Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hubby Found it!

I have the best hubby in the world.. after I went to bed last night, hubby went up into the studio and searched it until he found the other part of the bridle. I have drop cloths on the floor around my work areas and in one of the folds, he found the bridle piece! SO THANK YOU ANTHONY! I LOVE YOU!!! :-)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Above, enclosed in red is a bridle in progress to match my beloved Terry Newberry saddle. I was almost finished with the one side when I realized that it was too long. When I went to shorten it and it's mate, I couldn't find the mate. I looked EVEYWHERE for it! I JUST had it and was working on it most of the morning. (RJ took a mega-nap so I actually had some time!) I couldn't believe it. I tore through the stuff on my workbench and it's absolutely no where to be found. I suspect a cat "theifed" it somewhere but i have no clue where.. or it could've been stuck to my clothes.. or ended up anywhere I Guess.. It makes me really frustrated because now I have to make a new one and all of that time I spent on it earlier today was a waste.. SOOO FRUSTRATING!

This has happened to me before, when I lived in the "Highlands" of Louisville in an apartment. I had made one of my first english bridles with laced reins and it totally disappeared. My cat at the time, Max, was fond of playing with the bridles but she didn't eat them. I expected to find it when we eventually moved but it was SERIOUSLY lost. I NEVER found that thing. To this day - three moves later - I have no clue where it is..

The first picture above is what my immediate work bench looks like so you can probably see why I lost it I'm really not a slob. I sincerely like things to be at least somewhat loosely organized but I am like most artists in that I would prefer to work on a project than clean my studio... studio time is so precious that to spend it cleaning feels like a waste!! I Feel that way about house cleaning too but I've been trying to be better about it.. I dont' let anything get "gross" in the house though.. just slightly dusty..

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I should REALLY Write this stuff down..

Black and blue braided bridle in progress

I've had problems lately, with the bases knots that I'm tying knots around wanting to come untied. Normally this isn't much of a problem but the rawhide that I'm using is artificial and is slathered in wax. That isn't really a bad thing either because I've had this rawhide since 2000 and it's still just fine to use. So I started literally gluing the knots together but that only partially worked long enough for me to get the decorative knots on around it - which is the goal - and makes the knots stay put -but it still bothered me that the base knot was somehow coming untied.

Today as I was rummaging through one of my work room draws I found an empty wooden match box and it was like "OH DUHHH". I forgot that I normally burn the ends of the knots so that it's all melted together and everything stays put.. So thankfully this bridle is for me because I'm not 100% sure that everything will stay together since I didn't burn all of the edges. It SHOULD though because of the decorative knots around it...

I have a lot to blog about in the way of the Vaquero Exhibit at the Kentucky horse park. I was bad and took a lot of pictures but really, we here in Kentucky do not get any western Exhibits very often and when we do, you can bet yer butt that I'm going to take pictures!!

I wish I had snuck some when the Remington and Russell exhibit was at the Speed Art Museum downtown. I should've especially written down the title of the books they had in the "Lounge" they set up for folks to read..

Well this time I snapped my head off with my point and shoot.. It's so easy now for me to understand and see the influence of the spanish and subsequently the mexcian vaqueros on the old and the modern western saddle. (Especially the Californio Mother Hubbard saddles I'm so fond of!!) Seeing the Mexican Pitadado saddles and the costumes in person answered so many questions that I had!! (I wish I had access to the Californio Mother Hubbard saddles too so that I could see under the mochilla to see it's secrets!) Eventually I am going to make a mexican set complete with silver bit and conchos..

I really daydream now of a hand made, inlaid wooden mexican saddle tree... I really have too many hobbies all wrapped up in making miniatures. Leather, Braiding, Silver working, engraving, sewing, weaving etc.... hehehehehe.. just what I need.. another facet to spend money that I don't have on! LOL

Anywho, I put the western Show halter on ebay because I'm trying to raise some moola for new engraving tools! LOL! URL is here:

Please bid early and bid often! LOL

Monday, July 27, 2009

rabid for rawhide braiding

After my "pow wow' with Susan, I've been rabid for braiding bridles. I've even seriously entertained the idea of making a life sized braided rawhide or braided leather bridle.. or at least a half size. Granted, I'm only a 4 or 5 knot trick pony (which is totally a just drop in the bucket) but I've seen some bridles that are made with the 5 knots that I know.

The year I entered the Kentucky state fair with one of my miniature saddles, I was beaten badly by some native american artifacts made in leather. I had no chance whatsoever.. but I didn't know at the time. I think that next year I may make a leather braided bridle and enter it in the fair. I may have a shot then.. LOL! I should mention that the Kentucky State fair is HUGE and runs about two weeks. There are a ton of classes to enter, from fish tanks to quilt making to doll houses etc.. maybe my saddle was just in the wrong section.. I dunno.. I do love the fair though..

Ok. back to rawhide braiding. My all time favorite is of course Luis Ortega. He learned from a 104 year old Californian Native American. I found may beautiful things braided by him when I was researching my bridles for the Mother Hubbard Sets.

Modern Rawhide Braiders make everything from Quirts to bridles and breast collars and some even include custom silver. It has dawned on me for sure that eventually I may have to make my own real sized bit for my real sized braided bridle.. but I'm not sure if anthony would allow me to have a forge in the garage.. he balks at a kiln.. I would think that large open flame would be his limit..hehehehe
Some of the modern rawhide braiders that I've admired over the last couple of weeks are;
Ray Huffman

And of course, Gail Hought who's books I learned to interweave from. I daydream of having an "in person" class with Gail someday since I really know nothing about making bridles in real size...

There is a guy locally who makes braided bridles so I'd like to eventually talk with him about it too.. I *think* he gives classes..

The progress with my own black braided bridle has been a bit slow, but I've learned a tremendous amount. I really am SOOO gung ho to work on it but Munchkin is Sick today so my miniature braiding will have to wait.. :-)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SOoo much to blog about!

Entrants in the Hat Parade

The Test run "Roxy" mold

The Test run Smarty Jones Mold in Dappled Buckskin

A test run dappled grey Breyer "warmblood" mold

A test run "Salinero" mold that was dappled bay

The Billie Campbell Custom APpaloosa on the "Roxy" mold at the Silent Auction

A breyerfest "Sprinkles" Special run on the "Swish tail" Lady Phase Mold

My current project, a black braided bridle with woven knots and a real silver bit

The last few weeks have been SOOOO busy..!! Between the Trip to Upstate NY and the Trip to Breyerfest, my brain has been somewhat overwhelmed! I'm still tired from it all and it's mindboggling for me to try to put it into words!

Breyerfest for me this year was WONDERFUL except for the Friday Night Holiday Inn Swap meet. As I'm sure that most people have heard, NOTHING was selling this year. This probably shouldn't come as surprise to anyone because few folks have any kind of descretionary income but still, most of the time, the swap meet is lucrative. Not so this year... Although it was quite wonderful to sit and chat with my friends and with folks I hadn't seen in a while, the selling was dismal which means that *I* couldn't buy much either. (I'm still on an epic search for a job!)

As mentioned in my last post, I was able to spend some much needed time with Susan Bensema young on the Thursday of Breyerfest. It was wonderful to sit and talk to her about making tack and about engraving silver using actual hand held engraving tools instead of my Dremel engraver. I think I understand silver engraving better now. I am definitely going to get some of the tools and try to start engraving using them instead. That is going to be next year though because I'm really broke right now! LOL!

Friday was spent in the Breyerfest Special Run "Tent" Line and enjoying the park. I was not one of the lucky folks that obtained a "Gala" but I was able to get a Lady Phase mold "Sprinkles" the Clyde Mare mold Porcelain (love the bfest porcelains!) and the Pink Poodle for hubby. (He collects the breyer animals). I also was able to get a better look at the new "Roxy" mold that was the dinner model. I LOVE Her. I hate the paint job because it's SO Flat! What in the world was breyer thinking on that one? At least give us a sun faded black or even a dappled black! But I definitely see her in some great custom colors and so far I'm DYING to make some tack for her.. (Her head is fuller than the lady phase head so my new halter doesn't fit her - but the braided bridle I'm working on will!)
I did not even ATTEMPT The line for the "ninja pit of death" aka the Friday Morning breyer store rush. I did read however where there were some "Velvet Rope Event" horses and some other test runs left over that were for sale in the store. It ALMOST makes me want to brave the store next year.. almost...

I then wandered over to the Breyerfest Show (with my friends Norma and Karen)to talk to some friends and see what was on the table. MUCH To my delight Robin Smith was showing the Mother Hubbard II set and it went Third in a class of at least thirty other entrants!! Of course I would've rather it had come in first or second but I'll take my "blessings" where I can get them! LOL!!
We thebn ended up back at the Holiday Inn to set up for the swap meet and I did a little shopping.

On thursday Susan had introduced me to Lydia Ernst who couldn't be a NICER person! I wandered back to her room while my friends were setting up for the swap meet. I was able to thumb through her scrapbooks of her tack and I was struck by the fact that her tack is very unique and colorful! Eventually I'm going to have to get a set made by her.

In Lydia's room, she also had some "Real sized" tack that a braider had put some knots on! This totally inspired me to try my hand at some life size tack in the near future!! (Thats another blog post altogether!)

She was also nice enough to look at some bit shanks that I had made and compliment me on my work. I'm definitely a sucker for a compliment. So much of my miniature making is done alone, in a bit of a vaccum so it's nice to hear others' input sometimes.

Friday night, very late (11:45pm!) I drove the hour home from the Holiday Inn and promptly fell into bed...

Saturday I made it to the horsepark by 10:45am and I was ready to get in line and see the sights again! THis year I was able to get all of the special run horses that I really wanted plus one to sell to help recoup the costs of the things that I bought.

We also looked at, and took pictures of the Breyerfest one of a kind test run Auction models. As usual there were some horses that I totally coveted and wanted! If Only I had any extra money at all this year, I'd definitely want to bid. Then there was also the Silent auction with the Billy Campell custom appaloosa on the Roxy mold. I woulda wanted that one for sure!

I was able to get a few photos of the "Real" horses around the park,( but I wasn't as motivated this year as I was last year to really "snap my head off" taking pictures of horses. I think I was just tired!

This year, for the first time since 1999, I stuck around for the Auction and the dinner that Breyer Had before the Auction. We didn't have a hotel room at the Holiday Inn North so there was no watching of the room or selling to be done, so we had the time.

The food was great. Seriously, not just because I was hungry either.. and the new KHP Arena is beautiful!!

I LOVED seeing the cake toppers that everyone created. You would have to SEE this stuff to believe it because they were incredibly creative. They just boggled my mind. I do have pictures of them but I haven't had time to tweak them just yet. I put up some of the photos that I have up on my website. (I've been busy working on a new braided bridle, inspired of course, by Susan)

I was somehow unaware of the "hat Parade" contest that Breyer had before the Auction, and let me tell you, that was seriously amusing too! One hat even had a bubble machine and one hat had a horse "jumping" out of the top of it... Our Friend Norma mentioned that next year, if there is a hat contest, she wants to set up a fog machine in her hat! LOL

One of the "Locals", Heather Jackson Lain (from TN)won with her hat so that was really fun to see too! (There was another younger girl from Louisville that won as well but I don't recall her name)

All in all, the auction prices were down which was a nice kick in the teeth since the horses that I wanted the most went for a "reasonable" amount of money (For test runs anyway)... The Salinero and the Smarty Jones molds didn't go as high as I would have thought they would but the new Roxy mold and the Sucescion and Le Fire molds went a lot higher that I imagined..
I wish I could've gone back on Sunday but since I have a little guy, and his dad had watched him for three days straight, it was time for me to stay home for a change. I can't wait until next year.. and anyone want to paint a Roxy for me?
I am currently working on a blue, black and white braided bridle that is to serve as a 'portfolio" piece for my collection. I'm really gung ho and excited about it!! I haven't wanted to do anything else for the last three days except work on it.. I'm going to have to do some laundry though..hehehehe

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Breyerfest 2009 Day 1: Visit with Susan Young

Oh Mah Gawsh today was so inspiring and Enlightening!! Susan and I talked tack for Hours and then went "hall Crawling". Above is a photo of "The Master's" Hands. (Susan's hands) and one of her Many incredible creations. SHe and I exchanged ideas and thoughts about tackmaking as well as silverworking, bit making and mecate making - all in miniature of course!!

Then I was fortunate enough to Meet Lydia Auten Ernst thanks to Susan! Her Scrapbook of her work is SO inspiring!! It showed me that I need to keep better detailed notes on my own work as well as better pictures!

Tomorrow are the Tent times and I'll be meeting up with my Close Friends, Robin Hudson, Anna Tackett and Karen Jensen! I can't wait!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Halter for Sale

Here it is! The Lady Phase Mold Sized halter. The leather is dyed a nice dark brown and has been basketweave stamped on the crownpiece and on the pieces underneath the nose. IT is five way adjustable just like the real thing. The silver is real silver that has been hand engraved and then has been coated to retard tarnishing. The Crystals on the Halter are Real, Swarovski crystals. The Knots on this halter are all Turks Head Knots that have been interwoven with two colors, Black and Blue. This halter also includes the matching lead with a knot on it as well.

Total price is $170.00ppd and I accept Money orders or paypal. Just email me: if you have any further questions!

Thank you for lookin! Happy July 4th!

Friday, July 03, 2009

A few steps forward for once!

This weekend, i'm hoping to get some "Dremel" time and some "Engraving" time in so that I can finish up one project and start another.

As mentioned previously I'm working on a western show halter that is similar to the NAN donation western show halter. The difference however is that this halter has rio rondo buckles and the theme is blue. This halter has a blue and black double interweave on a turks head knot and blue swarovski crystals instead of the green that the NAN halter had. Everything is finished except for the side plates. My son won't sleep through a lot of dremeling and definitely can't sleep through engraving so I have to find a time that he's awake, my husband is willing to watch him and I'm awake enough to engrave. LOL!

The bit shanks are for the bridle that I planned around the end of last year. I had planned a braided black, blue and white themed braided bridle. This is just "More to the point" of how long it takes me to get to things.

I am unusually proud of these bit shanks because 1. I have actually domed them out a bit using a hammer and some dremel bits that are round balls on the end and 2. the shanks are very close to being identical. Above you can see that one is signifigantly bigger than the other. I've fixed that issue since I took the photos of these this morning. (RJ has slept a lot today so I've had to be very quiet and quietly dremel a bit here and there)

It's still a bit crude looking to my eye but I'm pleased none-the-less. I'll work on a connector bar here soon. I'm hoping to work on this bridle while we're on our trip..

I've had a few questions about how I work in silver. Seriously it's all been trial and error for me. It started when I decided to do real silver plates for my saddles back in like 2003 or 2004 and I've just worked on my skills ever since. I first approached silver as though it were like paper, having no other mental reference to draw from. It's nothing like paper.. and I know you're thinking "DUH" but seriously, I had no other approach. Then I realized that silver could be dremeled and formed using a dremel and I hopped gung ho into doing that. Now I've gotten a lot better using the dremel to patiently form and shape the metal and now I'm slowly moving forward into trying to make my bits a little more 3-d. Buckles are very intimidating to me right now because no buckle I've made actually turned out like I had initially invisioned. Rather they are compromises between what I want and what I was able to do. Thats another thing I really like about these bit shanks.. they are turning out as I had intended.

SO if you're on the fence about getting some silver sheet, go for some 30 gague argentium and start hacking away. Remember that there isn't a soul on the planet who's first attempt at something turned out spectacular. Allow yourself the learning curve and to fail. You'll find that giving yourself that kind of freedom will be the best thing you can do for your creativity. I've learned more through my mistakes than I can ever tell you..

We'll be going on a trip soon to Upstate NY, specifically Utica and Cooperstown, NY, to visit with my Husband's family. (His folks are from there but ended up in eastern TN for a time which is where my husband went to school (elementary through college) ). I've been to Utica's Famed Sarnac Brewery (LOVED IT!) where they have two real tiffany made lamps and to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Two places that I think my son is going to enjoy when he's a bit older.

Speaking of munchkin, he got tubes in his ears yesterday because of the constant ear problems that he's been having. Poor little guy, if it's not one thing it's another. I'm hoping that the tubes clear up a lot of his illnesses and he can get on with the business of being a little boy instead of being tired and sick all of the time! He also hasn't really been vocalizing real words like "momma" and "Daddy".. instead its like "momomom" and "Da! Da! Da!".. but he's been babbling more today so we are hopeful that the tubes will help his speech.

Happy July 4th Weekend! We'll be spending this weekend allowing RJ to recoperate and I'll be trying to get some more fireworks pictures. If/When I do, they'll be on my Photography Blog.

I still haven't gone through all of my egyptian event photos and I have photos of my amazing daylillies to show off too!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Blue Lady PHase western Show halter For sale this weekend!

Hi Folks!

THank you to everyone that entered the Lottery! Your support is very appreciated!

As mentioned yesterday on my yahoo group, I will be offering a two color button western show halter with silver plates and swarovski crystals similar to the NAN western halter. The only difference will be that this halter has Rio Rondo buckles instead of hand made buckles. I will offer this halter outright probably tomorrow or saturday. I haven't finished putting the plates on it which is why I'm not offering it this very second. Pictures as soon as it's finished. It will be $170.00ppd

THANK YOU and HAppy Fourth of July weekend!
Heather Moreton-Abounader