As this is supposed to be an insight to all things soapy...it might help if I made a start on explaining certain segments of the actual soap making.
Its all going to be hap-hazard as I truely don't believe in being totally organized and straight forward.
This is Gelling ( see below )
The opaque looking edges are where the soap has started to cool down already and starts looking like soap.
Gelling is when the lye & oils/butters mix gets really hot and starts to evolve..it starts off turning into a transparent clear gel ( due to the heat from the chemical reaction between butters & oils & lye) and then it starts to cool down, it will turn back to an opaque colour. Once cool you can demould and cut into your bar shapes.
I normally make mine around dinner time and once made leave until the next morning. A night in a turned off oven or in an airing cupboard will have it ready for the chop.
This is it after a night in the mould