Monday, April 30, 2012

Mess, but good mess

This picture just about sums up the extent of my productivity this weekend. I managed to cut out all the remaining calf pieces I will need to finish the Roundabout and Cerridwen sets. In the foreground are all the pieces for Cerridwen's bridle, stirrup leathers and straps for the girth. Roundie's straps are off the camera shot, drying. I used Eco-flo Dark Mahogany for both sets and really like this colour. There has been a delay with the saddles. I bought a dremel recently and one of its main uses will be to drill tiny holes in my saddles, to put the reinforcing pins through. It has to go through multiple sheets of leather and thick brass. I did them by hand before, with an awl, but the tree would always end up being bent a little and I had to work hard to get it back into shape. So, I ordered the drill bits and when they arrived I was itching to try them out. Then realised I needed a smaller collet for the dremel (that was one of those hand-slap-on-forehead moments, doh!). So, the bridles will now probably get finished before the saddles whilst waiting for the collet set to arrive!

What you can't see in the photo is my lack of productivity with the Australian set. I cut and carved the pieces and dyed them, which I shouldn't have. I should have tested Java brown a bit more thoroughly instead of using it on these pieces. I think Java brown is probably the ugliest brown dye I have ever used! Totally the wrong colour. So, this week I'll be cutting some more leather and trying out yet another new dye. I'm hoping the Eco-flow All-in-one Chocolate Cherry will do the trick. The pieces I dyed Java brown will not go to waste, I'll dye them dark brown or black and make another Aussie set to sell later in the year.

There are a couple of other interesting things to have a look at on my work table. My wooden draws from Ikea at the back have been mine since I was about 8 or 9 years old. I really wanted to paint them but never got round to it. I did paint another Ikea wooden box which I also still have, in all kinds of animal skin patterns which still looks pretty cool. It holds my polished mineral specimens! Next to those are a set of 16 plastic boxes which hold all of my hardware: bits, stirrups, buckles etc. And next to that is my pinboard which constantly reminds me how many orders I have to do, and keeps the current projects safe in the plastic cups, I think I stole that idea from Anna Kirby!

In front of that are two models which have little reason to be on the table. The newsworthy is there as I need his legs for some boots but they're still a few weeks away. And then there's my Gaspar Destiny resin in a classic tack set by Des Corbett. He really has no reason to be there!

Finally this picture reminds me I have to give Cerridwen a hot bath. During her trip to Australia she must have been in an awkward position and her near fore developed a bend. That's what a 3 month delay in shipping does for you! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Busy Times

Sorry it's been rather quiet from me of late, things have been very busy around here! I have finally fully sorted out my 'studio' space, and have made some good progress on a couple of tack sets. Both the Cerridwen hunt set and the Roundabout show set are at the same stages, they just need pinning and then have the panels attached. I really want to get those two sets finished before my holiday in May. I took some photos of them this morning but they are appalling even by my standards so I'll try and get some fresh ones after work tonight! It's starting to get dark quite early here so soon I will have to wait until weekends to do any photography.

The third set I'm working on is patient Caitlin's Australian set. 7 months ago I made the saddle, got the colour wrong and only now have just cut and tooled the flaps. I dyed them this morning, and should be able to assemble it at the weekend. I think this set will be finished early June on my return from the USA.

I'd also like to get a donation bridle made for a show that actually took place last year. Stacey won it and has been very patient. In actual fact I will be going to Stacey's next show in July, which I can't wait for! It will be my first Australian live show and my first show in over a year. Hopefully I will pull my finger out and make the donation for THAT show before July!

The Australasian International Model Horse Club has welcomed me back with open arms. It's still being run in a really organised and efficient way and I love getting the quarterly magazine. It has caused me to dust off my points records from when I lived here 4 years ago (most of the models I still have too!). So I've been busy updating my records and registering my newer models. All quite time-consuming but once sorted it will be easy to keep up to date. I've made a new spreadsheet to make life easier:

Each model has their own sheet and the points from photo and live shows are added and it gives me sub-totals for various categories. Should make the end of year awards a breeze. And it will hopefully provide motivation to sort out my TOPSA and MEPSA entries as points from all shows count.

Tonight I'm going out for dinner with the girls. We're all from the UK and one of us is leaving town tomorrow. She and her partner have been here for 5 years, they arrived the same time as we did the first time. I commend them for managing to stay so long but I'll still be sad to see them go. And another one will be following her in a few months. But that's life in such a transient mining town and I know one day in a few years that will be me again too. But I'm enjoying my job and enjoying having the extra cash so can't complain really!