Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 doll review

2010 is nearly over. I am OK with that. It hasn't been the absolute worst year ever, but it has had plenty of ups and downs and I am ready for a fresh start. One of the ups I have had this year is the making of more dolls this year than any other year since I started making dolls. I made about 90 total which is pretty impressive to me.
I've made western dolls... English dolls...
as well as some unusual dolls.

I got to be a part of the WEG diorama project as well. It was a good year for doll making.

So here are my totals. They are not totally accurate because it seems some of the dolls I made as random sales dolls and some of the dolls I made for myself didn't get into the order book (because they were not orders...) so my numbers for each type are off a little. But it's still fun. So here we go:
20 Western Pleasure dolls, 13 Hunt seat dolls, 12 "other" dolls (the ones that don't fit into another category), 8 cowboys, 8 cross country dolls, 5 showmanship dolls, 5 "other" youth dolls, 5 judges, 4 casual English dolls, 3 hunt seat youth dolls, 3 casual western dolls and 3 saddle seat dolls. When you break it down like that it doesn't seem like that much. One thing is clear though, people like western pleasure dolls. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Strapless obsession

Now THAT is a deceptive subject line. Most people would probably think I really love Strapless dresses or tops. In reality the Strapless I am referring to is the Breyer model horse, Strapless. The only strapless article of clothing I have ever worn is my wedding dress.
Anyway, I really like the Strapless mold and have has the sidesaddle one since it came out, the JAH special run, Party Girl also as soon as she could be ordered and last week I set up a trade for Valvella and the Pottery Barn Strapless. So now I went from just my 2 to 4 in a hurry. Then over the Thanksgiving weekend I saw a post on facebook saying that the Breyer store had the WEG horses for CHEAP. So I went to look and sure enough, Headley Brittania was only $30! At the games she was $100, in Breyer's store she is normally $75. So I was very glad to get that bargain price.
So "Brit" came in the mail today and I noticed something funny about her. She has a western mane and an english tail with the braid part shaved off. It's really strange. And I realize a loose mane doesn't necissarily mean western, but I have always called them the english and the western versions so I will continue to do that now. Because of have other things I should be doing but have now decided I want to play on my blog, here is a side by side comparison of the western and english manes on the Strapless model.And then the side by side comparison of the western and english tails. I like the western tail a bit better actually.This is the Pottery Barn Strapless. She has a nice, loose western mane and tail (as well as a pretty color.Valvella is a completely English horse with her braided mane and braided tail. She is a special run for Walkabout Farms.And then this is the WEG Strapless model, Headley Brittania. Notice her loose mane and braided style tail? I tried to get a picture of the lack of braid but my camera didn't want to pick up that (lack of?) detail. Anyway, I noticed this when I was putting her up on the shelf and I thought it was interesting.

You know what else I find interesting about my Strapless collection? Every one of them is a special run or limited edition, lol. And to top off that silliness, I use them for performance ☺. The side saddle strapless is of course a limited edition. The Party Girl is a JAH special run. Valvella is a special run for Walkabout Farm (as I mentioned above), The Pottery barn Strapless is of course a special run and then Brit is the WEG special run. And really, what is the difference between a special run and a limited edition? Serious OF collectors must know the answer. I really only collect OF horses that I show in performance and those little turning stablemates. I won't do a post on those, I have 31 of those little horses and it could be all photos ☺

Thanks for reading my random thoughts!

The joys of trading

I love tack. And I love trading. And this new little gal I made is part of a tack trade with my friend, Jennifer. She is a youth doll but with slightly longer thighs so she doesn't have mismatched legs (long calf and almost no thigh like the original youth dolls). She was also made in a similar outfit to a doll I made this past summer. Here are some more views of her...

And here she is standing next to an adult Breyer doll. She's still small enough to be a child but she's certainly not a little little girl. Probably almost a teen (though my 12 year old is almost as tall as I am and is already taller than my mother, lol). I hope you like her Jenn!

Monday, October 25, 2010

He's here!

The long awaited WEG diorama team volunteer model. I am excited because I managed to get him out of the box, unwrapped and photographed without anything bad happening to him. Things like to break in my house. Usually when I am not looking but you never know.Anyway, I do already have a buyer but I have had a couple more people contact me looking for this horse. If anyone else had one they would like to sell I will pass on the names and email addresses.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend show report (CM division)

Yesterday I posted my show report for the New England Performance Challenge OF division. Today I have photos from the CM division. I didn't do anything super amazing in CM but I managed to get more photos than of the OF division so it's worth sharing. The competition was fierce for the entire show and it was said more than once that any placing at all was good. So here are some photos of mostly all-new entries. First we have my newly finished Hazel resin Regal Lady. She was sculpted by Morgen Kilbourn and painted by Jill Ennis. The tack is made by Anna Suna and I made the doll (and borrowed it from my friend Joan to do the class, lol). This entry got 5th which wasn't horrible considering some of the drool worthy entries on the table.
Next was Regal Lady in her other English performance class. I decided to do a game set-up and we did jumping figure 8's. I think it is normally a western game but I made some cool documentation for this class so I thought I would try it. The judge thought it was worth 6th place. Next is my Chip resin, Spin A Chip, sculpted by Lori Daniels and painted (and named) by Jessica Fry. His lovely new tack is made by Pam Perkins and the saddle pad was made by Elise Partanen. The wear leathers were also by Pam Perkins. I have no idea who made the boots and I made the doll. I know this guy can be an awesome performance horse but I have not done outstanding with him just yet. Though this cutting entry got 3rd place.
Next is my Native American costume entry on. This is Poker Face who is a Smokin' Hot Chic resin sculpted by Sheri Rhodes. He was customized and painted by Corrie McDermott. I made the costume. I got 5th place with it (3rd in OF) which isn't horrible considering some of the amazing Native American regalia that is in the region.
Poker Face also did showmanship since I love showmanship. She is wearing a halter made by me and I made her doll as well. Poker Face managed second in her showmanship class.
Next is a new...everything. This is Merlot who is a Knightly Cadence resin sculpted by Carol Williams and painted by Liesl Dalpe. My original Cadence painted by Liesl jumped off the shelf and broke so this is the second one she painted for me. His tack is made by Pam Perkins and his doll, reins and matching saddle pad were made by me. I didn't think too much on the coloring I just made this doll, liked it a lot and decided it would go on Merlot. And when I put it all together I thought it was just lovely. They are doing a rescue race which I also have new documentation for. They managed second place with this entry!
Then there was chip doing the tennis ball relay. Not as often done as egg and spoon but a similar idea. This one was only good for 5th but you can see that I planned to use this doll on this horse because everything finally matches.My other western entry with Merlot was a western riding entry which was good for 3rd place. Not bad really.
Then Merlot tried natural western trail but the bit slipped and the judge said she would have liked the trail pad a little longer. My reply was that I would too, lol. So they ended up with 6th place.
Chips arena western trail entry wasn't a judge favorite. He got 9th place with this one. Though I did get to use my other new western pleasure doll (who I got the blue and black saddle pad to match) and it was interesting. This set-up really only works well in photo showing where it looks like the horse is side passing if you take the picture from the right angle. In live showing of course you can look at his back legs and see he is turning on his haunches. Oh well, I got to use my doll.Merlot didn't place in arena trail at all because I goofed and didn't realize the he is on the wrong lead according to what the pattern says. I am also not good at figuring out what lead a model horse is on. I guess that is the next thing I need to study. I did enjoy how very matchy-matchy this whole set-up ended up. And the pink colored "X" I chose (to mark the my entry was done being tweeked) was also chosen to match the entry, lol.My last photo was of Chip in Western pleasure. I think he may have done better if I had given him a card saying he was turing on the rail to change direction. I am not sure really. Merlot had a couple of 2nd's and got into the call backs but didn't win anything but the new set-up looks really good and I think with some work I can have them winning championships next year! For now I guess I will find some good days to go outside and work on some photo show photos to keep me entertained over the winter.

Weekend show report (OF division)

This past weekend I attended the New England Performance Challenge in Spencer, MA. It's a very fun, very full performance show that has been held for the past 10 years I think. I have been going for 3 of those years as far as I can remember. This was the first year I decided to show in CM as well as OF. And boy did it get crazy at times...

It was lucky for me that we got full tables this year (we don't always) because I had so much going on at once that I don't think I could have made it through the day (without breaking something) with only half a table of space to use. Several divisions were running concurrently so at times I had horses in, or going into, 4 rings at once. I think next year I might just stick with one horse in each division. I don't know if I can choose between OF and CM. Or maybe I will decide not to try to champs and just see how I can do in a bunch of my favorite classes. Who knows. Next fall is a long way away. Because of how hectic it was I completely forgot to take pictures of most of the classes. So I only have a few photos to share from the show but show photos are fun.

This is Johnny Cash competing in Of cutting. I can't remember who made the saddle, I made his bridle and his doll though. Even though I was rushed and a little crazy he did very well. And any time I get to play with the cows is fun.

This was Johnny's entry for the other western class. I thought it would be fun to do something a little different so I set up this "pony" ride entry. Of the 6 dolls used in this set-up (I only now just realized I used 6 dolls, lol) I made 4 of them. The little boy on the horse is just a dollhouse scale child doll and the little girl waiting in line was an unmodified Breyer doll. The doll leading the horse is my new casual western doll and I am very pleased with how she turned out. The entry only got 10th place but it was fun to set up. Maybe I will try this again sometime and see if I can improve on it. Johnny had some decent placings and then some less than stellar placings. He didn't win any champs but the judge was so torn on who to pick she gave him an honorable mention. Yay candy prizes!This next set-up is my OF Stone jumping horse Smoke N' Mirrors. It's not a clever or original name but I know a ton of magicians (not sure how that happened...) and she's gray so that's what she ended up being. I really got her so I could have something to model in-flight jumping dolls on. My other goal was to see how many classes I could show her in. I think I actually put her in 3 classes, fought her the whole time, and the best she did was 3rd. Not bad for a horse that doesn't want to behave. The tack was made by Cari Chaney and I made the convertible doll. She can take off her pinny, vest, watch and armband and be a casual in-flight jumper. I think she may be for sale, lol. If I get a better stand for the horse I may make another doll.
There were a couple of fun classes at lunch-time. The theme of the show was WEG so one of the fun classes was WEG disasters. I wasn't planning on entering but Nancy, the show hostess, said we needed more disaster entries. I figured I could throw together a disaster pretty quickly. The doll had already fallen off the horse at my table so I grabbed them and the jump pieces and pulled the saddle crooked and set this up. Then I got the extra doll to run over to help the fallen rider. The documentation says something like "Oops! The saddle slipped, the rider fell, the rest is obvious..." this quick set-up earned me 4th place! And it was pretty fun to do.After that Lady Intrigue got more serious and worked harder. She did well in hunter and many of her other classes. It was enough for reserve English champion on the OF division. Lady Intrigue is wearing tack made by Jennifer Buxton and a doll by me.
That was all the fun and excitement for the OF division for me. I think next year I will try to focus some more and maybe I can do better. It was a really fun day though. CM performance tomorrow.

New performance team

Yesterday was my last live show for this year. I am sure I can post some photos but right now I want to share my new performance team. This is Breyer's Justa Dream arab and I have been thinking of getting one for awhile. I got her for a SUPER deal yesterday because my Breyer dealer friend is going out of business. I couldn't resist. This side is always what is posted so I thought she would be a fun performance horse. The other side of course has the super long mane. However it is nice and flat and some allowances need to be made (and are) for OF horses so she should be OK. I have had a fully braided horse do very well in OF western classes. I think she will be fine and I asked another friend who judges and she said it should be fine. So I am pretty excited to try out this little team.
I already had the tack and it used to be the set I used on my Strapless model (who has been my main English performance horse for awhile now) until I got my lovely new Jennifer Buxton set. But it fits very nicely on this little mare and, since she is a small model, this little youth doll fits very well on her. The youth doll was originally made as a sales doll but since no one bought her yesterday and she looks like she was custom made for this horse...I guess I have another doll for myself now.
I figured since I already have a Travis (my son) doll this one would have to be Elecktra (my daughter). So this is Ellie since I guess some of her friends at school call her that. I don't know yet what to name the horse or what breed to show her as. I know she is supposed to be an Arabian but she seems a little bit small for that. Any advice would be appreciated. Now to sort some live show photos and see what I can post!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Native American costumes are hard

I have been working on a Native American costume for a long time now. I don't really know how long but I know I have had the saddle tree for at least a couple of years. Part of the reason they are so hard is there is a lack of documentation out there. You have to know where to look (I still only know a little bit) photos are hard to come by and good documentation is essential to a good live show entry. So part of what I have been doing all this time is trying to come up with sources for information. I ended up picking up a great book for information called Native American Saddlery and Trappings. It's actually a paper doll book but it is very informative as well. That and I got a book on Native American bead weaving.
I did actually start trying to do a beaded costume. I have the bead loom, the super tiny delica beads (I think that's what they are anyway) and I got a few inches of bead work done. I realized something important about that time. I really hate doing bead work. *sigh* so I put the project aside for awhile and thought about it some more. I also wasn't sure how I would do the beading on pieces that were not exactly rectangle.
So after awhile I decided that I would paint the designs on the costume. Native Americans often did this for real so I figured it was OK for me to do it. And let me tell you, even when you are "just" painting on the designs it take a long time. But I think it was worth it, here's my finished costume.
And here's the front view of the bridle. The photos are a little bit dark because they are inside with no flash but the flash photos looked really bad. So this is what we get. I have a live show on Saturday and one of the things on my show projects list was to finish my Native American costume. Before today I only had the breast drape and saddle drape painted. So today I painted the crupper, made all the bridle pieces and assembled it, covered the saddle tree, made the cinch and attached it (in the proper way!), made the stirrups and attached them and put together my documentation. *phew* I'm tired. This took most of the day to finish and the documentation...was also hard to make, lol.
Here is the picture that I mostly copies for the costume I made. The saddle blanket I made was from another crow saddle so hopefully that won't give me trouble. I didn't make the stirrup decorations or the pommel flaps but the rest I did. With more fringe because I like fringe, lol. I like the way the costume came out and I will be happy to show it but I don't imagine I will be making another Native American costume any time soon. Now I need to get some dolls...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The WEG Diorama Project

In February I was asked if I was interested in taking part in the Breyer WEG diorama project. I was asked to make the team of dolls for the marathon driving set-up. Unfortunately I don't have any good photos of the dolls. I took this quick photo and one of the back just to make sure they were what was wanted, then I changed something on them, didn't take new photos and they left. Jennifer Buxton (who also worked on the project) did a wonderful post on the project with some great photos of the dioramas in progress. I would love to see more photos and photos of the finished dioramas. I won't be attending the games so I can't get any myself.

Everyone that worked on the project was sworn to secrecy until Breyer had signed off on the entire project and released the info to the world. I have known for months who at least some of the other artists were on the project (group emails have email addresses and I guessed a lot from that) but I couldn't talk to them about it because of the secrecy ban. February to the end of September is a long time to wait when you really want to talk about something. It's so exciting that finally we can share what we did. I am more excited to see the finished projects. I LOVE miniatures of all kinds and some of the details are simply amazing.

Oh, I also can't take credit for the title of this post that I blatantly ripped off from Jennifer Buxton this morning. It was perfect, I had to use it ☺

Saturday, September 4, 2010

More fun with rebuilt dolls

Out-of-the-box Breyers are at best usually not super and at worst, they are broken. I have to spend a good amount of time remaking parts because something broke, the doll doesn't sit properly or some other basic flaw in the doll. But really, it is a toy and you can't expect all that much from a toy. So I do some special doll surgery and make a toy into a collectible. How fun! Today I wanted to share a slightly rebuilt doll that was redone just to make her more fun, not because she was broken or couldn't sit properly. This is Kellie.
Kellie is a new in-flight jumper doll. She used to be Kellie the lower level dressage/jumper doll but when she wasn't snapped up in a couple of days I really wanted to try making on of these in-flight dolls... so I partially took apart the completed doll and "fixed" her. I can't take credit for the how since my good friend, Joan Yount, actually came up with the way to do it. Kellie is a pretty neat doll and if she sells, OK and if not I think I will have to keep her. I got this Stone jumping horse so I could try making some in-flight jumpers and have something to model them on. Now I am thinking I will have to show this jumper at the next live show I go to and enter as many classes as I possibly can with her. It is an interesting challenge that has gotten my creativity working overtime. So far I have come up with 5 or 6 classes I can put this jumper in, lol. I am so amused by that. She might not do the best of everyone but it certainly will be interesting to see what I can realistically get her to do and do well. I will of course make sure to take photos at the show and post some. The show is not until mid-October though so I might have to talk about photo showing before then. I haven't done any photo showing for 2 or 3 years at least and this morning I sent off my entries for the MEPSA September OF qualifier. It will be the first time ever doing performance in a photo show and I am pretty excited about it ☺

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rebuilt dolls in action

I have written several posts on rebuilding dolls with wire and gauze. Out-of-the-box Breyers are often hard to make sit or much of anything else. But with plenty of surgery they can become productive members of doll society.
The first doll I want to talk about today is the youth doll. Right from the box the youth doll can't hold her arms close to her body, sit down in a saddle or do much besides make you want to rip your hair out. This little gal has had her thighs and upper arms removed and rebuild with wire, gauze and medical tape. An explanation of that process can be found here. Once this little gal came out of surgery she was ready to be dressed and detailed. Now she is ready for the show ring. I did a couple of new things with this doll. The first is she has a repainted face (hard to see in these photos). The youth dolls come with some scary faces. I have never been particularly confident in my painting skills but I think she came out pretty well. She is even wearing real eye shadow and blush! I got a big kick out of that. Another new detail is her jeans. I never made youth doll jeans and wanted to try it. Then I thought about the gold stitching that is on 99% of jeans I have ever seen and added that detail. I think the finished result is a really cool little doll who is ready to work. She is currently for sale on MH$P.
The next doll we will be talking about today is this guy, Rob. Rob is a rebuilt Breyer cowboy. His arms were reasonable so I left them along but he has had his thighs replaced with wire, gauze and medical tape. He also has some extra wire bracing so he can not only bend, but really hold the poses.

It's important not to have your body parts flailing around when bulldogging...

...or calf tying.

You may have noticed there is something not quite right about the cow Rob is working with. Well, it was early when we did the photo shoot and the "real" cows were nowhere to be found (they are in a box in my closet, don't tell Rob). So he made do with this foil cow shaped object. What does this "cow" and these dolls have in common? They are all partially put together with wire. The cow however hasn't been dressed yet.