Saturday, July 30, 2022

Breyerfest Loot part 2

      In part two of Breyerfest loot, we look at the things that look the same, but are not in fact the same. What I mean is, my two Breyerfest volunteer models showed up today. Now we all know I am not an OF collector, I have said it often enough. And while some people think that is just a thing I say to hide my love of OF models, it's not, it's actually true. I think I currently own maybe 5 traditional scale OFs (2 are ponies, so, small), and I have some stablemates, including a Django conga. But all together I am pretty sure I have less than 30 stablemates. If I would just get up and count I would know for sure (I counted, I have 11 OF stablemates). So yeah, I really am not an OF collector. Part of what comes with that is not having OF collector's eyes. But I do have the eyes of a prepper, which is partly why I don't really like OF horses. I can't fix the flaws and they bug me. So anyway, I looked over these super shiny models and on this first one I didn't actually see any flaws. No weird lines in the mold, no weird dull spots in the gloss, no crap in the gloss. This is a REALLY nice horse. As far as I can tell. I also took a whole ton of photos of her from every angle I could think of, since I don't have those OF collector's eyes. This one is listed on the Rare Model Horse sales group on Facebook (with ALL her photos) for $1000 including US shipping. You do have to be a member of the group to see things (I'm pretty sure) but if you are not, and really have an interest in this horse, send me an email to and I will send you a pile of photos of her. 

   Hey look! It's the same horse... but not. I should have actually gotten a shot of them together, but I didn't think of it until after model A was already wrapped back up. I want to handle these horses as little as possible, and I want them unwrapped as little as possible. So it is entirely possible that they have more similar coloring, but I don't really think that is the case. Anyway, This second model is almost as nice as the first one, but does have one little goober in his gloss (which I do have a photo of). He is currently listed on MH$P, with lots of photos, $850 plus shipping
      I still have a couple more things coming from my Breyerfest purchasing (though both were actually purchased from artists after Breyerfest) and I will share those when they arrive. I will have some more doll updates soon. I mostly need to talk myself into taking some photos. I still have no more news on the live sale, other than likely the end of August. For people in the miniatures club, the packages are on their way as of yesterday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Breyerfest Loot

     I have not been very into the hobby lately, as I mentioned many times. I virtually attended Breyerfest, but I didn't really participate all that much. Still, what is Breyerfest without a bit of shopping and loot photos? My Nikolas arrived last week and I got a quick and horrible photo for a friend of mine. 
     Then today my purchases from Breyer arrived.  I only made one purchase, instead of multiples, and some of that was because I don't really want the hassle of working on reselling things. Yes, I am one of those terrible people who tries to recoup some costs by selling items. This was my box of purchased stuff. 
     This was my loot all spread out, before I opened the surprise special run to see what I got or the Rhenish draft to see if he was matte or glossy. 
      He's matte. And very pretty, but still huge. I am sure I could come up with some clever performance entries for him, but he would definitely need a whole lot of everything made just for him. I am not in that place so he is for sale. 
     So then I opened up my surprise horse. For years of feeling up blind bag models I was sure it was one of the Rotating Draft Surprise models. Not that that narrowed it down all that much! I was a little bit bummed that it was not Rapunzel. I very likely would have kept her. But I got this Wedgewood blue paint draft horse. He is HUGE and a decorator, so definitely not my thing. He is also for sale. 
     I bought myself a Strudel, because he's so stinking cute, but I am not sure what to do with him now. I have Pal's Palette, the plush from last year, on my dashboard (I think Kimber, who does the live feed for virtual Breyerfest, said she has a plush on her dashboard, and that is where I got the idea). But Strudel is definitely a sitter. And I don't think he will fit on my dashboard. Plus, if I start a collection of stuffed things on the dashboard of my car, someone is likely to eventually give me crap about it. Potentially a cop. So I am not currently sure what the fate of my Strudel is. So he is still in his plastic. 
    Lorelei is the crystal horse for this year. I sold all but one of my other crystal horses earlier this year so kind of didn't think I would keep her. But I was talking to my friend Marisa the other day about Breyerfest and Breyerfest loot. She pointed out that I HAD to keep her because she's a PAM (I do love PAM!). And I was still not sure. But then I took her out of her box, to make sure she wasn't broken... and she is now on the shelf.
     The last piece of Breyer Breyerfest loot is the Best of Breyerfest stablemate set. This was one of those things I bought because shipping was expensive and I really wanted to make it worth my while. I am likely not keeping this set and very well might break them up. I did also buy a non-Breyerfest shopping tote (because I have a vast collection of reusable shopping bags) and a non-Breyerfest Friesian horse T-shirt. 
     I do have a couple of pieces coming from artists, one was from a post-breyerfest sale (I think?) and one was some tack I saw and really liked. I will share those things when they arrive. 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Fun With Dolls

     Guess what I did yesterday? Nothing. I did nothing. It was planned nothing, so I could mentally handle it, but I did nothing. Well, mostly nothing. I did go to the store to pick up stuff for taco salad, because I decided I wanted taco salad. Then I made the taco salad and eventually washed the dishes. But mostly I did nothing. I took some chairs into the yard under the pine trees (because shade) and sat and did nothing. It was expected to be in the mid-90s, we don't have air conditioning, and outside is so much nicer. Especially if there is humidity. We actually only had about 35% humidity, which was pretty nice. And my hair stayed dry almost all day! Which is weird for during a heatwave. The sweat-filled, non-drying hair is one of my least favorite parts of heatwaves. But anyway, I sat in my yard and did almost nothing. I looked at the internet a bit, because I can't seem to look away, but mostly I did nothing. I listened to a couple of podcasts and sometimes I just listened to the birds. A lot of nothing. 
     So yesterday was full of mostly nothing, but last week was full of doll making. Hunt seat dolls to be exact. Three hunt seat dolls, in identical outfits, who are all very different. There was also some fun with dolls photos. Because I do get a kick out of making dolls look less like dolls. In this one, apparently the 2 dolls on the edge heard some news that the doll in the middle just HAS to hear, right now!
This photo just makes me happy. 
    And this one... do you know how hard it is to make dolls look like they are holding hands? Well, not hard if there are only 2 of them doing it, that was not bad. Adding a third doll and not having them all staring off in different directions, looking bored, was the trick. I still did not get them all to look at the camera, which is often my goal when photographing dolls. But maybe this team is waiting for some results. I don't know. But this was also a fun picture to set up. 
    As you can see from my recent posts, I have actually been managing to not only work on dolls, but finish a bunch of dolls. At this point I am starting to have a variety of them finished. This week I need to work on a couple of dolls for an order and I think I will throw in a youth hunt seat doll as well. I have a body prepped for that already, so I am already partway there. 
    So yesterday I started my day by doing very little. I spent a couple of hours in the yard, then watched a show, ate taco salad, and then spent a bunch more time in the yard. It was a nice day of mostly staying still. It's supposed to be even hotter today, day 5 of the heatwave, but I feel like I might need to do some moving around. Maybe. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Western Pleasure Project

     People that know me, or have been reading my blog for a while, know that I work a lot. I mean, a lot a lot. I make myself deadlines for things often. I have had many well-meaning people tell me that the deadlines really are arbitrary, and I should cut myself some slack. But when you are self-employed, you need to make the deadlines, or things don't necessarily happen. Ever. Which then makes the deadlines not arbitrary. It doesn't mean that my deadlines shouldn't be a bit more flexible. It is OK to not hit the top goal every single time. Some of them are quite ambitious. And some of them are not. 
     I have changed a lot of how I work in the past year. I no longer expect maximum results all the time. I no longer expect to work all day at school and then come home and work all afternoon, and evening, on dolls. I have much more realistic expectations. I don't need to work ALL the time. I don't need to blog every day. It doesn't make me a failure, it makes me take better care of me. 
     The end of the last school year was super rough. I probably should not have agreed to teach, at least not as a long term substitute. It took full-time teacher dedication, but did not pay like a full-time teacher. The only reason that matters is it left me too tired to make dolls. I was mentally and physically exhausted. And could not often function when I got home. Even with cutting myself some slack, I felt like I was failing at almost everything. I was doing a really great job teaching, but was not able to put any energy into my business. A business I have worked on building for 16 years. It was mentally rough. But now, all of a sudden, not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel, but I reached the end of the tunnel. All of a sudden I have energy to work on dolls. I have time and space in my brain to work on dolls. And it has been pretty excellent!
     When I made the casual western ladies on the Lena doll body, I was also working on this western pleasure doll. She is semi-casual as well, because not every doll needs to be super loaded up with decorative bling. I do love bling, but I know that sometimes a less fancy doll is what people are looking for. 
    Not to worry though, I have plenty of blingy dolls in the works. I have been working on batches of dolls again, which is sometimes an easier way to work. This week I was working on a whole bunch of western pleasure dolls. Blingy western pleasure dolls. It can be a challenge to work on a variety of similar dolls all at once while also not making them all the same. I think I have managed well though. I guess we will see when they are all finished up and fully revealed!
    Here is a bit of a closer look at the semi-casual western pleasure Lena. Her turquoise shirt is not a solid color, but slightly patterned. I think she would be a fun doll for a large variety of setups. This is the type of doll that I might use to be a super versatile doll. She can do western pleasure or trail, since not every western pleasure entrant is super fancy. She can also do things like working classes, even without specialty chaps. I may also be wrong on that, lol. But I know when I started showing 1000 years ago, a doll like this (though it was usually a cowboy doll) was great for all the western classes. At local level shows anyway. But maybe we have moved into specialized for absolutely everything at this point. Even at the local level. I haven't been paying enough attention. 
    To wrap up, I think I am finally recovered, mostly, from teaching. It really did take a lot out of me, and left me really exhausted for a really long time. Now I am waking up in a great mood, wanting to do things. I go to sleep thinking about what types of dolls I want to make. I have always done a lot of doll designing in my sleep. I am still planning on having another live sale, though likely it will be around the end of August instead of the middle of August, and I am working on having a good variety of available items. More information to come soon!

Friday, July 22, 2022

Customer Photos- Katy Niles

      I really love model horse performance photos. Even when I don't have much interest in showing, or even setting anything up, I really love model horse performance photos. The other day, my friend Katy Niles sent me some photos from NAN and Breyerfest, using dolls I have made for her. First up is her little youth doll. I hate this doll. I actually hate most youth dolls and have not enjoyed making them in a very long time. To ride well they need to be remade almost completely. And then they are delicate. This doll has been broken a couple of times. I definitely prefer to modify the little Yvonne dolls and make a more durable youth doll. 
      This is another doll that I made for Katy, and the scene is a sensory experience at the barn. The documentation tells all about the sights, sounds, smells, and so on. Apparently there was also sound to go with this entry! Katy tried to send me a video of it, but instagram decided not to let me see it (video unavailable). So I will just have to imagine it. 
     Here is the little youth doll again, now at Breyerfest. I hear she is also broken again, which is not at all surprising. While I was fixing, then remaking, my youth doll I must have broken her several times, made her a whole new body, hated it, modified it, and then changed to the modified little Yvonne body. They are definitely easier to work with, both in construction and use. 
     This was the doll that I made quickly last week. Or the week before, I have totally lost track of time (I think it is Friday...). This setup got 5th in a really tough class. I have never shown at Breyerfest live, but I have heard stories of the crazy fierce competition. Placing at all sounds pretty amazing to me!
     Thank you Katy for sharing your photos and showing how fun it is to play with dolls.Every day I am getting a little bit closer to wanting to do it myself. And seeing cool performance photos helps with my motivation.


Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Couple of Cowgirls

     I finished these dolls a couple of weeks ago and have just not managed to post about them until now. They were both done on the Lena doll body, from KC's Galloping Gals, and both ended up wearing shades of pink. I realized that after they were finished. But what can I say, pink is an excellent color! And I also know that not everyone agrees. I don't know what it is, but so many people have really strong feelings about the color pink. Either they love it or hate it. Not sure why that it. Clearly, I am a lover of the color pink!
     These two ladies also have removable hats and fully haired heads. I really love them. Not that I need two more casual dolls for my collection. Especially when I am not actually using any of my performance or 1:9 scale dollhouse stuff at the moment. Though I will admit to having bought a new tack set just after the end of Breyerfest. It is coming from Russia so I know very well it could be several weeks to several months before it arrives. I don't even know if I actually have a horse it will fit on. But it is beautiful, and while I don't need it at all, I liked it enough to buy it. 
    Something amazing happened this week. All of a sudden a lot of my meh feeling about everything went away. I was no longer having to fight myself to get anything done. It really is such a switch to how I have been feeling for a couple of months (maybe longer? Maybe shorter?). Instead of feeling like there are weights on me every time I try to pick things up to work on them I am all of a sudden interested in working on things. Sure, it is still a bit hard to make myself sew, but that is such a process to get set up and ready. But work has been happening. Not a lot of blogging has been happening, other than my weird Breyerfest posts, but work has been happening. I have still been slacking off on taking photos so I don't have anything ready to put in a post. But I do promise, posts are coming. They will even be about dolls. 


Sunday, July 17, 2022

On the Third Day of Breyerfest

      I'm weirdly all Breyerfested out. I did not participate all that much, even though I had a virtual ticket and could have watched the live feed and a variety of other things. I did a small bit of shopping, but none of the things I bought were things I super loved, needed, or necessarily wanted. I decided that what I did want was to get up and move around, instead of just sitting inside all day. So Travis and I went to the indoor flea market (so yeah, still inside, but moving around) and we had a look around. We saw some Breyer horses... 
    And we saw a GIANT horse statue. We also ran into one of my former students, who recognized me, and I tried like hell, but could not come up with his name. He told me and I still could not place him. I recognized his face and that was all. On the drive home I remembered that I had him in an algebra 2 class at the beginning of this past school year, before I started teaching. And I felt like an ass. I had no idea my brain was so messed up that I could forget a kid that quickly. Many of them seem to forget me the moment they leave the classroom, but I usually have a little bit more retention than that. Stupid brain. 
     We also saw this lady at the flea market, who I immediately sent a picture of to Jennifer Buxton. Which makes sense if you caught the riding demo or if you happened to see the photos on Facebook. 
     So on this third day of Breyerfest I saw someone I sort of recognized but couldn't figure out where from (just that I taught him something at some point), I saw big and small model horses, and things that reminded me of friends. And I was hot and tired. That sounds like the wrap up of a lot of people's Breyerfest weekend. Back to dolls soon, I promise. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

On the Second Day of Breyerfest

     On the second day of Breyerfest I was unmotivated to do things. Again. I know, we're all shocked, lol. I did manage to catch the live feed when it started up. I also split out my screen (a trick I learned during remote learning!) so I could shop and watch at the same time. I was still not totally sure I really wanted anything, but I got a few things. I picked up the special run, because I do love a blind bag. I am curious what I will get. None of the special runs excited me all that much, so it was a gamble that I can hopefully at least sell for the money I spent. I got a few other things, including a couple of non-Breyerfest items to throw in the mix. If I was already going to be paying about $30 in shipping, I wanted to make it a little bit more worth it. So that was what I did in the morning. I also thought about finishing the hunt seat dolls I am working on. It's the thought that counts... though the dolls are still not finished...
    In the late morning I picked up Elecktra and we went to Walmart because we needed to go to Walmart. I also thought about photo showing some more. I was thinking that if I had just a corner to keep my photo show table and arena set up on, I might actually be able to take my time and get nice photos. Just a few photos at a time. I don't happen to have even a corner that I could fit a table in, but it was a nice thought. Setting up the arena and getting the footing down nicely takes such a long time that I want to then make the best use of all that setup time. But maybe I need to think about being a little bit more realistic about show photos. Maybe I can make an insanely detailed plan, with exactly which horse I want to set up in what classes. Then I can break it down into doing maybe 5 at a time. I could do that. Maybe. We'll see if that happens. My performance stuff is still in the storage locker. 
     Mostly I was unmotivated today, and Ethan was unmotivated, so we watched a bunch of NCIS. But I did catch a little bit of the Breyerfest evening show. 
     I grabbed this screenshot and now want to see if I can figure out a way to get my vaulting setup like this. HOW is the question. The doll can stand, but squarely on both her feet. I really don't think she can balance in this position. Bit it could be interesting to try to make it happen. 
      Other things that happened today was finding out that this winged Silver sold for $65,000 in the auction! I got to see a video (Maggie Bennett's video) of the auction. It was so still when those last bids were coming in. I saw the usual comments about how much of this or that someone could buy with that money. It's true, you could buy a lot of something (or a large chunk of something big) with $65,000. But I really don't care what people do with their money. And if they choose to spend it on a plastic horse so they can support some charities, good for them. Maybe they didn't even care overly much about the horse itself and were more interested in the charities. Though most of the other horses didn't go anywhere near this high, so they must have also really wanted this horse in particular. 

      I saw the volunteer model and I am wondering if I will get that model or if I will get a different model because I was an online volunteer. I won't know until it arrives, though I did get a shipping notification from CCG (the shipping company Breyer uses). It is likely my celebration model, but maybe also volunteer models. Who knows. And as usual, they made the label and now nothing has happened. Waiting is hard. 
      So I do have the smallest bit of FOMO. Not much, since I am not currently all that interested in much of anything these days. Yes, that does concern me. But I have small little bits of wanting to do stuff with the horses. Nothing has come of it yet, but I have thought about it. I looked around at some of the online offerings for Breyerfest, but they are actually pretty hard to find. I don't know who has things and the new Facebook shows me stuff from a week ago, then a bunch of ads, then stuff from a few minutes ago, ads, old stuff... I have missed so many things I am sure. 
      Anyway, on this second day of Breyerfest I watched a small amount of live footage, some videos of different things, a bit of the evening show, bought some stuff, looked at Facebook a lot, listened to some more of the Mares in Black BIG Breyerfest episode, and I thought about all the walking that I am not doing because I am not at the Kentucky horse park. My feet kind of hurt just thinking about it. But I kind of wish I had gone for a nice long walk today. Maybe with some horse friends. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

On the First Day of Breyerfest

     On this first day of Breyerfest... I didn't really do any Breyerfesting. I did answer a message saying that I was not in Kentucky. I did look at the website this morning at 9:00... but nothing was happening and nothing was open. So I went to the Brimfield Flea Market and I walked for miles. I also visited with my aunts, Yvonne and Deb. I really should do that more often. Doing anything is hard for me these days. I seem to be really short on want-to. 
     This week I did manage some doll work, even without much want-to. I started dremeling a batch of dolls, for a batch of hunt seat dolls (with bendy necks). I had a chair for once, so I decided to do a bunch more. Now I have dolls prepped for next week and at least part of the week after. I feel very efficient!
     I also talked myself into sewing several hunt seat outfits. Every single one of them is identical, though the dolls will not be. I still have a couple of the custom African American heads from my friend Roberto, and I decided she was going to be a hunt seat doll. Hairing a resin head is so much different than hairing a vinyl head. And it doesn't have to be awesome, since there will be a helmet covering a lot of it. 
    Yesterday I did talk myself into working later than I usually do. I have been trying not to work more than Tuesday-Thursday (on dolls) and only up until supper. I need to have boundaries on when I can work or I will just work all the time. And then be mad about working all the time. But since I have been a little bit of a slacker when it came to work this week I decided it was OK to work a bit after supper. And I got these dolls nearly finished. They all are even a little bit further than in this photo. Another hour or hour and a half will likely finish them up. 
     So what did I do on this first day of Breyerfest? I thought about wearing my volunteer T-shirt. But then realized I did not want to wear sleeves to walk around Brimfield. Though I have to say, it was not an overly hot day today. But there is a LOT of pavement, a lot of people, and not a lot of shade. So I did not wear my Breyerfest T-shirt. Maybe in the Fall. Anyway, I saw a Breyer at the Flea Market, but really only one I think (I wasn't looking). When I got back home I cleared everything out of the back of my car and, after Travis got home, we went and picked up a chair for Elecktra. Good times. I am not actually mad, even though I look it in the photo, this was just proof of chair, lol. 
     After we dropped off the chair we went to Khol's to do an Amazon return and stopped at Walmart to try to find the mineral water Ethan likes and can never find. Nope, still none. We came home and had supper and I did look in on virtual Breyerfest a bit, even though it was "closed". I watched a few minutes of the evening show, looked in the store to see if I wanted to buy anything (still undecided), looked at the contest entries, and checked out Facebook a bit to see if people were posting about Breyerfest (of course they were). I thought again about entering the Resin Futurity, but realized that since I sold Bootlegger, I don't have any good photo show photos of RESIN horses. Mocha Latte has OK photos, but after putting together my seminar, I know that they are not great. 
     So can we talk about my seminar for a minute? I have actually been wanting to talk about that for MONTHS, but have not been able to, since it wasn't announced. That super secret stuff I was talking about way back? When I then alluded to it being about my workshop, lol, it was NOT about my workshop! My workshop was SIMPLE to record, took very little time, and the editing was not a big deal. The seminar filming was a hot mess! Not only is it pretty hard to put together an hour of stuff when you are basically talking to yourself (I could talk for WAY more than an hour on judging if I had people in front of me!) but the weather was completely uncooperative. First, I needed to film in March. There are not a lot of days in March, in Massachusetts, that are even warm enough to spend a whole bunch of time out in my yard. I also don't even sort of have enough room indoors to set up a table full of entries. Or even a couple of entries. This past March we also pretty much had two types of weather; raining or super windy. The day I chose to go out and get my footage started out... nice. So I pulled all the crap out and got started on setting up a bunch of trail entries. I got a bunch of footing down, all the poles and things, the documentation, and I was starting to put horses on the table (which I had already spent a stupid amount of time putting tack on). And guess what? The wind started. And not a gentle breeze, but gusting winds! There was no way to keep the documentation on the table, and some of the gusts were enough to knock over horses. So now I started to panic a bit. HOW was I going to get the footage I needed? The answer was my daughter's new and still mostly empty apartment. She didn't yet have a kitchen table, so I set up in her mostly empty kitchen. I filmed, did tack changes, filmed, more tack changes, screwed up, kept filming, screwed up, restarted the sentence I was talking about. What I learned from last year is to just keep going, you can always edit the messed up stuff out later. Sometimes even nicely. 
     Anyway, after the horrifying time of trying to figure out how to get my footage I finally managed it. And I had a lot of it. I then spent days editing out the messed up stuff, fiddling with speeding up some parts that did not need to be seen in slow detail, doing other editing tricks to take out stuff that wasn't needed... then I put together the photo show groups. In case you have not seen my seminar, what I did was showed a live show class, such as western trail, and then did a photo show class. I talked about how I would judge each one, and then "placed" the class. Every single entry was mine so I was brutally honest about things. And I realized, while judging my photo show pics against each other, more of why they are not doing consistently well. It's because they are good, but mostly they are not great. After a long day of taking show pics I am tired and my eyes and brain say that the good picture is correct. And yeah, mostly they are. But they have flaws. What I need to do is go back to the way I have done photos of groups of dolls, but apply it to photo show pics. What I mean is I need to take a series of pics of a setup, that looks perfectly correct, and then I need to blow them up and look at them in minute detail, before I take the entry apart. Then if it passes the scrutiny of being blown up and picked apart, then maybe I can move on to changing the entry. This plan would be a whole lot easier if I had a place to set up a table and my arena, and do a handful of photos at a time. Or even just a couple and come back to it on another day. That would be awesome. I bet I could even enjoy doing show photos that way. Dreams are nice.
     So to sum up, on this first day of Breyerfest I walked for miles out in the heat (it was only in the mid 80s and I don't think it was all that humid). I drank lots of water, that I paid a lot of money for, visited with some of my favorite people, bought a few little things for myself, looked at horse-shaped objects, picked up and delivered a chair, and thought way too much about photo showing. I wonder what the second day of Breyerfest will bring me!

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sometimes You Need It Now

     Sometime last week, I got a message from a friend asking if I would have any show jumper/hunter dolls in Kentucky by chance. I said that I would not be in Kentucky, but there was still time for me to make a doll and ship it. There was a bit of back and forth to work out the details and the very next day I had this doll finished. 
     Being able to get an order and make the doll by the end of a full day is not a new thing for me. I have done it before, and even had the doll to the customer in 72 hours from the time of ordering. These are things I can do. I can also wait a bit and ship the doll in a couple of days so it arrives around the same time you will arrive (yes, it is in fact slightly scary to send a doll somewhere other than a person's home or office!). Having just tracked the doll, I see that she has made it to Kentucky and should be delivered tomorrow, as planned/expected. This is good news. 
      Since I finished the doll on Tuesday, which I knew was ahead of the ship-date I had time to slack off a little bit. I asked if I needed to make spurs (I pretty much never make spurs if people don't ask for them), the answer was yes and I said that I would make them the next day. 
     So Wednesday when I started work, the first thing I did was make the spurs. They are not complex, don't take that long to make, but are not a thing I automatically make. But they are done, the doll is on her way and should arrive tomorrow. 
     Now let's talk about the other aspects of this post. I made this doll on Tuesday, which is a day I also went to work at the school. It was orientation, so I was only in from 9:00-11:00, which left me plenty of time to get home and work on the dolls. Wednesday was my first full day at school, which meant I was out at 12:15, home by 12:30 and ready to get into work by 1:00. Going to work at school, coming home and getting to work on dolls is nothing new to me. I really do work very long days, kind of often. Though these days I have been trying to work on dolls only Tuesday-Thursday. Three really long days is so much better for me than 5 (or 6) really long days. Still. there are days when I wish I could have just one job, with normal hours, that would be enough. But I don't live that kind of life, so I work a lot and try to remind myself not to work all the time. 
     OK, and what about the other, other aspect of this post? I will not be in Kentucky. Which is nothing at all new for me. Breyerfest is coming and model horse hobbyists are already heading out for it. Some are getting to Kentucky early for NAN (the national show) and some are getting there early just to have some extra time in Kentucky. Or making stops along the way. But I'll be in Massachusetts, just like I am every July. There have been years that that has really bothered me. I got some super serious FOMO and would spend a ton of time on Facebook looking at everyone's photos and wishing I was there with them. This year I don't have that. At least not currently. There is nothing in particular I want from Breyer, so the models themselves are not a draw. There is nothing in particular I want for other hobby pieces either, so those are not necessarily a draw. Though I have seen a couple of painted micros that are amazing, that I really love, that are only available for people shopping in person at Breyerfest. There are often quite a lot of beautiful pieces of art, tack, and so on, that can only be had at Breyerfest, whether or not it is at the artisan's gallery or during room sales. And I always miss out on those things. Which is OK since I still don't really have the desire to buy anything or show. I am still in kind of a weird place. 
      But within the last couple of days I have had the tiniest of shifts. I was listening to the Mares in Black show about the upcoming FAMulous show and Lynn was telling about her start in the hobby with photo showing. And I got to thinking about photo showing. Which is weird because while I have done lots of photo showing over the years, I really don't love photo showing. I figured out how to be really good at live showing. I have not yet quite figured out what is missing from my photo show photos. Sometimes I do well, and sometimes I really don't. Though after picking apart some of my show photos, not individually but AGAINST each other, I think I have learned some things. So the weird shift is that I sort of want to take some performance photos. Sort of. Not that I have any way to do that currently. All of my props and dolls are in a storage locker at the moment. Sure, I could go and pick them up, but then I would have to also go through tacking up horses, setting up entries, fiddling with the entries over and over until they are "perfect"... and then there is the uploading of photos to see if they are in fact great (or even just good) photos. That sounds like a lot of work. That does not currently sound fun. So I have gotten as far as thinking about maybe doing some performance pictures sometime in the near (or distant) future. And Breyerfest is next weekend. Maybe I will become inspired then. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Another Youth

      I had a good first week of summer school. I definitely got to learn a lot of new things, am working on getting to know my new student, and in general got into the groove of things. Maybe it is because I have already worked in a somewhat similar program, am not the only one learning things, and in some cases I am the only one in the room who has experience with certain specific things. It has definitely been an interesting experience so far. And really, I only have 3 weeks left. 
      Summer school days are definitely a different vibe from a regular school year day. Maybe because they are only half as long. Maybe because I am doing something very different. Maybe because it's summer and things are much less intense in education in the summer. I don't know. But last summer I enjoyed the time I spent in the program. This year I am also enjoying things. Even though it has only been a few days. I also have extra time to work on dolls. 
      Recently I completed this little youth doll. She is done on the small Yvonne doll body (slightly modified), with a different head. As soon as I finished her, took photos and sent them to the customer, I realized she had the wrong color hair!

    When you ask for your doll to have red hair, your doll should not have blond hair, lol. So I immediately sent a follow up message saying that I realized I did the wrong color and was working on a new head with the correct hair color. 
     She does look really good with red hair. 
       I managed to get a decent amount of doll work done this week. I wanted to finish one more doll, and I did come close, but I didn't quite make it. I am pretty much trying to stick to only working on dolls a few days a week. Working all the time is a bad idea. Summer school is a slower work pace and doll work should not expand to fill ALL the rest of the time I have. I need to do things I enjoy (whatever those things might be, lol!) and I need to do some relaxing things. I am not doing too badly on balancing. And I am so much more relaxed than I was when I was teaching!


Wednesday, July 6, 2022

It’s Started

      At the tail end of the school year I was not really sure I wanted to do another live sale. But at the tail end of the school year I really didn't want to do anything at all. I didn't want to be a teacher anymore, I didn't want to make dolls anymore, everything was just kind of bad. I do love teaching, and often really like making dolls, but I really needed a break. A mental break, an actual break, all the breaks. 
     We got out June 15th, which was a Wednesday. I did nothing after school (that's a lie, I went and had a couple of drinks with friends from school before I came). I didn't do any work on Thursday, Friday, or all that weekend either. And it was nice. I may have gotten back into a small bit of doll work the next Monday, but I can't remember at this exact moment if that was how it went. I do know that after my break, which was not an insanely long break, but it was definitely a nice break, that I got back into things and was actually motivated and enjoying myself. It was cool.
     Now I am into sales prep. It had to happen sooner or later. I decided that since I have only dressed one Lena doll (the Native American lady from KC's Galloping Gals) that I would take out several of her and make a variety of western dolls. This week I have made a good amount of progress on them, though I still have a ways to go before they are all done. 
      Today was extra awesome. Today was the first day of the summer program where there were any kids. So I met the new-to-me student that I will be working with. I got to learn SO MUCH new stuff! The first hour of today was kind of overwhelming. But I just let the stuff sink in. I figured as long as I was actually paying attention, which I was, my brain would know what it was doing when I get the reminders tomorrow. And by next week maybe it will be easy. I am not in the same program I was in last year, which was a bummer... but now is not. I did adore those kids, but the new ones are pretty awesome too. And I was so happy today. I know it was only 3 hours and I am still in the getting to know you phase of things, but it really was an excellent day. I am in a good mood just thinking about it. I was fully prepared for today to be a hot mess. And I'm not gonna lie, it was not perfect. But it was pretty great for a first day. I came home, had lunch and a short nap, and I got out the dolls and got to work. I know that sooner or later I will need another big break, but for right now I am pretty energized and I want to get things done. I also found out that the teacher I am working with this year used to be into Breyer horses (she brought that up when I told her I make rider dolls). I don't know if she is still into them at all, but I am going to find out by the end of the month (which is the end of the program). 
      My June micro, Rhino, came from Maggie the other day. I have been trying to sell a lot of my micros because I just am not going to have time to paint them all, can't really spend all the money to get someone else to paint them all, and I keep vaguely thinking about canceling my membership. But I love Cisco, who I believe came in May. And now I really love Rhino. I have a couple of others that I am keeping, but also several that I am trying to rehome. I know it is a bad time of year to try to sell anything hobby related though, so maybe I will wait for the Fall. It's not like they are taking up a ton of space or anything.
      So now I am in the position of wondering what to do for work again. There is an opening in intensive autism for next year. But the program is staying at the middle school for at least one more year. So I get to figure out if I want to apply for that position or stay at the high school where I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing next year, but I know the school, a lot of the students, the school routines, and so on. I could be anywhere, doing any subject. Or I could be with slightly younger kids, at a different school, and working on helping kids with really high needs be as independent as possible. And potentially always happy. But that would also leave the high school without a building rep for the paras since that is also my job. Decisions are hard. Change is hard. And knowing what would be the best choice for me is super hard!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

1:12 Scale Dolls

     Yesterday I shared a guest post from Emily Heckler. She talked about working on Schleich scale dolls, and the difficulties she had with them. I have been a doll maker for over 16 years. Which means I have a lot of practice. For most of that time I have worked in 1:9 (traditional) scale. It is my preferred scale, being small, but not so small that everything becomes extremely difficult. Not to say that making a doll in 1:9 scale is easier, but when you have over 1500 dolls of practice in the same size, switching sizes can be a huge challenge. Even with a ton of practice. The first challenge is getting anything to fit. 
     Most of my patterns are for traditional scale dolls. Over the years I have drafted all sorts of new patterns for that scale, used different pieces together to make new articles of clothing, and it is not really a scary scale to work in for me. One of the nicest doll making compliments I ever received was from my mother (who has a ridiculous amount of sewing practice and has even been to tailoring school) who said she couldn't do what I do, Barbie is small enough. I think Barbie is HUGE. But again, I have been working in my preferred scale for a very long time. 
     That doesn't mean that I am unwilling to work in other scales. Every once in a while I will. Like in these blog posts. Teeny Tiny Huntseat DollWestern lead-lineAsk and you Shall (maybe) Receive.  Micro. I also made a pair of stablemate scale dolls but have searched for about 45 minutes and can't think of the correct keywords to find the post about them. And really there may NOT be a post about them. I was not always very good about posting. Anyway, recently a friend of mine asked if I would be into attempting to dress a couple of 1:12 scale dolls. These are not what Breyer pretends are 1:12 scale dolls, these are actually 1:12 scale dolls. The ones she sent to me were the really cool TB League dolls. The ones that have steel skeletons (and I REALLY want to cut one open and see it!) that bend totally correctly. They also have "skin" that is cool, but makes them hard to dress. I also don't actually have any patterns for true 1:12 scale dolls. Which means I grabbed the patterns I had, that I thought would fit reasonably well, and then I spent a lot of time doing alterations until I had something that fit properly.
      I have said, on many occasions, that my job is not always easy. And it's not. Sometimes it is, because I have A LOT of practice. But sometimes I get an unusual doll. And then, sometimes I get typical dolls in an unusual scale. I really wish I put these ladies with a traditional scale Yvonne for comparison. They are small. Very small. And for dolls that claim to have a medium sized bust... well, I would hate to see what the large looks like. Basically I took a couple of dolls shaped like Jessica Rabbit and dressed them in English riding clothes. The casual English doll should have been a fairly simple doll. She was not. Not only did her clothes need a lot of alteration to fit properly, trying to get anything that resembled a helmet that would fit on her tiny head was a whole new adventure. And really, I think their heads are a little bit undersized for the bodies. The hunt seat doll was a different set of challenges. I already had it down roughly how to make the breeches so they would fit (got these on the first shot!), hunt dolls have sleeveless shirts under their coats, so that was not too hard, and then the coat... was actually tricky. There was a lot of fitting, taking in a seam a bit more, fitting again, adjusting and trimming. Even with "easy" dolls, changing the scale can be incredibly challenging. 
     Did I enjoy making these tiny dolls? Sometimes. Sometimes they were really frustrating. Especially when I was nearly finished with the purple top and the giant boobs stretched the fabric and put runs in it. So I started over, switched the fabric, and was super careful. I don't love the helmets, but finding anything to fit the tiny heads was just beyond me. Would I make dolls in this scale for other people? Likely not. I made them for a friend who is an entirely reasonable person. I knew from the start, as did she, that they were unlikely to be prefect. I also really just don't like working in this scale. But they were an interesting, and different type of doll to make. Even if they were at the same time very typical, if that makes sense. To wrap up, even with a lot of practice sometimes making tiny things is super challenging. 


Friday, July 1, 2022

Super Custom Doll

     Today we have another guest post by Emily Heckler. Emily has been working on creating articulated Schleich scale rider dolls. She is taking us on the journey of her second try. Thank you for sharing your process Emily!

   Words and Photos by Emily Heckler

      My second attempt at articulated Schleich scale riders starts with these drawing reference dolls from AliExpress. The ad title said 10 cm high, the description said 13. I wasn’t sure they would be perfect 10 cm still works out at 180cm for a 1:18 scale which is pretty tall if you ask me. I thought I would have a chance of reducing the height of the doll a little bit and so I ended up ordering two. 

When they arrived I was disappointed they were even taller than I thought even with the 14cm description. I set to work cutting chunks from it’s legs and torso in the hope of shrinking her. My first attempt still ended up too big, and not that well dressed in hindsight. 

This all ended up in the too hard basket for a long time until hobbyist and you tuber Daisy Stalls uploaded a process video of a doll she had made. I gathered up my shamble of pieces and gave it another shot. 

I got marginally closer to what I was aiming for this time and had enough inspiration to pull her apart again and further shrink her down.

In the end I was forced to combine pieces from both dolls as I stuffed up and broke parts, especially the joints I got to about this point before giving up again, everything was just so frustrating.

Especially painting the face. Every attempt ended up being messy, terrifying/creepy or both. In the end I enlisted the help of my sister who does amazing traditional art and she was able to pull off something a lot better.

I was going really strong until I hit a brick wall, a brick wall of boots. 

I made so many boots that I couldn’t replicate or hated or or or.

I eventually managed a pair of jodhpur type boots that look ok if you don’t stare at them for too long. I plan on making her some better and more showy clothes but for now she is a casual doll and my best attempt to date

She is definitely still on the tall side but on the ground especially she doesn't look too bad.

  Thank you so much Emily! Doll making can be extremely frustrating at times, especially if you are trying to change scale or create something you have never done before. I think your second attempt is pretty great and I can't wait to see your future dolls!