Saturday, January 29, 2011

You know that excuse...

...the dog ate my homework? Well this time it's true. Well not MY homework, Elecktra's. So I told her to put it in a bag and bring it to her teacher. She THINKS she already turned it in but I guess they are supposed to keep the stuff until the end of term (why?) so we'll see what happens I guess.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

He Stands!

I really do love it when things work out the way I hope they will. The Maximus stand project came out really well. I actually have known he could stand for several days now but didn't take any photos. I thought this was worth sharing though. So now I just need to do some sanding and filling on his tail repair and some paint matching (*gulp*) and he will be all set. I must say I am pretty pleased with how this project is turning out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Repair day (finally)!

I learned several years ago that almost anything can be fixed on a broken model horse. And that is a good thing because my resins seem to enjoy seeing if they can fly. They soon discover that they can't. The last batch of jumpers was from late Spring or early Summer of last year. My Matriarch lost her ear and got some unfixable rubs (blue roan with a GIANT hip rub...start over, lol). I finally decided to strip her and reprep her. Miraculously I did find her ear but then knocked if off while I was scrubbing her and I think it went down the drain in the tub. So she got her ear resculpted and I was working on fully reprepping her.
My Summer Soltice broke her leg and her tail as well as got a few scratches in her very pretty dappled paint job. *sigh* well I can fix most things but I am not a painter. So I fixed up Summer Solstice and sent her to my friend Corrie McDermott who is an excellent painter and very good at matching paint. One down.
Ravishing Ronald broke his leg, his tail and chipped part of his mane. I have been working on Ronald for awhile but found out he was very tippy. He may have been the instigator of the last jump. So I heated up his leg to try to get him to stand a bit better and cracked all the new epoxy. Really, I should have seen that coming. So I scraped that all off, straightened his leg, put on new epoxy and made him some little hoof stands. He is very stable now. Today he was getting some more work done on his leg and tail repair. I think I can handle his paint as well since his breaks are all in black areas. I might have to try to match the bay because the newest repairs have creeped a bit farther up his leg. Oops. Hopefully I can handle that.
The Maximus resin in the back of the photo (laying down on the gun case) came to me broken. I got an excellent trade deal on him because his tail was broken. Well I saw the photos and it looks like a super easy fix. And it would have been if I hadn't had another oops moment, lol. So I pulled the tail apart and drilled some holes to put in a new wire (which is a good idea anyway) and finally got some epoxy on it as well. Maximus came with a very pretty wooden stand. Too bad his foot pegs didn't actually fit in the holes. So I decided he would get epoxy foot stands as well. It might not work as well as it did with Ravishing Ronald since his legs are all much closer together and only one is actually flat on the ground. So his foot stands are drying and I will check his balance when they are done. Either it will work or it won't. If it does, yay! If it doesn't I might glue him (with his little foot stands) to his wood base. Which will make his legs more likely to break if he gets jostled so that will be the last resort.
The other problem I am having is the paint on Maximus. It's just chestnut and his break is just on the base of his tail so I should be able to handle the touch-ups. Just as long as I know where to start. I am pretty good at mixing paint for a match if I know what to start with for base colors. Any help from painters would be very much appreciated.
The last horse on the table for today is Sugar. I got Sugar as a second and said I would never do that again (and yet I still traded for a horse I knew was broken so I could fix it, lol). Sugar was a big mess when I got her and has been an ongoing project of mine. I fully intend to paint her from start to finish once she is finally done. She is getting close so now I have to pick a color and hope I don't screw up too badly. Anyone want to suggest a color that is not too complex for a super new painter?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fun Things in the Mail *aka* Projects Coming Together

I love when I get fun things in the mail. I also love when projects that require many pieces finally start to come together. And this post is about both those things. I guess we can start with Bold Endeavor, my grail horse. I had the opportunity to buy a Bold Endeavor (for an AMAZINGLY good price!) years ago and I passed it up because I didn't want to get into time payments and couldn't quite cover the total in one chunk. Grr. After I let him go I really regretted it and have been searching for another ever since. As most people who know me know, I am a total performance junkie. I love tack, props, dolls (everybody needs dolls...) and horses that are good at lots of things. Bold Endeavor would be such an amazing horse for performance! He is standing squarely so is a perfect showmanship horse, western pleasure, he can do trail, I am sure I can pull off cow classes (team penning anyone?) and so much more. And that's just in Western! So since I let him go I have been searching for another. But I had to like it AND have the money all at the same time. Well I found him.This is Traveller. Or it is unless I come up with another name for him. But that was the name he came with and it seems at least a little fitting so it will probably stay with him. Not only is he a Bold Endeavor resin but he has a lovely color. So I am super pleased with him. He wasn't super expensive but he was a good amount more than the one I let go. But now he is here so we can move on. Well a horse I have searched for for so long NEEDS to have his own tack (something I have resisted since I started performance showing) and his own doll(s) and of course a matching saddle pad. So one day while I was hanging out with my friend Joan Fauteux and playing with horses (see, grown ups can have play dates too!) we decided to find a great color match for Traveller. So Joan pulled out a stack of saddle pads and this one (the one in the above photo) really seemed to pop with him. So then I decided I needed to make a doll to match the pad (something I also resist doing because it seems backwards to me).
Well awhile back I asked my good friend, Joan Yount, if she could sculpt a "me" doll. I am super new to sculpting (I have so far done one good head and that was for a dancing horse handler doll for Jennifer Buxton). I knew I couldn't sculpt "me". Joan agreed and finally decided to make me a whole doll to go with the head. It's not exactly me, but I think this is a great doll and one I know I won't sell. I can't sell "me" that would just be wrong! So after the doll head was sculpted and the body altered to sit well and look human Joan asked if I wanted her to dress the doll as well. And I said I would LOVE that! So I got this wonderful "me" doll from Joan as a Christmas gift! Yay for fun things in the mail!

Then today I got this lovely western tack set in the mail. Keeping with my new idea to have specific tack for each of my performance horses this set is to belong to Poker Face my Smokin' Hot Chic resin customized and painted by Corrie McDermott. This wonderful new tack set was made by Jennifer Buxton. She is so talented! Well Poker Face needed to try on her tack and I needed a doll to make sure everything was OK so I grabbed my "me" doll. Today I also got in the mail my new saddle pad made to match my "me" doll (as it should be) by Elise Partanen. She is a very talented maker of miniature saddle pads and has such reasonable prices I ordered 2 just to have one to match a doll I plan on making. How cool is that?
Now I didn't set up the photo cube so I don't have totally complete photos of my new western performance set-up but I will give you the run-down. I have my Bold Endeavor Traveller, my new "me" western pleasure doll made by Joan Yount, a matching saddle pad made by Elise Partanen to go with a tack set made by Pam Perkins. And the set is complete. Now I just need to make myself a casual doll to go with the whole set, lol.
And for more fun projects it's time to work on a doll and pad to go with my new Jennifer Buxton western set. I will never get bored☺

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's resolutions

This year I decided to make some hobby resolutions. I have been saying to myself "I should do this" or "I need to try that" and it hasn't worked for me just yet. I found out the other day if I just make a little checklist I can get more done. So I decided to write down my resolutions and see if that helps. I came up with 5 of them and I think they are all really important. So here we are:

1. Keep better records. I need to make sure to save ALL my receipts from doll making expenses. It is so hard to do taxes properly when I am trying to remember if I missed any expenses because I am missing receipts. I also have to remember to put ALL the dolls in the order book. That means random sales dolls, donations and dolls for me too. That way I will have a more accurate count of what I did by the end of the year.

2. I need to make a to-do list every day. That little checklist I discovered can make a big difference to my day. It doesn't help if I am bit by the super lazy bug but it does give me more focus when I am working. I put it in the order that makes sense for my time and stick to it. It really does help me to have a list where I can check things off.

3. I want to make nicer, more realistic dolls. I want to put more details in, more bling, fancy chaps (on western dolls of course) sculpted heads, repainted faces. Whatever it takes to make nicer dolls. I have been reworking patterns a bit this year and I think I should keep doing that. But maybe I also need to alter the way I put the dolls together a bit. I want to have dolls that make people stop and go "wow".

4. I want to take better photos of my sales pieces and custom orders. I thought I was doing better when most of my photos of dolls were on properly tacked horses, outside, good lighting and not an ugly or distracting background. But the way the hobby seems to be going is towards nice studio shots. So I need to try to work out some good lighting in my house full of really bad lighting. So since fancier studio shots seem to be what is helping sell more things it's worth a try.

5. I want to save more money. That's not really a hobby goal but it is a good goal to have. I don't know about other hobby artists but it seems for me that Spring and Summer and a bit of fall are the best seasons for selling dolls. In the winter when there are rarely shows people don't seem to buy much. And the holidays have people holding onto their money very tightly or spending only on their friends and family. So saving more during the better season will make winter (the highest bill season) easier to deal with. Less stress is always a good thing.

2010 was not the best year for me. It had a lot of ups and downs. But we are now into a new year and I am hoping with a positive attitude, some hard work and a little help from friends and family every now and then, 2011 will be a wonderful year. Happy New Year everyone!