Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quick Post: Stitching Progress

Yesterday I accomplished... a whole lotta nothing.  Except, some more stitching!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

First Skirmish

Yesterday I decided that my first act of war in countering Resistance was to begin to tackle the epic mess in the studio.

I thought I'd start on my desk first, since that is where most of the creative work takes place.  Here's a picture after said battle was well under way.

I've had the loose idea for a little while now to try and organize supplies by project or purpose.  I've done a bit of that with the drawer units I have on my shelves.  However, I decided yesterday that it'd be nice to be able to store project bits and references together.

My eyes fell upon my "rainbow drawers".  I added two of these 10 drawer units to the studio shortly before our big move.  So far they've been storing some random things, thought I did sort of already start the project storage idea by putting the Rio Rondo saddle in a drawer.  During the move though, things got chaotic as I basically stuffed every drawer full to minimize what the movers had to pack - they just wrapped of each unit of drawers as one piece.

I wrote down a list of possible contents for each drawer and then stuck some quick, temporary labels on to decide what drawer might hold what.

Closest to my desk, a couple of the "Project" drawers.

The top few drawers on the other unit.

Feeling accomplished in my planning, it then occurred to me that there was a slight problem.  Two of the drawers are already stuffed with leather.

Plus, in the closet, lies this pile.

And of course these: the two tooling sides that I got from Tandy a while back.

Okay, so my "Leather" will most certainly not fit in one drawer.  I'll have to think on that some more.

About this time, I noticed that the studio fish tank was looking dirty, so I decided to clean it.  That was the end of the day's battle.

The first skirmish was short-lived, but it's a start.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Going to War

Last night I received a couple of book in the mail that I had ordered, including this one:

It was recommended by Khrysalis Studios on her Facebook page; it sounded very interesting and I felt it was something I needed to read.

Between last night and this morning, I've read the first section, which deals with "Resistance" - the force that keeps us from following our dreams.  I can relate to many of the ways that the author describes Resistance and how it works to block us.

I want to devour the rest of the book, particularly the next section: "Combating Resistance", but at the moment I'm inspired to tackle an "excuse" that I've been using for far too long...  That would be the ever present mess in my studio.  I get stuck in these loops where I don't want to make stuff, because the studio still isn't set up the way I want it to be, but I don't want to take the time to clean up and organize the studio because...  I want to make stuff.

Silly, isn't it?

There are MANY other blocks that stop me from creating things, but that one seems like an important one to handle.  It also helps that Jeff is actually out of town right now, so if I need to make an even bigger mess to get things sorted out - like, oh, say, dragging things out into the hallway over the next few days - I can.  (haha)

Anyhow, I've decided that for right now I'm going to split the difference between cleaning and creating.  I'm going to wade in there with the intention of "organizing" and clean up for a set period of time, then I get to make some stuff.  Or, if I find I am enjoying the clean up, I'll work at it for longer.  Either way, it should be a win-win.

Pardon me, while I ride off into battle...

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I Made a Rope

Yesterday I spent a few hours in the studio.

I started trying to come up with a pattern for a Traditional scale blanket.  (strangely much harder to do than the Stablemate ones I made...)

A small, but exciting, something that I made was this:

I've seen many times where people have made lead ropes and such by twisting embroidery floss, but I hadn't ever tried it.  I decided to go for it last night and was VERY happy with the results.  Ohhh the ideas now!

Of course, as usual when I'm working with any kind of "string", my supervisor had to stop by.

Yesterday I also filmed a new (shorter!) video tutorial for finishing a cross-stitch saddle pad.  I haven't watched it yet, but hopefully it came out okay.  I think it's just under 5 minutes long.  I'm hoping to have it uploaded in the next couple of days.

Part of today's creative agenda is to finally finish some of my own personal hoard of stitched pads!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Not Quite Green and Tan

I've been getting some stitching time in on my latest saddle pad.  My vision was for a green and tan combination and this is not quite it, but close.

The green is there, but the closest I had to a full skien of tan is actually more of a golden brown.  I think it will still be okay.

Side note: how is it that with a ton of floss colors, I still rarely have the exact color I want for any certain project?  Haha.  I'm going to add "tan floss" to the craft store shopping list.  It's such a versatile color, and great for anything Western; I'm surprised I don't actually have much of it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stablemate Swap Props

Last month I signed up to be part of a prop swap for the Stablemate Performance Group.  I sent off my box a couple of weeks ago and the same day I found a props for me at the post office.

I received some neat stuff!

I've thought of making some scene pieces like this for some time now, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet.

 Also included were a few fence panels, a cactus, a bush, and a tree.

The neatest  thing was a Native American costume and rider!

His horse here was a quick grab out of the body box, but I'm inspired to make him a proper war pony.

I'm really happy with the props that I received and I'm looking forward to trying to set up some proper photo show pictures with them!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Motivation Monday - Action

I hope everyone is having a good Monday and that this will be a fun, action-filled week!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Fox Village Loot

Last week when we went to the Fox Village, I wanted to get something at the gift shop.  It was a cool place to see for a red fox lover like myself, almost nothing BUT red fox stuff from wall to wall.  It was hard to choose what to get.  They had a lot of adorable stuffed foxes and I was very tempted by one of them.  He was super soft and reminded me of the real fox that I'd been able to hold.

However, I already have several stuffed foxes in my little collection of red fox stuff, so I thought I might get something different.  Also, as much as I wanted a stuffed fox "from the Fox Village", they all seemed to be generic stuffed animals; we didn't see anything that said "Fox Village" on it or on its tag.  I decided that to help narrow down all of the things I wanted, I would settle on things that said "Fox Village" on them.  ;)

I did get a few things and here they are!

Even the bag that they put everything in was cute:

First up is a small tote bag with the "zoomy fox", as Jeff called it.  This design was on a lot of things in the shop.

Zoomy fox is adorable.

A pack of postcards, featuring baby foxes.

Several designs included. So cute!


Again, SO cute.  (feeling repetitive, but everything was adorable...)

Lots of stickers here that met the "Fox Village" requirement.  ;)

Maybe next time we go, I'll get the super soft stuffed fox that I had been looking at.  He doesn't say he's from the Fox Village, but I'll know that I got him there.  ;)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Break Day - Sorta Craft Day

Yesterday I took a much needed break from the intensive studying.  I started off playing Minecraft for a little while and then I went to the studio.

I made a halter (yay!).  Then I randomly felt like tackling my scariest project at the moment: my first original sculpture.  I slapped some epoxy on him, including the first work on his head - to attempt to start making him look a bit horse-like, instead of a bird or an alien.  Then I started some work on the outline of his hindquarters.  (Pictures to come later on)

Big news I suppose was that I finished MY Lapis Lazuli saddle pad last night.

Well, the stitching anyway.  I now have a PILE of stitched pads, awaiting finish work.  I've kind of been hoarding them to do a couple of other videos on finishing pads.  They will be shorter videos, versus the nearly half hour start-to-finish epic that I filmed and posted a while ago.

As often happens, I was eager to finish stitching one so that I could start on another.  I just started the next one.

The colors green and tan have been on my mind, so that's what this next one will be.

Friday, January 22, 2016

More Miniature Figures

A few days ago, I popped into the local store where I've found several neat figures.  My time in there was cut short, so I didn't get to look through everything like I'd wanted to, but I still found some neat stuff.

A package with a cart in it caught my eye.  "That could be modified for use with Stablemates," I thought.

Also in the package was a dog.  It's a dog pulling a cart!  I had to get it.

However when the dog is attached, by notches where the harness fits him, this happens.  Maybe he is a flying dog...?

Right before I had to leave to get back home, I spotted another cart.  This one was in pieces, to be assembled, and had a donkey attached to it.

I grabbed it too, thinking it might be another fun cart to modify for Stablemate models.

After putting it together I discovered that some of the pieces appear to be missing - the back and possibly some other parts.  There are holes where things are supposed to fit, but nothing to put in them.  Likewise, the barrel and red box in the back are actually sitting in there loose.  They have pegs in them, but no holes that they fit.

My original in the moment plan was focused on using the cart in the future, nothing else.

But...  that donkey is actually pretty darn cute.

Both carts have the same marks on the bottom saying that they are from an animation studio.  I don't think I'm familiar with the story they might be from, maybe I'll try and look it up and see if that dog is supposed to be flying after all.  ;)

Speaking of dogs, I got another cute puppy.  I seem to find puppies every time I go to that store.  

Another find was this miniature "fish tank" with a shark in it.  Or maybe it's supposed to be some sort of specimen case.

Either way, I thought it was really cool!

Lastly, a bag of miniature utensils!  I'm not 100% sure on the scale.  I was thinking they may work for 1:9 scale, or they might be a bit too big.  I'm not sure, but for 100 yen (about 80 cents), I had to grab them.

No horses or other equines this trip - other than the cartoon donkey.  I'm hoping to get a chance to look around in there again soon.  Their inventory seems to change quite a bit; I think almost everything I saw in the hundreds of figures I did dig through was new from the last time I was there.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Quick Post - Still Studying

Not much to report, other than I am still drowning in flash cards and crude sketches (by me) of Japanese writing.  Mercifully, our very first quiz - which was supposed to be TONIGHT - has been moved to next week.  Words can't express how relieved I was to hear that during last night's class.  We did do a couple of little non-graded pre-quizzes last night and I did well (100% on what we'd learned up to that point).  But then we went over nearly 30 more new symbols that need to be known for the real quiz...

There is another class tonight and then a few days off.  It's been a bit of a shock to return to "college life" and end up in such an intensive class.  I haven't had to do homework or really study anything, on a deadline, in a long time!

Yesterday I did take a study break and ended up at the store that has all of the neat figures for sale.  I bought a few more things (I can't ever go there without finding something cool - they have thousands of random little figures in there) and I will try to get pictures of them for tomorrow's post.

Until then, I think I'm going to play a little Minecraft until my brain stops feeling like it's going to melt, then I need to do my homework for tonight!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?? And... Pie.

Being married to a military man, I always knew there was a possibility of ending up living overseas.  I also always knew that if I did find myself overseas, I wanted to make the most of it: learn the language, learn about the culture, really do all I can to fully experience life in another place.  Big thoughts for me who, despite having traveled all over the United States, had never been in another country in my teens/adult life - and NEVER over the ocean.  (I lived in Mexico as a little girl for a brief time, but that's another story for another day - or not...)

Anyway, when Jeff told me we were going to Japan, my number one request was that he get me the Rosetta Stone program.  He did, and I did a few lessons on it before we left the States, but that was it.  My intention was to return to it once we'd gotten here, but so far I haven't done much with it - yet.

Once we arrived here, I found out about a "Survival Japanese" class that is offered for free on base.  I went to several of these and learned a lot, but I still wanted more.  There are various Japanese/English conversation clubs around the area, but I felt like I was stuck between not knowing enough to have a conversation, and knowing too much for the bare bones survival classes.  So that's where I sat for a while.

I feel frustrated when I'm out and about and can't say much of anything to the local people - especially since they are all so nice!  However studying on my own just wasn't happening.  As much as I've been wanting to learn more, I find myself doing other things and not really applying myself...

Well, as of this week, I am back in college - studying Japanese!  We found out that one of the stateside colleges offering classes here (University of Maryland) has an "Elementary Japanese" class.  They also have Japanese II and actually a whole certificate in "Asian studies" that can be earned.  I'm not sure I'll do all of that, but I decided to go for the language class(es) at least.  Jeff said that while he was in Germany, he took a college course on German and it was a big help.

To make a longer story short - I'm now scared about what I've gotten myself into!  My first class was Tuesday night where I learned that, to pass, I'll need to be able to read two (of the three) Japanese writing styles AND write in one of them...  all at the end of a 7 week class.  We learned 20 of the symbols we'll need to write on Tuesday.  We will be learning the same tonight and again tomorrow, then a quiz on all of them.

Here's some of what I've been working on: writing practice and making my own flash cards.  There is a LOT more of this in my future:

Last night, thanks to Jeff's idea, I found a really neat app for my phone to help me with all of this.  From using it last night and this morning, I've learned that my recall and writing skills need a lot more help, but I'm actually doing better at recognition than I thought.  Of course that's all for just the first 15 characters.

I really hope I can do well in this class.  I have to say that I really like the instructor, she seems wonderful.  She is very smart and funny, and I can already tell that I will be learning a lot from her - even extra things not covered in the syllabus.  She has been describing the differences between Japanese and English, not just in sounds, but in meaning, history, culture.  Even if I completely fail trying to learn SO much reading/writing/speaking in such a short time (hopefully that doesn't happen!), I think this class will be fascinating.

In other non-stressed-out-learning-a-new-language news, I made this yesterday:

A lot of firsts there: my first ever berry pie and first solo lattice top attempt.  (Jeff and I made one together a long time ago)  The crusts were made from scratch and turned out "perfect", according to Jeff.  He's actually the real cook/baker in our relationship - I can follow recipes, he can just throw stuff together and make magic food - but he said he'd like me to make him a berry pie and I went for it.  It was two hours of prep and 45 minutes in the oven, several hours cooling.  We ate it with from scratch whipped cream and vanilla ice cream (that was from the store).  It was yummy!