Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Model Stable Names - Thanks!

Thank you so much to everyone who commented (and e-mailed) me about their model stable names!  I really enjoyed hearing about all of them.

I've been giving more thought to what mine should be and I'm leaning heavily toward: "Blue Bennu Stables".  I've always had a fascination with the legend of the phoenix.  My (currently dormant) model/fantasy horse racing stable is called Firebird Farms and I thought about going with that for my model horse stable as well, but I wanted something a bit different.

The Bennu bird is the Egyptian version of a phoenix and may have even inspired the Greek phoenix, which is arguably the most well known.  In my research, I found it interesting that many cultures across the world have some sort of phoenix legend.  There is even a Japanese version, which I have seriously thought about using as inspiration, given my current location.  ;)  However, I think I like the Bennu the best.  One reason is that it is most often depicted as a heron.  The heron is a favorite bird of mine - since that is the last name (slightly different spelling) of my Granddad, Granny, uncles, aunt, etc.  "Horse Tender" come from a book of my Granddad's that I had read many years ago.  It seems fitting to me that my model stable name in some way be a nod to my Granddad too.

From what I've read, the bird who most likely inspired the Bennu was the grey heron, but I like "Blue Bennu" to be more like the blue heron and, well, blue is my favorite color.

Oh, one other thing, this name - or any variation of it - seems to be available.  In other words, I can't find another Blue Bennu Stables mentioned anywhere.  That's a plus.

Yes, I think I've just about talked myself into it...


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Model Stable Names?

For the last year or so I've been tossing around different ideas for a name for my model horse stable.  As I've mentioned on here before, I used to enjoy coming up with names, profiles, and so on, for my horses.  I've been thinking I'd like to get back into that, but I really want to have a name for the ranch, or stable, or farm where they live.

Do you have a model stable name?  What is it and how did you decide on the name?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yabusame! - Awesome Day

Just a couple of days ago, I randomly happened to visit the website for the horseback riding club nearby.  I still haven't visited them since the magical day last October when I was able to ride a horse

I saw that they were advertising an event taking place this weekend, at a mall in a nearby city.  It would be a Yabusame (Japanese horse archery) demonstration/information booth, without horses.  Jeff and I decided to go and check it out.  I was afraid with the language barrier that I might not be able to get much information, but I wanted to try.

It turned out that there were (at least) a few people there who spoke English, including a woman who is here teaching English in the city where the riding club is based.  She goes out and rides once a week.  She doesn't speak much Japanese, but she called over a friend who speaks Japanese and English and helps with translation for people who want to ride.  They said they would be happy to show me where the club is, make introductions, and help me get started!

There was a type of competition going on with the riders who do Yabusame, but sadly I didn't get any pictures of that.  Instead, Jeff and I wandered around the mall for a while.  When we stopped back by so that I could take pictures, they were actually letting people try out the bow from the back of the "horses".   

We were on the second floor, looking down on the happenings.

I was struck by this saddle.  It looks like a McClellan...??  (with traditional Japanese stirrups)  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; so far I've already seen a lot of western saddles here, plus English, and even an Australian stock saddle.

I was asking Jeff if he thought I should go down and try it...  Right about that time, the man on the left of the pictures had noticed me watching from above.  He looked up at me and, with a big smile, beckoned me to come downstairs!

As we made our way down, I handed Jeff the camera.  I bumped into the lady I had been talking to about the club and she went along to introduce me to the man who'd invited me to come down.  He was extremely nice and spoke English.  He asked if I spoke Japanese.  I said, "I'm learning, a little"  He laughed and said, "Me too, with English".

I had the chance to shoot three weighted target arrows with a BIG bow (compared to what I'm used to).  I wasn't able to hit the target, but I got closer each time.  My arrows were hitting low, I think it was partly the different bow and also that the arrows are weighted on the end.  I was working my way up toward the target, but alas, my turn was up before I managed to hit it.

When I was talking to the two ladies earlier, they confirmed that I can do Yabsame lessons and even participate in the competitions!  (I had been wondering if foreigners were allowed to participate)  They said before each competition is a three day "intensive", a training/practice for the competition.  They were saying that I could do the intensive in April and then be in the competition at the end of April.  Whoa!  I don't think I'm ready for that, haha.  I told them I wasn't sure about that and they said "Maybe October" (the next one).  Yes, that sounds better.

Here is a (beautiful) poster advertising the next Yabusame competition in April, during cherry blossom time.  I can't wait to see it.

Today actually started with a reminder on FB of what I was doing a year ago today: sitting with Bo in our backyard in SD.  Seeing that put me in a bit of a funk, I miss him so much, and I just miss horses.  I didn't think I wanted to go to the event today, but I am SO glad that I did.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Costume Prep

I've been amassing a small collection of fabric that I intend to use for Arabian costumes.  I have two costumes in the works right now: the Traditional one, in shades of pink, and another that is...  Stablemate scale!  The colors on that costume are yellow, grey, and brown.

When I first started looking into making these costumes, I read about braiding embroidery floss by separating all of the stands into three groups, braiding them, and then sewing the braid side by side for halters, collars, etc.  I've been braiding floss for a bit now, starting with my first attempt at presentation set.  I also braided some lengths for the "royal" sets I have planned for Darkness Falls and Ashley (my prize Classic scale Arabians).  So far though, I've done almost all of them as solid color braids.

They last few days, I've been working on my first multi-colored braids, to match some of my fabric.  I went over to a friend's house for a craft and movies afternoon and I hauled a bunch of fabric, all of my ribbon and floss.  I started matching up colors and putting the spools of ribbon and bobbins of floss into sandwich baggies, along with the fabric in the case of the smaller pieces.

As a result of that little project, I now have fabric/ribbon/floss groups set up for at least 7-9 costumes!

I thought I'd share some of the braids and the fabric they were made for.

First up is this one in brown with a hint of green and a cream color.

It was made to go with this fabric.

Next up: light blue, dark grey, and off white.

Made for this fabric.

The last, and most recent, is my favorite so far!  It is golden yellow. green, and blue.  I love how they look.

It was made for this fabric, which is also my favorite of the fabric that I've found.

That fabric is the reason I say I've got materials matched up to make 7-9 costumes.  There are so many colors in it and I was able to find matching floss for just about all of them.  So by going with different groups of floss colors for tassels and braids, I'll be able to do several costumes with this fabric alone.

Next up will be this one: maroon, green, and sort of a sand color.

It will go with this fabric.

I've been having fun working on a bit of costume prep!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Prep Day - Sorta

My least favorite thing to do when it comes to customizing is...  prepping.  I don't know why.  I love repositioning horses, sculpting, painting, and even hairing.  The thing that comes before painting?


I think it's because I'm so picky and it feels like prepping is never done.  I always seem to find another thing I want to make look better, then another, and another.  There have been many times (in the past, before my hobby hiatus - and now) that I've thought it would be wonderful to pay someone to do my prepping for me.  But, I do like being the one who has done everything on a custom horse, so I slog away at my most dreaded creative task.

Today I decided there was nothing for it, I had to prep some horses.  Lately I've been wanting to paint some horses - very badly - but alas, I have no paint ready horses.

I wasn't sure which horses I wanted to prep first.  I ended up dumping out the whole box of unpainted stablemates that I have.

Then I sorted them by mold.  Seemed like the thing to do.

I started looking them over, envisioning all sorts of wonderful colors: appaloosa, pinto, chestnut, bay, palomino, grulla!

But first...  prepping.


For the heck of it (and probably still procrastinating, let's be honest) I decided to unwrap all of them and set them up on my desk for a little photo shoot.  

If you've ever wondered what 48 unpainted G2 stablemates might look like, wonder no more.

Pretty cool...

I'd absolutely love to say that I prepped them all today (ha!), but actually it was only these four that got attention.

All four now have their ears, nostrils, and hooves carved.  I started doing seams on the TB.  The Paso should be ready to paint...  I think.

Are they ever really ready?

I'm hoping to prep more tomorrow, maybe even paint something if I can call a prep job "good enough".

Monday, March 14, 2016

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? - Again

This seems to be a question I've asked myself a lot lately.  Most recently when I hurled myself in a college Japanese language class.  That turned out well, so maybe this latest crazy adventure will too...?  Oh boy...


I have always loved to sing.  I grew up in a musical family.  My Granddad sang, played guitar, and harmonica.  My uncle does all of that, fronts a couple of bands, and has a recording studio in his house.  My mom has one heck of a set of "pipes".  She was the lead singer in several bands when I was young and even recorded a demo tape at one point.  She also won singing contests at the professional level.  I grew up surrounded by music and I was singing from an early age.  I've never had any formal training, I just sing what I hear.

At some point in my young adult life, I discovered karaoke.  The first song I ever sang did not go well at all.  I was extremely nervous and didn't actually know the song as well as I thought.  But I practiced, tried again, and ended up loving karaoke.  I've done it off and on over the years ever since.
Along the way I've entered a few singing contests, but have never won anything.  I get the same feedback - after a regular karaoke song or contest...  "Your voice is great, but you need to move around!"  I have such awful stage fright that I stand in one spot, deer in the headlights, or eyes closed, often with my knees shaking.  Despite all of that, I can belt out a song.  To quote Genesis: "I can't dance".

A couple months or so ago I went out with a couple of friends to a local club to celebrate one of their birthdays.  It happened to be karaoke night and I decided to sing.  My new friends here had never heard me sing.  After they had, they - and the two hostesses of the karaoke night - all started pushing me to enter "Misawa Stars" - a singing competition that was being advertised here.

I said, "Nope. No way, no how.  Been there, done that, not going to do it again."


I'm not sure what I was thinking, but one day I signed up, a week later I did my audition, and...  made it in.  *shocked face*

My audition went the way of all my past performances - or maybe even worse.  I think I was more nervous than I had ever been.  (thankfully it was a closed audition!)  The judges loved my voice, and I guess that alone was enough to get me into the show, but they all told me I'd have to: "own the stage" - "wow the crowd" - "get the audience on my side"... and so on.

I have a little less than two weeks to figure out how to do that.

The whole thing is going to be run like American Idol: including several performances, judges, crowd input, eliminations...

I say again, oh boy.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Studio Plant Nursery - Japan Edition

My studio has often doubled as a plant nursery.  I love plants and at our house in SD, the window in the studio was one of only a few to get sunlight.  It was also a room I could close off from the cat who loved to eat some of my plants.  So the studio window sill always had a collection of plants in it.

Out of habit, I suppose, I've been keeping my small collection of Bonsai supplies in the studio here, as well as a few of the trees themselves.

As of today, a few more plants will be joining the studio plant nursery.

We went to an Orchid Festival today in a town about an hour away.  I took a bunch of pictures, of course, and will probably do a post with them soon.  However, I wanted to share the new additions to my plant family right away!

First up is an orchid.  There were many for sale, and it was hard to make a decision, but in the end I chose this one:

Pretty flowers.

Many of the orchids had no tags on them, but this one did.  It has the name on the front and care instructions on the back - in Japanese.  I'm hoping I can translate them, or find care info online.

I am nervous about having an orchid; I've always heard they are hard to care for.  I hope I can keep this one alive!  We did some reading on our smart phones/tablets while there and about all we learned are that there are thousands of types of orchid, all with different needs.  Yikes.  They do seem to want humidity and it certainly has that here, at least in the summers.  This one, while gorgeous, was one of the cheapest...  I just wasn't comfortable spending much, since I'm not confident I can keep it alive.  They had some stunning orchids for sale at upwards of $150.  (I'm sure some can go WAY higher than that...)  Mine was $8.

Next up...  I was excited to see a few Fittonia for sale.  This was a favorite plant of mine back in SD.  It is another one that I had learned wants high humidity.  Hopefully it will do well here.

I love the red-vined leaves.

I also got another Jade plant.  (I have three of them here now).  Jade have always been a favorite of mine and of all of my house plants that I had to rehome to come here, my "mama" Jade was the hardest to give up.  It was "mama", because I had taken several leaves off along the way and sprouted "baby" Jade plants from them.  I had actually resisted getting another Jade plant here, because I know I'll have to leave them behind when we leave.  However, we are going to be here for a while and I really enjoy them..  so, as of today, I have three.

This little one kinda looked like it needed some love.  I had to bring it home.

The last addition are these tiny succulents.  I don't think these little ones are very happy (they were sold to us with quite a discount).  But I thought they were very cute (they are all itty bitty) and maybe I can help them.  I used to be good at saving plants off the "clearance rack" - most of my collection back in SD came from those parts of a store.

I'm excited about my new little additions!  They now join my collection of: bonsai trees, a large Jade that I bought not too long ago, a small philodendron that came from a clearance rack (had been marked down a few times and was not happy - now it has new leaves), and a tiny succulent garden in a pot.  :)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Finished Saddlepads

I did a quick photo shoot of a batch of cross-stitched saddle pads that I've gotten all finished up and ready to go.  Most of them have been featured in posts on here while they were being stitched.  I have a few more needing finishing touches and then I'll be all caught up on finish work for these.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

So Excited!... Now What?

Well, after wanting to for a long, long time, I finally took the plunge, or rather dipped my toe in, and bought a small container of mold builder and casting resin.

Unfortunately the resin did not come with the catalyst, so I have to see if I can find that here.

It's also a clear resin, not quite what I might want (?), but I noticed that it can be dyed.  It will all be experimental anyway - despite researching this for almost forever, I haven't actually ever done it.

So now...  I can try to make a mold and (hopefully soon if I find the catalyst) cast something!!

But... what?

I don't think I have enough here to do a horse (maybe micro minis?) but there are other things I've wished that I could duplicate lately.  Saddle trees?  Wings for customizing?  Or really get brave and try to sculpt a medallion??

I think I'm heading off to the mall today with a friend.  There is a small, nice, craft store there and I had noticed they have quite a bit of supplies for casting resin jewelry - such as: silicone molds and resin pigment.  I'm wondering if I can find the catalyst there.  If not hopefully I can mail order it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Photo Show Photo Shoot

Today was exciting; I did my first quick little photo show photo shoot in...  a long, long time!

I focused on my custom Stablemates for today.  It was so much fun to get fresh, new pictures of the old horses, and to finally get some nice pictures of the new(er) ones.

Tomorrow I'll be labeling pictures and getting them in the mail!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Motivation Monday - The Whole Fire

The last few days have been a busy.  Jeff came home, I took my Japanese final, we had a booth at a vendor show, and I auditioned for a signing contest.  Tomorrow I have a dentist appointment and then we will have contractors coming by to work on the house.  Whew.

I'm really hoping to finally get in some studio time this week.  Also, this week, I will be mailing out my first photo show entries in... a long, long time.  :D

As always, I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Minor Update


(That is an adorable fox ring that I got out of a vending machine!)

Sorry I've been so quiet.  I've been keeping busy studying Japanese for the class, continuing the house cleaning crusade, and...  creating some things off and on.

A few days ago I randomly decided to see if I could laser engrave a rock.


I present, a rock star.  ;)

That was exciting!  I'm already thinking of other rock designs that could be done.

Jeff will be home tomorrow and so I've spent the entire day in "finish cleaning the whole house mode" - aka: "No, honey, I have not been living like a bachelorette while you've been gone"...

Tealight was a big help.

Also happening tomorrow is my final exam for the Japanese class.  Eeek!  I'm not feeling very ready for it.  However once the class is over, I'm hoping to be able to enjoy my now, mostly, clean studio and get some real work done in there.

On Saturday is the next vendor show that I'll be a part of and I have not even really started getting ready for it...  So after Jeff's homecoming and my final exam tomorrow, Friday will be a flurry of show prep and probably making a bunch of last minute stuff.  Wheee!

The latest studio project, that I've started over the past few days, is another Arabian costume.  This one being much smaller than the first one I started...  ;)

Stay tuned...