Show for the Cure 2013

If you've been following my progress on Facebook, you'll have seen the completed pictures of my Show for the Cure donation. You've seen some of the frustrations on this blog; it was the donation saddle that had an unfortunate incident with nail polish remover. I had intended to start the donation over winter break, but like so many of my good intentions, it never quite made it to the action phase.

As far as I can tell (records keeping was spotty in the early days), this is the 5th straight year that I have donated.  Here's a brief pictorial history...




This year's donation is a bit of a throw back, since it's another western show set.

The most  notable feature is that this is the first completed saddle to be built on a new, sculpted tree. It's also my first saddle with aluminum duct-work tape. That stuff is awesome. The silver has tiny cancer awareness ribbons etched into the design, and the saddle is hand carved. There's a properly tied latigo (and latigo keeper!) on the left and a quick-tack-up tongue buckle on the right. The bridle is a rolled single ear with plain split reins and a photo etched curb from TWMHC.

I've spoken to Jenna Nejman, the hostess for Show for the Cure, and she's told me that the saddle will be a silent auction item. Bidding will end at the show, but if you can't make the show and are still interested it sounds like you'll have a chance to place a bid. She'll post more information later, and I'll relay that here when I have it.

And Away We Go!

I got the very last scheduled donation boxed up yesterday, and today it hits the post office.  Not a moment too soon, since The Show for the Cure is March 24! This is much, much closer than I am comfortable with, and it was a combination of poor planning and !@#$%^-stupid-boots! Boots can be time consuming under the best of circumstances, and then I had to remake one particular boot twice; once because the tabs were on the wrong side* and again because I dyed it too dark.  I also remade part of the five point breastplate to correct some fit issues and lengthened the crown piece of the bridle.

But it's done, thank goodness, and will ship today along with a few extra goodies.  Here are a couple of photos:

 Now that both donations are out of the studio, it's time to really dive into the next project: a cross country/jumper set for WeeJay!  I'll be doing more boots, of course, and another five point breastplate.  I finished the figure eight bridle while I waiting for various parts of that last !@#$ boot to dry (and watching Frasier).

Please excuse the poor studio photo - this was taken indoors at night with the flash.

Compare to the two bridles below, both finished in March of last year.

The reins are slimmer on this year's bridle because I've gotten more confident when lacing reins and the buckles now have tongues, but otherwise there's not much difference, is there?  I haven't decided if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  I hadn't cleaned up the edges on the 2011 bridles yet, if anyone wonders about the light edges on some straps.  I have to trim lace for strapgoods by hand and those edges are the result of dye not soaking all the way through.  From what I've read, this is a common complaint with Eco-Flo dyes.  It's not really a problem for me, though.  I dip my brush back in the dye and run it along the edges before sealing. 

*Equine legwear is always worn with fasteners (buckles, velcro, etc) on the outside, with loose ends pointed behind the horse to prevent injuries and help keep the protective gear from being torn off by another foot.  The boot in question was for the left rear leg; when the tabs were on the outside of the leg, they pointed forward.  It would be much easier for something to tear them off as the horse is moving forward, over a jump say, than if they were pointed towards the rear.

It Begins Again

I know I promised a post last...Thursday? You'll just have to forgive me, life got busy again!

 I used to think that I was a patient person.  I really did.  Then I made a five point breastplate last month and wrapped up five pairs of boots, one of which ended up being a double and has to be redone.  Strap goods and odd bits of miscellany tax my patience.  There comes a point when I just want the endless parade of buckles and keepers to be over.

And now I'm getting ready to start a figure eight bridle, a full set of leg protection, and another five point breastplate (and a saddle, of course).  It's all for WeeJay, though, and you'd be surprised by how much easier his slightly larger size makes things.

I'm sure part of it stems from the laborious preparation process.  Unfortunately, lace does not come in "miniscule"; most of the straps on my bridles are less than a millimeter wide and thinner than two sheets of copy paper. If I did by lace by the yard or spool, I'd still have to dye it, skive it, and split it by hand.  Might as well cut out the middle man.  I have also learned that I don't like waiting for dye to dry.  It's like watching a pot boil.

Then there's the actual construction.  I spent most of a morning and an entire afternoon finishing a bridle and four pairs of boots.  After the last boot, even my eyes were starting to cross.  I had to look it up - the last pair of boots I made was probably in June.  June! I'd forgotten how long they take.

The good news, though, is that the last donation is almost done and Sugar High Live's box went out March 2.  I took some photos of the Show for the Cure donation, which is when I discovered the messed up boot.  I also ended up reworking the five point breastplate (which didn't fit quite right) and the bridle (the crown piece was a little short).  What you don't see in the photo below are two pairs of galloping boots and a fitted "fleece" pad.

Rough Riders Live!

Like a lot of artists, I donate to a few different shows every year.  So far this year I've sent donations to Show for the Cure, Red Deer Rebellion, and in just less than a week Rough Riders Live will be added.  The show is held in Fargo, ND, and will run from July 30 to 31.  They have an entire day devoted to minis and performance! Sounds like my kind of show!

When Nancie, the hostess, asked me to donate I said sure! Unfortunately, I timed things badly and wasn't able to get anything along the scale of S4tC or RDR ready in time.  I did have a nice, all around personal set that I'd made ready, so I shipped that out to North Dakota.  Nancie received it on the 21st, in plenty of time for the show.  I thought her email was too sweet not to share, so with her permission:


The sm tack set arrived today!!  OMG, I had to get my glasses on to see it!!  LOL
How in the WORLD do you make such small tack and so beautifully?  LOL

Thank you so much for the donation and I'll make sure to lyk who wins it.  WOW!!


I love hearing about how people react to my tack, their success with my tack at shows, and how it does as a donation.  It really, truly makes my day.  I'm sure other artists feel the same way, so don't forget to update them!

Here's a close-up of the saddle that I sent to Nancie:

Good luck next weekend, Nancie, and to everyone who will be at Rough Riders Live!


PS: I haven't forgotten about the raffle! I'm working things out, and I'm reasonably sure that the next post will have details.

Another One Down...Ninety Billion to Go

Yesterday afternoon, between Disney movies, popcorn, and six or eight episodes of the X Files, I wrapped up Shauna's saddle.  She asked me to recreate a really neat eventing saddle with front and back kneeblocks. It was a really fun project that came together very easily.  I got to try a new technique, too.  Protective legwear is much easier to tack up if reinforced with wire.  Who knew? Plus, I'm on a five or six pair roll for laced reins! No breaks in a long time, so I think I'm really getting good at that.

I've still got a LOT of work to do, though.  Seven saddles are still to be started, with varying levels of difficulty.  Seven might as well be ninety billion right now, since the school semester is drawing to a close and I start a new job in exactly two weeks! Yikes. 

All of that said, though...this post is useless without pictures, right? Right!

Pssst...if you want to bid on the Working Girl set, you've got until the 23rd!