Saturday, February 28, 2015

Quick Post Show Note

We are relaxing in the hotel after the show.  I had planned to post at least one picture with this post, but technology is not cooperating with me.  I've tried and tried and I can't seem to get the pictures  moved right now.  Instead, I guess I'll have to try later and do my full show report then.  (probably tomorrow after we make it back home, or maybe on Monday if I'm too wiped out from the drive)

It was a good day.  I'll have plenty to share very soon.  (including some very exciting news!)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Made It!

After 4 hours of sleep last night and a 9+ hour drive today, we are finally settled in at the motel.  It was GOOD to get here.

Tomorrow is show day!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Show Prep (Day Two)

It's minutes from midnight and I think I'm finally almost ready to leave in the morning.

I've been at it most of the day.  Now I'm finally calling it quits for tonight - hoping to get up early to finish packing a few things, load the car, and GO!

Thanks to being so horribly sick all this week, I didn't really get any painting done.  :(  Truth be told, I'm not sure I should be driving 9 hours to a show tomorrow either...  but I'm gonna do it anyway!  This nasty cold be darned.

Stay tuned for road reports and show reports....  ;)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Show Prep (Day One)

Today I did a bit of painting (which didn't go terribly well) and then transitioned into show prep.  It turns out Saturday's show has a LOT more OF classes than the last two I went to.  Being that I'm sorta nuts and like to show in every class I can, that means...  taking MORE horses!!  haha

Here are just a couple of pictures from this afternoon/evening's activities:

Going over classlists and making tags

First few classes sorted out, awaiting loading into the "trailers".

I ended up with most of my OF minis packed and almost everyone tagged.  I have a handful of new faces to name and still need to back all of the larger horses.

Tomorrow will be more of the same, finishing packing up for the show and the trip.  Hopefully I'll get some more last minute painting done too (that will turn out better than today's attempts!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sick Day - Part Two

Unfortunately I was only feeling slightly better today.  I did get some move-related things done, but nothing creative - except for some more stitching on my latest saddle pad.

The first live show of the year is racing toward me and I'm SO not ready.  Tomorrow I am planning some Studio time and will maybe start packing...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sick Day

Well... instead of the painting marathon I'd planned for today, I woke up at 2am - extremely sick.  Jeff had come down with something nasty a week ago, I guess it's my turn now.  Today has been a rough day, though I did manage to make it to the barn.  I trimmed Bo's feet, cleaned his stall, and spent some time with him.  That was good.

I'm off to bed now (early) and am really hoping I feel better tomorrow.  I made hotel reservations for the first 2015 live show I'm going to...  this weekend!!  I've got to get better by then, I have a lot of driving to do.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Painting Plans

I'm trying to pull myself out of the funk I've been in for the last couple of days.  Today I decided it was (past!) time to start getting ready for the shows that are coming up over the next couple of weeks.  So I printed out the classlists and made up my entry charts to start figuring out who will be going.  However, the main reason I did it tonight was to try and see what custom horses I might try to finish to fill holes in my show string.  I have a BUNCH of started custom horses.  Tonight I went through them and lined up several as potentials to be finished over the next week or two for the shows.

On the top shelf of my desk is where I've had most of my started custom minis hanging out.  I rearranged them tonight so that the front row are the ones I'm planning to work on first.

I had originally planned to take pictures of each of them individually, but for right now I took some group shots.

From left to right (what they are - and what my plans are): G1 Swaps - black overo, G1 TB mare - dark grey, G1 Drafter - I think I'll do him as an Italian Heavy Draft in some sort of dark liver chestnut, Hartland Drafter - bay, Ertl rearing - grulla.

G2 TB - buckskin tobiano, G3 Jumper - chestnut appaloosa, G2 Mule - black, G2 TB - burgundy chestnut, G3 Mustang - black splash white, Ertl drafter - chestnut appaloosa (Sugarbush)

G1 lying foal - bay overo, micro minis - chestnut appaloosa and black tobiano Pintabian, Ertl lying foal - black appaloosa, G1 standing foal - some sort of tobiano I think, standing micro mini (repositioned)...  not sure on color.


I also cleaned up my desk tonight.  Well, as clean as it's been in a long time.  Then got it set up to start a painting marathon tomorrow.

Oh and here's the latest on the saddle:

I did get the stirrup stitching done and am pretty happy with it.  I got the stirrups hooked to the fenders and have the cinches put together too.

The show in two weeks has a performance division.  If I can get the saddle done (and IF it looks decent) and I think I can come up with a few entries, I might try performance showing for the very first time!  (eeek)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Rest Day

Today I pretty much took a break from everything, except sorting through some stuff in the Studio for the move.  Got a couple boxes of things ready to give away or sell.  I'm hoping to be more productive in there tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Too Fast

I feel like things are moving too fast.  Yesterday, we found out that our overseas move is going to happen a month sooner than we had thought.  We now have less than two months to do everything that needs to be done.  Last night I also found out I'm most likely going to have to say goodbye to Bo a month sooner than I had originally thought.  It doesn't have to happen that way, but it does make the most sense, and seems it would work best for everyone.  However, I'm really struggling with that right now.  Today I then learned that of the three weeks I most likely have left with him, he'll be away for a week of that.

The next two weekends I was planning to go to two last live shows.  I've been having second thoughts about going - I still am having them, especially now - but I do want to go.  This will be my last chance to do something I love for a long, long time...  just when I was (finally) getting back into it.

Some days I'm excited about the move, I'm not sure that today is one of them.

It was a busy day, I got a lot of errands done.  I'm exhausted and would like to sleep.  I hope I can.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Books!

(I just noticed that this is my 200th blog post!  :)  Yay!)

A couple of days ago, I received a wonderful gift from Kristian Beverly of Five Paws Studio.  I had mentioned that I lost all of my childhood horse books in a flood and that I still wanted to get the Black Stallion books again.  Well, she sent me four of them!  (and a bonus book of Horse Stories)

This was such a wonderful gift.  Thank you, Kristian!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stitching Sick Day

Today I didn't do much except work on a new saddle pad.

I was feeling under the weather most of the day, it was a good day to just rest and relax.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday - Tape Tack

I did not expect the reaction I got on my for fun post about the duct tape tack that I made when I was a kid.  It was fun to take pictures of it all and I got a chuckle out of sharing them.  It was really awesome to hear from two of THE best model horse tack makers on that post!

I thought it would be fun to share some tips (as well as I remember them) for working with duct tape - since making stuff out of duct tape is more of a "thing" now than when I did it.  There are SO many cool colors and patterns to choose from these days and I'll bet that some really neat and fun stuff could be made out of it now.

First off, for most of the work in making tack, I would start by doubling the tape over, sticky side to sticky side, being careful to keep it straight and avoid wrinkles.

This takes practice!  If you do get any wrinkled areas, you can just cut them out, or cut around them - like a bad area on leather.  ;)

Then I would simply cut strips and shapes from this, such as strips for halters/bridles, and bigger shapes for saddle flaps, etc.

To attach parts together, I'd use strips of tape, not doubled over.  Cutting strips, especially very thin ones can be a challenge.  This was the best and easiest way I found to cut those strips:

Cut off a length of duct tape and hang it upside down from the edge of your desk. 

Important note:  Make sure it's not the edge of a desk or table that the tape might mess up underneath.  For example, you might not want to do this at your nice kitchen table, but an old studio work desk is perfect.  ;)  Sometimes the tape will leave a sticky residue (especially if you do a lot of this) or it could possibly strip the finish where it's attached.

Tiny bits of my work desk, now stuck to the tape

Once the tape is attached, you can cut strips off of it to use in attaching things together.  It's best to keep some tension on the tape, it will cut easier.  So I would hold it in the middle with my thumb, keeping a bit of tension on the tape, and carefully cut off my strips.  To do really thin strips, I might just use my thumb nail to apply the pressure.

The strips can be wide or thin, depending on what you need them for.

After cutting a lot of tape, you might get a build up of adhesive on your scissor blades. 

You can see the adhesive just starting to build up here in the middle of the
top blade - this was only after cutting the strips for these pictures

They might start sticking to the tape when you try to cut more strips, or make it to where the scissors don't cut well at all anymore.  This buildup can be carefully washed off of the blades and then they'll cut well and be non-sticky again.

That's about all I can think of for now as far as some basic tips on working with duct tape as a crafting material.  I used to do this a LOT when I was a kid.  If you have any other questions, be sure and ask in the comments and I'll help out as much as I can.  :) 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Laid Back Monday

Today was a laid back day.  We just hung out around the house, sorted through more books and magazines, and then went to a movie.  Not much to report...  Tomorrow I'm hoping to be back in the Studio.  I've now got LESS than two weeks until the next live show I'm planning to enter.  Yikes!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Repurposing - New Saddle Pad

Today I finished up my latest saddle pad.  I started this one during the Stock Show.  It is another of my 14 count diamond design; I've made three of them now - red, pink, and green. 

This one is the first I've done with a color in the center of the diamonds other than black or white.  I think it turned out pretty cool and it certainly gives me plenty of ideas for other color combinations with this pattern.  (more on that down below)

Another interesting thing about this one is that the fabric I used for it is actually repurposed.  I was going through all of my cross-stitch stuff recently, to purge some things.  I had this baby bib that I had bought ages ago and thought would be cute to stitch someday.  I never did, so I was going to toss it into the donate/sell pile, when I decided to see if I could fit a saddle pad on there.  Yep.  So, that's what I did!

I thought I might just keep going with making more 14 count diamond pads.  This design could be done in a ton of different color combinations (even more now that I've played with a different color in the centers), but I'm feeling like I need a change.  So this afternoon I started sketching out the pattern for another brand new design, an 18 count pad based on another real show pad I stumbled upon online.  I think I'll be copying the color scheme - off white, tan, teal/sea green, and black.  It should be pretty when I get it done.  The 18 count pads take a lot longer to do, but they are really neat when they are done. 

I had figured 18 was the highest I'd ever go...  but I may have bought some 22 and 28 count recently...  ;)  I'd like to try at least one in those sizes.  I really think the 28 would be fun to use for Stablemate pads.  I do want to make some of the in between sizes too - Classic and Little Bit.  The 22-28 should be good for them too.

For now I'm off to start going through some of my books.  We have a lot of purging and cleaning to do.  We're just under 3 months until the big move - yikes.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stagecoach Setbacks

It's been quite a while since I have blogged about my epic Stagecoach project.  I've been quietly collecting more reference materials and thinking over things for the team, such as poses and harnesses.  I've also been learning about other things, like that there is a larger space allowance in live showing for a "multi-horse hitch".  (yay!) 

There have been a few setbacks along the way, particularly with the wheels.  They were a lot of fun to make and were the first real step in getting this amazing, scary, huge project underway.  I was really happy with how they turned out, in fact they are still the cover photo on my Facebook page (in their unpainted phase). 

I did have some setbacks though, mainly just learning that I could have added even MORE detail to them by following how real wheels are made - and not just the instructions for the kit.  Yes, these things might have been crazy (unnecessary?) details to include, but with the amount of detail in this kit, I thought it would have been perfectly fine to do - and fun.  Alas, I had assembled the wheels the way I was told by the kit instructions.  But I've been considering redoing them ever since I learned more about real wheelwrighting.

A side note here:  An incredible resource for horse-drawn wagons, coaches, and carriages is Hansen Wheel and Wagon, right here in South Dakota.  They had a booth at our Stock Show a couple of years ago and it was wonderful to see.  I spent quite a bit of time there, oogling the books, posters, and original blueprints, and I ended up buying two reference books.  Doug Hansen himself was there and I must have asked him 50 questions on stagecoaches and the horses that pulled them.  He is a wealth of knowledge and was a great guy to talk to.

After learning of things I wanted to re-do (early on in the project) and wondering how many other inaccuracies I might be about to commit... I stopped work altogether for some time.  It's silly I suppose, but with the amount of work and fine detail there is in this kit, I really want to do it right.  I did eventually resume work and as it stands now, I'm very close to having a rolling chassis.  Pretty much all that's left to do is install the brake bar, build the suspension, and mount the wheels.

Then comes another setback on the wheels...

When we were away visiting Jeff's family back in October, a stray cat that we sometimes let in, and out, and back in the house, somehow got stuck inside for a few days in between times when our house sitter coming by.  She somehow got into the Studio room, which is always kept closed, and caused one heck of a mess in there.  All of the plants in the window were knocked over, there was potting soil, plants, and pots everywhere.  One of the pots had fallen off the windowsill and landed right on a Stagecoach wheel, crushing it. 


Jeff pointed out that now I could rebuild it, and the others, the way I wished I'd had done earlier and I may end up doing that.  It will make an already lengthy project even more so, but I always joke that I may not have this thing done before I'm 80 anyway, so why not??

Many of the wooden parts in the kit, including the wheel rims, were laser-cut and of course we have a laser cutter now, so....  Hopefully that will make it easier for me to rebuild the wheels, if that's the direction I go in.  I won't have to stress too much about breaking something; if I do, I should be able to laser out something similar to go forward with.

This concludes the State of the Stagecoach address.  (haha)  ;)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Model Horse Profile - Cassiopeia

For my second installment of Model Horse Profile, I decided to show and tell a little about one of my older models. 

Proud Arabian Foal mold, number 220, made from 1973-1978. 
(information from the Identify Your Breyer website)

She was one of the original Breyers that my mom gave me from her collection when I was about 9 years old. 

My Granddad helped to give me a love for looking at the stars and he taught me several of the constellations in the night sky.  One of the earliest he showed me was Cassiopeia, the "lazy W".  I thought that this little filly's dapples looked like stars in the sky and I decided that Cassiopeia would be a pretty name for her.

She's not in the best of shape - none of my old horses are, most of them were played with from my mom and me.  I still think she is a pretty little girl though and her name has special meaning to me.  I still think of Granddad whenever I notice the "lazy W" in the night sky.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Indoor Gardening Day

Today I had planned to spend more time in the Studio, working on the saddle.  Instead I ended up gardening all day - in the kitchen.

I have a bunch of houseplants and, by far, the most prolific are the leopard lilies.  I started with ONE plant several years ago and have since split it and its splits into hundreds of other plants.  I do a round of this about every six months or so and then sell or give away the results.  I guess you could say I'm a bit of a leopard lily farmer.  Unfortunately, due to the coming move this will most likely be my last round of indoor farming.  I can't take any of my plants with us and that has me depressed.  I love my little indoor jungle and I enjoy our vegetable garden outside, which has gotten bigger and bigger each year.  All of the outdoor gardening will have to be put on hold  for a while and I need to find homes for all of my plants soon, not just my baby leopard lilies.  :(

Tomorrow I'll be back at work in the Studio, I've got a saddle to work on!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stepping Up The Stirrups

Today I worked more on "Saddle One" as I am starting to refer to it.  (since I'm already planning on building moar saddles!)

First I finished up the billets and the breastcollar rings and put them on the lower skirt.

The rear billets weren't on here yet

Then the rest of today's work ended up being on the stirrups.

First, I noticed that when following the directions, the stirrups looked too wide at the top.

I confirmed that they were, by looping the piece of the fender that is supposed to be over the pin.  Holy floppy stirrups, Batman!

This may very well be because I cut out the leather strip too thin.  I was having some trouble when I transferred the pattern and cut out the pieces.

I shortened the pins and they looked much better.

Another test fit...

Yep, this looks much better!

Next was putting on the stirrup treads

I was wondering if I should try and stitch them together below the stirrups and I thought I'd seen a tutorial somewhere on how to do that.  I did!  This one: Making Western Stirrups, Part Two.   

Originally I was going to keep this saddle completely plain - just follow the directions, don't try anything fancy... Eh, so much for that.  I decided to try and lace on the bottom of the stirrup treads.  Trouble was, I had already glued them to the inside of the stirrup, so I couldn't follow the tutorial quite to the letter.

Here was my solution, it just so happened that my well-used little block of wood is the perfect size to put the tread piece ends on for hole punching.

I first marked the holes by pressing my hole punch into the leather just enough to leave an indent.  I did six holes on each side of each piece.

Then it was hole punching time!

Time to start trying the lacing.  I was going to try to use embroidery floss, but decided to use wax thread instead.  I had a roll of it in black and found that if I unraveled it and used one piece, it seemed it would be perfect.  I used a cross-stitch needle.  (I've got several of those!)

Midway through my first attempt:

Thread all tightened here.  Hmm, it looks kinda neat.... but not quite right.

I left the first one untied and then did the second one.  For it, I only did the stitching in one direction and then compared them.  I like that one better, but it's still not the full corset type stitch.

It was hard for me to get the stitching just right, but I came up with a plan.  I'm going to try and put a needle on each end of the piece of wax thread and then lace it doing both sides at one.  I'm hoping that will help me get my head around the stitching.

Here's where I left things.  I (carefully) unstitched the first stirrup, to try the stitching again tomorrow!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Back On The Saddle

This morning I went straight down to the Studio and got back to work on my first leather saddle.

I had started on it a few weeks ago and then was derailed by the stock show madness.  Today I put a few hours or so worth of time on it, but then I started to get frustrated.  So I decided to take a break... which ended up being for the rest of the day.  It's often hard for me to do something for the first time, especially if (when) things don't go right.  I'm a perfectionist and I try really hard to follow directions to the letter and do things right the first time.  However, of course, the first time often doesn't turn out quite right.  Still... it gets to me.  I did get quite a bit of work done on the first few steps of assembly and I am looking forward to working on it again tomorrow - that's a good sign.

I also did some work on my latest cross-stitch saddle pad, one I'd started during the stock show.  It is a diamond pattern, like this pink one:

But the color I chose for the diamonds this time is a pretty emerald green.

The last model horse related task I did this afternoon was put in a bit of time starting to catch up on my collection of reference cutouts.  I picked up a ton of cool magazines, catalogs, and so on at the stock show, and today I started sorting some of the cool pictures I found in them.  Still a lot more work to do there.  It's been a while since I've done a big round of making layout pages with my vast cutout collection.

I'm figuring that tomorrow will be more of the same...  saddle, cross-stitch, reference organizing..  maybe some customizing.  I'm looking at a couple of live shows in a few of weeks and I REALLY want to get some new work finished by then.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Recovery Day (of sorts)

Today I finished up a last minute stock show custom order with the laser and Then delivered it to the person who ordered it.  We also went to town and picked up the last of our booth setup.  Then it was catching up on some chores - housework and cleaning Bo's stall.  It was still a bit of a busy day, but tomorrow... tomorrow, I plan to relax and work on this!:

(also, I'd like to work on some horses!)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Day Nine - Done... No, Really... DONE

Today was the LAST day of our booth at the Stock Show and I am so relieved.  The whole thing was an interesting experience, but I'm not sure I could have done even one more day.  We all had a good time and did decent on our sales I guess, though we didn't quite break even on what it cost to have a booth there...  We did do a LOT of networking though and had many people interested in contacting us for custom work later on, that's good.

I am SO ready to get back to work in the Studio and to go spend time with Bo.  The last two weeks have been pretty much completely consumed by Stock Show madness.  Now I'm freeeeee!  haha

Friday, February 6, 2015

Day Eight - Thinning Out The Herd

I ended up finding new homes for three of my little custom Stablemates today.  The man who loved the blood bays came by again and wanted a price on the stallion (G2 Andalusian) and mare (G2 Paso).  I sold them both to him for less than what I would have asked for one - and threw in a G1 foal painted to a baby bay too. 

I talked to him a bit more and it turns out he collects all sorts of horses. He makes little displays with  corrals for them built out of branches and twigs.  I told him some about the model horse hobby and he was really surprised to hear about live shows.

A little while later he asked me for a price on four more horses!  We didn't settle on a price yet, but are going to do some wheelin' and dealin' tomorrow, haha.

Also, a young girl stopped by that we'd met at the live show here back in October.  She wanted prices on the ones who aren't "sale pending".   She said she might be back tomorrow.

I'm wondering if I might end up selling or giving away almost all of my little sale herd by tomorrow!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Day Seven - Surprise Rodeo!

Today was a busy day at the stock show and right at the end the owners of the barn where I board Bo stopped by our booth and handed me two tickets for tonight's rodeo!  Jeff, my friend Heather, and I already went to the rodeo last night - it was fun.  Today was Jeff's day off, so it was just Heather and I manning the booth.  So...  Heather and I got to see another rodeo!  This was a combined PRCA Rodeo and Ranch Rodeo, there was a LOT to see.  I'll have more pictures to share for later, but for now...

A pretty bay I spotted in the staging area tonight

Speaking of bays, another vendor stopped by to visit with us tonight and he noticed my little herd of custom horses.  He was admiring the blood bays in particular (there are 3 of them in the herd - it's always been one of my favorite colors to paint).  He told me about how he once trained a blood bay stallion when he was younger and how much he admired that horse.  He's a nice guy, always cheerful and says good morning and visits with all of the other vendors in our area of the trade show.  I'm thinking I'll give him one of my little blood bay horses, probably one of the stallions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Braymere Winter Photo Challenge - My Entries!

Jennifer Buxton of Braymere Custom Saddlery is having a Winter Photo Challenge.  I've been dying to enter ever since she announced it, but the Stock Show preparations - and then manning the booth - have taken ALL of my time lately!

Today I have a half day of sorts from the Stock Show (I had to come home early to laser some new things) and I decided to sneak in some picture taking so that I could enter!  ;)

Here we go!

1. Vintage
I couldn't decide if I'd go with some of my first OFs, or one of my first customs.  Today I realized that I could do both in one family.  Here are the family Arabs in charcoal.  The stallion and foal are unmolested (other than being played with by my mom.. and me), but alas, the mare is sporting possibly my first paintjob on a Breyer (or as far as I got anyway)  So, here we go - vintage OF AND custom, all together (bonus for the snazzy vintage "leg wraps" the FAS is sporting... ha!):

2. Nekkid
Nekkid baby! 

3. Scale issues
Brave little micro mini says:  "Run for your life, cow, I'll hold off the giant dog!"
4. I see spots
5. Unbridled passion
Smokey, running wild and free (inside the house... on a cold day...)  ;)
6. Rare breed
This is the rarest model I've ever owned.  She is also uber rare to me in that she is the first big thing I've EVER won in any kind of a drawing.  I've never had any kind of luck in that sort of thing, but if it was all saved up to have her, it was worth it.  When they called my name, I didn't even know what to do.
7. Portrait
An old portrait model I did of an old horse named Sonny.  He belonged to a friend and fellow boarder, many years ago.  He passed away right before I gave her this model.  It wasn't meant to be a memorial of him, but it ended up that way.  I'm glad I was able to do this for her and that she liked him.
8. Conga 
Smokey is not one that might be normally seen in a conga, but I have a bunch of them.  He was my very first Breyer, the one that started it all.  Now I have several and even more in the body box that aren't here!
9. The great outdoors
Rose and her sleigh on Christmas morning
10. Best in show
Darkness Falls, my first ever Overall Champion at a live show and a most unexpected one.  He took the honors for Overall Champion OF Breyer at my first live show in over a decade.  I felt like a little kid again.  And like any good stallion, he added more mares and foals to the herd.  ;)  (pictured with his winnings - rosettes and moar horses!)