Sunday, 13 December 2015

Liebster Award!

Because of my longstanding computer problems which really set back my ability to blog regularly, I wasn't able to respond to being nominated twice for this a few months ago!

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About The Liebster Award
The Liebster Award is an award made for bloggers by bloggers, aiming to put the spotlight on new bloggers and give them a chance to shine and get known here in the blogging world.
The Rules
– Put the Liebster Award logo on your blog.
– Thank and tag the blog who nominated you.
– Answer their questions and come up with 10 new ones for your nominees
– Nominate 8 blogs (with less than 200 followers), let them know you’ve nominated them, and link them in your post
– No tag-backs

The first was by Beth from Chestnut Heartbeats and I was so touched to read I was her customising inspiration, that seriously made my day, thank you so much! <3 p="">

Extreme face painting!

Although I don't post about them as much, I have a budding 1/6th scale doll collection, mostly of charity shop rescues and the odd one from ebay. (like the super cheap 12" Doctor Who figure with one leg who I intend to make into a post apocalyptic cyborg wasteland wanderer. XD)
I've got another Skyrim inspired one to post about soon actually, but I'll leave him til another time.

I bought this 'Get Real Girls' doll a couple of years ago. The range was designed to rival Barbie, with an emphasis on sport and outdoor activities and absolutely zero pink. The clothes and accessories were really good quality, as were the dolls themselves, though I believe Mattel pressured the company behind them to the point that they ceased production, which is a real shame as they had a lot of potential.

While I liked the body, the headsculpt left much to be desired. The facial features, especially the eyes were far too stylised for my taste so she had to have a bit of work done...

'Get Real Girl' repaint

Ignore the clothes - the shoulder armour belongs to someone else but she'll probably end up as another wastelander eventually...although now that she's done I'm kinda changing my mind a bit.

To start with I whipped out the acetone and carefully removed her original face paint.

'Get Real Girl' repaint

Then, once I'd given the head a quick rinse to remove any remaining acetone, started adding in a new face. This was tricky as the head had no sculpted eyes, so I was painting directly onto smooth plastic with little visual or sculptural clues as to where the eyes should go, so they're a little wonky. (not helped by the fact that all my good tiny brushes weren't tiny enough for the level of detail I wanted.)

'Get Real Girl' repaint

She still looked a bit plain so I gave her some freckles and now I love her.

'Get Real Girl' repaint

I added in some white 'highlights' which made more of a difference to her expression than I was expecting, though they look a tad green due to the underlying paint seeping through.

'Get Real Girl' repaint

I'd covered up her head so I could seal her face, then unwrapped it and dipped it in boiling water to restyle the hair. It wasn't the best quality hair but I'm not ready to attempt re-rooting and I thought it had potential to look good with a little work.

'Get Real Girl' repaint

She's far from perfect but I like her a LOT more than I originally did as she has a lot more personality.

'Get Real Girl' repaint

I gave her some new hands as the ones she came with - while not as useless as Barbie ones - came with a magnet set into one (presumably to interact with specific accessories) and were therefore not really all that realistic.

My only other GRG doll had an even more extreme makeover a few years back into an alien thief of unknown species - Hetche!

Hetche Nambarrae

I really want to get back into my sci fi crew- I had great plans for photostories and things but, like many projects I start, I end up postponing them for ages, which is frustrating to say the least.

Also, random thought but I realised today that this is the first time in the history of this blog that I've managed to post at least once EVERY month! Woot!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Apparently I was destined to have this one...

I'm not a big believer in fate or destiny or whatever you'd call it, but sometimes things happen that just seem meant to be!

A few months back I was idly browsing MH$P looking for vintage customs. I don't really collect Trads these days as they take up far too much space and I prefer to concentrate on my Julips, but there's something about the often naive charm of older customs that really appeals to me - not least because many of them are mohaired, which is one of my favourite methods of customisation.
Anyway, one such vintage caught my eye - a Breyer 'Smoky' etched to an extremely loud sabino/overo (at least I think that's what you'd call it anyway) by Judy/Judith Miller. I love wild sabinos and etchies, so he immediately spoke to me. He'd had a broken tail but that didn't bother me that much because most of my models are just kept on display and rarely shown. He was cheap too, considering how much work had gone into him and I was seriously tempted. He was still available, so while I was trying to decide whether I should go for him or not, I googled the artist, hoping to see more pictures of her work. Unfortunately, the first thing to come up was a completed eBay auction of that very same horse...which had just sold.

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I shot the seller an email just in case and to my dismay I discovered that they'd just forgotten to take down the MH$P ad and he was indeed no longer available.

Obviously there was nothing that could be done, so I carried on with life, occasionally wondering where he was now, until one day last month I was on MH$P once again and...wait, was that? Yes!
He was back up for sale, presumably by whomever bought him on ebay, and the best part?
The ad was listed on my birthday. Obviously the fates wanted me to have this horse!

This time I had no hesitations and hastily emailed the seller until I got word back that he was mine! :D

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Border Reiver tack anyone?

I've been meaning to post about this for years, but persistent computer issues have put me off...but no longer! I have a shiny new computer that actually functions, hoorah!


I have always had a particular affinity for the Scottish Borders, not least because most of my ancestors hail from there, but mostly because it's where we go on holiday every year. I feel more at home there than I do in my home town of Glasgow, but that's perhaps not surprising - I'm not a big fan of cities in general. (although the phone reception here is far better!)

Anyway, a number of years ago whilst driving through the countryside we saw a sign advertising a 'living history' display at the 13th century Old Buittle Tower by 'The Borderers', a group of like-minded individuals from across the UK and some from as far afield as the Netherlands, who dressed up in period costume and weaponry, complete with fully kitted out ponies bred to resemble the now long gone Galloway type. This was pre-Nigel, so I didn't get any photos other than this one on my ye olde film camera but I remember being blown away by everything, from the mounted archery and shooting at a gallop, to the fascinating history behind the Border Reivers themselves.

 Border Reivers

Thursday, 19 November 2015

More rugs than you can shake a stick at!

As seen a couple of posts ago, I've been in something of a rugmaking frenzy. Call it unbridled creativity or just what I do when I'm without decent internet access, regardless, I've been busy!

I didn't bother photographing all the old ones individually as I'd be there forever, but here's a closer look at the new ones you won't have seen.

Better late than never!

I bought these two at the Julip Live back in October, but a combination of terrible light levels, equally bad weather and a ridiculously slow and useless computer (which will be replaced with a shiny new one this week, hooray!) have made it incredibly difficult to photograph anything.

First up is Kelpie, a gorgeous chestnut roan Welsh Cob. He was the first of the spares I spotted when I arrived, and once I picked him up, he never left my hand the whole time I was browsing! I was going to call him Pumpkin, which I think suits his colour well, but it seems more marish than geldingy so Kelpie he became!



He has the thickest and softest mane and tail ever, which caused its own set of problems as no matter what I did, I couldn't get the mane to lie flat and eventually had to invest in a can of hair mousse...but even then it pops up after a day or so!

He won a rosette at the show and as the colour suited him so much, I couldn't resist making him a matching headcollar! I got the ribbon from the show too, courtesy of Manda, so thank you for that!


I had some nice purple fabric knocking around so he got a nice rug made from it. (It looks quilted, but its actually a microfibre dishcloth from Poundland!)

Kelpie's Rug

Next up is Karliah the Arab Mare.

I've always been a bit 'meh' about this mould as its the sort of one where I like some people's models and not others. When the mould was brought back recently, I put it on my 'future order' list, but not anywhere near the top. I knew I'd want something in a more traditional colour; a bay, chestnut or grey probably, so when I spotted this girl on the spares table, all my previous misgivings vanished - she's gorgeous!


I'll be keeping her in this extended trotting pose rather than the more collected one they're usually posed in as it shouts 'arab' far more to me. I also flipped her mane over as I think her offside is the nicest.



This poor mare has also had a few issues within the first few weeks of ownership!

I fought to fit a pipecleaner dock in her tail to give it a higher carriage, which kinda works if you make sure its covered at all times by hair, but it was when I was making some tack for someone else that the biggest problem reared its ugly head!

I had her at the side of my desk while I made something else, went to move her out of the way to get something and instead knocked her over, onto her side. Not a big deal I thought, Julips are hardy and stuff, she'll be fine...ohmygodnooooooo!

She hadn't just fallen over, she'd managed to fall onto the jam jar lid with a few drops of superglue on it I'd been using as a palette and got loads of it in her tail.

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Now, I'm usually exceptionally careful about having glue anywhere near my Julips, but she was literally the other side of my desk from it, so I thought it was safe enough but apparently not.
I was texting my friend on whatsapp at the same time so they got my full freakout when I realised what had happened. I didn't have any spare black mohair so I couldn't just redo it and I was getting myself in knots until they suggested I try using a little bit of nail varnish remover to dissolve the glue. I had some to hand, so I gave it a go, being exceptionally careful to wrap up the whole horse so only the tail was visible. It worked pretty well, with only a couple of tiny rough patches still there. I uncovered the horse to view my handwork and....oh my goooood, not agaaaaain!

The tail was now glue-free but somehow a drop of the acetone rich solution had got onto her hock and stripped the paint off completely.

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I don't think I've ever used quite so many all caps in a text before, I was so angry at myself!

Luckily it was on a black bit and it's touched up really well - I can't imagine what might have happened if I'd got any on those glorious dapples!

She's since adopted one of the headcollars I made to sell at the show...


...and will be getting a traditional Arabian costume eventually when I can be bothered to make more tassels. (I loathe making tassels)




Seeing as the blue and red suited her so much, she got a matching rug too.

Karliah's rug

I'm so glad I can finally introduce them! (and hopefully they can remain disaster-free for the rest of their days!)

Saturday, 14 November 2015

All rugged up!

I thought this day would be a loooong time off but today I can confidentially say that all 60 of my Julip Originals have a headcollar and rug each!

I don't have any decent photos because the weather has been absolutely terrible lately and with it, the light levels, so you'll have to make do with some terrible phone photos and my word for it! XD

All rugged up!

All rugged up!

All rugged up!

Next challenge - get them all saddles and bridles!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Bewitching Hour - The very first Scottish Live Show!

Yup, you read that correctly, we finally had a show up here!

Fellow Glasgow-based collector Eleanor organised it, and did extraordinarily well, especially considering it was her first show!

There's a fair number of hobbyists in Scotland, though many are spread out and about all over the place, so it isn't so easy to round everybody up for a get-together, but we had a few folk here today and it went really well. A couple had to pull out at the last minute with one thing or another, which was a real shame, but hopefully the next time we'll get them all here.

(Apologies in advance for the crappy photos - I was rushing around and a lot of them have ended up really blurry. :( More can be seen --here-- )

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Official Julip Live 2015!

As you all know, I find it difficult to get to Live Shows as they're invariably held at the other end of the country which, as I don't drive, is insanely expensive to reach on the train, so I either have to cadge a lift off another kind collector (or my dad!) or don't go at all, simple as that.

I was determined to make it to this particular show however, as it was a little bit special, celebrating Julip's 70th Anniversary!

Rockcliffe Holiday 2015

This is going to be a rather long and potentially boring post for anyone who reads my blog solely for model stuff, so apologies in advance! I like to write about my holidays in such detail as I have a terrible memory and its a good way of immortalising them for the future.

Read on for beautiful sunsets, interesting beaches, autumn colour, tasty cakes and fabulous scenery!

The next post will be full of Julips as I'll have a report on the official Julip Live I went to on Saturday!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Kinetic Sand!

I first heard about Kinetic Sand a while ago, and after seeing other hobbyists use it to great effect at shows and in photographs, I decided to take the plunge and try it out for myself. Until now, I've used buff coloured felt glued to a piece of cardstock for an arena floor, but the seam between the two sections really bothered me - not to mention the fact that it only vaguely resembles sand.


I've experimented with sand and other footings before but I don't have a phenomenal amount of storage space in my room, and finding room for a tray or something that could contain a lot of loose material has been difficult, but thankfully I no longer need to worry about that!

Even more tack!

Apparently I'm in a tack mood at the moment! XD

After coming up with the little notebook of tack, I started making up a few of the missing sets.

Those without headcollars got them...

Merlin's Headcollar
He suits this shade of blue SO MUCH - I'm definitely going to make him a matching rug...

Headcollars and some bonus organising!

Somewhat shockingly, I'm actually able to go to the official Julip Live this year!

I wanted to see if I could earn a bit of a money to put towards spares and other purchases at the show, so I thought I'd make up a batch of headcollars and leadropes to sell at lunchtime. I had a few old ones that I didn't need for my own Julips too, so I'll be selling those as well, though for a bit less as they aren't quite as good as my current efforts.


Whilst I was working on them, I finally cracked how to make multicoloured ropes, so I a bit carried away. XD

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Newmarket Stripe fabric anyone?

I've always wanted to make a decent Newmarket/Witney style blanket for my Julips, but found the fabric was impossible to find at a suitable scale. I had a go myself with some fleece and marker pens, which looked ok, but it wasn't really what I was after.

Newmarket Fleece

Then I remembered a little online shop called Spoonflower, where you can design your own fabric and have it printed out on a variety of different types of fabric, from plain old cotton, to minky or faux suede. Unfortunately they don't do microfleece, which would have been perfect, but they seem to be bringing out new fabrics on a regular basis so I can only hope they'll do it eventually.

I made up a design, ordered a sample and got to work. The basic 8" x 8" test swatch was more than big enough for a Julip rug, and even had a little left over which I might be able to make into some clothes for a rider at some point.

The fabric I chose wasn't quite right for it, as it was stretchy and too shiny for a traditionally woollen blanket, so I went with a rug instead, as it looks a bit more like that kind of material. The neck is a little high on it as well, but I might make a neck piece too which will hopefully disguise it.

Newmarket rug/headcollar set

Harper, who probably has the most tack of any of my Julips (seriously, this is his third rug at least!) always likes his wardrobe to work as an ensemble, so I made him a matching headcollar and leadrope. This is the first time I've ever managed a three colour leadrope and I'm really thrilled with it. I didn't have any suitable red, black and yellow ribbon, so I just painted on the red and black bits with a very fine brush. It also got fleece padding because Harper is incredibly spoilt I thought it looked nice. He also got the proper etched halter rings and buckle too, as opposed to my usual homemade ones, so he's one lucky pony, as I rarely splurge on these kind of luxuries!

Newmarket rug/headcollar set

Newmarket rug/headcollar set
If I had a real horse, you can be sure that I'd have it kitted out in matching everything.

I'd quite like to do some other designs - either this in different colourways, or maybe some tiny horses? Ideas would be most welcome!

The best part about Spoonflower is that you can resize the design and choose which way the pattern repeats, so I can potentially have designs for different scales. I'm useless at measurements though, so I pretty much did this one by eye. I took a crappy picture of another test swatch draped rather haphazardly over one of my trads so you can gauge for yourself whether it could do with being upscaled or not. It's in totally the wrong sort of fabric, but it was a free swatch of some new stuff (poly crepe de chine) so I couldn't not get it, though god knows what I'm going to use it for.

 Newmarket style fabric

If it does need tweaking, let me know and I can upload a bigger version as well.

On that note, if anyone wants some for themselves, you can order it -HERE-!

 I don't actually get any money for it, but it gives me Spoonflower credits, so I can buy stuff on the site, which is no bad thing, as I love fabric. I've got more than I will ever probably use, but I always have room for more...well, sort of.

EDIT - I'm going to see about offering it for sale on another site as Spoonflower has this rule where you have to declare all your tax details to them, and while I'm not earning at the moment so I don't actually pay any tax, I'm still not comfortable with that being mandatory, so I'm going to try elsewhere.

(I need to photograph my stash - it's getting ridiculous how much I have now, but it's all so lovely I can't just get rid of it!)

A new look for the indoor arena.

As much as I liked the old one, it never really felt right to me, and looked amateurish and plain - especially considering that the arena fence was originally made as a temporary thing for a single photostory! (and it was a circus background at that!)

I want EA Equestrian to be the kind of yard I wish I had in real life - lots of brick and dark wood with green and brass fittings, and this, err..wasn't.

Freckles in tack

I've always wanted to change it, but Nichelle's blog post the other day finally convinced me to actually do something about it and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Echo's Training

I kept the same fence - a length of balsa wood - but flipped it over and glued stained strips of thinner balsa to it, along with another at the top and a kickboard at the bottom to neaten it off. Some of the planks fitted together almost too well, so the joins seem to disappear, but I can assure you that they're there!

I toyed with making some supports at the back so it would stand unaided, but I don't have much space for storage as it is, so I decided against it. It stands perfectly well propped up from behind with jam jars and glue pots anyway. XD

Jumping Lesson
Looks like someone forgot to photoshop out the foot support!

The bricks came courtesy of slightly textured doll's house wallpaper, which I've used for the livery block's stables (which are set in the same building) before, so it actually works far better with them than without. The letters round the outside aren't as 3D as they look - I made them up in Poweerpoint and just printed them out, then stuck them onto thin card with double-sided tape to give them a bit more strength. I may get rid for future photoshoots though, as nothing looks worse when trying to give the illusion of a whole arena, than a really obvious landmark.

One of the first to try it out was David, and very green Kaimanawa mare, Echo. She's taken to being ridden well, but is very easily distracted, so she still needs rather a lot of work.

Echo's Training

Echo's Training

Echo's Training

The leg wraps came from Utterly Horses, but now that they're finishing, I can't get any more without buying a full roll of vet wrap which is pointless as I don't have any real need for it. So if anyone could spare some scraps I'd greatly appreciate it! :P

Once she was ready, working pupil Lexi hopped on, and took her for a ride.

Echo's Training

I made the halter/bosal thing a while ago with the original intention of giving it to Chego, the Criollo...but Echo has apparently claimed it for herself. She's obviously very good at acquiring things as she's nicked Pirate's saddle and Callisto's pad too!

Echo's Training

The modifications to the background took little more than a couple of hours and now that it's done, I'm so happy I finally got round to doing it, as it makes such a difference and really makes EAE that little bit more 'real' in my eyes. I need to get some kinetic sand though, I think that would make it perfect.

...and finally, a sneaky peek at a future post where I'll spill the beans on where I got that very distinctive fabric... :P

Newmarket rug/headcollar set

Thursday, 10 September 2015


We had a rather unusual visitor to the garden the other day...


Foxes are a pretty common sight in our area - there's lots of countryside on our doorstep and it's rather unusual not to see the odd fox padding along the road at dusk. That said, we don't often see them in the middle of the afternoon, and certainly not taking a kip on our front lawn!

I'd come downstairs to speak to my mum about something, and as I walked into the room, she got up from the sofa and glanced out the window and almost simultaneously we both spotted the visitor.

For once I didn't have my phone on me, so I raced upstairs and grabbed it from the charger, along with my DSLR, just in case. I needn't have rushed, as the fox was in no hurry to go anywhere.


She (we think it was a vixen, anyway) was sitting quite happily in the middle of the grass, all curled up like a cat in front of the fire.


Occasionally she'd look up and have a little scratch...


She knew we were watching, but showed absolutely zero concern.



Annoyingly, we had the blinds down, and while she probably wouldn't have been bothered by it, we didn't want to raise them, just in case, so my photos weren't as good as they could have been as I had to slot the lens between the slats. (it probably made me look like a right creep actually, now that I think about it, ahaha!) So that's why the bottom of some of the images look almost faded.



Every now and again a car would go past and she'd look up, or flick an ear back to listen, but really, nothing seemed to faze her.



At one point our next door neighbour arrived home in his car, slammed his door shut, then opened and shut the boot, before walking loudly along the gravel path, and didn't notice the fox sitting ten feet from his front door, casually watching him go about his business. XD

Eventually she got to her feet...


...had a good yawn...



...and an even better stretch...




...and with a final twirl, she was off down the road.




 I was slightly concerned that she'd perhaps been in a car accident at some point as she had a very noticeable limp when she walked away, and there was something odd about her lower jaw, specifically her bottom lip. She seemed otherwise ok though, so I hope it's nothing to worry about.
It was such a privilege to be able to sit by the window and watch her sleep. Foxes are one of my favourite animals and a fleeting glimpse is usually all I ever get to see, so this was lovely.