Saturday, December 01, 2007

Peaceful :-)

Today I'm feeling very peaceful for once. Friday (yesterday) was my last day at work and I am now on Maternity leave. I have a TON of stuff that I need to do this next week but I have faith in myself that I'll get most of it done

On Thursday evening I spent time with my two closest friends, Robin and Anna. We went out to dinner and then went to a book store. (I LOVE book stores!) It was nice to get out and have a leisurely evening with very good company.

Today I met another friend of mine, Lori, for Breakfast and we had a nice chat about munchkins and grandparents and stuff. Lori is expecting too. It was good to see her because I don't think that I've seen her since I got married in 2002!

I'm still feeling rather tired but I presume that is to be expected. Thursday morning and intermittently friday I had shoulder problems and headaches but it seems to have subsided today. I made myself sleep a lot after I got off of work yesterday and that seemed to help some. Hopefully now that I don't have to worry about work I'll get a bit more sleep.

Unfortunately I haven't been in the studio at all. I am either just too tired or I can't focus on what I'm doing. I find that when I'm like this, it's best to just wait until my focus is back. I end up making something wrong and having to do it over anyway which frustrates me.

Anywho, tomorrow I get to go to Marimba's mexican food buffet which is my favorite!! YAAY!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Thats all I can say to describe how I'm feeling. I'm just friggin exhausted. I'm having a lot of anxiety over every subject under the sun regarding bringing the baby home and how it will affect my life and my relationship with my wonderful husband. In fact, I went to bed last night at around 10:30pm and woke up at 2am and just started to worry. Then I was up every hour or so.. I had a catnap once today which I think helped some but I still have that nagging tiredness in the back of my mind.

I did finish the Breyer "lady phase" Mold halter that I was working on but it's just not up to snuff. I had to redo the knots (they were dirty)and re-adjust how it sat on the horse's face only to find out that the mold year of horse I was using is actually smaller in the head than the current year's mold. I've decided that I'm just going to keep that halter in my "collection" and do another one on a more recent mold's head to sell later on. The halter "Looks" really great.. just as good as usual but I have a nagging feeling that it shouldn't be sold or "played with".

I can not get my head around making a bit for the Mother Hubbard saddle's bridle. I just can't focus on it. It's probably my sleep depravation.. I just look at my reference and wait for it to zing me and inspire me like it normally would but no clear picture actually comes. I keep trying to come up with something that is unique and "Jungle" inspired but I just can't translate it right now to a miniature bit. I think that a snake would be nifty but I'm not sure How I'd incorporate that thought into a spade type bit... so maybe a leaf? or a flower? And then I tell myself to just go simple.. and then I laugh.. as if I could do something plain and simple now that I know how to do something more elaborate.. I want the bridle to be as special as the saddle so the bit (which is the foundation for the bridle) will have to wait until I can be more mentally clear..... Probably three or four months from now..hA!

So as of now I'm officially taking a short hiatus from the hobby and probably from blogging for a while... I can't push myself any more. My chair upstairs in the studio is too uncomfy but any other kind of chair is MORE uncomfy.. when I sit in my little space, bambino kicks me really hard and wiggles around and distracts me... then the Kitties want to sit in my lap and I just end up stopping. It's much easier right now to just lay down. I have a lot of respect for women who are perky and can work in their last few weeks of pregnancy and all of this change not bother them.. Cause it's certainly bothering me. I think I'm just overly sensitive though..

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Getting closer..

This past week I've been utterly exhausted. I feel like I'm back in my first trimester again! I was getting off of work and almost falling into bed. I can't focus mentally on whats in front of me and I just want to sleep!

I finally got back up into the studio last night after a whole week of not getting up there. I got one silver plate finished and was working on the crownpiece of a halter and I wanted to go to bed. So I did. I fell asleep by 9:30pm and slept solidly until 5am. That longest I've slept in weeks!

I'm still a tad groggy today but I'm looking forward into getting into the studio today for a few hours and trying to get something accomplished!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Scary night

Yesterday started out as a normal day.. Work was nutso, and then a trip to the Dr's for a checkup. The checkup went great but after I got home my lower back started to hurt really badly. I wasn't overly worried about it(in the third trimester lower back pain is normal from the weight gain (don't get me started on THAT topic)and from not sleeping well) until I started getting some cramping up front too. Turns out these are the signs of preterm labor and hubby immediately got me into bed and promptly called the dr. The dr told me to lay on my left side and drink 2 or 3 glasses of water (whatever I could get down in the quickest amount of time). I got about 2 and 1/2 glasses of water in me and my body really WANTED those glasses of water. I was also really hungry - it kind of snuck up on me.. After about 3 hours I was back to normal thankfully but not without shedding a few "I'm scared, it's too soon!" tears.

I feel ok but achey today in my belly and especially in my shoulders and in my back around my shoulderblades.

Needless to say I guess I need down some more water throughout the day. I normally drink quite a bit but because I was at the drs office I got distracted and didn't drink as much.

As an interesting note, I mentioned that I am not sleeping well(as I mentioned.)to my Dr, and she said that this is due to hormones in my bod that are getting me ready for the bambino to come. It's keeping me alert even though asleep for when the bambino cries for me at night so this explains why I wake up at every noise and sometimes for no reason. I've also found that sometimes I'm just hungry when I get up in the middle of the night which doesn't make any sense to me.

Well, needless to say no tack got done yesterday. I think I fell asleep at 8pm and I woke up once at 1:30am with "The reflux". (Another lovely side effect of pregnancy is getting acid reflux because everything is pushing up on my stomach). I like saying "I gots the reflux" in a southern accent. (I live in kentucky so I'm entitled to whip out the southern accent whenever It pleases me ).

Today is election day for State Governor. Don't get me started. All I can say is that I wish that there were more viable Liberal Candidates in Kentucky. I know, I'm dreamin. I will be trudging to the polls late this afternoon provided I'm still feeling ok.

On Sunday I did manage to get a couple of bit shanks done. I'm not overly happy with them. I see these beautiful, "vaquero" spade bits on the Internet and I really want to duplicate them. Unfortunately they take some skills and tools that I don't know how to use an don't have access too. (like gas torches! ) I really wish that I had gone to art school and majored in something fun like metalsmithing. Of course, when I was in my late teens, early 20's there is no way you could have convinced me that my path was anything other than fine arts and I probably wouldn't have taken the class even if it was offered to me. Live and learn.

Here are some pictures of what I accomplished. I'm not sure if I'll use this design or not. Since, as I mentioned, I'm not as "on it" as I have been in the past (yet another side effect of being pregtnant my Dr told me) I'm not sure how this bit will turn out. I DO know, and feel confident in the fact that this is good training for mah brain and learning something new is always a step forward.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Been A awhile..

It's been a while since I posted and I apologize for that!

I've been very tired. I'm Due to give birth in December and the extra weight and the lack of sleep has caught up to me a bit. (Hard to sleep on my back because of the baby and hard to sleep on my side because of my shoulder problems) I've been "good" about napping every day so thats been sustatining me in my endeavor to keep working on tack so that I can keep relaxed.

I am very "fuzzy" in the brain. I'm not used to really not being "on it" mentally. An artist friend of mine says that the creativity and the spark of ideas will come back in time and for me not to fret!

I am happy to say that I've finished the reins for the matching bridle for my mother hubbard set. After a lot of mental indecision I've decided to do a fully braided bridle for the set. I think it just "fits" to do one. I have no idea how long it'll take me to get it finished though. I know that after the baby comes there will be at least a few months where tack will definitely go by the wayside due to sleep deprivation.

Today I've been looking through pictures of Spade bits to try to spark an idea for the bit for the bridle. Everything on the headstall starts with the bit so I need to get-a-movin!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not a lot of progress

Well, the last few weeks I've been very busy at work which has exhausted me by the time I get off of work. This means, unfortunately, that I haven't gotten a lot accomplished.

I even lost a piece of the Romel reins that I was working on for two days, only to find it after I had started over.(SOOO frustrating). The good news is that I did successfully do a tiny brown interwoven knot last night on that part however. That is always progress for me!
The Green interwoven/silver halter was a Rousing Success on ebay! I was so flattered and pleasantly shocked that it went for $270 u.s. at auction! What a thrill for a miniature tackmaker! I hope that the next one I offer will go for as much and be as popular.
The Picture above shows a Donation for the NAMHSA Region 10 Regionals in Buffalo, NY. My husband's family is originally from up that way so I have a soft spot in my heart for that area of the country. I don't do very many donations over the course of the year because I just don't have the time and the stress of too strict a deadline makes me anxious. (The brown interwoven halter is the donation and the green one on the horse in the background was the one that sold so well on ebay.)
I rarely have more than one of anything finished and laying around here so I decided to take a picture when I did.
Today I'm exhausted because I wasn't feeling well over-night. I guess I ate something yesterday that didn't quite agree with me so I woke up several times... Of course I've been craving mexican food through the last part of my pregnancy here so It's probably my own fault! HA!
I am utterly exhausted today though (practice for when the baby comes), I'll definitely need a nap after work.
The baby has been doing what I call "the jig" or "the riverdance" lately. It's interesting to me how over time, his kicks and arm flailings get stronger and stronger. Not long now until he comes into the world and I have a whole new set of things to obsess over..
We are finally getting a lot of rain here. We are down 10 inches for the year which is known as an "extraordinary" drought. Overnight We've gotten 4 inches so that should help the water table. I feel deeply upset for the farmers here in Kentucky who make a living off of the land. It must be a very rough year for them.
The Creek that had been almost dry in our back yard is now very swollen and has gotten past it's banks. We should be fine however as long as there is no flash flooding.
As a completely silly side note, I've become a "Farscape" fan. I've been streaming it a bit over the last few days and although I find some of the plots rather predicatable, I find the show very imaginative. All hail Jim Hensen!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Happily Busy..

I'm happy to say that I've been busy and I've felt fairly ok, other than being tired.

I have put another halter up on ebay (see picture) and I'm thrilled and surprised at the response to it! Thank you to everyone that bid!! Click here to go to the auction..
I have also finished part of the Romel reins that I was working on. I braided up some more artificial rawhide last night so that I could move forward with working on it this weekend.
Some of you guys may already know that I am pregnant and Due In December. My husband and I are going "baby shopping" this weekend to register for stuff. The amount of things one needs for a tiny person is staggering and overwhelming! I thought I was bad with all of my artist supplies!

Friday, September 28, 2007


I FINALLY was able to make a TINY knot out of the darker brown thread and then interweave it. This has given me fits for weeks!! Unlike the white/ecru thread, which my brain is apparently used to I couldn't see the brown knots well enough to interweave them on my romel reins. When I make these knots, I have to do them perfectly - meaning, not too tight and not too loose. To loose and my brain doesn't understand the structure of the knot. Too tight and I can 't see or loosen up the knot enough to interweave it.

I've also stopped working on halters for the moment. I am just going to focus on making the bridle for the mother hubbard set. I have such grandiose plans for it but I have no idea if they will come to fruition. I've been studying Luis Ortega's work and there are some details that I've seen on one of his bridles that I want to try to do on this one.

If you can't tell, my work, for me, is a series of challenges. I have ideas that I have no clue as to whether or not I can actually make real, but somehow I always find a way. The really fun part of this is seeing something come to fruition after a lot of disappointment and doubt. I've been told that I always do things the hard way and I definitely think it's true. I do wish that things would come faster to me sometimes but I firmly believe in the addage "everything in it's own time". I console myself a lot with that - it helps me keep going forward in my art unafraid. I've also heard that mistakes are part of the learning process so I take that to heart as well.

I wish I had learned all of that 20 years ago.. I would be a lot farther in my art career.. (but everything in it's own time! HA!)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Headaches

This week has again been marked by headaches. Monday I got a massage on my shoulders, back and hips to hopefully help work out some of the kinks so monday night I was actually able to spend a hour in the studio. The pain after the massage was at a managable level and I could ignore it long enough to plan out how many more woven halters I needed to make..

Then Tuesday and wednesday were horrible. Really nasty and bad headaches with shooting pain that stretched from my shoulders, up the back of my neck and into the back of my eyes. So of course, nothing got done. (which is a source of stress to me) They tell me I have tension and cluster headaches intead of classic migraines but sometimes taking migraine medication works to help dull out the pain.

Today though, Knock on wood, I am doing ok. I'm hoping it'll last all day so that I can spend time in the studio tonight!!

Even the kitties are in a good mood and playing in the sunshine today. One of the great things about my cats is that they LOVE their people. They call for us when they can't find a human in the house and they LOVE to cuddle up next to us. since I've been spending so much time in bed, I've been lucky enough to have their company. There is something so comforting and wonderful about a purring kitty that just wants to be loved on.. :-)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday Progress!

Thank goodness for sundays! From Wednesday through Saturday of Last week, I had a horrible migraine. I guess it's just hormones doing the wacky and there isn't a lot I can do about it except to take my migraine meds and endure.

Mercifully, Sunday the headache gods gave me a reprieve and I was able to work in the studio almost all day! I got two more knots finished on my romel reins! I'm SO HAPPY! Only 6 more to go! hA! I also got more knots on more halters finished up and now there is just some leather work to do on them.

I hope that they will be as well received as the last two halters were. I've been pleasantly overwhelmed at the response to the halters I've had on ebay and it is definiately encouraging me to make some more.

The great thing about the halters is that it directly affects my ability to make the knots on the romel reins. If I successfully make larger knots on the halters, then my brain is "tuned" to making the smaller ones on the romel reins. I seal the knots on the halters and then allow them to dry, in the meantime I work on the romel reins. Then I go back and forth while one knot is drying, I do more.

My Silver working courage has come back to me thankfully (I was feeling quite timid about that for a while)for bit for the bridle for the mother hubbard II set. I also started forming, mentally, what the bridle will look like. I'm hoping that I'll have time to do a fully braided bridle. I haven't done one since 2002 but this new one will be much better than the ones I made back then. My braiding skills are finer now and I have more courage to try more interwoven knots.

I've been re-studying (I say "restudying" because I forget things so easily now) Louis Ortega's work as well as Ray Huffman's work... and of course Susan B.Y.'s braid work which inspires me to make the fully braided bridle for the Mother hubbard set.

I hope that sometime soon someone does a coffee table style book of "cowboy" braidwork in tribute to all of the great braided tackmakers. I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at that stuff..

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

doin the happy, cheesey, arm dance!

FINALLY! I was able to do some knots on the romel reins I've been working on!! TWO of em last night near the end of my studio time. I'm so happy I can hardly stand it! It took full and complete concentration for an extended period of time but thankfully all of those knots on halters really paid off!!

I am attaching a picture of the romel reins with my two knots and I have put a pencil eraser and a halter down next to them as scale reference.

The halter shows my first hand made silver jump rings and mimic the silver rings that the real western show halters have in real life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Quick Update!

The halter pictured below is currently on ebay for sale! Please check it out here:

Also, I've added a link where you can sign up your email address to recieve any posts I make via email!

Thanks! :-)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Guess what!?

I have poison ivy :-) Yes, thats right, on top of everything else, I now have poison ivy and it's driving me crazy. The "fun" part of poison ivy is that if you surf the web to read about it, you can read more wives tales and home remedies than I've ever seen. Proof that everyone gets it at least once!

The good thing though is that this weekend, I was very productive! Though not in the way I wanted. I guess thats the way the creative process goes.

I was able to finish up a beaded show halter and put it on ebay this morning.

I was able to do more knots practicing for the romel reins. I was even able to work with some silver last night which gave me more confidence about constructing another silver bit for my Mother Hubbard II set.

I also got the BEAUTIFUL stirrups that my friend Robin made attached to the saddle.

All in all, a really good weekend! I wish that I had another two days free so that I could do even more!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Organized Mess :-)

I know that this looks like quite a mess, but it's my work space currently. Everything is within reach should I need it.

Those four bits of leather are actually four halters and those Danged romel reins. I keep making more woven halters practicing for the knots on the reins. I'm hoping that this weekend I'll have time to make some progress on the reins We'll See. Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Oh Hey, I haven't whined in a while

Besides headache/shoulder aches I'm still sort of internally "ouchy". Sometimes sitting in one spot for a long period of time or getting in and out of my studio chair too often can result in my belly not feeling so well. Time in the studio has been short and only productive about half of the time.

Tonight I finished up the matching lead for the halter that I made a few days ago.

Then I started another woven halter because I have not been successful at creating interwoven knots on the romel reins for my Mother Hubbard II set. I started the woven halter to boost my creative self esteem and show myself that I really DO know how to make those interwoven knots.

Everytime I Switch to a new material (ie from artificial rawhide to heavy thread) with those knots, it's like learning a completely new knot. The material that I'm weaving acts differently depending on what I am apparently weaving it around. If I successfully weave a knot then the interweave goes wrong somewhere and I miss a loop. It's very frustrating but as usual, I am going to keep moving forward. Every day I try to do at least one or two knots on the romel reins but so far I have not been overly successful. Again, I marvel at the brilliance of Susan's work.

Also the bosal has been giving me fits. It's just not as sophisticated as I would like. I'm going to need to learn a couple of more knots now in order to make it look how I'd like for it to look. Yes, this is going to take me FOREVER but I think the end result will really be worth it.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A little bit of Progress

After struggling with a 4 day migraine and interwoven turks head knots all week, I decided to "take a break" and boost my creative self esteem by making a western show halter on Saturday. Actually I'm finishing one up that I had been working into my schedule for a while. (next one will be ISH sized!) I'm very pleased with how this turned out :-) I even put matching swarovski crystals on it to match my doll made by Sherri Wertz. (I put the crystals on, the doll was made before that was fashionable in the QH world).

I actually spent at least 8 hours in the studio yesterday which is the longest that I've been able to work up there in at least a month. It was very very soothing for my soul. In fact I meant to clean and dust the house yesterday but I got so carried away in my studio that I just forgot about that plan and just made stuff. (yes, My hubby is a very understanding and patient man)

Last night was topped off by a call to Susan Bensema young for some "tack chat". She told me of the harness that she refurbished as well as talking about knots and her other wonderful innovations.

We also touched on the Brilliance of Carol Williams of Rio rondo, Jennifer Harris hardware, and Elaine Sulser hardware. We are so lucky as a hobby that we have these kinds of parts available and that we have a choice about what we choose to work with. Although now I make a lot of my own stuff, there are some things that I'm not as good at or can't make efficiently and I'm grateful to those folks that mass produce things like bits and buckles so that I can add them to what I create quickly and efficiently.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sick some more

I've spent the last four days with a horrible locked up shoulder/headache. I haven't done anything but sleep and hope that the pain subsides. Finally this morning the headache let me go. I hope it lasts through the day so that I can get back into the studio tonight..

Friday, August 24, 2007


Finally I had some good stuff go on in the studio last night! After a couple of tries, I was able to do another interweave knot on a set of romel reins! YAY! This is the longest that I have spent in the studio in two weeks! I'm hoping that there will be a lot more time spent in the studio this weekend!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nuthin accomplished

Unfortunately, I had a lot of pain this weekend that prevented me from getting anything accomplished in the studio. I spent an hour up there today but my stomach muscles and innards started to hurt quite a bit and I had to stop and lay down. I'm pretty frustrated about that but at this point (7pm est sunday night) it can't be helped.

I'll be getting my stitches out tommorrow morning and I really can't wait although I am really apprehensive about the pain. Hopefully having these stiff nylon stitches gone will result in a lot less pain.

I was able to actually put on some very soft bermuda style pants today so that I could go to my favorite restaurant for their Mexican Brunch. If you're ever in Shelbyville, KY for Lunch, I suggest you go to Marimba's brunch. I love it so much that we go every sunday. I actually start to crave it if we miss a sunday!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

As well as can be expected!

It has been approximately 7 days since my surgery and everything is going as well as can be expected. I have had some pain that has required some serious medication, but this is mostly at night when my body is tired. I can't sleep all of the way through the night though. I've been getting up between 3:30am and 4:30 am every night for the last month or so. I'm not sure if this is stress or what but I was hoping that with all of the emotional and physical stress I would at least sleep longer.

I miss making tack like crazy. I hate sitting and doing nothing or laying around in bed. I'm hoping to be "back in production" by next week.

I do have the below western show halter on ebay this week for sale! One of the very few sales items I have throughout the year. So if'n your innerested, please go take a look! :-)

Monday, August 06, 2007

Not going to be a good week

This past saturday I spent running around to friends houses. I don't do nearly enough of this. I'm very prone to being a hermit for some reason. I don't call folks, I don't answer the phone and I definitely don't go "visiting" very often. I'm lucky and grateful for the friends i DO have!

Saturday night though, me and my bestest friends went to the Shelbyville (ky) Horse Show. I took about 260 photos and only got about 2 really good ones.. Ha! My camera and I were arguing quite a bit. I wore it out when I went to the 2006 Arabian Horse Nationals. It now does not like to focus or take pictures when I tell it to. The weather was africa hot but then it rained briefly and cooled everything off.

Sunday, I was just exahusted so I "veg'd" most of the day. I hate not being productive but my brain just couldn't focus on what I was doing and I kept having to start over. I finally quit and went to take a nap.

At the end of this week I will be having surgery and probably be laid up for a week or so. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 30, 2007

More health issues

Saturday I laid around most of the day because I wasn't feeling well.

Sunday I felt a lot better so I finished up a western show halter with the new skill I learned: interwoven turks head knots! I also added some real silver plates.

I'm about rabid to do more knotwork which is GREAT for the Mother hubbard II set. I'll be finishing up the saddle and then move onto the bridle and bosal.

I was working on hand made buckles again yesterday (in between drying glue) and I am/was feeling apprehensive about making more. I feel like I have not figured out yet how to make two exactly the same. I hope folks will forgive me if they're slightly different. Thats one of the ways of telling if something is hand made.. But then I want them to be as perfect as possible. Typical connundrum for an artist I think.

Anyway, I'm feeling really tire dthis afternoon. I'm not sure if I slept really well last night but I presume I didn't because of how I feel today.


Monday, July 23, 2007


Whooo Buddy I'm tired today. Lots of running around the Kentucky Horse park this past week and visiting with model horse friends. I had a wonderful time!

Last Tuesday Susan Young came to visit me and helped me with my interweaves on my knots! I'm so pleased to say that I think I'm learning them quite well! I've already completed four miniature knots with interweaves! I'm so excited that I feel like going on a braided tack "kick".. I'm just obsessed with doing knots!!

I'm having a hard time finding DMC Tatting thread size 80 in brown! You'd think that like their embroidery floss, it would be EVERYWHERE.. but no.. LOL!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Breyerfest Next week!

Yipee! Breyerfest is in two weekends! Breyerfest is a gathering of model horse enthusiasts in Lexington, KY. Lexington is only about an hour away from me so I am privileged enough to be able to go every year. People as far away as Japan, England, Germany, Australia and other countries have gone to Lexington enjoy the Kentucky Horse park and Breyerfest.

I love going every year because I get an opportunity to meet some of my Internet friends and see some faces of those that I've met before as well.

On the Tack front, I have mostly finished my "Californio II" saddle. Now onto the Bridle and bosal. I am lucky enough that Susan Bensema Young will be visiting me next week and has promised to help me with knots and braiding. I also love her company and sharing my reference books with her

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ode to Susan B. Young

Many folks that make miniatures have "mentors" or "Idols" - folks that they look up to that do the same things that they do but seem to do them a little bit better.

One of my miniature tackmaking mentors is Susan Bensema Young. Susan has been making miniatures for 25 years or more and it definitely shows. When I was starting out(even now!) in making miniature tack I would gaze at her website wanting so bad to own one of her pieces. At the time though, I knew I couldn't afford it, so I would just sit with simmering jealousy at her beautiful creations.

Then as I got better and more confident in my craft I actually introduced myself to Susan one year at Breyerfest. We were interrupted by Kathleen Bond who showed Susan how she made a woven star on her Real saddles. I was SO LUCKY to be able to sit there in the midst of two seasoned tackmakers that I just shut my mouth and appreciated what I was seeing.

Another year came at Breyerfest and I was determined to again "visit" with Susan if only to buy her book this time. To my delight, when she saw me again, the first words out of her mouth were 'You've improved!" I was on cloud 9.

Since then susan and I have become fast friends. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. All of the knots, saddlemaking and silversmithing are just a poor attempt by me to be as good as her. I have found though, that the more I know, the more I realized I have SO MUCH to learn and the more I admire Susan.

This is especially poignant for me right now, while I am teaching myself "interweaves" on a turks head knot.

IF you know susan's work already, you are probably nodding your head by now in agreement. If you don't, I suggest you take a few moments to meander to her website to see the brilliance that is Susan's work. All of those beautiful Knots that you see on her miniature tack are indeed miniature woven knots. Not painted, woven. Her skill is unsurpassed by anyone in the equine miniaturist hobby. Even if you don't much care for or understand the Equine miniaturist hobby, you will appreciate what Susan has accomplished and recognize her influence on my work.

Yesterday, Saturday, I felt better than I have in quite some time. I'm hoping that this good health will continue through today so that I can keep teaching myself woven knots with interweaves. It feels really good to be back in the studio again. I've missed it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Isn't that always the way?

Well, After banging my head against two spanish ring knots, I found that the book I was using doesn't explain interweaves on a spanish ring knot That I am looking for. (even though it said "Start a second color here") So I ordered another book (braiding the bosal II). If you like braiding or knotting turks heads, or pineapple knots or whatever, then you need to go to Gail is an exceptionally talented artist as well as braider and these books are really easy to follow.

Fortunately, I figured out that this book didn't have what I was looking for so I went onto an interweave knot (second color) on a six bight turks head knot. Only took me two days (and countless times of starting over) before Ifinally made it correctly this afternoon! Now to teach myself to braid it in miniature!
It would be nice to some day make these in large real horse sized.. but thats probably just a daydream at this point since the miniatures keep me so very busy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Two Days in a Row!

I was able to get up into the Studio this week two days in a row! Last night I taught myself the Spanish Ring knot of two passes.. I am going to have to learn the spanish ring knot of three passes though to acheive the look that I want. I was pleased that I was able to get my brain to understand the two passes..hehehehe

Hopefully I'll be back up there again tonight!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Still sick, little progress

I have still been very sick with frequent Migraines, headaches and shoulder spasms. I've gotten precious little done in the way of tack. I have very short spans of no pain but then the pain comes back. (Like an hour or less). I've been sleeping a lot and my regular job has been keeping me very busy. I'm hoping that I'll be on the mend in a month or two but right now I'm downright miserable.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Trying to Move forward..

I'm actually going to go up to my studio tonight and work - for the first time in a week. I've just been too sick and exhausted to work consistantly. I don't want it to show in my work so I try to only work when I'm feeling ok.. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Derby Week!

If you don't know what the Kentucky Derby is, or what a party the City of Louisville Turns into during Derby week, serious, you're missing out. It's like a week long mardi gras ending in one of the most famous and most illusive to win horse races in the world. I love Living in Louisville, Ky during derby week. I love that the whole world is looking at our city and that we're doing ourselves proud :-)

I have been very sick and haven't gotten much of anything done on the saddle set. Lots of migraines and nausea has kept me out of the studio.. so nothing new yet!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Finished Mochilla!

Just a quick picture of the finished mochilla. It's dang near impossible to get a good picture of a dk brown object indoors!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Blog Day!

Yay it's friday! Which is starting to become blog day!

To the left is my first attempt to cut a horse head out of 18 gague copper. I did this in my metalsmithing class that I have started to take!

The first day was very encouraging and the instructor is interested in helping me work in miniature! I'm so excited about this!! I learned so much even in the first two hours!

As a side product of the metalsmithing class, it's dawned on me that I won't practice drawing here in the house on my own. Too many other things to do!! So I think I may pursue taking a basic drawing class this year as well. All of these skills can only make my miniatures better as I use metalsmithing and drawing both when I make them.

I have dyed the finished mochilla of my second Californio saddle and I'm working on the seat piece. The tooling is going a lot faster for me this time around. I guess I feel like I have a clue as to what I'm doing so I'm moving ahead more quickly.

Lately, my health has been decent although I've been tired. Course I'm always tired. Not sure what thats about but I'm sure I'm one of millions of folks that don't sleep well.

Next weekend, April 21, there is another Model Horse Show in Lexington, Ky. Funny how one doesn't plan on going to these things and then suddenly one gets a "fever" to compete and wants to go. Happily it's close to home so It would be an opportunity wasted if I didn't.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 06, 2007

More Photos from the Show

Everyone Sing the blog song!

This past weekend I went to the Model Horse Mania Model Horse Show in Nicholasville, Ky. I really had a wonderful time! I Caravaned/Carpooled with two friends and I knew most of the folks at the show so it made for a very wonderful day! I also came home with some championships for my collection. I also took a TON o pictures.. about 900 in all!

The two friends of mine showed my tack at the show and they both took firsts and seconds in their class, then firsts in their divisions as well as taking an over all champ in Performance using my tack.
I have started my second Californio Style Mother Hubbard Set for the Museum of the West. This one will be mostly chocolate brown. It will have more tooling on it than the first one and the tooling pattern has been changed somewhat. I don't care for doing the same thing twice when it comes to tooling and saddles.
Needless to say, this saddle is going a bit quicker than the last one because I don't have to develop many patterns. I am going to cover the seat, front and back, and the horn this time. I'm also going to teach myself to do two color knots if I find that I have the time.


Monday, March 26, 2007


I have rolled through my Arabian Show Halter making phase and moved onto mentally making plans for my next "Californio" style mother hubbard saddle. This one will be a chocolate brown. I'm hoping to teach myself how to put a second color in my knots for this saddle. I'm also going to be taking a silversmithing class in April to hopefully further my silver working skills.

This Californio set will be a tad fancier than the last and contain a bit more leather on the seat and on the horn... More places for tooling!

The Other californio Saddle is at the Autry Museum of the American West's Giftshop. I don't know any other details yet but I'm hoping that pricing info and availability info will be forthcoming this week or next.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Der flu

I think that I have come down with the flu. I have a spectacular 24 hour migraine, stomach cramps and the beginnings of a sore throat... Thank goodness for modern medicine that makes some of this stuff not quite so bad to deal with. Happily I can work from bed so that I'm still making money for bills!

I am thrilled to be able to say that I did hear from the museum on Monday! I wrote using my Gmail account instead of my account and received a resounding reply of YES! we want your work! I'm so freaking happy! hA! I was really bummed there for a while and questioning what I was going to do next. I now need to figure out pricing and get the saddle on it's way! Thank you universe for giving me this opportunity!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Exhausted... Mentally

I'm exhausted mentally this week. I think it's because my regular job has been more demanding than usual. It's just worn me out this week. Last night, after making yet ANOTHER dang cinch for my mother hubbard/californio saddle, I decided to clean out the studio. I have materials that I always "thought" I would use but never have. I have a VERY bad habit of buying things that LOOK useful. I think thats the earth sign portion of my personality. I very much like useful, practical things. The things that I have accumulated over time sort of mark when I was in my art when I bought them. Some of them are no longer useful to me because I've moved past the point of needing them, or some of the things were bought for a certain idea that now no longer holds interest to me.

I"m going to photograph it and sell anything that my close friends don't want. This should be even more exhausting but will be "Free-ing" to get out of the studio!

The picture I have up is the finished picture of the Mother Hubbard/Californio set. People that understand what I was trying to do really like it, and that makes me happy :-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Well.. that wasn't THAT hard..


I'm coming down the home stretch so to speak for finishing my Mother Hubbard Saddle Set! Just the Cinch, the stirrups and the tapaderos to go! My good friend, Robin P is making the stirrups out of real wood for me. I'm pretty excited about it!

The pictures shown are of the bridle and bosilla finished. The bridle has a hand made, hand etched bit that I made myself out of real silver. The buckes on the bridle are made out of real silver as well. Then I hand braided the reins and put turks head and spanish ring knots on the reins.
The bosilla is also hand braided and has a six part, seven bight knot on the heel of it. The mecate (The long rope) was also hand braided and has a turks head knot on each head of the tassel on each end.
I think that this saddle set really shows the range of my capabilities and I'm very proud of it!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I friggin did it!

To the left, you will see a miniature buckle made out of solid silver, that I have FINALLY figured out how to make! I'm so excited! Now to make more tonight!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

This week has stunk..

Lets just throw that out there now. This week has been really stressful! Thank gawd it's the weekend now!

I've been having a horrible time working out how to make buckles for my bridle. I don't know if its the stress of life or if I've just reached the edge of my creativity, but I've had a really hard time.

I also think that the bits I made might be a smidge out of scale. (too large). At least the bits can be fixed in the future but Oh goodness have I despised making buckles!

I haven't heard anything from the museum I was making the saddle set for and thats a bit stressful and disappointing as well.

I totally took last night off of working on tack. I don't do that often but I thought that by taking some time off, I could distance myself from the stress and disappointment. TIme off that might refuel my drive.... I also went shopping today with my husband and we found some fantastic bargains (which makes us both happy) HE really is great company and was wonderful for making me laugh..

So no new pictures today but I hope to have some this coming week! WISH ME LUCK!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

it goes.. A, B THEN C...

I have spent this weekend working on making a connector bar for the bit shanks that I made. I should have known that poking holes on those little tiny teardrop pieces at the end of the bit shanks would be disastrous - in fact the night before I actually thought about it and warned myself that they would break. They did. So After successfully completing a simple connector bar, I then had to go back and completely redo the bit shanks. This proved to be a good thing because now they are more true to real spade bits. The Hole in the middle is smaller and more in keeping with the design. Ya live and you learn.. and as I've heard on a TV show "Every problem is an opportunity in disguise".

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Status Quo..

Another Wednesday and I'm not much farther along on my "Mother Hubbard" project. I have been working on the Vaquero Reins, the Bosilla and the saddle tree. I've finally come to understand better the Turks Head knots and the spanish ring knots that I've been making. Previously I was making the knots by using a diagram in a book but
not really understanding the terms and what they really meant. I think I'm really getting it now though and I hope to be able to do two color knots in the near future. (Thank you goes to
Susan bensema young who helps me keep my interest in knots and braiding alive with her stunning work!)

I am posting a picture of the Bosilla in progress.. I still have two more spanish ring knots to put on the nose.

The saddle tree that I'm painting is far too yellow so I'm going to have to tone it wayyyy back down with a lot of white.

I have heard from the museum gift shop that I was working with and I need to re-sell myself to them. This is making me a bit nervous but with my husband's help, I think I can come up with a decent email illustrating my accomplishments and my miniatures work. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I am finding myself hopelessly addicted to the TV Show on Discovery called "How
it's made
". Every time I See something manufactured I get more ideas as to how to make my miniatures or I get ideas on what classes I need to take to push myself to making the kind of work that I want to be making.

I want to quickly mention the Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro that was put down on Monday. I think that he showed a lot of folks what horses are truly capable of, and what they're not capable of. I also think that his owners and trainers and Dr's did absolutely the best things for him at the right time. I admire them both for their commitment to their horse and in the end, their strength to know when to let him go. I'm hoping that his owners will allow his remains to either come to Churchill Downs or to the Kentucky Horsepark so that I can go visit him.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I still haven't heard from the museum folks that I had been talking with. I'm sure with staff changes, things are chaotic so I'm being patient.

In the meantime, I'm hurtling forward with my miniature "mother hubbard" project. (as I've so labeled it in my head). The first picture is of the miniature bit shanks that I hand made and etched out of silver. I've found that even with the fine gague silver that I"m working with, I can still use jewelers rouge to buff it out to a high shene. I'm fairly delighted with the progress that I've made so far. I'm also going to work on hand made silver buckles for the matching bridle as well as braided vaquero reins and a bosilla. (and then paint the tree and and and and and...)

I REALLY wanted to be finished with this by the end of January, but I don't think thats going to happen. I should've started earlier but for some reason The time I took on the roping set got away from me. I regret how long that took but I don't regret the end

I can see that these mother hubbard saddles can get addicting for me. I REALLY want to do another one in a different color like Mahogany.

Today when I woke up (today is a "late day" for me because I usually work out in the mornings but I take wednesday's off) I found that it had SNOWED! I know this isn't a rare occurance for most places in the US in the winter, but the Ohio Valley here where Louisville, KY Is situated is a strange place. We sit in a bowl of sorts. Weather tends to go AROUND us. Literally. I live on the very outskirts of Louisville so we were treated to some lovely snow. Just enough to blanket the ground in white but not enough to cause too many issues. I think the temp is going to get up to 38 degrees today so there isn't a lot of chance for freezing roads.

Anyway, I got a nice shot (second picture) of our backyard right before the sun came up. Everything was black and white.. it was very serene and lovely. I'll attach it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Little steps

This is a prototype for a silver spade bit that I'm trying to develop. This was cut from real silver and then etched using a dremel etcher. I am really pleased with how this turned out. I was going to leave the bit shank simple but I believe that I can do better, relatively easily. I wish that I had taken drafting or some other
kind of class that would teach me better about centering and designing things.
It's frustrating to have to wing it and then it not come out as perfect as I'd like. I also think I should take a jewelry class on cutting silver. I have no idea what folks who cut filgaree designs out of silver use in the way of equipment. SO MANY IDEAS! SO LITTLE TIME IN LIFE!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I found out some Poetentially bad news this past friday. Seems as though there has been some staff changing at the museum that I was making tack for. I don't know yet what this means for my project. It's very scary for me, but then I have a really bad habit of always thinking the worst.. (just ask my husband! HA!).

This is a picture of it in progress. That back part is just laid underneath the Mochilla. I haven't put in the rigging yet because I can't primer the tree. It's been too wet here!!

I am lucky enough to have some very talented friends. My friend robin agreed to attempt to make the wooden stirrups that I would need for this set. I think it would be SO cool and authentic if that came about!!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A new start in a new year!

Ok.. I decided that my previous pattern was way too complicated.
Susan Young tells me that this is because of my fine art training. I think she's right. I continually have to "un-detail" my miniature patterns. ("But I can fit all of these lines in one little space!")

I've learned a tremendous amount about the old west/old california era between about 1820-1860. Well, at least I've learned a lot about the saddles used. Big thanks to Bruce Johnson and James Nottage!

This is my revised pattern. It will allow me to move forward faster because it's not so complicated.

This past weekend, I was SO sick. Too much time spent in bed and not enough time spent making miniatures! I am now really grateful for my job because if I'm sick, I can work anyway and I don't have to see other people.