Thursday, August 17, 2017

Box of Awesome

Yesterday I received a box full of awesome from Australia:


This is what I had actually ordered: a book on plaits (braids for Americans *wink*), and kangaroo lace: jacaranda, black, natural in two widths, and white.


However, also in the box were 4 pieces of kangaroo leather in beautiful colors - the white piece in particular is stunning!


As if that wasn't enough of a surprise, there was also a bundle of brightly colored pieces of lace!


I am so excited to use this stuff!

If you are in the market for some kangaroo lace or leather, I HIGHLY recommend Pete from Leather Roo.  He has good prices, a lot of variety, fast shipping, and will cut lace for you if he doesn't have something listed that you are looking for.  He's all around great to deal with!  You can find his listings on Etsy, or eBay, or you can contact him directly via e-mail, here's his address: sales(at)leatherroo.com.

I will definitely be ordering from him again!   But first, I need to get busy with what I've got.  ;)


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Show Prepping

*sings*

"It's beginning to look a lot like shooow tiiiime"

The past two days I've been prepping my show string for the new year of showing with MEPSA.

The crew this time around includes all of the old favorites:


as well as 40-some odd new faces!


In all, I'll be sending about 90 photos off tomorrow for my first show of the new show year!  This almost doubles my regular string from last year, which hovered around 55 photos.  I wanted to "go bigger" this year, so that's just what I'm doing!  I'm also thinking I may rotate horses out this year as they qualify and put more new horses in, so that I can maybe get a BUNCH of horses qualified for next year's Championship.

I'm still anxiously awaiting the results from the current Championship Show and I'll be sure to post about it when they get here!


Monday, August 14, 2017

Motivation Monday: Don't Stop Trying

A quick one today as I'm running in a few different directions right now!  (par for the course) 

I've come across this saying before and saw this again just a few days ago.  It's one of my favorites and something I feel I certainly needed a reminder of - maybe you do too?  I'm ashamed to say that I've stopped trying, um, several times in my life, but I haven't yet totally given up on some big dreams.  So I've got to go now and get back to working on some of them!  

As always, I hope you have a great week!




Thursday, August 10, 2017

Quick Post: New Ponies!

Today these lovely ladies arrived!


I am very happy with them; I think they are gorgeous!  They are not as bendy as I had imagined, after hearing about the CollectAs being "rubbery" - though they do feel rubbery overall to me.  I wonder what they will be like to paint, I'm quite sure some people have done it.  I imagine they won't be as durable with the legs being somewhat moveable, but I've painted Safari horses and Ertls (remember those?), so I think that aspect will be fine.

In other news, I've been a bit sidetracked the past few days, working on non-horse related items for an upcoming vendor show (well, two of those shows actually).  However, today I did have a good session of organizing in the studio room.  I'm looking forward to getting things back in order there so that I can get back to work once the summer is over.

Side note: that might already be happening - we have been cool and rainy for almost a week now.

Yay!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Future Plans - Pros and Cons

I've talked about The Jennifer Show on here in several posts.  The first one was held last September and I was happy to have been a tiny part of it, by rush finishing some custom horses (that's SO me), and sending a small herd to my friend Dayle, who graciously proxy showed them for me.  I bought some raffle tickets, won some books (Equine Tapestry - YAY!), and also donated a couple of engraved saddle stands that ended up being given away as prizes!  After the show, I had also posted here about how incredibly thrilled I was to spot both a horse I had painted and a saddle pad I'd stitched (part of two different entries) in the same picture!  

I was very sad that I couldn't go to the show and had to watch all of the fun from afar - really far, as in the other side of the world.  The next Jennifer Show was planned to be held in two years, September of 2018.  I made a public declaration that I would be there, in person, with new and improved horses to show AND that I would take the plunge and show in performance.  Lofty goals to be sure, but I figured that I had two years to get that done.

Well, it's been almost a year already and...  I have done some work towards those big plans, but not much and not near as much as I had wanted to

A few days ago I found out that the next edition of the Jennifer Show will be in September 2019.  The announcement was actually made it June it seems, but it took me a little while to see it.  It's being pushed out another year, because the World Equestrian Games will be held at the planned time in the U.S. in 2018 and that's going to be a conflict for a lot of horse/model horse people.  I totally understand that.

The push out to 2019 at first made me think: Sweet!  Another year to prep and plan!

Then reality sank in.

Most likely, as things look now, that will be right in the middle of the time we are set to move back to the U.S. from Japan.  Which sounds like good timing, BUT it's most likely going to be an incredibly chaotic and stressful time.  Moving is stressful anyway, moving halfway around the world was something else.  It may take even more planning for me to attend now than it would before, believe it or not.  For example, the movers will be packing everything months in advance.  Meaning I have to be ready for that and not let them take anything I'll need for the trip and show - since we won't see anything they take for at least 3 months.

There's still a lot of time to figure things out, but right now it's a good news/bad news feeling.  I'm going to plan as if I'll be able to go;  it can't hurt to throw myself into making more (better) horses and working towards a debut in performance.  Those things will always be good to work on!

Maybe I can even get my Stagecoach and team done.  Ha!  Yeah, I'm funny...  It was a possible goal I'd set for myself during my time over here and I'm halfway through that time already.  So maybe I should get back to work on it.  When my kangaroo lace order arrives, I'll finally have what I needed to proceed with the construction.  That's good.


I don't really have a picture for this post, so here's my supervisor kitteh, lounging in the window of the studio.  


The fan was a fairly recent addition in an attempt to keep the room from being so stifling during the heat of the summer.  It did help quite a bit.  Thankfully, it seems like the worst of the heat and humidity has passed (I hope!). So I should be able to get back to work in there, instead of fleeing to the living room to work next to the portable a/c.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Nebuta Festival = Incredible

On Friday afternoon, Jeff and I made the trip to Aomori City to see the Nebuta Festival parade.  Nebuta Festival runs from August 2nd-7th every year and the highlight is the parade which happens every night, until the last day.  Then, the parade happens in the afternoon and a 2 hour fireworks display takes place in the evening, ending the festival.  You can read about it here.

We were told in a briefing, back during our first few days in Japan, that the Nebuta Festival was something we absolutely had to experience.  We had missed two of them so far, but made it to this one.

All I have to say is: Wow.

We arrived in Aomori a few hours early and had thought we might do some sight seeing, but upon reaching the street that would be part of the parade route, we saw hundreds (thousands) of people already lining the street, waiting for the parade.  Aborting our sightseeing plans, we found a parking lot several blocks from the parade route and then managed to find our own spot to wait and watch.

After the street was shut down to vehicle traffic, dancers in costume began pouring onto the street.


Along with the dancers came HUGE sets of taiko (drums).


Here came a float!  But it was going the wrong way.  We were positioned much closer to the end of the parade route than the beginning and were a bit confused when they began filling the street in front of us with dancers, taiko, and floats.


No matter what was going on, Chewie was ready for the parade!


A Nebuta horse!  I had spotted two altogether by the time the night was done.


Another big set of taiko was rolled out in front of us,



and then turned around.  We figured then that they were staging part of the parade.


I was SO excited to see the taiko.  In the past I would have never considered myself a big percussion fan.  Sure, I love a good beat in music, but the taiko are...  Something else.  You feel them in your bones.  They have such a commanding, powerful sound.  The very first time I heard them, at a demonstration shortly after we arrived in Japan, I was instantly captivated.  I haven't had the chance to hear a lot of them in different places yet.  So far, my favorite place to hear them had been at the Misawa City Festival, which takes place almost in our front yard.

After the floats, dancers, other instrumentalists, and taiko sets were in place, we heard what sounded like taiko being warmed up further down the street.  A rhythmic drumming that sped up faster and faster and faster and then stopped.  We also heard chants and shouts scattered along the street.  Jeff said it sounded like people were getting pumped up.  There was definitely a sense of something amazing about to happen.

At the taiko and float in front of us, there was activity.


Suddenly there was a loud BOOM! right in front of us that made us jump.  We realized that the man in the center of the taiko set had just hit his drum - once.  I grabbed the camera and started recording.

Then, this happened:  (I recommend good speakers and some bass if you want to feel some of the effect.  Words can't adequately describe what this was like.  The sound was a physical thing, I could feel it reverberating in my bones and the ground seemed to shake...)


And just like that, the parade started.

I'll let the amazing floats speak for themselves:






































These last two are blurry, but here is the float that started in front of us.  In two hours, it made a complete lap of the route.


Then there goes the taiko that started in front of us.


With that, after a few more sets of floats, taiko, singers, and dancers went past, the parade was over.

Next year, I want to be in the parade.  Yes, they encourage anyone to join in!  You have to either buy or rent a costume and then you can sing and dance along with them.

This was a staggering, amazing experience and I'm so happy that we were able to see it, and in the case of the taiko, to FEEL it.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday Funny: Laugh and Laugh

Just one funny this time since, er, I'm running really late for a post today.  Tomorrow's planned post will be all about an INCREDIBLE festival that we went to yesterday.  


(replace yarn with leather, paint, embroidery floss, paper..  your craft supply of choice - ha!)