Monday, June 27, 2016

My 1000th doll

I am a bad blogger. I forget to post often for months at a time. Currently this is only my third post this year. I am a slacker.
    In January, as I was updating my brag book (photos of all of the finished dolls I have made) I realized that I was fairly close to 1000 dolls. As in I would get there sometime this year. Friday I made doll #1000. I wanted it to be an unusual doll because #1000 is a pretty special spot in the doll lineup. I have been trying to come up with what I could make that would be different and fun and I asked for opinions on my doll page on Facebook. I did get a variety of ideas but none of them seemed quite right. But I did get an order for a very cool doll from Laura Skillern. She wanted a Pony Express rider.
Now the thing about Pony Express riders is they were wiry and very light because their horses needed to have as little weight as possible so they could get the mail delivered as quickly as possible. Being the rider needed to be slight all of the available male dolls on the market were out for this type of rider.
With that in mind we decided turning an Yvonne into a pony express rider was the way to go. Yvonne can move in ways that almost no other doll can. She really is the perfect choice.
So between starting off giving a doll a sex change and the unusual costume a Pony Express rider really turned out to be an outstanding choice for my 1000th doll. I have never made one before but I certainly enjoyed the challenge.
    This weekend was one of the busiest non-horse-show weekends I have ever had. Thursday my sister (who flew in from North Carolina) helped us with all of the shopping for Elecktra's graduation party. Friday she came over along with my friend Crystal to cook for the party. That was an all day event. Saturday was running all morning and the party all afternoon. A combined graduation/18th birthday party is a big event but I had a lot of help (and I forgot my camera! Dad let me borrow his but I don't have the photos yet) and it turned out well. Yesterday we had an impromptu cookout with my best friend from high school and were gone most of the day with that. So busy. So tired.
    But this morning the first thing I did was type up all of the names of the people entered in the free doll contest, print them out and cut them into a bowl. Elecktra consented to be my name puller for fairness.
Here she can be seen making sure the names are thoroughly mixed (they are also folded so she can't see them).
and it's more fair if you don't look while you pull the name so she looked away and pulled...
Heather Downing! Heather wins a free doll of her choice. Once she decides what she wants I will put it in my work rotation and she will get a free doll in the mail fairly soon after that.
    In the nine years I have been making dolls I have had an incredible amount of support from the hobby. I have a large variety of repeat customers for dolls and now for my horse boots and other horse accessories in my etsy store and the miniature food as well. It has made it possible for me to stay home and raise my kids (and still be my son's caregiver) and contribute financially to the family. I am more appreciative of that than I can ever put into words. This drawing was to say thank you in a small way for all of this support. Hopefully I will still be making dolls for many many years to come.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Another Superior Event horse

I've done it. Finally. It only took two and a half years from this post, but I did it. Lady Liberty Finally earned her superior event horse award in showmanship! It arrived Friday but I haven't had a chance to share until now.
After Therapeutic riding, Showmanship was the class that always meant the most to me. It was the class that I "knew" from real life. The very first time I showed in the Showmanship class My friend Corrie McDermott talked me into it and basically set it up for me. She said Liesl Dalpe had originally taught her how to do it correctly. Here's my very first showmanship entry. (and as an aside, this is the first photo I have ever scanned in my life!)
This was from the Northeast Model Horse Expo held April 5, 2008. Pretty much right away I was hooked on showmanship. The first time I needed to judge Showmanship was at the very first Quabbin Valley Performance Open on May 16, 2009. I told Joan I didn't know enough about showmanship to judge it correctly. When I mentioned my concerns about judging the class to Liesl she showed me a live demonstration with her real showmanship horse. All of a sudden a class that I only knew how to do one way I really understood. What looks like a deceptively simple class is in reality very precise and easy to mess up.Like this entry.
This was from TRXC in 2013. After doing this class for 5 and a half years you'd think I would think when setting it up. But I put the judge and the handler in the same quarter which is a huge no-no. Sadly this photo lives in Brenda Bendnar's album on Facebook with a very lengthy discussion attached to it. And so much shame (mine).
I did well in showmanship for a long time and then I started to slip. Or Lady Liberty got old and maybe a bit beat up. A performance horse sometimes has a hard life.
I started getting third in showmanship and I couldn't seem to get that last NAN card I needed. It was a frustrating and familiar pattern. The same thing happened with my therapeutic riding entry. So I revamped everything. New, super detailed documentation, new perfectly fitted custom halter and a brand new showmanship doll. And it worked.
Lady Liberty received the last NAN card she needed for her Superior Event Horse Award at NEPC on October 17, 2015. I nearly cried when I saw that blue ribbon. Not gonna lie about that. I also filled out the paperwork for her award the very next day.
    Lady Liberty earned her quiet retirement but I wanted to give her one more shot at showing. So I put her in the open OF showmanship class at TRXC 2015.
Good times. THAT is a good way to retire! She also got a top 5 to round out her show day and her showmanship career.
Lady Liberty did show in other things besides showmanship but the last few years she has done showmanship almost exclusively. But it was fun working towards the award. I guess my next goal will have to be big as well. I was thinking Caramel Latte would work towards her Performance Versatility award but she managed that two shows ago and it seemed far too easy. So her new goal is a Performance Legacy award. She only needs like 9 more cards for that one. When she gets it there can be a nice variety of classes in the photos!

Monday, January 4, 2016

A milestone is coming

This morning I updated my book of finished doll photos and realized I have made 942 dolls as of this moment. Cool. Last year I made 135 dolls. I made 145 dolls in 2014. I knew it felt like 2015 was a slacking year. The point is though I am 58 dolls away from 1000. That is a huge milestone for me and one I have been looking forward to. I should reach that most likely before the end of April (if we rely on averages). That also is very exciting to me.
    There is no way I could have made it to nearly 1000 dolls and 9 years of doll making without all of my wonderful customers. Whether you ordered one doll one time or several dolls several times I appreciate all of your business. And now here is the exciting part for you. Starting right now everyone who places an order will get their name entered in a drawing. If you order one doll you get your name in once. If you order more than one you get your name in once for every doll you order. And once I reach 1000 dolls I will put all those names in a hat and pull one out and that person will receive a FREE doll! I know I love free stuff and winning so I thought this was great. I have been wanting to do a drawing for a free doll for awhile but wanted to wait for something really special. The 1000 doll milestone is it.
    Thank you again for all the years of helping me keep Field of Dolls Studio going. Now to see if we can make 2016 the best year ever!