Sunday, January 30, 2022


    Recently, Ethan built a custom bow (archery). It is really nicely done, works well, and he has made everything on it, including the string. He ordered some nice merino wool to make himself the string silencers, but he was going to have most of the skein leftover. He asked if I would make him a new scarf. Well sure, though it could be a little bit before I get it done. The first important goal was to turn the skein of yarn into a ball. But it was tangled. And as often happens, it started out a little tangled, and then tangled itself a lot more as I worked to make it into a ball. I hate when that happens. 
     So stage one was many hours of untangling. Followed by watching a really irritating video on how to cast on stitches (I have not done any knitting in years), doing it, not liking how it was coming out, ripping it all out, starting over, still not liking it (too wide), ripping it all out and starting over for a third time. By that point I decided I had enough and I was done for the night and I went to bed. 
    Yesterday morning I realized that I am going to talk about yarn and knitting, so I took a photo of the barely started scarf. I have a long way to go. But I figure if I keep this where I see it often, I will likely also pick it up often. Even if it is just to knit a few rows. A few rows won't take that much time. 
     I got to have a video chat with Crystal yesterday and got a lot more rows done. Then Ethan called during his lunch and I did some more. It's still not anywhere near scarf length, but I have a good start on it with a lot less time put into the knitting than into the untangling. 
     Saturday we had the all day snow storm and I did do some doll work, then a lot of work on untangling yarn that mostly just wanted to retangle every time it moved, and eventually a bit of knitting. I wish I had a bit more weekend. But it's time for school again. One day closer to Spring. 


Saturday, January 29, 2022


     Remember yesterday, when I told the story about being stranded in the cold (it was 27 degrees) that it could have been worse? It absolutely could have been A LOT worse. On Thursday, on my way to work, it was 0. It was literally nothing. That is cold! 27 is no picnic, but 0 makes it really hard to just walk across the parking lot. I really hate the winter, I am ready for it to be done, and I am reminding myself that it is one day closer to Spring. Hmm, Groundhog Day is on Wednesday.
     I have been very busy helping out with some stuff, and struggling to find motivation, so I have not gotten a ton of doll work done lately. Last week I did manage to get new legs built on my youth doll and I cut out and got some clothes sewn. Baby steps. Eventually I will get something finished. And eventually I will likely be quite productive again. 
     So part of the reason I keep not getting things done is I keep having appointments. They used to be more staggered I think, but some of them got pushed out by a bit, some by a lot, and now I have many right around the same time. Last Friday we went to the eye doctor. Then Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment. Last Thursday I got the call that my glasses were ready so we went out to pick them up. So many extra things happening lately! The good thing is, I don't much mind. Sure, I have not gotten much done and it could be very frustrating, but it's not. I am doing so much better, at least currently, at cutting myself slack. So much slack. I will get the dolls done when I finish them. I realize that even at my slowest I still work fast. I am learning to be OK with taking a bit longer. Though I still get a kick out of the time that Jackie ordered a doll and had it in hand withing about 72 hours. That was fun.
     I figured I needed to show off my new glasses. I very rarely wear my glasses, I find my contacts to be more comfortable for a variety of reasons. One being they don't slide down, lol. I also can see clearly no matter which way I look so don't have to deal with a lot of change from clear to blurry, which sometimes makes me sick. I didn't really NEED new glasses, my old prescription was fine, the doctor said so, but I kind of wanted them. And these frames match my hair! Not the bit of hair you can see in the photo, but the magenta part. And I love them. When I first got glasses I wanted them to be as invisible as possible. Now I have decided if I am going to put on my glasses, I want them to be seen! If I was more into glasses I would go back and get the sort of cat-eye shaped ones in midnight blue. I really am quite tempted...
     Anyway, Thursday was 0 degrees, Friday we got stranded in 27 degrees, there was a crazy storm yesterday, and next week it is going to be 50. I am not making this up, lol. New England can never make up it's mind on the weather, so it just throws everything at us, one day after another. Or sometimes all in the same day.


Friday, January 28, 2022


     Yesterday was a very weird day. My last class of the day was a bit wild, and as they were heading out after the bell rang a student looked at me and said "sorry for school". I laughed so hard at that! This is the same student who said to me the other day that they can't understand how I teach kids. Some days I don't get it either (or I wonder if I am actually teaching them anything). But I keep on trying. 

      In other teacher news, I am really pleased with my lesson planning. I have bio actually planned through the first day of March! There is a week of vacation between now and then so it is not quite as impressive as it sounds, but I think it's pretty impressive. I also think that maybe, just maybe, I found a way to make a pretty confusing, very boring subject (cell organelles) a bit more interesting. Maybe. We'll see. But I have some plans. I also have a good amount of math planned out. Not all the way until March, but I could have. I didn't want to write in the plans until I physically had the work ready to hand out. Sooooon...

    After school I came home and I managed to get in some time working on a doll I have been trying to get finished up. I managed it! Then I had to go and help someone move, so I didn't have time to do any more doll work. But I got some done. That's something. 

     The plan was simple, grab some stuff and go meet the landlord to get the keys, drop off the stuff, go to the storage locker and get more stuff, drop the stuff off and go to Walmart before the big snowstorm. It was a simple plan... until I did something stupid. It was a bit dark, being just about sunset when we got the the unit, and I angled the car so the headlights could shine in. I have done it before, it was not an issue. I forgot my battery has been being a bit squirrely lately. So the few minutes (maybe 15? Maybe less? I didn't time it) that I was playing car Jenga was enough to kill the battery. Oh crap. Backup was called in to not only help empty the storage unit some more, but to jump my car. Which did not work. Crap. So I sent the others off and called AAA and Travis and I grabbed the car blankets and bundled up. It was cold. 

    So we waited for AAA and I admired my car Jenga skills, honed by years of model horse showing. The others came back and we were still waiting. We got in the toasty warm car to warm up a bit. I said why don't we move everything from my car to yours, and you can get more moving done while we can keep waiting. Apparently AAA will come out and replace your battery. Who knew? So I played car Jenga in a new car and decided we needed to get out of the cold. Bundled and blanketed or not, it was really cold. And AAA was very busy since a lot of cars were acting up in the cold. We went next door from the storage place to a restaurant and ordered some dinner... and then I got the text from AAA (lol, of course!) so I asked the waitress if she could box up our food when it was ready and we would come right back and get it. And then we went back to the storage place. 

     Nick from AAA has some insanely good driving skills. Which you would expect from a tow truck driver, but he backed a long flatbed down the aisle of the storage place! Holy cow! He said he'd try to jump my car first, worth a try since he was there... and Nick must have magic because the car started! I was so thrilled! And cold. I still think I should replace the battery, it has been wonky every now and then for a little bit. 

     I thanked Nick several times, we did the usual "stay safe" and Travis and I went to pick up our food and drive around a bit to recharge the car battery. When we got home I was really really happy. It was not the end of the day I was hoping for. I didn't get to Walmart to get my errands out of the way, but everything could have turned out a lot worse. It could have been colder. It could have been colder and windy. We could have been out in the middle of nowhere. I could be the type of person who doesn't have blankets in the car (I have several, and several extra pairs of gloves and scarves and so on) I could have forgotten to renew my AAA (I will actually never forget to do that, lol). My cell phone could have been dead along with the car battery. So many things could have been worse. It wasn't fun, I will not go that far, but I am grateful for the efficiency of the agent I talked to at AAA when I called to say their calls were not getting through (I missed 4 calls from them) because I was in the middle of metal boxes. She immediately changed our call to priority when I told her we were cold. There WAS a place to go and warm up (and I was wearing wool socks) and Nick was quick, very polite and had a tow truck, just in case. 

   And we managed to move almost everything out of the storage unit. 

    P.S. Merino Wool Bombas socks are not quite as warm as the performance boot socks (I don't think) but they ARE very soft and quite warm. I would highly recommend them for toasty toes! 

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Live Show Games Part 3

     One of my favorite ways to challenge myself at a live show was to see how many awards I could get with a single horse. At this particular show Caramel Latte, who is a Leggs resin sculpted by Liesl Dalpe and painted by Joan Yount, was the horse of choice. She showed in harness in the morning, which was a full division of its own at this show. She clearly did well in it. 
She also showed in western, in a variety of classes. 
   And she showed in English. This is a similar Other English (testing a new therapeutic riding horse) entry to the one I talked about yesterday. Different horse, rider, and other dolls, but the same idea. It's a fun, somewhat different idea for other English. I think I added a note saying that this was at a horse show at the therapeutic riding barn and the rider helped between her classes. 
    Caramel Latte also showed in the other performance/costume division. This was my picnic at a horse show scene. It was the perfect class to follow showmanship. I had the entry set up and just moved the horse and handler over. I like entries that easily follow each other like this. The picnic idea actually originated for this particular class list (different show though). Usually, to win champs, you need the most points. If you have multiple entries in a division (and the champs are done in the usual way, by points) you are more likely to win. And I really love an entry where I can use a ton of dolls and miniatures!
     In the end, Caramel Latte won multiple champs and reserves at this show. I think she got champ or reserve in every division she was entered in. And then went on to get overall champ or reserve (I would have to figure out exactly which show this was, find the results, I don't want to). This was definitely a really fun challenge! And it must have been a while ago, since my hair is just brown. 
     I really like the format of showing one horse in absolutely everything in a show. Sure, the horse is not always an excellent fit for everything, but it is a really easy way to show (you only have to bring one horse!). And it makes for some really excellent win photos when the plan works out. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Live Show Games Part 2

     Yesterday I talked about the games I have played with myself at live shows when showing got a bit stale. I challenged myself to show sidesaddle in as many classes as possible, because when you are gifted an awesome sidesaddle, you find multiple ways to use it (at least I think so!). Today we are going to talk about the time when I was mostly out of OF Performance but showed a Strapless model in English performance at an OF plastic only show. You might be wondering what the big deal is. So I showed in OF performance because that was what was available in the show. Well, the new challenge for myself was to show in all the classes as therapeutic riding entries. I put all of my performance gear for the day in a shoebox and brought this one horse. It was awesome. 
     This particular class was trail. I may have made this trail mat for this show, or it may have been something I already had, but the documentation talked about a sensory trail. Which was something we had at the therapeutic riding barn where Travis rode and where I volunteered. This particular piece of the trail had different footing, which would make different sounds when they horse went over it. There would also be the brief change of position when the horse stepped up on the bridge. It was definitely not a typical trail entry, but it definitely worked. 
      For Other English I went a bit outside of the box and set up an entry that I also participated in in real life. This was testing a new horse for the therapeutic riding barn. Therapy horses often have to deal with sudden movements, being bumped, sudden loud noises, strange objects, and many other scary and unexpected things. And they need to do it calmly so they can take care of their riders. So we had a rider (who was the owners daughter and a very accomplished rider) on the horse, she shook the reins, changed her body position every now and then, and made loud noises at times. The rest of us on the ground would sometimes bump the horse, talk unexpectedly, toss things to the rider, or touch the horse with objects. We paid close attention to how the horse was reacting to things. Some horses don't mind this type of behavior at all. And some just can't deal with it. Anyway, for Other English I set up that type of entry and my documentation note states this is what is happening. 
      I also put in an English Games entry. We did sometimes play musical stalls at the barn. I think my "stall" is just a bit large, but it still worked out. You can fit the entire team into it. If I was to set this entry up today I would potentially add the ramp I made and the tiny radio I bought. After all, you need something to play the music so the music can stop. 
     I had several other therapeutic riding themed entries in this division, but I can't find photos at the moment. This was definitely a fun personal challenge. Therapeutic riding has been very important to me since Travis was small and took lessons at the PVTRA. I have been setting up therapeutic riding entries since then, and this was just an extension of it. It was definitely a lot of fun and some day, if I ever get bored at a live show again (if I ever want to go to one again) I might have to do this again. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Live Show Games Part 1

     The title of this post might seem a little deceptive. It is not actually about horseback games, though maybe it sounds that way. Yesterday I said that there was a time that I would never skip a live show. I went to a lot of them, as long as they were within a 4 and a half hour drive (or 2-3 if I had to drive the morning of). I am a pretty good performance shower. I don't win everything all the time, but I learned to show performance in Region X, which is full of really great showers. And I showed, a lot, for a very long time. As I said, I didn't always win, or win everything, but I did win a lot. And I got a little bit bored. I would try to come up with new entries, and sometimes I did. Sometimes they were great, and sometimes they took a lot of work and did OK. I never got into showing a ton of horses at a time because I was always pretty much trying for champs. And you can't get champs unless one horse does well in a lot of classes. 
    So with my slight boredom came the need to make live showing interesting for myself again. I was still having a good time, but wouldn't it be more fun to challenge myself in unusual ways and make things MORE interesting? Of course it would be. I believe it started with Enchanted Eve and side saddle. In general, most people show side saddle in other English, though occasionally it will be seen in other classes as well. When I won Jennifer Buxton's blog contest for her one millionth page view I nearly had heart failure (said so in my comment!) I didn't get to decide what type of saddle I got, but Jennifer knew what I "needed" and made me a side saddle. We did a trade for the bridle. And then I had a fantastic side saddle set that, clearly, needed to be shown. So I decided to play a game with myself. I wanted to see how many side saddle entries I could get into the English performance division. So Enchanted Eve showed in trail.
She showed in pleasure.
      And she showed in a couple of other classes as well. I think games and... not sure. Maybe Other English. She did not have enough points to win champ or reserve but I believe that flower meant she got an honorable mention. 
      Showing a side saddle entry in a ton of English classes was definitely a fun game to play and an excellent challenge. I didn't manage to get champ or reserve, but that is not always what I am going for (often, not always) and I was pleased to do so well with my set. Now I was hooked on the challenges!
      For anyone curious, I am planning an epic giveaway like Jennifer did, when I hit 500,000 views. I am SO far off from a million it will be a very long time until I get to it. I also am actually super far from 500,000 views (I am still under 300,000). But huge giveaways just can't happen all the time. 


Monday, January 24, 2022

Random Gifting

      I love gifting. It can be for an occasion, for a secret santa exchange, just because I see something I think someone would love. I am always vaguely on the lookout for things, or when I see things I know people would most likely love I either get them or remind myself that I can't just constantly buy people gifts because I really don't have that kind of money. I have good money (for the reference to why that line makes me laugh, go here. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, which you should, go to 2:16). And while I don't have piles of money to throw around I do have skills and sometimes feel I need to make someone a little gift. 
     I was in 2 model horse gift exchanges this year. I was completely spoiled by both of my Santas. Carra gave me enough gifts to spoil 2 people. One of the gifts was 4 different custom fabrics from Spoonflower. She mentioned that she would, eventually, need something made from the tardigrade fabric. Well alright then. 
     While I was working on bareback pads I made a tardigrade one for Carra. I happened to be online when Carra did a live "unboxing" of the package I sent her and another (which was actually in a box). It is so fun to be able to actually see someone open their gift! Bapple kindly modeled the pad for me. 
      I was so pleased that Carra liked the gift. That was another great part of a pretty good day. We started term 3 yesterday, so we are officially half way through the year. There are moments when I can think of it that way with some excitement. We have come so far! But then there are times when it feels like the end is miles and miles away. It depends on the minute. This minute I am OK. I had pretty reasonable classes, only one decided to be completely unruly (more often than not they are anyway) but things were not too bad. After school Travis and I went out and did the laundry and got our treat at Big Y. And it was a good day. Hopefully tomorrow will be as well. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Never Skip a Live Show

     There was a time that I would never skip a live show. If there was a show in my region, within a 3 hour drive, I would make sure I was there. This is evidenced by these photos of Skippa Latte from September 13, 2009. This was the only live show (that I recall) that Liesl Dalpe hosted. It was also 2 weeks before my wedding. People thought I was absolutely insane to be at a live show then. But what was I supposed to do? I planned the entire wedding in 6 weeks, including booking everything and paying deposits, and then I waited another 16 months until the wedding date. I didn't have anything to plan or do, so I went to a show. And I was reminded why I don't show harness. I go through phases where I decide I want to show harness, and then the harness classes are the first thing in the morning, very fiddly, and I have some of the most expert harness showers in the entire country in region X. But Skippa Latte looked good in harness with my Bill Duncan cart. 
     Skippa Latte was a Breyer connoisseur model (boy I hope I have that right, I am not going to look it up) named Party Girl. I showed her in everything! I can't currently find a ton of pictures, at least not from this show, but Skippa Latte showed in a lot of things at Northeast Congress, two weeks before I got married. 
    And she did very well. I know I also showed in the custom division, there may have been other OF horses, but I can't currently remember. But Skippa Latte was a fun show horse. I eventually sold her, I do things like that, but she was great while I had her. 
     As I have mentioned several times over the past several months, I currently have no interest in live showing. There have not been all that many shows in the past 2 years, but even the ones that have come up don't make me want to get out and show. But there was a time that I would be at every single live show within a reasonable drive. Come to think of it, I think the distance was a 4 and a half hour drive. I used to stay over to do a bunch of shows. I wonder if I will ever feel like doing it again. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022


      I feel like I was way too spendy in 2021. Especially right around Breyerfest. Several of the things I bought I have already sold because I realized I really didn't need them (OK, I don't actually NEED any of my model horse stuff, I just really like it) or I had something similar, or multiples, wished I had more money, and so on. Anyway, I realize that 2022 is not very old yet, but I have been pretty good about my spending. I did pick up this pretty Dirigible micro from Taylor Ouzts but other than him, and my spending spree on eyewear, I have been pretty good. I say that, but as I was thinking about doing this post I did also buy some new Bombas socks. I am cold pretty much all the time, as I have mentioned a few times. And my feet especially have been really cold. So I ordered another pair of the performance socks that claim they will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I have only ever worn them in the winter. And I can say the claims of keeping you warm are true. I also got a couple of pairs of the merino wool socks. Super soft and warm? How have I not picked some up before (because they are expensive, that's how). So now I feel like I definitely need to put myself on another spending freeze for a while. I don't think it's awful to spend money, especially since my bills are always paid and I have savings and so on, but wild spending isn't a good thing. 
     I have not had a whole lot of interest in buying anything model horse in a little bit. Other than some micros here and there. Though it was only a month or two ago I was looking at dressage tack just because I don't own any. I think a lot of people go through what I am going through, at roughly this time of year. Sort of looking at the collection and vaguely thinking of just selling everything. I don't know that I have ever really considered selling everything, but I have semi-fantasized about the chunk of change that would come if I got everything sold at once. Which is a thing that doesn't happen, lol. I also have considered paring down the tack collection a bit. I have a lot of tack, though not nearly as much as a lot of people. But I still have pretty much no interest in live showing at the moment. I also don't really have a lot of interest in photo showing to be honest. Winter does things to me. I try not to get too crazy with selling things in the winter. The urge to do that usually passes by Spring. Plus I really just don't have the energy or motivation to try to sell everything in the winter. 
     Speaking of energy and motivation, and the lack of it that is mine at the moment, I am wondering (and hoping) that Spring will bring me a bit more energy and motivation. I have lots of things I need to do and I can't spend all of my afternoons napping. 

Friday, January 21, 2022


     I don't want to talk about being tired (I am though) or how unmotivated I am (also true). Let's talk about cutting myself slack. The other day I did several errands after school, one of which was stopping at Joann's to get the padding for the pet beds. I tried to talk myself into making them, but it didn't work. I made a couple of backpacks and that was it. Then the next day I tried really hard to do something different. But then I decided it was totally fine to just make a few more backpacks. And that's exactly what I did. I think I have 8 or so backpacks finished now. And some bareback pads and saddlebags. It's still 2 months to the next sale as well. So I think I am doing OK at least. 
     In other ways I am cutting myself slack, I got no doll work of any kind done yesterday. And that's OK. Elecktra and I had appointments at the eye doctor, which is always a good time. I am not even kidding about that. I have been with the same doctor for years. He used to have his office in the back of a Lens Crafters in the mall. Then he opened a separate practice much further away, and I followed. When you find good people, you stick with them. And his staff is great as well. Everyone is so much fun. And they always say that when they see our names on the schedule they are excited. That's fun. So we went to get our eyes checked, spent a bunch of money (I ordered my contacts for the year and decided I would finally get some new glasses) and I did no doll work. And it was a fine afternoon. I completely spaced on a turn on the way home and we got the smallest bit lost. I have a good sense of direction though so figured it out, no GPS. And the car was warm, so it was fine. 
     Anyway, it's the weekend which means weekend errands. And sleeping a bit later, and maybe being just a little less tired. And really, even though it is very cold right now, we are one day closer to Spring. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Bareback Pads

      I am still slowly picking away at the smaller items for my next live sale. The other day I got a few bareback pads finished. I really like how these came out, and the color combinations. I have 3 more pads already prepped, but they need to be sewn and I am also waiting on more buckles. But I got a few done and that makes me happy. 
     I am still exhausted and I have found out that it really is not just me. So many people at school are super exhausted. Not like we DO anything all day, lol. Elecktra says almost everyone at her job is also really tired. Maybe it's the weather. I am just ready to be less tired now. It's really getting to be a challenge at times. Maybe some extra sleep this weekend will help out. 
     I need to lodge a complaint. Again. This did not happen to me, but it has happened to me, and it has happened to a lot of other artists. If you contact someone to get a price quote on something they make, or a service they provide, don't tell them "that's too expensive". Also "I only want it for display" doesn't change the work involved. Stop implying that an artist is charging too much. That is incredibly rude. And right this minute I am too tired to think of a nice way to say that. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Little Things

     Yesterday was another weird day. I was so incredibly tired again. After school, Travis and I went to do a few errands, stopped and got coffee, and when we got home I took a short nap. And I got up and was exhausted for the rest of the day. Like, super tired and wished I could go to bed at like 5:00. Weirdly, I think it was the coffee. And maybe my contacts. They were making my eyes itchy. Everything is so dry, my skin, my eyes, winter is hard. I know that I always have struggles in the winter with motivation, but this seems so much worse than normal. 
     Anyway, one of the errands I did was to stop at Joann's and get the padding that I use to make pet beds. So I at least have everything I need to start making the pet sets for this next live sale. Not that I actually got started on them or anything. I did think about it, but then I did other things, got distracted, tried really hard to talk myself into at least starting, and then ended up just making a couple of backpacks. I'm glad I did something anyway. I really wish I could kick this tiredness. It's getting on my nerves. 
     So we've made it to Thursday, it's my Mom's birthday today, and I am almost to the weekend. So far the short week does not feel incredibly long. Sometimes they do, but so far this one has been OK. But my days go by so quickly, it is hard for anything to drag. I have been planning, and making or finding worksheets that work well to reinforce the lessons I am teaching, and trying to think of projects and fun things. Then there are all the reminders to get makeup work in, because grades close tomorrow, and grading, and doing all the computer things. There are several computer things at this point. All of them take time, which results in no time to get bored, and no time for the day to drag. Even though I am tired I guess that is a good thing. Right up until I get home and can barely function. 
     I may start on the pet sets today. Or I might work on things for the saddlebag sets, or more backpacks. I just haven't decided yet. I could maybe make some dog vests, people seem into those still. I do still have some time. I am really happy that I have gotten started and am not waiting until the last minute to do things (like students with their makeup work...) but I wish I didn't feel like I was working in slow motion. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Casually Working

     It took me over a week to make these 2 casual dolls. Casual dolls should not take me that long. But these days I am cold (as I have mentioned), tired (which I also have mentioned), and a bit overwhelmed at times. So I am basically casually working on dolls. And I am cutting myself some slack. Or mostly I am. I really should be working on dolls and doll items more than I am. But I am half hibernating I think. 
     That's actually totally untrue. I get up at 5:20, get ready for work, help Travis get ready for school, and once I get to work I don't stop working (other then the 20something minutes I take for lunch) until a few minutes after the kids leave. Then I get Travis, we go home, I might have a tiny nap, maybe a snack, and I usually get right back to work. But sometimes my naps get a bit out of control. Sometimes I zone out on my phone for a bit. Winter is hard. 
     Last night I found out that a friend of mine died suddenly. I have no idea what happened, I just know that she is gone and it makes me sad. She and I had a variety of things in common, so while we were not super close friends, we had a lot of lengthy conversations. I remember, more than once, she said she couldn't wait until we could figure out a way for me to go to Breyerfest so she could give me the biggest hug. I'm sad she is gone and sad at how long it has been since we chatted. Life is short, hug your people.

Monday, January 17, 2022

NaMoPaiMo is Coming

     NaMoPaiMo was started in 2017 by Jennifer Buxton. She wanted to challenge herself to paint a model in the month of February and her hope was to paint with a "few" friends. NaMoPaiMo took on a life of its own and I believe that year Jennifer painted with a couple hundred friends. I meant to be one of them, but I did not start out with a prepped model and I never even got started on painting. I was bummed but NaMoPaiMo is fun even just to watch. 
     In 2018 I made sure to have my model (from 2017) prepped before February. Let me stop here and say that if any of you are planning on joining in for NaMoPaiMo this year PREP YOUR MODEL NOW! OK, I got that out of the way. So anyway, I started with a prepped model and an insanely complex pattern, but I think Monet actually came out pretty well. And I was incredibly pleased to be able to post "I did it!" when I got her finished.
     In 2019 I went smaller, and with a color I had never painted before. Not hard to do really, since I have painted so few things ever. Hugh Can Do It was my first ever palomino, my first micro, and the first horse that I was actually really impressed with my paint work. Not with this photo, this photo sucks, but the paint work was the best I had ever done. I was definitely a winner. 
    2020 was the year we try not to speak of, but I had a lot of really cool stuff happen in 2020. Including painting Beauty Queen, who was my first traditional scale model that I didn't want to chuck right in the trash. She was my second palomino, and while she is not LSQ, she makes a fine performance model, and went on to do some fun things in photo shows. I have dreams of redoing some shading with pastels. Maybe I would like her even more if I did. 
     Last year I painted Partly Sunny into my first ever dappled gray. I have never worked so hard on a model. Ever. Dapples take a really long time. Shading and fixing things takes a really long time. The little lightning marks on the legs take a long time. Whites take a long time. This horses is also unlikely to actually be LSQ, but I am so happy with the effort I put in, and how he came out. He was named for the best of the weather we had for February 2021. We had a lot of rain and gloom with occasional days that were partly sunny. The other 2 horses were from minis painting minis. I'm also pretty pleased with them, but not like I am with Partly Sunny. 
     So what about this year? What will I be attempting to paint for 2022? I have no idea. I had this grand idea to finish my custom Winx and paint her during NaMoPaiMo. But that was way back in the Fall. Now I am teaching, tired, busy, tired, overwhelmed, tired. I don't have time to finish the customizing, let alone get to prepping. So likely I will have to paint something that is already prepped. Which basically leaves me with one option. I might just have to go that route. 


Sunday, January 16, 2022


     I had a busy weekend, but didn't do anything that has photos or updates, so I have almost nothing to talk about. Again. I was thinking about talking about tack again, but I also feel like I have done a whole lot of those posts in the past couple of months. I don't have time to play with the 1:9 scale dollhouse things, though I should do that sometime soon probably (and see what I don't really need because I have SO MUCH stuff). So today I will just share all of the saddlebags that I managed to finish recently. I only have these 6 sets, but that is 2 more sets than I had at the last live sale. I need to make the stuff for them, and the pommel bags, but I am really happy I got these 6 sets finished. The main bags really are the most time consuming part of the sets, so the hardest for me to talk myself into making. Anyway, I will have these 6 sets available at my next live sale, at the end of March. If I slack off too much they may come just like this without the other stuff. But I am aiming for the full sets. We will see what I manage. 
     I am still really cold, and I am really hating the weather the last several days. Saturday was definitely the worst, but so far January has pretty much decided to be much more typical than normal. I was looking at my "last year on this date" posts from OneDrive and a few days ago last year I was out taking performance photos in the yard! Now it needs to be pretty warm out for an outdoor performance photo shoot. I can't be dealing with frozen hands and bulky coats. So I would say it had to have been in the 50s. It is not in the 50's now (as I type this it's a balmy 21 degrees, which is MUCH better than the 9 it was yesterday!). I really am very ready for Spring. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022


       There is not really any reason that these dolls should have taken me a week to make. There is even less reason for them to take more than a week. Other than I am very tired, sort of unmotivated, and very, very cold. I am so cold. As I am sitting here I have on several shirts, a scarf (not decorative, lol), socks and shearling slippers. I guess I need to invest in long underwear, jeans are not warm. But it's single digit cold right now. We do not have our heat set low but when it is super cold outside that doesn't seem to matter much. I need to move to the desert...
     So anyway, I have not finished these casual dolls that I was working on this week. Though I sort of made an OK effort to do it. It's true that I did nap almost every afternoon after school (20-40 minutes, I really do time them) and then I was just sort of mentally tired and unmotivated a lot of the time. I will snap out of that sooner or later, but for now my progress will be incredibly slow. 
     In different news, yesterday Elecktra and I went to an estate sale where we found this little gem. I had no idea they made cup holders for walkers! And of course when you look at the name it looks like it's a cup holder for a cane, which just sounds like it would be messy. Anyway, I love estate sales, even though it is always super weird to look through someone's house and all of their belongings. 
     We're partway into a 3 day weekend and I am really happy for the break. True, we ended up with a 3 day weekend last week because of the snow day, and we had winter break just a couple of weeks ago, but we have made it almost to the midpoint of the school year. Things are settled in, for the most part, but people are tired and a bit antsy. We are now in the countdown to February break. I think it is pretty much perfect how the breaks are spaced out. Anyway, the winter makes me tired, cold and unmotivated, so it's good to know I have an extra day to sleep late this weekend and that a bit of a longer break is coming somewhat soon. 

Friday, January 14, 2022


       There are some things that pretty much all of my days this week have in common. I worked pretty much continuously from the moment I got to school to the moment I left, got home and was super exhausted, so needed to take a bit of a nap. And then the naps lasted a little bit longer (I set timers for my naps so I don't just crash). After that I would often get up and play on my phone for a bit. Then maybe a bit more. I am tired. But I have also managed to make some pretty good progress on everything at school. I have lessons planned for all of next week and I think most of the week after. Even the week after that for a couple of classes. I have grades in so currently everything is totally updated. That's good, grades close....soon. Maybe even Monday. Hmm, maybe I'm up to date on everything! I need to look into that... OK, they close on Wednesday. Which means I need to put two assignments in the online gradebook, give, collect and grade the assignments, and hope that I don't get 37 piles of makeup work on Wednesday. I will not be pleased. Anyway, stuff is going fairly well I think. Just keep swimming. 
     I have managed to get 3 backpacks finished for my live sale. I am planning on making a bunch more likely, but I have these to start. I think they are super cute! Two of them are made with new custom fabrics I got from Carra as a holiday gift. I love the flamingos and palm trees so much! Abd the coffee and cookies print is one I had a small bit of in the past and have run out of. It's good to have more.
      I also got some sewing done on some of the bareback pads. One of these is going to be a special gift, but the other 3 will be in the live sale. All of them are new prints! I still have to add trim and make the billets and girths, but more progress has been made. 
     I am working super slowly these days, at least I feel like I am. I am so tired after going full-out at school all day that I don't have a whole lot of energy left for doll work. But I keep on picking away at it. And maybe soon I will have more energy. Right now I am just so cold. I am sick of winter. 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

It’s started

     Remember this little doll from the Firefly photos? She is getting some work done. I guess it is possible that I could have just punched another hole or two in the stirrups, but that's silly. Obviously the answer is to make the doll's legs longer. 
    So I started on some surgery. I cut her leg wire and worked on splicing in a new piece. Sometimes that actually works. And sometimes it doesn't. 
     This was one of the times it didn't work. So I decided to just take her legs off and start again. She still has a long way to go, and I have to make her new clothes from the waist down, but she will be better when I am done. She is also getting a bendy neck while I am into fixing her. 
     Monday we don't have school and I am very happy we will have another 3 day weekend. I have not been getting the best sleep and I have been very tired this week. So my doll work has been slow again. I am making progress, just not quickly. Tuesday I am getting a new student in 2 of my classes. I can't imagine starting at a new school in the middle of the school year. I feel like we should do some introduction stuff to make them feel welcome. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Police Dolls Part 2

     Potentially the trickiest part of the police dolls was their headgear. The regular cop needed a helmet, with some extra stuff on it, but the drum rider needed sort of a pith helmet. I didn't have anything like that and I really don't like making them. So I started searching to see if Mego had ever made anything like it. And I searched, and I changed search terms, and I looked some more... and then I remembered that Michelle has been able to 3D print some pretty awesome things, so I sent her a message and a photo, and asked if she would be able to make what I needed. And the answer was yes! Her test print was basically perfect and I told her so. I also ordered some more helmets from her at the same time so I can have more removable helmets for the next live sale. The helmet on the cop was a large one Michelle printed a while back. It was the biggest one I had and I was glad that I had it. This is the only helmet, of many sizes that I have, that fit on this head! I had to paint it, but there are definitely worse things than having to paint something!
     The pith helmet was perfect the color Michelle sent it so I just added the blue and white checkered trim and the patch. Just a couple of little details turned them into police dolls. And I think they came together pretty well in the end. I love when dolls go from looking horrible (SO many ugly stages!) to all of a sudden coming together. I am not surprised if people new to doll making get frustrated during the process. Dolls basically look awful from start to almost finished. 
    The last thing for Mary's order was a removable safety vest for her police rider. I think this is so he can ride in parades, but I am not sure. Lots of cops wear safety vests for different things while on the job. Anyway, this one was a bit tricky. I made another one with larger reflective ribbon that I didn't much like. Neither did Mary. So I got a new package of ribbon (there is ONE size in the 3 size pack that is good for 1:9 scale) and remade the vest. And it was almost there. So another tweak and we have a removable safety vest. They are not the easiest or the hardest thing to make. They do not glue well though. At least not with Fabritac. I finally remembered that they are iron-on ribbons and ironed them together. It was a good thing I put them on some foil other wise I potentially could have ruined them and whatever they were on! But it all worked out and came together in the end. 
      I have a couple more custom dolls I need to try to get to this week. They are not as tricky as these police dolls but that is certainly OK. Sometimes basic dolls are just what I need. 


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Police Dolls

     Remember how yesterday I said sometimes I think about not taking custom orders? If I closed my books I would never make dolls like these guys! unusual, elaborate dolls can be time consuming (these guys took a solid week+ on their own) but they definitely stretch my creativity and make me really think about all the little details. When Mary ordered the police rider and drum rider dolls I started doing what I always do; breaking them down into pieces and thinking how they would go together. In all honestly their basic outfits are not unusual (many custom dolls need new patterns, these didn't). The police rider is wearing a button down shirt, breeches, and tall boots. The drum rider is wearing breeches, a shirt and tie, and basically a hunt coat. The thing that changes them from those basic dolls (and takes so much time) is adding all of the little details that change them from the basic dolls into the specialized dolls that they are. 
     Mary sent me a whole bunch of reference photos to work from. I found her 2 different doll heads so she didn't end up with twins, and I got to work on them. Maire cleaned up the patches on her computer (this is a thing I don't know how to do), sized them, and sent me a PDF of them. I then printed them on fabric and actually turned them into patches (basically I cover the back of the fabric with glue and let it dry. Then I cut the pieces out without them fraying). While checking and rechecking the reference I added the different details. These guys went through several ugly staged where I knew I had to just keep going! And eventually they came together. 
    Mary wanted a couple of removable things for her police rider, one of them being his duty belt. So I googled those, found as many good references as I could (did you know you can buy those on Amazon???) and I made a basic duty belt. He "only" has a holster, with gun, walkie talkie, and handcuffs, but I think he looks pretty good! 
     Even after all these details these dolls needed a few more things to be totally finished. But we can talk about those tomorrow. 


Monday, January 10, 2022

Customer Photos

      I go back and forth about whether or not I want to stop taking custom orders. Sometimes I just want to make whatever I feel like making. Sometimes I feel like I am "behind" if I take too long to get to an order (even though an order is rarely in my book for even a month). But so far I have not closed by books and I can't bring myself to do it now. And I have to say, sometimes it's nice to already know what you need to make. 
     Recently I made this western pleasure doll for Jody, and I was so pleased to see how well she matches Jody's saddle pad! It is super tricky to match from a photo, since every monitor is different, but we seemed to do pretty well. I think this pair makes a good team. And I absolutely LOVE customer photos!
     School is weird again. I found out that there is another piece of the job that is expected that I didn't know about until yesterday. It was very overwhelming and frustrating for most of the day. Then I figured out how to make it work. It still adds another thing I have to do, but I have a way to fit it in that I THINK will not take much for extra time. A bit of time, but nothing crazy. As long as it works the way it works in my head I think I will be OK. 
    In other school news, midterms were canceled and I am thrilled about that! I had the days blocked off properly in the book but had not gotten around to making any exams yet. And now I don't have to. I can just stick to regular tests and quizzes, at regular intervals, and it makes me really happy. 
     Another weird thing that made me happy was yesterday, while Travis and I were out doing errands after laundry, I noticed that the sun was just starting to go down at 4:30. This is progress! At the darkest it is DARK here at 4:30. I would say we didn't have full sunset until around 5:00 or later. And I am hanging onto the reminder that Spring, and the sun, will come back eventually. 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Getting into the Swing of Things

     I am still slowly picking away at some saddlebags. I am pretty much over them at this point though and might decide I am done after I get the couple last sets finished that I am into at the moment. I am glad I made some for the next live sale, and really glad I got them out of the way so early. I still have to make matching pommel bags and the stuff to go in them, but the hardest parts are nearly done. And I have started into creating the small stuff, which is only available at my live sales. 
     Some people may be curious why the smaller items (other than removable cutting chaps or chinks) are only available during my live sales. The short answer is because that is how I do it. The somewhat longer answer is orders for these items stress me out for no particular reason that I can understand. Maybe because the creation of these items takes steps that are often very different than doll making. There are a lot of crossover aspects, but that doesn't seem to matter. I took orders for the smaller things for a bit. I was always incredibly stressed and anxious over these orders, so I decided finally not to do it anymore. But I do make myself make at least some of each of the smaller items for my live sales. At least I try to. 

     Anyway, this time around I started with the saddlebags and then moved on to prepping a bunch of bareback pads. I need to get out the sewing machine to keep going with the bareback pads, but I at least have a bunch of them started. I also finished a cute little flamingo backpack and have another backpack about halfway finished. I actually sort of enjoy making backpacks. Maybe I will make a whole bunch of them this time around. Or maybe I will forget that plan and only make a handful. Who can say?
    We are in actual winter now, for sure. It snowed the other day, we had our first snow day off from school, and it's cold almost all the time. I really hate the cold. I am sometimes bored (how???) and just can't figure out what I want to do. Which then makes me feel like I am probably forgetting to do something really important. Anyway, is it almost Spring yet?


Saturday, January 8, 2022

Firefly and Hawkeye

     The last models of the Breyer premier club for 2021 are Firefly and Hawkeye. And they are cute. That sassy little foal just makes me happy. Too bad I really don't collect foals. I love his whole look, his attitude, his color, but I very likely won't be keeping him. Firefly is also an amazing model, who will likely be quite versatile as a performance horse. She is very tack friendly, but I don't love roan horses. Especially red roan horses. I have so much pink in my collection that it is a bit tricky to find things to use with her. 
    I have seen people complaining that she is not actually 1:9 scale, since she doesn't necessarily fit in the tack they have. But I have seen, and ridden, vastly different sized horses at the barn where I used to lead trails. Very short horses where it was easy to hop on bareback and super tall horses where even getting a leg-up was hard. Horses come in different sizes. Lucky for me, so does my tack collection. 
     I got this black saddle set from Joan Yount sometime this past summer I think. It is actually the saddle that fits the best on Ansel (he's a bit tricky to fit) and it also fits really nicely on Firefly. Though this is so far the only western saddle I have put on her. I was also excited to see that the bridle that came with the saddle fits her so well. And she looks nice in black tack with some turquoise for an accent color. 
     Next it was time to try some English tack. Because of course it was. The first bridle I grabbed looked to fit her fairly well 
     I may even have other bridles that fit her better, but this was an excellent first try, with no adjustments.  I didn't love the saddle on her though. I don't know what it was but as soon as I put a doll on her everything looked very unbalanced. So I switched it. 
     I put my larger pony saddle on her, and a youth doll, and everything worked perfectly. Though I was reminded my youth doll needs her legs adjusted and a new neck. I can't shorten the stirrups anymore, so I need to lengthen the doll's legs, lol. And her neck needs to be bendy and then I will be happy. 
     Even with the need for adjustment the doll looks really nice on this horse. I think I could have gotten an adult rider to work as well, if I had switched to a different saddle. That particular one wasn't working on her, it doesn't mean another one wouldn't have been fine. 
      I am still not 100% sure that I will be keeping Firefly, or Hawkeye. Right now I have nowhere to put them and I don't absolutely love the color. It's incredibly well done, I just am not the biggest fan of red roan. But she sure is a cute little model. I think I'll just have to think on it for a bit. One of the Breyerfest special runs that has so far been revealed is a set with the Firefly and Hawkeye molds. Both super cute paint horses. I may just need to get a pickup person this year.