Monday, September 27, 2010

I got my tool!

Yay! My Rio Rondo basket weave tool arrived in the mail today. :) I lucked out when I found one on MHSP, up for offers, and was even more surprised when I won it!

I've never used a stamping tool in my life, so here's hoping I don't break the silly thing. I am really looking forward to working on some breastcollars with it, and maybe even some bridle cheek pieces.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Revisiting projects

It's a gorgeous day outside (first full day of sunshine we've had in ages) and I really should be outside walking the dog, but damnit, I want to make tack!

Finished EJs bridle. I extended the grackle straps and the jowl straps. (The jowl strap is comicly long because I am not taking any chances!) I was also asked to make a new browband with a different gold feature (she didn't like my standard gold ink). I experimented a little and came up with using gold thread. The method's not perfected yet, as some loops are still a little loose; I think I'll need to use thicker leather in the future, so I can tighten the stitches without wrinkling the leather.

Then she asked for white padding. I made a face o.O and told her it would look silly. I even googled and couldn't find one image of a white-padded V browband, just to prove my point. She insisted and I caved. And... well, look at that! It's actually kind of nice. I am pretty thrilled with how it came out! Dan will probably not like it, so the old browband will still go along, just in case :P

Lisa also had some classic English jumping boots she ordered aaages ago. I redid these about three times: the first, because I used my glove/lining leather for the main boot section (this was before I had the offcuts from Amazing Lace); the second, because the strike pads were wonky, and the third time because the straps weren't long enough, and they weren't thick enough to hold the tension to keep the boot on.

The straps are obscenely long because I'm not taking any chances! Lisa can trim them once she's decided what the perfect length for her is. This was my first pair of making buckled boots, and I've learned that I need to find a new product to line them with (currently using trimmed polar fleece, but it's too thick for classics), and that boot straps in slip buckles need to be quite thick. There's also a trick to the placement of the buckle to make it easier to put the boot on. I haven't yet figured out that trick!

I think that is all of Lisa's order, aside from the racing saddle. Lisa leant me her racing saddle by Painted Daisy Studio (blue one, second from top) to copy and learn from. It's a very simple piece - just three sections, a very basic copy of a normal English saddle. Here's my first attempt (excuse the placeholder stirrup leathers):

I'm not too happy with it, especially because of the leather I used. (Again, this is before I had the offcuts). I imagine it would be fine for photo showing, but not for live showing, which is what she want. I don't know if I'll bother to finish it off (stirrups, girth etc) or just leave it as-is for posterity. I'm going to hang onto Lisa's saddle for a little while longer to refine my patterns and then I'll return it.

Dan has a friend who is a jockey, and graciously stole her racing skid to take pictures of for me. It looks very basic - just two layers instead of three, with a cut-out flap in the top layer for the stirrup irons. I don't currently have any leather on hand big enough to attempt this saddle, but I'm anxiously waiting to try it! I even have the racing stirrups waiting in my supplies box.

My project for the rest of today is to make an English bridle for Delta, and maybe finish off her silver show halter too. But, for now, it's lunch time!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cleaning up

Last week was very productive. Firstly, I finished off Lisa's bridle for her Greylea Whisper resin (a large classic); this bridle had been hanging around on my desk for ages, so it's nice to finally finish it off. I have a love-hate relationship with braided reins in classic scale. They tend to be the last part of the project that I work on.

(Sorry about the hand pics - the bridle is a bit big for my models. Hopefully Lisa will grace me with pictures.)

Secondly, I made the one-ear browband and a slightly longer crownpiece for Lisa's bridle that is meant to go with the Erin Corbett saddle:

Then, I started making a Western show halter for Delta (the model above). I got as far as making the throatlatch... and then realised I had no chocolate 2mm leather! That's the worst feeling ever. So I set aside the chocolate throatlatch... and made a show halter in natural/light oil instead.

Doesn't Rocky look handsome? Admittedly he doesn't actually have much use for a show halter, but I figure it wouldn't look out of place in a liberty photo. Maybe one day I'll have another stock breed with a fat head that can use it.

Lastly, Dan sent back the fail bridles I made for her, and I worked on the blue gaming bridle today. In the end I gave it a whole new headstall, noseband, noseband hanger and browband, and shortened the cheek pieces. The only thing that remained the same was the reins. Live and learn, I suppose! And at least I have Newsworthy measurements now.

I did go to the Royal Show on Tuesday. I'll post the pics eventually, I promise! I've just been feeling a bit off-colour this week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bridles and revisions

My friend's gift arrived, so I can finally post a picture of the 'sneak peek' bride from the few posts down.

And here is a picture of it on the model it was made for. It's a bit fail, unfortunately. I must have over-estimated in my measurements as it's too big all over. Granted I did take the measurements while the horse was still attached to his box, but it's not really useable in its current state (at least on this model). Once my friend has sent it back, I think I'll pull this apart and keep the usable parts (reins, maybe noseband) and redo the rest.

She's also sent through pictures of the grackle jumping bridle I made for EJ. It will be sent back for adjustments, as it needs a longer jowl strap, and the flash needs to be extended, too. She also wants a different browband, so I'll see what I can come up with for that. But I'm pretty pleased with how it looks!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


It's nice to clear something off the workspace that's been hanging around for a while. I started this bridle back in July, and completed all bar the reins as I had no bit.  So I set it out of the way until I could place a TWMHC order, and consequently a bit for this bridle.

I am well aware it looks blah on Ideal. There's a reason for that - it's meant for someone bigger. An EJ, in fact. I just hope it fits since this was made from measurements only! This bridle belongs to the owner of the sneak peak a few posts down, and her order is due to be delivered tomorrow, so hopefully I will have proper photos for the blog.

Stable halters are underrated. They are so useful, but I rarely see them in photo shows because people tend to favour breed-specific halters and bridles. There's nothing wrong with that, but if you're on a budget, a stable halter can work for just about every breed.

I judged a photo show last weekend and one of the entrants was using wool to make a basic type of halter for her models. Compared to the other entrants in the class, her models were coming last, or not placing at all. I felt bad, so I made her this halter to borrow for a while. Hopefully she will use it and take some new photos of her models so she can improve her entries.

(The risk with being generous like this is that some people will reject your offer. Some even get a little snippy and offended.  I do hope the recipient sees this for what it is - an innocent, friendly offer, and that I'm not having a go at her entries.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A story of a saddle and a bridle

I'm attracted to shiny things, I love looking at tack on MH$P, and when I have money it burns a hole in my pocket. So when I saw this gorgeous Erin Corbett saddle available, I had to have it!

After a few weeks of time payments it arrived and I drooled over the detailed tooling.

There was just one catch: the colour didn't suit any of my models. (If you're wondering, the colour is truest in the first photo. It looks different in the other photos because my camera is crap.) This saddle (and matching bridle and breastcollar and pad) had already cost me a fortune and I was heartbroken. I whinged to Lisa and after some accidental arm-twisting she decided to purchase it from me. Yay!

However, the bridle that came with the set from Erin was too small to fit the classic QH mare (it fits, but looks a bit silly), so I agreed to make Lisa another bridle for her.

Yesterday, I received a pony in the mail. And what do you know, but the Corbett saddle suits her to a T! *facepalm*

So I spent all of last night hurriedly making that bridle for Lisa, so I could steal the saddle while it's still here and get some photo showing pictures. Here's the bridle.

I'm not sold on the browband - it's a V shape that is more structured than an English V browband. The silver is coated leather; underneath it's black, and if you look at the browband in the right light, you can see where I have made cuts in the silver to make it sit in the correct shape. (Note to self; wider lace such as 6mm or 8mm glued to a base and then trimmed should eliminate this problem.) It's a great browband for photo showing, but I think I'll make Lisa a one-ear browband as well.

I also tried two new things with this bridle, and that was waxed reins and slobber straps. The reins are waxed polyester thread, and the very light wax coating allows the reins to be set into position and show the right amount of contact. Slobber straps are usually used with mecate reins, but are sometimes seen with split reins, as I've decided to do. In real life they add a bit of extra weight to the bit so it sits properly in the mouth, and also so the reins aren't damaged by slobber and dripping water when the water drinks. I don't think either of those last two reasons will be an issue in a Western arena class, but I do like the look of them! (They also make the reins removable as the slobber straps aren't glued together.)

When I find my silver studs from TWMHC, I'll be putting one on the slobber straps, I think, to bring them in from trail reins to more pleasure reins.