Monday, May 27, 2024

Aftermath- Quick Update


So this happened- unfortunately.  We had 80mph (128 kph) straight line winds so this poor tree had no chance. There was a rotted spot above this limb that we didn't know about.  I don't think we will be able to keep this tree because it's split too far down.  The sun sets in the west behind this tree at our house and this beautiful tree provided so much shade. : (  

Our first indication that there was an issue.... lol

Thankfully My partner's Jeep is ok!

We used a Leaf Identifier and found out that it is a "hackberry" tree. (a type of Elm) The neighbor told us that the previous owner did not plant this tree- that it literally just appeared one day.  I'm assuming a squirrel decided that spot was a good place to hide the seeds and it grew from that.

I get very attached to the trees in my yard.  I think of them as living things, like people.  The tree has been in this house much longer than we have- we are just stewards for them.  I'm thinking about making sure we keep a couple of chunks of wood to make something nice out of- but I don't know anything about "hackberry" trees so I don't know if that is possible. 

Across the street from us, there are beautiful houses with back yards that end at a creek. Unfortunately one of the neighbors there lost two GIANT trees when they were completely uprooted and thankfully fell towards the creek.  

There was damage all across the area and into the surrounding counties.  I'm sure there will be more photos as time goes on. Those storms were really strong!

I hope that your Memorial Day weekend is much less eventful than mine!

Sunday, May 26, 2024

What does an artist do when there is a storm?


Current situation

Last night and this afternoon, there is/was a huge wave of storms that flew across the midwest and south in the US.  I was terrified for my friends on Facebook last night that lived out in Nebraska, Kansas and North Texas.  Post after post about giant tornados and storms ripping through.  It was late too, like 10:30pm central and I worried for them.

I haven't had time to see reports of damage today, I read that there was a few different giant tornados that came through those areas. I hoped everyone was/is ok.

As I sit here and wait for the warnings to go off here, I was thinking about what I do when storms like this are forecast.  I Grab all of my current work and take it to the basement with me. I know that seems silly but the work I have current represents hours and hours of work and if the worst happens, I want to know that it's safe and that I can start on it again.  I want to have some things that are "normal" just in case.

miniature western pleasure bridle and saddle on a stand

This saddle took me about 5 years to complete because of my life being uprooted and upheaved while making it. I took it to the basement every time there was a storm. I couldn't bear the thought of it being destroyed after it took so long to make.

I also take my tackbox full of my tack and others' tack to the basement with me because a lot of my work is in there, and It would crush me to see it destroyed.

Where I live is in a valley.  We have been so fortunate that most of the storms go around us. It's sometimes like we have our own weather pattern. I hope that is the case again today and I hope that everyone in the outlying areas are spared any damage.

What to you take to the basement during a storm?

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sunday Sunday Blah Blah


As you may or may not have gathered from my other posts, I'm trying to figure out a way to do art full time.  Or maybe part time- and work part time. I am an IT person so part time IT work isn't really a thing.

On my miniatures website, I've been trying to retake "cleaner" photos of the work I do still own.  I am not as good as professional photographer that is practiced in taking photos of products. I'm trying to use the lifetime of experience that I have with photography though to take at least BETTER photos than the phone snaps I've been using with clean backgrounds.

Mostly my website is a portfolio site for my miniatures.  I have a custom domain and since I don't sell over there on that site it's a reasonable fee. I've tried testing out other web hosting providers but using a custom domain makes it a bit more expensive than average and Smugmug is actually the cheapest.

I'd like to share a few of the new photos I've taken recently with you:

I am working on a Private project for a customer- The winner of the December Custom Bosal Lottery that I can't share yet so I don't have as much as usual to talk about.  BUT  I am also working on the green show bosal here and there.. and I have finished up,  finally, after years and years.. a friends braided bridle.  She is going to show at Equilocity this year and has offered to show some of my work.

Also I still have the Royal Blue, Black and White Bosal at auction and it ends monday evening (eastern time) SO Grateful for everyone that has bid and that supports my work.. It helps to inspire me to make more!!

Royal BLue, Black and WHite Bosal

I hope you've had a good week and Happy Sunday!

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Royal Blue black and White bosal is For sale at auction!


Seriously I'm SUCH a goof.. lolol  I totally forgot to Blog that this bosal/Hackamore/Mecate are at auction on Model Horse Place!

The auction ends on monday so you have plenty of time to bid early and bid often! Lolol!!

Please enjoy these photos!  I've been trying to "up my game" with photographing my work in a more "arty" setting but I couldn't resist taking at least a couple of photos of it on my Palomino Lady Phase!

Saturday, May 04, 2024

Process of the Royal Blue, White and Black Bosal 2024

Miniature bosal with hangar and earloop held up with a hand
If you're like me you love seeing process. Or watching Process. Or reading about someone's process. I find it all fascinating and inspiring.  

This post is for those that are like me and love process.  I hope that it inspires you in some small way.. OR makes you laugh..

In my previous post, about "The Culprit" knot I explained how I wanted to figure out a way to recreate the "solid" braid look on horse gear like this:
Photo of horse's head with bridle and tiedown with braidwork

"The Culprit" knot was the first knot like the knotwork on the tack above that I tried.  Needless to say, that failed and I sort of decided to lay off that idea for a bit until I felt like I could execute it better.  I REALLY should've tried to do something easier first..

This is going to be the long way around so stick with me- Earlier this year I thought about entering the Breyer Custom Tack division at Breyerfest.  I started to pour over western pleasure saddles- particularly the Harris Custom Saddles and Miguel Aguilar saddles. 

I have always sort of "danced" around sheridian "style" tooling on my saddles- in each one of my older western saddles with tooling I see the influence of the sheridan pattern.  I am also inspired by several other mini tackmakers that make sheridan tooling look beautiful in our scale.  I set out to make a fully tooled western pleasure set for the Breyerfest Contest. I started to practice and learn sheridan tooling by watching videos and drawing, and drawing and drawing.  I finally came up with what I thought was a really beautiful pattern and I was so excited about it.  But then I tried to tool it and I found that I had made it waaaayyy too complicated to be able to tool in 1:9 scale. (I could probably do it in 1:6th though).

photo of a drawing of a saddle fender with sheridan style tooling

I was very very disappointed in myself.  I had worked so hard and now I felt pretty deflated.  To "console" myself  I thought "well maybe if I work on the bosal bridle for that set, it'll give me time to heal and get back to it."

Which brought me to the thought of making a black bosal with a black nosebutton that would be interwoven with another color. ( I haven't decided on that yet)

Again, I wanted that "solid" color look but I remember the many lessons from "the culprit" and decided I needed to have more experience of what a long, interwoven button looked like, and "felt" like while I was making it.  Knowing the difference between an interweave string and the "core knot" string is crucial when you are interweaving with the same color thread as your knot. 

The way I learn best is by doing.  Even if that means that I have to do something over and over again to the point of where it would annoy other people.  This is just how I learn. (I have ADHD- I have learned that I am a slow learner but once I learn something I expand on it and know it well)

Again the knot that defeated me loomed in my head.

Then I came up with an idea- what if I made a bosal with a two color interweave, so that I could SEE the interweave and then learn and feel what the knot is like when making it.  A visual representation of how the knot goes with two colors, then maybe I could go back to the same color.  

This lead me to the royal blue, white and black bosal.  I don't know why I keep choosing those colors.. I love blue and it's easy to see and a black interweave just makes sense in my head.

While learning about the long casa knots I learned how I could do "groundwork".  Thats what Gail Hought calls in her books.  That term didn't mean much to me until the last year or so...  I had always thought that in small scale, to do groundwork was impossible or at least something I didn't need to do.

Then I worked on my 1:6 scale bridle and found that I could easily do groundwork in that scale on the reins and while doing that, I figured out how I could possibly do it in 1:9th scale.  I had already started doing groundwork when making the Dk Brown Braided bridle by "puffing" up the ends with a knot underneath using the same color thread.  But this time, with this bosal, I really wanted to mimic the look of a real bosal with the thicker noseband and the rounded side buttons.

I settled on an opposite colored string underneath the knot and wrapped it around the bosal core. Then I made two knots on either end and wove my nosebutton over top.  I used a gazillion part 4 bight casa knot (with 9 Runs)since using the 6 bight "culprit" knot had previously kicked my butt.. lol This gave me the look that I wanted.  

When you interweave a knot, you have to make sure that the base knot is looser than you would have it when it's finished. This is because with the interweave, the knot gets tighter and tighter.  If it gets too tight you can't interweave it anymore.  

I started the royal blue interweave and while I was working on that interweave, I decided (because obviously just doing the one interweave just wasn't hard enough) that I was definitely going to teach myself to add a second interweave. The second interweave proved very challenging, especially on the ends.  It took a few days of trial and error before I was able to complete it. 

I was pretty pleased at this point and my self esteem had been restored!  At first on the side buttons I used a 7 part 6bight turks head knot and double interweaved it.. but it was too bulky so I went back to a 5 part 4 bight knot and double interweaved that instead..  I also used "Groundwork" underneath those knots to give them a rounder look.

Then onto the heel knot! I normally do 8 bight 9part knots here but I went one higher this time and went 10 bight 11part turks head knot.  And it worked out somehow! lol  The first interweave was pretty easy to get in but the second color interweave- well that was harder because the knot got really tight.. but I think it turned out pretty good :)


and then to the "hanger" with an "ear loop".  

Unfortunately, the leather that i used at first discolored this little bosal a little bit.  I posted to my heather moreton of desert night creations facebook page and let everyone know that I would need to restart this bosal over.  They assured me  that I was being overly perfectionist and that in real life horse tack gets dirty! They also told me that the discoloration was not noticable and that they would be interested in it anyway!  (I was so happy! Lol)

I remade the leather  hanger and used commercially dyed leather.  Then I put a few matching knots on the sides and on the earloop and then put in a little tassel. I love making the little tassels on the ear pieces because I feel like it's a nice little detail.  On this bosal hanger I also used small watch screws to mimic the "Chicago Screws" sometimes used on tack.  I think it has a nice working tack look but could also be used for "show" if someone wanted to.   I'm always delighted and amazed at what my customers come up with!

Now I am at the point to where I need to make a mecate. My new mecates are made using a fringe maker.  My hands could not take twisting and keeping proper tension of the strings so I needed to go for a mechanical solution.  I use the fringe maker to twist the individual strands and then after the strands have sat twisted for a few days I twist them all together... but here is one of the many hard parts of doing that-  you have to watch tension and the width of all of the strings-  it all has to be same or the thinnest string will "disappear" inside the others.  Last summer I made probably made close to 25 little mecates by trial and error before I came up with some kind of procedure that produced a good mecate twice in a row.  I had some help too from Anthony in that he made me some little tools for it.  I also typed some stream of consciousness notes to so that I could remember all of the little things I needed to do..

teal and white twisted miniature mecate

Blue white and black twisted miniature mecate

 I won't describe exactly how I make my mecates because honestly I'm constantly changing them and they are really difficult for me to do.. let alone explain..  I also have to be VERY awake and focused to make them correctly or all of my hard work will be for nothing and I have to start over... I totally sweat buckets while making them because I'm so worried it'll fail..

When the mecate is done and the Hackamore/Bosal is ready to sell I'll let everyone know on my facebook page and on here!  It will be auctioned off on Model Horse Place  Thanks for reading this far!

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Bridle that Was mean to me- AKA the Culprit

miniature horse in one nineth scale with a hand made bosal

About a two years ago I learned how to make a "Casa knot".  Which is just a longer turks head knot than the 7part 6 bight or 9part 8 bight turks head knots I was used to making.. I was inspired by Tom Hall's More Turks head knots book. I Saw that Susan Bensema Young had used this book to teach herself how to do Casa knots about 10 years ago.  I felt like my bosals needed a "level up" and I needed to learn to make a proper nose button.

After a LOT of trial and error I finally learned how to make a casa knot.  I created several new type pieces (to me) with braidwork on them. Most Notably Sue's Saddle Tan Colored Bridle and A Dk Brown Bridle I made to keep (FOR ONCE! LOL) so that I'd have an example of my work.

miniature horse bridle on morgen kilbourne ranch mare

miniature bridle in one nineth scale

miniature one nineth scale bridle with braidwork

miniature turks head knot with dk brown interweaves and spanish ring knots in dk brown

Heather Moreton Bridle with Casa Knot interweaves with Dk brown Leather on the brigitte eberl mulinette resin painted by jennifer danza

I felt like these were a triumph at the time!  Not only did I manage a long knot, I learned to also interweave it! I'm still sort of proud of myself about that.

Although I was/am proud of the above work, I wanted to work on being able to make a knot and get that "solid" knot look.  

horse with bridle with braidwork on it from cowboy tack

So I tried a bunch of things. I tried really complicated casa knots- For instance the bosal below with the brown nosebutton-  that nosebutton is so small, and so complicated, that I can't even see the structure well enough to interweave it.  It will stay plain but the side buttons and heel knot are interwoven.

miniature bosals hand made with ruler to show scale

 I tried looser casa knots with the same color "backgrounding" or Ground work (the green bosal above employs this method).  I am really happy with how that looks but of course, in the back of my head, I decided that I really needed to figure out how to do a same color interweave to mimic the nosebutton on a real life bosal. 

Which lead me to:


miniature bit shank with fancy snaffle bit and buckle from rio rondo

The above bridle I have been working on, on and off for over a year.  The shank/bridle piece on the left, I finished a year ago.  This is a "Giant" casa knot (I can't remember the parts) with 6 bights, interwoven with the same colored thread.  It was so hard.. There is so much to learn with doing such intricate braidwork on a smaller scale on 3/32nds" leather lace with the same color interweave.  I tried over and over and over and over and over again and finally, I was able to make that beautiful knot on the Left.  I loved it! I was so excited!! I daydreamed about all of the tack I could make that way! SO Proud of myself..( ALSO maybe I could eventually interweave it!?)   Then I went to the piece on the right. And there I have been stuck for over a year.  I kept mentally beating myself up because the first one "Came so easy" (ha!) "WHY can't I just duplicate it on the other one!?".  I think I tried for at least a month - every night coming into my studio and trying to make a matching piece.  NO DICE!  Either I missed a string and the whole thing was off or the knot became too tight as I was interweaving.  Also with a knot that tight, the leather beneath it eventually gets destroyed. Not only did I have to CUT the knot off, every 3rd or 4th try I had to redo the leather too.  Since this was a project just for me, so that I could learn, I eventually put it down so that I could move onto other things that I could finish. (And that didn't steal my self-esteem)

At the end of March of this year, I picked it up again to see if I could finish it.  I have had a lot more practice with casa knots and with interweaving so SURELY I could make a matching piece! And I did! Unfortunately it was a 4 bight instead of a 6- because I forgot I had made a six bight one until It was finished.  So again, I cut the knot off and tried again. And again. And Again. And AGAIN, and again until it was in the state it's in now. REALLY Close.. LIKE IT'S REALLY CLOSE!!!! But I had given myself a timeline this time, of two days solid, and again I couldn't finish it.  One of these years, if I ever finish it.. I will keep it forever BECAUSE IT WAS MEAN TO ME! LOLOLOL  Actually I'll keep it because it is SUCH a lesson!! 

Its reins are already braided. Black reins with off white casa knots near the part that connect to the bit that are interwoven with black.  The reins have black tassels on the end as well.  The bit on this was a Rio Rondo prototype bit so it is the only one I have.  It is a snaffle with a star in the middle of it.  It also has matching star buckles.  I'm still excited for this thing but I don't know when I'll ever be able to finish it! Lol 

But I will KEEP trying...........