I am proud to announce that I am now Certified as a Cold Process/Hot Process Soapmaker through the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild (HSCG). The HSCG is a non-profit trade association which works to promote and protect the handcrafted soap. Funded by membership dues, the HSCG provides reliable information about the benefits of handcrafted soap, acts as a center of communication amongst soapmakers, provides educational tools and materials to soapmakers, and advocates of behalf of handcrafted soapmakers at the Federal and State levels. The certification program is administered by the HSCG via a proctored, written test and ensures quality in the handcrafted products their members manufacture. I earned certification during the HSCG 2014 annual conference in Tucson, Arizona, in May 2014, where I also got to attend workshops and classes and meet fellow soapmakers.
While in Tucson for the conference, we built in extra time to take a day trip to Tombstone, Arizona, where we watched a reenactment of the showdown at the OK Corral, starring Western legends including Wyatt Earp and “Doc” Holliday. We also toured the famously "haunted" Bird Cage Theatre (I swear I felt a cat rub up against my leg, but there was nothing there!), and popped into the courthouse and the Epitaph newspaper office.
On a free night, we took the drive up to the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter to take part of the SkyNights program. SkyNights is an after-dark program available to the public that takes advantage of a 32-inch telescope, Arizona’s largest dedicated public viewing telescope, to learn the constellations, observe atmospheric phenomena, and view the wonders of the cosmos. We got to spend the chilly night with a small group of people and learn about the universe from the incomparable Adam Block. SkyNights was so extraordinary, it inspired an entire collection of soap based upon the astronomical wonders that we actually got to view: