Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bury your poverty, Dig up your wealth 2017-2018

Okay folks! It's New Year's Eve today!! And I stole this from my friend Chris Wallbruch years ago. I tried it in 2013 and it was an OK year - I tried it again in 2014 and while it was a rough year - this DID work for me. I did this in 2015 and while the end of the year was not what I expected - it was a very good year. 2016 has just been a bitch and while I had no great windfall I have always had the funds to pay what needed to be paid. 2017 I managed to get a little more than I needed, but again no windfall. It has been an overall good year so here's to 2018 being 1,000 times better. Or 1,000,000 times better.

It is time to bury your money!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tradition, what you do is bury a dollar (or any amount above a dollar that you want) in the soil on New Year's Eve. This can be in a houseplant if the ground is frozen or inaccessible, but I like to go outside, dig a hole, and drop my dollar in. (I put it in a plastic bag). As you bury said dollar, say out loud, "I am burying my poverty!" TIP - if you do this outside, make sure you place some sort of marker where you bury your buck.

On New Year's Day, dig UP the dollar, and as you do so, say out loud, "I am unburying my wealth!"

You can't spend the dollar - you can either keep it or give it away to charity. Giving it away is the best so you are less likely to spend it.

This tradition is supposed to give you an unexpected windfall of money during the year.

I have had money come to me the 5 years I have done this - while not what I would call a windfall it helped me out of tough times so I am NOT complaining.

It is a tradition I plan on keeping every year and I thank Chris for pointing me to it!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Relearning to Sculpt

I have been painting models halfheartedly for several years. It's only in the last 5 years that I really began to try to be serious about learning new skills and not just going at it the same old way.

One of those skills is sculpting. I have been following the advice of Rayvin Brewer, Sara Gifford, Kristy Thiessen, Shauna McDaniel and Morgan Haberman when it comes to sculpting and recently tried my hand at it again.

I took 2 Breyer Stablemate (1:32 scale) G1 American Saddlebreds and began working.

First I sanded off their old manes and tails.

Then I added wire and using blue painter's tape made my tail "base."

Then I used my Magic Sculpt and began sculpting. 

I have now finished both models and painted them. They are not perfect but they are definitely better than things I have sculpted before. And I just need to keep working on them. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Longmire Days 2017

I am behind on my blogs for the summer. It was a bit of a crazy summer. Here's catching up a blog I started in July and never got around to posting!

July 7,8 & 9, 2017 was the 6th Annual Longmire Days in Buffalo, Wyoming, celebrating Craig Johnson's books and the Longmire Television series on Netflix (which just released it's 6th and final Season on November 17, 2017).

I drove up Thursday, July 6. Made it in less than 6 hours this year! Went to the Volunteer party with Rudi and RJ. Then went to the Sponsor Party with Rudi and RJ.

With the help of Jennifer De Bruin of De Bruin Saddlery, I made Robert Taylor a 1:9 scale version of Walt Longmire and his horse. Jennifer did the saddle, bridle, saddle bags and the tea box. I did the horse, base and rider. We made 2 sets - one for Robert and one that was a donation to the Raffle that supports the American Indian College Fund.

Me with Robert Taylor (photo by Anita LeClair)

Me, RJ, Pam and Rudi with Zahn and Robert
(Photo by Anita LeClair)

Friday, July 7 was autograph signing and conversations with the cast, baseball game, etc. 

Two saddles that Jennifer De Bruin made signed by all the actors.

Adam grabbed my phone and got a picture of me, him and Robert. 

Saturday, July 8 was the parade, autograph signing, motorcycle run, etc. I was part of the Longmire Posse Fan Club float! 

Me in the black shirt and red ball cap towards the front.
(Photo by Kim Lark)

Sunday, July 9 was the horseback ride at Paradise Guest Ranch and the closing concert.

My ride for the day Jules and me taking a selfie after the ride. 

It was a blast getting to see everyone again. Can't wait for Longmire Days 2018. 

Me with Zahn McClarnon

Me with A. Martinez

Me with John Bishop

Me with Cody Jones 

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.