Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pictures from yesterday's ride

Yesterday was supposed to be a studio day, but even though it was cold and windy, all I wanted to do was ride. I made a few good faith efforts to finish up orders, but my heart wasn't in it. Eventually I put on my insulated boots, winter breeches and down jacket and headed out to the barn.
I had it in my mind that I would see an eagle, but none were apparent as we approached their favorite trees. "Oh, well," I told Santana, "That was a little optimistic expecting to see one so early in the season." 
And just like that, a bald eagle flew into view.
He touched down briefly on the tree then took off again, swooping down over our heads.
For a moment, I thought he was going to drop his dinner on top of us.
Santana is a pretty chill horse, but that might be too much even for him.  
Fortunately, it didn't happen. The eagle corrected his course...
and flew away.
"That was cool," I told Santana, and we rode on. 
Pretty soon I started to notice some activity down in the trees.
At first they were almost too far away and too hidden to enjoy.
it was deer here... 
deer there...
deer everywhere!
What a great day for a ride! 
I am so glad I let myself play hooky yesterday. It means more work for me today, but that was totally worth it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sculpting a short mane

It's been a while since I've posted one of Charlotte Donahue's awesome customizing tutorials, but this one was worth the wait. Who knew that the Queen of Braids is just as accomplished at sculpting loose hair, too!

Sculpting a Short Mane

by Charlotte Donahue

For this tutorial, I used a Stone Paloose in a big, forward trot.
First, I removed her mane down to the crest.
Then I ran a bead of Super Glue down the midline of the crest and applied a generous sprinkle of baking soda. This rough surface will give the epoxy a good place to grab into.
I laid a small roll of epoxy onto the crest and smushed it into the baking soda/super glue for a strong bond. This would be a good stage to put wrinkles along the side of the crest. However, this particular model is very smooth overall, so wrinkles would not be in harmony with her general surface.
Manes are often split with some on one side and some on the other, so I used two rolls/snakes of epoxy. I also left a short bridle path.
I laid the epoxy roll just to the side of the crest and pulled a bit over the top to make the mane on both sides. Then I pressed the bulk down onto the neck to get ready for the sculpting tool work.
I began cutting in the flow and direction of the hair as it would look for a lively trotting horse.
I repeated the process on the other side, making sure the length of the mane the same on both sides. As the mane goes over the withers, it's important to consider if the model will be used for performance and needs to be tack friendly.
I continued to refine the hair direction and details as the epoxy cured and became firm enough to hold details. I also used a tool to gently life the epoxy in places where it probably would not be laying flat against the neck
Lifting the epoxy off the neck in appropriate places to creates details, flow, and eye-appealing interest.
When viewed from above, the mane has "movement" that would suit a big trot.
Here's a look at the tools that were used to create this mane. My sculpting medium is Aves Apoxie Sculpt in natural.
Thank you, Charlotte, for once again allowing me to share your words and photos. You are AWESOME!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Horses around the edges

When I returned home from California in August, I brought with me a large manila envelope filled with family pictures.
1970, Dad, Erin, Colleen, Jennifer
I've been scanning these and will return them to my Mom when I go back to California for Christmas.
1963, Dad
I really love looking at all the old photos.
1936, Dad, Ada, Lisle
This is so cute.
I don't remember us being a family that took a lot of photos, but holidays, birthdays, vacations... they're mostly all here.
1962, wedding day
Just about the only thing that's missing is a picture of my Dad with a horse. This is the closest I could find, and it was taken a full two years before my birth!
1967, Dad, Colleen
On the plus side, I was delighted to find a large number of photos with horses...
1969, Jennifer, Colleen
which were mostly...
1973, Jennifer, Erin
but not always Breyers...
1976 Erin
1980, Jennifer
around the edges.
1977, Jennifer, Erin
Because I always wanted more Breyers, a lot of these are birthday...
and Christmas pictures.
However, there was at least a few were just because Jennifer loves her horses!
So many memories! I am very thankful to have all these photos scanned and saved, but I'm still hoping to someday find a picture of my Dad with a horse.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

'Tis the the season

There's been a lot of tack making this week, but it's mostly been Christmas presents. Since all the recipients read this blog at least occasionally, I can't share photos. You're just going to have to believe me when I say that things are happening.
Here's something I can share: It's my first holiday gift of the season. This is a Annabelle medallion sculpted by Kylee Parks. She is just beautiful, and I am happy to own her. Thanks, Kylee!
If you would like your own Annabelle, or perhaps an Alejandro or Arwa, they are available directly from Kylee ( through the end of the year. Pricing is twenty eight dollars a piece (postage included) or two for fifty and three for seventy. 
And now it's back to work for me. Christmas is less than a month away, and I've got more presents to make!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Model horse black Friday

Today is Black Friday, and I am at home, spending time with my family and not shopping.
If I was going to go shopping, however, I'd skip the mall and log on to Etsy, to see what my favorite vendors have in their stores. Not surprisingly, my first stop would be Rachel Fail's RF Model Horse Tack.
With more than eighty items in stock, this shop has something for everyone, including sports medicine boots, all types of Western saddle pads, trophy breast collars, glitter breast collars, tack making tools and supplies, bit guards and even custom real horse halters. I am a huge fan of Rachel and am fortunate to own several pieces by her. Still, I only have two of her embroidered pads. That is clearly not enough, so my featured RF Model Horse Tack item of the day is this lovely purple embroidered saddle pad, which costs a very reasonable twenty five dollars before the twenty percent holiday discount.
My next stop is Anne Field's Field of Dolls Studio.
As the name would suggest, there are a lot of dolls in this Etsy shop. However, there are other things, too, including saddle pads, saddle bags, horse boots, mini tote bags and mini food. Better yet, everything is twenty percent off this weekend, including this awesome lime green Western Pleasure doll.
Bobbie Allen's Horse Tender Studio is next.
Bobbie's store is filled with cross stitched saddle pads and wooden saddle stands, similar to those she donated to the Jennifer Show. Since I already have a couple Bobbie pads in my collection, my choice for the Horse Tender Studio featured item is this unfinished birchwood stand, which retails for twenty dollars.
Moving on, it's Nichelle Jones' Desktop Stables.
Nichelle is one of my favorite bloggers, and she's also a darn good tack maker. Her current Etsy offerings include English and Western saddle pads, halters and glitter bell boots. I already own a bunch of Nichelle pads, but somehow I do not have one in pink camo print. If someone wants to buy me an eighteen dollar Christmas present, this would be a good choice.
Kingfisher Tack belongs to tack maker, Pat Coulter.
Offerings include traditional scale English tack and props and lavender scented goat's milk saddle soap. Although I'm intrigued by the fancy saddle soap, my featured item is this simple but elegant dressage rail. At just twenty dollars this is a perfect addition to anyone's prop box.
If mini performance is your pleasure, Anna Helt's Dreamflite Design is your one stop shop for small scale tack making supplies.
Anna's current offerings include two sizes of printable saddle pads, stablemate scale Western saddle trees and the top notch stablemate scale English saddle tutorial pictured below. Everything is twenty percent off through November 26th if you use the promo code THANKS20 at check out!
Another store offering Black Friday discounts is Becca Brooks' Nooks Cranny.
Becca makes halters, bridles, hackamores and boots, all of which are lovely. I especially like this rope halter with a bronco noseband. At twenty dollars, it doesn't quite qualify for a discount. However, if you spend just a little more, you can receive twenty five to fifty percent off your total order. Check out Nooks Cranny for more details!
The next stop on our Etsy tour is Amber Wylie's Hobo Cat Creations.
There's a little bit of everything here, including tack, props, miniatures, holiday wreaths and cat toys! My choice for featured item is a pair of miniature holiday wreaths. I need these for my model barn.
Another shop offering a mix of tack and props is Emma Van Riper's Home Stretch Studios.
As a mini barn lover, I am especially fond of the 1:9 scale horse food. Ten dollars buys three feed bags, one small treat jar, and one sport horse supplement bin. 
Lisa Smalley's Smalley Saddlery is next.
The current listings in this shop include tack making tools and different types of leather. There are also miniature cowhides. Oh, how I wish I had known about these when I was making Liam's hide race prop! For just eight dollars and fifty cents, I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation! 
Alright, that's enough tack: Let's find some horses to buy! Jennifer Kroll's Chookhenge, The Whimsy Shop...
features two limited edition, unpainted resins...
plus a variety of medallions. I'll take one of each, please! 
If you prefer your horses painted, check out Emma Jezek's Paint Pony Studios.
 She has a variety of custom painted horses in stock. Most scales are represented, and prices range from thirty to one hundred fifty dollars. 
And for those who like their horses blobby... there's Margaret Balch's Blobby Buddies.
Blobby Buddies made their hobby debut at the Jennifer Show and quickly became a thing. Margaret's store has several color combinations in stock, as well as a custom order option. My favorite is this Christmas candy cane pony.
Although this is not an Etsy shop, my Black Friday shopping guide wouldn't be complete without a stop at Lesli Kathman's Blackberry Lane
Lesli is the author of the Equine Tapestry books on horse color, the Equine Collectibles-Guidebooks for artists and the publisher of Equine Collectibles magazine. All of these belong on every hobbyist's shelf and make great Christmas presents. Of course, the same can be said for every item pictured in this post today. Happy shopping, everyone!