Friday, September 30, 2011

End of September Updates

Happy Friday to you!  It's the last day of September, and finally we're into my favorite season.  Weather has been crazy rainy and windy (blew pieces of my neighbor's chimney right off her house!).  Anyway, it's been a little while since I posted.  I've been quite busy with some other things in real life, but I do have a new project that I've started working on.  The very talented Lisa Bickford was looking for someone to create a Secretariat set for a non-hobby person.  She's painting a Valor to look like Big Red, and I contacted her asking about doing the commissioned racing set.  Very exciting!  It's going to be displayed along with a piece of real Secretariat memorabilia.  I'll be sure to post some updates along the way.  I'm currently experimenting with some new methods to really capture the realism of the tack, so I hope it turns out!  Photos to come soon.

I do have some other news from real life, both good and bad.  The good first -- I've been competing with my dog at some local AKC shows, and we're doing quite well.  We earned a Beginner Novice (BN) obedience title in July.  BN is just an optional titling class, it's not the same as an official title because it was earned in a non-regular class.  It is a title, but it doesn't have the same prestige, if you will, as regular titles.  It's good for people who want to get their feet wet in showing.  Anyway, that was quite fun so I decided to also try Rally classes.  We've only been training for 7 weeks (as of yesterday), and I decided to try our hand at showing already.  Last weekend, after only 6 weeks of training in Rally Novice, we competed in 2 trials.  On Saturday, we earned a perfect score of 100 and 1st place out of 8.  On Sunday, we earned another perfect score of 100 but 2nd place out of 10.  Someone else who got 100 did it faster than Dewey and me, but I can't really be disappointed with a perfect score.  Tomorrow we're going to our 3rd trial in Rally Novice, so I'm pretty confident that we'll at least qualify.  I'm hoping for but not expecting 100, but a qualifying score will earn us our first regular AKC title -- RN.  Yay!  He'll be known as Newsflash Let's Make a Deal BN RN. 

As for the bad news, I just found out on Tuesday that my parents' house is being foreclosed on.  I guess that makes us another statistic in the wonderful state of IL.  My dad has apparently known it was going to happen for at least a couple months, but didn't bother sharing it with my mom or me.  Yet another aspect of our lives he's been able to muck up in the last few years.  Ugh!  Luckily for us, we do have a place to go -- my house!  Half-hearted yay.  My mom is quite stressed out over the whole situation which I can understand, but I'm oddly at peace with it.  Even though my house is still a construction zone from the remodeling, having this looming deadline is a little more motivation to get things done faster.  My house is like 1/3 the size of their house, but at least they don't have to seek out a real landlord with all the stipulations that'd go with it.  I had been excited at the prospect of living at my house alone, but if I can help my family out like they've helped me over the years, then I'm glad to do it as much as I'm not looking forwards to living with them in such close quarters.  Oh well.  I think my biggest worry is the fact that they're messy people -- they can come over but their clutter cannot!  We'll see.  I don't think they're going to appreciate abiding by the rules of their child -- mom might be, dad + rules = don't mix.  It's nice to have a place to share this with people who don't know me!   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Micro Mini hunter jump

I was in the mood to change my crafting up a little today.  I started in on a micro-mini jump.  It's natural wood, so I guess it would be a hunter jump.  Sorry for the crude editing job, I only have half of the jump finished so I didn't want to spend too much time editing an in-progress photo.  I'm pretty happy with it so far.  The bottom photo is the inspiration for my jump.  Not an exact replica, but a similar type.  I did jump feet a little different because it's tipsy otherwise.  Needed some extra stability.  Can't wait to show it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More photo updates - done with the saddles!

My shipment from England finally arrived today so I could finish the stablemate saddle.  I think the HA stirrups look pretty good.  They seem to be made of pewter, and I like the shape of them much better than some of the other choices available for SM stirrups.  I'm going to be working on different accessories for these saddles as I go along (might as well, right?) so I welcome any input on types of breastcollars, bridles, etc.  I will say that the Micro Mini bridle set is going to be limited to what I already have.  That scale is just too small!  But, let's get to the photos and I'll explain as I go.

This will be the Little Bits, Stablemate, and Micro Mini English saddles together:

Micro Mini English Saddle (1:64 scale):
It's really hard to get the detailing with my dim lights & cell phone camera.  I get that it looks like a little black blob, but there are knee rolls, little metal stirrups that I made (very delicate), stuffed panels, etc.  I even had some faux stitching around the flap, but the leather was so soft the detail didn't last when I was handling it more.  Oh well.  With the ruler, you can see just how small it is.  The little gap under the back will be filled with a saddle pad once I figure out what it'll be made from.  I didn't intend on having the gap, but no big deal either -- that just means there's room for a saddle pad right? :)

Micro Mini Snaffle Bridle (1:64 scale):
For accessories, I've started with the bridle.  The cheek straps move around on the noseband, but I'm wondering if I should have just glued them to a permanent spot.  I had a heck of a time with the browband, and this is actually #2.  I had a nice one with some silver metal detailing, but the silver decided it wouldn't stick with all my manhandling.  Now that I actually have something attached, I might try the silver again.  It did look pretty sharp!  I have a D-ring type of snaffle that I'll be featuring, but just plain reins that I will have with a non-working buckle end.  This is actually the 2nd noseband first one kept ripping because the leather was so fine.  This one is a little more sturdy.  

My breastgirth is something that I'm going to reformulate I think.  I have it where it slides over one side of the girth and then attaches with sticky wax on the other.  Not liking that so much.  I *might* just cut out the loops and have it where you'd attach with sticky wax on both sides of the girth.  I'm still experimenting.

Lastly, I'm going to come up with a generic saddle pad that's contoured to the saddle flap shape.  I don't think I'm going to have the square edge type for this model.  I want it to be a universal set that can be shown both in flat & fences classes.  I'm also toying with the idea of open front jumping boots, brushing boots, and some bell boots.  

Stablemate English Saddle (1:32 scale):
As you saw from the beginning, this was the 1st of the saddles.  It features stuffed kneerolls (the detail is visible in the first pic of this post), nail head detail, cast metal stirrups, stuffed panels, a contoured girth with some faux stitch marks, the flaps have faux stitching...I think that's all.  I really like the look of this one.  I don't like it on this horse all that much, but i did pick up another horse at the Hobby Town USA tonight (they have a nice Breyer selection!).  It's a cantering WB -- Elvis' Graceland "Bandit".  That part's dumb, but the horse looks like a decent candidate for a flat class.  

Little Bits English Saddle (1:24 scale):
Ah, and my stock horse is morphing into something else.  I think I got his feet to look pretty good, now I just need to fill in the gaping neck hole, maybe lengthen the back and/or legs a bit, and try to make a prettier face.  I picked up a LB Unicorn from eBay recently, and I tried to CM him a bit.  He's something else.  Initially he looked like he'd be barely any work, but I come to find that his back is WAY short, his face is funky from the beard, and his rump doesn't have much muscling at all.  <sigh> So, he's in rough shape too.  I figured these 2 models would be good practice runs for my foray into that aspect of the hobby.  Ok so on to the saddle.

It features stuffed knee rolls, stuffed panels, nail head detailing, cast stirrups, saddle dee-rings, and 2 billet straps.  I haven't decided if the girth is going to have working buckles or not.  It's a possibility but I'm undecided at this point.  Again, this size looks a little long for this horse (but it'll look better once my unicorn becomes a real horse with proper proportions!).

I'm planning some kind of snaffle bridle (maybe I'll do a flash noseband), laced reins, martingale (or some kind of breastcollar/martingale combo) -- I have those mini hooks I figured out how to fashion just waiting for something cool, girth, and maybe the jumping boots + bell boots if I wind up going with the CM'd unicorn as my model.  Oh yea, and some kind of fleece saddle pad.  Nothing out of the ordinary here.  I think this model will make a good huntseat horse, so the saddle set is going to again be tailored to be universal. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More updates on Micro Mini tack

It's Labor Day weekend, and I'm a bit bored.  It's a gloomy, rainy day here in northern IL....I really don't feel like doing anything in particular, but I'm a little restless at the same time.  Ugh!  I wasn't really in the mood to work on my saddles, but my boredom got the better of me and I did some more work to the Micro Mini set.  The saddle itself is nearly finished, I think I just need to add the tail end of the stirrup leathers.  It's so small, there's really not much more I can do to it....or at least not what I have tools small enough to do.  I've found that I can really only work on this scale for maybe an hour at a time before I get a headache, so I'm taking a break for now.

So, what did I do...I made my girth which is permanently attached on one side, and then it just attaches with sticky wax on the other.  I made a faux-elastic breastgirth.  I even found a little silver piece of hardware nearly small enough to work on's on the far side.  The strap is not adjustable.  I'm also starting the bridle.  Again, I found a little hardware that looks like a D-ring bit, and the noseband just attaches with stick wax under the jowl.  It's much easier doing it this way rather than trying to slide the strap through more mini buckles if you're at a show.  I'm probably going to do the same thing for the throatlatch.  The way I'm putting it all together still allows for quick removal of the tack if you're at a show and need to switch between halter & performance.  Putting on, not super quick but again it's easier than the alternatives.  For what it's worth, this set is quite a challenge...I really don't think I'm going to do many more Micro Mini bridles anyway. 

Ooh, and I have a crafty idea for a saddle pad.  There's this scrapbooking stuff called flocked paper, and I think if I can find it in white, I might have a winner for a saddle pad :)  I have no idea though, We'll have to see!

Please drop me any comments if you have them.  I'd like to know someone out there is reading my blog besides just me!