Monday, May 31, 2021

The Mini Shelf

      I do not have a vast collection of model horses. By design. I do not have the space for a large collection. For the most part I have traditional scale performance horses (and not in large quantities), a few childhood horses, and my minis. My mini shelf is amazing. Ethan made it for me as a wedding gift. There is a brass plate on the bottom that says "custom made for Mrs. Anne T Field".  It was the first thing my married name was on. 
     When Ethan made the shelf for me he got Elecktra to help him with sizing. She took out some stablemates so they could work out how tall the shelves should be. It was meant as a stablemate shelf. It has turned into something else.
      My Little Man Mango resin, named Pacific Redeemer (which was the name of one of Travis's therapeutic riding horses) is a traditional scale foal. But he has lived on this shelf for an extremely long time. And likely he always will. 
     Years ago I had all of my G2 appaloosa stablemates in a nice long conga that covered an entire shelf by itself. I think at the peak of things I had over 20 of them. Then I decided to severely cut down the collection and I now have 4. But there is a new one in the Breyer Stablemate club lineup for this year and I likely will keep it. At least for a while. 
     I do also have a small conga of Django models starting. I really do like this mold. I had the bay model from the Horse Crazy Series 2 gift set. But then I decided to part with it, and I can't remember why. Probably to cull the herd a bit. The stablemate set from Breyerfest last year had the really pretty dappled gray Django, who I kept (obviously), Henrik is from the Breyer stablemate club this year, and the clearware decorator is Navya, who was from Breyerfest 2017 and I recently acquired him. I also bought a new series 2 giftset to get the bay again, None of the others are calling to me, though the original Django is nice. 
     Having such crowded shelves means that cleaning is a challenge and not something that happens all that often. But the shelves are glass, as you can see, and they do start to look pretty horrible after a bit. Last weekend I decided to clean the shelves, cull some micros from my collection, and reorganize things a bit. Now I have different horses at eye level, which is fun. I also took more than just these photos so I can share some more posts about my mini collection. I was inspired by Lynn Isenbarger's (horseimama) recent series on her circus collection. I have been struggling to work lately, so have very little to talk about, and people seem to enjoy collection photos. And show photos. Must be our collective love of model horses. I am planning a couple more mini collection photos and then thought I might do tack or dolls. We'll see. I should get into the props!

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Struggles in the Cold

        We used to routinely turn our heat off April 1st. We would get a few cold days after we did, but it was not usually too bad. This year we waited until the middle of May to turn the heat off. That seemed safe. It was not. This past weekend it got super cold and we had daytime highs of barely 50 degrees. That was not fun. Especially when it was nearly June. In the past week we have had temps in the 70's, 90's, and 50's. That sort of weather swing makes me really tired and unmotivated. I am struggling to get things done. Again.
      There is no reason that a hunt seat doll should take me an excessively long time. But the two I was working on last week are still not finished. I have struggled every step of the way with them. I did get the bodies prepped and the clothes sewn. And then a bit further, but not a whole lot. First it was abruptly 20 degrees warmer (and humidish) and then it was 40 degrees lower than that just a couple of days later. That definitely leaves me tired. Maybe soon things will even out. Then it will likely just be humid for months. 
     Ethan found a new alfredo sauce that is pretty low carb so we tried it out on one of the low carb pastas we tried recently. This is from The Great Low Carb Bread Company. It's very expensive, so not something we will have often, and it is lower carb than regular pasta, by a lot, but not super low carb. So this is a rare one for us. We are going to try out some more pastas, with alfredo sauce, and see what we like best. For science. 

      We're down to 11 days of school now. Tomorrow is the bio MCAS, so that is half the day. Finals are next week, and those days are all half days. And then our last day is the 15th, but I think students are just in for a half a day, and only if they need to make something up. Almost there. And it should warm up again.

Saturday, May 29, 2021


     I really have had one of the most excellent mail weeks in a very long time! I received my micro Scarlett I ordered a while back, my new pink and black parade set made by Wendy Ward, and I also got back a piece painted by Kenzie Williams. It really feels like my birthday. If my arena would show up I might pass out from excitement!
     I know there is an ongoing debate about whether or not people should include any sort of extras i packages. And just as in any other debate, there are people who are firmly against it, and people who love it. I happen to love it. I think the little extras just make the package more fun to open. Sure, I don’t NEED them, or expect them, but when the extra touches are there I certainly appreciate them! 
     When I opened up the box the first thing I saw was this lovely pearlized pink envelope. With a cute horsie thank you sticker on it!
    Inside was a nice hand written note, a really pretty business card, and a wonderful horse sticker that I almost immediately put on my laptop. But I resisted! I have a ton of stickers on there and I know sooner or later I will need to replace the laptop because that is the nature of computers. Though it’s not all that old yet... I will likely find a way to collect more stickers before I have a need for more... there is still a chance that sticker is going on my laptop. Or a tack box, I hear that is a think people do.
     So what was in this gorgeous package from Kenzie? My Ranchita! Kenzie and I worked out a trade a bit ago and I basically said I like bays and to do what she wanted, lol. We did eventually work out it would be a bay paint, but you all know I love a good bay horse!
     I bought Ranchita when Morgen Kilbourn Rossomando came out with her. I decided I needed to the mini (and then the micro) Ranch mare. I really love this mold but the traditional scale one was sort of a shelf hog. The little ones fit almost anywhere. 
     Do you know what happens when you give an artist the bare minimum of guidelines and let them do what they want? You most often end up with an amazing piece that is so much better than something you micromanaged every detail of. Kenzie put such amazing details into this horse (who needs a name) and I would never have thought to ask for them. I love her nose so much! And the super interesting marking on her right front leg. And the 2-toned hoof! This horse really is fantastic and I am really happy that she is mine. 

     Kenzie is going to have a variety of horses for sale during Breyerfest. I can’t remember where I saw the post but I believe there will be 2 traditional scale models which she will take offers on and some smaller pieces which (I think) are first come, first served. I am really looking forward to Breyerfest!


Friday, May 28, 2021

And Just Like That, I Have a New Horse

     My new horse, Just a Theory, was made specifically for my secret entry in the Breyerfest Best Customs contest. I am not a fantastic customizer (yet) but knew that I could do a good enough job for a performance entry. So I worked for a few months and now I have a new performance horse. Just like that, lol. The first goal of any performance entry is proper tack fitting. I have a lot of tack, but none of it was fitted for JT, so I spent a lot of time making sure everything was properly adjusted.
       I have been using my pink and black English tack a lot, which is the perfect size for the 3 different horses I was using it on. But this time I wanted to use more traditional colored tack. As I was fiddling with the bridle I noticed that the browband strap had let go on one side. So I fixed that, fiddled some more, and got everything adjusted nicely.
    And then it was time for porch railing glamor shots! JT really does look nice in tack.
    The left side of the neck is not my favorite. He’s a bit chonky. Not horrible or anything, just a bit. But he still looks good in tack.
      I made this horse with one goal in mind, which was the customs contest. If I win, super! That would be fantastic. If I don’t that is OK too. Because now I have a new performance horse. And performance showing is my favorite part of model horse showing!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Tiny and Awesome

     A month or two ago I saw a post from Stacey Tumlinson saying that she was offering micro Scarletts! Scarlett is one of my all time favorite resins. I have a mini Scarlett and still would really love to get a traditional scale Scarlett. I don’t currently have space for a traditional Scarlett, but I sure would love to have one. But for now teeny tiny Scarlett is making me incredibly happy. I have just this one right now but I could easily see having many of this particular horse! Too bad I missed the order window to get more. 
     We are down to the wire with this school year. And I am glad about that! This has definitely been a very weird year and I hope we never have another one like it. Remote teaching is hard. Being a remote para is exceptionally hard because we help kids, but don’t want to call them out in the middle of class. Once we went to hybrid it was both easier and harder. Now there were some kids in person. But sometimes I ended up with kids in the class and kids at home. It is still hard to be in 2 places at once. Breakout rooms helped the issues, some, but not always. But we are coming to the end. Just a couple weeks to go...
    The weather for the most part is a lot better. A whole bunch of nice days with some unseasonably warm days thrown in. Though I guess since it IS almost (unofficial) summer, maybe it's not so unseasonable. The humidity has been going up as well, which I am not a fan of at all. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

I am Bidder #4

      Last week Wendy Ward of Two Horns Bar Custom Saddle Works, offered a pink and black parade set which she made to fit a Stone Pony. It was pink and black, that was enough for me. I asked her to PLEASE tag me in the post when it went up for sale. As soon as I saw it was available I immediately put in an offer. Shortly after that I was outbid, and then the offer was upped twice more. I had a maximum in mind that I was willing to spend so I set a calendar reminder to check back right before the end of the offer period and if it wasn't at or above my max I would offer a bit more. 
     My first offer was open, right on the Facebook page. After that everyone went with private bids. I have no idea why really. So for my second bid I sent Wendy a message and said I guess since everyone else did it I would try a private bid. So I became bidder #4. Even though originally I was actually the first bidder. Anyway, yesterday I got a package in the mail. It was wrapped in pink tissue paper. Already I loved it. 
    Inside the hot pink tissue paper, was pale pink tissue paper and a cute little bag. 
Inside the bag were a bunch of stickers, several different business cards, and a pink micro. 
     But the absolute best was the parade set. I immediately got Halestorm off the shelf and got him dressed. Since the set was made for a Stone pony, it is obviously a perfect fit. I love how everything drapes!
The hip drops are nice and supple and hang really nicely. 
     The details on the saddle are really well done and a bit different from an average parade saddle. 
     I own another parade set that Wendy made for me several years ago. That one also has roses on it. It may be the newness, but I think I might like this set just a little better than my other one. 
    So Halestorm has a new parade set and soon I will need to get some proper show photos of him wearing it. But first I will have to make a doll. Obviously.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Mutton Busting

      I'm going to consider this a guest post! Elaine Lindelef sent me some fun photos of her mutton busting doll that I made for her. I am pretty sure she got this doll specifically for the Jennifer Show. Anyway, Elaine sent me some photo to share. Enjoy!

     Lili the mutton busting rider has had more adventures!

         To make up for it I let her play with one of my favorite ponies. Here she is having a riding lesson. 
     Here she is playing games

     And enjoying a nice day 
     Thank you Elaine for allowing me to share your photos! If anyone else would like to share doll photos, show wins or whatever else, let me know! I am also definitely open to guest bloggers. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Field of Dolls Online Fall Prizes

      I have been busily collecting prizes for the Field of Dolls Online Fall show. The unicorn ducks were something I found at Party City when I got my newest yard flamingos. These will be class prizes, though I am not sure which placing yet. I know people have used rubber ducks for ring toss so that could definitely be an option of how to use them. The mystery miniatures were meant to be prizes for the Spring show, but I missed them in the prize bag. The 3D printed props were a few things I saved back as well. Since I had a door prize for every single entrant, it seemed OK to save some things. The tweezers are super pointy and should be excellent for performance showers. I don't remember where they came from but I found them when I was cleaning a pile of everything on the kitchen table. 
       These items were things I was gifted. The cup cozy was from one of my favorite LuLaRoe consultants. She knew I would love it. And I do love it, and I used it for a long time. But I have not put a can in the fridge in a very long time and usually just poor seltzer in my reusable (pink cup) from a liter bottle. The adorable pencil case is amazing but I have not used it and I don't want it to just sit. The keychain was a prize from Sweet Onion Shenanigans and was made by Wendy Ward. 
       It's a bit hard to see some of these items but we have horse head finger puppets, 3D unicorn erasers, unicorn keychains you can color and stickers. 
    Here we have unicorn plates, horse coloring books, unicorn suncatchers, and miniatures. 
      Breyer things. 

     These items are meant for the top 7 showers. I have a cool 3D printed jump, a table a chairs set, a couple of desk and chair sets and a couple of shelves. These are items made by HandcraftedbyKari on etsy. 

     I do also have some other prizes on hand already as well. Things I have shared that were donated and things that I got for class prizes when I was getting prizes for the last show. I already have a pretty great start on prizes but I am always open to more! I will even come up with some show dates soon. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Getting it Done

     Last week I was incredibly productive. After spending weeks being super exhausted (or it at least seemed like weeks) I finally had a reasonable amount of energy. And I had a plan. I had to take a personal day on Monday for Travis's IEP meeting so I wanted to get started on an order for a couple of hoodie dolls that has been in my book for a few weeks. I actually managed to get a lot done on Monday, which is a day I usually never get anything done on dolls. 
     On Tuesday I finished up the last bits of the hoodie dolls and moved into prepping for this casual western doll with a cool flamingo shirt and another hoodie doll. I got a good amount of work done on Tuesday, though I don't remember exactly how much. 
     Wednesday I also was really productive and I believe I either finished up the flamingo lady and hoodie doll or came incredibly close. I may have finished them up. I was very efficient, full of energy (or enough to continue being productive) and finishing so many things was very motivating. 
     With the 3 hoodie dolls and the flamingo western doll finished I had 3 orders I could move to the finished section of my order book. And I still had technically 2 days to work on dolls. Since my Best Customs entry needed Breyer dolls my plan was to quickly knock those out on Thursday and then have all of Friday off from doll work so I could have a 3 day weekend. It was a good plan and it almost worked. 
     Thursday I was still fairly motivated but I was also running out of steam. I did manage to get most of the 2 Breyer dolls finished, but I just couldn't make myself totally finish. I left off with the lady needing her face repainted, and the man needed boot bottoms, a belt, pockets, and buttons. Collectively those things don't take up a whole ton of time, and I could have forced myself to finish. But I decided that it was better to listen to what my body was telling me and I stopped for the day. 
     Friday was a struggle. Since my custom horse was so close to done, and I had time to make the Breyer dolls, my plan had been to get those projects finished and take the photo for the contest on the weekend. It was a good plan. A reasonable plan. And entirely doable plan. But Friday was a struggle. It took me an hour to talk myself into getting out the paint box. I started on the hooves with the light shell color (should have been a bit lighter, but whatever) and I repainted just the eyes on the Breyer doll. She still looks like a doll, there is not really a way to make her not look like a doll, but she looks better. Then I got back into the now-dry hooves with pastels. I have forgotten just how long a model horse pedicure takes. And I could easily have taken a lot more time than the hour and a half that I took. But I made it through and now I had my lady doll finished and my custom horse finished and I was again (mostly) energized. I got some sort of nice shots of my finished horse and grabbed the doll stuff to watch NCIS with Ethan and to finish up the man doll. 
     I did it. 
     It was basically in the plan to do the hooves on Friday and since there was not all that much left on either of the dolls, that is mostly what I did. So I did pretty much stick to my plan. And I got everything finished. Just when I told myself a would. I am happy. I went through a bit of time when I was really struggling to get things done. At all. I was definitely not getting them done when I said I would. I was not taking extra months (or years) but even an extra week is not something I usually do. So I am hopeful that my work verve is back now. I still have some pretty lofty savings goals and that requires actually working and saving money. I do love making dolls and I still make more with dolls than I do working at the school (every time someone says I should take a break on dolls and go back to school I laugh and say that makes NO sense financially) but the fact that the school will pay me even if I take a day off is pretty awesome. Anyway, work verve is a good thing and I am finally getting things done!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

I Don’t Love Breyer Dolls

     Yesterday was the big reveal of the horse I did for the Breyerfest Best Customs contest. As a reminder, I am not a customizer or a painter. I have done a bit of painting, mostly because Jennifer Buxton started NaMoPaiMo, but I have not done much. I discovered that I can do a pretty good job with Pan Pastels. Not LSQ anything, but something that is pleasing to look at and makes me happy. It's not NaMoPaiMo, but I finished my horse and I am totally a winner!
     OK, so I am not a sculptor and not really a painter. So WHY did I enter the Best Customs contest? Performance of course. I made a horse that is pretty nice and is definitely going to be perfect for performance. But Breyer had a twist to their rules. If you are using a rider, it has to be Breyer made. Poop. I don't love Breyer dolls. The Breyer male dolls are OK, but they have weird tiny hands, that are smaller than the lady's hands (and both are smaller than youth doll hands...) and their necks don't bend, and I forgot to make these bendy, the lady is shaped a bit like a Barbie doll. I don't love Breyer dolls. But I want to have the best shot I can at winning, so I made Breyer dolls. 
      Because I apparently don't have enough to do these days I also decided that this lady really needed her hair French braided. I will NOT be doing this on order dolls! This was an enormous, frustrating pain and may only have worked out because the enormous head that this doll has. And this is the old style Breyer with the "small" head. They look so much like dolls...
     So that is everything you get. I am not sharing what I am doing for my contest entry. You know I customized a horse for performance and made some dolls. And that is all you get to know! I will of course share sooner or later. 
     If I win or lose doesn't even matter to me. Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to win, it would be super thrilling. But I am not getting my hopes up. I wanted to enter because I could. I may or may not ever get to an in person Breyerfest. And even if I don't win the contest I am still a winner. I finished my horse. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Big Reveal

      He's done! Back at the end of February I started customizing a Breyer Ideal Quarter Horse. Since I have never customized I horse I had no experience and only sort of an idea of what I was doing. I have been around model horse artists for a really long time, and I do pay attention, so I knew of some tricks. But I have never done the tricks. There is also a huge difference between knowing how to do a thing and actually doing a thing. Also apparently saying "I did a thing" means I am old or something. Not that I actually said that, lol. 
     Anyway, I took about 3 months to work on this horse. He is not complex, he is not a flashy color, and he has a lot of flaws. I know where all of them are. I have seen them, can't unsee them, and I have let them go. Today we have the big reveal of Just a Theory. Because for the last month or so he has been telling me that is what his name is. I have no idea what kind of barn name I can get out of that. Maybe he just needs to be chocolate, lol. Or cocoa. He does look pretty yummy!
      I don't have a link to a particular hoof tutorial because I read/watched a couple and then ended up mixing things. I used some acrylic paint techniques, but actually used a damp brush and Pan Pastels. And layers. Lots and lots of layers. I also see that his sock/hoof is not perfect. Again, I know where all his many many flaws are. And I still love him. 

      This guy has a really beefy neck and is sort of lacking in muscle tone. Because I don't know what I am doing, lol. Maybe when/if I do the next custom I need to just completely remove the neck and make a new one. Not sure how good of a job I can do of that, I have never done that, but I could give it a try. I wish I had not missed the neck sculpting workshop at Breyer Boot Camp. I meant to sign up and missed the deadline. 
     Part of why I was sort of hustling to get this guy done (3 months for a simple custom is not hustle, I know) is that I don't want to miss the deadline for the Breyerfest Best Customs Contest. That is June 11th, unless I have completely lost my mind. June 11th is also the last day for entries into Why the Chicken Crossed the Road photo show. And June 11th is the day Breyerfest Open opens for entries. Popular day. Also, I am not a last minute kind of girl. I would MUCH rather be a bit early and wait than be late. I don't like that kind of stress. I hate being late. 
     I have to say, I really like this horse. I really like most of his shading, but I really love his face. His mane is a bit scraggly, but I think it's cute. His neck is a bit bulky, but it doesn't look like a giraffe neck. He's bay, so clearly he is nearly perfect (if you haven't figured it out, I love bay horses). I definitely let some flaws slide that I could have fixed because I wanted to just keep going. I didn't want to risk running out of time. And Just a Theory is a performance horse the tack will cover some of the flaws. And the rest... well, he's a performance horse, lol!
      So the horse is done and I also finished up some other things for my entry. I will share those tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

The Whys and Hows

       Recently I posted that the day’s post almost didn’t happen. Blogging is hard, my life is really busy, and sometimes I really just can’t think of anything to talk about. Blogging is hard, especially blogging every day. Jennifer Buxton also did a blog post with a similar theme. We both got an anonymous comment on the post saying that everyone would be understanding if we blogged less. Likely. Neither Jennifer or I, or any other blogger, owes anyone a post. This is true. Jennifer said that it is easier when it is part of your daily routine. She is not wrong. I would also add that while I do enjoy that people read and enjoy the blogs, the daily blogging is actually for me. In the same way that I wear makeup for myself. Sure, I like when other people enjoy my makeup, but I wear it because it makes me happy to see my art in the mirror. I also like knowing that I put in the effort and got a post up every single day. I don’t write a post every single day, I often do several at a time and schedule them, but knowing that I have consistently posted daily for over a year makes me happy. I also know myself. If I stop, that likely will be it. I will go back to once in awhile posting. It is super easy to just stop doing a thing. Like working out. I don’t remember the last time I worked off. I took a day off. And that was it. So while blogging IS hard, consistency makes it easier. And as always, I am definitely open to guest bloggers! I have only ever had 1 guest blogger. And that is not because I don’t want it.

      So here are some ideas if you want to help me out but don’t know what to say. Did you get a new doll and you took some fun photos? Please share them! I will turn around and share them (with permission). Did you do really well in a photo show and you want to share? I will totally share that! Just want to talk about a new project? You can write about that too. I would love to post guest blogs.

     That could have been a post all on its own, and I could have saved the rest of the forthcoming babble for another post. But I think I will talk about some donations. I still have not decided on dates for the Field of Dolls Online Fall show, but I already have the class list up and I am already gathering prizes! This batch of blankets and saddle pads was donated by Kathy Wood for the Spring show. But they arrived the Monday after the live results. So I will award them at the Fall show. They are really great, and the black and pink one... love it!
    Jessica Carini donated these stablemates to the show and they arrived the other day. They are super cool and I am really pleased to be able to add them to the prize offerings. It’s the continued generosity of donors that will keep the shows going, without me losing my mind (or going broke) over them. 
      I have a small project I want to get into, that will also require setting up dolls for cool photos. The project itself is super simple and I could be done in almost no time, but I want the cool doll photos. Hopefully soon I can find some time and motivation to get into that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Dolls and Booze

      Dolls have come a long way over the years. They are more realistic than ever, need less and less modification to be useful, and have slightly more variety than they used to. Slightly. For a while we had Yvonne type dolls in a few different skin tones, but still basically the same doll. With the introduction of the Ellie doll, from KC's Galloping Gals, we finally have a new head sculpt. It was perfect for this order of two hoodie dolls. They are basically exactly the same other than different hoodies, but the different head sculpts makes them two different people. Finally. I do like having a bit of variety. Finally. 
      I got some miniature booze in the mail the other day. These will likely be added to the list of miniature add-on items I have for live sales (or whenever). Trying to think of new items to add to the miniature catalog, and trying to find them in bulk at reasonable prices, is challenging. But it's an interesting challenge. My new arena has still not arrived. It is in this country, just not moving. I am starting to wonder what is going on with it. May have to check into it soon.
     I am making excellent progress with my doll work this week and I might take an extra day off. That could be fun. I might get the hooves finished on my custom horse or maybe get started on the Native American regalia I have planned. Or maybe I will stare at the wall and wonder what I should do. Hard to say. But I finally seem to be getting a bit of energy back and finding a bit of work verve. It's about time.