Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gift Shopping for the Animal Lover

As a kid, I wasn't a difficult one to shop for.  If the item was an animal or had an animal on it, I was overjoyed!  My interests spanned a wide variety of animals - whether they be domestic, wild, prehistoric or even imaginary.  For my first years, I can remember getting another dinosaur model to assemble.  Later on, my wish list typically incorporated requests for more Breyer horse models.

With this blog post, I thought I would spotlight some items that can be given to the animal lover.  Take a look through - there's lots of wonderful items.  Visit all the individual stores for many, many more items!

first, a few cards to send out for the holidays done by me:


Some of my wildlife items:

Golden Eagle portrait plate plate
Golden Eagle portrait plate by Sunshine68
Shop for other plate designs.

Barn Owl and full moon children's tee shirt shirt
Barn Owl and full moon children's tee shirt by Sunshine68
Design your shirt at zazzle

Some cute handmade horse ornaments by Bonnie Bishop (

Some wildlife items to consider from various designers at

Gorilla shirt
Gorilla by pjwuebker
Become a clothing affiliate at

As you can see, there's a WIDE and WILD variety of items one can consider for gift-giving this holiday season. No matter if the gift needs to be something dog or cat, whale or bird, there's plenty of wonderful items to choose from. Please be sure to check out each designer's store - this is just a sampling of the wonderful items we have.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect - to think about all the things one is thankful for.  Here's a few things I am grateful for:

1. my health, even though I could stand to lose some weight
2. my mom - she's been my Rock of Gibraltar through thick and thin
3. my camera - yeah, it's an inanimate object, but has given me so much pleasure
4. Nature - anything wild and free as it reminds me to step out of the wood and concrete box I call home and look at the beauty that surrounds me.
5. A will to survive or I'd have packed it in years ago.

I am sure there are many other things I can think of but these would be my top 5 so to speak.

What are you thankful for, even if you don't reside in the USA.

So, a Happy Thanksgiving to all in the USA.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Perseverance is Vital

With the thought of 2011 coming to a close, and another birthday to celebrate tomorrow, I find myself looking back upon 2011 and the changes that I've gone though and what I hope to see happen in 2012.  In some areas, I've seen marked improvement.  In others, I'm seeing some growth but some stifling issues on creativity causing major block.  While I struggle with the later, I'm focusing on the former hoping that when I am ready to return to creating for the later, I'll be ready to jump in head first.

This morning, I glanced back at my overall progress as a model horse painter looking at the marked improvement since I first started back in 1985.  Here's a piece I'm just finishing up - these images are still progress photos but you get the idea.  This little guy was commissioned for a paint job with "artist license" - in other words, I was able to let the piece tell me what he wanted for color and pattern and I'm so happy this client allowed me to do that.  Sometimes trying to force a color on a model that "isn't feeling it" ends up in a less than stellar job - at least to me.  But then again, I'm ALWAYS really hard on myself.


I also studied my progress as a greeting card creator.  With the opening of my first online "store" at one particular POD, my overall statistics since joining there a few years ago have shown some improvement, quite to my surprise.  I currently have sold 200 more cards than I did last year.  It's not anything I can pay bills with at the moment but it's a step in the right direction.  I've still got so much to learn, but hey, 200 more cards is still 200 more cards and the year hasn't finished out yet.  Now, where's my bar chart??

I'll readily admit creativity in that department has waned significantly due to new "marketability" guidelines which I originally freaked out about, then embraced as I gained further insight into the need and reasoning behind.  I took a great deal of time to study my own products and made changes I hope are to the better.  But then, I started hearing stories of major inconsistencies in the review process for approval or denial.  So, now I'm wondering whether or not my work will survive the culling process after all is said and done.  While I fret with these problems, I started looking at other avenues as I prepare for a long winter which is promising to be cold and snowy.  With some added support of fellow card designing artists, I'm looking at other avenues to market my cards while the changes continue to be made.  I'm focusing efforts on a second store with a different POD at the moment since I also have the ability to create more than just greeting cards.  When I opened up there a couple years ago, I sold I think but one item.  This year, I've seen several more sales.  Again, it's not enough to make a living on, but marked improvement.

My photography will be a great winter project to focus on when the snows fall - reorganizing my entire digital library for one, maybe entering a contest or two with my more successful images, and seeing how I can use them for future projects.  I'm also taking the time to learn some new forms of art to add to my skill set.  As a paraprofessional at a local middle school, I've been tickled with the creations the students are making using simple colored pencil drawings.  I've been inspired to try my hand at it and I'll post later my first unfinished piece.

The moral of this story, keep trying.  Sometimes it does take time to see the fruits of your labors take off.  If one thing isn't working well at the moment, try something else until the inspiration comes back to find you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

What a day I had today.  It was the first time I stepped into a hall where model horse people in our region assembled to hold the end of the year championship show.  Model horse show?  Huh?  What are ya talking about?

The world of model horses is a lot broader than just collecting them.  Think about model train enthusiasts - how they go to conventions and set up elaborate dioramas.  Our model horse hobby is much the same - where every detail counts.

Here's some photos from a few of the first classes:

Harness entry

dressage entry

western games entry

english games

jumper entry

another harness entry

My main reason for going to the show was to deliver three horse models I had painted on commission and to get a bead on what live showing model horses is like these days as I had taken a seven year hiatus after the loss of my job.  I needed some time to get my head around that and figure out a new path in life - and the issues around model horse showing was just not something I wanted to put any energy into at that point - I had far more pressing things to focus on.
Breyer PAM all work done by me

likeness of Spectacular Bid (customizing work done by Julie Brooks, paint job by me)

Debbie Lermond Sheba's Jewel resin (tail repair, prep and paint by me.

But with three new paint jobs on horse models that were now in the hands of their new owners, the bug bit again and I watched some of the classes as they were set up, judged and pinned and it brought me to a decision where I hope 2012 will allow me to get some of my own models out there - to hang with my crazy model horse buddies and to get to know the newer hobbyists that I've become acquainted with through email.

So, to conclude, thank you to Iva, Nancy, Linda, Meredith, Ann, Larry, and Anne for the warm welcome back to the live show aspect of model horse collecting and showing.  May I see you all as a fellow competitor in 2012!