Studio Update 2013: So Here's the Deal

As I neared my studio 'season' this summer, I thought long and hard about how I wanted to handle potential orders and my work load. I really did think long and hard; I started considering options as early as February and began bouncing ideas off of people in March. I consulted other hobbyists doing business in the same(ish) area, potential customers, past customers, and slowly came to the realization that I can't make everyone (myself included) happy all at once. It was a hard decision, but here it is:

As of 2013, I will no longer be taking regular commission work.

Instead, I'll be focusing on auction and sales pieces. There are a lot of reasons why, but here are the top 3:

1. I often work faster on sales pieces than commissions. We'll chalk that up to an uncooperative muse. The end result is that working faster = more tack on the market.
2. Commissions stress me out. I love them, but they stress me out. I just had a really stressful semester, and as much as I love them, I don't need more stress.
3. I get to work on projects that speak to me. Self explanatory.

I know that a lot of people will be disappointed that they won't have the opportunity to commission work from me, and I know this means there may be a lot of fun projects that I'll miss out on, but given my circumstances this feels like the right choice.

Here's what I hope to do:

Several highly detailed pieces to be auctioned, starting with the parade set that has been languishing in a box and several simpler, saddle-and-bridle pieces to be sold at a fixed cost on MH$P with plenty of advance notice so that interested parties can keep an eye out. I'm going to do my best to offer a fair mix of tack for popular plastics and resins. It's very likely that something for WeeJay, Little Lonestar, Working Girl, Mindy, and the G4/WEG molds will be put out over the summer.

I have other plans, too, like sculpting a western tree and casting it with the help of Rebecca Turner of Solstice Art. These trees won't be for just my personal use; I'll also be selling them, assuming all of this works out the way its supposed to. I'd like to get an instruction manual and pattern together to go with them.  I want to try my hand at a few how-to videos, too, starting with the best (well, my way) of tacking up. I want to be really active here on the blog and on Facebook; look for a freebie opportunity in the next few days - the studio page just hit 350 likes and the blog is pretty close to 60 watchers. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy and I'd like to share those feelings as they come along.

State of the Studio

So that is where the studio stands. I'll be cleaning up the website, updating the galleries, and clearing away some odds and ends this week. I have already done a lot of the pre-season clean up and restocking - yay for new toys (I mean tools)! I'm really excited about this summer. It feels like a marvelous jumping off point, and I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Here's to a wonderful summer full of tack, plastic ponies, and creativity!

Of Asthma, Aussies, and Asus

or "Why Anna has been AWOL."

I've spent the last week plus battling and then recovering from another major sinus episode, complete with oral steriods, an inhaler, and lots of antibiotics. The good news is that there may be a reason I've had several really bad (dare I say epic) sinus infections: the doctor I saw at the prompt care clinic last Friday suggested that I may have asthma.

Asthma is not outside the realm of possibility and given what I've learned about it in the last week, the diagnosis would make a lot of sense. I have an appointment with my regular physician in a week (sooner if they can get me in) and an inhaler for the meantime. Cross your fingers for me! I'm hoping its asthma; the inhaler I have right now helps massively but makes me very jittery.

I'm trying to get caught up on homework as quickly as I can. My first half semester class is almost over, and I'll have a week or so between classes to get caught up on my full semester class assignments. Hopefully after that's taken care of I can maintain a steady pace and work on tack!

I shipped out the Show for the Cure donation today, and next on the list is another go at the Aussie Stock Saddle. I put the knee blocks on the apoxie tree and made a barcoo bridle before I got sick. The tree is now thoroughly cured. I'm hoping to don a mask (yay asthma!) and finish some last minute shaping and then launch into construction. Fingers crossed the leather tree pattern won't need too much adjustment.

That covers asthma and Aussies...the Asus is my new laptop! I've had my eye on this model since I started scoping them out at the beginning of the year. It's a 15.6" machine with an 8gb memory, 750gb hard drive, i7 processor, and a touch screen! It's running Windows 8 and honestly, while the touch screen is helpful, it hasn't been necessary. Win8 is different and 'quirky' but certainly not the doomsday scenario I thought it would be.

This laptop is a massive leap above my almost 5yo desktop. I can finally run Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign at their full potential!

So there's a quick update. Hopefully I'll have something better to show in a week or so - like a finished saddle!

Bright and Clean

I hope that describes the new blog layout.  It's not really different, actually, just...tweaked a little, for continuity between the website and blog interface.  The links that ran across the top of the page have been moved to the right, for instance.  Not much of a difference, really, right?

The website underwent MAJOR changes, though!  The previous design went into effect in January of 2010. It had a few tweaks along the way, but remained more or less unchanged until now.

You can check it out in person at www.dreamflitedesign.com. The new website is cleaner, brighter, and maybe a little easier to navigate. Sometimes dropdown menus act a little funny, but the new navigation should be a breeze.  Click on the link, and viola! A nifty menu pops down and stays down until you click on it's parent link or another menu item.

This new design is in line with the labels I printed for the new boxes. Same color scheme, same font. New business cards to follow!

I tested the new website pretty thoroughly before releasing it, but there will always be bugs.  If you catch one, turn it in at akirby@dreamflitedesign.com or post it in the comments here.  Thanks!

For those counting down with me...class starts Wednesday.  The clock just ticked over 12 AM, so that's TOMORROW! Yikes!


Some of you may have noticed the two new buttons on the right side of the blog; one for mailing list, and one for Facebook.  That's because I've found two problems with the blogging format.

One: I don't really have the time or content to post every day.  I'd love to be able to, it's just not where I'm at right now.

Two: The blog is somewhat limited in it's reach.  Not everyone checks blogs frequently; people might miss important announcements!

This is where Facebook and the mailing list (a Yahoogroup created in 2007 that I resurrected) come in.  If you want the important updates delivered right to your inbox, the Yahoogroup is there.  It's announcement only, too, so you won't be inundated with mail.  Sales pieces/commission slots will be announced on the blog, Facebook, AND via the Yahoogroup.

And to make sure this blog post is interesting...here's the latest finished piece! I snapped a rein in two when I was tacking it up for the final pictures on Saturday, but everything's fixed now.

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.

I Made It!

Expect a more coherent post tomorrow; for now, suffice it to say that I survived the huge paper and am grateful that I only have two more (of that magnitude) to do this semester.  I stressed myself out about it by waiting until the last minute, but it wasn't too bad.  I think.  The professor sent out an email yesterday saying that the papers he'd received at that point (I hadn't submitted mine yet) were all done incorrectly.  Panic, much? I think I did okay, but this was the first paper for the class so I have no idea how it's going to turn out.

Regardless, I sent it off tonight.  There's no getting it back, so I might as well relax, right? I'm in my pajamas before 9 p.m. and cleaning like a maniac.  Little things like, oh, laundry tend to get left behind when I throw myself into panicked-paper-writing-mode.

I finished up my Show for the Cure donation on Saturday, though, and was hoping to get pictures but it's been insanely windy the last couple of days.  I'm afraid that it would be nearly impossible to keep the model upright during a photoshoot.  Winds are supposed to die down, so if I can just avoid the forecasted rain...better yet, I should make a simple photo booth! Shoestring Stables just posted an awesome tutorial that looks perfect for mini aficionados on a budget (cough, me, cough).