Jan 01

Happy New Years!

2012 is starting out pretty good I’d say. Finished the stablemate sized harness I have been working on so diligently for the last few weeks. Before that I started two projects including a side saddle with rider and my Navajo-inspired Indian costume.

Ms Kelly Dorman of TwinMaplesDesign created for me (and Brenda’s Batty Banty) an incredible carved saddle set in Stablemate scale. Words come hard in trying to describe the intricate detail in the carving of this miniature masterpiece.

Another project was to put ear tags on the steers and I got that done just the other day as well.

So now that leaves the marathon cart I want to create. I made one meadowbrook-type cart but I am just not satisfied with it, so I am going to make another cart instead.

Pictures will be coming, I am going to be taking pix of the horses I painted in 2011 and the tack and stuff I created between November 2011 and January 2012.

Peach Out Apricots and Happy New Year!

Dec 02

Thinking about the future.

I’ve been reading a lot of hobby blogs (would those be Hobblogs?) and there seems to be a general consensus of: ennui of the hobby. Questioning of one’s art and of one’s place in the hobby universe.

A lot of posts discuss how the edges of life are starting to bleed into the once cloistered world of our hobby. Not sure what all this means as a universal situation, but on a personal note it tells me that I am not alone.

2011 has been a difficult year for a lot of reasons not the least of which are family related. Things will get better but they will never be the same. In the coming year I am hoping to be able to spend more time on my hobby and shoring up my performance showing. I have no real desire to pump out a great deal of merchandise, more a clearing of the shelves and a cleansing of the soul. I still plan to create, explore and try new things, but I suspect there will be less crowing about it.

I guess I need to sit back and reevaluate who I am as an artist, what I want to accomplish as an artist and where I want to go with my art. I suspect there are a lot of us in the hobby who feel this way (if your blogs are any indicator, this is a fact).

The hobby itself has gone through changes as such things involving an ebb and flow of personnel and talent tend to do. I am not sure if I am happy with some of the changes, but I feel powerless to do much beyond my own little sphere to make any real or perceived changes.

It seems that somewhere along the line some of the magic and sense of accomplishment have disappeared. I can’t really put my finger on what it is exactly, but just that something has changed.

In closing, please do not read into this post a venting of my spleen, trust me I do enough of that already about my job… LOL. I am just sharing some observations.

Peace.
M.

Jul 16

Discoveries: Canned Paint

Yes, I know about spray paint, I was just trying to amuse you.

I heard about this product on the radio and when I was shopping at the World I discovered that they carried it and it was on sale.  What pray tell is this wonderment of which you speak?

This wonderment, my dear readers, is Krylon’s Dual.  It’s primer and paint all in one product.  Designed for wood, plastic, metal, et cetera is the perfect answer to those of us who want to cut out the middle man and get ‘er done!

I tried this stuff on a set of barrels I made for a customer and after coming down off the almost immediate high (note: there is no fart fan in the lab where I spray) I was most pleased with the results.  I did spray a few more layers and I was still pleased.

My main complaint is the smell, it’s sickly sweet and gives you a major buzz really fast…perhaps a bit too fast for my tastes, but still, it goes on smooth and you can get to the next step without having to run the risk of buggering up a perfectly good prime job if you grab the wrong brand of paint or whatever.   Which I have done on more than one occasion.

Krylon Dual - my new BFF.

Peach Out Apricots.

Morg

Jul 05

Commission Update

Cattle Chute Style 2 Prototype 1 and cattle panels

Wood sides cut [done], primed[done], sanded [done].  Metal pieces cut and ready to be “dirtied up.” [done and damn rusty!]  Need to do a little trimming on the doors before the pieces are all anchored into place [done, done and done]. 

Overall, coming along very nicely.  We will be starting on the panel fencing next.  The metal pieces have been cut for the panels, just need to get the wood inserts cut [done], sanded [done], primed [done], dirtied up and installed.

Another check in. Chute completed – awesome! (pix soon!), arena fencing panels painted and drying, awaiting installation and scuffing up. Almost done Laura!

That’s all.  Back to your regularly scheduled viewing. Enjoy your evening.

Peach Out Apricots.

Morg

Jun 30

Fresh News – Updates and more updates

WARNING! WARNING WILL ROBINSON!

INTENSE GRAPHIC IMAGES – MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME!

SLAB UPDATE: No horses being worked on at the moment, but I do have a Cattle Chute and some arena fencing I am currently completing for a client. Both are coming along beautifully. We will be cutting the material for the fencing tomorrow after I pick up the other materials I need.

With my recent flurry of experimentation and working on a couple of commission orders, things are progressing nicely. We are just about to announce the release of our Sports Medicine Boots and Bell Boots. These items will be available as sets or as separates depending on the customer’s desire.

We are still working on the Corona Pads – just received my copy of Ms. Snow’s How To booklet and I am already on the right track, I just need to shore up my techniques. Very pleased with how this project is progressing. Each pad will get better and better with practice and technique building.

BLOG UPDATE: This blog is slowly shaping up, I am hoping to start adding more images as time and weather permit. We are currently baking in 100+ degree heat – add that to the recent flooding and it’s a sticky mix of yuck and yuck. Still the lawn and crops need this so I am going to stay in the relative cool of the basement and work with what I have for stock images and keep in mind how I can showcase my latest projects.   I am going to be uploading images to my other blog to share with the world my quilting projects and discuss those fun projects.    Be sure to check me out at: www.brindlelady.blogspot.com.  You will not be disappointed if you are into the seamy side of quilting…pun intended.

DUNGEON UPDATE:  Where last we left off I was still organising this mess and making some progress.  720(and counting, unfortunately) gallons of water later I am struggling to keep the green shit at bay…I hate mold.   I am neither amused nor pleased with the resulting flora/fauna but I will continue to fight it and hope to win. I suspect I will need to be disposing of some stuff either by sale or garbage can. Fortunately 99% of the fabric is currently in plastic and is not being affected by this recent turn of events.  Still, what a pain in the arse.

South View of Dungeon 7-2011 (Note: some progress has been made) Sorry for the shitty picture, it's really not that washed out looking.

The redesign of the Dungeon is still progressing. I need to deal with the pile of stuff on one of my tables so I can measure it to set up an ironing board slash design table (just beyond sight of the ironing board is the other table I am speaking of).   But that will come with time, as will all things.  Slowly, slowly.  I am hoping to get it done by the end of the current year. I think that is a reasonable goal.

LAB UPDATE:  The Lab is still an unmitigated disaster. You think I am kidding…I am NOT!  You have been sufficiently warned, view on hardy reader:

South: Design Wall

West Wall: part of work table and shelving.

NE view of Mostly Other Bodies shelf, corner of table and door.

View of North Wall - stuff and stuff (and partial view of my resin repository)

North View and full on shot of the Resin Repository

Fortunately the majority of the storage totes have been migrated out of my lab/studio/dungeon and have either been rejobbed or farmed out for others to use.  This has been extraordinarily helpful in getting this room reorganised.  I know several problem areas are my body shelves, the lumber “room”  (not pictured) and the work table (peripherally viewed in several shots).  Once these problem areas have been adequately addressed I think the rest will run very smoothly.  I suspect it will involve selling off some more bodies and resins and that but this will help to bring in some extra scratch to put back into the redesign project.   That and as I gradually go through all the hobby mags and papers I’ve accumulated over the years that too will make things much more sensible.    I will feature views of my Studio in another post, as it is almost clean enough to share, almost.  Just a few miscellaneous things to put away…  ;)

One step at a time, right?

Peach Out Apricots.

Jun 24

Mysteries of Accessories: Bell Boots

Bell Boots

Bell Boots - Non rubberised type.

What?  Another experiment on the table?

Yes.

So far so good.

The first pieces are coming along nicely and we are now working on solving the rubberizing method and perfecting the pattern.  So far so good.  The rubberizing has been worked out – I love the properties of Aleene’s Tacky Glue.  Now to fully develop the pattern and the last details.

Right now I am working with cotton fabrics to give the widest range of colours/patterns and the ability to mix and match with the Sports Medicine Boots for a fine or funky look for your next performance horse.  I plan to reevaluate leather and possibly other materials if necessary to achieve the right look.

Interfacing is being explored for lining to protect your model’s delicate hoof and fetlock detailing as well as adding strength to the overall boot.  This is marvelous stuff and I am enjoying the results from the early trials.  Although the boots are still not quite right with this medium, I am still playing with other materials to mimic the neoprene found in some of the softer, not turn boots on the real horse market.  We may have a solution with felt, but more on that later as experiments continue.  Update:   Felt = Neoprene

The fastening method is really quite ingenious and I am pleased with the results.  I think you will be too.  No buckles or straps to fuss with, just some sticky stuff and that it not too foul to work with.

The above image is the non-rubberised version of the bell boot, great for those western gaming set ups!  Many colours available – just ask.  Turn around time is pretty quick.  Pricing is $5.00 for a pair including postage domestic/international.  If you need some Aleene’s Tack It Over and Over for rejuvenating the stick’um mention it at the time of order and I can enclose some in the envelope.  Otherwise it’s pretty inexpensive at your local craft store or even at WalMart.

Peach Out Apricots!

Morg

 

Jun 21

Prop Talk: Cattle Chutes

Cattle chute (TPT1) with one side fence panels (due to space constraints) shown with Chknsht and DFS Sharkey's Machine. Image by N. Kilpatrick, used with permission.

I have always been a tinkerer.  Always.  I like to create and make stuff, sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not so good.  This project is good.

In 2010 I was bitten HARD by the performance bug and started to build my own props.  First were jumps, then walls, now the Cattle Chute.

I make my chutes from relatively easily found items and good old fashioned crazy person ingenuity.    I am embarking on making Chute #3 this very weekend if the weather holds.  Rain and dremel do not mix…but the creepy basement shower has proven to be useful!

Trad Prototype Style 1

Cattle Chute Style 1 Prototype with Breyer fencing. (TPT1)

So far this is an example of my initial prototype.  This is Style 1.  I am currently working on my 3rd Chute and it is ending up being the prototype for Style 2.  The fencing on the sides is of course the Breyer panel fencing painted white.  I am planning on making some new side fencing but I have not gotten that done yet, this works for now and works just fine.

Here is another view with just the chute:

Cattle Chute Prototype Style 1

Cattle Chute Style 1 Prototype (another view). (TPT1)

My price point on Cattle Chutes is:

175.00 for a Traditional sized one stall chute.  $50 down at time of commission.  Turn around time is about 4-6 weeks or so.

Sides are wood, the metal is painted or left grey and can be distressed (read: rusted, shit on, grass stains, etc).  Two working sets of gates and easily folds down for storage or transport.

Currently I do not have a source for the metal materials I require for the Classic size.  By luck I happened on some materials at a garage sale and created one for my own uses.  If a source for the materials becomes available I may well reconsider making Classic Sized Cattle Chutes for sale.  Keep checking back.  In the meantime, here’s my prototype for your perusal.  The one opening gate is tied back, by the way.

Classic Sized Cattle Chute Prototype 1, NFS (CPT1)

Peach Out Apricots.

Morg

Jun 17

Mysteries of Accessories: The Corona Pad

Corona pads have long been a mystery to me.   I, like many others, loathe the pompom ball method as being…well, lame.

Melody Snow pioneered the use of Russian Punch embroidery method and for years was the reigning Queen of the Corona Pad.  Her years of work and perfecting her style are obvious by the product that is available.    These corona pads are incredible, to say the least.

A couple years ago, the secret of Ms. Snow’s success was revealed to me by another couple of trailblazers in the hobby and I immediately grabbed the idea and started on my own learning trek.

Just the other day I was researching online and I found out about the Bohlin Corona pads and the folks at Carney Custom Creations and decided to dabble a little on my own.  Fortuitous for me, I received a commission to do a corona pad for another hobbyist and me being me, I wanted to knock the rhinestones out of her low slung belt.  ;)

I recently invested in Ms. Snow’s booklet about making Corona Pads and while my early attempts are still rudimentary by comparison. I am definitely on the right track and will be investing in another set of punch needles, reevaluating my base materials and working on improving my technique.  I do plan on deviating a bit with the upper level corona pad offerings in that I will be adding wear leathers.  In real corona pads these generally are not seen, however, real silver saddles weigh in excess of 100 pounds and therefore have the weight to mush down the roll under the stirrup, serape and/or back straps.  By taking a little liberty with the design, I am able to offer a unique product that enhances the beauty and majesty of a finely crafted saddle.   While I continue to hone my newly discovered art,  I am not afraid to offer what I feel are quality products.

Here are the results:

Western Style (one colour shown) Corona Pad

$25  Standard level (Western).  This is the basic level of construction with the custom/Rio Rondo style footprint, choice of colours and chamois backing.  Cotton or wool thread option.  Traditional or Classic size.

English Style Corona Pad

$25 Standard (English/Australian) pad with choice of colour and chamois backing.  Fitted to your saddle’s footprint.  Cotton or wool thread option.  Traditional or Classic size.

Delux Corona Pad

Deluxe Corona Pad - Prototype - Commission

$50 Deluxe level (Western/Australian)  This level includes the same basic level of construction as the standard level with leather wear pads, felt seat, split/adjustable spine,  choice of white deer skin,  tan chamois backing, stamped stitching details.   Cotton or wool thread option.  Traditional or Classic size.

$75  Premium level (Western/Australian).  This level includes all the details of the Deluxe level of corona pad structure – including choice of backing including white deer skin, tan chamois, wool felt, acrylic felt or other choices as they are available, with the leather wear guards  hand sewn and are subject to random design impressions.  Cotton or wool thread option.  Traditional or Classic size.

Live, experiment, learn.

Peach out, Apricots!

Morg

Post Script:  Colour me crazy with a big fat sharpie!  I was messing around today just to see if I could pull it off and I did.  I made a SM sized corona pad!  Granted it was just one colour, and the basic type, but I was still able to make it happen.  No ETA on offering this size right now.  I am still playing around with my technique.  Recently I made a pad with wool tapestry thread and the results were good.  I am most pleased.  I have a lot to learn, but I am definitely on the right track!  WOO HOO!

Jun 11

Mysteries of Accessories: Sports Medicine Boots

Mystery solved.

I have been eyeing the wares of many artisans who are making the Sports Medicine Boots styled upon the Professional’s Choice models and thought, Hmmm, I could do that.  So I did.

So far I am playing with ultra thin leather – classic size and seems to work quite well.  Knit and cotton and other materials.  The knit and the cotton seem a bit thin so I am going to try to shore them up with a little felt, but that is an experiment for another day.

Another day has come to pass and I feel pretty keen on the results:

SMB style boot - Classic scaleOkay, it’s still a bit crude, but it works and that’s the main thing here.  I went with a scrap of cotton fabric from a quilt I was working on and added some interfacing for stability.  Bingo.  I discovered thru trial and error that bias tape double fold wide is best, ironed out works great and there is less waste – which goes hand in hand with my view on life: waste not, want not.

Prices will run $10 for pair or $20 for four (bonus of bell boots included).  MANY colours available.  Wild patterns or more sedate solid colours upon request.  Prices include postage domestic/international.  Aleene’s Tack It Over and Over available upon request or pick it up at your local craft store, online or at WalMart.

That’s what’s new on the slab.

Peach Out Apricots!

Update:  Trials have resulted in a pattern we like.  Adhesive felt provides the body and neoprene like thickness of the real Sports Medicine Boots and with a little more tinkering on the pattern we will soon be offering Sports Boots and Bell boots for sale.  Wild or mild – you’ve got the look!

Legging and boot combo

SMB style legwrap and bell boot

May 31

Those days.

Ever have those days when the creative juices are squirting out of you like a ripe lemon? 

Most of the time I have these days when I need to go to work, or I am driving at o’dark-thirty at night or whatever.  Once in a while I have a streak of brilliance or a bright spot in a moment of crushing darkness.  I had one such moment this past weekend. 

Just between us, I suffer from depression.  Mind altering, soul crushing, suicidal ideation, drag myself from the pit of blackness depression.  Call it hormones, call it a genetic crap shoot, either way, it sucks. 

This past weekend I came away from AHL a winner and a loser all at once.  I had a blast, it was fun, my horses did well, I had a great time with friends and loved ones…I also came away with heat exhaustion and a vicious black dog on my back called depression.   I barely made it home and didn’t even make it to work the next three days, then I had a severe anxiety attack and had to kick my own ass to make myself go to work that Saturday.  It sucked.  Sunday I woke up, still feeling like I had been horsewhipped, but I didn’t have to work, so I decided to take some me time and try to beat this dog back into its corner. 

I was moderately successful.  The gaming bridle I made for Chknsht by cobbling together a halter and a bridle came out perfect!  I was very pleased. 

The pleasure bridle is on hold pending finding my cast buckles or ordering a new set. 

Now I face the long week at work and the growing knowledge that I am soon going to be able to seek opportunities elsewhere outside my current confines in a job that I hope to my lifetime career. 

I can still smell the dog.  He smells like stale farts and feet.

Peach Out Apricots.

Morg

Follow up:  The depression got bad before it got better, right now I am holding my own and that black dog is in the box in the corner.   Recent successes in experiments have resulted in a release from my solitary confinement with the black dog.  I’m sure there will be a time again when we are cell mates, but for now…in the immortal words of the Godfather of Soul, “I FEEL GOOD!”

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