It's, Ah, Been A While

As the title says, it's been a while. Over a month, to be exact. I was plunged into the holidays much against my will and studio time suffered greatly. Retail at Christmas is not fun, take it from me. Add a nearly week-long visit from out of state family, the "Christmas Blizzard of 2009", two episodes of the 'flu (one the day after Thanksgiving, the other the Sunday after Christmas) and you can understand why I've been quiet.

In preparation for a return to Higher Education, I've cut hours at my retail job to spend time studying and developing my graphic/web design business as well as tack making. I've gotten several orders and donations finished in the past three weeks, although most of the work was crammed into the weekends!

The first one done was Shana's endurance set. Probably because it had been in progress for a month already, hehe. She asked me to do an endurance saddle based on the Wintec Endurance Pro...that was interesting. I never did get a good look at the underside and had to just guess at structure. I think it turned out well, though, and Shana is in love with it according to her e-mails.

The first donation I was contacted about is for Show for the Cure Live. I've donated to this show in the past and I'm always thrilled to be asked. I try to incorporate the awareness color for the specific type of cancer that the donations will go to, and this year it was teal. I decided on a teal/black/white gaming set, and it's nearing completion. I had fun doing stitching on the seat of the saddle, and will definitely post pictures when the set is done.

Oddly enough, I finished the second donation I was contacted about first. The one that's due in September, as opposed to the March date of S4TC. Of course, right? But I had another saddle seat set to finish and I had all the supplies out already, and one thing lead to another. The show is the Cookeville Classic Live and is, again, a cancer benefit. This time it was for breast cancer, and I just had to throw some pink in there. The browband and cavesson of the walking horse bridle are pink with white dots, lined in black. The set itself is done in black and looks really spiffy. I'm hoping to get my hands on one of the G3 Tennessee Walking horses so that I can do a quick custom and repaint the mane braids so that they match the browband. I ran by Target after work last night and they were fresh out of the TWH. Fortunately, I have nearly 7 months to locate one!

And then the order. I absolutely adore working with Barb, she's an awesome customer. She wanted a saddleseat set for her Hawkeye resin, and after some chatting back and forth about what she wanted it was just time to wait for him to arrive. He's a cute little guy, but a bit bug-eyed, hehe. I had lots of fun making his set, and we settled on a hunter green browband. Since she's showing him as a Morgan, he needed a double bridle. I used to say that I didn't hate any part of tack making - let me tell you, I've found my "hate" item. Double bridles look amazing, but they are a pain to make! All of the little buckles and, worse, the keepers. There are 7 buckles to a double bridle (the way I make them), but 14 itty bitty keepers. It feels like it will never end! It does, fortunately, and the following photo is the result.

So now that I'm caught up, in a manner of speaking, here are my plans for the future. I'm going to post ads on MH$P offering tack slots, work on a few sales pieces or try to sell finished sales pieces, update the website galleries, study (maybe!), and work on taxes! I am not, by nature, a good records keeper and it's starting to show. I discovered that I've gone over the non-taxable income limit with my tack. This is something that has got to be addressed, and I've armed myself with a variety of small biz books from the library. Now to find time to sit down and read them all...I have plans to contact a few local lawyers that deal in small business stuff, too.