Friday, 13 July 2018

Pony purchases

2018 MLP Fair purchases, pick-ups, and prizes, Day 1
Once a year, I go to a place where I get to spend the entire weekend surrounded by like-minded collectors, where we can indulge in our collections pretty much non stop.

I also spend a lot of money and come home with a lot of new pieces for my collection.  And when I say a lot, I mean let's reorganize the entire pony room to find space for this stuff kind of a lot.  Does this look like pony gluttony?  Perhaps, but for three things: budgeting, planning, and time.

1. Budgeting
If you've read any of my blog before, you probably know that budgeting is my be-all and end-all as collecting goes.  I would not get nearly as much enjoyment from my collection if I felt bad about the money I was spending on my purchases.  So before I go to a con I have to think about three things: how much do I want to spend, how much do I have to spend, and how much am I comfortable spending?  If I can come up with an amount that answers all three of those questions, I'm ready to start spending.

How much do I want to spend is easy: all the money for all the ponies!  But of course that's not realistic, so I have to consider how much I have to spend.  This amount depends on what my 'fun money' budget looks like at the time.  Back when I was paying off my student loans, that amount wasn't huge.  Now that the loans are paid off, I have more money to play with.  That leads to the third question, how much am I comfortable spending?  I have never brought as much money as I could have to a con, because I have never wanted to (actually) spend all my money.  I feel much more comfortable having a buffer, which also gives me the option of spending a little bit more if either I find a rare piece or a fun, unexpected side excursion comes up.

2. Planning
Planning goes hand in had with budgeting, because you have to know how much money you have before you can decide what to spend it on.  I always make sure my wish list is updated prior to a con (I actually try to review the wish list several times a year, at the same time that I'm updating my collection catalogue.  That way it's not a huge project at any time).  As much as I know what I have and what I want, it's easy to get overwhelmed in a room full of ponies.  The wish list also helps keep me on track while I'm shopping.  I don't like to start a con by looking for one or two specific things, because I feel like I'll miss other things I'd be interested in.  I prefer to just look around and see what catches my eye.  Later in the con, I may choose one or two pieces to hunt for, but I like to keep my options open and be on the lookout for things I didn't think I'd find.

Although I don't do any buying beforehand, I do tend to spend a lot of time on ebay, but looking at sold items.  It's good to get an idea of what the current market value is for items you're interested in, so that you know a good deal when you see one, and a bad one too.  Buyers and sellers should both be doing their homework before a con, because if you get taken for a ride, you have no one to blame but yourself.
2018 MLP Fair purchases and prizes, Day 2

3. Time
I do about 80% of my collection buying for the year on my Fair trips. So when I come home with a car full of ponies, it doesn't feel like gluttony, it feels like Christmas.  Buying this way means I have to bypass those fixes of getting things through the year, but I do save on shipping (and therefore have more money for ponies).  The 20% of buying that I do during the year is mainly new items, and the occasional second-hand local find, so I do get some fun additions throughout the year.

I do posts like this not to justify my own collecting, but as a way of exploring the possibilities of collecting on a budget while still enjoying the act of collecting to the fullest.  I've been actively collecting for 20 years, I'm not in a rush to 'catch 'em all', and I'm still excited every time I add a new piece to my collection.

Oh, and this year?  I get to go to TWO Pony Conventions!  Come on Canadian Pony Collectors Extravaganza!


Friday, 29 June 2018

2018 MLP Fair

The 2018 MLP Fair took place on June 16-17th.  As usual, Roomy and I drove down to take part, and after not having a Fair to attend last year, we were even more excited than usual.

Designer Kirk Hindman's ponies
The Fair went back to its roots this year, with a smaller convention reminiscent of the earlier Fairs.  Personally, I found this to be a great decision for a variety of reasons.  The con wasn't terribly crowded, and many of the attendees were the usual suspects who have been coming to the Fair for years and years.  This made the atmosphere more relaxed and fun, and allowed for time to visit with old friends as well as shopping, attending panels, shopping, participating in contests, and shopping!  I suspect it also made for a more relaxed experience for the first-time Fair attendees.
Roomy meets a personal hero

The panel put on by the lovely and talented MLPWhitney, Ashlyne, and KitKatVintage
This year I made it to nearly all the panels I wanted to see (I did miss a couple from losing track of time).  The Accessory Addicts panel and the Merchandise panel were particular favourites of mine.  The Hall of Fame dinner was also excellent, both in food and entertainment.  The G1 Sea Ponies, G4 Applejack, and Hasbro designer Kirk Hindman were all inducted this year.

The custom, art, costume, and handicraft contest entries were spectacular, as always.  The vendors had some excellent stuff for sale (MLP, and other 80s toys), and I certainly had no problems parting with my money (more on that in a future post).  Roomy apparently also started and finished her Christmas shopping for me that weekend.  And I came first in the trivia competition this year!
Ponywear display
In short, the Fair was great fun, well worth the wait, and over far too soon.  I can't wait for the next opportunity to see all my Pony Friends again!

You can see more pictures here.


Friday, 22 June 2018

"The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone."

Hello Pony People!

I apologize for being away for so long, but the custom below is one of the reasons I haven't been posting much in the last few months.  I've been focusing on getting her done instead.  Please say hello to The Last Unicorn.
The Unicorn was made from a base sweetheart sister pony.  Her neck was extended and her cloven hooves added with Apoxy Sculpt.  Her horn, mane, tail, and feathers were also added with Apoxy Sculpt.  She was painted in acrylic, with shadows added to her hair, and her hooves and horn are pearlized.

Her lilac wood was created on a wooden base.  The topography was made with Apoxy Sculpt over an armature of wire and foil.  The lilac trees were created of wire with plastic leaves and papier mache flowers.  The daffodils were made entirely of Apoxy Sculpt.  The entire thing was then painted in acrylic and sealed.

This was a custom I had planned to do for myself for several years, but as you may know, projects that artists plan for themselves often go unfinished. For that reason, I decided to enter this piece in the 2018 MLP Fair custom contest so that I had a deadline to work toward.  I couldn't be happier with the results.


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Happy Easter

Happy Easter Ponies!  In honour of the weekend (and because photobucket doesn't play nice anymore), I'm resharing my G3 Easter Pony display from 2011.
The residents of Unicornia were looking forward to a quiet morning. But then the Spring Ponies showed up to celebrate the change of the seasons and they weren't taking no for an answer.
Whistle Wishes: *yawn* "...what the?"
Whistle Wishes: "...gah..."
Garden Wishes: "What the?"
Cheerilee: "I know you wanted to have a nice breakfast, so I brought you some chocolate eggs so you don't miss out on all of them while you eat!"
Sunrise Song: "Somehow I don't think we're going to have the quiet day we'd envisioned."
Doseydotes: "So many eggs...
Yesterdaisy: " little time."
Morning Dawn Delight: "I GOT ONE! I GOT ONE!"
Toodleloo: "I love hiding Easter eggs."
Spring Treat: "I love eating them!"
Gigglebean: "They'll never find these eggs!"
Bashful Bonnet: "I hope they'll find them eventually!"
Brights Brightly: "Skedoodle, we appreciate your *ahem* enthusiasm, but we really wanted a quiet..."
Sweetie Belle: "Omigosh! There's so many chocolate eggs everywhere!"
Rarity: "This is awesome! We should do this every week!|
Brights Brightly: *sigh* "...never mind."
The full display (and a look at an old pony room)

I hope the Easter Bunny brings you lots of chocolate and Ponies!


Friday, 9 March 2018

A Tropical Holiday

I don't know about you, but where I am, it's still winter.  Let's go on a tropical holiday!
When we arrive we can look around to see the palm trees and the local fauna.  We might run into a friend too.
We can play on the beach, build some sand castles and look for seashells.
Maybe we can try some new things.  Some cloud climbing, or flying.  Try out some new local tunes.
And, of course, some water sports!
And we'll end the day on the beach with some tasty tropical drinks with the locals.
Ah for a tropical getaway!

Friday, 23 February 2018

Custom Pony Star Bright

Star Bright was the final custom pony I made this Christmas.  She was made for the granddaughter of a friend.

Star Bright began as a Glory.  She was fully repainted, and her larger stars had added rainbow glitter.  Her hair is Amethyst with a stripe of Tea Rose.  The last element added to the pony was the personalization for the granddaughter.  I think she turned out quite cute.


Friday, 9 February 2018

Custom Pony Sugar Love

Sugar Love was commissioned by a friend for his fiancee's Christmas gift.  She is also my first attempt at a sugar skull pony.
Sugar Love started as a pink G3 pony.  She was fully repainted in black, with a stylized pony skeleton and sugar skull decoration.  She was rehaired with glow in the dark hair and Kiss of Death DH hair.  Her skeleton was also sealed with glow in the dark Mod Podge.  This pony could just about be a night light.