Hello there! My name is Julie and I'm new to this forum board. I've been doing many different crafts for years, as a hobbyist. I'm experienced with lip balm, candle making and melt and pour soap. That said, for years I've wanted to make soap from scratch, so I've decide to embark on hot process soap making. I've now made four batches of hot process and I'm loving it. My first batch was *sort of* an epic disaster because a local homesteading guy sells lye and soap supplies, but doesn't know too much about it and at that point, neither did I. He said "oh yeah, this is the stuff to make soap with and it said 100% LYE in all caps on the bottle." Turns out it was KOH and not NaOH. You can imagine my surprise and feelings of ineptitude when the soap never got hard after sitting for 24 hours. In frustration, like a good scientist would, I reviewed everything and all my calculations. I looked closely at the small print on everything and the back of the "LYE" bottle said it was Potassium and not Sodium Hydroxide. I wasn't familiar with Potassium Hydroxide at the time and just assumed it was a special lye but with a quick internet search, I figured out that I was making liquid soap. I took the gelled liquid soap out of the mold and followed HP liquid soap instructions and I ended up with liquid soap. So, my first ever batch of homemade soap was liquid soap! Go figure. Out of the frying pan and straight into the fire... After grueling hours of trying to get to gel and nearly burning out my immersion blender because I wasn't using liquid techniques, but rather HP techniques, I thought: 'this soap making is for the birds!' Now, I find regular HP soap is a walk in the park-- so easy compared to my first challenge. I signed up to this forum because I saw someone mention the "byrdiejean" hot process technique and I'm really interested in it and love her videos in Youtube. I do small batches for me and family only. I like to keep as much of the end stage ingredients (essential oils, butters, infused oils) intact so after research what I can tell is that HP is best for that, but I'm hear to learn and I'm sure that will change cuz I'm so into all the decorative swirls in CP. I've attached a pic of my "Frozen" melt and pour bar of soap that I make for my nieces. Looking forward to being here!