Saturday, December 6, 2008


Well, o.k. so I'm not really "trapped" per say. . . but I feel like it! It's a sad thing when winter is *just* beginning and you're already feeling claustrophobic about being stuck inside while Jack Frost plays fast and loose with the snowflakes! I have things to do and places to go, but here I sit because I need to get my brakes fixed and I have to wait until Tuesday for my turn at the repair shop. I was looking for ways to keep myself amused during the most recent mini-snowstorm (which kept me from absconding with hubby's car and making a late night shipping run to the 24 hour post office at the airport) so I made some good progress on the Strawberry Jam colt and listed something to Ebay. I haven't listed anything in years, but I've got this odd item that I've been meaning to sell and Ebay was the best place I could think of to put it.

Pretty neat huh? I had planned on framing it in a shadowbox with a mat. . . but I'm running out of wall space in my little house. :^)

I'll have photos here soon of the Strawberry Jam remakes. Once I looked at the photos from the last post again, I realized how over in the knees the NSH filly was! EEEK! Too much time spent trying to re-do the pastern angles without the padded shoes and not enough attention to what I was doing to the rest of her legs in the process! AAAHHH! hahahahahahaha!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life after the unicorn!

Whew! I can't believe I finally finished writing all the unicorn stuff down! I have to admit that I seriously regretted my commitment to documenting that project about 4 posts into it! I swore that I was going to finish the blogged journey though and I did. Anyone who knows me will know what a BIG deal it is for me to actually finish something I started!

So, here we have a couple of pics of some things I am working on currently. Well, actually, I started working on them just before Breyerfest in July. I continued working on them *at* Breyerfest during free moments in my room. I am *still* working on them right now. . . but, eventually, something is bound to get completed. I bit off a little more than I could chew by tearing apart and trying to customize 9 resins all at the same time. That's a little self defeating move I like to call, counter constructive creative clutter clog. (O.K. I don't really call it that. . .I just made it up. . .but it does sum up the problem that I seem to run into again and again! )

The first two. . .yeah, I know there are three horses here, but the middle one is a control subject to highlight some subtle differences. . . anyhow, the first two victims are Strawberry Jam resins.

The one in the foreground is on her way to becoming a NSH filly. Her neck has been adjusted ever so slightly forward at the poll and throat latch into a graceful silhouette. She has a slightly dished profile that I am still working on. One of her rear legs was removed completely, cut up, and repositioned into anatomically correct stretched position. Since National Show Horses don't show parked out like Saddlebreds, she is now in a more appropriate halter stance. She will have a new mane and tail and her stacked shoes have been removed.
The one in the background has been made into a colt. His profile is a bit more bold and his neck is stretched out a little more than the original. I think it gives him some "attitude" that's fitting for a colt. His tail has been removed and will be replaced with one that isn't as flagged.

I have more to post, but I will try to get these completed before moving onto the next ones. These will be available for purchase, unpainted, when they are finished. I will probably accept offers privately or use Auction Barn so, if anyone is interested, please subscribe to my yahoogroups list for up to date information. (link is available through my website at

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let us never speak of this again.

FINISHED! With only an hour to spare, which is good because I needed that hour to drive it back to Lake Geneva.

I did get him looking *almost* new and undamaged again. It was reasonably simple to touch up all the rubs and scrapes (he sure got petted on his nose and horn a lot!) and refresh most of his paint overall, but the hairline fractures proved to be a bit more than I could figure out.

The best I could do was to rub white paint into the cracks and try to diminish their appearance. It worked o.k. but they were still visible from certain angles. The final coats of finishing spray helped to smooth them out a bit too, but I wish I could have eliminated them altogether.

I did add quite a bit more dappling to his body so that went a long way toward disguising a lot of little things as well. So, these are the last photos of this critter.

Strangely enough, I no longer wished I could have him for my very own. I was happy to be rid of him and he brought a good price ($3,000) at the auction the following afternoon. All's well that ends well eh?

In the future, please direct all requests for my participation in public art fundraisers to my manager. . .

Almost. . .

Ahhh, the last 24 hours! AGAIN! Whoopeee! I only stopped to photograph the finished resculpting before the paint went on. There wasn't any time to photo the paint work in progress so the finished pics will be the next and LAST entry about this project. *sigh*

So, the first pic shows the semi-repaired shoulder. I stabilized the broken pieces as well as possible and then sculpted additional decoration over the damaged areas. I had to get a little creative with that loooong crack going down toward the leg. Even the curliques are covering some sort of damage. ha! The Dragonfly was added to balance out the new vining because I couldn't stomach trying to sculpt yet another flower in that spot. Since I had added an insect to one side, I figured I should probably add one to the other side for some continuity. I threw in a couple of curliques on this side too. Be kind when judging my bug sculpting skills. I was exhausted and too darn tired to go looking for pics of any real dragonflies or butterflies. I know they're not the most realistic things around, but I had high hopes that some pretty paint would distract people from that fact.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Ummmmm. . .Yeah. . . so, that didn't work the way we expected it to. Once we removed the brace between the legs, it promptly cracked open again. The only way to be 100% certain it was fixed, was to break the leg the rest of the way off and start fresh. No wonder the previous fix didn't hold! That leg alone was VERY heavy, at least 10 pounds!

A glimpse inside the hollow leg stump and into the body. You can see the thin layer of fiberglass sandwiched between the two (interior and exterior) coats of resin. They must brush the resin into an open mold, lay the fiberglass on top, put the mold halves together and slosh another coating of resin inside the whole thing. That's just my best guess. . .I'm sure it's a bit more complicated than that.

We opted to go for a giant version of how the leg on a small resin horse can be fixed. Since the leg was already hollow, we skipped the part where you carefully drill into each section. We also skipped the part that involves fitting a thin metal pin into the two halves and opted instead for pounding a 2 x 2 into one side with a mallet. After packing the area around the wood with epoxy putty and letting it set up for awhile,

we fitted the other end of the 2 x 2 into the body portion of the leg which had also been packed with a generous amount of putty. We were careful to extend a thin layer of putty over the edges of the leg so there would be a tight seal between the pieces that would be easy to smooth and finish for a "seamless" appearance.

Once the two pieces were firmly pressed together, the holes that had been drilled for the earlier failed attempt at a repair suddenly came in handy. We were able to tightly pack more putty into the holes with the pieces in place to ensure a solid bond between the wood and the inside of the leg. Once everything was in place, we stood him up and adjusted the leg so it lined up properly with the hoof flat on the floor and the body weight supported evenly. About 15 hours later it was solid as a rock, ready to be sanded smooth, and finished with a fresh coat of paint! Yay!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Operation leg fix. . .

So, here's the plan. . . The leg is attached *barely* but it makes sense to try and mend it while making use of the small bit that's still hanging on. We'll drill a hole in the top of the leg. . .

Then we'll drag the horse off the table, turn it around, flip it over, put it back on the table and drill a hole in the *other* side of the leg. . .

See? A nice round hole! Looks like we've got something absolutely ingenious planned here!
O.K. now, take the horse off the table again, turn it back around, flip it over and put it back on the table again (be careful not to snap that leg off now!)
Look at that nice mesh cloth! Ooooh! We can wad it up, shove it through the little hole and naturally it will spring back into this exact position and we can use it as a backing for the superglue/baking soda mix that will magically bind this whole mess seamlessly together! Yay!
But first. . .pull the cloth back out through the little hole and spend about an hour and a half with a pen light, a chopstick, and a bent wire trying to position it correctly inside the leg.
Ahhh, sweet victory! Look at the beautiful skinny seam all packed with the miracle mixture.
Propped up and waiting to dry rock hard solid, holding that leg on like heavy duty cement, making it completely impervious to breakage, even if it falls off the roof!

Nurse! Scalpel. . .erm. . .make that a hammer!

Yes, he's on an operating table of sorts. We did some "manipulation" before laying him down . . . it was too hair raising for me to consider stopping to take photos though. Essentially, we used an icepick and the tip of a steel file to pry apart that big crack on his shoulder and then pounded on the uneven surface with a combination of my Father's fist and a leather mallet until the edges were butted against each other instead of overlapping. Before we even started that, we had to remove a couple of large chunks that were just getting in the way. They weren't really attached anymore so they would have caused more trouble than they were worth.
*Plus* it gave the opportunity for the second photo which shows the inner fiberglass mesh. I think I saw something that looked a whole lot like that in Alien. . . except it was throbbing and one of those face hugger critters leaped out of it as soon as the camera got this close. . .
But yeah, that's fiberglass in there. Little chopped up strands of glass. The top layer is resin. Probably Polyester resin judging from the powerful aroma whenever it's sanded, or drilled, or heated slightly above room temperature. *blargh!*

Once we got things a bit straightened out, we could finally lay him down and get to work putting ol' Humpty Dumpty back together again.
A lot of people will think it looks like we're filling the gaps and cracks here with cocaine and spit, but the model horse folks will recognize it as the ever popular baking soda/superglue mix. Awesome stuff for working on repairing resins, but, are we pushing the envelope a little by trying it on a horse *this* size?

We were throwing caution to the wind and plugging on ahead. We were determined to see it through and nothing was going to stop us from using as many cheesy cliche's as possible! I'm not exactly sure why the "wound" looks pink in this photo. it's most definitely *not* blood though. I think there was something on the brush that was being used to dust things off.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who's sorry now?

O.K. So I can *finally* talk about it without twitching or mumbling under my breath! I went and picked the horse up. . .and it was a mess. Worse than I imagined. I took the following photos before I cleaned all the dirt and fly poo off. Apparently a couple of weeks spent living on the street is pretty hard even for a fiberglass colt. He was dirty, to say the least . . .but, oh dear. . .the damage. *sigh* :^(

The first and second pics show just a few of the MANY hairline cracks he was covered with. These thin cracks are all over the place in the other pics as well but not really obvious until you click on the photos to enlarge them. The really depressing part about these cracks is that they're on the *opposite* side from where the impact occurred. The top surface of the fiberglass figure is made of a thin layer of resin material. A good hard bump in one spot can shatter a much larger area.

The third photo is of the crack that runs up between the front legs. There are several fractures that go down the inside of the leg on the left about 6 or 7 inches.

The next two pics show the break that almost completely circled the left foreleg of the colt. Again, this is the opposite side from where the impact occurred but, because the colts feet were bolted to a small rolling wooden platform, the shock of the fall came very close to shearing this leg off entirely. There is only about 2 inches of material on the inside portion holding the entire leg on.

So far, you've seen the not so good and the really bad. . . but now prepare yourselves for the truly ugly.
The photos really do speak for themselves. On the largest crack, one edge has been literally shoved under the the other edge! If you enlarge the first shoulder photo here, you can see the crack extends a good way down the leg toward the knee.

The front photo of the chest (when enlarged) shows the extensive hairline cracks across the area, reaching almost to the other side. Needless to say, I was pretty "broken up" about all this. . .har har. (pun intended) There was SO much work to be done. . . I began to wish someone had just stolen it. . . or maybe it could go flying out of the back of the pickup while I was doing 65 on the highway? Seriously, I wanted it to disappear.
Naturally I didn't really get going on him until the last minute. . . partially because my heart just wasn't in it any longer, but mostly because I had absolutely no idea where to start or even how to go about fixing him. My Dad had some ideas, but some of them sounded sort of scary and like they might cause more damage than they would repair. I heard mention of prying something up, and banging it with a hammer. (?) By the time the new deadline was approaching (Oct 4th for the live auction) I was out of excuses and agreed to let Dad help me however he could.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No good deed goes unpunished.

Yeah, I had a premonition. The plan was that the S.M.I.L.E.S. organization would bolt each colt to a plywood platform with wheels so it could be easily moved around by the various people hosting them for he summer. Something in me thought there might be a problem with a 45 pound, 54" tall, top heavy fiberglass horse being attached to a small wheeled board. It was just a fleeting thought. A week or two later, a blustery afternoon storm blew through the area and downtown Lake Geneva had wind gusts in excess of 70 mph. Do I need to keep typing? My colt didn't make it inside before the storm hit and he got smashed onto the concrete sidewalk. UGH! Well, I couldn't go to get him for many weeks since I was in the middle of getting ready for Breyerfest in July and my Father had some health issues right after that that took priority as well. By the time I went to see the damage to the colt I was *almost* prepared to take it all in stride. Seeing my cute little guy all cracked up was pretty hard though. At first it didn't look too bad. Of course he landed on his right shoulder and side and my initial view of him was from the left. As I looked closer, I could see that what I originally thought were long scratches in his finish, were actually long cracks crazed along his surface! Egads! His front torso is very cracked up. Some of his flowers were broken off, the vines were cracked, but the worst was the approximately 3" x 3" area on the point of his right shoulder that was shattered completely with jagged edges overlapping each other. It must have been the main point of impact. He had to have run into a garbage can or one of the street lamp poles before being blown over. Looooooooong cracks radiate out from that ugly wound, across his sides, between and around his front legs. One of his legs is essentially detached and being held on by the underlying support. I am doing my very best to restore him but I'm at a loss as to how to go about some of these things. Hopefully I will have him in decent shape by October. The organization holding the event is antsy to get him back. He will have to have special treatment from now on though. I don't think he should be displayed outdoors and he definitely can't endure having anything heavy on his back. I think I can make him look good again, but this whole thing has taken up so much more of my time, money, and energy than I ever expected it to. The more time I spend on the project, away from my income producing work, the closer I come to being a non-profit organization myself! Har har! I won't bore everyone with the extended repair process. . . I'll post a few photos but, honestly, even *I'm* getting sick of looking at him!

Oh and by the way . . . The person or people who actually called and complained to the S.M.I.L.E.S. folks about my colt? The ones who were displeased that he was on display with his injuries and not being repaired right away in preparation for their viewing pleasure? The person who actually called my colt a "disgrace?" Thank you for making an already unhappy situation even more unpleasant. I'm sorry that 2 minutes of your shopping day was ruined by my misfortune.

Intermission for an official website blurb

Here are the websites where you can see all of the colts in the Horsing Around Town, Lake Geneva public art project.
My colt's official name is: "If you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you." The complete site with multiple photos of each colt and short profiles on each theme. Apparently you can bid on them too. click on the People's Choice Award logo to vote for your favorite. I will even forgive you if you don't vote for mine. This blogger has a neat slideshow with photos of many of the colts in the display areas where they've been all summer.

O.K., now hand it over. . .

Before we left the house, I gave the unicorn several coats of Frog Juice (a protective, UV resistant coating used by commecial sign makers.) When he was dry, we loaded him into the truck and headed off for Lake Geneva, only an hour late. Grrrr. It didn't really matter since we got there with plenty of time to unload, get his picture taken, and look at all of the other colts. I forgot to sign the little bugger so I had to take along some paint and a brush and extra Frog Juice, so I could do it there. It felt pretty good to have him finished and no longer my responsibility but all I could really think about was getting something to eat and crawling into bed to nurse my aches and pains. Yeah, I know I'm wearing the SAME shirt in these pics as I am in the profile photo to the left here. I promise that it is just a coincidence! I actually own several other shirts! I'm not like that gal Jerry dated in the old Seinfeld episode with the "Superman" dress! (Season 7 Episode 13 The Seven for the hardcore Seinfeld fans out there) So, the day was over, and it was time to leave him behind. Just look at him watching the other colts. I guess the herding instinct is strong even in fiberglass horses. With his new name tag around his neck I left him with his blue buddy there and headed home. I would not have expected to see him again any time soon. . . except, I had a premonition. . .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's all in the details. . .

Most of these are clickable for ENORMOUS photos!