Thursday, September 16, 2021

Prototypes and Progress

      I almost didn't write this post. Not because it is a touchy subject or anything, but because I thought I had already written it! I'm glad I went to check last night, or there would be no post today. And who knows when I would have time to write it. Anyway, as the title implies there is more about prototypes. The next new thing is the tiny "catnip" mouse toy. It is more like rat sized, but teeny things are even harder to make than just regular small things. So we have some BIG catnip toys. 
      And I made a whole bunch of them! They were kind of fun to make and I think they turned out super cute. I still need to make some feather toys for the cats, but I am making progress. 
     Here's another view of the little mouse. All of the ears were hand cut circles (it's so hard to cut things that small) and are not really identical. But handmade items can have character. And kitties can chew things and make them less than perfect. Cats do that sometimes, don't they? I have never actually had a cat so I don't know what they do with their toys. Other than hide them under the couch. 
     I also finished up a bunch more cat beds. My plan is to have 8 cat sets at the next sale. I have the 8 mice finished, the 8 beds, and I have 8 cat dishes and litter boxes ordered. I need to make feather toys, cat food bags (with food) and I think that is it for them. At least for now. There are, again, a lot of pieces to the sets. I am vaguely considering selling the cat and dog beds singly, a few of them, but I am not even sure how to price anything individually. I know I am likely not charging enough for the sets to compensate for my time as it is. So who knows. I'll keep thinking on it. 
    School was not bad yesterday. I decided I am going to have a positive attitude. The only thing I have control over is myself. Not what students I work with, my schedule, or any attitudes outside of my own. So lets see how this goes. Happy Friday everyone!
 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Prototypes

      Everyone knows I have been working on mentally designing new things recently. I try to have one or two new items for every live sale. People have been asking for cat sets and it is a good idea to make what people want. So I have been working on the design for the cat bed. But only in my head. At least until Tuesday. 
      I have worked on the mental design for the cat bed over and over for maybe a week. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do, as well as a pretty good idea of how it would all need to go together. It took me a bit to work up the pattern pieces but I already had such a thorough plan it wasn't overly long. I did tweak the pieces a bit after I started work on the first cat bed, but it came together really well. 
     And in not too much time I had a finish cat bed! I know kitties love cuddle beds, and I wanted one that fits my cool laying down cat, and this is the result. I do really like the design. This bed would also work for small dogs, though this is officially my cat bed design. 
      No experiment is complete until you can repeat your results, so I made a second cat bed, and I timed it. So now I have a pretty good idea of how long they take me, I have a workable pattern, and I am quite pleased with the results. Onto the next NEW item!

      I can't remember exactly when, it was sometime after the August live sale, I was thinking about miniatures and what I could make and it finally popped into my head that I could make some doll sized lunch bags. I had the idea that it would be super fun to make not only a cute lunch bag that opens (of course!) but to have cool little lunch items inside. I struggled over this design. There are TONS of different designs for lunch bags but I needed something that would work in miniature, that didn't take a ridiculously long time to make. And I wanted it to be easy to use and not have little fiddly bits that would make people crazy. I finally came up with this idea, which is similar in some ways to Barbie purses I used to make, though has stiffened sides on all the sides. I think the design works pretty well, is cute, and there is plenty of room inside for tiny lunch. 
       All closed up the lunch bag is very realistic looking, though again, there are SO many designs for lunch bags, and I think this will be fun for the dolls to have. I have not yet made a second one to figure out how long they take, and to make sure that I can repeat the design, but I have one. I love how it came out and I am very excited to make some more. I also have food plans in my head. It might be time to get out the polymer clay again soon. 

        I didn't work a super long day on my new designs, but I got two new items worked up, with easy to use patterns, and one extra cat bed. It feels like good progress. Now I need to work out the rest of the things in the cat sets and get to work on more beds and more things for cats. And more lunch bags and tiny lunch... and then all the other things. 
      I have 11 weeks until my next live sale and have only just barely started making things for it. I do have the dog vests sets finished that I made last week (was it last week?) and I will soon have at least parts of cat sets and lunch sets. After that I might move into the matchy-matchy sets. So I can do the full sets of saddle bags (with the pommel bags) and a matching saddle pad, backpack and... I have blanked on anything else that should have gone into a matching set. So here is a question, would people want the cute printed fabric on saddlebags? Or should I just stick to pretty much solid colors for those. I have a feeling I know the answer, but I want to ask anyway. Oh, and hoodies are supposed to go with those matchy-matchy sets. So yeah, maybe after cat sets and lunch sets I will make matchy-matchy sets. And then... who knows. Eventually I will likely make some dolls too. 
 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

It’s A Go!

     The other day I went into Travis's room to gather up his laundry and I walked right into a bear! He was just standing in the middle of the floor. So I asked Travis if the bear was safe or unsafe. He called out, unsafe! I asked him if the bear would leave me alone, and he said no (he was not in his room by the way). So then I asked him if I could get past the bear and he again told me unsafe. So I risked my life to gather up the laundry. And the unsafe bear left me alone. And the whole thing made me laugh because it was a very silly interaction. In case anyone is interested to know, I think that bear is about 6 inches long.
     Other than narrowly escaping tiny bear attacks I also picked up a bunch of supplies at Joann's. Cat sets are a go! I heard back on the 3D printed items I want to get, and while they are not ready yet I have already seen prototypes (amazing!) so I need to get to work on the other items. As I am going to sleep each night I have been working on designs for the cat beds. I want to make them differently than the dog beds after all. I also think I want to make my dog beds a bit thinner. I like the big pillow style, but I think maybe thinner would be good. 
      Design work while I am going to sleep is something I have done for years. I think I have a good plan down for how to do the cat beds, I gathered materials, and now I just need to have time to sit down and try things out. Making a prototype is not usually a simple task. But I need to get into it. I have cat items to design and then I have another miniature I want to make. But more on that soon. 


 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Fancy Hats

     I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love making fancy hats. That is, in general, why I enjoy making driving dolls. There are, technically, a wide variety of ways to make driving dolls but my basic driving doll has a long dress, a short jacket and some sort of fancy hat. I’ve made a good amount of driving dolls at this point, but every single hat is unique.
     I really love how this particular hat came out. It was not overly complex to make but it looks really fancy. First I painted a basic straw hat black, then I wrapped it with narrow silver ribbon, and to complete it I tucked the top of a very fluffy feather into the ribbon and wrapped it around the hat. 
      Yesterday was an interesting day at school. I have 2 new classes and get to work with a friend of mine (for both classes) who I have never worked with before. She is an excellent teacher. She is very inclusive, introduced me to everyone, had no issues with me jumping right in to help (weirdly, some teachers do) and the classes were small group and fairly laid back. It was nice. I ended up covering an art class 6th period, which gave me some time to read. It was definitely not a terrible Monday. And the new schedule, while lacking in lifeskills classes, is not bad. I only have one inclusion class, my biggest, and there are only 15 kids in it. I think the next largest class is 13. But Ludlow usually doesn't have super big classes. Anyway, I knew all but one of the kids in the 1st and 5th period classes, which makes jumping into the deep end less scary. It is easier to work with people if I know their names. Tonight is Open House and paras are allowed to go, but not required. I am pretty sure I am staying home. The "classes" are roughly 9 minutes, which means I would spend the entire time just running around the school. So sort of like my work day, just in a shorter time frame!


 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Tack Room Details

       I love miniatures and miniature details. They makes me really happy. Saturday I decided I needed to clean my tack room, again, and decided it was time to hang up my mini rosettes. I love mini rosettes. I love shows that offer them and think they are a really excellent prize. One of the ways I have previously displayed my full sized rosettes was hanging fishing line across the room. I decided to do the same thing, in miniature, for my tiny rosettes. To make things easier I used my cross tie rings that I got from Enterprise Props. I don't have a barn so they have just been hanging out on the floor of my tack room. I stuck them to the wall with glue dots. 
     I think I currently have one more tiny rosette that is coming at some point, and the other ones I have are neck sashes that the horses that won them wear. I really love the detail of the rosettes hanging in the tack room. 
    I actually started adding little details to my tiny tack room years ago. I added the little clock before I hung up the saddle racks. I am glad I still had room to hang them. I have a lot of tack (not nearly as much as some people) and going up was the only way I could make things fit. 
     I have this cool horse painting on the wall, which I really love. I sometimes want to look for more horse art to put on the walls, not that I have much space for it, but it would be nice. 
     And to wrap up the tour here is a view of the entire tack room. I swear, I cleaned it. I really need to put some of these things in another place. Or make a larger tack room. Not that I have space for that. I do want to point out that I have an empty saddle rack. Which obviously means I need another saddle. 

 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Resin Storage Experiment

      A year or 3 ago I started an experiment. Clearly it was not super well planned out as I can't actually remember when I started it. But it has definitely been a while. I would say most likely closer to 3 years than 1. But I can't say for sure. But since Ethan and I have plans (well, currently desires) to move eventually, I need to figure out how to store artists resins in a way that won't damage them. Not necessarily for years, but potentially for several months in all sorts of weather conditions. That is a scary prospect with models that are not as tough as an OF. 
  
  I had a model that already had paint damage from improper storage. The concept was good, but the reality was not. The satin lined pouches were very safe for storage to and from shows, maybe even wrapped for a couple of days, but not in extreme temperature shifts. We don't have air conditioning, and live in New England, so it gets hot and humid here. But also very cold. Not that it gets super cold inside, but the closet, where the resin was stored, was definitely not as warm as the rest of the house. 
     It is just the side of the horse that has the damage in the finish, and I am pretty sure there is a way to fix this, but I wanted to use him for an experiment before I got into that project. He still had plenty of undamaged paint/finish on him. So I wrapped him up in parchment paper, packed him in a couple of padded pouches, and put him away. And then forgot all about him. 
      Yesterday I was looking for something in the closet and rediscovered him. I remembered the experiment and pulled him out. Hazard Pay still has unblemished paintwork on his face, and everywhere else he didn't have previous damage. I would call that a successful experiment. But no experiment is complete if you can't repeat your findings. 
     Clearly, further testing was needed. But I would try a horse that didn't have a mess of finish on a large portion of her. Enchanted Eve has flawless finish, though she does have a bit of paint damage from rubbing on the shelf. She currently could be easily touched up, but IS damaged, so seemed a good piece to experiment on next. Plus all my horses are performance horses. They do not need to be flawless. Not that it wouldn't be nice. 
     While wrapping Enchanted Eve (and a couple of other resin friends) in the parchment paper I quickly discovered that nothing sticks to parchment paper. I knew it was non-stick, which is why I used it for wrapping in the first place, but not even duct tape would not stick to it. 
     The solution to that was to just use more paper to wrap the horses (so they were fully covered) and then carefully put them into the padded pouches. The pouch will hold the paper on the horse, which keeps the lining away from the paint, and the padding adds extra protection.  
       The resins are tucked (hopefully) safely in their pouches and are in the tote that I usually use to transport horses to live shows. I am hoping they will be safe. I think this will work, it did before. 

       Maybe there are tried and true ways for long term storage of artist resins, but I have not heard of them. I did personally have success with wrapping them in parchment paper and then padding them and packing them away. Through all sorts of temperatures Hazard Pay hasn't changed from how he was when I first packed him up. Maybe I will check on my horses in January and see how they are doing. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

What a Day

     Work has been very frustrating at times lately. Getting adjusted to getting up early again is hard. The students sometimes have bad attitudes because they are trying to adjust to a new school, new setting, new schedule, etc. I have had classes added, switched and got 2 schedule changes just this week. One was supposed to be temporary. Then it went away with a permanent switch that I am really upset about. 
      I was so happy to be in lifeskills. The students are amazing and even though it was only one period of the day it was definitely always a bright spot. For a week. Until they took me out of there. Now I have to have 2 new classes, 3 weeks into the school year. We have already moved past all of the getting-to-know you things of the first days. Now I get to be tense and weird because I don't know the kids' names, and may never. I have to jump into another new situation which is not what I want. It stresses me out and really doesn't put me in a good place to be able to help. And I loved lifeskills. It was what I have been asking for. So it feels like being punished for doing a good job. 
       I became a para because it is something I thought I could do. After many years of raising my kids and learning about special needs I figured I was likely at least qualified in experience, even if I don't have degrees in anything. To me a para is someone that helps a kid learn. They are the people that have helped Travis in school the entire time. They explain when there is confusion, sometimes over and over, and break down big tasks to make it easier. Last year that was almost impossible because of remote learning. For 2 years before that I was a scribe. This year I thought I could finally get back to helping kids learn. And now I don't know if that will happen. 
     I was told this was happening because I can handle it. Because the kids need cheerleaders and consistency (then please stop switching my schedule!) but it still feels like a punishment. I am really upset over the whole thing. I have no idea what Monday will bring. I wish it was a full-time permanent switch to lifeskills. But I know I won't get that. 
     Writing this whole post made me sad. Really, all of yesterday I was sad. But the great photos of Travis make me happy. He is why I became a para. He is why I work hard every day to be a GOOD para. I don't want to be just a warm body or a random adult in the room. I want to actually help kids. Specifically I want to help high needs kids (I am good at it!) but likely I just get to help everyone except high needs kids. So now I am back to being "just" a sip/focus/LLD/inclusion para. And I am really mad about it. 
     Alex gets all the photo credit for the amazing Travis pictures. She took these the first week of school when she came over for pizza. That was a really excellent day. Yesterday was not.
 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Slight Redesign

      The dog vests/harnesses were a new design that I offered at my last live sale. I try to have one or two new items for each one. When interest wanes on an item I either stop making them or make them only rarely. Like the horse boots. Those are much less likely to sell than they used to be. So I haven't been making them. Maybe people have all the horse boots they need. Maybe they are finding boots they like more (likely, mine are OK, but not super great). But for now I am not making horse boots. I wasn't going to make any more dog vests after the first batch, but they were a really popular item. I don't know if it was because they were new and different or because they were pretty cheap. But since people liked them so much I decided to make some for the next live sale (which will be Black Friday). I will have to raise the prices a tiny bit because they have a lot of steps and I wasn't coming even close to compensating myself for the time. But none of the prices on my things are crazy. 
      I did a bit of a redesign on them this time around. I was informed that even though vests are advertised with search and rescue printed on the pouches, search and rescue dogs don't wear pouches because they might get caught on things. So I made completely blank pouches. They are still removable and I have "service dog" and "search and rescue" on removable labels. That gives these sets a variety of ways they can be used. I have 6 this time, 2 colors are repeats from the first sale but the rest are new. 
     I guess this means I am officially in the countdown to my next live sale. I have 6 items ready for it and 11 weeks to get ready. Wow, when you look at it that way I have almost no time at all! So I guess I better get into what I want to make next. I have a miniature I need to do some design work for, as well as figure out exactly how I want it to be. I am still working on the cat sets plan, but I don't know if that will be a workable idea this time around. We'll see. For now I can just get started on all the other things I need to get finished for the sale. 


 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

New Herd Member,

      I really love Barnaby. He was the horse I painted for the 2021 NaMoPaiMo. I bought a Bitty Barnaby during Breyerfest. And recently I found another one for sale that I fell in love with. I resisted for a day or two but then needed to inquire whether or not he was still available. He was, we worked out the details, and when he arrived it was in the most padded packaging I have ever seen! I was immediately inspired to go post about it on the transaction board. Something I am abysmally horrible at remembering to do. 
     My new Barnaby, who was painted by Stephanie Blaylock, now stands on my mini shelf in between my NaMoPaiMo Barnaby and the mini Croi I bought from Stephanie Blaylock during Breyerfest. It seemed like the perfect spot for him. Both the Barnabys look like they are wondering what Croi is making such a fuss about!
     I think I have bought more new horses this year than in the past several years combined. Most of them have been mini or micro. Which is sort of funny to me since I prefer performance horses and don't show mini performance. I have definitely added some really excellent tiny horses to my herd this year!


 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Back Into It

      Last week was the first week of school and it went pretty well. I had just the one schedule change, but it was a good one, so that worked out nicely. Having a 3 day weekend after the first week of school was nice too. Our friend George came over on Saturday, and that was great. We haven't seen him for a long time. We had a cookout and a nice visit and really nice weather. Sunday was raining (again) so ended up being sort of a lazy day. I did an artist spotlight with Heather and Jackie for Mares in Black, which was a ton of fun. Of course I am now thinking of all the ways I could have answered things better, or stayed more on topic. I have way too much fun talking to those two!
     Monday Travis and I had the day off from school and Elecktra also had the day off, so we went out to do the laundry together. We did some errands in between and after and then when we got home I got back into some doll work for the 1st time in a bit over a week. And Elecktra made chili. 
     I could have very easily kept not working on dolls for a while. I was enjoying doing less. And the first week of school was a bit rough and I needed naps when I got home. Rough only because of adjusting to the earlier getting up time. It's still summer so I am not getting up at dark o'clock just yet, but soon enough I will be. Anyway, a day off of school seemed like a good time to get back into work on doll things. Though I started by working on dog things. I got started on these 6 dog vests. I wasn't sure I was ever going to make any of them again but people liked them so much that I thought I would make some more. The colors are not showing super well in this photo though. The top one is sky blue and the one above the teal one at the bottom is pale pink. I have to remember where I put my quick clip buckles (just found them!) and I can get those finished, add the handles, make leashes, finish the pouches, and do the tags. I am getting there. I could probably have gotten more done on them, but we were doing errands, laundry, and hanging out a bit. I have time. 
     My current goals for this week are light ones. I want to finish up the dog vests sets, I have a driving doll to make, and I have not really thought any further than that. I had an idea for another miniature I want to offer at the next live sale so I might start trying to work up prototypes of that. I have some ideas but my ideas need a bit more work. Hopefully I can share soon!
 

Monday, September 6, 2021

I Talk About This A Lot

     Over the years I have done many posts on why I price dolls the way I do, why I don't do more tutorials, why I don't give away or sell my patterns, the amount of work that goes into prepping a doll body before its dressed, and many related topics. Lately I have seen a lot of hobbyists complaining that certain reference sites are down or now will need to be paid for if you wish to use them. It is fantastic when we can get things for free. But many people seem to have forgotten that for everything that is available for free, someone has spent their time and money creating or developing it. These things don't just happen. And after a time people really need to be paid for their work. This is not selfish, it is the nature of living in the world we live in. I don't know a single person who is so wealthy that they can just make and do things for free. We all have bills. The bill collectors do not care if we spent hours and days giving away our work and now don't have any money. The bill collectors will unfeelingly turn off our power. They could not care less why we didn't pay our bill. 

     I am still planning to continue my blog. I am still planning on posting every single day. Sometimes, like today, it might be a post explaining (again) why I don't share more than I do. If you go back over the years and read the nearly 1100 posts, you will see that I actually share a lot. Some of the older posts are missing pictures now, I have no idea why that happened, but the words are all still there. And many, many posts are still very complete. I have shared a lot of progress photos, shared a lot of how I do things, or why I do things the way I do them. I have shared a lot of doll history (not just mine) because I happen to know it. My plan is to keep on sharing. But I can't, and won't do all the things for you. My blog is free for anyone and everyone to access, but it is not free to me to make. This particular post likely took an hour of research to find all of the posts that are linked below. This is why I set up my ko-fi page. Yes the blog is free, but it definitely takes time to post. And I thoroughly appreciate each and everyone of you that has bought me a coffee. 

    To wrap up I added a photo. Since as Sue (I think) put it, a post without photos feels like scolding. I don't want to scold, just want to share :). I also want to share again that the concept for the below entry was super epic in my head, and didn't translate nearly as well to a photo. Some day I will redo this entry. Not sure how just yet. 

My photo from the Pandemic Performance Panorama in the 2020 class.

A post about the attitude of people in the hobby when it comes to the value of time and what artists should be doing. https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2020/04/entitled.html 

A post about pattern making https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2021/07/pattern-making-is-hard.html

An actual step by step tutorial on how to make a thing https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2021/01/micro-pouch-tutorial.html

A post about trial and error, knowing what works for you and doesn't and being able to admit when you can't do a thing https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2020/08/things-i-am-good-at-and-things-that-im.html

A more detailed post about what goes into pattern making. The last paragraph really sums things up nicely https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2020/08/when-projects-go-badly.html

A post on how I prep the Yvonne type dolls for most things  https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2019/09/yvonnegraciequinn-customizinh.html

A very OLD post (with all the photos missing for some reason) about the work that goes into remaking a (Breyer) doll and why I price dolls the way I do (still relevant). https://fieldofdolls.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-method-behind-my-madness-aka-why-my.html


Sunday, September 5, 2021

1:24 Scale Poseable Doll

 I have been inviting people to write guest posts for the blog and Emily H. has taken me up on my offer! Today she is going to be talking about making a poseable 1:24 scale rider doll for her Schleich rider dolls. Thank you for writing this post Emily!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

So Much Fun

     At my last live sale I had a bunch of dog sets for sale. I have made dog sets before. Several people asked for cat sets. They said that not everyone is a dog person (but I am...) and I should make cat sets too. Which I am willing to do, I just hadn't done it. So we did some brainstorming while the live portion was happening and figured out some cool things that could go into cat sets. I have not gotten started on any of them yet. I am waiting to hear back from one of my favorite 3D printed item makers to see if I can get a couple of specific things. But in preparation for making cat sets I bought... a cat! This is a 1:9 scale 3D printed cat. She's lovely and I should get her painted so she is ready. I have no idea what color to make her. But she has toe beans, which is the detail that matters! She is also laying on the washing instructions for my new HALO masks. Which may very well be the most comfortable masks I have worn. And I have worn a lot of masks. 
     I have also been enjoying an ocassional refreshing summer beverage (vodka tonic with lime) in my Breyerfest wine glass. I have not once had wine in it. Yet. But that is coming. I prefer red wine and it makes me too warm for it to be reasonable to drink in the summer. But the weather has turned quite Fall-like lately. 
     I decided I really needed to clean out the back of my car. I have all the photo show prizes stored in there, the LuLaRoe clothing I have up for sale, a big box of books we were trying to sell at tag sales, my arena, and a few other things. But it had turned into a jumbled mess. While I was cleaning I found this little beach jar that one of my students made me as a gift years ago. It was her gift to me when she was graduating. She said she made it with her love. Sadly, the very next year they took my desk away (not a mean thing, just a thing) and I ended up with my backpack. The beach doesn't work in there, so it has been wrapped up in the back of my car. But Angelique is amazing and has made her classroom my classroom as well. So I brought the beach in for both of us to enjoy. 

     I also had a pretty spectacular mail day recently. I knew that my August micro was coming from Maggie but I didn't remember that it was my month for the subscriber exclusives! So I got 3 micros instead of 1 and I am really pleased. I like Psykhlone much more in person than in the photos and the jumpers are super cool in photos and in person. So it was definitely a nice mail day. 

     I still have a variety of things I am trying to sell. Several Breyers from this year, a good variety of micros, I need to get things photographed and listed. Or just listed in the case of some of the things. I am also sort of weirdly in a phase where I am again thinking of selling some of my horses. Like some of my resins and customs. I am not sure what to do. 

 

Friday, September 3, 2021

First Week of School

    We made it through the first week of school! I took photos of Travis every day for the first week. It started because Alex asked me to send her a first day of school picture. I thought this one was hilarious! I continued because Alex's first week at LHS was crazy and stressful. Travis photos make her happy. 
     School got off to a very weird start. We have not had everyone in the building, all at the same time, since March of 2020. There are a lot of people! Hallways get very crowded and there are many kids who have no idea where they are going. The freshman are new to the building, and many of the sophomores are as well. So I give a lot of directions. To new staff as well. 

      Thursday I got a call from the East Longmeadow superintendent that they were having a 2 hour delay because of the storm. It rained A LOT on Wednesday night and I guess the plan was to give the town a bit of time to clean up. Though I have friends that live in East Longmeadow who said they didn't see any storm damage. The original school day photo (which I sent to Alex) was taken in his messy room. Alex came over after work and she took this photo and a few others. I thought it was super fun! We hung out in the yard and made pizza for supper. Definitely a good day. 
     I have had only the one schedule change I mentioned. So far it is going well. I am starting to make some connections with the kids. It was super rough last year since remote was so stressful for so many people. At least now we are all back where my job makes sense. I can help them when they are having struggles and not just watch and wish there was something I could do. That has been good. 
     I am still not really adjusted to the sleep schedule again yet. I wake up tired, go to bed tired, and it just collects. I take naps after school and I have not worked on dolls or doll things all week. It hasn't even seemed weird. It has been really nice. There are times (like now) when I wish I could just stop making dolls, at least for a while. Or only make a couple when I really want to do that more than anything else. But I can't afford to do that. So I will enjoy my little break and then get back into it. Maybe I will even be refreshed. We'll find out. 
    The first week of school went reasonably well and even though having everyone back in the building is strange, it's not a bad strange. Other than the lack of pacing room in classes I do like everyone being there. Hopefully next week when we really get into the learning everyone will do their best and ask for help when they need it. I am glad to be getting back to what I do. I love to help people learn. I love to be an ear when the kids need it. I love being able to support the amazing teachers I work with and make their jobs just a little bit easier. This is why I am a para. 

 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Extreme Dolls

     Casual dolls are very popular right now. Hoodie dolls especially. But sometimes people are still looking for show dolls. And once in a while someone is looking for a somewhat extreme doll. This side saddle doll is not the most unusual or most extreme doll I have ever done, but she is pretty cool. And she is definitely not your typical side saddle doll. 
    This lady is ready for jumping! I don't actually have a side saddle at the moment so I just messed with her legs a lot, did a bit of redesign, and figured out how to get her so her legs could bend up further than normal, as well as out to the sides, without popping off. I did manage to accomplish it. She is likely a little bit more delicate than a factory doll (all rebuilt dolls are) but she is pretty tough. I almost forgot her bendy neck but then added that in when she was already partially dressed!
     So this side saddle lady can lean over for gates or games, she can tuck herself up to jump fences, and is basically just more movable than the average side saddle doll. And I really love how she came out. 
     Today is the last day of my first week back to school. I have had one schedule change, but I now get to go into lifeskills for one class of the day. Which is awesome! And now I can say that I am a lifeskills/sip/focus/inclusion para. Because I literally am doing all of those things now. Oh! No, I am a lifeskills/sip/focus/LLD/inclusion para. I missed one. It's going to be a wild year. 
 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Ideas

      Jennifer Buxton posted on the Braymere facebook on Tuesday that she has been writing her blog for 12 years (it's been longer I think, but she has been really writing for that time) and has written almost 4,300 posts. That is a lot of posts. I have had my blog for 14 years. But I REALLY started blogging in 2019. Somewhere in February of that year, I think, I decided I was going to blog once a week, since I was such a blog slacker. That quickly turned into posting every day. Then in 2020 my goal was to post every day. And I did, sometimes more than once. So far for 2021 I have done well too. I have had one or more posts a day and I am pretty sure I can finish out the year. I likely can. I am getting very close to 1,100 total posts. But it is definitely hard. I really do get stressed out if I don't have a post scheduled to go live at 5:30 in the morning (which is shortly after I get up and go to work. It shouldn't be that way, but it is. 
    I don't have a great segue from random thoughts about how hard blogging can be so I guess I will just move into talking about this guy. After I did the post about Dani's new doll Roberto ordered this guy. And since I really like the rolled sleeve look I was plenty happy to make him. I'm not positive, but I think I remember reading that both the dolls would be going to shows this weekend. Maybe I made that up. If not I will hopefully get some show photos. 
       So switching back again, blogging is hard. I would still love to have guest bloggers, but so far I think Corina Roberts is still the only person to ever write a guest post for me. I am open to anything model horse or horse related. Maybe stuff about photo shows, live shows, Breyerfest, new horse/tack/props purchases. Whatever. Something I have learned while writing this blog; people who collect model horses like to look at model horses. Their own, other people's. Horses, tack, setups, show photos, photos from shows. Model horse people like those things. I like those things too. I am not sure how many unboxing videos I have watched since Breyerfest. Or how many "loot" photos I have looked at. They are fun. 
     Anyway, blogging is still hard but I am going to try to stick it out. Jennifer gave us so many posts for so many years. She deserves a break. And maybe a nap. And you know, I bet she still would not mind if you bought her a coffee for all the years of work she put in. In case anyone is thinking of that, here is her ko-fi, to make it easier https://ko-fi.com/braymere
     Speaking of Ko-fi, Mary Ann Snyder had a very cool idea. I mentioned the other day that Ko-fi now offers monthly subsciptions, similar to patreon. And like patreon, you can have different membership levels. Which I think is fun. I asked if anyone had any ideas for rewards for different tiers. I just can't think of what to do. Mary Ann said I could offer a quarterly miniature surprise. And I really like that idea. I really like doing mystery boxes. And in a similar way to doing those I could offer the chance at discount coupons. I could potentially have different levels of mystery box even. Small ones, medium ones, etc. It's a fun idea for sure. People seem very into the mystery boxes and I like searching for new miniatures to put in boxes. This could be a good idea. Not that it will necessarily go anywhere, but it's an idea that I will have to play with a bit. Though it also sounds like I could very easily just make more work for myself. But I still really like the idea.