Thursday, February 25, 2016

All Hail Thrift Stores!

So today I went on another thrift store shopping trip with a couple of friends.  The stops included a few new to me stores.  The one I ended up being most excited about, for what I purchased, had small rolls of fabric for... 40-80 cents (USD) each!

I bought several.

The plan is to use them for making Arabian costumes.  I have a TON of fabric now for that purpose - including a few full size kimonos, a couple of larger rolls and bundles, these small rolls above, and several "fat quarters" from various craft stores.

I found a few other neat things today, as far as supplies, and I'm most happy to report that once I returned home with my finds, I was able to put them all away - in their proper places in the studio - in less than a minute.  (instead of depositing them in the mess, waiting for when I finally get organized...  *embarrassed grin*)

That small thing left me feeling very accomplished.

Another interesting find was this:

I'm not sure if you can make it out in my hasty cell phone capture, but that is a (real horse) harness saddle on the bottom and several collars in the top of the picture - with the closest one including a full bridle.  I was SO excited to find them, but sadly I did not buy them.  The harness saddle and collar with attached bridle were about $45 all together.  I was VERY tempted, but it would have taken up my whole budget for the day.  I'm thinking I may go back soon, if I can, and see if they are still there...  It is definitely a goal of mine to acquire some Japanese horse tack while we are here and this was by far the most reasonable price I've seen.  They were in used condition and the bridle definitely needed some TLC, but I still wanted them...  Maybe next time.

I did buy an authentic, used, Japanese horse shoe.  ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Report From The Front

It's been almost a month since I declared war on "Resistance".  Shortly after that I decided that the start of the war would be to get everything organized and put away or gotten rid of...  Throughout, not just the studio, but... the entire house.  I've been making a lot of progress, off and on, but I was saving the studio for last, because it just seemed so daunting.  I wouldn't be surprised if that was ol' Resistance, shelling me to keep me out of my creative, happy place.

However, it's only in the past couple of days that I have charged in and made some huge progress in the organizational battles that are taking place within the studio.

Back in early June, the studio was an empty room.  I did a post about it and I mentioned the huge closet and cabinets in particular.  It was my hope that, and I quote: "they won't just end up crammed full of stuff and become a black hole full of supplies that I won't see until we move again..."

Well, that's pretty much what had happened, so far.

However, after two days I'm happy to share this:

A big chunk of the closet has now been turned into a crafting nook!

When I first starting putting this together yesterday, I planned to just store all of my paper crafting and jewelry making supplies here.  But I realized that I can actually pull out the keyboard tray on the PC cart and make things here if I want to.  Which goes back to one of my early ideas of wanting two work stations - one for horses and one for paper crafts.  Since both require quite a bit of paraphernalia and it can be a challenge to switch from pony mode to paper mode or vice versa.  So now, if I want to, I can build my paper projects right here and save my desk for horses, tack, etc.  

The base of it is a PC cart that Jeff decided he didn't want in the latest renovation of his set up in the office.  On top of that is a cool shelf that I just picked up in a thrift store last weekend - for $6.00!!  On top of, alongside, and under everything, are my assortment of plastic drawers and holders.  In this picture, I had put my bags of Bonsai soil underneath the cart, but have since pulled them out and instead put my sea glass, polished rock, and wine cork collection under there.  A lot of my rubber stamps are on the shelf unit, the rest are in the DVD shelf on the left.  Left of the whole setup are the precious "figurines" boxes.  Yep, my model horses.  That's about all that's left boxed up in the closet now, aside from a couple boxes of random stuff "to sort".

The result of moving all of my stamps and drawer units into the closet is...  a LOT of empty shelves!

I'm also happy to report that, very recently, I have discovered a material here that is plentiful, cheap, and sturdy.  And the laser cuts it like butter...  I think once the epic cleanup is done, it's about time for me to start building my shelf stalls and.... free the horses!!


I can't wait.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Bit More of a Break

Well, my "bit" of a break has turned into a longer one.  Though I have made a lot of progress on the house.  The downstairs (living room and kitchen) is almost completely squared away and I've been chipping away at the upstairs rooms.  My goal is to have everything dealt with by the time Jeff comes home at the end of this month/beginning of next.  Part of the problem is that we never... uh... finished moving in here.  We still have things in boxes here and there, along with piles of stuff we just hadn't put away.  I'm working on getting all of that sorted out.

Aside from "adulting" - mostly cleaning and attending/studying for my Japanese class - I've been enjoying myself by gaming and coloring.  The adult coloring thing seems to really be taking off these days.  Though... I never stopped coloring.  I guess I can say I was coloring before it was cool.  ;)  One of our friends gave me a beautiful coloring book full of Japan-inspired designs for Christmas and I've been working on a couple of pictures in it, along with some free printable pages I'd found.

This was my first "official" adult coloring project.  I like how it turned out and I certainly think the message is important:

I'm finding that coloring is a good way to be creative without any pressure.  While I do love creating pretty much anything, I tend to put a lot pressure on myself when doing studio things - perfectionism and all of that.  I think a lot of it stems from the fact that most of the things I make "in the studio" are things I plan to sell or donate/gift - basically give to others in some way.  So I want them to be as close to perfect as I can manage.  All of that on top of just wanting to make good/pretty things.  Coloring is nice though, it's just for me.  I still try and do my best, but I don't feel the pressure there.

With coloring I also don't feel the need to try and keep up with anyone else's work.  Some people have a ton of fancy pens, pencils, markers, etc. to color with - and talent to match! - but I'm using the same set of cheap colored pencils that I color in stamped images with (plus a few Sharpies), and I'm quite content.  ;)  I'm on a group on Facebook where people talk about coloring and share their work.  I find that I can be absolutely amazing by other's work, but not feel dismay that I may never reach that level.  It's a complicated thing to explain I suppose.

The only downside I'm finding to coloring is how long it takes.  The one above took me an entire day!  (and it's not even near as intricate as a lot of designs that I've seen)  I'm not sure how much of it I'll be doing in the future, once I get back to "work", but I am recognizing that it is a good way to take a break and still feed the creative bug.

I'm hoping to have the studio organized and back up and running soon.  The next vendor show here is actually only two weeks from today and I haven't even started getting ready for it!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bit of a Break

The last few days I've been taking a bit of a break from, well...  everything.  I've been heaping a lot of pressure on myself lately, what with deciding to get the ENTIRE house decluttered and cleaned up (currently in the "it gets worse before it gets better" phase).  There's also the ever mounting pile of creative projects and ideas that is threatening to topple over and bury me!

So, I self prescribed some break time.  My chosen activity has been to play World of Warcraft.  I think I've mentioned it on here before, but yes..  I play WoW.  I've been a mostly casual player on there for almost 10 years (!!), though I haven't done much in the game for several months now.

One of the things I enjoy about the game are all of the different mounts and pets that you can find in it.  There are hundreds of different creatures to collect.  One of them is this adorable little critter:

Each pet has something they are labeled in the game.  This one is the "Sea Pony".  However, you can also name your pets.  So what did I name her?

Yep, Misty!  That seemed like the perfect name.

She follows my character around, floating in a bubble of water.

Also, if you click on her, you hear the sound effect of a tiny, high-pitched whinny.

She's so cute!


Back in the real world, I did a bit of work on the epic house cleaning project this morning.  I'm hoping to get back in the grove on everything very soon, but for now it's nice to take a break.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Challenge - Days 9 and 10

I completely missed Day 9 - and my first daily blog post missed this year I think.  Oh no, that's how it starts!  Soon it'll be months in between my posts!  Ha...  Okay, not so much.  (more on that at the bottom of this post)

The Copperfox Challenge for Day 9 was to plan to attend a live show or enter a photo show.

Sadly, there are no live shows here in Japan.  (I've given a bit of thought to making it one of my crazy long term goals - to possibly change that...?  but don't hold your breath for now)  I did not enter a photo show yesterday (or today) either, BUT I will "officially" announce that 2016 is the year I will return to photo showing!  You heard it here first.  ;)

The Challenge for Day 10 is to imagine a story or create characters from your model horses.

I haven't done any of that for a long time, but many of my horses were characters when I was younger.  They had profiles and personalities -  that's something I'd actually like to get back to since it was a lot of fun.

It's interesting that this day's challenge came u, because I have actually been reading over a lot of my old stories the past few days.  I have always enjoyed storytelling.  I don't have a new story, but I'll tell you about an old one.

One story that I made up when I was playing with my horses (yes, I played with them! :O haha) was about a young girl in the Old West.  She and her father had a big horse ranch and they were going to move from Texas to Montana.  Think cattle drive, only with a huge herd of horses.  I would act out scenes in my story and several of my models played as main characters.  The story was not written down, so a lot of the details have been lost, but I remember the overall story, and the horses.

"Rock Steady" was the girl's favorite horse, though he might have had a different name then.  When I got to where I was thinking up show names or registered type names for my horses, I named him Rock Steady...  after a Bryan Adams song.  (he inspired a LOT of my horse names if you haven't already noticed)

Rock Steady was a good name for him though.  In the story he was beautiful, flashy, but solid as a rock - athletic and fast, but gentle and friendly.  Everyone liked him, people and horses alike.

Sadly he is in the body herd after suffering a leg break at some time.  I don't remember it happening during the play years, oddly enough, but after.  I put a hasty splint on it just now to take that hasty picture above.  He is also fairly beat up in other ways and discolored in spots.  The life of an old west cow pony is rough..  or, since he herded horses, would he be a horse pony?  Ha!

He was one of my favorites at that time; I thought he was so gorgeous.  I don't know what my customizing plans are for him, but I'm thinking he'll still be a flashy Arab/Appaloosa in the end.


Now, more about the missing blog post!

In all seriousness, I've found that blogging is something I do enjoy.  Some days it feels like a chore, but I do miss it if I don't do it.  I've never been very good at keeping a diary or journal and so it was with blogging for a long time.  However over the past year or so I've been doing pretty well, aiming for, and doing, daily posts most of the time.  I'm not sure I'll be able to keep that up forever (okay, no, I won't be able to...) but for me, this is fun!  On THAT note, yesterday I did happen to see that I've passed 25,000 views!

I've got a long way to go to hit where Five Paws Studio is now (over 100,000 views!) and I may NEVER reach Braymere's current total (over 3 million views and climbing!),  but I'm excited about my wee milestone.  ;)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Challenge - Day 8: Join a Group, Forum or Club

I suppose I cheated a tiny bit on this one too...  I didn't join a NEW forum, but instead went back to one I had joined a long time ago.

Only Model Horses

Back when the board was first created I had registered...  but it was a bit slow in the beginning and I haven't been back there in quite a while.  So I spent some time on there looking at several threads.  It certainly has grown!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Challenge - Day 7: Favorite Piece

Day 7 of the Copperfox 10 day Challenge is to share your favorite piece in your model horse collection.

This is a tough one.  Especially since it includes horses, and tack.

There are sentimental favorite horses, such as childhood favorite OFs, and a few of my old custom models.  I've also got new favorites too, like: Darkness Falls (classic Black Stallion), Lionesse and my Copperfox Welsh Cob.

For tack, I could say: my old duct tape tack, for fun, or my first ever "real" piece of tack: the first leather halter.  Or how about my still in progress first (leather) western saddle or fancy Arabian costume.  Ack!  There are too many choices, even just in the tack department - and I'm really only getting started there.

I have to admit though, when I first read the words: "favorite model horse", the horse that popped into my mind was this guy:

His name is Reckless, after the Bryan Adams album.  He was one of my very first custom horses.  In fact, he might have been the very first one.  I don't remember how old I was when I painted him, but I think I was around 14 or 15.      

I found the model at a flea market (along with a few other Hartlands)  At the time, I didn't even know what they were, they were cheap horse-shaped objects and that was enough for me to buy them.

I ended up giving this one a wild paint job and eventually managed to take some cool outdoor pictures of him.

He was almost always photographed from the off side, but I do have a headstudy from his near side.

He was a multi-Champion photo show horse, back in the day.  (the pictures in this post are his old show pictures)  

A few judges even sent notes back with the results, saying how "cool" he was.  Sadly my old photo show records were destroyed in the same flood that took my childhood horse books.  Some of the old pictures have water damage, but mercifully most of them survived.

I still have him.  At some point I had spruced him up a bit, adding detailed eyes, and giving him a fresh paint job, same pattern - new paint on top of it.

He was never LSQ, because I didn't know much at the time about correcting mold flaws.  Once my customizing skills had advanced, I often considered doing an overhaul of Reckless, but I could never quite bring myself to do it.  I had also thought about doing a new and improved version of him, basically his coloring (or close enough) on a better model.  Maybe I'll still do that someday...

The back of one of his old show pics.  I'm assuming it was my note for some sort of favorite model class.

"My first custom and my "baby"!"

Yeah, that about says it all.  It looks like maybe he was the first.

I do have a lot of favorites, but old Reckless has to be number one.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Challenge - Days 5 and 6

Okay, I'm cheating a little bit...

The Challenge for Day 5 was to make something for a model horse or try a new skill.  I actually didn't quite do either, not completely, but I did almost get this one finished.  That counts, right?...

Day 6 Challenge was to find a new artist/sculptor or tackmaker.  I didn't find a brand new (to me) one, but did find out that an artist I'd discovered through Instagram is also on Facebook.  That would be Studio Thornrose.  I've been following her on Instagram for a little while now and she does some AMAZING work.  I'm happy to have found her on Facebook too.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Beach Day!

Jeff's away and I've been dealing with some depression and probably cabin fever the past week or so.  I finally decided that I needed to get out of the house.  I figured my options were: go to the beach or go find (real) horses again.  I opted for the beach, since I haven't actually done much driving here and I wasn't sure I was up for my first big solo expedition.  However, a solo beach trip wasn't without some apprehension either...

I've mentioned this before, but after spending the vast majority of my life landlocked, I now find myself living about 3 miles from the Pacific - as the crow flies.  It took me a little while to get used to beach walks; the ocean scares me.  Oh, it is without a doubt beautiful and fascinating, but I just hadn't been around it much at all.  Now living in the land of earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons (oh my!) doesn't really help either.  Jeff and I have walked a particular stretch of beach many times.  It was there that I decided to go.

I also decided it wouldn't be just a stroll along the beach; I went on a mission to take my first ever model horse pictures... by the ocean!

When I first arrived, I studied the shoreline near the parking lot, watching the waves and trying to figure out a good place to setup.  I decided on a slight rise that was mostly out of the water, but did get "flooded" every so often.  I wanted some water pics, but didn't want the horses going into the drink.  ;)  I didn't want to get soaked either.

I took several horses with me, but only photographed a few of them.  It was a cold, windy, snowy day (more on that later).

First up was Lionesse.

Crashing surf behind her!

Here comes some water...

Bam!  Water horse picture!  ;)

That instantly became my new favorite model horse picture, but I'm fond of this one too.  As the water receded, the reflection on the sand was beautiful.

So beautiful... so majestic... so...


A wind gust made her topple, so I decided that was enough for her photo shoot.

I took her back to the car and brought out this guy.

A wave building behind him.

Here it comes!

His water horse shot.

Pretty reflection.

Last one.  I think the angle on this one was the best for him.  I was crouched down, holding the camera just off the sand and sort of "shooting blind".

I nestled him on a nearby breaker (far from the water) and moved on to my next experiment.

A mini!

I had high hopes for being able to get some great Stablemate pictures, but I had trouble getting the focus just right and I didn't dare wait for a wave to possibly wash him away.  He was able to stand on top of the sand, versus sinking into it, but I did have to plant him a bit since the wind actually knocked him over a few times.

I only took a few pictures of him and then decided to call it a day on that part of the trip.

I wasn't completely alone on the beach, Max was with me.  While I wrangled plastic ponies, he patiently waited.

Happy Max

After the pony pictures, I asked him if he was ready to go for a walk.  He replied with his skeptical face.

Skeptical Max is skeptical

I meant it though and after stowing the ponies back in the car, we set off up the beach.

Way out along some breakers I saw ducks.  You can also see the snow in this picture.  It had started snowing just as I finished the photo shoot and by the time we got to our turn around point, it was really coming down.

We stopped the walk at a freshwater runoff canal, where Max got a drink.

Then it was time to turn around and head back.  Often Jeff and I will cross the canal and keep going, but I didn't want to overdo it today, particularly for Max who's knees aren't what they once were.  :(

It was snowing for the whole walk, but I don't think either of us minded; Max and I both love snow.  It was the first time I've walked on a beach in a snowstorm.  It was pretty cool.

Along the way, Max found a few sticks and carried each of them for a bit, but none of them were worth keeping he said.  He has found several sticks and a couple of other random things on the beach.  If he really likes them, he'll carry them all the way back to the car and leave them in it.  The back seat of Jeff's car usually has a few of Max's beach treasures on it.

One last picture as I contemplate that I "survived" another walk by the ocean - and I wasn't even nervous about it.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Challenge - Day 4: Favorite Model Horse Picture

Day 4 of the Copperfox Challenge is to post your favorite model horse picture.

I do have some old favorites but, as it turns out, I also have a new favorite - as of yesterday.

(Full story on the first ever model horse beach trip in my next post!)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Quick Post: To The Beach! (also Challenge Day 3)

Today I am planning a mini excursion to the beach.  I plan to...  take model horse pictures!  I've always been inspired by beach pictures that others have shared and so I think I'm going to go see if I can manage to take some of my own.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and...  the Copperfox Challenge for Day 3 is: Be a Model Horse

That's a tough one, I'm not really sure...  I think being a Stablemate could be fun if you could come to life and go exploring around the house, you could get into small places that way.  However, you might also be in danger of being eaten quickly by the household cat or dog if you were that small.

Maybe a Traditional scale would be better.   ;)

As far as mold and color, well, I like action poses.  Maybe one of the Breyer racing molds.  Color - probably either black or something flashy like a loud appy or pinto.

Sorry, I'm not terribly specific.  I guess I've just never thought about being a model horse!  Real horse - yes.  ;)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Copperfox Challenge - Day 2: Name A Horse

Day two of the Copperfox Challenge is to name a model or your barn.

I've actually been throwing around ideas for a barn name, but I haven't settled on anything yet.

So, instead, I present: Copper Penny, or Copper for short.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Copperfox Challenge - Day 1: Inspiration

I just came across this:

Copperfox 10 Day Challenge

I really like the various 30 day challenges and so on that I've seen - though I've yet to take part in one.  They seem to most often be on Instagram and I'm still barely getting started over there (I'm horsetenderstudio, if anyone is curious).

This challenge from Copperfox sounds like fun.

Day 1: Inspiration should be easy for me, especially since minutes before finding out about this, I had just hauled my reference picture project into the living room to chip away at while I binge watch Heartland.

I'd have to say though that one of my biggest model horse inspirations, right off the top of my head, is Jennifer Buxton of Braymere Custom Saddlery.   She is an inspiration to me, both on the model horse front and for blogging as well. Her "tack tips" have been a massive help as I take my sporadic baby steps into the world of making "real" model horse tack - and I'm sure I'll be referring back to them quite often!

Another big inspiration, for customizing and sculpting in particular, is Rayvin Brewer of Khrysalis Studios.  Her recommendations on reference books, as well as her tips that she posts, and video tutorials, are all such a big help.

There are many, many other amazing sculptors, painters, tack and prop makers, as well as other non-hobby people who inspire me.

Thinking on it though, my biggest inspiration has to be: the horse.

My boy, Bo

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MOAR Reference Pictures

I've been working on more clean up, all over the house.

Yesterday I was in the studio for a while, but didn't make anything.  Instead, I shuffled some things around to put the proper items in the labeled drawers.  I definitely have to come up with another way of storing leather - and fabric - as these little drawers just won't work to hold all of it.  Otherwise, things seem to be working well and I'm very happy to finally have a place for a lot of random things that have been laying around.

I did get slightly side tracked by going through a stack of magazines for references.  A few of the drawers had been stuffed with magazines and other reference material during the move.  I had to pull them all out, to put the labeled contents in.  Instead of just moving the pile to somewhere else in the mess-- er, studio, I decided to go through them.  I tore out the pages I was interested in and cut some of the pictures out.

At some point I'm going to have to have another layout marathon, where I arrange the pictures in my reference binders.  I have quite a few pictures, articles, and so on, ready to be filed.

As always, whenever I go through my references, I want to stop what I'm doing, shove everything aside, grab a horse, and get to work.  However, that constant back and forth struggle is why 1) my studio is such an epic mess and 2) I don't actually seem to get much creative work DONE.  I'm trying to be "good" and keep at the cleaning and organizing as long as possible...  before I can't take it anymore and have to make something.  ;)


Monday, February 1, 2016

Quick Post: Need Sleep

Jeff is away right now and when he's gone I have a tendency to start returning to my old night owl ways.

Last night, er, this morning, I finally fell asleep at about 2am.

As a result, I slept in until 10 and...  haven't accomplished much today.

Hoping I can get myself to bed earlier tonight and get more done tomorrow!