Sunday, November 18, 2012

BIG Project - Announcement!

Ok, here we go!!

Several months ago, my husband and I were looking around in our local hobby shop and came across a super cool model kit.  It was a model of a stagecoach, made by a company that specializes in museum-quality replicas. 

I could not believe the amount of detail in the picture on the box. 

The box was open and we were able to see some of the materials inside - bundles of wood, a big box of miniature hardware, sheets of leather... a thick instruction book.  I was amazed by the model and by the amount of work it seemed that it would take to build it - starting with mostly just raw materials!

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, on my birthday.  We were visiting my husband's family and his mom had organized a big birthday party for me and for his niece.  Well, he came out of the room we were staying in, carrying the box with the stagecoach model!  It turned out he had bought it shortly after we saw it that day.  He'd kept it hidden, and somehow managed to get it cross country in the car without me finding out.  I was SO excited as I started looking through the box and we were all fascinated by the detail in some of the parts.

For the next week we were there visiting, and the long drive home, he had to endure my random cries of "STAGECOACH!" haha.  I was chomping at the bit to start working on it, though I was a bit intimidated too.

Once we returned home however, I decided that the first priority was to get the Studio room in order.  There was no way I wanted to start on a project as big as this one will be in the middle of the mess that was down there.  The Studio overhaul is pretty much complete now so..  a few days ago...  I started on the stagecoach!

Here are some pictures showing the contents of the kit:

The instruction manual.  Quite a hefty book:

A fold-out poster that shows the finished coach full-size, from all different angles:

The backside of the poster, showing the from and back of the coach, along with the wheels:

Here are all of the materials, laid out:

These are the only pre-formed pieces of wood in the kit:

All other wood has to be cut and shaped from this bundle:

A handful of metal cutouts:

The rest of the metal work comes from this bundle - rolls of wire and flat strips:

Two sheets of super fine leather, one black, one brown:  (The seats, door panels, and luggage have to be upholstered from this!)

Lastly, the hardware box - full of teeny tiny nails, hinges, door latches, wooden wheel hubs, and a lighting kit:  (The finished model has battery-powered lamps on the sides)

As if the coach itself wasn't enough of a project, I also have plans to do a team of custom model horses for it... as well as harnesses for them.  I've already started brainstorming poses for the horses and I've begun researching horses and harnesses that were used for the stagecoaches. 

I'm super excited about this project!  I've already begun work on the coach and will share another post with the steps finished very shortly! 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

BIG Project

A quick update: 

I'm finally launching into a BIG project that I've had planned for a couple of months now.  It will lead to many, MANY progress posts and a ton of pictures along the way.  I'd really like to document the whole thing, for fun, to share, and to (hopefully) look back on once the big honkin' thing is done.  Stay tuned, I plan to "announce" it, complete with a first round of pictures, in the next few days!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

First Batch of ATCs!

I have now created my first batch of Artist Trading Cards!  (ATCs)  I made four of them to send along with Christmas cards in a craft swap.  The 5th was made for an ATC Swap where the theme was trees. 

First up is a card made for a transplanted northerner, living in Florida.  I once fell into that category; having moved to central Florida from Colorado.  I left the Sunshine State, in part, because I actually missed snow!  I remember once while living there that it got cold enough that they predicted the possibility of snow.  I had thought it was be so cool to see snow falling on palm trees.  It never happened, but I tried to create such a thing with this - my very first ATC:

Next up was one a person who said she loved chickens.  I was so excited, because the first thing that came to mind was the quirky chicken marching band stamp that my Granny gave me a while back.  (I still hadn't used it yet!)  Here is ATC #2:

Number three was made for someone who likes gardening and frogs.  Two  more of the stamps from my Granny saw their first use here - the bunny and the frog:

Number four was for a gal who liked Asian-influenced things.  I used my brand new dragon coin stamp, as well as a trimmed postage stamp of a Bonsai tree:

Last up is number five, for the Tree ATC swap.  Two more vintage stamps were used on this one, both from my Granny - the tree and the pine tips:

My first round of ATCs were very fun to make and I'm happy with how they turned out!  I hope they people who receive them enjoy them!  I will be making more ATCs very soon. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New Goodies!

Yesterday I went to town on a shopping trip.  I stopped into Michael's, one of the big craft store chains, because I had seen in the paper that they were having a buy one get one free deal on rubber stamps.  (I do love stamping!)  I also had a 50% off coupon for any one item.   

May I present, my new goodies!:

I first saw this carousel horse stamp quite a while ago and thought it was beautiful.  When I spotted it yesterday, I decided to use my 50% off coupon on it!  This one will be fun to play with and fun to color - so many possibilities!:

The dragon coin stamp I found in a clearance bin.  It was marked down from $12.99 to $4.99  I thought it was a neat design:

A couple of flower stamps.  They were in a bin of stamps for $1.50 each:

At times I've wished I had more stamps with messages on them - for holidays and certain occasions.  I have a couple sets of alphabet stamps, but they are more..  "cutesy".  I've been thinking lately that a good set of more formal alphabet stamps would be nice - to be able to stamp my own messages.  So I used the buy one get one free deal on these two:

Last up, found in a clearance bin of stickers were these fishy playing card stickers.  They were marked down from $2.49 to 99 cents.  I thought they were too cute:

All together I found some good deals on some fun new supplies.  Best of all, I finally used a gift card I'd gotten last Christmas, so in the end I didn't pay anything out of pocket for these new finds!  Merry Christmas to me...  a year late, or a month early...  ha!

I hear the Studio calling my name.  I wonder what I can make with these new goodies.  :-D

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Story behind the craft: Cross stitching

I thought it might be fun to do some posts on the stories behind some of the crafting that I do.  To start off, I'll talk about my history with cross stitching.  It is something I've done off and on for several years, but I've been really into it the past few months.

I first started cross stitching in 2005.  A friend and I started doing it as a way to pass some time while our husbands were deployed to Iraq.  I still have my very first little cross stitch project:

I stopping stitching for a few years, until 2008 when I found myself stuck on the couch for about a month after a severely sprained ankle.  I finished up a couple of old projects and then started a new one.  I still remember my husband and I at Hobby Lobby - me on crutches - when we found a really cool pattern of a beautiful horse head.  I was taken by how much it looked like Leah, my grey Arabian mare. 

After my ankle was healed enough for me to be mobile again, I had another stitching hiatus until just this past April when one of my horses was badly injured.  It was Leah.  I wanted something to occupy my time and my husband suggested cross stitching.  I still had the large, started pattern that looked like her.  So I dusted off my cross stitching supplies and got back to work.

Along the way, I stumbled across people making cross stitch saddle pads for model horses.  I was highly intrigued by this and after some research, I decided to give it a try. 

My first two saddle pads:

For the next several, I decided to do a "cutback" design, as they fit the models much better.  Here are the next 4 that I made (not finished yet, just cut out):

I've since made 5 others, that I don't have pictures of yet.  I'm now working on finishing all of them.  When they are finished, they have a white felt backing and look very similar to a full size, real horse saddle pad. 

What I enjoy most about the saddle pads is my ability to make the patterns up myself.  Most have been based off of real saddle pad designs I've come across, but a few are completely original, made up as I went along, or drawn out before I started. 

In discovering ATCs and Inchies, I began to wonder if I could cross stitch them as well!  Just yesterday, I began stitching a series of 4 Inchies.  When they are done, I'm going to experiment with some finishing options, either a felt backing, like the saddle pads, or by attaching them to a card backing. 

My interest in cross stitching has really taken off in recent months, since I started playing around with designing my own patterns.  I think it's highly rewarding to not only stitch a pretty item, but to know that I came up with the design, from start to finish! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful (times two)

I remember in the past seeing blog posts for "Thankful Thursday".  Today is Thursday, the start of November, and in a few weeks it will be Thanksgiving.  So it just occurred to me, what better day than today for a post on being thankful!  I thought I'd do a list of anything that pops in.  This is by no means complete.  Though life can get me down and I have been through many dark times, if I stop and think about it, life is pretty good now. 

I am thankful for:

My husband - he is wonderful and takes such good care of me.
Our house - we have a nice home to live in.
My studio room - that I have my own dedicated space to work on projects.
Our vehicles - we have reliable transportation.
Our animals - we have a small menagerie of critters that keep us laughing with their antics.
My horse - Bo is a childhood dream come true: a horse, a black stallion, with the best disposition I could ever ask for in any horse, let alone a stallion!
We live in America and have a good life when so many others, here and around the world, are struggling.
We have freedom, including religious freedom to worship or not worship as we choose, others are killed for this.
We have electricity, computers, and the Internet for fun, research, and keeping in touch with family and friends.
We am healthy, mobile, and have our sight, hearing, and other senses.
We live in a nice neighborhood with great neighbors.
We live in a good area for us - close enough to conveniences, but not in a big city.
We have some great friends.
We have good, close families.

That's all I can think of right now, I'm sure there is much more, but it's a start... 

What are you thankful for?