A Little White Lye

God sure is funny sometimes. 
A couple weeks ago at the Kane County Flea Market I got a rare opportunity to shop for about a half hour all by myself. At one booth there was a bowl of old soap under a table for $1 a bar.  The vendor told me that she found a bucket of it in the basement of her historic home when she moved in some years ago.  She had slowly been selling it and giving it to friends.  I'm such a nerd that I bought all of it because I could just see how pretty it would be all tied up with bits of lace.

Mr. Blessing was quick to point out that (1) I'm nuts and (2) I'd never use it for anything except displaying.    I had to admit that I really couldn't imagine myself actually using old lye soap for anything and I started to feel a bit guilty for spending even a little amount of money on something just to look at.  But as far as decor goes, this was pretty cheap and it really is lovely on a tarnished silver platter.

Then it happened...

Poison ivy!!

I took this photo while she was sleeping the other day - totally knocked out by Benadryl.  This was the early stage.  It got much worse looking after another day or two.  I washed everything she wore, slept with, breathed on or looked at... talked to the pediatrician and kept her covered in calamine lotion.  I began to wonder what my grandma would've said to use.  Since she passed away earlier this year I couldn't just call her up and ask her so I googled grandma's poison ivy remedy and you know what I found?

Lye Soap!


  1. Oh, poor thing!! I have to say, though, that even if you never did use the soap, it looks absolutely gorgeous displayed in that tray!! (love the lace!)
    Sometimes we just have to spend a little on things for no other reason than they are lovely to look at and give us joy :)

  2. So did it work well? My daughter is highly allergic to poison ivy. The only thing that works for her is to be knocked out! Anxious to hear!

  3. Oh no poor thing! I hope she is feeling much better today.Did that soap help?

  4. That soap does look gorgeous on that tarnished silver tray. Very elegant. Hope it helped with the poison ivy too!
    Btw, I am a fellow Kane County fan(atic) and I would have bought it all, too!

  5. Sorry to hear about that but FYI homeopathic remedies work faster than most anything else and bonus no side effects. If you have a local healthy food store they should have what you need. Treatment is based on symptoms. If she is better from hot water application then Rhus Tox if from cold then Ledum. If the blisters are filled with yellow fluid Anacardium. Or if she's worse at night and from heat Graphites. You can get books from the library or the health food store. Hope this helps and from what I understand if you do a homeopathic treatment the next time she is exposed, it will be much milder.

  6. Those soaps looks oh so very pretty on your platter! That is kind of ironic about the soaps and poison ivy! Hope she is doing better with it. :) xx Holly

  7. I make lye soap but I use a kye calculator to ensure the lye and oil concentration is correct. I would be very careful with the old lye soap. Chances are with its age it is probably OK but old lye soap was often made with cheap dirty oils and due to lack of internet knowledge and soapmakinf skills, they could be lye heavy and actually cause some burns. If you email me at opies99@gmail.com I would be so happy to send you some very safe, purely natural hanmade soap to try. But wrapping in lace...very very pretty. LOVE IT!

  8. So yes, I'm skilled at soap making, very poor at typing. Forgive my typos please :)

  9. WOW that is amazing!!! What are the odds of you finding that kind of soap and your poor baby getting poison ivy and needing it? Just amazing. Hope it worked for her. My daughter just got over it too.
    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

  10. Isn't it amazing He knows what we need...even before we do?
    My son is highly allergic, so I know what a pain poison ivy is. Take care of sweet girl...like I need to tell you that! LOL

  11. What an incredible story! God works in such mysterious ways doesn't he? He know you'd need such a thing. And in your heart of hearts you knew you had to purchase the soap. We're always so amazed when these things happen... He loves us so much.

    Hugs, Edie & Marie

  12. I do hope she is well again. Poor little thing. What serendipity!!

  13. Well, your story certainly confirms how the universe works to help us. I recently attended an Amish flea market and there was an elderly lady selling lye soap. I too am allergic to poison ivy and looked a little worse for wear from having been in a poison ivy patch! She just gave me the lye soap, told me that "no one needs to use toxins, such as Benadryl. The soap worked and I love seeing the "lye soap lady" whenever we are at the Market.

  14. Well, we ended up using both the lye soap and some Gojo grease cutting soap and that helped tremendously! We are also using some acne pre-moistened pads for the areas around her eyes (it helps dry up the blisters). The blisters are now flat (but not popped) - if that makes sense. After just 24 hours with this treatment she is outside playing with her friends. Thank you so much for all your kind comments and emails. (hugs)

    Blessings... Polly


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