As our economy starts to shrink and people lose jobs, self-sufficiency will again come to the fore.  Benjamin Franklin wrote of the virtues of being able to do many things for oneself, saving money on house repairs and the like.

We will also need to better build community, so that people living near each other actually know and can help each other out, again saving money by simply working together and reducing TV watching.

So, here’s a suggestion helping combine self-sufficiency with community-building:  let’s start having soap-making parties!  Buy enough ingredients for a demonstration and invite over one adult from each of several nearby households.  Make the the soap (I like the idea of laundry soap as an entry point here), and everyone can take home enough for a load to test it.  Depending on the time of day and one’s inclinations and proclivities, this klatch could include one’s favorite drinks (tea, coffee, or alcohol in moderation), taking care not to confuse the soap stuff with the drink stuff.  Then each attendee can spread this down the block, and out into the community.