Monday, December 6, 2021

Tack Making

     Recently, I seem to have been getting some new horses that seem like they would be excellent for performance, if only I could find tack to fit them correctly. I already ran into the issue with Astrid, who has a surprisingly dainty head, and I also ran into it with Ansel. He's shaped like a Morgan, not surprisingly at all, and tack fitting has not been simple. Though I semi-recently bought a black pleasure saddle from Joan Yount, which she had made to fit a short backed Arabian. That happens to fit very nicely on my very round, short backed horse. but his head was way too big for any of my bridles. So I decided I would make one. And since it seems Morgan horse pleasure favors romel reins (at least in the majority if the photos I saw) I decided to go that route. I ordered a bunch of supplies from Rio Rondo... and then they sat. 
     But Saturday was the day! I was going to finally make that bridle. So I pulled out a pile of bits and piece I might need and I got to work. 
     First I discovered the joys of trying to get two piece of leather lace through the crimp bead so I could make loops. It was hard, but not impossible.
    Once I had a finished cheek piece I tried it on the horse again... and discovered the joy of taking apart a thing you just finished because it is a bit too long. Grr!
     Eventually though, I have most of a headstall, minus the curb chain I forgot, and minus reins since for some reason NONE of the beads I had ordered from Rio Rondo fit the 1mm lace, only the .5mm. Another grr. I started looking into putting together and order but quickly realized almost everything I wanted for beads was out of stock. And then I remembered Joann's has crimp beads. I thought I might be able to find stuff there. And I was right. So I got some stuff locally, came home and finished the bridle. I also got the saddle on and a doll, and I felt everything had come together well. Though it was way too dark to get any decent photos. 
    Sunday morning though, was bright and sunny! The perfect chance to get out and get some photos of Ansel in his new and new-to-him tack. I think he and his rider look pretty good together. 
     I also think the bridle came together pretty well considering I have never made one like this before. 
        It is not overwhelmingly complex or super plain. It's a nice look for this horse. 
And this particular shot just makes me happy. 
      I have a western side saddle ordered for no particular reason other than I don't own a western side saddle. From what I have seen western side saddle also has a preference for romel reins so I have another bridle planned, though who knows when I will make it. And Astrid needs a western bridle for her little dainty head. Looks like I have plenty of tack projects in my future.
 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Maid Marion, Sort Of

       My Black Friday sale is mostly wrapped up at this point. I am still working on finishing some dolls that were ordered as ride-along-dolls to go with order claims. I am still waiting on some partial payments, but mostly everything is paid and shipped. It was efficient and didn't make me completely crazy to get it all done. I allowed myself the luxury of waiting until this weekend to ship the items that were not paid for last weekend (those items all went out last Monday). My work pace has been a little bit slower partially because school is so much more hectic at the moment. Sometimes I am just too mentally exhausted and I need some downtime. Which, let's be honest, I get like that even if I barely have anything to do at school all day. Now I just have a better excuse. 
       Anyway, one doll that was not part of anything to do with Black Friday was this medieval doll. The reference keyword I was given was Maid Marion type. So that is what I googled. I also was sent a variety of different dress options and I really liked this one. She is not exact to the reference, almost nothing is in 1:9 scale, but she is very similar and I really like how she came out. Though her sleeves don't seem to want to cooperate well for photographs. I wish they were flowier, but the material just isn't. I think she came out well though. 
     Saturday was an excellent mail day and my new micro came in from my Maggie's Monthly micro subscription. I saw a photo of this pony online early Saturday before mine arrived and was not sure I liked her enough to keep her. Now that I have seen her in person I am not sure that I can let her go, lol. Though I do have way more unpainted micros (still) than I need. She may stay for a bit. She may go to a new home. I have not decided yet. But she sure is nice!
      Something really interesting I have noticed about school. I am super busy trying to keep all the balls in the air, and the days go by incredibly quickly. Which is sort of to be expected. If I am actively teaching something that definitely takes time, and the time passing is usually not super noticeable. If the kids are working independently and I am working on some other aspect of my job, the time passes super quickly. Even the most frustrating class I have (which is only sometimes frustrating, sometimes they are great) goes by quickly. Maybe it is because last year we had 90 minute block classes, I have no idea. But anyway, the days passing quickly is not surprising. The amount of energy I have is. It might have a bit to do with the supplements I have been taking. I have had more energy since I started with them. But I think it is that my energy builds on itself. The more I do, the more energy I have. And when I stop, to sit and write an email or a blog post, I don't all of a sudden crash. My energy has been fairly steady for a while now. I like it. Sometimes my brain just needs a break and I spend too much time screwing around online, but I have heard that I do too much so I guess some times of zombie brain are not horrible. 
     Anyway, things are going well at school, home is great as always, and the other day I let Travis leave me in a store, to walk all the way across the store (out of sight) to get something he wanted. After a minute I was a little nervous but he came back. I figured he would, he needed me to buy the thing he wanted, but it was a huge (scary!) step to let him do that. I guess the Dollar Store, which is just one medium sized square store with aisles, was a good place to do that. I would not do that in a Walmart or anything, but it worked out the other day. Progress.
     
 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Give Me a "T"

      In honor of Karen Crossley, a Canadian hobbyist and active blogger who unexpectedly passed away in July of 2020, Lynn Isenbarger and I are finishing Karen's alphabetical tour of her collection, with tours of our own collection. Today's letter is T.

       Today we are going to talk about Time Lord. He is my Indian Silver resin painted by Liesl Dalpe. I already talked a lot about him when I repurchased him last year from my friend Iva, but we can talk about him again. 

       I love this horse. He has not done all that much as a show horse, since he is not particularly performance friendly. Don't get me wrong, any horse can be shown in performance with enough creativity. But he is never going to be a particularly versatile performance horse. Still, I love this mold. Something about him just makes me really happy, and the beautiful bay that Liesl painted him is my favorite shade of bay. I was definitely happy to add him back into my collection. Even if he mostly just sits on the shelf and looks pretty.

      So Time Lord isn't a particularly performance friendly horse, but he was perfect for the first Mares in Black Spooctacular show. I believe the prompt for this was Just Dance. He looks like he's doing a little spooked dance at the evil plastic bag. He's pretty good at spooking. 
      So then this year I decided I was going to use Time Lord for my main horse at the Mares in Black Spooktacular 2 show. The class list this time around was a traditional horse show class list with a Halloween themed twist. So I set up a Halloween themed arena and took a bunch of traditional horse show photos with a very untraditional performance horse. Though Time Lord is not bad at the trail gate. 
      And he worked well for my Jester entry. It really didn't matter what the horse was doing for this. 
     I have not been to a live show since November of 2019 and currently I have no desire to go. It's weird. I remember a time when I could not imagine not going to shows. But right now the idea is not appealing to me. I like being able to take as long as I need to set up an entry. I like that if I find a piece of tack I thought would work for a horse doesn't, I have everything I need, and the time I need, to try to find something that works better. Time is something I have in very short supply these days. Time Lord (a Doctor Who reference for anyone that missed it) can't seem to travel through time. Being able to take all the time I need is a luxury that I have been enjoying. Plus I don't have to put on shoes. 

     Some day I will go to a live show again, though I likely won't show Time Lord in performance, at least not much. For now I will just enjoy looking at him on the shelf and being glad that he is mine. 

Ember

     Last night I set up this post... and then I forgot all about it apparently. But then I woke up at 5:00, could not get back to sleep (bummer) so decided to get up just after 6:00. On a Saturday. When I didn't have to. *sigh* there are worse things I guess. I am thinking about maybe finally making a bridle today. Maybe.
     So anyway, yesterday's mail brought me a new painted micro! I wanted an Ember for a long time. I finally found an unpainted one last year, but as with most of my unpainted pieces, it has sat since then. I saw this one for sale recently and had to pick him up. This is a terrible no-flash, cell phone, kitchen table in shadow photo, but it's a really cute horse!
     I could see having more of these in my collection, and I don't typically get multiple copies of resins (except there is Barnaby... and all the other horses I have in all the sizes they come in...). There is another painted Ember I have been eyeballing. But I am trying to show some restraint. It's gifting season, I have savings goals, I should probably stop buying things for myself. 
     Here is another really horrible photo for you to enjoy. This is my small (lol, small) but mighty painted micro collection! The ones in the front on the bottom shelf were all painted by other people. The Jewel, Duke, Jumping Mule and Harmony (back row on the bottom) were painted by me. The top shelf was mostly painted by me. Sixjay was not. One of these days I will get better photos of these little horses. My new camera can get some really excellent photos of micros!
     My school day finished up a bit strangely yesterday. I had to actually say to a class "we don't need to be talking about whatever so-and-so did in 5th grade" and they made me worried for the last day of school before winter break. Everyone gets antsy right before the weekend, and I imagine it will be amplified right before a long break. This could get weird. 
 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

StudioMaire

       I was just about to go to bed last night and I remembered that I had no post scheduled. These days I definitely don't have time to write one at school, or before school. So today you get a picture of my lovely new saddle pads from StudioMaire. I branched out into some new colors this time around, but I know I could still go further. Maybe. Some day. 

       Happy Friday everyone! School is going well and I am optimistic about all of the things I have to do. I will sort all of it and make everything very efficient. I just need to keep on ironing out the wrinkles. I'll get there.

       I was a little afraid that my doll work would suffer. And I will admit, I did slack off a bunch of times this week. I likely could have finished the dolls I was working on yesterday, or even the day before, but I kept getting distracted. Going out and doing errands, going down random rabbit holes on the internet, all pretty time-wasty stuff. But things are going well. Today I need to get heads and boots done on 2 dolls and they should be finished. So that is good news. 
      
      Right this very moment I have nothing else to write about. I will see if I can think of something. I have managed a post every single day so far this year, some days had more than one. And last year I also had a post for every single day. I would love to keep that up. It may be time to start talking about some horses in my collection. That was a really good suggestion. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Live Sale Start to Finish

        I am scary organized. That really may have been one of the best compliments I have ever gotten (I think it was from Jennifer Buxton). Yesterday at school I realized not only was I all caught up on grading, but I was also planned out in all 4 of my subjects through Friday. Most are about halfway planned through next week. I also have some more ideas gathered to figure out what to do for the next plans. For most of the classes I have a good mix of stuff from a book, worksheets (that go with the stuff from the book), power points, coloring activities, and so on. Everyone likes variety. And art and learning together help you remember. Anyway, school is going pretty well and I in a good mental space. I'm going to keep aiming to find a good mix of different kind of assignments. Not only is it interesting for the kids, it's interesting for me. 
      In other ways I am scary organized, lets talk about my Black Friday Live sale. So the sale was on Friday, and ran for 2 hours and 25ish minutes I think. After I turned off the camera I resisted doing any more work. It could wait. 
     Saturday I did all of the invoicing. Elecktra helped me out by weighing and measuring all of the packages. That is the step that gets them ready for postage. It is a really useful step. After the invoicing I resisted doing any more work. 
      People had started paying their invoices as soon as I sent them out so by Sunday morning I had a good chunk of them ready for postage. Which meant they were ready for sorting. I alphabetize the bags throughout the sale to make sorting claims easier and I alphabetize packages to make it easier to locate them for labeling. I always start with whoever paid their invoice first and work up from there. But before I could get to printing, this mess...
     Needed to be turned into this. Nice even rows of packages in easy to locate alphabetical order. It really made things very easy. Once I was set up I stood in my room checking packages and printing them. Elecktra grabbed each label as it came off the printer, that made it so I could finish one at a time, eliminating the danger of mixing up labels, and sped up the process for me. It was really efficient. So with a chunk of work on Sunday, some help from Elecktra, and sticker labels (worth every penny in saved time!) I had 32 packages ready to bring to the post office. They went out on Monday. 

     A couple more invoices have been paid since then, but I have decided I need to have less stress so I have not gotten them shipped just yet. I will likely do that tomorrow. I do still have a small number of packages waiting to be paid for. Or waiting for me to make an extra doll to go in them. But from start to finish I did the sale on Friday, invoices on Saturday, shipping labels on Sunday, and handed off to the post office on Monday. I am pretty impressed with my restraint. I have in fact done a sale and invoicing all in one day and then everything else the next day. I think I can be content to work just a tiny bit slower. 
      To wrap up I just wanted to share a fun pair of photos that shows it is not just Breyer's shippers that send stuff in incredibly oversized boxes. This looks like I put in a massive Ulta order. 
     But this is what was in the box. For size reference, that is a mascara primer on top of the two boxes of makeup erasers. This stack of stuff is maybe 8x6x5. That box was ginormous! There was also almost nothing in it for packing material. Very reminiscent of this summer's Breyerfest shipments. 
     I have some stragglers but mostly my last live sale of the year is wrapped up. I have been doing some holiday shopping, for myself and for others, and school is going pretty well. Though today a kid actually said that I just do it for the money. That may have been the most foolish thing that I have heard this week.
 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Now I Can Breathe a Little

     When I started teaching, this time around, I came in with the vaguest of plans. I was going to have a day to chat with the kids, since I only actually knew one of the classes, and then we would have a day of some fairly easy review work. It's rough starting into new classes, let alone 4 new ones (and one old one) a quarter into the year. It is even harder going from being the para in the classroom to the teacher. But I have done it before and I was sure I could do it again. If only that nagging voice that tells me I don't know chemistry that well would get out of my head... I can learn it. I have excellent resources (teachers!). 
     So I had my day of chatting with the kids about expectations, both mine for them and theirs for me as their teacher, and Friday we did some review work. Nothing horribly taxing. We had a weekend and Monday morning was not too bad. Tuesday wasn't bad either, but then Ethan told me that he got a call to pick Travis up from school. We had to bring him for a COVID test before he could come back to school. So I got coverage for my 7th period class, missed my prep (6th period) but had enough of a plan for Monday after the Thanksgiving break to make it so I wasn't completely freaking out. Travis does not have COVID by the way. Or flu A or B. He has a cold. And it's mostly better. 
      Anyway, so we came back from Thanksgiving break and I had to wait in line in the copy room, I had way too much to copy to get ready for my first 4 classes, and then for some reason every packet had an extra blank page in between every printed page. So I had to pull all of those out to even make the packets. I managed but it was a rocky start to the day. But then I managed to get a bit more prep done for one of the classes, and just enough ahead on the others (as in, plans for the morning), that I didn't leave school in a panic. Mostly. Tuesday morning I got the copies done quickly that I needed for 2 of my first 4 classes, it didn't take forever, and I got back to my room in time to start getting things sorted. And then I took a day to let the kids work on their own, instead of having the majority of the class time us all working on things together. I reminded them to ask for help if they needed it, checked in every now and then, motivated some to get working or to keep going, and eventually got through the enormous amount of grading that has been piling up since I took over. OK, it wasn't huge, but it was a mess, sort of everywhere, and I needed to get that taken care of to clear my head. And I did. 
     
       This bulging folder is all of the graded/checked assignments since I started. Sure, it has not been a lot of days, but now it is all finished and I have a master list of every class, with every kid in the class, and every day, with their grade from that day's work, so when I get a refresher on how to use the grading part of the computer, I can actually put grades in the portal for everyone. Definitely progress was made. 
      During my prep time I also managed to get plans together for more days, for most of my classes. My biology class I think I am still only one day ahead, but I have material gathered and just need to get the details worked out and I believe I can get several classes ready. I also managed to find my desk!

       I only started on November 18th. The 19th was the first day we did any work. Then we had the 22nd and 23rd and after that was break. Monday the 29th had me rethinking my life choices again, but then by the 30th I remembered that I can do this. I am also insanely organized! So everything should be fine. Now that I am caught up I can work on finding things for the kids that are a bit more creative. Most of them seem to like that.