Saturday, June 22, 2019

Hotel Room Studio

I just realized that maybe an interesting way to document this move is to show my mobile studio set up in each new location along the way.  Surely that would be more fun than to read me go on and on about how painful this move is for me.  I think so...


Today was the day that we left our home for the last 4 years.  By that I mean the actual house we have lived in.  It's been a long, painful, process that really got going 3 weeks ago when the first round of movers came and took...  almost everything.  It was then that I set up the Closet Studio

I did a bunch of medallion prep in the days to follow, a bit of painting, and got also got back to work on an overdue order for four leather halters - the last of a very large commission from a wonderful customer.  I've been making a wide variety of colorful halters for her, spread out over the last several months, then invoicing and sending them out a few at a time. 

A few days ago, another round of movers came.  To prepare for them, I packed my two suitcases that I'll take on the flight - one intending to be clothes, the other horses and supplies (though several horses and supplies leaked over into the clothes bag...).  Once I made my final, final selections - to include a flat rate box full of things to mail to meet us in PA when we get there - the rest of what I'd hung onto went at that time.  This was the "express" shipment, which is supposed to reach its destination, our new location, much sooner than the three or four months that the main shipment will take.

More road bumps, a battle with the housing office, many tears, some stress, a side of rage later, and this afternoon we left our house to move into the TLF (temporary lodging facitilies).  It is basically a 2 bedroom apartment with everything that two people, a dog, and a cat, who are all living out of a few suitcases, could ever need. 

Shortly after we hauled our belongings, groceries, pets and their paraphernalia in, we started unpacking for the 10 days or so that we'll call this place home, before we fly out. 

This led to me asking Jeff if he wanted to put anything in the other bedroom.  No?  Okay, well here's my Hotel Room Studio:

This is the "horse bag" with the awesome two tote setup that I had discovered after buying these bags for BreyerWest two years ago.

I've had it packed with horses and medallions on the left, pencil cases full of projects and supplies on the right.  In the "test run" from the house to here, everything survived with no damage.  Hopefully the flights will have the same outcome.

"Bom" (Chewie) getting some air from his personal pencil case.  He fits in there perfectly, it's his own little armored box. 

Antar and Wind In Her Hair, along with a selection of bodies that made the cut and stayed through the second round of movers.

ALL my medallions.  They are all at least primed, most prepped, a few have basecoats started.

Reckless and his girls.  ;-)  Behind them are some parts of the STAGECOACH.  I decided to send most of that with the express shipment, but pulled out the parts and tools to finish the chassis.  That's my goal for September.

The nightstand has been reassigned as a painting supply station.  I sent all of my paints out in the flat rate box, bound for PA, except for black and white - for some more basic medallion base coating.  Been burning through the primer and I'm hoping to use up most of the rest of this before we leave here.

Finally, this is my actual work station, on the dining table.  Jeff and I have set out a shared work area again; he's editing videos from his r/c planes and drones over there on the other side while I work on tack tonight.

One more picture, my studio room for the last four years, empty.

Farewell, Japan studio, I will miss you and especially the view of the huge cherry tree outside.  They have been doing a massive construction project on the building for the last month, so it is wrapped in scaffolding and netting.  I didn't get a last good look at "my" tree. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Closet Studio

What's this?  A blog post???  Yeah!


Well...  today (and yesterday) was (were) the day(s).

The movers came and took ALL of our stuff. 


I've been chronicling the "impending doom" on my Facebook page.  For example: how - this time - I decided to pack ALL of my horses myself, after what happened on the way here.  I've added MOAR horses to the herd while here, some of them expensive (for me).  Though I'm quite sure the Japanese movers would have taken much more care with them (we've had multiple people tell us that we will have nothing missing or broken after leaving Japan and I fully believe that).  The Japanese inspector who stopped by early also assured us that everything would be carefully wrapped in paper.  As much respect as the Japanese people have for others and their belongings, again, I totally believe that.  However, in the interest of saving time for them, I still decided to wrap all of the horses myself. 

After all of the pony packing, the last two days were spent split between hanging out in the backyard with Jeff, Joey, and Tealight (trying to stay out of the way of the moving crew), and running to get food for the crew.  That's not something that's required, but most people do it.  We had donuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch the first day, chicken today, with lots of water and other drinks.  I had fun playing hostess.

The few days before they arrived were spent in a flurry of purging trash, scrap wood from the laser business, and so on.  I also gave MUCH thought to what I wanted to keep back to prepare for...  The Jennifer Show

Yes, I am entered!  I've also got an AirBnB booked for a whole week there!  I'm super excited and am using the show as a carrot on a stick to leave Japan.  I really, really don't want to leave and I've been struggling with that - a lot.  But seeing my boy Bo again and TJS are what I'm looking forward to.  We were originally supposed to leave Japan in September of this year, which had me dismayed due to my long game plan to enter TJS.  So now, we are leaving in early July which means losing a couple of months here, but the show is a GO.

I gave a ridiculous amount of thought to what I might want to work on over the next three months until I'm likely to see everything else again.  Typical for me (ugh), though I've been planning to enter for THREE years now, I'm not ready.  Let's be honest, I never would be.  I didn't want to bite off more than I could do (another of my specialties?) but there is a LOT I'd like to do:

*  Make MOAR custom horses

*  Paint more of my Artist Resins, since NaMoPaiMo has helped me end my resin painting fears

*  Oh, and, show performance for the first time - with tack/props that I've made...


I made my final selections, piled them in one of our bathrooms (the "safe" place from the movers) and waited out the last two days of pure CHAOS.

Just now, I finished setting up my new Closet Studio.


I've kept back:

Top shelf: my best (old) Stablemate customs (in the white boxes on the left) along with Reckless (of course) my costume model PAM, a CollectA, and Little Bit Arabian. 

Middle shelf: Wind In Her Hair (NaMoPaiMo 2019), Antar (NaMoPaiMo 2017), Bom Bidi Bom (NaMoPaiMo 2018), Bolya (OF), Ashley (custom CAM), and PreFlight (was supposed to be my MEPSA makeover horse this year...) several Classic and SM bodies - plastic and resin.

I've also kept some essential supplies, tools, and references to work on: custom horses, Arabian costumes, tack, and the STAGECOACH.

I'm happy with how my "mini studio" came together and I'm hoping that the next few weeks until we leave will be productive!


Oh...  in other (related?) news...  I am currently being evaluated for...  ADHD.  Would any of my readers think I have it?  Ha...  It's another story (another post?), but I'm hopeful that these next few weeks will see some changes.  I don't have the distractions of all of the rest of our "stuff" here.  The laser is gone, so no business tasks to be done there..  AND if I do end up going on some sort of meds, I've been told they could give me "energy and focus".  Um, wow...  if that actually happens, things could get very interesting.  I'm not in a rush to get on pills, but I am tired of feeling like I'm spinning my wheels - in 20 different directions all the time.  The doctor I spoke with said it sounds like this has really been holding me back and I'm capable of so much more.  I almost started crying.

We'll see.

That's the latest!  I'm hoping to blog a bit more in the coming months.  Surely more often than once every 4 months? 

Whew, if you made it this far: Thanks for reading.  *hugs*

Sunday, February 3, 2019

January Recap

Weeeelll, my hopes to keep up (better) with blogging have not gone so well so far.  The last couple of weeks in particular, I've been dealing with some heavy depression.  The thing that kicked it off was Jeff getting his orders for us to leave Japan..  in 6 months.  I really don't want to leave. 

Of course I've known this was coming, since before we even got here, but him getting the orders suddenly made it "real".  So that, coupled with several other things, got me into a rut and I've stayed there for the most part.  Not good news in the productive/creative department, though I have been working on some things.

Here's a summary of what went on in January!

The view from the Studio for most of the month

First, back in December, I got us a dog!  His name is Joey, he is a 2-1/2 year old yellow Lab, and he is the goodest boy.  It's been quite a while since we had a young, energetic dog.

We've been going on snowy walks...


...and lots of snowy walks.

On the way back, Joey sleeps in the car.

Jeff and I went on another snowy adventure, up to the Hakkoda mountains, not far from here.

This is one of the roads up there:

We rode the Ropeway (cable car) up to the summit of Mt. Hakkoda, thinking we'd hike around on some of the trails up top.

However, at the summit, it was what I imagine Antarctica to be like: complete whiteout conditions, HIGH wind, heavy snow, bitter cold.  Here's Jeff, looking over the snow covered, partially buried trail map.

Below was as far as we could see and it's deceptively bright and clear in this picture (which my camera auto brightened).  In reality, we couple barely see the people here.  The trails were closed, we wouldn't have dared to set out in these conditions anyway.  In this picture, you can see some of the famed "snow monsters" - trees that get covered with so much snow that they form giant lumpy shapes. 

When not out braving the snow (with and without Joey) I've been doing some gaming, sometimes with Tealight looking on.

I've also been chipping away on not one, but two Arabian costume panel sets.  I'm not as crazy about this green and blue set as I thought I'd be when I made the pattern.  Though I figure that'll make it easier to part with if I ever actually turn it into a full costume. 

Next up on the creative department, I've finally started on my MEPSA Makeover horse for this year.  You may remember Rexy, last year's project.  This time around the mold is Lady Phase.  My goal is to make her into a race horse, in a full gallop, because, that's what I do.  haha

I haven't been documenting her progress as thoroughly as I did Rexy, but so far all I've done is a few chop and heat sessions.

I pulled out my Visible Horse, who helped a bit in the creation of Rexy, to double check the bone structures inside.  One of our bathrooms is my chop shop, since I learned the smoke/fumes during dremeling sets off smoke alarms in the house.  Also it's probably a good idea to contain (and vent, via the exhaust fan) such fumes anyhow.  I do wear a respirator and safety glasses. 

In the Happy Mail department, the latest medallion from the Mystery Medallion club arrived and she is beautiful!

I've now got a pile of medallions building up.  Just recently I saw that The Jennifer Show will have medallion classes and I think this means I need to get some of mine painted!  Eventually...

On the NaMoPaiMo front, I've started prep on my project horse, but quickly became overwhelmed by how much prep she's going to need.  I really don't like prepping.  However, I'll be back to work on her later today or tomorrow. 

I think that about wraps up the first month of 2019. 


Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 Custom Horses To Come

This isn't so much of a "New Year's Resolution" list as it is just me wanting to get all of these organized on a list and I thought: why not share it?  

The first batch are those with deadlines, afterwards are some lose ideas I've got rattling around at the top layer of the bottomless pit of ideas...

MEPSA Makeover 
Deadline: February 15th
The mold for this time is Lady Phase.  My idea is for her to be a racehorse, full gallop, because, why not?  Is she started yet...?  Hahahahaha...  no.

Start: February 1st
Deadline: February 28th
I'll be painting my Kitty Cantrell Chincoteague Pony mare resin as a palomino tobiano.  She needs quite a bit of prep..  I really should get going on that.

MEPSA Mini Contest
Deadline: March 31st
I think I'll most likely do a couple for this, but no idea yet who.

Meows And Minis 
Deadline: early August
I wanted to donate some custom minis last year, but didn't.  This year I'd like to do at least one.

Others, non deadline:

Copy Cat Custom
I've loved the idea of this since I first heard about it, but have not yet started my own.  Here's the Facebook group for it: The Copy Cat Custom Project.

A fun idea I've had for a little while and something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  A Talbuk is an antelope-like creature in World of Warcraft.  Several of them have been made into mounts that the player can ride and one of those (the white one pictured) is my favorite ground mount for my main character.  I've always loved the way they look and I worked long and hard on the quest chain that allowed purchase of the mounts as soon as I could.

Original Sculpture(s) 
I have a large classic Thoroughbred stallion in the works - barely started, been that way for years...

Many, many years ago I started a SM scale cutting calf.  Would like to maybe work on that again.

Possibly I'll try to do a medallion or two?

Smoky, started for ICEE
Ah yes, my ICEE project who was not to be....  I had put a coat of primer on him after this picture, contemplated doing a rush job to finish him, decided no.  So he's in the holding pattern herd.

Nameless, faceless, hordes
Then there's, um, the fact that I'll be back stateside this summer/fall and finally able to go to some shows again.  (!!!!!!!!!!)  I reeeeally want to have a fresh new show string and not keep trotting out my oldies.  I love them, but... I sorely need some new faces in the herd.

That does mean that right in the middle of all of this, life will be uprooted by another big 'round the world MOVE and most all of my horses, supplies, and so on, will be in transit for a few months.

I really need to plan ahead and around that.

Okay, time to stop typing, daydreaming, and get to work.  Or go take a nap.  Ha!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Did You See So Much Videos??

Today I filmed, and uploaded, not one, but TWO videos to my YouTube channel.

The first was a bit of a tutorial on (part one) of how I prep a Stablemate for painting.

The second was a viewer request from my last vlog, where someone said that a video about the laser business would be neat.  So I threw that together too!

My goals for this year include a lot more videos, blog posts, and in general social media type stuff.  I certainly don't think I'll be able to do two videos a day, everyday (ha!), but I think today was a good start toward that goal.

PS: The title of this post is inspired by a quote from this Kid Snippets clip: Kid Snippets: "Salesman".  "Did you see so much money?!"  is a quote that Jeff and I use, or versions of it, quite a bit.  If you haven't heard of Kid Snippets, you should check out some of their videos.  The premise is: what would happen is kids wrote movies.  Kids act out scenes and then the adults lip sync and act out what they said.  They are hilarious.  Some of our favorites are: "Math Class", "Cooking Show", and "Hunting".

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!

Happy New Year!

During our time here in Japan, we've tried to check out MANY cultural events.  For New Year's we've done a few different things. 

Our first New Year's here, we made the trek south to Sendai for their "Pageant of Starlight".  It was a truly magical sight: an entire city main street lined with towering trees, on either side and down the wide median in the middle, that were completely covered with tiny white lights. 

In another year, we went to a large Shinto Shrine to bring in the New Year.  That year we also experienced what ended up being the national shopping day, similar to "Black Friday". 

As this New Year approached, we had talked about what we should do this time.  We considered another trip to Sendai.  However, it is a long way away and, most notably, very expensive to go there on the toll road (the only real "interstate" type highway.  Neither of us were thinking we'd do that again.  We wanted to do something, but what?

I had an idea.

A couple of years ago, I came across the Japanese tradition of seeing the first sunrise of a New Year.

I'd already mentioned to Jeff that I'd like to go see a sunrise at the beach this winter.  It would be our last chance to catch a sunrise at a more reasonable time here.  During the summer, the sun is up by 4am.  Seriously.   

So, I proposed that for our last New Year's here, we should go see the first sunrise.

Yesterday, we went to our friends' house and had a great time, eating, playing games, and laughing until our sides hurt.  We didn't come home until about 10.  Last night, admittedly, I was second guessing my idea of getting up early, in the dark and cold, to go stare at the horizon...

But, we did it!  (and I'm so glad)

Here's what the sky looked like shortly after we arrived at the beach:

Interestingly, the colors faded and stayed that way for a little while.  I worried that we'd actually missed the sunrise?

Oh wait, what's that?

There it is!  Hello, sun.

We watched as it moved behind a cloud, which seemed perfectly positioned.  As it neared the top, the cloud was so bright and we could see the rays spreading across the sky. 

It's all the way up, too bright to look at now.

Time to head back up the beach. 

When we first arrived, one car had just beat us there.  On the walk back, Jeff said "look at all the cars!"  The section of beach where we and the other car had parked had turned into a parking lot.  We saw many people out to catch the first sunrise. 

On the way home, I got a text from my friend Jennifer

I had a good laugh at that.  Last year, I had messed around, asking where the signup page was, on January 1st, over here.  If you didn't know, we are a day ahead - a fact that I've had a lot of fun with at times.

Okay, okay, let's see...

As soon as we got home from the beach, I went to the studio to consider my options. 

I hadn't actually narrowed down my choice of model or color -at all- but invigorated from just spending a couple of hours out at the beach, I thought it would be fitting to (finally) paint my Chincoteague Pony mare resin.  After all, it would be great to get some pictures of her here on the beach before we go...

For color, I ended up choosing palomino tobiano, which is terrifying.  Not so much the tobiano part, I don't think... but the palomino bit.  Despite loving palominos and buckskins, I've always found them a massive challenge and very intimidating to paint. 

I filled out the entry form, sent off my entry fee, and made a quick post to the NaMoPaiMo Facebook page all jumping the gun, before those in the U.S.

And with that, I'm committed!  Or, maybe I should be...  Heh. 

Jeff, Joey, and I weren't the only ones who enjoyed the sunrise this morning.  I found Tealight basking in the glow of it in our upstairs hallway. 

After all of that excitement, I crashed on the couch for a couple of hours. 

Happy New Year!  ;)  I hope it's a good for you.  :)

Here is another article about Japanese New Year traditions, if you'd like to learn more: New Year in Japan

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving and Wolfenoot

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Um... you think those are MINI pumpkins and corn?!"


Happy Wolfenoot!

You might be thinking "Wait, what...?"

Here's an explanation:

Also, I just found the official Wolfenoot Facebook group

Jeff and I first heard out about this a few months ago and immediately decided we would be celebrating Wolfenoot.  When doing our shopping for Thanksgiving cooking, we picked up cake mix, icing, and the meat (steaks).  We forgot about the hiding gifts part, but that's okay. 

The cake has been baked, the meat will be cooked tonight, and we will be enjoying our first Wolfenoot! 

I hope everyone else has been enjoying the holiday(s)!