Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 doll year review

   Yes, I am a huge slacker when it comes to keeping the blog updated. I don't have many excuses for that other than not usually having anything to write about. I don't go to a ton of shows, but I try to remember to report on them when I do. In progress photos of dolls look terrible (dolls are often pretty scary until they are finished) so I don't do those. Some customers want their new dolls to be a surprise once they get them to that first show so to be safe I don't share most dolls I finish. And did I mention I have a lazy streak? Sometimes I can work feverishly for 10-12 hours a day, 6 or even 7 days a week and then sometimes I have trouble finishing even one doll in a week. I hate those weeks.
    So what have I managed to get done this year? Here's my list:

41 western pleasure 
16 casual/working western ladies
13 hunt seat dolls 
12 cowboys
12 specialty dolls
11 youth hunt seat dolls
7 saddle seat dolls 
5 casual English dolls
4 side saddle dolls
3 driving dolls
3 cross country dolls
3 dressage dolls
3 male youth dolls (4 if you count one of the specialty dolls)
2 showmanship dolls. 
     for a total of.....are you ready?....135 dolls made this year! 

    Not bad for being as much of a slacker as I often feel I am. I may have missed something but that is a pretty clear idea of what I did this year. Apparently people are REALLY into western dolls. 
   I've also made lots of other things. Bunches of pairs of removable cutting chaps, eventing sets, miniature food (both 1:12 scale and 1:9 scale), saddle bags, saddle pads, dusters and I may have missed something from the extras list. So I guess I have been sort of busy this year. Just not blogging.

   This year I worked more on making my etsy store noticeable. It's been open since 2012 but got very little business until this year. Things started clicking over there finally and I am pleased with how it's all going. Now to get some new stuff in it!
   Let's see, what else? There may have been something but I can't think of it at the moment. It's been a pretty good year at Field of Dolls Studio. As with all years there have been ups and downs but I am ending on a pretty decent high note. I want to thank each and every one of my customers for their orders and purchases. From the smallest etsy sale to the largest order I have ever gotten every sale counts and everything helps. Thank you all for Keeping Field of Dolls Studio in Business for NINE years now! Here's to you all for your continued support and a wonderful 2016!
And now to end on a silly (and somewhat controversial) note; piles.

*note* no dolls or crystal horses were hurt in the making of these piles :)

Saturday, November 14, 2015

TRXC 2015 recap

   TRXC or the The Region X Championships, is one of my favorite times of the year.  For one thing it's my biggest selling weekend of the year and I get to actually interact with customers. That is a rare thing for a business that is largely Internet based. 
    I had a really great  display of my sales items but completely forgot to take a photo of it until about halfway through Saturday. Oops. Maybe next year I can remember to get one at
the start. 
     TRXC is also great because where else can you wear a tiara and have everyone act like it's completely normal. (photo by Kate Cabot)
    And once in awhile really awesome goodies show up on your table when you are not looking. These fantastic boots were made by Darleen Stoddard. I may need more boots of all kinds from her.
    But of course TRXC is also a big show. Actually, it's two big shows. There is the regular open show with a fairly full class list and there is the stakes show. For the stakes show you need to have a region X card that was issued at a Region X show in the past 3 years. You put it up with your entry, a steward comes by to check it against your horse tag and the class is judged as usual. I had a crazy plan for this year's TRXC. I was going to show mostly just in the stakes classes but I was going to show every qualified horse I had. That lead to shameful things such as having to ask to borrow dolls from people. Luckily for me my good friend Joan Fauteux had everything I needed to borrow and since she was hosting she couldn't show and didn't need any of her things. 
    The other thing I borrowed were photos. I don't always get the best photos and I don't know how to improve them. So when I had the opportunity to use some really excellent photos for this post I jumped at the chance. The first stakes section was patterned performance. I had 3 entries. This first entry is Bootlegger. He is a Rose Reiner painted by Meghann Lorei. His saddle and boots are by an unknown maker. His bridle was made by Danielle Hart, the saddle pad by Elise Partenan and I made the doll. They managed Reserve champion is a class of 11. (photo by Sara Roche)
    Mocha Latte also entered the patterned performance stakes class with her dressage entry. The tack is by Jennifer Buxton, I made the doll and the flowers and I borrowed these dressage rails from Joan. Latte is a Loping Leggs resin sculpted and painted by Liesl Dalpe. Top 5 is not to shabby! (photo by Sara Roche)

    Bootlegger also did a working cowhorse entry in the Action Western Stakes class. I switched out his bridle for one made by Pam Perkins (reins by me) and my Elecktra doll that I made. Another top 5. (photo by Sara Roche). 10 in the class.
    Hurricane Deck wanted to play too. He is wearing a saddle by Pam Perkins, with a saddle pad by Sara Kucharski. Boots and bridle by an unknown maker (because I can't remember which bridle this is and can't see if well enough to say who made it). I made the doll. I have gotten really into roping lately. It's a fun entry to study.

 Next was the Action Enlish stakes. Halestorm entered with her Handy Hunter entry. Her tack was made by Pat Coulter, the beautiful jump was made by Marci Driscoll (I made the weird topiaries, don't blame Marci for those) and I made the doll. (photo by Shane Langbauer) 9 in the class.
    Phantom also entered Action English with her jumper entry. She is an Eclipse resin sculpted by Mindy Berg and painted by Joan Yount. Her tack was made by Pat Coulter, her boots by Jennifer Buxton and her bell boots by Jana Skybova. I made the doll and the jump.
    Two top 5's in a class I was thinking about skipping isn't too bad at all!
Phantom entered the games class with this housewife Scurry entry. Reserve champion in a class of 13 made me happy. (photo by Shane Langbauer)
Next up was the pleasure Stakes class. There were 19 entries in the class. First up for me was Enchanted Eve. She is a Victrix resin painted by Angelica Nelson. She is wearing her awesome side saddle tack made by Jennifer Buxton and a doll by me.
 Bootlegger also played in the stakes class. I was very pleased with my top 5's!
 As a point of interest Mocha Latte entered the open western pleasure class with a couple of her nearly identical friends. We got a kick out of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th placing of this line of Loping Leggs.

The Trail Stakes class had 19 entries. Mocha Latte was wearing tack made by Pam Perkins and a doll by me. The poles were mostly made by Elizabeth Mace but one was made by Joan Fauteux (for me, not one I borrowed). I was more than happy with Reserve Champion. (photo by Sara Roche)

    Phazes of Godiva (a Godiva Resin sculpted by Morgen Kilbourn and painted by Liesl Dalpe) also entered the trail stakes class. She didn't place but I wanted to share this photo (by Sara Roche). She is wearing borrowed tack so I don't know who made it, a saddle pad, saddle bags, doll and diorama by me.
 This trail entry/photo had to be shared as well. Enchanted Eve still wearing her lovely side saddle tack. (photo by Shane Langbauer)
The other performance stakes class had 19 entries. My first entry was Flash in the Sky, a Matriarch resin painted by Joan yount wearing tack by an unknown maker and a crazy super bendy doll made by me. People like the super bendy doll. This extreme cowboy entry got a top 5.

 Bootlegger also entered the other performance stakes with an Extreme cowboy entry. He got Reserve champion in the class. I made the cowboy curtain :)
 My last entry was Hurricane Deck with his Native American costume by an unknown maker, doll by me, in the costume stakes class. I nearly skipped it because I was tired but they got a top 5 which made me happy.
As many of my friends know I was chasing a final NAN card for a superior event horse award in showmanship with my OF Lady Phase Lady Liberty. I did finally get that last card at NEPC and was very excited to finally get it. Lady Liberty now gets to retire but I figured she could have one last show and it was very worth it! 
I showed Lady in the open showmanship class even though I didn't need any more NAN cards. I was happy I did though since she got to go out with a bang. Not just another NAN card but a first place! I made everything in the entry other than the horse and the footing.
Lady Liberty also went on to get a top 5 in the OF other performance stakes class out of a field of 21 entries! (photo by Shane Laungbauer).
 I do have some photos of halter day and I may share them at some point. Mine are not great but I did get some nicer ones from Shane and Sara. The results of performance day was 10 top 5's and 4 Reserve champions. I got at least 1 top 5 in each stakes class I entered. It was a really good day for me for showing!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

NEPC 2015

Yesterday was the who-knows-what-year-we-are-on of the New England Performance Challenge. It is an awesome performance show held each October by Nancy Timm. I haven't gotten to do a ton of performance showing recently so I was really looking forward to this show. I volunteered to judge the Novice division but because of a last minute cancellation by another judge I also ended up judging OF harness and OF English. So my focus needed to be mostly on judging and showing could happen if I had enough time, my focus of the show changed a bit.
   First of all I had to show my Mule, A Little Mayhem, in a bunch of English classes. She got new custom made-just-for-her tack from Jennifer Buxton so she had to come out. Her first class was Other English and I showed her in a versatility set-up. She and her new tack (and new doll and my Elecktra doll) did quite well.
Here is a photo of her with just tack in case anyone wants to see. 
 I also decided to show Mocha Latte in English. I was going to show my pony Halestorm but then while tacking up I discovered I accidentally sent her girth out with some tack I sold (oops). I did get that situation worked out but I have no other pony-sized girth so I showed Mocha. She is also wearing Braymere tack. Her first class of the day was English games. I think this may have been the first time I ever showed her in English. Anyway, just 7th place but there was a lot of show left.

A Little Mayhem also showed in English games and she managed 4th against the tough competition. Looks like this team is going to do OK.
Next was Arena trail and I had completely forgotten to look through my documentation ahead of time to see if I had an appropriate trail pattern. I was very pleased with second place. I did notice when uploading photos that my long poles are two different colors. I was in a bit of a hurry.

Mocha Latte also did Arena trail but she only got 8th place. The judge said she would have liked to see her a bit further up in the obstacle because her head is turned a bit. I agree with that assessment. I do like this obstacle though so I will likely use it again sometime.

One of my show goals for the day was to get Caramel Latte a NAN card in Other Performance (anything) so she would qualify for a NAMHSA Performance Versatility award. She got it with her pink panther costume but now that I have looked around the Merit awards page I might try for a Performance Legacy award with her (I think that's the one). I need some more cards for that but not really that many. 9 or 10 I think. So maybe that will be the new goal for her.
I only own one set of dressage fence pieces so I decided Mocha Latte was better suited for dressage than A Little Mayhem (though mules can totally do dressage). So I found a pattern that worked for her, set it all up and it was worth it! Mocha finally gets a nice placing.

To finish out the English division Mocha Latte also got first in Huntseat pleasure other type

 and A Little Mayhem got 3rd. Both of them went to callbacks but I has skipped so many classes in the division they didn't have a chance at any champs. I wasn't looking to get them so it all worked out.

Next was the western division and Flash in the Sky started off in roping with tack by an unknown maker. I think the bridle was made by Pam Perkins.

And then Bootlegger did Other Stock work with this team penning entry. I was very pleased with his second place.

Bootlegger also did the Housewife Scurry but he only managed third because I forgot (and the judge noticed) that the other vegetables that should have been in the bucket were not in it! Oops. Sometimes in a tough class it's the little details that make the biggest difference. Oh, this was speed games. His tack was made by Pam Perkins.

Flash in the Sky did non-speed games with this two barrels and a pole game. Reference is from Jennifer Buxton's website. I think this would have done better if Flash was actually paying attention.
Flash in the Sky Redeemed herself in Other Western with her Extreme cowboy challenge entry. The bendy doll probably helped.

Bootlegger also did an Extreme Cowboy Challenge entry in Other Western but the doll was just sort of sitting there (I was running to judge and not paying attention) so it didn't look too convincing.
My real focus of the day was OF Showmanship. Lady Liberty has been working on a NAMHSA Superior Event Horse award for a long time. Showmanship can be a tough one to get because it sometimes gets lumped in with Other Western. Lady got her Register of Merit in 2012 and we have been working on the rest of her qualifications since. She has just missed a NAN card a few times (third place is very sad when you are working towards a big award). It was great to get a first in this event. I completely stopped showing after this class (I skipped CM western trail and CM western pleasure with both of my western horses) and I just concentrated on finishing the judging.

The few near-misses on this last card inspired me to revamp nearly everything in this entry. There's not a lot that goes into showmanship but I made her a new doll, a new fancy show halter and new, very details documentation. When I set up the entry I paid careful attention to everything I know about showmanship. I didn't want it to be one of those days when I spaced and put the doll in the wrong quarter or something. That would suck.
   So tomorrow I will send in my cards and application for Lady Liberty's Superior Event horse award. I may bring her to TRXC in 3 weeks and show her one last time in showmanship but I think now she will get to retire. She's earned it.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

QVPO 2015 part 2

As promised, here are the results of my showing in the sporthorse, English and costume divisions at QVPO last Saturday. The competition was fierce in almost every class (I may have to edit these posts once the results are out with the class counts) and every ribbon received was exciting.
   My first class in the sporthorse division was Jumper. I have screwed up Jumper in the past. Many times. I have forgot boots, my jump flags, put the horse too close or too far from the jump, etc. Jumper is not really a hard class for me to mess up! For this class I just had one horse showing. This is McQueen wearing tack made by Jennifer Buxton. I made the doll and the jump. We managed 4th place in this competitive class.
The next class was Hunter/Handy Hunter. I move McQueen and his jump to the next ring, took off the boots (I remembered!) and used fewer flowers with the jump.I was incredibly happy with second place.
I also showed my custom Stone pony Halestorm in Hunter/Handy hunter. She is wearing tack by Pat Coulter, a doll by me and that amazing jump was made by Marci Dricoll.  For that entry we got 4th place.
The next class was dressage. Originally I had planned on showing both McQueen and Halestorm in dressage but I only have one set of dressage rails and while I could have borrowed some more I thought it would be easier to just show the one horse. So Halestorm went in the class and I agonized over it. Many years ago I never even considered showing dressage. It's extremely technical and I just didn't think I could handle it. My friend Marisa Evans taught me about dressage and helped me set up for the class with an OF Strapless. Before that day I really didn't know that lower level or training level were a thing and that I didn't need dressage tack etc. Well fast forward to QVPO 2015. I put Halestorm in dressage and I fiddled and moved things a tiny bit and then back and triple checked the documentation, put the bridle number on and remembered to take the back number off the doll...and then I left it alone.
When I saw the first place ribbon I grabbed my cell phone, texted a picture to Marisa (who was sick and couldn't come to the show). I asked her if she was proud and she said she was. I have done well in dressage before now but doing well with my pony is sort of a new thing. We had a rough start. We did finally start to do well but it took several shows and a lot of changes to get there.
   Next were the sporthorse division callbacks and I didn't get any rosettes but that's OK. I was at this point having a great time and was feeling pretty zen about showing. Not something that always happens at a performance show.
   Onto the English division! Here again was the start of showing 3 entries in a class. Stress! But only a bit of stress. I put Fabian's horse, King of Sarrow,  in my awesome side saddle tack made by Jennifer Buxton with a doll made by me and fudged my side saddle game documentation so I could use it with a cantering horse. This photos is included just to show off my beautiful Braymere side saddle tack some more since I did a whole post on Fabian's horse the other day.
I also showed Caramel Latte in tack made by Jennifer Buxton and we did musical stalls for the game. Very pleased with second place!
Halestorm also did a game. She was doing a Candy Race. I made all the tiny candy and the documentation with photos I took at a show last summer. It's a cute game but not always exciting depending on the competition. Still, I was not displeased with 4th place.
Next was Other English and everyone went in the class again. King of Sorrow did a side saddle riding lesson (check out the other blog post for a pic), Caramel Latte did a versatility challenge and Halestorm did a therapeutic riding set-up. Caramel Latte got 4th and Halestorm didn't place in that one. My dolls were sort of wonky though.
My written notes say that Caramel Latte was supposed to be in natural trail but I think I scratched her from that since I didn't want to change the doll. So next was arena trail, another 3 horse class but since I was stressing a bit I pulled King of Sarrow from that. I had the needed NAN card so I didn't feel awful about it. Caramel Latte did a rope gate and earned fourth plac. Halestorm didn't place in this one either.

I had no one to go in pleasure-sport type but all the horses went in pleasure-other type. Halestorm got first
Caramel Latte got second
and King of Sarrow got third! Holy cow! I don't think I have ever managed something like that before. It was pretty cool. Then it was time for the callback. Caramel Latte ended up with champion in the English division! I was very happy with that! 
Next was costumes. I put Hurricane Deck in Indian costume and he got second place.It was the largest Indian costume class I have seen in awhile. It's good that people are getting into some of the more specialized classes.
Next was Arabian costume and I had two entries. Time Lord went in with this showring style costume and doll I made and grabbed 4th place...
..while Jazira in her new teeny tiny Arab costume, complete with tiny rider (also both made by me) got third!This also was a pretty big class. It really is great to see them growing.
At the end of the show there were overall performance champs for anyone that got either champ or reserve in any division. I was super excited when Mocha Latte ended up with overall reserve champion!
So this is the end of my QVPO 2015 show report. But in grabbing links for this post I realized I never did the write up of the head-to-head CM Stone pony competition between Marisa and I. It did in fact happen last fall at NEPC. Maybe I will have to write about that tomorrow...