Friday, October 30, 2020

Special Horses

       Yesterday I posted about sorting through all of the things in my house, finding Kayla's couch, and my vision for 1/6 scale collection for the (possibly distant) future. While I was digging around in the closet I found some other things. A couple of which are some very special horses. 

        I have mentioned in the not-too-distant past that I started collecting horses by stealing 2 Breyers my mom had. I would not leave them alone and eventually she just gave them to me. One of them is a Clydesdale Mare, that I had painted (with mom's blessing) who lives up on my resin shelf. The other is an alabaster fighting stallion. Or he was, now he is sort of yellow. This horse is older than I am by a good amount. His ear tips were broken off sometime before I was born. This is a very special horse who will never leave me. His name is lightning. Currently he lives in a tote in the closet because I have a serious lack of shelf space. He's also tall and doesn't fit on the shelves I have at the moment. But some day he will be displayed again. I have thought about putting him in a sunny window to try to cut down the yellow, but I am afraid for him. He is really old after all. 

       Another special horse that I will never sell (but currently lives in the tote in the closet) is Romanesque, a Misty's Twilight. Ethan bought me this horse as a Christmas present the year we started dating. He bought me a mini resin for my 30th birthday. Those are the 2 horses he has gotten for me in 21 years. Both are quite special. I had a Misty's Twilight from when I was younger, but she has been gone for years. Romanesque (who never got a new name...) will always be here. 
      I do have some other special horses, one is a very old, unidentified horse my Grandmother had that I inherited when she passed. One of these days I will climb up and take it off the very high shelf and get a photo. I also have my classic Arabian family that I should get a pic of. They were part of my secret hobby guilt when I was a teenager. 

      Even though some of the special horses live in a box and some are on a high shelf that I can't easily get to, they are very important to me. Through all of the collection purges they have stayed, and they always will. And I will always appreciate them for where they came from as much as, or more, than for what they look like. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Kayla’s Couch

     When I ordered Kayla, I also ordered a variety of 1/6 scale items so I could make different scenes with her. I have a work table with a folding chair. I also have a working desk lamp. And I have this obnoxiously pink couch. It is really obnoxious. I absolutely love pink, and I could imagine having a pink couch, but not this shade of pink. But this is cool. I was sorting through (everything in my house) the closet the other day and I found the couch. I don't have anywhere to display all of my stuff so the couch is still in a box in the closet. Which means Kayla had her picture taken in the closet. It's kind of dark in there, and it is full of stuff. 

      None of that bothered Kayla. She got comfortable and played on her phone. I guess no one ever told her to keep her shoes off the furniture!
     It is entirely possible, when I have the space, I might build a 1/6 scale dollhouse. Or at the very least a 1/6 scale room box. That would be great! Maybe a studio, with the obnoxious pink couch off to the side. That could be a lot of fun! I wish I could remember where I put my other 1/6 scale dolls. I am mostly sure I did not sell them, but I cannot find them!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Mares in Black Spooktacular Fun Classes

        The performance classes at the Mares in Black show did not have tons of entries. The same could not be said for the fun classes (or the halter classes, which I judged). The first fun class I entered was House Pets. I pulled out most of my dogs and the one cat I have left, set up my armchair made by Priam Customs and got out my Elecktra doll. Then I made some madness. I could see real Elecktra being in heaven living like this. The caption says "Elecktra feels that you can never have enough house pets. Her family feels she needs and intervention." Cynthia placed this third (out of 62!) 

     My next entry was in Barn Love. This was the first photo I took for the MIB show and I really like how it turned out. It didn't place at all but I still think it was worth the effort. 
      My next class was LOL and I entered Bootlegger and his whip stealing in it. I got an entrants choice award and 2nd place from the judge! (a small class of 39 entries). 
      For Colorific I recycled my Stock Market entry. Since it was mostly pink I felt it qualified. Cynthia must have agreed, she gave it 2nd (78 in that class). 
     I had really high hopes for my Mares in Black entry. This was one where I had a vision of what I wanted, it was complex, and it all came through in the photo (for the most part). I also think it would be a pretty epic real-life event when we can have those again. There were 64 in this class and my entry got an entrants choice and 3rd place. 
     My last entry was in Spooky Kooky. I also put this entry in the performance specialist division under All Dressed Up. It did not place in performance but in Spooky Kooky is got 5th place out of 39 entries. 

      I had a ton of fun with the Mares in Black Spooktacular photo show. It was great trying to come up with clever entries. I didn't manage to enter all of the classes, but I had fun coming up with things to show. Saturday is a live results Zoom party and I am really looking forward to that!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Mares in Black Performance-Consistency

     For the Mares in Black Spooktacular Photo show consistency track in performance, you needed to use the same horse in as many classes as you could. In that way that division would be judged similarly to a regular performance division. The first class was Home on the Range and I decided to me that meant endurance riding. I absolutely LOVED this photo of Mocha Latte in her endurance set, and I love how my phone camera blurs the background nicely in portrait mode. I had to take this shot over and over to make sure that the horse had ears, the rider had a head, and none of the hugely out of scale leaves showed too clearly. I really just love everything about it. And it got 1st place which was not a bad way to start the division. 
     I had no clever ideas for Fly High, so I went with an over fences entry. I did also have a photo with a costumed rider (my jester doll) but none of the photos came out particularly well, so I went with super traditional (boring), but it did get 4th place. 
     I either couldn't think of anything for Mocha Latte to do for What Could POSSIBLY Go Wrong? Or I just didn't have time to set something up (or both). But I didn't have an entry for that class. For All Dressed Up I decided that needed to be a parade entry. I didn't have time to work out any of the off-the-wall creative entries I had been tossing around in my head. And my parade entry managed 1st!
        For Just Dance I figured that dressage would work, being that it is horse ballet. This entry got 3rd. 
      For Strappy I was thinking I might need to skip it. Then I remembered my vaulting set. That seems to qualify for strappy. It got 2nd place. 
     I also did not have an amazingly clever idea for Action Park. I originally had some idea of doing a sort of horse amusement park but I had zero idea how to even begin setting that up. So I went with a speed game. And there is candy involved. Sounds good to me. 3rd also sounds pretty good. 
     I was again lacking in clever ideas for Stock Market, so I went with a stock work entry. Which was good for 3rd place. 
     For Sliding Scale I actually had, what I thought, was a decent idea. I would have liked it more if all of the horses were painted, but they are not. Maybe in a few years, lol. Another 3rd.
      I didn't have an entry for Drama Llama so that was it for me. Mocha Latte didn't have enough points to get champ or reserve. But the show was a lot of fun and I am glad I got out to get some new performance photos. Soon enough it will be way too cold to do that. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

MIB Spooktacular- Performance Specialist.

      Last week I judged the halter classes for the Mares in Black Spooktacular Photo show. Some of the classes were enormous so I got started as soon as they would reasonably let me. I also discovered some fun tricks to help judge a photo show on Facebook. I tried several devices, but my iPad allowed me to scroll through the albums without getting bumped out and having to start over. Then I just saved any photo I wanted to look at again and I narrowed things down until I got to 7. Then the super hard part was putting them in order. It was hard, but it could have been harder. And I am glad I found a way to streamline it. 
      This past weekend results for the rest of the MIB photo show started to roll in. The thing I love the most about shows that are on Facebook is that when your photo places, you get a notification. There were 2 different performance tracks in this show. One was consistency and one was specialist. Specialist had to have a different horse in each photo. This was my entry for What could POSSIBLY Go Wrong? I figured with 2 kids, bareback, a halter, standing on a bucket, dogs running around and an evil plastic bag, something had to. Maybe a more flighty looking horse than Enchanted Eve might have sold this one better. Still, 5th is still a placing. 
     For Strappy I entered Bootlegger stealing all the whips (strappy things). It made me laugh, and that is what counts. That one also got 5th place. 

     For Drama Llama I had a great entry that sounded so fun in my head. I took a ridiculous long time to make a fancy hat for Caramel Latte, draped her in a feather boa and jewels and set up a "Neighs of our lives" audition. I am still really amused by this photo. 

     I also set up this fairly quick photo of Time Lord and a horse-eating plastic bag. This one got 4th place. 
       While sometimes a very minimal entry will do really well, sometimes you have to throw all the things on the table. My Stock Market entry was literally an outdoor market. There was also a stock horse in it. This was also the entry when I realized just how many pink accessories I have collected. And how many 3D printed items I have. This isn't even all of it. I really loved this entry and was super pleased to see it get 1st place!

       I was definitely having a lot of fun watching the results come in for the show. It helped make my weekend pretty great. I spent a ton of time on Saturday sorting and cleaning everything in my house. It took a long time but I got a lot of things that were cluttered much more organized. I also ordered a couple more things for prizes for the Field of Dolls Online show. And I am not feeling at all guilty about it. My friend, Susan Hargrove, made an INCREDIBLY generous donation to the show. I managed to not only get out of show-debt but I could also afford to order a few more pouches from both Larry and Lynn. I am getting really excited for the show! Entries and photo uploading are open until November 20th. (Partial) live results will be on December 5th with full results emailed to all entrants after that. I am still open to any and all donations!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Wicked Cool

      I have been very excited about all the 3D printed items Michelle is making at Rockin W Ranch-Hobbies (on Facebook). I asked her recently if she could make me some folding tables. I have a couple of the wrestler folding tables, but those are meant to "break" so they have the split in the middle. Michelle worked out the tables in 1:9 scale and some more in micro scale. I had to buy myself a couple, they are SO nicely made, and Michelle sent me the micro ones. I think they will be show prizes for the Field of Dolls Online show. 
     The legs fold up nicely, and the tables are very stable when they are open. I love them! The micro ones are a bit delicate, but also really nicely made. 
     I managed to finish up another Western Pleasure doll the other day as well. I had to order hats so I could paint one to match the chaps. Then right after I finished this doll I found my missing hats, lol. This is why you should always put things where they go. 
     Prep for my next live sale, which will be held on Black Friday, and prep for my online show are both going well. I think soon I might work on some cross country kits, though I have not really decided yet. I have a bunch of chaps that need to get finished, so I might get those taken care of first. So much to do! And not really all that long to get it done. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Fancy Sleigh Dolls

      Sometimes I make typical model horse dolls. Western pleasure, Hunt seat, casual dolls of several kinds. But sometimes I get asked to make more unusual dolls. These are a couple of them. Jennifer sent me a ton of reference for this pair of sleigh dolls from the Netherlands. I tried to get in all of the little details, or at least as close as I could manage. 
     Strangely, I discovered that it was the lady's top shawl that was the hardest thing to make! But I managed it, and while it is not an exact duplicate, I think she at least looks warm. The "wooden" shoes the man is wearing are not even sort of made of wood. But careful foot shaping, some really flexible leather, paint and clear nail polish and I think I faked it pretty well. 
     This pair was definitely different from most of the dolls I typically make. I can't wait to see their whole setup all put together!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Larry is Awesome

        I got a couple of beautiful PTDs in the mail the other day. That stands for Pony Transportation Device. They are absolutely stunning and were made by my friend, Larry Nichols of Nicholane Farm. Larry does amazing work and I have been lucky enough to win several PTDs that he has donated to shows over the years. 

      I also was super excited to see that the doll on his business card is one that I made! How fun is that? These PTDs will be prizes at the Field of Dolls Online show. Entry is open now and will continue through November 20th. Thank you Larry for the beautiful donation!
      Kayla had a good mail day as well. Her hoodie that I ordered showed up and she decided to try it on and see how she liked it. Do you know how easy it is to put on a hoodie if you can take off your hands and your head? Pretty easy.
      Kayla has some new sunglasses as well. I actually have a pair a lot like this, only mine are larger and have crystals on them. Kayla got hers from another Barbie set. 
       I think she is looking pretty ready for Fall now. I was so into taking cool pictures of my doll that I did what all of us do when photographing our small things, I sat right down in the grass to get a better shot. And the grass is a bit long and a bit damp. Well, the photo is cool so I guess it was worth it. 
      I am currently judging the Mares in Black Spooktacular Photo show halter classes. It is the most unusual class list I have ever judged. But it is definitely not boring. I was really concerned at the size of some of the classes (250 in the first one!) but I figured out some tricks that make it easier. And soon I will be done and soon enough it will be the results live stream/party! I'm so excited!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Blind Bag Stablemates

       I really love blind bag stablemates. The fun of hunting for them, seeing if you get a chase piece, and really just seeing what you get, is a lot of fun for me. I have bought A LOT of blind bag stablemates since Breyer came out with them. Especially for someone that doesn't collect OF models. Though Breyer hooked me with their 70th anniversary shrinky stablemates. I didn't buy them when I first came out because I was only interested in a few of them. So I found a seller who had them for very reasonable prices and I bought just the few I wanted. And tried to put them out of my mind. But last week I was watching a kid take a test (not the SAT day, the next day) and I decided to check out Breyer's website. They had the cases of the 70th anniversary blind bag stablemates in stock. And I bought one. 
     My original plan was to just use them as prizes for the Field of Dolls online show and leave them all unopened. But then when I got my shipping notification I decided I NEEDED to see what I got. I also decided I really wanted the Chase IP. I am not into decorators but I really like her for some reason. Maybe it's that she was one of my favorite horses when I was a kid. Who knows. So then I sort of had the idea that I would feel up the bags and try to figure out which ones were the IPs and then just open those. That plan lasted until I pulled into my driveway! I said I had to do all the boring grown up stuff before I could open the box. So I gathered laundry, got the mail, plugged in my Chromebook and a few other things. Then I opened the case. Starting on the front left this was what I got, and the order they were in the box. 
      This is the right hand row, starting from the front. The chase IP was in the front of the box on the right side. I know that some people are into knowing that sort of thing. It may be common knowledge at this point, I don't know. But I got the pony I wanted. And I decided I needed to keep one of the little Fell ponies as well. Because it's adorable! I really am NOT an OF collector!

     After I pulled out the 2 I wanted to keep for myself I pulled out one of each kind to put aside. My plan is to prep them and offer them for sale around NaMoPaiMo time. I know that not everyone can prep and a bunch more people would potentially join in if they could get prepped horses. So that is my plan. It may change. 
     Even though they are no longer surprises, these will likely end up as prizes for the Field of Dolls Online show. There is still plenty of time to enter and upload photos. But don't wait until the last minute! 
     Even though I have every one of the shrinky Breyers that I want I also sort of want to buy more of them. I have no idea why. I am not looking for anything in particular. And a couple of the ones I kept I would actually prefer in a different color. Maybe I should prep the molds I like and get them painted. That might be a plan. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


      The fall colors are getting pretty intense. I have been noticing so many amazing trees, but I am usually driving and can't take photos. But the other day I was conveniently at a stoplight right around the corner from my house. There are some really fantastically colored trees on the corner. 

      I needed to get the mail so I came in at the other end of the park. I stopped at the end of the road and got this picture of a neighbor's yard. Now I need to see about getting a valley photo. We are in a valley after all. And there are places that you can see pretty far on clear days. It might be time to go and visit the scenic area off the side of the highway. Seriously, it is a parking lot right on the side of the highway, on the side of a mountain, where you can get a really nice view. 
       I do still make dolls, though I know sometimes it is hard to tell. I have been working on a batch of dolls for my next live sale and I managed to finish up all of these. And then I just never got around to taking a photo of them. I have one more that is nearly complete but I needed to order some more hats. So she will be done soon. I also have the clothes cut and sewn for one more western pleasure doll and I think I have a body prepped. I have a few order dolls that I need to make as well. But I am a little bit tired and may need a small break. I had a busy beginning of the week and no time for dolling. When that happens my motivation sometimes disappears for the week. It can definitely be a struggle. 
     Our weather has been very flip floppy, which is typical for New England at any time of year. It was 37 when I got up on Monday and then 52 when I got up on Tuesday. That is not the wildest swing, but it is not easing in to anything. The rest of the 10 day forecast is a bit iffy. Hopefully I can stay warm and get some more dolls finished. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020


              My goal for the Field of Dolls Online show was to have a ton of cool prizes. The issue I had when I ordered the rosettes was counting. Which was actually an issue I had during the first live show that I held. For the live show I thought I had enough judge's sheets, but I had forgotten to multiply the needed number by 2 (breed and workmanship/collectability). So I had to run out to Staples and make some photo copies. For my online show I wanted mini rosettes for the specialty classes. But when I ordered them I had forgotten that I was having those classes judged separately by all 3 judges. Oops. Not enough rosettes meant placing another order. And placing another order meant I contacted Cassie, the shop owner of The Winner's Circle, and asked about a custom order. She did a mock-up of the design I asked for and I ended up with some beautiful overall shower rosettes. These will go with the certificates for the dolls that the overall shower will win. The popular vote was for a choice in doll, so that is what I went with. At this point it looks like I am 100% donating the dolls, I need to stop buying prizes. 

        But before I stopped buying I got enough mini rosettes for all of the specialty classes. I love these mini rosettes. 
      And before I stopped buying prizes I cleared out another Walmart of their blind bag unicorns. I have managed not to open any of these and plan to leave them as a surprise for the winners. It is entirely possible someone will get one of the rarer pieces as a prize. 
      I am hoping that we will have lots of entrants for the show. There is still plenty of time, and there are plenty of prizes to go around! I am still accepting any and all donations. I am hoping that this show will be completely amazing!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Sunday Fun

        Sunday was super cold. One of those days where it takes half the day to warm up because your bones are cold. I hate days like that. But it was the perfect day to cook a turkey and have the oven on for a large chunk of the day. And then there was turkey. 

        I also managed to do some sewing. Lynn Isenbarger sent me this extra flamingo fabric with the awesome flamingo haversack she sent me a bit ago. I finally got around to making my flamingo mask. And it is awesome! Thank you again for the fabric Lynn!

      I also have been meaning to make a couple more masks for my friend Kate. She told me the ones I made are the only ones her son wears. Well then, I had to go back to my original design (as close as I could get) and make him some more masks. I made Travis a new one as well. I have had the Mandalorian mask prepped for him for at least a month, maybe longer. I fought with the sewing machine a little bit too. I got to listen to Mares in Black #54. I'm telling you, early access to the show is an excellent reason to be a patron. That, Zoom parties, and supporting some amazing people that bring a really unique thing to our hobby. I'm into that. 
      Other than being cold and fighting with the sewing machine I also worked on some more prizes for the Field of Dolls Online Show. I said I would TRY not to buy anything else (didn't work, I bought some more stuff) but I didn't say I wouldn't make anything. I bought the file for the 1:6 scale money and I rescaled it to be 1:9 scale. I can't sell it, but it can be prizes! Same with the really cool miniature packages. I can use them as prizes but not sales pieces. I feel the hobby has been seriously lacking in properly scaled money for a long time. And the tiny packages are just ridiculously cute! I will likely get some more packages finished before the show. 
     Sunday was a pretty good day. I made a mask for myself, one for Travis, a couple for my friend's son, fixed a couple I made for Angelique. I made some prizes, watched some Drag Race. It was a good day. And there was turkey. Now I am hoping this will be a good week. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Winged Hussar

      There are times where someone asks me to make them a doll that is so far outside of the usual that I have to think about how I would construct it before I can even start to think about how much time it would take, and therefor, how much it will cost. Lucky for me I have been a doll maker for a long time so I have a fairly good idea of what I can and can't do and a reasonably good idea of how long certain things take. Sometimes though I am still wrong. 

     That was the case with this Winged Hussar. I knew there were going to be many layers involved in this doll. Lucky for me, Laura was incredibly easy to work with and provided an enormous amount of reference material, including a page that shows the breakdown of the different pieces in the outfit. It was fantastic!

      From the beginning Laura asked if she could have progress photos. Usually I say no to this since dolls go through so many ugly stages that it is often hard to "see" what they will look like until the end. They look basically like garbage for a really long time. But I sent Laura photos of the armor when it was just a bunch of pieces of craft foam with the part name written on the back of them. She told me it was a great start and she couldn't wait to see more! I figured if Laura had the vision to see that a pile of craft foam could turn into armor, she might very well have the eye to see that the garbage would turn out well in the end. 
      I did not have huge blocks of time to work on this doll. School, life stuff, and being exhausted caused his construction to get broken up into many several hour sessions over many weeks. I never take that long to make a doll. At every update Laura told me to take my time. And for some reason, it eased the screaming in my brain that tells me I am slacking off when I don't finish dolls quickly enough. 
     This guy was not an easy doll to make by any means. I think I had easily 15 or so hours into him before last Monday, when I had the day off from school. I worked all day on him. I think I did a few bits and pieces of other things, but mostly it was this guy. And then I ran out of feathers. So I was up to something like 24 hours of work on this doll and still had a bit to go. And I still had a bit of an issue to figure out. 
     Tuesday I went to Joann's and got more feathers but I didn't have time to cut them down until Wednesday. Oh, a few people have asked me where I get my tiny feathers. I make them. If you cut the tips off full sized feathers and trim them to shape, you get some fairly reasonable miniature feathers. I finished up his wings and adjusted the magnets that hold them onto his back. They are not a secure or perfect fit. But they are removable for ease of shipping and storage. 
     And that brings me to the shipping issue. The Hussar was done on Wednesday but I had no way to ship him safely. So I had to think on the best way to do it. I was thinking a pencil box would do the trick. But weirdly, when I went to Walmart on Saturday, there were no pencil boxes! Have those really become a beginning of the school year only item? Anyway, I found this deep storage box in the craft section. I didn't measure but it looked good to me. I figure I could put the doll in the bottom and something to support the wings and everything would be fine. But the box was not actually long enough for the doll. It was however perfect for him to sit in the bottom. I then wedged in a piece of stiff foam that came in some package. One of those things I saved with no idea what I might ever use it for. 
     This weird configuration is actually so secure that even the USPS will have a hard time messing it up. The doll is seated in there perfect so he is braced in a couple of spots and should stay still. The foam is wedged in so tightly that it also acts like the bar on a rollercoaster. The wings are supported so there is no stress on any of the feathers and they can't flop around. I even flipped this upside down and shook it. Nothing moved except the business card I put in. I am impressed with the configuration and I feel it should help him make the journey home safely. 
     This Winged Hussar was definitely one of the more complex dolls I have made. He took a lot of thinking about and a lot of painting sessions to get his armor just right. But he sure is cool. I wish his wings were a bit more secure when they are on him, but I could not figure a way to do that that still allowed them to be removed and didn't look horrible. Maybe I need slightly larger magnets. But I think he came out nicely and he should make the trip well. 
      Thank you Laura for your super interesting order and your patience while I tried to figure out how to send him home to you. Happy Showing!