Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday

Yesterday James told me, "Mama, you need to sell some tack so you have enough money to buy us Christmas presents."  

He's right about that, so for the next couple weeks I'll be offering items for sale here on my blog.  The first one is this traditional scale, two ear Western Show bridle.  It features cast buckles on the cheekpieces and a cast Rio Rondo bit.  The romal reins are four strand round braided with correct bit attachments and lots of silver.  
The price is $75, plus shipping ($2.50 first class/$5.00 priority.  Payment by PayPal is strongly preferred.  No time payments or trades.  If interested, email me at

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Jump off

Almost overnight, Basil has developed a large tumor on her abdomen.  She's feeling fine.  Her hair is shiny, her appetite is good and she's as bright and interested as ever.  Still, it seems likely that this will be her last photo shoot.  

Fortunately, we've saved the best for last.  You see, Basil has always been a jumping rat.
Look--she's jumped right out of the tack!
That was so much fun that Basil can't wait to do it again.
Rats!  Four Faults! 
Love for Basil. 
She really is the best rat ever!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stolen moments

In a perfect world, I would be painting Roundapony this weekend.

Unfortunately, my world has been really, really imperfect lately, and uninterrupted studio time is a luxury I don't have.  Roundapony deserves more attention than I can spare, so I've turned my focus to one of the many unpainted foxhounds who have been taking up space on my workbench. 
It's been a long term goal of mine to own a large pack of customized foxhounds.
I want them in all poses and colors...
and I am relying heavily on the pictures I took at the Arapahoe Hunt Club Point to Point to guide me through the hound making process.  
Of course with so many colors options available to me... 
I don't know why I started with the most difficult!
I keep reminding myself:  he's not a horse, he's just a prop.  It's ok if he doesn't turn out perfect.  So far it's working.  I'm having fun with all the ticking and I haven't gotten too crazy fussing over the parts I don't like.  Hopefully, he will continue to progress quickly and easily and I'll have something good to show for my hectic weekend.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kentucky Derby pie in November?

My best friend Carol and her daughters Cara and Kristin came over for Thanksgiving dinner.  They brought the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing while I provided appetizers, salad and dessert.  Per their request, one of the items on the dessert menu was Kentucky Derby pie.
It seemed really wrong making this pie in November...
but that didn't stop me from eating a slice!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Field research, part one

Trillium is no longer living in the huge pasture.  Instead, she's sharing a pen with Samson.
It took a while for Trillium to warm up to Samson...
but now they are in love.
In truth, I'm also a bit in love with Samson.  He is absolutely adorable, and I think his tobiano markings would look great on Roundapony. 
To that end, I brought my camera to the barn today and took lots and lots of pictures of Samson.
I made sure to walk...
all the way around him... 
and even held the camera up as high as I could to get a top view.
I also took some detail shots showing the edges of his spots...  
and the color of his hooves.
Although Roundapony will have plain brown eyes, no Samson post is complete without a look at his multicolored eyes.
Whew!  That's a lot of pictures of someone else's horse.  If Roundapony's pinto pattern doesn't look right, at least I know it won't be for lack of reference photos!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bargain Barn--Balthazar

This is Balthazar. He was my very first resin and he cost me a whopping seventy two dollars.
Balthazar was a silent auction item at the 1999 Rocky Mountain Model Horse Expo. At that time my husband and I were really struggling to make ends meet. I hadn't planned to bid on anything, but I had made several small tack sales at the show and that money was burning a hole in my pocket. I put the entire amount on the mule resin, never expecting to win. No one was more surprised than me when I did... except perhaps for the person who had donated the mule. It turned out that he was supposed to have a two hundred dollar reserve price. I was crushed but immediately offered to give him back. Fortunately, the donor was a truly generous person. When she saw how happy I'd been to win him, she congratulated me and said she was glad he was going to a good home. 
Balthazar was originally a dark airbrushed grey. Sadly, the original paint work hadn't held up well. In 2005 Suzanne Feld and I negotiated a tack for paint trade that turned my mule into a bay. The color change did him good. Almost immediately he became a consistent ribbon winner in the Resin Longear classes.
Still, it was performance where he shone the most brightly. No matter which division...
he was competing in...
he never failed to bring home a pile of NAN cards!
Balthazar is semi-retired now. I don't like showing the same models in performance at show after show, and I have other mules who are more competitive in halter. Still, Balthazar holds a special place in my heart. He's got a home for life, and who knows? He just might make a comeback one of these years!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great clips

I don't expect to get much done hobby-wise this week.  Holiday weeks are always busy, and we're hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year so I've got a lot of extra cooking and cleaning to do.  Still, all work and no play makes Jennifer a grumpy girl, so I was sure to schedule a little time for Roundapony research.

Unfortunately, my own photo files were completely devoid of clipped bay horse pictures.  That surprised me, especially since every single horse at last June's Rocky Mountain Miniature Horse Show was clipped almost down to the skin.  I took over five hundred photos that day--were there not any bays?!
So, it was off to Google Images where I grabbed photos of medium...
to dark clipped bays.
This is probably the closest to what I have in mind... 
although I'm still leaning towards adding spots.   
Along the way, I found some fun albeit not particularly useful shots.
I would never do this to either a real or model horse, but it is kind of cute. 
Well, that's enough for now--play time is over and it's back to cleaning!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ready to paint

My goal for this week was to completely finish Roundapony's customization and prepping, and  I am pleased to report that I have met my goal!
Although the hunter clip was the clear winner of the Hair or Bare? poll, I ended up going with the second choice blanket clip.  The hair is made from "messo" which is a mix of modeling paste and gesso.  This was my first time sculpting with messo, and I am mostly pleased with the results.  The unclipped areas are definitely textured but they're not super choppy.  
I used two of Laura Skillern's braiding tutorials to craft Roundapony's fat little dressage braids.  This was another new technique for me, and again, I'm happy with the end product.
Just for fun, here's a quick collage showing the work I've done on Roundapony to date.  He's had an eventful couple of months!
So now it's on to the paintwork, which presents a whole new series of decisions.  Mainly--what color should Roundapony be and what medium should I used to paint him?  I'm leaning towards dark bay tobiano, but perhaps just plain bay would be better?  And should I stick to pastels which I basically understand or should I try oils?  So many things to consider!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Aspy postscript

Just in case anyone was wondering, Aspy was named after the equine title character in the Disney movie, The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit.
I was a bit too young to have seen this in the theater, but it made an occasional appearance on the Wonderful World of Disney which was a Bray family favorite in the mid 1970's.  Years later, I read the book and discovered that Aspy was properly spelled Aspie.  Who would have guessed?
Although dated, this is still a pretty wonderful book.  It's very funny and a lot of the horse scenes are spot-on.  If you're a fan of equine themed literature, this one's worth tracking down!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Aspy's legs

In addition to being a master barn builder, my dad was also an accomplished toy fixer.  Several members of my Breyer herd required his attention over the years, but none more so than this Family Arabian Foal.
Poor Aspy!  He was my second Breyer and I loved those skinny front legs right off his body.  Dad was able to fix the left leg with an epoxy patch, but the right leg required a more labor intensive approach.
Because I'd lost the broken piece, Dad carved a new leg out of wood and attached it to the stump via a peg.  For someone who is not a model horse customizer, he did a remarkably good job at matching Chris Hess' sculpting style.  Just look at that hoof--if I didn't know better, I would think it was an original!
I have now inherited the title of family toy fixer, but I'm not sure I'm as good a repair person as my father was.  Somehow I kind of doubt any of my repair work will still exist in thirty years!