Saturday, November 18, 2017

That Artistic Failure - Tack making

The Month of April 2017 was National Model Tack Month in the Model Horse world.

As a model horse artist that likes to show in performance and have tack for my models that looks realistic, I can admit freely that I have always hated the prices of model horse saddles. I mean really, some of them come close to costing what a real saddle can be purchased.

So when I saw National Model Tack Month I was excited to join. I was going to prove that those saddles didn't need to cost so much and these people were committing highway robbery. I was also going to make the saddles for the donation models I was doing for Longmire Days 2017 (blog coming soon) as I had asked several hobby tack makers if they would donate and was met with dead silence or no.

After coming off a successful February of NaMoPaiMo (National Model Painting Month) - I was very excited to get this tack on the road and prove my point.

So I purchased my supplies from Rio Rondo. This right here is close to $65 worth of supplies. (Insert big Jaw drop here as I was whining about that.)


Then came the first part - cutting out the pieces. Not hard at all -right??

I mean it's just following patterns and directions. I can do that. 





I am just going to say right now - that took me over 2 hours to cut these out. Two hours and nothing that resembled a saddle or even close to it. Just pieces. My ADHD was kicking in and I was literally having a panic attack at this point.

Then came dyeing the VERY SMALL leather pieces - Just a note - I am working on a 1:9 scale saddle here. LOOK at all those little pieces - OH MY GOD!!!

So staining - let's just say it's not like painting at all. It's disastrous.  



At this point - I was five hours in and freaking out because the pieces seemed to shrink and not be the same size as each other and all this crazy stuff. 

Needless to say, it is now November. This saddle is still not finished. Every time I get near it I freak out and literally have a massive panic attack. So I put it in an envelope and will be sending it to a friend who makes tack to do what she wants with it. 

This was a real dent to my ego, believe me. And a much needed failure. We all have to fail and this failure proved to me that as artists, tack makers, are CRAZY and deserve their prices even if I don't want to pay it. 

I will try again next April to join the Tack Month - but I think I will start with just a couple of halters or something. 






Saturday, July 29, 2017

Travel Blog 3: Common Courtesy and Sense - Traveling with Dogs

Travel Blog 1 - Travel Essentials

Travel Blog 2 - Common Courtesy and Sense - Vehicle, Pedestrian, Parking and Trash

Traveling with Dogs

Many of us have dogs and love to take our fur-babies with us when we travel. Common Courtesy and Sense goes hand in hand when traveling with your four legged friend.

Traveling with a dog can be fun and difficult all in the same trip. Like humans, going someplace new can sometimes cause your dog to totally forget their training (if they have been trained to begin with which is a whole different ball of wax).



When traveling with your dog:

1) Research WHERE you are going and find out the following:
  • Breed Bans - Some breeds of dogs are not welcome in some towns. Check breed specific legislation laws to make sure your dog is not on their list of "Banned" breeds. Many towns in Colorado have Breed Specific Legislation or Bans. This is a great reference website.
  • Hot Car Laws - many states now have laws about leaving your dogs in cars. In 2017, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper passed a ruling that a passerby can break a car window if a dog is in distress. They must first try to find the owner, notify local authorities and then proceed. Good reference website.
  • Leash Laws - All towns have some form of leash laws requiring your pet be on leash when in public no matter how well they are trained.
  • Vaccination requirements - Make sure your dog is current on all vaccinations and have their tags and information WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. Like your travel essentials (see Blog 1 Link above) - your pet has travel essentials too (see list below). 
  • Lodging - what hotels accept pets and their requirements. 
  • Veterinarian Services - is there a vet in town and can you get a hold of your vet easily to confer in case of emergency. 

2) Research WHAT you can do with your dog in the area you are going:
  • is there a dog park or a dog walk? 
  • do they have trails, river walks, etc. the dog can go on? 
  • are their pet friendly businesses?
  • are there indoor or outdoor places to take your pet that won't disturb others? 

As with anything traveling, research is key!


Pet Travel Essentials

Here are the main pet travel essentials:
  • Vaccination Records – Proof of vaccination is required by most states, cities, towns, dog parks, groomers, and doggy day care facilities. Keep a copy of these records in your go-bag along with tags and your Vet’s contact information.
  • Collar and Leash – a REAL collar and leash, not the cutesy collar with the diamond-faux studs or a harness and a “flexi-lead” that goes out 15-20 feet, but a sturdy collar and 4-6 foot leash that can easily control your Dog in ANY situation. 
  • Dog Carrier – a Dog friendly road trip you need a way to restrain your Dog in the car and lodging. Dog Carriers are important for travel as they keep the Dog safely in one spot in the vehicle, as well as give them a space to call their own in a lodging facility.
  • Water – Pack it for yourself and your Dog - water. Your Dog is used to water from where you live – packing a container or two of water to from your home to carry with you to mix with the water from where you are staying or purchasing bottled water for your Dog is the best idea. 
  • Food and Treats -  Don’t forget they like their food and snacks too! It is best to take food and treats with you, especially if there aren’t stores in the area that carry the brand of food you need/want. 
  • Travel Bowls – Food and Water bowls are essential to get the water and the food into the Dog! 
  • First Aid Kit – Humans and Dogs both need first aid kits because let’s face it – accidents happen. Check with your local veterinarian to see what they suggest is best for your first aid kit for your specific dog and where you are traveling too! 
  • Waste Bags – PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG! Carry waste bags with you at all times. 
  • Dog Wipes – Pre-moistened wipes are convenient for cleaning up messes of all kinds. 
  • Medication – If your Dog requires medication - make sure you bring it with you like you would your own medicines.
  • Flashlight – For those late night potty runs.
  • Towels – Rain storms, puddles, ponds, lakes, rivers, etc. your Dog is going to get wet and need a way to dry off. Lodging facilities frown highly on their towels, blankets and bedding being used for dogs, even if it is a pet friendly facility. 
  • Extra Leash and Collar– Always keep an extra leash and collar on hand, just in case one breaks, or you come across a lost dog who needs a little help getting back home.
  • Photos of your Dog - In case something happens and your Dog gets separated from you, you can organize a quick search party if you have a photo to pass around. Good photos that show all sides, head, rear and distinguishing markings. 
  • Beds and Toys – if your Dog has a favorite bed or toy – bring it with – this will give them something from home to feel secure with. 
  • Backpack - let your dog carry his own water, food, snacks, etc. 


   





Rules and Regulations

While you are traveling, please follow the rules with your pets. Please be aware and vigilante as you travel with your dog.
  • Wildlife and dogs do not mix. It's not funny for your dog to chase deer, elk, etc. And some species of wildlife will fight back. It is better to be safe with your pet around wildlife then to have your pet end up at the vet office injured badly or dead.
  • If it says no dogs allowed, then don't think the rules don't apply to you. There are specific reasons - Especially in Colorado and namely in Rocky Mountain National Park, that certain trail systems, etc. say no dogs allowed. 
  • Clean up after your pet. You don't like stepping in turds and neither does anyone else. 
  • Be courteous and train your dog to be courteous. Not everyone likes animals and not having control of your dog can create situations that become volatile with people and other animals. 
Have fun and safe travels.



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Travel Blog 2: Common Courtesy and Sense - vehicle, pedestrian, parking and trash

Common courtesy and common sense seem easy, but living in a tourist town and traveling, I have seen the lack of both.

Please don't leave your brain at home on the couch watching television while you are on vacation. Please be flexible in your vacation and not rigid. There are certain things that you may not get to do because hundreds of others are ahead of you.

The dictionary defines courtesy as "the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others." It defines common sense as " sound judgment in practical matters."


Common Courtesy

Remember, when you are traveling, to think of how you would like to be treated by others (and treat others this way).

This means everyone from the waiter/waitress serving your food to the cleaning people at your lodging, the store clerks and other visitors and so many more.

What you dish out in life you receive back in return. So if you are rude, expect rudeness in return.



Common Sense

Now there are many things that fall under common sense; but they are quite often overlooked.



1. Vehicle Traffic Signs

You know, those lovely signs on the edge of the road that show: Merge, Stop, Speed Limit, No Parking, etc. Those are as important to follow on vacation as they are at home. Yes, I am being a tad sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek here, but you would be surprised at the amount of people that get to their travel destination and think traffic signs are not meant for them.


2. Pedestrian Traffic Signs

Like vehicle traffic signs, it seems when people reach a vacation destination, they forget what certain pedestrian signs mean. Now, pedestrians usually have the right of way, but ONLY in specified crosswalks. If you are crossing a street in the middle of the street and stopping traffic because you don't want to walk the extra 500 feet to the crosswalk, well, don't be surprised if common courtesy is NOT bestowed upon you.


3. Parking and walking

Now, you may wonder why I give parking it's own section. As I have said, living in a tourist town, I have learned a lot of things. In my town, parking is at a premium in the summer months. People drive around and around often with cursing, yelling, honking, and other things to get that "prime" spot - you know the spot where you only have to walk 5 feet to the shop you want to go too.

That being said, when you are traveling, it's best to expect NOT to get a close parking spot and be prepared to walk or ride a shuttle or bus. In the summer months, my town has different shuttle routes: Brown, Blue, Red, Silver, Gold, etc for different destinations in town and are FREE! They start between 8-9 AM and run until 9 PM at night usually every 30 minutes.

Do not park on people's lawns (yes I see this happen all the time), in people's driveways, or in area's marked plainly NO PARKING.



4. Trash

You may be wondering why I put trash here. In my opinion it goes hand-in-hand with vehicle, pedestrian and parking because at some point in any of the above you will have trash.

Do not throw your trash out of the car on the side of the road.

Do not leave it in your parked car.

Here in Colorado if you leave trash in your car you can figure a bear or other wildlife will break into said vehicle and make a huge mess.

Do not throw your trash on the sidewalk just because there are town maintenance crews working. It's not their job to pick up after you.

Trash includes: cigarette butts, bottles, cans, candy wrappers and anything else we put in a garbage container.

I know the town I live in has garbage cans that are wildlife proof everywhere in town within easy access of parking lots and pedestrian paths . There is no reason to throw your garbage on the ground.


I will be doing some more travel blogs soon. Please see my first on at the link below. 


Travel Blog 1 - Travel Essentials

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Travel Blog 1: Travel Essentials

I work at a hospital doing admissions in the ER, as well as work in an Auxiliary unit for the local police department. I live in a tourist town that sees people from all over the world. One thing that amazes me is that people leave at home (either their real home in another state or country or where they are staying on their trip) so many IMPORTANT things that are needed by medical facilities and/or police and fire agencies.

While traveling is fun and everyone should enjoy their vacation, there are some very IMPORTANT things you need to pack and KEEP ON YOU while you travel. Don't leave them at home on the kitchen counter or in your hotel room or lodging facility.

1) Your photo ID (in the US a drivers license and/or passport. from foreign countries your passport).




2) Your HEALTH insurance card - this is VERY important because most hospitals cannot "look up your insurance with such and such carrier." They must have the card that shows the name of the health insurance carrier and the member ID number. Otherwise, if you don't have it, they will more than likely put you in as a self pay. This is much harder to get the insurance company to pay after the fact than having your card with you at the time. 


3) Your ALLERGY alert list or bracelet (or both) - preferably with your health insurance card in your wallet. You don't want the hospital guessing what you are and aren't allergic too if you are unconscious. 




4) Current list of Medications you are taking or the prescription bottles themselves, as well as over the counter drugs you take. This will help the medical staff to know what they can and can't use on you due to side affects from your medications. 



Should an unexpected accident on your vacation happen, which I hope it doesn't, these 4 things are the most important to have at all times. 

Some other items that should be on your list before you travel:

A) Car Insurance - please make sure you bring your car insurance card (whether driving your own vehicle or a rental vehicle) and have your vehicle registration (if driving your own vehicle)






B) Travel insurance (especially if you are traveling to a foreign country)


C) Roadside Assistance insurance of some kind - for vehicle emergencies.


D) Flight insurance - many Medical Helicopter Services have flight memberships that will cover your flight if needed or work with your insurance carrier to cover the flight. Some insurances cover flights as well. Check and see what your insurance covers in case you need the use of a medical helicopter. I know here is Colorado - North Colorado Medevac has a membership service and it partners with other services across the US. Also - Life Flight Eagle in the KC Metro area has a similar service.



While these items may sound like over kill or a kill joy to think about taking on your vacation, please consider the alternatives if you don't have the items. 

Happy Summer travels and enjoy your vacation. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Six Years Skin Cancer Free

In 2011, I was diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma - the mildest form of skin cancer.

It was a mark on my forehead.




It took 4 hours to remove all the "runners" and 36 stitches.


I have gone yearly for a check up and today was that day. I had 3 pre-cancerous spots removed (spots that they feel could turn but are not at this time and 2 moles that were not cancerous). And I got the ALL CLEAR!! No "active" skin cancer. 

I am HUGE HUGE promoter of sunscreen for ANYONE - not matter your skin type. And my favorite is :

It's not heavy and greasy feeling and it lasts. I use it daily - spring, summer, fall and winter on my face. It doesn't cause break outs or anything for me and I have VERY sensitive skin. For the rest of my body I use just the regular coppertone 50. 

PLEASE PLEASE get your skin checked out once a year at least. I know in Estes there are free screenings at a lot of the local clinics. Please check in your neighborhood or call your doctor. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Model Horse Blab Spring Swap 2017

Every year Model Horse Blab does a Spring Swap. You don't have to be a great artist to participate, you just have to be willing to try. Minimum requirement is $10. You answer a short questionnaire about yourself:

Your Blab user name:
Your real name:
Shipping address:
Willing to ship internationally?:
Willing to be a back up if needed?:
Favorite SM mold: 
Favorite horse color:
Favorite non horse related color:
Deco or realistic:
What treats do you like:
Any other likes:
Any allergies or other things your partner needs to know: 

And then you are paired with a partner. 

This is what I sent my partner this Spring: 



She liked blue and this Stablemate Mustang model - so I painted him in acrylics and sent along some chocolate and a cute stuffed horse that neighs. 

My partner sent me this great package that I received today:



A horse plaque, thestral sticker, 2 bags of oreos, 3 bags of haribo bears, color pencil book, owl, owl book and a painted model horse. 

Here is a better shot of the model:



It's always fun to see what other people create from the information you give them. 



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NaMoPaiMo - National Model Painting Month - Completed Model

So I am very excited to say I completed my entry model for NaMoPaiMo. See my original post here.

I hate taking progress photos. Mostly due to my own insecurity in my abilities, but I feel like it's always awful.

The wonderful thing about this group is that there are all levels of artists and everyone else is posting progress pictures - some are always excellent and some were like mine and had issues. It has been one of the best painting experiences I have ever had.

So here is the progress of my model.

Original Model  - Safari 1:24 Scale TWH in rust primer

Acrylic base coat with first layers of pastels - EWW

Acrylic base coat with first layers of pastels - EWW

About 15 layers in pastels now

About 15 layers in pastels now

Completed model - 35 pastel layers, acrylic hooves, eyes and ribbon

Completed model - 35 pastel layers, acrylic hooves, eyes and ribbon

Completed model - 35 pastel layers, acrylic hooves, eyes and ribbon

Completed model - 35 pastel layers, acrylic hooves, eyes and ribbon

Completed model - 35 pastel layers, acrylic hooves, eyes and ribbon


I am very pleased with my completed model and here is the reference photo that I used. I feel that I really got close to this color. 


I am so grateful for this experience and I hope they do it next year too!