Sunday, January 1, 2012

1st Day of the New Year

Do you have any New Year's resolutions?  I have some goals for the year, but I wouldn't necessarily say "resolution".  I have a list of 20 things that I want to accomplish in the next 5 or so years (not a bucket list I hope!), and I did get a couple things knocked off the list earlier this year.  It's more of things to better myself and help find some new passions in life, rather than just tasks to complete before I die.  For example, I wanted to learn to play guitar -- check.  While I was at it, I decided to add ukulele to the repertoire.  I'm much better at guitar, but I can certainly play some uke songs too.  And I also wanted to get my dog titled through AKC.  We have a couple titles now, and I've had so much fun with it that I decided to go all the way through obedience.  I hope to be able to compete for a Utility Dog title at the Boston Terrier Nationals, Chicago 2013.  That's a pretty tall order actually, as that's the highest level of competition for my dog's breed and we have a lot of ground to cover if I plan on making that goal.  Anyway, that's just a couple examples, and as I knock things off the list it seems other non-planned opportunities arise.  I'm bored with my life and need to find some excitement!
I guess December was pretty uneventful for tack making.  I did work on making a racing saddle so I could take progress photos for the magazine article.  The saddle looked pretty good actually, but it wasn't something I was planning to finish so I decided just to chuck it.  Oh well!  I'm tired of making racing tack right now anyway.

I started up working on my Lg. Traditional draft harness some more, and I think it'll be phenomenal when I'm done!  I haven't seen any Lg. Traditional harnesses on Equus Maximus before since you have to create some of the major the hardware by hand, so this might be something special.  I had initially started at the front with the bridle and such, but kind of hit a wall when I needed a large enough bit and the hames.  So, I'm picking up work from the back.  Here's photos of what I'm doing so far:
(Above) This is my first uptug out of 6 that need to be made.  It's called a boxed loop uptug.  I have patent leather backing & detailing on the uptug.  For being so small, it took a couple hours to make since I had to battle the paint a bit.  Now I know how long I have to wait for it to dry before I touch it!
 (Above) The start of the swinging toggle.  This will be a mini-sized drafter that sits upon the top of the peaked collar and/or on the top of the back pad.  This one is super small, but I think I actually need to go smaller.  The lump of clay at the base is only to hold him up.  I have to wait for his body sections to dry before adding legs & such.  I'm thinking this will wind up being a redo.  I have another idea brewing should the clay not work out.  I see the Susan Bensema-Young harness sets photographed on her site (, but I can't quite tell what she does for the toggle.  Her tack is stellar, but I'm trying to create something even more detailed!  I don't want to buy another artist's how-to book, so I'm content to figure this out myself.
(Above) Here we have the crupper which I probably made 3+ years ago...fully stuffed and has a wire core.  It's ok, but I'll probably redo it.  I don't have working buckles there at the top which I think I would prefer to have.  These can be tricky to make properly, so I'll have to see how it looks once more things come together.
(Above) This is the collar I started a couple years ago.  It just got its black color today and already looks much better!  It's stuffed, has a wire core, and is hand-stitched at the seams.  I'm debating on whether or not to put a flannel panel (haha!) on the bottom where it would sit on his neck.  Most collars have some kind of fabric underside I believe.  I've never actually touched a real draft harness in person, so this is all based on photos that I find on the web.
(Above) This is the collar latch that closes the top of the collar once you have it around the horse's neck.  I made every bit of this, and it works too!  Unfortunately it's a detail that won't be seen since it'll sit under the peaked collar.  Why am I doing it then?  I don't know, I guess for the sake of realism.  The leather straps on both sides are just junk leather to hold everything together until I can incorporate it officially.
(Above) Lastly, we have the side check chain that goes through the tear drop and attaches to a swivel ring that really swivels around.  I think that's pretty cool!  I'm not wild about the look of the tear drop though.  I think that'll be a redo. 

So, now you can see why I'm taking so long on this set.  I want to have as much detail as I can fit, and since it's in a larger scale, I can throw in working parts.  The trick is getting them to actually work :)  Anyway, I think I'm going to take another break and go watch a movie.  I'm happy to report that it's Jan 1st, and we still don't have snow on the ground!  I wish the whole winter would be snow free!