Monthly Archives: March 2015

New Game of Soaps Set!

This year’s Game of Soaps (inspired by Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire) set is a bit smaller than last year’s; only four soaps instead of seven. But I’m pretty happy with them anyway! They’re available both on Etsy and on Amazon, though the Amazon availability will have a hiccup soon when I convert them to Fulfilled By Amazon, until their warehouse receives the inventory.

First, Summer Isles, a bright tropical delight.

Summer Islands

Flowers of a thousand different sorts bloom on the Summer Isles, filling the air with their perfume. The trees are heavy with exotic fruits, and a myriad of brightly colored birds flitter through the skies. (A World of Ice and Fire, [George R. R. Martin et al])

Not much seen as yet on screen or page aside from a few mentions as the source of unusual spices, fascinating characters, and beautiful feathers, yet it seems certain that the Summer Isles are a remarkable tropical paradise indeed!

Scent: A tropical fruit frenzy.

Next, Dragonglass, in case of frozen zombie attack.

Dragonglass

“I found mention of dragonglass. The children of the forest used to give the Night’s Watch a hundred obsidian daggers every year, during the Age of Heroes.” (Samwell Tarly, A Feast for Crows, [George R. R. Martin])

Dragonglass. Obsidian. Sharp as anything, but brittle and fragile, and so long since put aside in favor of iron and steel weapons. But when the wights come walking, you need a blade with fire in its heart to melt its cold magic. Be sure to keep a piece handy, should you go beyond the wall.

Scent: Smoky and a little dangerous.

Third, Water Gardens, an idyllic retreat.

Water Gardens

“Beautiful and peaceful. Cool breezes, sparkling water, and the laughter of children. The Water Gardens are my favorite place in this world.”  (Doran Martell, A Dance with Dragons [George R. R. Martin])

Built for the first Daenerys Targaryen to mark the union of Dorne with the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, the Water Gardens are a beautiful place. Fountains and flowers, marble walkways and arches – and children playing in the pools among the blood orange trees.

Scent: Fresh greens, crisp citrus, and light floral notes.

And last but not least, The Iron Price, to release the kraken.

The Iron Price

A warrior wore only the jewelry he took off the corpses of enemies slain by his own hand. Paying the iron price, it was called. (thoughts of Theon Greyjoy, A Clash of Kings, [George R. R. Martin])

What is dead may never die, say the ironborn, the folk of the Iron Islands, in the ceremonies of their Drowned God. They are a hard people from a hard land, surviving by pillaging the nearby “green lands” and the surrounding seas – making a living by the iron price.

Scent: Waves and salt and sea spray.

And that’s the lot! For now, anyway; there will undoubtedly be more next year, because designing these is a boatload of fun.

Oh, I mustn’t forget this bit:

***NOTE: While this “Game of Soaps” series was inspired by the A Song of Ice and Fire universe and HBO’s Game of Thrones TV show, it is not in any way affiliated with anyone or anything of any official nature. It’s just me, having fun.***


Failing Successfully

From fairly early childhood, I was a reserved, self-contained person. A shy introvert with anxiety issues; really it’s a wonder I ever left the house! I was also a very sensitive child, and the slings and arrows of even quite ordinary fortune hit me harder than I suspect most people realized. Everyone has coping mechanisms for dealing with the parts of life that are unpleasant, and mine was to retreat into a shell of arrogant ultracompetence. If I didn’t already know how to do it (or could pick it up without it being evident to an observer that I hadn’t done it before), it wasn’t worth doing, and that was all there was to that.

Unhealthy? Absolutely, and also ultimately self-destructive in that it prevented me from being willing or able to learn to do anything with a learning curve steep enough to notice. I didn’t learn how to learn, or that it was OK to get up and try again after falling down. This led to dropping out of college twice before finally finishing, and to dropping out of grad school twice before giving up on that entirely. It led to leaving job after job, after the first tiny misstep in learning the ropes of a new place left me feeling like a complete irredeemable failure.

Which led in turn, perhaps inevitably, to the life I am now living: That of a self-directed, self-employed creative type. But the thing is, the early period of that life was a horribly rocky time in which I had to learn to fail. Because it turns out one cannot create worthwhile things without creating a whole horrific slew of garbage, first, and throwing it away and refining techniques and getting back on the metaphorical horse. I also had to come to terms with the fact that almost all entrepreneurial endeavors fail (and indeed so did the first of mine), and that is ok. Failing does not make one a failure! It seems so obvious, but in all my life I am not sure I have ever learned a more difficult or painful lesson. (I am not actually sure I would ever have learned it had I not been able to do my failing in safe solitude with no one to offer comfort I would have been unable to perceive as anything other than mocking.)

So these days I am a moderately successful entrepreneur, and well-accomplished at failing successfully. And one of the things I have had to learn is that “failure” doesn’t always mean what others would define it as meaning. For instance, I regard it as a failure every single time I get a bad review. Does that mean I am going to rush out and try to bribe people into changing the reviews? No, of course not. For one thing, that’s a pretty shady business practice, and for another, it’s a remarkably quick way to go broke. If I made a mistake of any kind, I will obviously make it right as quickly and as thoroughly as I can, but in other cases, while I will feel bad about it, I simply accept the review and let the averages speak for themselves. And they do! Fortunately, because even though I’ve become somewhat inured to the occasional less-glowing review, it still takes 20-odd positive reviews to get the taste of a bad one out of my mouth, because I am evidently a diva.

Anyway. I’m going to feel like a poor review is a mark in the “fail” column anyway, and for years I felt bad about feeling that way, because it seemed like I ought to be able to shrug it off, “grow a thicker skin”, all those things people say. I have recently realized something, though: For me, the “personal” touch is part of what makes my products worthwhile. It’s part of what it means to be an artisan, and I don’t get to pick and choose which parts of “personal” I want to experience. The bad comes with the good, and it’s OK on the average, because the good is really, really good.

And even the bad – the poor reviews, the failures – are usually good in their way. How else do I learn to do better, if not by learning how I am lacking now?


Spring is Here!

It’s been a long, sparse spell for new Limited Edition releases around here, but the floodgates are about to open! Three spring releases on this the first day of spring, the new Game of Soaps set releases next week, and there are a couple of other special projects in the works, too! And so without further ado, let’s spring!

Plumeria SunSoap

Plumeria! We’ve had a Plumeria soap at Foam on the Range before, but not for a few years. It’s back, and prettier than ever!

Description: Plumeria? Frangipani? Champa? Man, this flower just doesn’t have any names that come trippingly off the (American) tongue, does it? Well, it’s got a heady, sweet, tropical floral scent sufficient to sweep the romantics clean off their feet. So, y’know, deploy with caution, because otherwise we’ll all be tripping over them.

You can find it here for now, and stock will be headed off to Amazon within the week for this and the other items listed here, so keep an eye out there if you prefer to shop Prime.

Gardenia SunSoap

Gardenia is a newcomer to Foam on the Range, and has been long-requested by customers.

Description: Fascinating (to me) trivia of the day: Gardenias are members of the coffee family! NOM NOM NOM wait I probably shouldn’t eat them, huh. Smell, don’t taste. Got it.

ANYWAY. Whatever their family ties, gardenias are beautiful white flowers in a field of dark, glossy green leaves, and smell absolutely delightful. Perfect for fans of strong, powerful floral scents.

You can find it here.

Heather & Hyacinth And last but certainly not least, Heather & Hyacinth! This is another old friend come back for a visit – and a facelift. If you like things a little bit flowery but the first two in this list are just too much for you, this might be right up your alley.

Description: Like a walk on the moors in the springtime! Wildflowers and a hint of hothouse splendor, grassy overtones with deep, calming notes. Delightful and not overpoweringly floral.

Available here.

And don’t forget, more new things coming soon!