Monday, September 28, 2009

Silly story here..

Before I launch into it perhaps I should quickly mention that I've been getting a lot done in the studio. I just don't tend to stop & take pictures. Especially when the final smoothing of detail hasn't been done. Right now it's been a matter of going from one thing to the next... finished a mini foal yesterday that just needs fixative & glossed eyes. Maybe pics soon of him? His mom needs a tad more however to some areas though soooo I wasn't in a hurry.

Ok, my silly (really nothing) story here. I was putting away thingsSunday after getting my new tack Saturday. Which of course DID lead to a tacking up and trial timing of myself to put it all on (around 5min, not great but not terribly bad). So as I was putting it all away I realized that I'd never gotten around to braiding a wire into a lasso / lariat. There was a movie on that I wanted to "watch" more of a part of so I sat down and did this. It's nothing great, kinda sloppy really.. all the same, I put the resulting lasso into "Angry Mego Man's" hands, sat him astride a cow in the cabinet to later show off to my man. "Angry Mego Man rides cow whilst twirling magic lasso". So Angry Mego there has missing fingers. Making holding the rope properly in his right hand even harder. So I just wrapped it around his hand to make it stay.

Now every night my guy comes into the studio and I point out the area of some new thing for him to look at (well most nights). Last night I waited to hear what he thought of my little fun lasso. He thought it was neat. But then he turns to me all serious and say "You know it can't be looped around their hands like that though right?". He so gets the whole "game" of our goals.

Anyhow, here are photos I took for Jana of my Hazel all tacked up in her finery. :D Trees were another fun side-project that didn't take too long (and are really sloppy & not entirely finished yet either). It's refreshing to break from grueling dappling or marking mapping/edging work for example to stop and get all messy with glue and foam and have bits of railroad moss stuck all over you. ;)

I will confess that while I put the boots on initially, for the sake of timing I left them off. I'm getting some SMB boots from Corrine of "Shoebox Saddlery" and these are far more likely to be my all-purpose boots. Even if the english division is first, taking off all those many the tiny tiny buckles of the gorgeous leather brushing boots Jana made would take a REALLY long time. And I made my (real life too) typical blonde mistake of putting them on backwards (lace tabs forwards) the first time I tried it too. I used to groom for a bit at a dressage barn & fast tack-ups were the norm. And I went through that all the time there too. Boots, polos, you name it.. don't ask me to slap em on too fast. ;) The boots are just a marvel though too. Oh yeah, my boyfriend admired them and immediately picked up on what a challenge they were to get on too -> he said "you have to buckle up all 4 of those tiny ones for each?" and I explained to him about needing tweezers to catch the tiny tab ends through the tongue of the buckle (like threading a needle). I think he made a comment about crazy things or crazy people (?) ;) and then left before I demonstrated that..

And I've only just begun here. :D

Soon I promise I'll have some cute new HORSES to actually share. Fun and games also has all batteries in the house dying after just a couple of minutes... -sighs- It's one thing to photograph w/flash really fast and another to try and get a decent pic of a color to share or of details in shape where flash totally flattens that away... I avoid shopping whenever possible but it's going to be pretty necessary soon for batteries... :/ Blech!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Sooooo I got the most exciting email today!! :) Check out my new saddle; (<-- click on that! SERIOUSLY - check out the detail in larger images!!!)
(and please give Jana your business – she was pretty reasonable but I’m guessing she’s “found” now, eh?) :D Go Jana!!!

Btw, those gel boots are just WONDERFUL to use – they literally can be stretched over your thumb and popped on/off without any trouble at all..

Other rambles/links, stuff related to showing in performance..Over coffee this morning I decided to invest my online time towards finding pictures of hunters who are showing but have unbraided manes. It’s “fine” by typical hobby standards to have unbraided manes sure… (like you can do much about it with a loose mane mold!). All the same, it makes a difference when one horse is more appropriate than another. And I’m ALLLLLLLLLLLL about documentation for showing them (as a judge too – mind you in my case I judge halter only).

Anyhow, NOVICE HUNTER OVER FENCES. This is what to look for. Hunter Derby is another exciting good one too..


(Eventually I will try to find a picture of a horse in a similar pose to mine too – that’s the other thing I’m pretty uptight about -> I like to make the picture match quite a bit if I’m using a reference with a picture..)

Annnnnd since I need to save my search pictures.. more hunter links where they are unbraided (lower level fun stuff).

The whole gallery from above;

I just liked this b/c of the pose obviously! :)

Pony / cob hunter.. not quite the same thing… but cute!

An obstacle I think I might manage to recreate (this sorta stuff oddly challenges me greatly!)

I just liked this gal b/c of his build, he’s a Clyde cross!

OH and in my googling I found that Hunter Classes offer up something called “Bridle Path Hack” which very often DOES ask for a “hand gallop”. For those who might be interested in knowing such things. :)

And lastly.. a fence that might be within my limited woodworking skillset; (plus it’s pretty low level as stadum fences go which is something else I was looking around for)..

Well that's it for messing around today.. In all honesty I also got out 20 packages to the PO soooo it wasn't all fun and games. ;) Ahhh but boy that certainly put a big smile on my face. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

What GREAT advice!

I just needed to share this tidbit from an article that crossed my path today;

In some ways, the art world is far too fragmented. Instead of sharing and cooperating and learning from one another, different artist factions spend their lives tearing each other down and disparaging each other's art. A New York City artist once told me that because of abuses in the limited edition print industry, people should stop buying prints altogether. Is that supposed to include originals by all legitimate printmakers, etchers, and lithographers? Should we ban printmaking? Should we make it a felony? This artist would rather eliminate the industry altogether than study and learn from its marketing successes, and incorporate those successes into his business model.

Just remember that there's no right or wrong art, and as long as sellers don't break the law or engage in deliberate misrepresentation, there's no right or wrong way to sell art. Every single time a fledgling new collector buys his or her first piece of art, no matter what type of art it is, subsequent sales to that collector become easier and easier. That first sale is always the toughest one to make, and congratulations to the artist or dealer who makes it.
Text from"a talk given to artists at the Indianapolis Art Center and to art students at the Herron School of Art at Purdue University, also in Indianapolis. "

How appropriate to our niche, eh?

I really like that he addresses the tendency to dismiss various forms of art as "not valid". Plenty of art fields find that commerical art or hobby art or craft art is 'garbage art' sadly. I think it's all a case of "walk a mile in their shoes" however...

Well anyhow, in follow up to my last post... I've completed stage one of my website/host transfer. I got in, I converted my site to (non-asp/microsoft) html.. and made a simple change to the coloration while I was at it, and then got one domain ( ) pointed over to it. I've got 2 to go and am waiting for the release codes from the old website host. I'm ALSO waiting for a web designer who took over one of my old client's web sites to get back to me about taking over their domains... that last bit will be the ultimate delay I suspect in closing that old host account.

But the new look you see when going to the one-horse domain now should be this;

In a day or three ought to go there too. (hopefully!) :D

Friday, September 18, 2009

Web Hosting Woes..

Well I've been wanting to do things like put a link to Echo's sales page (this one ) on my site somewhere that is easy to get to. Right now it's not linked up to any pages. You have to get to it from one of my ads somewhere like on MH$P.

Anyhow, I also have a goodly # of unpainted resins by other artists I'd like to sell. And a few minor word changes (one ugly mistake too!) on a few pages. All of these I can't do because my web host has been having issues for .. well hell! A WHILE now.. I haven't been able to get into it to change a thing for a week now.

So, as patient as I am, it's time to move.

Hahaha on me, I did something really stupid a while back, I designed my site to have info "feeds" through a microsoft server (only supported) document type called "asp". If you went to look, a good # of my web pages still have this 'asp' instead of 'htm'. Well none of the good hosts screw around with microsoft servers anymore (probably for the same reason 'security' has rendered my site very static and unhelpful). Long story short, it's all got to be renamed at the least/but that means a million links redone.

OR that I finally simplify it. I've had my site/plan/hosting for 9 years now. There are a couple of other folk's sites on there. Quite a bit of files for non-relavent things as well. In other words, starting fresh wouldn't be so bad. And that's what I'm going to do. It's far easier to dump the old words into a new design rather than try to find and replace site-wide and port the whole (very very convoluted and BIG) site over to a new host. Also, I simply need to add a few horses for sale in a clear way to the main page. And the way some of the side bar navigation links are worded cannot be too clear because these are questions I get a great deal.

I used to run my company's web sites (plural). There were several actually. The trickiest part of my job however was creating on-the-fly websites within an hour for investors. The financial quarterly presentations were given to me in Powerpoint which converts to web formatting and flat images ok, with a few major exceptions (at least the programs I had did some ugly things). So it was a lot of mental prep, dry runs, and then a checklist because the shareholder calls and shareholders viewing/listening needed the files at a very specific time. So for example, my boss would be on the call at 9am introducing the CEO/CFO et al. I would need to have a live link that he knew in advance. I was outside of the conference room, they were inside. It was tense moments when a server or Powerpoint default setting threw a curveball.

After a year or so of this every quarter we'd pretty much worked out the steps. I even did it once from the Radisson in KY during my vacation at Breyerfest (because I refused to give up my vacation for an hours worth of un-delagatable work). That was different (they have wonderful and outrageously priced breakfasts!) but also went very smoothly.

The bottom line is, between having to time links to these absolute to the minute deadlines, and also have links up online all the time minutes after a press release goes out... I am just ASTOUNDED that any hosting company would still run in this day and age with people locked out of website changes on shared servers. There aren't many companies that need the space of a dedicated server, but there sure are millions of companies that need info put up online when they say they will.

The baffling part to me is that all companies seem to have some amount of downtime woes. There are ways to get around this like server mirroring - if one goes down, another automatically picks up the slack via an automatic DNS redirect of your domain to the one that isn't broken.

Regardless, I won't go on about techie stuff. Notice that I don't offer web hosting/design even privately anymore? lol! Actually there are a couple of web sites about to disappear from the world wide web in a day because I want a cleaner web site.

Here's an interesting example, relavent to sculpting & such, when I held my 'egg hunt contest' (and can you imagine if I'd gotten locked out? that was my biggest concern and I did have a little problem I'll explain in a sec..). I hid egg images throughout my site. The WAY I did this was to upload the pages to appear (with the little egg image in it somewhere). Thus if you'd been through the site too early, you might actually not see it, due to browser caching, so folks were supposed to wait until I gave the go-ahead. There was no way to cheat early, because there were no traces of the egg pages until after I uploaded them. When the eggs were found I pulled down the pages.

The problem was essentially though that my site traffic spiked unbelievably for a brief period. The same way site traffic spikes badly when you release a new horse. This is why businesses go with a business host plan - one mention somewhere 'big time' or a great new product goes up and your site could be down or you could be charged silly fines (or both). ANYHOW -> what happened was that some folks used web-bot-crawlers to try and find the eggs. This jammed up my site mighty bad for me to even finish uploading them all! I'm not sure even the best server could've handled that one too easily. At least not in pushing 20 or 30 or so pages up and down fast.... plus the fact that web bot programs were used makes it all unfair to the rest. I studied the results of that long and hard and am at least satisfied that many real finds by real human users happened too. A few rampaging bots can jam up a server far faster than 800 hobbyists though can. I'm guessing they were programmed to search for web pages that had been modified. Maybe someone sluethed out what the egg images were in advance (not that hard to do despite that I have the bare bones 'no bot searching' settings set up on the site for those areas). If you found out what those were, you could then easily reprogram the names into the bot to find the page that contained the name. The bottom line for me though was the my server was so taxed it took far too long to accept the transfers (normally they would only take a second or two for me)... some pages took a minute or two to transfer it appeared - and by then I'd have 20 emails saying the egg was found on it and need to pull the page back down. I'm guessing a bit of that was ordinary traffic, but there were the dreaded bots working over the server too. I'm just lucky (or not? I dunno!) that the server didn't ruin it for all by clamming up at the bot intrusion. Btw, I say "bots" but they also can be looked up under web crawlers...
It's hard to think of fun games that'll work sometimes.

That's one that definitely should only be done in single instances (of 1 prize at a time) on that scale.

That said, I am doing the blog contest polls ("People's Choice" Oktoberfest contests over there to the left side of this page???). WEE!!!! :)

Lets hope blogger sticks around and stays reliable. ;)

Alrighty.. back to work cutting and pasting my web site over. I will be happy to have a better company to work with. There are things like shopping cart features and forms that my last company just never could resolve the 'glitches' for and I just never took the time to push the issue or leave them before this... I look forward to utilizing some forms and making things more interesting hopefully in the future. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Delving into insanity here... ;)

Editing to add in show albums I've found b/c it makes the post more fun w/pictures!!! :D

Insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Seriously. Yesterday felt insane. Last night I wasn’t sure I want to enter another performance show for a while.. then I woke up this morning, my headache finally gone.. and I said “man, I wonder if I can do BOTH of those shows at the end of October. That’s a textbook definition of insanity imo. ;) I did performance as a kid for photo shows & 1 live show. I’m not sure I expected anything much really. I don’t think I expect anything now really (although I have given myself little “mini goals” which only serve to make me obnoxiously competitive imo). ;) All the same, here I am, just aching to do performance things again.

For instance, Friday, in a hurry, I made some whole & some broken eggs. (recipe for anyone interested: take some white Apoxie sculpt, roll some into egg shapes.. roll some smaller dots and press half flat onto a surface. Use water/solvent to smooth them out.. then paint the whole eggs white, paint the egg yolks yellow.. when dry, put the egg yolks onto a clear flat sheet of plastic of some sort, like a thick wrapper, and add a blob of thick gloss of some sort & fan it out appropriately.. takes just a few minutes. When dry, cut out with scissors…). This absolutely trivial extra touch was SO fun for me to do.

I think it’s the need for the creative mind to expand into many directions least it get stretched too thin in just one... like any "exercise", mentally or physically, variety is very important. And unfortunately I’m not a crafty home decorator type of woman… which is where I might find this outlet for these silly extra “touches” of fun.

Sooooo I showed performance on Saturday – managing (out of 10 possible classes I had tack for 2 horses for..) to enter almost all of them with nearly both of my horses almost every time. The really draw for me is, after sculpting and painting something, to be able to see just how creative I can get in presenting it in as many scenes as possible. As you’ve seen in this blog when I had my photoshop frenzie I guess, I really like to try to picture a horse doing MANY things sometimes. (Photoshop "performance" playing around posts here and here). Especially after I find all these references for muscles & limbs in similar poses from such a big variety of real horse life/breed/discipline moments in time (in Hazel’s case – how often does the hand gallop come into play in real horse work). Since Godiva (my other show horse) is walking along, that’s a lot easier to picture in nearly any type of scene for me, although then it’s fun to make her all “pretty pretty”. In fact I was dinged by the judge (well I knew damn well it was ‘over the top’) ;) for having this far too fancy looking doll out there cutting cattle. That just makes me giggle. Fortunately my mini competitive goals allow for failing by being a twerp when I know better. ;) It IS about playing with toys and having fun imo. And while I never did “dolls” so much, if my parents could’ve afforded to, I would’ve been a doll house/miniature fanatic. I adore tiny tiny things done well. Little beer steins.. Little fancy buckles.

I got my newest cow yesterday too – the Hernden running cow in red. She smells like maple syrup. I’ve been craving waffles all day now. ;) I’d done a trade of a resin for 3-4 cows (3 but I got a bonus cow), a few months ago and since 2 were standing I did a further trade with someone else.

Trading is the ONLY way I could afford to consider getting into this. And my friend who lent me all of the amazing tack traded most of time to accumulate most of her amazing tack collection. It’s so funny to me how people prefer to collect.. my personal goal right now is to get “more bang for my buck” and commission (trade for commission anyhow) the most versatile tack possible too. Eventually maybe it’ll let me focus more on the superfluous props (that I so sooooo adore!). As it was, some of the silly stuff I made I didn’t even have time to put out on the table.. ;)

My boyfriend says “wow, that sounds like HELL? Why would you want to do all that for a set up that’s going to be together only for 10 minutes?”… simultaneously however, he tells me he “spied a really cool type of bridge in a western movie the other night”… and then goes on to describe it’s construction. Poor guy, little does he know that (while SO supremely awesome to have) these really well constructed props aren’t the make it or break it “must haves”. But hey, I won’t stop him if he gets the urge to try making a trail bridge again.. funny guy. :)

Bottom line is that I came home with 5 performance cards for my two horses out of 15 efforts. SERIOUSLY? I am FLIPPING THRILLED with this! But it’s actually more about things like learning how a rider holds certain types of reins (even when I failed to place b/c I draped the ends of reins to the wrong side of the rider/saddle). My most exciting “win” was a 3rd place in pleasure with HAZEL who is booking out man! But as a “Ranch Horse Pleasure” entry, properly documented, it stood out against all these textbook “western pleasure entries” (that were utterly gorgeous). I wrote the gal who’s entry was on a photo performance entry (thanks Mary/sassymiss!!!) that gave me the idea for this, I shall share what I used here for any Hazel owners who’d like to give it a go;

Horse being asked to hand gallop in “Ranch Horse Pleasure” class

Ranch Horse Pleasure -Designed to show a ranch horse that is a pleasure to ride. Horses are required to work both ways in the arena at a walk, jog or pleasure gait, and lope. The walk is intended to cover ground. The jog or pleasure gait should be faster than the walk, the extended jog or pleasure gait is truly extended, with longer, more ground covering strides. The lope is a true 3 beat gait that is to be extended into a hand gallop, showing ground covering extension without excessive speed. Horses to reverse at the trot or pleasure gait in one direction and reverse at a lope in the other direction. Simple or flying lead changes allowed.

Ranch Horse Show Rules Working tack shall be used. An excessive show of silver on saddles and bridles is not allowed. All competitors shall wear western clothing. This will include a long sleeved shirt with a collar, western boots with a heel, and a western hat. Management may determine and announce whether long sleeved shirts or short sleeved shirts are more appropriate for the weather conditions.

Read more about that here and here;

How grateful I am to this photo shower for enlightening me on this whole different world of "western events" for the more action oriented (my preference) horses out there! :D (I hope she doesn't find my random out-of-the-blue thank you note weird and alarming...)...!

And that to me is what is the most fun about performance (aside from the flipping waaaay too cool little tiny things to be amazed by). That you can get creative “intellectually” and research alternative horse disciplines that fit under any particular category such as the above example.. and that it’s not necessarily about the most expensive tack being used, but about the “correctness of fit of tack and suitability”. (Thus why my first commissions are of very versatile type tack..). That said, until they are done I still only have one saddle and no bridle of my own for my two performance horses. Ack! I know the pain of the commissioner now! :) I really cannot wait until I get to do more.

What is WRONG with me man? Lol! The funny thing is that I know of some errors in my entries that weren’t caught.. and I hope I can fix that by the next time too. I am definitely an OCD perfectionist in a highly chaotic/disorganized personality type. What a bad combo. Honestly. :-P There is so much more to say but for the moment, I’ll stop rambling. I just can’t believe after all that and my shell-shock last night that I want to do it all again so very soon…!

Capping off my highly chaotic post here I’ll mention that I now am offering up that “Echo” medallion for sale: ($35 ea ppd - $30 for each subsequent purchased after the first). The first proofs arrived in on Friday and will mail out the first 4 tomorrow. I had then rush shipped a few because I wanted to have a donation for the show yesterday. But you really should’ve seen some of the amazing donations there – the finished medallions and dolls and tack in the raffles and auctions were incredible. I put in for the raffles on several items but when it came to bidding on the silent auction items it was already well out of my league… the doll I loved there went for over $400! Anyhow, so yeah, where was I? Well, my new medallion is casting and I guess I ought to mention that here too. (clearly I’m still a bit shell shocked today.. I’m so sheltered now). ;)

Oh! And as I went to log in to post this I realize I never shared the latest pictures of my araby mare since I "snarked" out her purty little head a bit more.. I revamped the nostrils and eyes after carefully studying the various faces of horses being fiesty. There are just so very many types of faces they make, even for a snarky mood when striking. I felt that this suited her best. :)