Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No Peeking, Mom!

For Christmas, I thought I would make my mother a portrait of her Polish Tatra, Kazia. She is a wonderful dog, and lives on my parents' wonderful farm.

Merry Christmas, Mom! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Weeeeeeeeee! I've graduated!

It took four and a half years, but I have a bachelor's degree in Physics. For the first time in my life (that I can remember!) I am not a student. Suddenly, I have time to make all the things!

Of course, Christmas creations, traveling, and family still have to take priority over tack, but I can definitely manage to squeeze in some model mayhem here and there. ;)

Of course, I had to find a graduation present for myself. Yay for special Dremel heads! Hehehe! So many things to make! So much time!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


 It's been a rough Finals Week.

 I am pretty grumpy that I haven't been able to work on any of my projects all week.

Par is grumpy that another horse threatened to eat his food, so we are two grumpy peas in a pod. I can't wait to be done with graduation, so I can get back to work... and back to regular posting!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Here Be Dragons

It's been quiet on here! My fault: it's finals week (I graduate on Friday, weee!) and I've been too busy with schoolwork to do anything model-horse related.

I spent all weekend working on illustrations for my English final. I only have one (mostly) done so far, and the photo quality is not superb, but I thought y'all might enjoy it anyways. I have to say, color is not my strong suit (I'm definitely better in black and white) but I was positive that color would suit the story better than black-and-white illustrations.

These are big pieces (for me). Each paper is 4 feet across and a little less than 2 feet tall, done in chalk pastels and ink. I had to tape the paper to the wall in order to have a space to work, so I am exhausted after working on the wall for a few days! 

I really, really like dragons. (Part of the reason I love horses is that, in my opinion, they are the closest living relative to dragons.) My English project is a historical story written as a metaphorical "fairy tale." I hope to someday publish a collection of these illustrated stories in a book. I am not yet at the level of artistic skill that I would like to publish at, but I will keep working at it. 

Someday, someday. :)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Little Pieces

In between crazed fits of schoolwork, I'm starting to get the pieces together for a bigger, multiple-set mold. Wee!

Also, one pinhole!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tackling the Nightmare Mare

Two years ago, I finished up a classic-scale jumping mare after months of work. How hard could casting be? I thought. I'll just do it myself. Ha! Two molds later, I had a ruined original sculpture and six awful casts. The molds both ruptured (the first one only got one cast in, the second got five before it was destroyed.)

For a while, I tried to fix the casts, filling in thousands of pinholes and re-sculpting lost limbs, tails, chins, and ears. Sensing that the attempts at fixing them were futile, I used some of the better pieces as test pieces for various paints. Finally, I was so discouraged, I hid the casts away, and I never wanted to look at them again.

Until yesterday.

For some reason, the dusty bodies, hidden under a piece of fabric, were calling to me. I sorted through them, and found the nicest piece.

To say she is "nice" is a huge overstatement. She has thousands of pinholes, some very weird texturing on her belly, and her chin and lips were missing from the cast, re-sculpted on (poorly) back when she came out of the mold.  She is also covered in thick layers of primer, and served as a test piece for some paint on her shoulders and front legs. Her back seam doesn't quite line up, and she lost almost all of the detail in her face, tail, and legs.

That belly... 

Ugh. I just wanted to cry.

 However, the more I looked at her, the more I felt that I really needed to fix this. I couldn't let my first sculpture look like this forever! In a fit of valor, I decided to fill in all the pinholes. Fix all the texture. Re-sculpt all the things. After about a hundred pinholes and an hour of sanding, I thought better of that proposition.

After some careful thought (and, I'll admit, some tears), I set a slightly more achievable goal for myself: to fill one pinhole every day. That's right. One. If I do two, or three, or twenty... awesome! I've achieved extra! But, my goal is one. Because, even if my day is really bad, or really busy, or I'm sick or sad or mad or hungry... I can do one little teeny-tiny pinhole, and then I've made progress.

[Yes, I took pictures with her hanging upside-down, yes, my work table is a mess, and yes, that is a crunch bar wrapper ;) ]

What a cute little butt... but so much work! Phew! Deep breath...

I can't let myself think about how much work she is, because I don't want to be overwhelmed and put her back in that dusty pile forever. I promise myself to keep working on her, one pinhole at a time.

And, some day, some long-away fate-filled day, I'll discover that there are no more pinholes to fill!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lunging Set!

Weee! The lunging set is done!

The 6-year-old child in me is jumping around and around in excitement. Squeeeeee! 

 It fits GG Valentine nicely! I was building it on my Strapless, but her old broken leg re-broke when I was fitting the surcingle.

Poor Strapless. Her leg broke about four years ago when I was packing up my things to move. I glued it back together, but it wasn't a great repair. I knew the day was coming when that seam would give out. Oh well, it gives me an excuse to customize her a little, and give her a new paint job! She is currently in a leg cast so she doesn't fall over on my shelf.

But oh! I'm in love with this set, especially those little rubber donuts! They stretch just like the real thing!

I'm also in love with these nose pieces! I really should get a more metallic paint, or maybe some metal leaf, but I think the concept is great! I can't wait to get a better mold made and some even nicer pieces cast!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Quickie Girth

I knew I would be busy today, but I really, really wanted to get on with this lunging set, so I coughed up the girth for the lunging surcingle this morning.

If I can power through the rest of my schoolwork today, I just might finish the top half of the surcingle, too!

Almost Wordless... Monday?

I didn't manage to get any tack into a photograph-able state today, so, instead, here's a silly picture of Par!

I love my ridiculous horse :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Busy Saturday

This weekend has been busy! In addition to writing my whole term paper for my Russian class, I skived and dyed lots of leather (and most of my fingers!), and finished the bit-end half of a pair of side reins. Of course, the only photogenic thing I did today was the (half) side reins!

I'm hoping that the surcingle and last half of the side reins will come together tomorrow, if I have time. I'm also hoping to rework the lunging cavesson nosepiece mold to make casting faster, cleaner, and more efficient. My scale doesn't measure drops very well, so I get better results with my casting resin if I can mix up a slightly larger batch. This means making a larger mold that will cast a few nosepiece sets at once. Looks like the rest of the weekend will be as busy as the first half!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Postal Scare

I put this saddle in the mail last week, with approximately a pound of bubble wrap and entirely too much duct tape. I thought it would be safe from anything: floods, truck crashes, careless handling.

Yesterday, however, it seemed that the post office had lost it in the mail. It was days late and the tracking information indicated that it had vanished from the face of the earth. Lost! The one thing I couldn't truly protect it against! My one consolation was that I had insured it for its purchase price, just in case. Fortunately, the post office found it this morning and it is now safely on its way to its new owner!

 This was a happy-ending reminder to always insure artwork, or anything valuable, in the mail. Anything can happen, and although it won't replace all the time, effort, and care that went in to making something, it at least will help ease the loss and allow you to make another piece for your customer. 

Hopefully it arrives safe and sound, and hopefully it didn't have to endure any floods, truck crashes, or careless handling!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Monograms, Oh, Monograms

I didn't have a lot of time today to finish up that lunging cavesson, so, instead, I thought I'd try something smaller. Monograms! I think monograms could look great on model tack, but wow, monograms are hard to do in 1/9 scale! Paint tends to bleed, and I'm not yet patient or skilled enough to actually embroider them! I had an idea I thought would work, so I whipped up a batch, printed them, and tried them on various items.

They were alright on standing wraps, although they only show up on white fabric. I'm very partial to navy standing wraps, so I still have to think about how to solve that problem! Also, I promise that my real-life leg-wrapping skills are better than my model-wrapping ones!

They were pretty adorable on polos, although, again, I had to stick with white. I do love white polo wraps, however! The texture of the paper worked best on the velcro tab, as opposed to on the flannel itself.

The monograms worked best on the saddle pad. My Microsoft Word skills are more obviously lacking here (I know I can arrange those letters more neatly!), but the paper meshes with the fabric nicely in this context. I think it was a good start along the road to scale monograms! Of course, now I have even more ideas to try... and, fortunately, only one of them involves actual embroidery!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Casting Adventures Continue

It wasn't easy, but I finally got a set of five teeny tiny pieces casted.

Aren't they so cute? Of course, I was too excited to leave them in their natal form for very long, so on went a few coats of gold enamel.

After stripping off the old nosepiece, I put the lunging cavesson back together (this time with a throatlatch, bit hanger, and proper keepers!)

I love it! It is not perfect, but I am so happy with the improvement. I am also excited that this casting adventure went more smoothly than the last one! At this rate, I'll be a casting pro in about... twenty to thirty years! ;)

And, of course, I was too excited to wait for daylight for good pictures, so a dimly-lit photo shoot promptly followed. There is still more to finish: black edges on the leather, a final coat of gloss on the nosepieces, and some fitting adjustments on the throat, however, I'm very proud of how it turned out already! Hooray for perseverance!