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.