Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Throwback Wednesday

(Because my life has predictably exploded with work to prepare for the impending doom that is classes next week, thrusting me into the end-of-summer, "savor every beautiful moment" mode that just does not wait for Thursday to write a Throwback post. Apologies.)

Going back to school always makes me feel nostalgic for the years when the first day of school meant shiny new pencils and picking out the perfect outfit and groaning and rolling my eyes when my mom would park me by my brother on the front step and force us to smile while holding up our grade number on our fingers while she took a picture.

In retrospect, these pictures fall into one of two camps: adorable (elementary school days of missing teeth and a backpack bigger than I was), or cringe-worthy (seventh to tenth grade is a weird time for everyone, okay?).

Looking back at some of the tack I've made in the past, the same camps kind of apply.

This could possibly be the first real, honest, effort-was-required English (dressage) saddle I ever made. It's kind of falling apart now, and it looks like its paper clip stirrups have since been looted, but I've kept it because I find it slightly adorable. I mean, the thing is made of canvas painted black. The buckles on the girth are made of green floral wire because that's the only wire I could find in the garage. I'd read Anna Kirby's tutorial on some forum (Fallen Leaves, I wanna say?) about how to make an English saddle, and rolled with it. (Even then, though, I knew I didn't want to mess with sweat flaps- good call, Past Me.)

Another beauty from the Canvas Era, complete with paper clip stirrups.

Western saddles were hard and scary, but medieval side saddle chair saddles? I was all over it. (I actually kind of wish I could find this little weirdo again...) 

No buckle on the "bridle" but I took the time to add a keeper?

I pretty much put off buying leather for as long as I possibly could. I was (still am to some extent) a very thrifty person, and I knew that I wanted to try and get as much experience and skill with mini tack I could before I actually invested any cash money in it.

Such professional (iPhone) photography!

Skip forward to 2012: check out that sexy saddle. Sure, the paint dot that was supposed to be the nailhead is smeared all over, and we're still sticking with the paper clip stirrups, but it's leather! (Going through my Pictures Library, I had this under "Saddleseat" which at first glance is fine but now that it's big those chunky knee rolls are more obvious...)

2012 was really when I got hooked on this mini tack nonsense. I learned more about tack making, tack selling, live showing, and the hobby in general in that year than I probably collectively have since. Apart from that one Anna Kirby tutorial (which wasn't nearly as complete or awesome as her currently offered PDF one), I pretty much learned purely through trial and error. What worked, what didn't, how I could improve, etc.

And I finally experimented with cast stirrups.

(This is so therapeutic, I feel like I'm looking back through my yearbooks.)

Look at those fancy irons! All rolled up and everything!

I gained so much confidence, I even dabbled in Western and big scales. I remember thinking how incredibly cute and clever this picture was. Oh, Past Me.

I was really productive, having a lot of fun, learning loads, and completely hooked on mini tack. Which is why it's weird how my productivity in 2013 was nonexistent; it was a year when real life just kind of sucks up hobby life and spits it out. Injury, sickness, hospitalization, disease, death in the family... I think everyone has that one year that they can confidently look back on and say, "Yep, that sucked."

Which brings us more or less to now.

For my confidence's sake, I need a side-by-side comparison of my progress...

That's so satisfying. I wonder what the "after" picture will look like in another four years!

That's it for the Throwback- hope that was as adorable and/or cringeworthy as you'd hoped it would be. To all of you heading back to any level of school in the near future, good luck with the coming weeks and the coming year. Hope your pencils are shiny.

Bold text before the random updates:

  • The racing set is also still available, yours for $40, which includes postage to anywhere in the US.
  • I'm currently (slooooowly) working on a bridle for an order for J, and not much else. That GP English set I promised as a sale piece in August doesn't look like it's going to happen as soon as I thought it would. Right now, I'm getting studio work in when I can and not forcing it- I'm focusing on transitioning back to a school schedule and not stressing myself out too much. It's all chill. Lotsa deep breaths.
  • I purposefully made this post with all these old pictures now, because as part of transitioning back into classes I could very possibly be transitioning to a new laptop in the very near future. This, on top of my school schedule, just means I might be a little slower in updating the blog as I work through getting everything switched over to the new machine, etc. During the year, I expect to be posting here more like once a week, instead of every two or three days. Darn education!
  • And because of my full schedule, I doubt I'll be able to make it to as many live shows as I'd like, so I've been noodling on trying out photo showing... MEPSA has a Novice show that doesn't seem too scary? I've never done any photo showing before, so if any veteran showers have any tips or advice on getting started, that'd be much appreciated. :)
  • I've just been informed that all the links under "Other Cool People" were broken- all fixed now! I highly recommend you go check those amazing people out, if you haven't already.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Pleasure Set Pics

(kindly excuse the forwardness of the reins!)

Shifting Gears

(This is my 50th post! Woo! Thank you to everyone who's been with me since the beginning, and those of you just joining.)

Today I...

Reconsidered my show string and decided to keep the roping set and sell the pleasure one instead. (Also to motivate me to make that natural-tone pleasure set I'm dreaming of). That ad will be up on MH$P this afternoon, at a price much lower than what I imagine I'll sell future Western sets for, considering its little flaws I overlooked while making it, thinking, "It's for my own show string, and I don't mind them." Siiigh. 

Which is also exciting because this is my first ever (mini) Western saddle going off into the world! Fly, my pretty!

Today I'm also hopefully putting a dent in the tan hunter bridle I need for an order...

...and painting a donkey, because I'm in love with this little mold, and in love with painting it.

One of my past endeavors on this mold, circa early July.

I'm also going to visit my good friend the Post Office man, hopefully getting new pics of the racing set on a chestnut horse (maybe horse color will be an incentive to buy? Worth a shot?), and maybe even writing the last post in the Building Blocks series!

(P.S.- while shamelessly Googling myself to try and find that outside link to the racing set's post, I learned that there is a race horse out there called Exit Stage Left:

I don't follow racing at all, and I didn't even read up on him, but there ya go! I feel a connection.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Feeling Tired

I think I forgot how much energy going to a show takes.

This week hasn't been exactly restful, either; my best friend has been in town with a few buddies, and I just love any opportunity to play tour guide to anyone who's never been to Seattle. Lots of laughing, shopping, and eating occurred. A good time was had by all.

But on the model front, things have been pretty sloooooooow. Basically, I've unpacked and put everything away and that's it.

I did, however, jump aboard the Kinetic Sand bandwagon. And I've gotta say, I'm in love. It's like this stuff was made specifically with performance in mind. If you live by a Micheal's and you're on the fence, get off the fence, spend the $12 and go for it. I've been playing with it for like half an hour, and I keep instinctively brushing my hands off, but there's no need! I didn't think sand could be tidy, but this stuff is. 

My studio is carpeted, and I am unafraid. Yeah. It's that clean.

That's pretty much all I can claim productivity-wise. I've just been enjoying being home and among friends.

My studio assistant with his trusty baby blanket.
The work desk looks and feels pretty abandoned, but I have plans to fix that...

...only trouble is, the productive, meaty bit of summer is on its way out and classes are starting up again soon. Meaning the era of long, productive studio days is over and I'm transitioning back to the usual "fit an hour of work in the evening and weekends if I have time" schedule. 

I have one boots and bridle order I know I can knock out in the next little bit, but beyond that I'm not sure how much commission work I want to take on right now. At the moment, I'm tempted to say I'm only doing sales pieces until I'm settled into my school schedule and realistically know how productive I can be... But I do have a lot of people waiting on commissions. I just don't want to take on an order only to have it sit on my desk for ages!

A final decision about that will be made... later. For now, the roping set is definitely getting finished and put up for sale.

Shifting gears, I've had the customizing itch lately.

I recently acquired this cutie, and I'm thinking roached mane appy? And maybe messing with his head/neck a little bit. I'm aiming for a pretty versatile Western performance horse.

And now the bit of the post where there's bold text then bullet points to make these last thoughts seem less random:
  • To those of you just joining us from Braymere's wonderful blog, welcome! Make yourselves comfy. Thanks for giving this little blog a click!
  • More thank you's to be handed out to those who've voted on the current poll. If you haven't already, and you show minis or would like to, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you want to see more permanently attached tack? It's looking like the majority of you fully tack up and untack your minis regularly, which doesn't surprise me. :)
  • Those of you who claimed Harley ribbons: that's still happening. I'll let you know when they go out!
  • Props claimed. Woo!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sweet Onion Live: Halter

(This post is basically just a place I've dumped the halter pics I snapped throughout the day. No organization was attempted. At all.)

In halter, I mostly show OF Breyers. There's a few reasons for this, some better than others.

I started showing/hobbying at a young age, when Breyers are all you know and you worship them. I built a pretty decent collection, and took good care of them, and went to my first live show at the ripe old age of twelve.

From then on, I was hooked.

I continued to build my OF collection, mostly because that's what I'd always done, but also because I had my little eye on the big leagues: Breyerfest.

Breyerfest to a twelve-year-old model horse-crazy girl is just about as good as life gets. I researched the Children/Youth show, and was convinced that one day, I'd go.

I was fourteen when I first made it out to Lexington, and fifteen when I returned, fully hooked and committed to my OF show string.

It's not that customs and resins never interested me (they did/do, very much so), but as a kid I realized that the CM and AR divisions are something of a money game. Maybe this is pessimistic, and I know there are exceptions, but for the most part to succeed in those divisions you either have to work to hone your skills and create your own horses, or have the money to pay for winners.

I didn't have that kind of money, that level of skill, or an interest in working to obtain that level of skill- so OF's it was.

At this point, I'm focusing on my tack and performance. My halter horses are really just to pad my day and get the most out of the show; they aren't my top priority or interest.

Showing OF's is easy, and there's a pretty reliable standard. I've always liked the fact that you could go out and buy a $4 Stablemate and it could win a rosette- this isn't a high cash game.

I'm at a point now where I want, and could possibly afford, nice customs or resins, but I don't know. I think it could be easy for me to have high expectations tacked onto an expensive horse, consciously or unconsciously, and a rags-to-riches story is always better than riches-to-rags.

Of course, how well a horse shows is only one factor in wanting it. I am a firm believer in "collect what you love, show what you collect."

And I love me a shiny new Breyer.

So I think for now I'm content with drooling over other people's CM's and AR's at shows...

...and maintaining my own little collection on the side.

You may now enjoy the rest of the pony pics uninterrupted.

 My Sweet Onion halter crew did really well; we came home with two division Reserve Champions and a total of seven breed cards.

All in all, Sweet Onion Live is a fabulous show that I've thoroughly enjoyed both times I've been. Awesome people, awesome judges, awesome day. Thank you to everyone who made this show happen, and I'm sure I'll be back next year!

Some unrelated update-y stuff:
  • Thank you to everyone who voted on the poll; it looks like you guys want to see more western sales pieces! Your wish is my command; the roping set I started for Seabiscuit will be up for sale once I finish it up. Because that really only needs final touches (and boots), I'm also going to whip up a basic hunter, "cover all your classes" English sale set at some point this month. I'm sure you'll see it here extensively before it's listed for sale.
  • There is a new poll up for people who show minis in performance (or would like to), about how frequently you tack and untack your horses. I've been noodling on offering more permanently attached sets, like the cavalry one, in the future... I realize that tacking up at this scale can be extremely frustrating and challenging, and it could be easier to just have a pre-tacked horse designated for performance, no fiddling required. Is there an interest in that kind of thing?