Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Laser Day

Today has turned into a laser day.  Well, yesterday was too, but only because of technical difficulties.  I was working with (or battling against) the laser all day yesterday with not much to show for it.  Jeff came home last night and did some computer magic and today the infernal machine seems to be cooperating again.

I'm making a bunch more things to take with me to the next show - and to list for sale online when I get back home.  I've got a lot to do today and am trying to chip away at it.  The washer and dryer are running, laser is running, and I'm getting ready to start getting my entries for the show unpacked, organized, and repacked.  The class list is a bit different for this one, so unfortunately I can't just take what I've already got packed from the last show.  I am thinking about taking even MORE horses though to maybe see if I can sell some of the ones I've been thinking of selling.  Also, inspired by the horse trading that went on at the last show, I'd like to have more horses to trade if the opportunity comes up again. 

I'm looking forward to the trip, though I'm not necessarily looking forward to the 16 hour drive.  I think it will still be fun though.  I'm trying to find some things to stop and see along the way if I get the chance.  Usually when I'm on a trip, it's "pedal to the metal", trying to get where I'm going, only stopping for fuel and the bathroom.  This time I'm planning to take my time on the drive so that, hopefully, I'm not completely wrecked on Saturday at the show - or when I'm trying to visit my daughter.  I haven't seen her since she was a year old..  She's ten now.  I'm anxious to see her and I hope everything goes well. 

I guess I'd better get back to work, there's still a lot to do today.  Tomorrow I hit the road.

Monday, October 27, 2014


I meant to type all of this up yesterday, but I was just too exhausted.  We did end up going for a motorcycle ride in the Hills - it was supposed to be our last "unseasonably warm" day.  So even though Jeff and I were both tired, we decided to go for it.  I have never come so close to falling asleep on the back of a motorcycle, but it was a good ride and a good time in spite of me being more tired than I can ever remember being!

But that's not what you're here for, right?  On to the show report!

Here is our table after it was all set up:

The whole affair..  our part of it anyway

We had all of the laser stuff to sell on one side:

Lasered goodies for horse fans and dog lovers too

In the middle of the table was my small herd of small custom horses.  Most are my old ones, having been created ranging from 12-18 years ago!  Only a few newer works were in the mix:

My custom herd

(The big grey Arabian mare on the right ride of the picture is the only custom horse I own that I did not do.  I bought her many years ago, I had seen her somewhere and always thought she was SO pretty.  When she came up for sale, I jumped at the chance to have her.  She is signed as having been created in 1986.)

Lastly, on the other end were my herd of OF (original finish) models:

My show herd of Breyers "out of the box"

Most all of my original finish horses are old.  As I was unwrapping them all, I started to feel like I was out of my element and feeling like I didn't belong there.  I was looking around at other people who had the biggest, best, newest, rarest, most expensive horses available and there I was with what mostly amounted to my childhood/teenage years collection.  "What I am I doing here??" I was asking myself... 

The day did start out nicely though, in the very first class, one of my old favorites took 2nd in his class, qualifying him for the Nationals.  He is a SM G1 Arabian stallion special run from 1996 or 1997 that I had named "Solo":

"Solo" - first NAN card of the day..  and first for me in over a decade

While the OF classes were going on at one table, another table was where the performance entries were being judged.  I was too busy ferrying my OF herd back and forth to see many of the performance entries close up, but I did get a few pictures of some really neat entries.  These were in one of the western performance classes:

I was particularly interested in that last one because it was sporting a cross-stitch saddle pad!

Heeey, I've been making a ton of these!  Neat to see someone else's cross-stitch pad in person.

I had brought my stack of cross-stitch pad creations and I ended up talking to the performance showers that were sitting next to us.  They seemed to like my pads and they gave me some ideas for marketing them.  It sounds like not many people are making them for the hobby anymore.  I was encouraged after our chat to keep stitching and start trying to get my little saddle pad creations out in the world!

After the OF Mini classes were coming to a end, here's what that end of our table was looking like:

Lots of blue and red - yay!!

A quick picture of the callbacks for the Champion and Reserve Champion OF Mini Breyer.  Half of the horses on the table were mine!  What can I say, I have a ton of the minis and I brought some for every class:

All 1st and 2nd place horses from the OF Breyer Mini breed classes go back to decide Champion and Reserve.

When the Champ and Reserve were announced..  I had the Reserve!  I was so excited - and shocked.  I almost didn't bring this little guy, but I was so excited to show after so long that I took minis for every single class.

I present...  "Speckles", winner of the OF Breyer Mini Pony class and Overall Reserve OF Breyer Mini!:

Dwarfed by his rosette, haha.

When we first arrived, we were given nametags to fill out and wear.  Jeff said, "My name is Inigo Montoya"..  So I wrote it on his nametag that he wore all day.  Surprisingly, no one seemed to catch it. 

After the OF Minis, came the larger OF horses.  I had a sprinkling of winners there, one of my most shocking was my little Classic Black Stallion.  He was another I almost didn't bring - "he's too old", I had thought.  But he looked like he was in decent shape and I wanted to have my limit of 3 in the Arabian Stallion class, so he got to go.  He won the Arabian Stallion class and the judge overheard my excited, "Oh my goodness!!" when I saw him standing proud with his blue ribbon.  She told me that, for her, age came before newness; she considers the age of the model, and condition, not just if they are the newest one.  I was overjoyed with his win in the class and I put him back on our table with the others and hurried back to the judging table with my entries for the next class.

At some point, I noticed that the costume class was going on at the performance judging table and I went over to take pictures of some absolutely stunning Arabian costumes!:

Look at the detail on this!  It was so gorgeous.

A brief side note here...  Last year, Breyer started a Live Show Benefit program where they offer an exclusive model to certain approved live shows, to be given away to one of the entrants.  You can read about the program and see this year's horse here.  I knew they were going to give away a Lionesse at the show, but I hadn't thought anything of it...

Until I was taking pictures of the Arabian costumes and heard the announcement: "Bobbie has won the Lionesse!"

I was in absolute shock!  I've never won anything like this.  I've always joked about having the worst luck, I never win any type of drawing.  But it was true!  They handed me Lionesse and took my picture, then I carefully carried her back to our table, beaming, to show Jeff.

Lionesse - I can't believe she is mine!

On the way back to our table with her, the OF judge stopped me and said "You have my 1st place Arabian stallion".  I looked at her judging table and all of the 1st and 2nd Light Breeds were there for the Champion class.  Oh!!  I grabbed my little Black Stallion and the only spot left for him was right in the middle of the table.  Most of the other horses were Traditionals - the largest size, while he is a Classic - medium-sized.  He was sort of lost in the larger crowd.  I said aloud, "Good luck little guy" and left him there.

I grabbed the camera again and went back to taking pictures of the Arabian costumes, trying to capture how beautiful they were:

I heard some conversation behind me and heard a young girl say "Oh, the Black Stallion!"  I didn't think anything of it, I thought she had just recognized which model my guy was on the show table behind me.  Then the judge called out the Reserve Champion and for Champion she said "Darkness Falls"!  I turned around in complete shock, for the 2nd time in a 5 or 10 minute span to see my little guy, in the middle of the table, surrounded by big, gorgeous horses..  with his Champion rosette:

"Darkness Falls" - another horse I almost didn't bring.  Champion OF Breyer Light Breed

The judge told me that he has so much presence on the table, she said he's just standing there like, "Yeah, I'm hot".  I was over the moon, I never, ever would have expected this!

Back at our table, with his ribbons - awesome job little guy!

Finally, where the performance judging had been, it was time for Custom horses.  I was so nervous, I felt sick!  This was the real reason I had come, to get my little painted ponies back out in the show world and see how they did.  One that I was most excited about was the results of this class.  There was a mix up in judging and the Gaited breeds classes had been skipped.  I was concerned, because I had brought 4 gaited horses (2 and 2) for the two Gaited classes.  The judge ended up telling me to enter them in Other Sport.  I ended up having to drop one of my entries, because I could only have 3 in a class.  Here were the results, my little "Crown Royale" ended up winning the class!  She is one of my older customs, but one I have always liked:

Custom Other Sport, since Gaited classes were skipped, my old CM ASB "Crown Royale" had the win!

The custom division ended up giving me quite a workout.  There weren't many customs being shown, I think only 3 of us had entries.  So the classes were moving fast and I had entries in almost every one.  I was rushing back and forth with horses, ribbons, cards.  And in the midst of it all, the OF judge called for all Champion and Reserve OF Breyers to return to the table for the Overall Grand and Reserve class.  I scooped up Darkness Falls and his ribbons and rushed him to the table.  The table had filled up quickly and again I had to squeeze him in somewhere.  I said to myself, "He has NO chance", as I looked at the stunning horses he was up against - all Champions already, having beaten lots of other horses in their divisions.

I went back to ferrying my little custom horses back and forth and was taking a quick break at our table when I heard a little girl say, "The Black Stallion, of course" ...  I thought, what..??  The judge called out the Reserve Overall and then she said: "Overall Champion is Darkness Falls".   I could NOT believe it, but there he was, pile of ribbons, and his "mystery prize".  (all Overall Champions were awarded mystery prizes, wrapped in zebra print paper)

No way!  But yes, there he was!

Shortly after this was the Custom Championship class, I was so stressed about getting them all in - I had to make 3 trips to carry them since I'd ended up with most of the custom entries - that I didn't get any pictures of the class.  I didn't end up with any Championships for my customs, but I was overjoyed that so many of them qualified for the Nationals and I was OVER THE MOON with the rest of the events of the day.

Oh!  As if everything wasn't enough, I also won a raffle prize!  The grey horse in the box behind my OF Pacer:

Was all of this luck making up for having never won any kind of drawing before??  haha

Here are a few quick pictures I took at the end of the day.  I packed away everyone else, except for all of the Nationals qualifiers to get pictures of them all together. 

Most of my OF 1st and 2nds

The big OF winner, surrounded by custom qualifiers

For the laser, we did sell a few ornaments and also took our first custom order for the product line we are focusing on now (the wooden tributes and ornaments).  We talked to several people about the laser and what we do throughout the day and handed out business cards.  I think it was a good little first outing for the laser business as well.

At the very end, we went out to dinner with the show host and a couple of other people who attended.  It was a GREAT day and I am still over the moon!

I have just two days to recover and pack up, then I'm hitting the road to go to another show!  I'm not sure it could ever top this one, but I am excited to have the chance to go to another one already.  Unfortunately I'm probably not going to have time to finish many more customs (if any) before I go.  However, I am going to be there a couple of days early and am hoping to have some time at the hotel to maybe put the finishing touches on some that are close to being done.  I'm going to pack up my supplies to take along, just in case.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Best. Day. Ever.

We just returned home from the show - and dinner afterwards.  I can probably best summarize the whole experience by saying:  It was the best day ever of my entire model-horse-loving life.

I feel like I'm still in shock - a good shock.  If one believes in signs, I feel like it was shouted loud and clear to me that I need to NOT give up on this passion of mine.  I'm not sure it could have been any clearer and I've got the message.  I'll be resting up for a couple of days and then packing up to go to another show already!

I have BUNCH to report and pictures to share, but I think all of that will have to wait until tomorrow - I'm beat. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Arena

Last winter I discovered Brene Brown while watching an episode of Oprah's "Life Class".   I was stunned at what I heard her talk about and I knew even then that I was hearing truly life changing stuff.  Particularly with the burden I've been struggling with all of these years of the unfulfilled custom orders.  She spoke of concepts like perfectionism being armor against vulnerability.  (if we're "perfect", no one can be upset with us... )  YES!  That's me!  I've been crippled for so long thinking I can't "fix" any of this until things are perfect.

Afterwards, I had gone and watched her TED talk on vulnerability.

One of the things she talked about in Life Class was the story of the inspiration behind the title of one of her books, "Daring Greatly".  It is part of a quote from a speech Theodore Roosevelt did, which is known as "The Man In The Arena."

This brings me to another fairly recent motivational discovery of mine: Zen Pencils. 

You really should check out his work 

Here, I'll help you get started.  The artist, Gavin Aung Than, does brilliant comics that illustrate famous quotes or quotes from famous people.  He illustrated part of "The Man In The Arena" here.

That is the part of the speech that Brene Brown referenced for her book, "Daring Greatly".

Later, after listing to her talks, I discovered that Gavin of Zen Pencils illustrated one of her quotes and he dubbed it: "The Woman In The Arena".

I cannot express how much Brene's words, paired with Gavin's illustrations, resonate with me.  I have been battling the fear and shame gremlins for so long that I'm not even sure anymore what life is like without them.

But tomorrow...

Tomorrow, I go into the arena.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Old Faces and New

Yesterday was slow to get going, I was feeling down - not even sure why.  But I eventually went down to the Studio in the afternoon, put on some music, and got to work.

The first one I decided to tackle was this saucy little Appaloosa mare:

She was actually painted several years ago and has been waiting for detailing.

But I noticed she had a big nasty seam on her head that I didn't fix back then and that was bothering me:

So the first thing I did was mix up a small batch of paint to match her body color and then scrape off the seam.  I repainted her face, did some other touchups, freshened up her mane, tail, and legs, and finished her appy blanket with halo spots. 

Along the way - since I was mixing up various small batches of white for markings, hoof colors, skin colors, and so on - I decided to finish a couple of others too.  They are a spotted Mule and a blue roan leopard Appaloosa.  I was interrupted by Jeff coming home and us going to town to run errands, so this is about as far as the three had gotten.  Zombie horses!

(Painting the eyes is seven step process - yes, even on a horse that is only three inches tall - and during this phase, after the eye whites are painted on, they do look a little spooky.)

Jeff and I went to town and got some things done for the vendor events coming up - we had order forms and catalogs printed for the laser business.  We also bought a smart phone for me.. my first one.  No, I hadn't had one yet - neither of us had!  We are die hard flip phone people, but we want to have a mobile card reader to help in making sales and that could only come about (easily) via a smart phone.

We also discovered that there was a big sale going on at the farm and ranch store, where we needed to buy some feed for my Bo boy and some bedding for Prim, our guinea pig.  We ended up doing some more shopping since everything was 15% off (that you could put into a bucket). 

I came home with a few more future painting projects. 

This one I've had my eye on for a while - a Tennessee Walking Horse by Safari (the same company that made the Appaloosa mare above).  I like their horses and I'm looking forward to working on this one:

The other acquisition was two more Breyers.  I like this pose and since I love painting pintos and appaloosas, I see a couple more spotted sporthorses in my future.

I'm headed back down to go to work.  Just now, coffee in hand, I had opened the door to my Studio and smiled.  Even though it is a MESS in there right now, it is still my happy space. 

I have several more errands to run today in preparing for the show (it's day after tomorrow!!) - but for now it's time to get painting again!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally a Horsey Day

Yesterday I spent a good deal of time in the Studio room.  I did a bit more organizing of the hoard-- I mean... my supplies... and then tried to get settled into customizing mode.  It was slow going.  I started off by trying to remove the wings off of a couple of little resin Pegasus horses I'd gotten at a touristy gift shop over the summer... 

... only to find out that the stuff the little horses are made of is NASTY.  It turns to fine white powder that gets everywhere and the process made the whole room stink so badly I had to evacuate for a bit.  I was wearing safety glasses (for the first time - go me) but obviously should have had a mask on too - in hindsight.  That was only one Pegasus de-winged...  I did put on my new respirator mask and went out to the garage to do the second one.

Luckily it was a nice day, so shortly after my initial evacuation due to toxic fumes, I opened the window in the Studio and pressed on.

The next task I gave myself was to decide what I have for customs already finished to enter in the show on Saturday.  Last week I pulled out the box where my old finished custom horses have been living and I was pleasantly surprised!  I didn't think any of my old work would be showable, but..  I now plan to show them all.  A couple are a little rough, but overall I'm happy with how they look.  Nothing quite like unpacking your old work after many years and realizing that you really like it.  I don't think I'm as good now as I was then (out of practice) and it's hard not to wonder how good I would be now if I had kept going back then.  But that's no way to live... right?  Moving on.

My mini show string - so far.  Original finish on the left, customs on the right: 

I haven't looked at any of my larger original finish horses yet, though I'm planning to show some of them too... plus whatever customs I can finish up this week.

A couple of my old horses need a bit of work.  This one for example: 

Many years ago I painted her to be a Rocky Mountain Horse and while I was happy with her body color and her pretty face, I was never satisfied with the mane and tail that I had painted for her.  (What was I thinking?)  I was going for a two (or three?) tone effect and...  failed.  She has always bothered me for that reason.  Yesterday I decided - why leave her that way if I don't like it?  I can fix her - I have the "technology"!  So here she is a short time later with a straight flaxen mane and tail: 

She still needs another coat or two and detailing around the edges, but I am much happier with her already.

Another of my OLD customs I'm thinking of re-doing (though not in time for this show) is this little Arabian.  She was one of my very first reposition/paint/hair horses, though she didn't turn out near as nice as some of my other early attempts.  Oh dear...

I still think she is cute though and I'm thinking I'd like to give her a makeover eventually.

A few horses in the running to be finished this week are these three: 

The Jumper I started during our recent trip to PA/NY.  He will be a burgundy chestnut and I had envisioned him with some Appy spots.  The Mustang in the middle I started a couple of years ago.  I wasn't happy with how he was coming along at the time, but recently I saw a picture of a beautiful real splash white mustang stallion that looked a lot like this little guy and it encouraged me to finish him.  The Swaps on the bottom I actually started painting several years ago and then had packed him away.  I was delighted to find him again recently, packed with my finished horses.  The fox marking on his neck was not intentional, it just sort of happened while I was painting him back then, but it meant that he instantly became one of my favorites.  I'd like to (finally) finish him and I may get him done for Saturday.

I have several others that are started and may or may not make it to the show on Saturday.  I also have even MORE that are in various stages of completion and a bunch of then got some attention last night.  I did some dremeling and primering and general assessment of a lot of my in progress horses.  Some are just about ready to start painting..  others are not even close.  Here is the pile after last night's work:

On that note, I should get back to work!  This is how I left my desk yesterday.  Plenty of projects waiting for me down there!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Motivation Monday

I haven't been blogging the last few days, but boy have I been BUSY.  The laser has been running and running (it is running right now).  Today I'm hoping to (finally) transition from hardcore laser work and instead get busy in the Studio.  It is crunch time and I am trying not to stress and panic...  the show is this coming Saturday!!!  With that, I give you another installment of Motivation Monday...  Let's get busy!