I got lye for my birthday. (I just might have the best husband ever.)
I've been wanting to make soap for months. I've read up on it, and I still wanted to try it, even after reading all the warnings about lye. Today I gave it a try while Tiger Lily was over at a friend's house.
I used this excellent tutorial. I like it because it uses oils that are readily available and not too expensive. It's a great way to rotate through the shortening in our food storage, since I hardly ever bake with it anymore. I bought a few doubles of kitchen things from a thrift store so I wouldn't have to put lye in my everyday things. I will keep these in a box for the next time I make soap.
I won't know how the soap turns out for awhile—it's got to cure for at least a month—but I consider my experiment successful so far: I didn't get any lye on myself today.