Friday, 26 December 2014

Building the Holiday Display

Glad you all enjoyed the displays again this year.  I've had a few questions that I'll share with you now.

Q: How long does it take to set up the display?

A: It usually takes me between 8 and 12 hours to fully set up the display, but this is after I've decided on a theme and made some initial plans.  Once that's decided I set up the playsets and larger pieces according to the plan.  Then I start adding the background items and accessories, starting with the innermost areas of the display.  The last step is to add the ponies, and make adjustments to get everything to fit.
Q: How do you decide which ponies will be in the display?

A: Initially, I was using the winter/Christmas ponies that I have in each display, but at a certain point there got to be an awful lot of holiday ponies and there wasn't room for anyone else.  Then I decided to start using other ponies, not necessarily only the holiday-specific ones.  Now I consider the scenario I have planned and which ponies I think will fit best in there.  If the part the pony is playing is fairly generic, then I may chose a pony who I feel is a little under appreciated.

Q: Where do the special (non-pony) accessories come from?

A: Although I try to use as many pony accessories as I can, there aren't that many that are specific to the Christmas season.  A few (like the gingerbread house, yule log, Christmas pudding, and cookies above) I have made of Fimo clay, but most of the holiday decorations come from craft and dollar stores.  There are many miniature decorations available at these places, although some are a bit pricey.  A few odds and ends I've picked up from Value Village as well.  I also have many custom made scarves and other outfits for the ponies, most of which were made by friends.

Friday, 19 December 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Welcome to the Holidays at Elfpony's house, 2014 version:

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer"
It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the hap-happiest season of all
There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
 And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories
Of Christmases long, long ago
It's the most wonderful time of the year
There'll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
When loved ones are near
It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Sleigh Ride

Welcome to the Holidays at Elfpony's house, 2014 version:

Sleigh Ride

Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing
Ring ting tingle-ing too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling "Yoo Hoo"
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you
Giddy-up giddy-up giddy-up
Let's go!
Let's look at the snow
We're riding in a wonderland of snow
Giddy-up giddy-up giddy-up it's grand
Just holding your hand
We're gliding along with the song
Of a wintry fairy land
There's a yuletide party at the home of Majesty
It'll be the perfect ending to a perfect day
We'll be singing the songs we love to sing without a single stop
At the fireplace while we watch the chestnuts pop
Pop! Pop! Pop!
There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The Geek Tree

Welcome to the Holidays at Elfpony's house, 2014 version:

To start off the holidays, I want to share the new addition to our decorations: The Geek Tree.
Technically, the tree itself is our older, smaller tree.  But this year we got a huge tree for the main floor, which has all the "classic" ornaments on it.  The smaller tree is now living in the basement (between our creative and tv spaces) and it's housing all our geeky ornaments.
It's a bit Pinkie Pie intense.
Wysteria isn't quite sure about her new neighbour, but he does seem to be in the holiday spirit.

The Doctors are here to make sure everything turns out right in time for Christmas night.
But of course, Cotton Candy is best pony.  (Dear Hallmark: please make more classic MLP ornaments!!!!)


Over the next two weeks, I'll be posting the pictures and storylines for this year's Geek Cave display.  Please feel free to post any questions or comments, and I'll try to answer them as best I can (perhaps in a blog post if there are enough questions).   I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoy building them.


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Childhood collection

When I was 13 years old, I gave away my childhood ponies.  This was a mistake.
However, there are a very few things from my childhood collection that I still own, and I'm extremely pleased to still have them.  One of these is the Party Pack set.
For whatever reason, the majority of these accessories, as well as the box, remained in my possession when the rest of my collection was taken away.  The condition of this set can give you an indication of the condition of the rest of my collection when I gave it up.  I sincerely hope they ended up in some collectors' hands who appreciate them.  Because these are from my childhood and therefore special, I'm not looking to add the few items that I'm missing (aside from the ponies).  I want this to remain an "intact" childhood set.
Of interest, this set cost $26.99 Canadian when it was new in stores.  I got it from the now-defunct Toy City chain as a gift from my mom.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Restoration for Roomy

Roomy has been patiently waiting for me to start doing some restorations on her vintage POP figures for awhile now.  Well, she's still waiting, but I've done one finally.

Glimmer's normally curly hair was looking a bit flat and frizzy, (that's what 30 years of bed head looks like).  So in my last wave of pony cleaning I also brought Glimmer along.
Conditioning, combing, wrapping hair in q-tips, boiling, drying, unwrapping, separating curls...and Glimmer is looking much better.  And Roomy is happy too.


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Further progress in the Geek Cave

We all knew it would come to this.  More space was wanted, so the closet doors came off.
I say that like it was easy, but it was a bit of a challenge for Roomy, who was inside the closet in the relative dark, trying to unscrew the runners and lift the doors off.  The runners proved to be stubborn, but Roomy proved to be more stubborn, and in the end the doors came off.
We began re-arranging things.  Much of what was stored in the closet (backcards and packaging mainly) was shifted under Roomy's large display table.  Then smaller bookcases were shifted into the closet so that it could become an extended display space for me.  Along with my small LPS collection, I've moved some of the G4 ponies in there.  The G4s will have two small displays (Ponyville and Canterlot) and the G3s will gain some shelf space in this way, as well.
The Cave will always be a work in progress, so long as our collections continue to grow.  We may look at ways of adding shelving in the closet at a later date.  In the meantime, we've got a bit more room to move now.


Friday, 7 November 2014

Living with a collection - Taking up Space Part 2

Previously when discussing living with a collection I talked about the physical space that a collection takes up.  This time I want to talk about another way a collection takes up space - mental space.
As a collector, it's only natural that you spend a good deal of time thinking about your collection.  Perhaps you're thinking about how to adjust your display space to accommodate new pieces.  Perhaps you're thinking about the latest piece you've acquired.  Perhaps you're just sitting there admiring your favourite piece.
There's nothing wrong with spending time thinking about your collection, talking about your collection, enjoying your collection - it would be stranger if you didn't.  But although you love your collection...sometimes your love for it might be a little overwhelming to those around you, especially when they're not collectors themselves.
When we love something, whether it's a book, a game, a show, or a toy, we want to share it with our friends.  Usually, our friends are happy to share our joy - up to a point.  Your enthusiasm can wear a bit thin, however, if you keep going on, and on, and on about something that those around you don't really share.  Even the best of friends don't always want to hear about your latest find.
Maybe this is why collectors seek each other out - online, at conventions, at shops.  There is a certain satisfaction in sharing your love for something with someone else who understands completely just how exciting it was when you finally added that hard to find accessory to your collection.



Collection ponies cleaned: 25
Collection ponies photographed: 25

Saturday, 1 November 2014


On rare occasions, I do still do some artwork that's not pony-related.  Recently, I did some pen and ink cover art for Roomy's upcoming serialized novel, Nigh.

Seeing as Roomy is plugging this on her blog, I figured I'd better do the same.  ;)

The finished cover design, and more details on the novel, are available on Roomy's blog.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Hidden Haunt - a Halloween Pony

With Halloween only a week away, here is my contribution to the Arena's Halloween custom swap for this year.
Hidden Haunt loves Halloween more than anything, except maybe a stroll through the graveyard at midnight.
Her skirt and bow (with a little pony skull attached) are made of Apoxiesculpt.  She's been fully repainted.  Her skirt has a graveyard theme, complete with spooky trees and mist.  The mist, skull, and her eyes all glow in the dark.  Her hair is GITD, Hematite, Raincloud, Black Magick, Daiquari Ice, and Arctic Frost.
Happy Halloween!


Friday, 17 October 2014

Second hand luck

When we're out and about sometimes we like to look in on thrift stores and flea markets to check for MLP and MOTU.  Occasionally we get lucky and find a piece or two.  I have a pretty strong "no pony left behind" motto.

One day, Roomy and I were particularly lucky and each found a vintage piece at Value Village.  We got excited and hit nearly every other Value Village in the city that day, and many more ponies were recovered.  Then a friend found her childhood collection and gave them to me.  Then another a friend contacted me saying his wife had some childhood ponies she wanted to sell me.  Then we went to Montreal Comic Con and found a whole bin of ponies, cheap.  And that's how this happened.
These ponies represent my second hand finds for the last two months.  Needless to say, I'm not usually this successful in this short a time.

I've got a LOT of cleaning ahead of me.



Personal customs: 6
Other artwork pieces: 8

Collection ponies cleaned: 0
Collection ponies photographed: 0

Friday, 10 October 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

It's turkey time in Canada!  (Also, NHL hockey has returned!  My Saturday nights are spoken for from now 'til April!)  To celebrate here's a fun little custom outfit I made several years ago for a swap.  Seems appropriate for the season.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, 3 October 2014

Curating a collection - what to wish for?

As a collector the natural progression from "what to buy" and "what to keep" is, of course, "what to wish for."  I suspect that most if not all collectors have a wish list on the go at any given time.

A wish list, for the uninitiated, is just what it sounds like: a list of collection pieces that a collector would like to add to her collection.  It could be a general list (everything that the collector desires) or specific (a list for a gift swap with a specific theme or pricepoint).  Some collectors have several lists on the go at any time.
These two were on my wishlist for over 10 years before they joined the herd.
Building a wish list is a very personal thing, and yet another way of curating.  As mentioned previously, deciding what ultimately to add to a collection is the first stage of curating.  A wish list is like building a virtual collection before building the physical ones.  And it's much easier and cheaper to change your mind at this stage.

My own wishlist has gone through numerous changes over the years.  It's a collector's preogative to change her mind and her wishlist will show that.  Ponies have come on and off the list (not necessarily because they've joined the herd).  The structure of the list has changed numerous times too, especially with different generations being added, and different types of ponies (brushables, blind bags, plush, etc).  And what works for one collector (a simple list, an spreadsheet, a photo collection) may not work for someone else.
Sunshower never was on my want list, but when she came home from a thrift store, she stayed.
I also have the bad habit of not keeping my wish list (or catalogue) completely up-to-date.  This is mainly because I have no difficulty remembering who I have and who I want, and what condition they are in.  However, it's not so helpful for anyone else who is looking for gift ideas.  The wish list and catalogue are useful, however, in tracking little details like accessory colours and the like.

A wishlist can also work as a control to remind you what you actually want to add to your collection.  But you needn't be bound by it either.  I've had it happen that I didn't think I wanted a certain pony until I saw one in person.  As in Sunshower's case above, I hadn't been interested in the set she came with when it was in stores, but when I got a good look at her in person years later, I decided that I wanted to hang on to her.  The collection keeps changing.

Commissions: 1
Personal: 6

Rehairs: 2
Photos uploaded: 13

Friday, 26 September 2014

Curating a collection - what to keep?

So you've bought some ponies, you've set them up on a shelf, you've admired them, and then you've gone about your day.  As a collector, you repeat this process over and again.  But at what point do you stop and look at what you have?  I've always held that it's not necessary to be constantly adding to a collection to be a collector.  Part of the enjoyment of collecting comes from contemplating what you already have, not only what you want.
Going through my collection and cleaning and photographing everyone is a way for me to do that, and to share my collection with my friends online.  It's also another form of curating, because while I'm going through and cleaning everyone, I'm also curating my collection.
Tastes and preferences change over time.  There have been points where I've sold ponies I originally bought for myself because, as I mentioned last week, I no longer liked them as much as I had.  I find this to be particularly true of the G3s, the first generation that I was able to buy in store while being an adult collector.  As such, I tended to buy nearly every pony I could get my hands on rather than making decisions at the time, and so I've had to thin out the herd after the fact.
I don't find this happens as much with the older generations.  Perhaps this is because they're a bit harder to come by, so I have lots of time to consider which ponies I want long before I get them.  Instead I end up deciding there are more and more ponies that I want, not fewer.  Hopefully, there will always be another pony.

I've been pondering adding a section to blog posts to track what I'm working on.  You've no doubt noticed that I haven't been posting custom ponies lately.  This is not because I haven't been customizing, but rather that the jobs I'm working on now can't be shared until they get to their new homes.  I may not add this tracking list to all posts, but I think it's a way of keeping you in the loop until I can share my WIPs.

Current Customs:
Commissions: 1
Swaps: 1
Gifts: 1
Personal: 5

Current Cataloguing:
Ponies Cleaned: 15
Sets Photographed: 4
Photos Posted: 18

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Curating a collection - what to buy?

Curating is something I've mentioned a few times before, and I feel that it's an important part of being a collector.  There was a time when I picked up any and all MLP ponies and merchandise that I found, but soon enough my collection began to outgrow it's space.  At the same time I found that there were certain aspects of the MLP world that I either disliked or simply wasn't interested in.  It meant that I began to pick and choose which MLP items would stay in my collection.
It's an easy thing to say, but it's not always an easy thing to do.  In the G3 era, very little merchandise (school supplies, cosmetics, and the like) came to Canadian stores, and many store exclusive ponies didn't come North at all.  It was frustrating to hear about items that were available in the US but not here, and not always practical to ship them in.  As a result, I was unable to get some of the things that I would have liked.  The G4 era has the opposite problem, in that a great deal of ponies and merchandise available in Canada, sometimes more so than in the USA.
My initial reaction to so many G4 ponies and merch was to cheer and sweep it all into my shopping basket.  However, I soon realized that I was going to be overrun if I didn't start cherrypicking what I was going to purchase.  Since I view the brushable ponies as the main focus of my collection it was easy to choose to limit the amount of merchandise I would add to the collection, but not always easy to leave merchandise items behind in the store.
I also consider carefully which brushable ponies I will add to my collection, particularly when buying G4s.  In the G3 era, I tended to buy nearly every pony available in stores so that I wouldn't "miss out" on anything.  But I found later that I had several ponies that I wasn't overly attached to, couldn't remember the names of, or otherwise didn't care for.  This time around, I am trying to decide that I like the pony enough to keep her before I buy (I am not always successful at this endeavour).
This process helps to limit the amount of stuff that makes it into the Geek Cave.  Next week, I'll deal with the stuff that's already made it in.