Tuesday, December 16, 2014

# 800

Are you ready for this? Last night I completed my 800th doll. That's pretty wild and I have to say, I feel pretty good about it. The very first doll was this Arabian rider doll who was completed in November of 2006.
In my first ever blog post, November 2008, I said since I had been making Arabian costumes I figured I should start with an Arabian rider. Made sense to me. I don't think she was bad for the first attempt at anything in this scale. She is not very much like anything I can do today though.
   So in the beginning of November I finally got to meet Jennifer Buxton in person when she came to judge at The Region X Championships. I wish we had met years ago. Anyway, Jennifer has a show-ring style Arabian costume that she doesn't use because she doesn't have a doll to go with that. I can get behind that kind of thinking. So she brought the costume with her and asked if I could make a doll to go with it. When she found out that I was nearing my 800th doll she asked if I would please make her doll as my 800th doll. 
   Of course I did, how perfect is that? The first doll ever was an Arabian rider and what a great milestone another one would be as #800. Challenge accepted!
   So here is the costume.
 I really like this costume. The colors are beautiful, it's very well made and VERY easy to use. All things I like in an Arabian costume. The challenge however is that I did not make the costume and it was made over 8 years ago. How do you match a doll to something like that? Carefully.
   Jennifer asked that I make the doll as "Hollywood" and blingy as possible. Super gaudy and obnoxious? I can do that. And here she is:
I had a very hard time matching the green color in the costume. Noting that Joann Fabrics carried was an exact match and I was looking for exact. The closest I found was some wide green ribbon. I figured I would piece it together to make her long vest. Not the coolest option but if it was what had to be done, I would do it.
 It turns out I did not have to piece together ribbon to make fabric. I have had this wonderful green silk for years now. I keep using a piece here and there for projects but since I bought so much (I was going to make a real-person sized clothing item with it) I still have plenty. It was a fantastic match to the drape of the costume! Not that you can see that in any of the photos since the long vest covers everything. It doesn't HAVE to I guess.

 My photos are a bit washed out and I can't really figure out how that happened so I will just keep talking about the costume. It really is obnoxious. I started with a black shirt with puffed sleeves tucked into gold harem pants. You will be able to see those pants across the show hall. They are shiny and catch the light and are just...obnoxious! But they go really well with the costume.
 Next was the long vest. It was made with green silk outlined in a gold and green sort of braided/fancy trim. In all of the green spaces on the trim I added an emerald green swarovski crystal. That thing has bling.
 If you look at the photo of doll #1 you can see she is wearing sandals. Well that is not safe in any way so #800 was much more sensible and put on some boots. Nothing fancy, just boots. Around the cuff of her pants I added some more emerald crystals. You know, because the pants weren't fancy enough.
# 800 also has a semi-repainted face under her veil. Mostly I did some quick work on her eyes to make her look a bit more exotic. She has on gold triangle shaped earrings with more emerald crystals on them and a veil with gold trim and gold "coins" added. Some for weight and some just because this costume needed more bling.
 The doll does ride well and fits on the costume perfectly. Nothing needed to be adjusted which was a happy bonus for me. I split out the doll's fingers so she can properly hold the reins English or Western, depending on what is correct. I honestly have no idea what is correct on this type of bridle.
 This next photo shows a bit of the drape as well as the doll clothes so you can see how nice a match the color is on her vest. I was really happy this worked out. The green silk has been used to make some of my favorite things and I was happy it worked for Jennifer's costume.
 What am I missing? Oh, the doll has rerooted black hair that was pulled back into a long braid and wrapped with gold thread. Just in case someone peeks through the layers of the veil I didn't want her hair to be boring.
 There is also a decoration on her back which has more emerald crystals on it.
 A vast portion of the vest is actually fairly plain so I wanted to add as many little extras as I could. This doll had to be special, there was no other way to do it.
 So to wrap this up, I have now officially been making dolls for just over 8 years. I have now made 800 dolls in total. Hopefully I can continue to make dolls for years to come and perhaps I will get another cool project for # 900. Thank you to everyone that has helped me to reach this point in my dolling and a special thanks to Jennifer Buxton for asking me to make this very special doll for a very cool milestone.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The coolest people ever

People in the model horse hobby are some of the coolest people ever. I have known this for a long time but it is more and more apparent recently. When I started live showing I got lots of help and LOTS and LOTS of help when I started performance showing. My personal experiences have been mostly positive and the people I have met are very giving and fun. I know it's not true of everyone in the hobby but most of the people I have met, or had interactions with, are fantastic.

Just recently I joined Model Horse Blab which is something I have been avoiding for years because I know I can get sucked into that forum and then get lost for hours. So far I have been doing OK and only check it for a few minutes...every single time I am on the computer. I catch up on posts I am following and sometimes catch something new. I am behaving for the most part. The point though of my mentioning joining was I started sending out PIFs (Pay It Forward) which I think really a better name for that would be random gifts. I have also received a couple of PIFs myself.

I received these dolls. I even have used one of them to make a gift for someone (I will post photos after Christmas)
 and just this past weekend I got this GIANT bag of Kisses. I will never run out of chocolate! (that's a lie)
I also signed up for the Blab Secret Santa which was SO much fun. I had a great time getting a gift together for my person and I received this great group of gifts from my Secret Santa partner.
There were doll making supplies, treats and chocolates, cozy socks and this AWESOME CM
I have never been into decorators but when I opened this I was so excited! It's a pink and black horse with wings and a pink crystal necklace on my favorite stablemate mold! It is MUCH cooler in person and I am actually excited to show in the fantasy class at a show now.

I think the most touching gift I have gotten from a model horse person recently was from my friend Jennifer Buxton. She mentioned she sent me a "little" present in the mail. It arrived today and it is indeed small in size. I would not call it a "little" gift. I opened up the little package (which came with the most adorable card that I totally forgot to take a photo of) and this is what was in it.
As usual when receiving a piece of tack from Jennifer I was awed by all the incredibly detail. I have never seen a stable halter this fancy! It still has tiny tongue buckles with rollers! Stitch marks, buckles on both sides of the crown and under the chin. Then I turned it around...
...and it has a name plate. I was amazed, awed, very touched and I came right home (seriously, I opened it at the mailbox) and got Enchanted Even down and put her in her new halter. Of course it is a perfect fit, looks absolutely gorgeous on her and is just so amazing.

This is not a "little" gift in my opinion. Eve thinks it's pretty fabulous as well. She is still wearing it and I think she is smugly looking at her shelf-mates and taunting them. What a lucky pony. And I am lucky too, to have such a great friend. Thank you SO much Jennifer for sending me this amazing "little" gift, I love it!