Tag Archives: storage

I love my studio

When we were looking for a home in 2013, I dreamed of finding one where I had room for a dedicated studio. Not necessarily a whole room, but a space where I could organize and keep my supplies and always have a nice place to work.

In early 2014, we moved into our beautiful new condo. It’s a open loft style space, and in the corner was this strange little alcove.

studio progress 1

We don’t know what it was supposed to be, or how previous occupants might have used it. But we knew what is was for- my future studio! A few months after moving in, we worked with a local company to turn the alcove into a studio.

studio progress 2

First in was the storage cupboard. Then they started putting in the support for the table top…

studio progress 4

And added awesome, perfectly sized drawers.

studio progress 5

Last but not least was a lovely butcher block top. The whole installation took only part of a day, and then my beautiful studio was ready!

finished studio

I spent a wonderful weekend obsessively organizing all the drawers and cupboards. I also ordered a custom wood box from a lovely artisan on Etsy in which to store my horses in progress. That way they were safe from dust, kitties, and whatever else I was working on.

horse box

Next I needed the perfect lighting. I looked at a million desk lamps in various styles and prices and finally found the perfect one at a stupendous price- a simple, LED gooseneck light from Amazon. It even has a built in magnifying glass for when you really need to work on something fiddly! I also bought some stick on LED tap lights to shine down from the bottom of the cupboard (visible in the picture above).

Finally, the studio I had always wanted was realized!

studio moved in

I love, love, love my little studio. It’s pretty, organized, and just the right size. I love being able to jump right into hobby fun without having to drag out all the supplies from storage and set up on a table. It’s wonderful to have this dream come true.

Alpo’s Trailer: how to make a custom travel case

One of the extra little projects I managed to finish before Rose City Live was making a custom travel case for Alpo, my breakage-prone pony. He arrived at last year’s RCL with a broken tail and has been repaired and repainted three times since I made him in 2012. I’d like this time to be the last!

One of the things that makes Alpo prone to breaking is his tail, which is turned and swished. That makes the tail extra fragile. Horses with thin pieces that stick out like swished tails, long ears, or flying manes are all good candidates for custom carry cases.

I took pictures of my process to share with you. My carry case was heavily inspired by Emily Rodger’s tutorial, published on the Braymere Custom Saddlery blog. My version is adapted a bit for stablemates and a smaller budget.

First, I gathered my materials:

  • plastic container slightly larger than model
  • tacky glue
  • scissors
  • white charcoal pencil
  • model
  • foam
  • styrofoam and knife (optional)

alpos trailer - materials

Because my container was deeper than needed and I didn’t want to waste precious foam, I first filled the container up part of the way with styrofoam. I cut the styrofoam carefully to take up the space needed and glued it in place.

alpos trailer - styrofoam base

You may or may not need to do the step with the styrofoam, depending on your container and your supply of foam :D To build the rest of the case:

Cut out and glue down a layer of the cushy foam (you could certainly add multiple layers, especially for larger models).

alpos trailer - foam base

Cut a second square of foam and carefully traced around the model with the charcoal pencil. You want to leave a little bit of breathing room but still provide the secure custom fit.

alpos trailer - tracing

After tracing, cut out the shape.

alpos trailer - cut out 1

And check the fit.

alpos trailer - cut out 2

Now take another square of foam, and trace the shape of the first cut out on it. With your model lying in the first cut out, identify which part(s) of the model stick out- that’s where you’ll need to cut for the second piece. This step will depend a lot on your model and the thickness of your foam.

After tracing the first shape onto the foam and comparing, I could see that Alpo’s raised hind leg and head were both lower than the edge of the foam. The second piece of foam would completely cover those parts, so I did not cut space for them.

alpos trailer - cut out 3

For Alpo, I needed three cut outs. Other models may take more. My continue tracing, comparing, and cutting until the whole model is covered below the edge of the foam.

alpos trailer - cut out 4

Then cover it with one last piece of uncut foam.

alpos trailer - final foam

Add foam or other filler until you reach the height of the lid. You want the foam to be secure but not squished down.

Put the top on, label it, and voila: your own custom carry case.

I opted to glue the first cut out into the container. Be very careful not to get any glue where the model will touch! The other foam pieces are packed over the model and secured by the top piece and the container’s lid.

alpos trailer - all cutouts

Alpo did not win any ribbons at Rose City Live. But he did travel safe and sound there and back!

New Packing Procedures

In addition to my horses who annoyingly needed touch ups before the show last week, I also had one snotty little guy who chose to break in transit. Alas, the issue was too much to be fixed at the show with my basic kit so he got wrapped back up and sent home.

What a little snot:

This incident, and some frustration with finding my horses, inspired me to spend some of this week improving my packing procedures.

Many of my horses already had fleece bags, but I decided to actually assign one to each horse and label it so I could find them. Also, I wanted to find a good, reliable, reusable way of padding on ears and tails and other fragile bits.

So, in addition to making more bags and adding labels, I got my hands on some lovely red fleece. I cut it into 18″ strips and used those to wrap the horses and brace the more fragile bits. I like this as an alternative to toilet paper because it’s thicker and very reusable.

Nightfox with his personalized kit

So satisfyingly organized!

I sewed the bags on a machine but did the labels by hand. My cat thought it would be really helpful if she sat on my arm while I was sewing.

She was wrong, but cute.

Besides the petulant Alpo, I’ve got two horses getting repairs or upgrades. I’m hoping I’ll finish all three before my show this weekend, but since Alpo is getting a whole new paint job (sigh) that’s rather a tall order. We’ll see!

Show Organizing

Since I’ll be showing in performance at the show this weekend, my show kit is quite a bit more extensive than for an all-halter show. I’m sharing a table for the Expo, so I want my kit to be complete, but also contained and organized. A few weeks ago I hit on the idea of using one of my sets of plastic drawers.

You can get these drawer sets at most big stores (like Fred Meyers), craft stores, or thrift shops. They are very handy for organizing all the small hobby bits. I have one for all of my tack making supplies, and one holds all of my misc. hobby supplies (heat gun, extra gloves, tooth picks, etc.)

Right now, that misc. stuff is living under the bed (in yet another storage tub) so that I can use the drawers for my live show goodies.

Isn’t it beautiful? In the top drawer, I have all of my little performance supplies like sticky wax and tweezers, touch up paint for my props, extra leg tags, pens, and other handy little things. In the middle drawer, I have all of my performance props and tack. One of the advantages to showing minis is that it actually fits in one drawer! The bottom drawer was empty when I took the picture, but now holds all of the horses who are entering performance, so they’re right on hand first thing. CM Performance starts at 8am, so I want to be ready!

The last step was to tape the drawers securely in place for the drive down, and now we’re ready to hit the road this evening. Photos and more to come after the weekend!

Sneeze, Cough, Craft

I am getting very sick of being sick- it’s been nearly a week now. I’m feeling a lot better overall, but it’s difficult to sleep because of my very sore throat and I am constantly coughing and letting out terrifying explosive sneezes. Blarg!

My arena base is finally somewhat presentable, and nearly finished. Here it is with the arena fence up:

The sandpaper is there because I wanted to see how it would look with some arena footing. I have decided, once it’s all painted, to add a fixed layer of dirt. And that is why this lovely Easter Sunday morning found me outside, digging in a cemetery. (There’s a wonderful old pioneer cemetery behind my apartment, and that’s where I found the nice dry dirt).

The dressage fence is done and I’m very pleased with it. And the two fences are nicely and easily interchangeable, which is great.

My other success today was making the perfect carrying case for my racehorse diorama, which I’m bringing to the show. I went to Goodwill and found an almost perfect container.

Before

Happily, a little quality time with my dremel got rid of that annoying protuberance and some foam provided just the right amount of cushioning.

After

Rumble Strip and friends will travel in style and comfort, with no risk of smooshing.

Mischief Cat Strikes Again

SIGH.

Why, why must you be so cute and yet so curious, and curiously destructive?

Somehow, kitteh managed to mash into the pony shelf, sending many of them down in a cascade of equine plastic. So now it is time to play hospital, and move the collection to a safer place.

First step was to move everyone to the safety of the cupboard until I had time to take care of things.

Next, we moved the shelf away from other shelves, so that felines cannot access it. The ponies who are still whole go back up, with some rearranging.

This cool glass-fronted case was finally put to good use. I picked it up at a vintage store earlier this year but didn’t have a spot for it. It’s now a sturdy book end and holds the Pony Hospital and WIP creatures.

Those admitted to the Pony Hospital include Rumble Strip (from the racehorse diorama, top right), Doublet (middle bottom) and Senna (middle bottom, too tiny to see). Troy Soldier is there too- from a previous accident.

Next up: fixing broken ears, damaged finish, and reattaching broken acrylic rods…

Plotting evil with her minion, Wee Pinkiemouse.

New Toys

Today I was working on the coats of my three micro mini race horses and became frustrated with the organization of my pastels and the variety of browns available to me. So I hopped on my bike and set out to rectify the situation.

Here are some of my new toys:

The artists cups are maybe a bit of a splurge, but I absolutely love how well they help me organize pastels. I can use to store dust from individual pastels and also mixes I’ve made for various purposes. The brushes were a necessity, since my favorite stiff pastelling brushes are getting so worn that their metal bits endanger the model with each swipe (eek!). The pen is a Pen-Touch Extra Fine in white, for signing horses when the black Micron won’t show up. It’s not essential, but it will sure makes things easier.

I also picked up some new pastel colors from CreataColor. I chose Olive Brown, Van Dyke Brown, and “Bister” Brown. Hopefully that will help me with my various bays and chestnuts.

When I got home I transferred all of my horse colors from my full rainbow set of Rembrants and into individual labeled artist cups. But masking tape labels were not enough! I had to print them out and modge podge them on.

Ah, organization is beautiful.

The larger containers were a previous acquisition from Goodwil

And now I can concentrate on the current projects without the distraction of mess.

This week I will be working some heinously early shifts. I may come home at 2pm being a zombie and needing pony time. Or, I may come home at 2pm just plain being a zombie. We shall see…