Friday, January 15, 2021

More Cold Weather Photo

      I posted earlier in the week about my cold weather outdoor photo shoot. I wanted to get Mocha Latte some more performance photos and I managed it. Then Sunday, it was again above freezing and sunny. So I decided I would go out and start working on some OF performance photos. I wanted to redo all of the pics I took for Breyerfest last year. I just didn't like them. So far, at least until my arena gets here (if it does, the boat must be super slow!), outdoor photos are my favorite. So Sunday I set up my larger table, spread the Kinetic sand, and tacked up Bring the Mayhem for some photos. I could not decide if I liked the bendy cowboy for games...
      or the pink casual doll. I thought about not doing the game photo at all. I have Chick's saddle on him and didn't really want to change. But then I decided that I didn't really need to be matchy-matchy for games. I still am not sure which rider I like better for this. 
     I thought this photo was very funny. It shows that for photo showing, what the non-show-side of the horse looks like doesn't matter. She looked great on the side that showed so it didn't matter that her leg was way out on the other side. It made for a fun photo anyway!
       I wanted an overhead shot of this sort of elaborate poles setup. It is less basic than a lot of poles setups and I know it is an easy one to screw up. The cool thing about the middle element is I have seen it (and used it) for both trotting and cantering. I so love versatile patterns!
      I also couldn't resist doing a photo with a blurred out background. Even though I almost always lose some detail on the horse, tack or doll. I think I am missing a bit of ear on this. But I still really enjoy these pics. 
       After my photo shoot for Mayhem on Sunday I have replaced a good chunk of the photo I had for him. I have I think 6 or 7 more I need to redo to have replacements for everything. I was kind of planning on doing some this weekend, since it was supposed to be above freezing and sunny on Sunday, but the weather shifted and now that is not the case. Oh well, I have a lot of time to try to catch good weather and get some new pics. For now I at least have a handful of new ones to enjoy!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Elecktra's Visit

     My Little Elecktra doll is on her way to visit Corina Roberts. Corina and her dolls have been getting ready for the visit. I asked if she would let me use some of her photos for a post. Then Corina agreed to write a bit about it. Thank you Corina, for writing my first ever guest blog post. The story and photos are by Corina. 

Grace Little was just putting the finishing touches on the bunk beds when Skye came in.  

" didn't say you were getting these!" 

"Well" Grace explained as she came down off the ladder, "Elecktra is coming to visit for a couple of weeks."


"One of my cousins.  From Massachusetts."

Skye twisted around a little bit, fumbling for words.  

Skye had latched on to Grace from the moment she arrived in California.  Skye was a natural with animals, a willing learner, always helpful, always hungry...and selfless.  She was easily as excited to create a living space for Grace as Grace was to have one.  She asked for nothing in return. But her longing for family was palpable.

Skye went, young and nimble, straight up the ladder to the top bunk, and sunk into the softest mattress.

"I'm from Massachusetts too, kind of."  Skye said.  "The Field family fostered me for a while.  So, if Elecktra is your cousin, then you and I are sisters.  Right? I mean, foster sisters...I mean, I'm your foster sister."

There were a thousand ways to answer that question, but only one that was going to heal whatever wounds this strong and simultaneously fragile pre-teen girl was walking around with.

"I hadn't thought of it that way" Grace said.  "I guess you could be my foster sister."  There was a warm silence.  

"Now hop down and give me a hand.  I made something, and it's heavy, and now that the beds are here I'm not sure it's going to fit."

And so the sisters shoved tables and shifted rugs and carefully, using an old towel beneath it, slid Grace's creation across the floor and into place; a lamp made of string lights and manzanita limbs,  fitted to a resin base with a huge river rock to balance it.   Grace plugged it in and it glowed like a Christmas tree...only somehow even more magical.

Then Grace brought out some storage tubs, and a large paper tablet, with sheets lined on one side and blank on the other.  

"We'll have to use the tubs as chairs for now.  And Skye, the tablet is for you."

Skye's eyes were wide.  Her lips parted but no sound came out.

"And this" Grace said, lifting a primer grey model horse of considerable dimension onto the table, "is my NaMoPaiMo horse."

More silence before Skye could speak.  "Wow.  An Arabian."

Grace went about putting things away, stopping to gaze at her NaMo pony, getting lost in thoughts of how she would paint it.  She heard a soft, child-like voice, just a whisper, not words that she could understand.  Glancing up to the top bunk, she found Skye, smiling, admiring her new paper tablet, happily and quietly speaking, perhaps to herself, perhaps to the whole of the universe; legs tucked under the covers, content.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Group Gifts Are Awesome

        On January 5th I got a notification from a new group message on Facebook. Jennifer Buxton had the idea that it would be nice to get together a group gift for Kenzie Williamson to thank her for hosting the Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge. This was a wonderful, month long challenge in December where people could either build a model horse barn (any scale), a tack room, an arena backdrop, or decorate a barn for Christmas. So many people joined the group and worked on barns. I built a tiny barn but didn't have a ton of time to participate. It was fun to see the pictures that would pop up in my feed. It was a very popular group and definitely helped to make December a lot more interesting. 

     So Kenzie put in a ton of work on the challenge and A whole bunch of people came together to pool some money to get Kenzie a hoodie doll. And since there was a bit more than just the cost of a hoodie doll, we also gave Kenzie a bunch of miniatures. 

       On the 7th I had the doll finished, and packed and I shared her with the gifting group. I take gifting very seriously and don't like to put things off. The new hoodie doll and her accessories were sent on the way on Friday. For once, usps didn't take her on a lengthy tour and she made it to Kenzie on Monday the 11th. Monday evening Kenzie posted in the barn raising group about receiving her gift.
      There have been lots of fun photos since then! These are just my boring photos that I took of the doll before I packed her up. If you want to see Kenzie's fun pics go check out the Bridle Tree Barn Raising Challenge group on Facebook. 
      I am still getting a huge kick out of how much fun people are having just playing with their dolls. And I love group gifts! I have gotten to be a part of several group gifts to hobby friends. It is definitely fun too!

      Thank you Kenzie for hosting the barn raising challenge and thank you Jennifer for coming up with the idea of the group gift. This winter has been full of fun!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Book Character

     I have made a ton of hoodie dolls in the past few months. But every once in a while people still ask me to make some unusual dolls. And every once in a while I decide to scare them with the ugly stage. The very first photo I took of this lady (I don't know her name or the name of the book because I just needed the reference so I cropped out the title) was an ugly mess. Though the cloak is actually fairly complete. 
I stopped taking progress shots after the very first  one but decided to get this one of her in-progress boots and gauntlets. They are the correct shape to match up with the reference, but they are definitely the wrong color. 
      In the end I got everything to look just about the way it was supposed to by painting it. I added some matte finish to help protect the paint. I like how she came out. Though it is only my artist interpretation of the cover artist's interpretation of the book character. She's fun though. 
      She also has a removable cloak. I love cloaks and I wish there was more use for them in model horses. Or that they were fashionable in real life. 
      So another unusual doll finished to add to my book. I am starting to work on getting things made for my next live sale. That one will be at the end of March. This time around I am going to try to start with all the smaller things, instead of trying to get those done at the end. Maybe I will feel less stressed if I have all the small stuff done and only have dolls to work on. We'll see. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Laura and Kayla

      I got another new doll. I did not need this doll but I really liked her. And she was not particularly pricey. She is a Laura Croft doll and has a nice face and a reasonable outfit. Her body is articulated and she has really good joints. I like her a lot. I am sure she will be fun to play with. 
     Laura and Kayla met and I think they will be friends. Even though Kayla has questions. How can Laura possibly go exploring wearing heels? It just seems so impractical. And doesn't she know it is winter? She looks cold. 
     Kayla and Laura may very well be doing NaMoPaiMo this year, though they have not committed to it yet. They may also just hang out and occasionally amuse me. I might need to set up some scenes with them soon. I also have my other Barbie, who had a name (it may have been Kayla, lol) and Kyori, the Fashion Royalty doll is still trying to fix her face. I have done the pimple cream treatment several times now and I can't really tell if it is helping at all. I don't think it is. This last time I put her outside in the sun. Then the sun of course moved so she ended up in the shade. I will try a few more times before I give up. And if it doesn't work... I may have to see if I can handle a repaint. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Outdoor Show Photos in January Part 2

     So yesterday I said I had the idea to go out and do some show photos. I am pretty sure I have never done outdoor show photos in January before. But I had a plan and it seemed reasonable. I had already thawed out the kinetic sand and played with it a bit to warm it up some (and because it is fun). I went out and set up my little table with the board over it and added and spread out the sand. I sort of wish I had used the larger table, but this worked out OK. 
     Next I went it and got the doll out and got her on the horse and fiddled and adjusted. Then I went outside to the cold again. It was after all only 34 degrees, even if it was sunny. 
     The first thing that Mocha Latte did was fall over. So I put her on the potting bench and readjusted everything and then moved the table until I was sure it was in a flat spot in the lawn. I got several photos (that I planned on cropping) and it was time for props. 
     I did only 4 western entries, including this western trail setup. One of the photos I looked at later and it is incorrect. So that is right out. But the others turned out pretty well. It did take a bit of time to get my few photos, but under any circumstances it takes a bit to get nice photos. These circumstances were just colder than others. 
     After I finished my western photos I went inside to warm up and I thought about packing everything in for the day. But I decided I would take a couple of English photos. I had a hunt seat pleasure photo, but I wanted a better one (the one I had was one I sort of forced while I was taking photos of the helmet prototype for KC's Galloping Gals. Far from ideal). So I switched out the tack, grabbed an English trail pattern and went outside. I got a new pleasure photo and a trail photo. I don't know if I totally love the trail photo, but it is good for now. 
    After those 2 photos I again thought about putting everything away. But I thought Crystal might like to go for a quick ride. After all, she had never gotten to ride a horse yet. I made her so I could play with her and she has done almost nothing. So she got to do a few photos and be on Instagram. That was fun. 
     After that I decided it really was time to put everything away. Kinetic sand is so amazingly easy to clean up. I really wish they had had this when my kids were little. I am definitely glad that they have it now. 
      So my cold outdoor photo shoot turned out pretty well. I am sure it was not as long as many outdoor shoots I have done, but that is OK. It was incredibly fun to go out and do something like that in January. I added a handful more performance photos to Mocha Latte's performance photo collection, got to be out in the sun, and I got to play with a horse. It was just about a perfect day. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Small Props Box Tour

      A week or so ago I posted about my doll army and the boxes I use to store and transport my dolls. Today I will talk a bit about my small props box and what I store in it. I got mine at Michael's. Not all of my model horse storage solutions are pink, but I am one of those people that will pay a bit more to have pink things (yes, I pay more for all of my pink shipping supplies. Worth it!). I could have gotten a box very similar to this for likely half the price if I wanted to just get any tackle/tool/craft box in no particular color. I believe many years ago I did have one that was just dark blue. My solution was to get a 50% off coupon and get the one I really wanted. Again, worth it. I would post a link but when I looked this up on I see that it is on clearance and is out of stock. There are similar craft/tackle/toolboxes (pale pink... I kind of want one) on Amazon among other places. Anyway, a tackle box of this variety is an excellent way to sort and organize smaller props. 

     The top portion of the box is roomy. I have a large variety of items in here. I honestly am not even 100% sure exactly what I have. I know I have my miniature Barbie dreamhouse, TV, a mounting block, ladder, a bag of micro horses, a smaller props box, a variety of other mystery items and my measuring stick. The measuring stick was one of the best hobby purchases ever. 
      In my tiny props box, which is kept in the top portion of the box, I keep a variety of food props, including the big bag of candy for my candy race, ice cream I have not yet found a use for, magazines, clipboards, rubber chickens and my flamingo from Lynn. I have a ton of tiny treasures in this box. One day I will lay it all out. I honestly don't really know all the things I have. 
     The first box in the main body of the large box has mostly small tack items. A variety of SMBS, jump boots, skid boots and so on. Also the all important sticky wax (though I am almost a total Zots convert), a few random small props, many of which I have never used, tweezers... this is a very important box. 
    The next box is apparently my starting-to-be-vast collection of pink grooming boxes lives in this box. I do also own the wood Breyer grooming tote. I also have almost every 1:9 scale gift bag I have ever gotten from Jennifer Buxton. I have a couple others in another box (they were with the missing Barbie stuff).
      In the bottom box I keep jump blocks and some slightly larger props, including folding chairs. Back when I bought my chairs they were incredibly hard to find and super expensive. I am glad I found a source that allows me to offer them for less. This box also contains a few costumes and live show emergency items. You never know when you will need tape, scissors, or super glue. 
     One of these days I may also take you all on a tour of my large props tote. That one is also organized by having a bunch of smaller boxes in a larger box. Though a few of the boxes are still a bit messy and I am not completely sure of all the things I have in there. Maybe some day, when I have a ton of free time (lol, that's funny!) I will do a complete props inventory, with photos!