2016 was a really great year - it was my first full year doing my hobby business full time. 2017 was set to build on that success and be an even better business year. It didn't go quite as I anticipated, but it was very...exciting.
January was full of busy work - catching up on 2016's paperwork, setting up a newsletter, and getting 2017's commissions sorted out.
February was the month of research and gets TWO featured saddles because how can I not?
There were so many projects in March, it was hard to pick just one. Kim's side saddle for Mini Hazel wins! March also had BreyerWest 2017, in which Shana's Civil War tack AND a very special saddle made for Leah Koerper of Shoestring Saddlery debuted! You can read Leah's BreyerWest recap here.
April was dedicated to National Model Tack Month and what we thought, at the time, was burn-out from a really busy March (spoiler - it wasn't burn-out!). I had planned to work on commissions AND help with NMTM in April, but...well...best laid plans? I did get some basic how-tos done for NMTM, and I think the video and post on skiving was one of the best received (and messiest to make!).
2017 was The Year of Awesome Projects That Required Extensive Research. The Civil War cavalry tack, the Spanish Riding School set...and this awesome criollo/gaucho piece!
We hadn't officially announced either thing yet, but between planning our move across the country and dealing with extreme morning sickness (HA! "Morning" sickness. HA!), not much happened in June. I did manage to make a few things, and plans for July started percolating.
I finally started feeling better in July, so I took advantage of the boost of energy and held the my first Not Going To Breyerfest Sale! I made LOTS of cool things for this sale, but I'll share just the big ticket item - a super fun jumping set that I'd actually been working on since February or March. We also announced the impending arrival of Baby Helt and our move to California in July.
Oh, August. Two middle-aged men, a pregnant woman, a 15 year-old cat, and my saintly husband drove halfway across the country with a U-Haul and trailer and a Subaru Impreza. We saw some AMAZING parts of the country and settled into our new apartment in an LA suburb. No tack happened in August, for fairly obvious reasons, but beaches were totally a thing.
September saw my meager attempts to break back into the studio and responded with as-yet-undiagnosed anemia and a long-planned family vacation to South Dakota. Good times were had by all, no saddles were made.
October saw the arrival of my Mini Hazel painted by Leah Koerper, an artist feature in Just About Horses (I'm still giddy about this!), the beginnings of a long-overdue commission, and a baby shower! Much excitement and exhaustion, no saddles.
Many thanks were given in November - for family, for friends, and for iron supplements. With anemia finally corrected, I was able to finish the commission and work on a long-standing trade. Finally - a saddle was made!
Technically, this piece was finished in January. The bulk of the work was done in December, though, so I think it counts!