Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm still around!

Just been working and haven't had much to report.

I did just finish making this bridle/tie-down combo for the DUN raffle. (Saddle not included)

It will be paired in a raffle lot with a games prop kit from Carrie Sloan Meyer, which includes a blue saddle blanket.

I'm really pleased with how it came out. This is technically my first trad bridle with a cast bit, although I have had it sitting around here for years. It's all tongue buckles (except the curb strap) so should fit most heads, but is made to fit the ISH.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I'm not feeling inspired at the moment, so I'm going to take a break from tack for a while and just see how it goes.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Silver and shine

I'm on the home stretch towards Black and Gold Live, as I leave Tuesday night. I have to work Monday and Tuesday though, so I'm trying to get as much done now as I can.

Fathead Luna is getting a new Western bridle. It wasn't until I was getting ready for Knox Live and about to leave with Lisa that I realised poor Luna had no Western bridle to go with the Erin Corbett saddle I ordered last year. I scrounged around in my tack box and found this beaded atrocity that I made for my once-off show, Foothills Live, back in 2009. Even though I made it for the loping QH mare (who has a TINY head) it somehow fit Luna without needed to replace anything. Shocking!

The length of beading on the reins isn't proportionate to her head position though, and it's not that great of a bridle in the first place. Needless to say, she didn't do very well, and so she gets a pretty new bridle for BANG.

I contemplated doing a set of romal reins for her, as I've never made any before, but I was a) short of time for learning, and b) short of beads. So maybe she will get a set later in the ear when I buy some more beads.

In the meantime, I hope she does okay in this beaded bridle.

(Luna is a CM Breyer classic 'Onyx' by the super talented Sue Kern.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Silver 'plates'

I really enjoy working with my silver leather, but sometimes, when it doesn't want to really cooperate, I start to lose it a little.

This bridle was intended to be a donation for Knox Live, but after I put the ear browbands on, I got completely discouraged and set it aside.

Why? I thought I was being super smart when I tried making this browband. My idea was to cut intervals in the leather and overlap them so that the leather stayed flat as it curved around the ear. Great in theory, but not so great in practice.

The silver wouldn't skive thin enough (which is difficult to do in the first place as you can't stretch it or the silver coating cracks), so when I cut the intervals and overlapped them, you can see the edges of the black underside.

I don't know if this is an idea worth pursuing (you can see the earpieces don't sit flat anyway) and attempting to improve it.

In slightly-related news, I really like Erin Corbett's use of nailheads on etched bits - it's pretty cute and an easy way to dress up cheap bits. I've found a supplier who sells coloured nailheads so I may purchase those in the future. (These 2mm silver ones are from Allison of TWMHC.)

Saddleseat bridles

FC contacted me about six weeks ago to organise an order of two traditional saddleseat bridles for her ever-growing collection of Saddlebreds. A couple of years ago, when I was just starting out taking orders, I made her some saddleseat bridles.

This was 'back in the day' where the only tack colours I owned were black and this mid-brown. The browbands and nosebands were made with a combination of white and clear nail polish and pen ink. Hehe! These days I am lucky to have a ton of coloured leather at my disposal thanks to my awesome supplier Amazing Oz, so it's real coloured leather this time around.

FC had already bought two TWMHC Weymouth bits, but didn't want to post them, so we agreed to meet up at Mini Mania Live.

Bridle one is in a lovely dark chocolate brown (I'm really starting to fall in love with this colour again - it comes up with a lovely shine when treated with gum trag) with a red browband.

(I'm using Lonesome Glory as a fit model, as he has a fairly long and skinny head. I hope he will be a reasonable substitute for FC's Saddlebreds.)

Bridle two is the same, but with a cornflower blue browband.

While FC requested cornflower blue, she also requested the tapered browband style that is popular in the show ring. Unfortunately I don't have cornflower blue in the wider width (4.5mm) that I used for the red browband, so I've also made her a royal blue tapered browband (not shown), as that is a colour I do have in the wider lace.

We all know that I'm not so good with cutting straight, so I was worried about how to do the tapered browbands, until I came across this set on MHSP:

and I realised the browband on that set just had tapered ends, not that the entire browband was gently tapered. That's something I can do! In model scale you don't really notice the difference and I am quite pleased with the effect. Hopefully FC will be too!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Orders up to my ears!

Well, this is exciting! I don't usually get orders, but suddenly I have them coming out my ears!

FC: Two traditional saddleseat bridles in dark brown (received bits and pictures at Mini Mania)
Dan: Two pairs dark brown/dark brown skid boots, one to fit Rose Reiner, the other to fit Smarty Jones. Donation for BANG (Black and Gold Live, May 29)

I've also promised a donation to Central Coast Live on July 2. The host, Jennie, will be donating all profits to her friend's partner, Andrew Macintosh, who was recently diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. She's given me permission to post the story here on my blog.

"Those of you who were at Central Coast live 2010 would have met my friend, Nicole, who was judging the Custom Trad/classic section. 

In August 2010 Nicole's, then partner, Andrew was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. MND is a disease where the nerves that supply the muscles die, the muscles then wither, including muscles that control swallowing, speaking and other vital areas. 

Nicole and Andrew were in the process of building their own home - 2 storey.

Nicole and Andrew were married in April. At a recent fundraising event for Andrew, I learnt of the amount of money that is required for Andrew's treatment and equipment to keep him comfortable. It costs approx $40,000 to get him to China for the Stem Cell Treatment that is the only treatment with the possibility of a better quality of life.
I had planned to keep any profit from Central Coast Live 2011 to fund future shows, but I now see that any profit would be better used to help Andrew while he is with us.

So, for as long as we have him, Central Coast Live will be a fundraiser for the Andrew Macintosh fund. Thank you to all those people who support my show and the raffle, it is going to a good cause."

While I have never met Andrew, or even Jennie, I am always happy to help out where I can. I only hope that my donation to the raffle will help Andrew get to China quicker for his treatment.

If you would like to buy raffle tickets, please email Jennie or visit the show's website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

English Bridles

I really have no excuse to not be making some English Bridles.

I won an Idocus in the raffle at Knox Live last weekend:

received a Strapless in the mail yesterday (not my photo):

and have a Flash in the mail right now!

So I suppose I should get off my butt and go make some bridles.

Two shows in two weeks!

Compared to the US, the hobby in Australia is TINY. While we might have, say, 100 hobbyists (and that's a generous statement), the capital cities are pretty spread out, and so are its inhabitants. Check out this image I shameless stole found on someone else's blog:

We also have about one-tenth the population of the US. So as you can guess, we certainly don't have the same amount, or frequency, of live shows that our American friends have. In my state, there are two shows that run annually - Mini Mania, run by my friend Lisa Winkworth, and my own show, Melbourne Live.

I only started my live show, Melbourne Live, because there were no shows, and had been none, in my state for a good ten years or more. I'm taking a break this year from running ML, so instead, another hobbyist ran her own show, Knox City Live, to fill in the blank left by ML in this year's calendar.

For a reason I wasn't privy to, the weekend following Mini Mania was chosen as the date for Knox Live. It sounds great in theory, but when it's something you're not used to, well, I am thoroughly exhausted! I am a huge performance junkie so although I only had one performance entry for Mini Mania, I had about 15 performance set ups for Knox. I didn't do very well at Knox, but such is life I suppose.

My baby dp. On the Prowl at Mini Mania. He won Western Pleasure, took 2nd in Western Trail, and 1st in Western Bareback. He did end up winning Champion Western Performance (!) but I don't have a photo of him with his ribbon.

And some photos taken by a friend of a few of my set ups at Knox:

Above: dp. Last Chance, Honey with her pony club gymkhana entry. Bridle, saddle pad, doll and sack by me; saddle by Robyn McCrae.

Above: dp. Astral Fairy Wings in English Flatwork. Bridle and saddle by Robyn McCrae, although I made the browband.

Above: Rosie in her leadline set up - its first time out! Rider doll is by Lori Batchelor and handler doll is by Joan Yount, and lead by me.

Above: Rosie got Reserve Champion English Performance for her leadline setup! :D There was a handler class she was entered in, hence the lack of saddle.

dp. Certainly Stylin in Western Trail. That's the lovely Erin Corbett saddle you might remember from my blog last year. Lisa kindly let me borrow it for Delta. :)

dp. Deal Me In in Other Western Performance.

dp. Streetwise, my dear Fluffy, in English Flatwork. The adorable saddle pad is by Jana Skybova. Saddle is a Robyn McCrae and bridle is by me.

Missy with her Handy Hunter setup. Saddle pad is also a Jana.

My next live is Black and Gold Live (affectionately called BANG, lol) over in WA in two weeks. I still have to decide who and what will fit in my suitcase. Eek!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bridle, boots and breastplate

I might have been neglecting the blog, but I have been busy!

Brown bridle is for WH (she supplied the lovely RDLC bit, one I haven't worked with before); boots are part of Dan's never-ending order, and breastplate is for the customer who purchased the DUN fundraiser racing set. 

In between all of this I've finished Fluffy's pleasure harness, finally, and just need to take proper pictures of it.

I'm not at all feeling inspired or optimistic for my Mini Mania donation, so I'll create a voucher for that instead - good if the winner only halter shows their minis, as they can order something in trad or classic scale. I still need to make donations for Orange Blossom Live (June 12), Knox Live (May 7), Black and Gold Live (May 29), Central Coast Live (July, er, something), Ultimate Gold Live (July 31), and whatever else pops up. Oh my!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I'm starting to feel all harnessed out.

Lisa's collar for her harness is still causing me grief. While I now have a general idea as to how I want to proceed, I have another issue - I don't have any leather left. The gloving leather (0.3mm kangaroo) I have, I bought as offcuts from someone off ebay. He has since moved overseas and has no stock left. I emailed Robyn but she could only suggest using TWMHC's stuff - but that only comes in natural and dying is not something I feel comfortable tackling right now (plus I can't afford extra accessories).

Trawling ebay has found me no bargains. I tried skiving down my roo offcuts from Amazing Oz, but I couldn't get it consistently thin enough. I've emailed them to see if they know of anywhere I could find some gloving leather - that's not lambskin or pigskin. If they don't know of anyone, then I guess Lisa will just have to deal with a breastcollar! :(

I received my pleasure cart for Fluffy (extreme custom Breyer Man O War by Sue Kern to a QH stallion) the other day so I'm challenging myself to see if I can make a pleasure harness for him before Knox City Live, which is exactly one month away.

Trying to find good reference photos is driving (ha!) me to tears. Either pleasure driving (the class for stock breeds) is not as popular as I thought, and/or I'm not using the right terms. I have a total of three or so large photos of the harness to work off of, and don't get me started on the overcheck. That is one area I know zilch about. Plus there's conflicting information on them too. Sadly I can't get away without one - Aus QHA specify it must be used. I'm just going to guess and hope I get it vaguely right.

Still alive... Sort of

Last week saw me suffer a tummy bug and then no computer for a week, so I haven't been online or making tack until a few days ago.

But I am still kicking around!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Finished at last!

For something different, how about an almost wordless Sunday? Dan's harness is done.I didn't notice the breeching was sitting wonky until after I had uploaded the pictures (of course).

I have an ISH!

On Friday I received mail of the exciting kind - an ISH body!
I've been looking for one for ages to use for my tack, as he is an extremely popular mould, and I had heard that he is a bit smaller than the Breyers. Even though there are $25 bodies in the US, the cost of shipping them to Australia would probably be around $25 again.

A few months ago, Stone had second-quality bodies in their eBay store for about $20. I was contemplating buying one then, but they sold out before I could purchase one.

By the looks of the seams on this guy, I think he may have been one of those second-quality models. Good thing I'm not a customiser!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Collar day

(Technically Dan's harness is finished, but there are a couple of adjustments she would like fixed before I share it with my readers. So, you'll just have to wait!)

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and attempt a practise collar for Lisa's harness, using the tutorial found in issue VIII of the Model Horse Magazine.

(Apologies for the photos - I don't have a scanner.)

With only the picture to try and copy the pattern from, I ended up drawing it free hand (with lots of guessed measurements to try and keep it even). Unfortunately the tutorial does not mention how high the curve should be, nor the distance from the middle or anything else that may be of help.

After turning the collar right side out, I found it look like something a little familiar.

I didn't have any 'felt scraps', so I found some ugly brown felt that I swear had been waiting for this project, and chopped it into tiny pieces. Stuffing the collar took longer than I expected - around fifteen minutes - and by the time I'd finished, I had invisible bits of wool felt everywhere over my skin. Worst feeling ever.

Stitching up the hole was difficult - sewing the collar earlier had been difficult, but this was just downright hard. My poor finger. :( I attached the hames, and yay!

According to the tutorial I'm all finished, but either I missed something or the tutorial missed a step. Because my collar shouldn't be able to do this.

Or this:

On a real collar, the hames are definitely fixed in place and do not move around. I looked at many different pictures of collars, and the only difference I can see is that there is a deep groove or channel on the collar that the hames sits in. That's all I can see that would hold the hames onto the collar in such a fixed position. Unless they are using glue or something behind, but I doubt it.

I think I will need to use some black thread in places where it won't be seen in order to keep the hames tight against the collar. I'm reluctant to use glue in case it discolours or causes damage to the hames, and I don't want to leave the hames loose as there is just way too much potential for damage to a model.

Other than that major issue, it looks nice from the front.

I am considering whether I should adjust the pattern slightly, since it seems like the curve came out steeper. Unfortunately Lauren hasn't provided any side-on pictures of the collar in the tutorial, and it seems her website is no longer available. I'll need to do more thinking before I decide to change the pattern or not.