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!

Before and After



The remodel is done, I'm moved back in, and I am so glad that it's finally over!  You can't see it, but just off screen to the right are my closet doors.  I have my halter and two bridles hanging on the handles, but that's not exactly what I had in mind for them.  Any suggestions for display?

I'm still plugging away on that website, but I'm going to try to get the tutorial ready to be proofed by my lovely test subjects.  Blog topics coming soon:  a bridle tutorial and an article (of sorts) about going buckle-free! When the tutorial has been proofed and corrected, I'm going to try to get it into a PDF.  Text-only it's four pages in Word, so you can imagine how long of a blog post that would be!

Tutorial Progress

Last night I finished the first complete saddle based on the new tutorial pattern.  I found some things that I want to tweak, but the pattern is sound!  I'll adjust the pattern and write up my scribbled notes on the process today.  The second test saddle will be started today, and I'll refine the directions and time myself as I go along.  It could be ready for testing as early as Monday!  Release to everyone will have to wait until I get feedback from my lovely test people and make any necessary adjustments, but I am beyond excited!

The black saddle was the first try.  Since I hate making anything without a purpose, I added a couple of things during the process so that I can hang on to it for my personal show string.  I'll probably include those things as optional steps in the tutorial.

Also in progress for my personal show string is a western show saddle.  It's got the most extensive carving so far, and I'm pretty pleased with it.  Of course I see things I wouldn't mind changing, but I can always sell it and make a new one for myself later.

Coming Soon!

Progress on the first saddle made with the new pattern

I'm updating my Stablemate Saddle Tutorial!  Actually, I'm completely reworking it.  I posted that poor thing back in 2007, almost four years ago.  It's still pretty popular, apparently, despite numerous flaws.  I looked it up today and it's got nearly 2,000 views over the course of four years on a pretty slow board.

This tutorial will be for the G3 Warmblood, but the G3s can share saddles.  Right now I have the pattern done, I'm just testing it out and making notes during the creation.  After I get the kinks worked out in the pattern and process(and I know they're in there),  I'll make a second saddle and document the progress with photos and more notes.  Once the text is written up, I'm going to pass this on to one or two hobbyists for a test run.  That way I can have feedback on how well the instructions work and the overall friendliness of the project!  I'll post the tutorial here, for sure, and likely copies on Fallen-Leaves and Blab.  If it's popular enough, I may see if a hobby publication wants to pick it up, too.

 If you'd like to test-run the tutorial, please drop me a line.  'Test pilots' need to be able to complete the tutorial in a timely manner, document how it went, and provide feedback on rough areas.  You can send an email to akirby@dreamflitedesign.com or post in the comments if you're interested and I'll email a copy to you whenever it's done.