Monday, August 31, 2020

Lemmonade Photo Show- Western and English Performance

     The first class in the western division of Lemmonade Photo Show was Western Stock Work. Bootlegger got 5th out of a class of 18 with his working cowhorse entry. 

     After stock work was roping. Enchanted Even got 3rd out of 7 with her old photo show picture. 
Lady Liberty got 4th.
Up next was Western Games with a class of 11. Bootlegger got 2nd...
and Purdy Zippin Chick got 6th.
      Western pleasure was really big and got split into 2 sections. Bootlegger got 5th in Western Pleasure Stock type. 

    For Western Pleasure non-stock type (which had 13 entries) Enchanted Eve got 2nd place.
 And Bring the Mayhem got 1st.
The first class of the English division was cross country. Bootlegger got 2nd out of 7.
The next class where I had a placing was other English which was a class of 12.  Bootlegger got 5th with his side saddle entry (which is an old photo show photo).
    And Lady Liberty got 4th with her side saddle entry. 
There were 10 entries in English trail and Bring the Mayhem got 1st. I would like to also note (for anyone that has reminded me over and over to do it) that before I took this photo I did tie the stirrups together like they are supposed to be, lol. 
There were 20 entries in English trail and Enchanted Even got 5th. 

      It was fun being able to enter Lemmonade Photo show. That is a live show I would, under normal circumstances, probably not be able to enter. So this was great! It also makes me (again) think about hosting a photo show. Maybe. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Doll Magic

        Yesterday I shared a photo of a finished fantasy doll. She was fun to make and required a lot of working through the ugly stages. Dolls have so many ugly stages. I have had customers ask me to send progress photos. I pretty much always tell them no. Once in awhile I will send a progress shot, usually if it is to someone who sews. It can be very hard to tell where an outfit is heading when it is in the seemingly endless ugly stage. I have been doing this long enough that the ugly stage barely phases me anymore. Most of the time. 

      I am making a second fantasy doll, in different colors, who will be similar to the pink one but also different enough to not look like the exact same dress in a different color. This is the extent of the sewing done on these dressed. I sewed the skirts and the sleeves. That was it. 

     The next phase was to add the ribbon trim to the bottom of the skirts (this one has a double layer, the pink did not) and then to do a gather stitch at the waist to bring the skirt to the correct length at the ankle. This dress did not actually get any sort of hem. Just the ribbon (which was nicer).
     Next I took a piece of the black fabric that was used for the underskirt, cut a strip in a size that would make a nice bodice. I folded over (and glued) the flap on the back so she would have a nice finished look and no ragged edges. Even though in the very next step I was going to cover this.
     I took a strip of this material that I don't remember the name of and wrapped, trimmed and glued until I liked how it looks. If I stopped right now, I would have a prom dress. 
     But I kept going and I added the trim to the top of the bodice and made the straps with it. Just like the pink dress. 
      Next I put the silver trim on the long cuffs of the sleeves and went to put the sleeves on the doll. Since they did not get folded over at the top (like the pink sleeves) they were a tiny bit too long when they were off the shoulder. So I took off the straps and tucked the sleeves underneath. I think this looks a lot better. 

       I definitely possess the ability to sew. I can make some pretty complex things. But I also know that sewing is not always the best way to do things in miniature. This dress would not look this nice or this well fitted if it was all sewn or if it was removable. It is just too small to do well. You can't make doll clothes exactly like you would full size items. They just don't always work out well. But with some tricks, and a little magic, you can get some really amazing results!

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Things I Am Good At and Things That I'm Not

          Back in June I did an interview with Emily Martin for her YouTube series Artist Unlocked. It was a fun experience and really got me thinking about certain things having to do my doll making. Not everything from our very long conversation ended up in the final video, but some things did. It is tricky to say that you know your work has value without sounding full of yourself. At least, that is the way artists are often made to feel. In the same interview I offered some advice to people that might want to get started as doll makers, though it applies to any art. Don't take commissions too early. Don't take on projects that you are not comfortable with. There are definitely things that we can't know if we can do them unless we try them. And then there are things that we might be willing to try, even though it is way out of our comfort zone. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

       Recently I found out a couple of things about myself. While I can and do make patterns, I am not able to exactly replicate someone else's pattern. I also can't work well in gloves. So I guess it comes down to I can make a new pattern, potentially from altering one of my existing patterns as needed, but I can't necessarily take apart something someone else made, make a new workable pattern, and then duplicate the original garment. And the gloves thing was a weird discovery. I had no idea I had to be able to feel the material to work properly. I felt incredibly clumsy. It took awhile, and a lot of trial and error, but I figured out I was not going to be able to come up with a finished shirt that was exactly like the original. There are just some things I am not good at. 

     No matter how carefully I worked to dissect the original shirt, I was not able to make anything I could work from. It was frustrating. I don't like to give up on things.
     But on the other hand, I recently I finished up this working western lady. Her chaps are removable, but nothing else is. This is definitely something I know I can do. 
        I also finished up this Arabian rider. The trick with this one was finding material that looked good with the costume, just by using the DMC floss colors. I have not seen the doll with the costume yet, but I think this should work out. 
     I also finished up this fantasy doll. None of her clothing is removable, though most of my dolls do not have removable clothing, and I would not even be able to begin to think about how to make this dress removable. There is some sewing on it, every outfit has at least some sewing. But there are also layers and glue tricks. I know some people feel that "glue" can be sort of a dirty word when it comes to doll making, but clearly if it is used well you can come up with some lovely results. I'll share some of the magic tomorrow. 


      I lost a friend yesterday. I didn't even know, but I started to suspect. I knew she was sick, cancer, and I thought she was doing better. At least for a bit. Yesterday I saw lots of posts saying fuck cancer. Yup. I didn't know she was gone. This morning I saw many more posts. These were more specific. Pat Coulter is gone. And that makes me really sad. Really sad in a tears falling while I type kind of way. 

      I only met Pat once in my life. She came up to Region X for a show. She was seated all the way across the show hall so we didn't get to visit as much as I would have liked. Performance shows are like that. It was also before I really took photos of people. I stole this one from Jennifer Buxton. I have permanent permission to use her photos, so I guess it's not stealing. 

Photo by Jennifer Buxton

     Pat and I have been friends for years, though I have no idea when we first started chatting. I know she made me Halestorm's original pony tack, though I currently have no photos of that since the hard-drive they are on is attached to a monitor that is getting no signal. Those may now be lost forever.

     Or through social media, which is also mostly how I knew Pat, I can find some pictures. Here is Halestorm winning reserve champion in AR/CM dressage at TRXC in 2016 in her pony tack that Pat made. 

     And also winning champion in English Pleasure. I showed this pony in the tack that Pat made for several years. Then I sold the doll and the tack and Halestorm. I had another tack set that Pat made, I can't seem to pull up any photos at the moment. I sold that too. Now I don't have any of Pat's tack. Which also makes me sad. 
Pat tagged me in her post of her Jumper entry winning the silver cookie at NAN in 2012


      And she tagged me in a post from 2014 when she took this photo right before putting the entry into the ring. 
       That's it. I have a photo of Pat that I stole, if I search enough I can find pictures of one of the tack sets that she made me and a couple of the dolls I made for her. I am not 100% sure, but I may still have a doll of hers that she intended for me to dress eventually. Or I may have done that, I would have to check. 
      Life is fleeting and we never know when we are going to lose our people. Sometimes it is expected and sometimes it is abrupt and catches you my surprise. I wish I had gotten in some more chats with Pat, it's been a bit. I wish I still had some of the tack that she made (I am now actively looking to buy some). I wish that I had taken another road trip to New Jersey to hang out with Pat (before COVID, cleaarly). I wish I wish I could still talk to my friend. I'll miss you Pat.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Lemmonade Photo Show- Halter and Other Performance

         The other day I woke up to a handful of Facebook notifications that confused me. They were comments on my posts in the Lemmonade Online photo show. I was pretty sure no one was supposed to comment on the photos... so I went and looked. These were pretty cool comments! It was the placings. The judge's use the digital ribbons as their comments. It was definitely an easy way to figure out if any of my horses had placed. I entered some halter photos, but halter was never as important to me as performance so I couldn't necessarily tell you which classes I entered. 

       Enchanted Eve was in the AR TBs/standardbreds class. There were 10 entries and she got 2nd place. 

My next class was AR Quarter horse. There were 17 entries in the class. Bootlegger got 2nd place. 
     Mocha Latte went into the AR Appaloosa class. It is hard life for a solid colored appaloosa. There were 10 in the class and Mocha Latte got 5th. That was pretty cool.

       Caramel Latte entered the Other Stock class. There were only 4 in the class and Caramel Latte got 2nd.
     Since I don't have tons and tons of photos entered in Lemmonade, and I am only grabbing pics of the ones that placed this time around, I decided I would do Other Performance with AR Halter all in one post. I have one CM halter photo, but as of writing this post that class had not been judged yet. 
      The first class I got a notification for in the Other performance division was Other Costume. There were 20 entries in the class and it was very mixed. Bring the Mayhem got 6th place with her parade entry. 
      My next class was Showmanship. I believe this is the very first of Purdy Zippin Chicks new show photos to be placed. She got 5th out of a class of 6
     And Caramel Latte placed 1st with this very old photo show pic. 

     That was it for my Other performance placings. I had a few other entries in other classes, but they didn't place (or if they did, Facebook didn't tell me about it, lol!) I was having a really great time watching the results pop up in the notifications. I really am loving the new ways we photo show! And there was more to come!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Tiny Things and Not So Tiny Things

        I ordered a lot of miniatures for my miniatures sale. I wanted to have a good variety of items and, to be honest, it is addicting searching for, and buying, miniatures. The problem with ordering things, especially things that don't necessarily have anything to properly indicate scale, is you might end up with things that are just not workable.

       Like these "dollhouse miniature" lollipops. In what world are these giant pops dollhouse scale? Maybe if you are making a dollhouse scene from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. But for the most part, these are hugely oversized and would be even way too large for the largest lollipop in Barbie scale. I think they could be part of a really cute jump though, now that I am thinking of it. I probably have no desire to make that jump, but it could be fun. I think I have 20 of these giant candies!

       I have also gotten actually tiny things in the mail recently. This is the August micro from Maggie's Monthly Micros. I didn't think I liked it until I really looked at her closely. Now I totally have to keep her, make her a yellow mare, and she will be Whinny, from The Earth Children's series. Plus my photo actually shows the detail on her much more than just holding her in my hand. Funny how that happened.
I also got in my Copperfox Micros that I ordered during Breyerfest. 
      It took awhile for them to ship but when they did they got here quickly. Apparently they are now based in Massachusetts. I have not been paying attention and didn't know that. When I ordered this set I was pretty sure I was only going to keep 2 of them and sell the rest. Now that I see them in person I think I may only sell 2... or even just one. And the fox. It's cute and tiny but I don't think I need it. That could change tomorrow, I just don't know. I have not even taken them out of the box yet. 
     Along with my August Micro I also got my Doar, who is the 2019 subscriber exclusive. His arrival means I have successfully kept my subscription for a full year. And I won't cancel it because I will not be able to restart it. I will just continue to sell the horses that I don't absolutely love. They are tiny, but eventually everything takes up space. 
     Today is my first day back to work. I have gotten a slew of emails this week with different things to expect, sort of explanations of things that will be different (or incredibly different) and a lot of "we don't know yet" as well. There is a lot of that. I don't really have any idea what today will look like, let alone the next 3 weeks before the students arrive. I just know that things will be different in a lot of ways. I hope that we can make this work. to teach the kids, to keep them safe and to keep each other safe. Teenagers have never been super about hygiene and following safety precautions. Not sure this will be any different. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Pony for a Day

    This is my new pony, Bronte. Isn't she super cute?
      Just kidding. Bronte belongs to my friend Marisa. The other day I took a drive down to meet her at the barn. I finally got to meet Bronte. None of this was as simple or straightforward as it sounds. First, after we started to make plans it occurred to me that I had no idea of I was allowed to go to Connecticut without having to quarantine for 14 days when I came back to Massachusetts. So I looked into that. As it turns out, Connecticut is on a very short list of states I can currently visit without having to fill out a travel form or quarantine. Which is good, since I have to go back to work on Friday. 
     Anyway, the hour drive was uneventful. A get together and pony-playtime, that has been on the need-to-happen list for a couple of years, was finally going to happen! We all took this nice, socially distant selfie and headed into the barn. 


      I love grooming horses. It has been years since I have gotten a chance to do it, but everything I learned came back to me instantly. I also became Bronte's new best friend. Before I started I asked Marisa if Bronte had any spots she didn't like so much. Even when I curried and brushed her less liked spots, Bronte only gave me a bit of side eye once in awhile.
     For the most part I got Blissed out pony face. And Anne was pretty happy too. Since Bronte threw a shoe the other day, and the farrier had not gotten out to fix it just yet, we decided to have a pony spa day. Marisa and I chatted in the barn isle and I brushed and brushed. It was wonderful!
     Just look at those dapples! I had "my" pony pretty much show ready when I was finished with her. I really do love grooming. And she was so soft and shiny.

     I said we had to go outside for some glamour shots. I looked a sweaty mess (it was hot and humid and I was now covered in dirt) but Bronte looked stunning. 

       It was so nice to have my pretty pony.
      When we brought her back in it was time for treats. Bronte and I were clearly already best friends, but the treats totally sealed the deal. 

      I really miss hanging around horses. I never felt that the work involved was work. But then, I have never owned a horse and never had to do it every day. 

     Just look at that sad pony face! Running out of cookies is terrible! (I feel your pain Bronte. I want a cookie too).
      I did not get to ride, but it was so nice to be around horses again. Marisa and I sat in the barn isle and chatted and another Marisa came by (that is as rare as meeting another Anne!) with her horse whose name has escaped me this second. He was very interested in my seltzer and checking me for treats (I didn't have any). It's an unusual feeling sitting with a horse's head in my lap. I could get used to that. 
     It has been over 10 years since I have ridden a horse. It has been more than a year since I have been even close to a real horse. And it has been years since I have been so incredibly comfortable around them. I need more pony time, for sure. 
     Thank you Marisa for loaning me your pony for the day. And any time you want I will come down and groom her again.