would help with her eczema. A lot of people are looking for something more gentle than regular soap,” she said.

“About half of my soaps use goat milk as a base.

“It is less drying; although everyone’s skin is different. Some people might do better with my aloe-based soaps.”

She sought advice from other “soapers” on best practice and did a lot of reading.

“Soap-makers are very open and encouraging, especially when you are just starting out,” she said. “You see some soaps that are highly decorated and say, ‘I can’t wait to try that’. But it takes time and patience to master it.”

Her first attempt didn’t go well, she poured in the oil before the other ingredients had fully cooled.

“Everything volcanoed,” she recalled with a laugh. “It overflowed. I wasn’t burnt; I always wear goggles and cover my arms. Soap can get very hot very quickly.”

She’s now perfected the basics and is experimenting with new techniques; an idea to incorporate prickly pear pulp wasn’t an immediate successes.

“My uncle Dennis DeRoza collects them for me,” she said. “He removes all the spines before he brings them. But the first time I did it I didn’t strain out the seeds.

“It lathered up well, but didn’t quite feel so nice. The seeds were rough. I have done another batch without the seeds and it was a lot smoother.”

Buy her products at Windy Bank Farm in Devonshire, Nubian Nook on Court Street and Love My Hair Salon in Hamilton.

•For more information: 505-4503 or info@frdessentials.com. Look for her on Facebook and Instagram under frdessentials

Some of Felica DeRoza's Easter basket soaps (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Felica DeRoza's soap cupcakes (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Felica DeRoza making soap (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Felica DeRoza making soap (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Felica DeRoza making soap (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)