Raffle Results!

I cut and folded all 200(ish) comments this afternoon! I started out with a bowl, but outgrew it pretty quickly.  I ended up using my cat's sleeping basket (we call it a beddy-bye basket; anyone who's seen Aristocats will know what I'm talking about!) to hold the comments.  Of course kitty was very interested and cooperated nicely by scooping two comments out for me!  You can't get any more random than a cat, right?

She's picking the $20 credit winner in the photo.

The winner of the western or english set is....
Tami!   The winning comment was "What a great idea. I've enjoyed reading your blog so far and I love your tack :)" on 8/11/11.  I'm glad you've enjoyed reading, Tammi!

The winner of the $20 credit towards any future order is....
Tabatha Pack! Her winning comment was also from 8/11/11.

Thanks to all for reading and participating over the last month! Tammi and Tabatha, please send me an email at akirby@dreamflitedesign.com!

Raffle Ends TONIGHT!

Don't forget, all of you lovely wonderful people, that the raffle wraps up tonight! Comments will count as raffle entries until midnight tonight, central standard time!

And, so you have something to look at...

I wandered around the countryside a bit this morning and took some photos.  That was my relaxation for the day...NOW I have a website to update, class work to finish, and at some point a dressage saddle to work on!

New Toy!

I picked up a cheap P&S camera via Amazon's Gold Box deals earlier last week, and it arrived yesterday afternoon.  It's a nice little Canon Powershot that was 60% off or thereabouts.  Definitely worth picking up, though it won't completely replace my Nikon D60.  I can take the Canon along to the lake or any other event that I consider 'high risk' in place of my Nikon.  Losing or damaging a $50 camera will result in far fewer tears than losing or damaging a $650 camera!  I'm pretty impressed with the quality, too, and excited to have video on it!

Unfortunately, I've already learned that my projected goal of Tuesday/Thursday blog posts won't happen.  Tuesday is press day at the newspaper I work at, and by the time we're done on Tuesday night I'm ready to fall over.  I'll figure something out, though, never fear.

In the meantime, here's a photo (taken on the Canon) of the press I help run:

The press is divided into two units, and I run the unit on the left.  Those white rolls of paper are thicker than regular newsprint and weight around 1300 lbs.   A full roll of newsprint is closer to 900.  The thing is a beast! 

Raffle ends this weekend, don't forget! 


Class started today, so I'm busy writing due dates into my wall calendar and getting things organized.  I actually took the afternoon off of work to get a solid start on this stuff.  I'm taking three full semester classes this time around, which is the heaviest workload I've done so far.  It's not full time, of course, but if I can't balance work and school I get overwhelmed and go into a tailspin.  It's not pretty and doesn't do anyone any good.

Now that class has started, posting may be a little slower.  I'm going to try to post two or three times a week, and right now I'm going to schedule Tuesdays and Thursdays as blog days.  That will give me several days to work up a topic of some sort and spew out something cohesive, I think.  Today will be some miscellaneous updates!

First and most importantly, the raffle ends this Saturday (Aug 27) at midnight central standard time! I'll compile the comments information Sunday afternoon and try to get winners announced that night.  There have been 157 comments so far, which is totally exciting! I've loved reading all of them, and you guys have had some great things to say!

I started working on a trade project Sunday afternoon.  It doesn't look like much right now, but eventually it will be an upper level dressage set for Dinky Duke.  DD is just a little larger than Wee Jay, and is the largest I've gone so far.

The tutorial is officially with my volunteers! I've already heard back from Christine of Last Alliance Studios, and she has pictures of her first try up! She did a brilliant job both assembling the saddle and giving me feed back.  We've found one place already that needs clarification and more pictures. Leah at Shoestring Stable is also testing the tutorial for me, and as soon as I hear back from her I'll start revising and putting together a "clean" version. Right now the tutorial is functional, but not very pretty.  I want to format it a little bit and enlarge the photos.  It's sitting at 7 pages with 11 point type and thumbnail-sized pictures right now, so it's going to be the size of a small novel by the time it's done! I'm going to have to put it in a PDF, I think. Related but not: after using Adobe's InDesign so extensively at work, I find myself extraordinarily frustrated with the limitations of Microsoft Word.

That sort of sums things up for now! Theoretically, the next post will be about going "buckle-less", which is sort of a misnomer since there actually ARE buckles...you just don't use them!

Almost There!

We're trimming out the room today, so I should be spending the evening and tomorrow morning moving back in! I'm so excited! It's just in time for class to start on Monday.  I also have a website to build that's due early next week, so I may not get a post in as frequently.  I will have time to respond to comments, though, so keep them coming!

Don't forget that the raffle ends on the 27th, and for those of you commenting as anonymous posters - please include a name of some sort so that I can identify you! There have only been a couple of comments without names, and I'd hate for someone who is interested in the raffle to miss out.

I Think I'm In Love

This stuff was recommended to me highly.  I was curious, so when I happened across it at Michaels a few weeks ago I picked it up.  I didn't have time or a project to try it on at the time, but I tested it today.

I don't think I will EVER go back to sticky wax for boots.  This stuff is just as easy to find as sticky wax, and yeah, it's not reusable and you will have to reapply eventually, but the headaches it saves are SO worth it.  I threw some of it on the sport medicine boots I made this morning, and my eyes got big when I actually started tacking up.  It's amazing! The little tabs just stuck and I didn't have to worry about them popping off or anything.  Definitely worth the $4 or $5 a bottle, and I'll be using this stuff as often as possible.

Oh, here are the boots! They sit SO well with the Tack-It glue.

I've got a few other things I love, too, like my craft knives.  I use a small snap-blade knife for skiving and a regular exacto for everything else.  I can't imagine living without them.  The body of the snap-blade knife is old old old, from Walmart.  They no longer sell these knives or the blades, but you can pick them up near the paint/wall paper supplies at stores like Lowes and Home Depot.  I think the Exacto brand has one too, but I found the home improvement stores to be far less expensive than buying the name brand knife or blades at a craft store.

It's far easier to make your own buckles and most of your own bits when working in Stablemate scale.  I use 26g, 28g, and 32g wire.  26g is reserved for bits, western saddle rigging, or reinforcing various parts, like the swells and horn of a western saddle.  I also used it for stirrups, but less so now. 28g wire is often used for buckles or smaller D and O rings and as tongues for buckles made out of 26g wire.  32g is used to create the mouthpiece on bits (which is why I also have copper; it looks spiffy on western bits), and fixed buckles.  It's too thin to do anything else with, really.  Also in the photo is a spool of nylon upholstery & home decor thread.  It's thicker than the usual cotton stuff.  I use it in raise nose and brow bands, since wire can sometimes poke through the lower lining.  It can be very useful on english saddles, as you'll see when the english saddle tutorial is finished!
Back: 26g.  L to R middle: 28g, 32g silver, 32g copper. Front: upholstery thread. 

I only use two pairs of pliers, and one kind of snip.  I do have two pairs of the snips, though.  The tips get worn down and pitted eventually, so the worn pair is retired and used on rough stuff like straight pins.
If I could find a smaller tip on the round and needle nose pliers, I'd love it.  I haven't seen any at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, so I should probably do a little hunting online.  What I have works, though.

So, there's another look at the stuff I use.  Questions and comments, especially suggestions for walk-throughs and tutorials, are always welcome! 

Don't forget, everyone, 19 more days to enter the raffle! Every post is another entry into the raffle.