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...........


Saturday, April 27, 2024

WHEW It's been a Minute!!


Miniature Bosals

Wow!  Two years since I blogged!  Things have been crazy in my life.. but life is never settled is it?  That old adage of "Life is what happens when you're making other plans" has definitely been true for me.

Many may know that My mother battled Multiple Sclerosis for 30+ years and eventually had to be put into skilled nursing care. Taking care of her through the 2020 pandemic and into 2021 remotely from my house and being unable to visit her was difficult.  Thankfully I could send her stuff that she needed from amazon but I could not be in the room with her, making sure the supplies got opened and used.  All skilled nursing places were short staffed during that time and it was difficult for me to armchair her care.  We got through that though and in June of 2022, just a few days short of my Dad's death anniversary, my mother passed away in her sleep.  It was quite an adjustment to live without her.

In October 2021 my company, Appriss, Inc was acquired by Equifax, inc for 2 billion dollars.  Suffice to say it's been culture shock to go from a company like appriss that was always customers/victims first to a fortune 500 company with a totally different goal.  I'm still working on adjusting to that.  It's been difficult and very emotionally draining.

Also I know a few posts back I complained about the symptoms of Menopause.  Thats been the hardest of all.  I think that all women know that when your body lets you down, it is destabilizing.  Unlike the monthly hardships of when I was younger (when things got better after a week) Menopause is permanent.  My body is entirely different than it was before and my hormones have kind of changed me as a person as I adjust to this new body that is unreliable.  The ADHD that I was diagnosed with as a kid, then went into denial about for 30 years is back with a vengeance.  I had so many little coping mechanisms to help combat the "quirks" of my brain so that I could function and work "like a normal person".  I can't even remember to do those now.. lol  I have a new therapist though who has referred me to the practice she is with to get evaluated for my ADHD again and to get on some meds so that I can function better.  I look forward to being more focused and maybe able to accomplish some things that my executive disfunction has been preventing me from doing. (like lose this menopausal weight!)

Miniature Mecate with US penny for scale

On the Miniature Making front, I've taken some leaps forward with my braiding and understanding of real world horse tack.  I guess in the past I had some insecurities about learning new things because it scared me a bit.. but not now. Now i'm voraciously  watching videos about how real western saddles are rigged and made and I've acquired more real tack to take apart so that my miniatures can be better.

I have also taken a metalsmithing class from Designs By Dawn . It was a wonderful class and Dawn is a fantastic Teacher!  Also she's super talented and has been making jewelry all her life. She also has two metalsmithing parents so her knowledge of  techniques is extensive. If you live in KY and want to learn more in general about metalsmithing you should take her class! 100% worth it! 

Because of the changes mentioned above, my body, my work, my skills I am working towards trying to make miniatures full time. There is a whole lot to consider with a change in occupation like that.  I make a very good living right now in tech but my skills are outdated and I'm finding that I dont' have the patience to put up with a male dominated field anymore.  I'm finding I have a lot less energy than I used to and I would like to put that energy towards arts and making instead of hoping I have enough energy left over after work to make.  I feel like I could take custom orders, and maybe do some more museum projects as well as break into the western collectibles market to help make ends meet.  I know that there are also Art/Craft grants I could apply for.  It's all very scary but I have a goal of liquidating a lot of my collection and extra tack making items (Do I really need 3 of each bit?) within the next year and scraping and saving everything I can.  We'll see..

My kiddo is now DRIVING!!!  He's such a wonderful child.. Poor thing takes after me but he is handling it well.  Anthony is doing well too.  We are back together and raising Kiddo together and have a good partnership.

ON The horizon tack wise:  The above bosals will be for sale as soon as I can make "Good" mecates for them.  I will sell them, and the rest of my collection on "Model Horse Place". It is free to sign up there and is run by a hobbiest.

I publish the most information about my work on my facebook page;  https://www.facebook.com/desertnightcreations  Please join there if you would like to stay up to date on my work!