Friday, August 22, 2014


Today was all about the paper products. Yesterday I failed to mention I also made a Michael's run, where I picked up these super cute stamps for $1.50 each. 

I figure they'll be great for stamping "thank you" onto outgoing boxes or even a business cards put in an order. The one on the left is also being used in my new book keeping attempt

I finally sat down and not only created an income/expense template (stamps for making if paid, shipped, received, etc), but also a full commission ordering sheet for when I open up books again, which right now is my goal. 
There wasn't a lot of pony progress, but the order form makes me look forward to October when I'll start taking commissions again. I already have a waiting list!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Slow Going

With classes starting soon, I've been very very sluggish in the studio. Today I: found out how to make the perfect polos, 

did the noseband on a bridle for It Man

and started playing around with two new paint jobs just for funsies.

And that's all folks.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Back in the Studio (Saddle) Again

*enter  killer Aerosmith guitar riff*
Well I'm finally back from my much needed studio vacation. 

However, while I enjoyed spending time with beautiful scenery and wonderful people, being around Grace of Stage Left Studios simply made me want to get back to my studio and get to work!!
To get myself back in gear I've created a price list page on my website for when I start opening up to orders again. 
Hopefully I can start getting stuff done tomorrow! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Today didn't really see much getting done. I started working on the cow's whites, which was nice, but tedious on the light brown guy.

They get to be finished later. I also did finish the Knabstrupper, but that was it for the whole day.

still haven't gotten good pics

I'm going to be away from the studio for the next week, starting tomorrow, so no blog updates until I get back. I'll still be on facebook and answering emails though, just no tack/prop/horse creation happening.
 Until then!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Anything But Tack

As promised, I gave myself a much needed rest day from all things tack today. Instead, I went to work on a handy hunter trot jump for my Hunter/Jumper class. 

They've been going spectacularly, which I wasn't exactly expecting. All that's left is adding the little wing-things that make it stand and the building part will be done! Then it's on to paint and all things plant that will accompany the jump. 
Monster's Inc. anyone?
Today I also dabbled in something that I haven't in a very very long time. Finishwork!
That said the cows also got their base paint and shading. I hope to start to tackle their whites tomorrow

(there is shading there I promise)
Also in the finishwork category, I managed to basically finish my Peter Stone warmblood custom!

glare is because I literally just sprayed him with sealer before taking the photos
This guy went from nothing but primer to complete Knabstrupper body paint job all this evening. All that's left is eyes and hooves, and he's show ring ready!

In all today was super productive and was a fantastic break. Everything went smoothly and getting back to painting was surprisingly relaxing. I'll have to do it more often! 

Work Day

As in today I actually had to go to work work. That left minimal time for tack making, but I was able to throw together a base for my dressage and calf roping entry (pics tomorrow) and finish that double bridle!!

custom isn't by me - I can't remember who it's by off the top of my head, but I'll look for it

I'll get proper photos once I contain those crazy sea-creature-like reins and clean up the sticky wax, but I was too proud not to share! And it looks even more amazing than I was expecting on the wonderful cm who will be wearing it at the October show! 

I didn't get a lot done today, but it was such a relief to be done with that bridle! I'm really feeling some props progress tomorrow as a reward. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Buckle Tutorial

I've had a request on how I do buckles, and it seemed easier to just dive right in and do a full tutorial on them here. If you have any questions afterwards feel free to email me or message me on facebook!
Note: Now, as I'm putting pictures with all the words I of course took all the pictures on my camera with the memory card that doesn't connect to my laptop. Sorry for the really awful pictures, I had to actually take pictures of the camera screen with my phone. Hopefully you can still tell whats going on!!

Buckle Tutorial 

First off I'll need you to relinquish all rights to your sanity. You can have it back later, it's just this buckle is thirty two times smaller than a real buckle. That is very, very small. It's important not to take anything to seriously during this or you might blow a brain fuse. 

look. look at that. 

First off, I get my wire from the jewelry department at Michaels (all the other tools I use are from there too). I usually keep three different gauges around for my buckle making purposes.
~26 : The biggest wire, used for bits and nail-heads on saddles and not much else. 
~28 : I use this for my buckle bodies, or the outer square. 
~32 : This is saved for my tongues, but some artists prefer it for the whole buckle (Stage Left Studios). It's important to find a system of the gauges that works and feels best for you. 

26   -   28   -   32
After you've acquired all the right wire, it's time to actually make the buckles!!

My way of making buckles involves making them into the bridle for lack of a better word. This means all the lace for the section should be done. I don't want to get very far into how the whole bridle works together, but you'll need the two pieces you're going to "buckle" together. 

A "bottom" and a "top" piece
In this case I'm doing the curb bit of a double bridle. As a general note about stablemate sized tack: Cheat. Seriously, you can't make this small of stuff without shortcuts. Just by being a maker of 1:32 scale miniature model horse tack you have automatically been given the right to cheat on things. For example, on this double bridle there isn't a buckle on the noseband hanger because it would have made the left side of the face too bulky and crowded. 

you can't even tell
Instead the curb bit hanger lays conveniently over it, so I know there's no buckle, but the rest of the world will never suspect a thing. This is okay.

That said, I start by taking the strap that will go through the buckle and punching holes down most of it. I use a thumbtack and punch into a nail file so it goes all the way through. (If you require reading glasses or glasses at all, put them on now).

This is where you get to really cheat. I take my tongue gauge wire (regularly 32, but since Michael's doesn't carry that gauge in gold, I'm making do with 28) and snip off a little piece, making sure it's straight. Then I put it through the hole where I want the buckle to sit when it's on the horse. 

Next I put a little bit of regular tacky glue on the underside of the lace facing toward the point end where I want the wire to lay and squish the wire centered onto the glue/leather.

While you're waiting for that to dry completely, we can bend our buckle. This is the tricky part that you really have to try a few times to get it right, just getting comfortable with the process each time. You can even try different ways; again, whatever you think will work for you. 
Take pointy of VERY small tipped tweezers (something strong works best for this, so they don't wiggle around when you're bending) and grab a piece of your wire, leaving room on either side of the tweezers. 

then bend each side down

and then move the tweezers onto the side and bend again across with one of the sides. You'll have to tweak it to fit exactly on the leather. 

Then to finish the buckle body all that's left is trimming the extra wire super close to the body, because any little nub you leave sticking out will show up, I guarantee it. 

Next, slide the buckle body onto the leather so that the shortest and squarest side sits on top of the leather, underneath the tongue wire we poked through earlier. This is another area I cheat in. I used to put tacky glue on the other piece of leather holding the bit or noseband, then smush them together and hope the buckle stayed. Now I know better, so I take just a very very small amount of super glue and put a dot on each side and on the back to hold the body of the buckle in place. 

this is a truly awful photo. I apologize

Finally, using tacky glue, layer the top piece with he buckle onto the bottom piece with the bit/noseband. 


Then just trim the tongue wire to fit the buckle, add keepers, and voila! You have a ridiculously in scale buckle!

Hopefully this was helpful and not too confusing (I know the photo's don't help). Don't be frustrated if you don't get it your first or thirtieth time. Practice makes perfect, especially with something this small!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Michael's Loot

Today I made a run to Michaels to pick up some supplies, including some new gold wire. 

I wasn't expecting it to be that much different (they didn't have the gauge I use for tongues on buckles so that was an adventure) but it proved me wrong - in the best way possible!
It actually looks really really really nice with the black lace. 

I might be in love
I can't wait to see this upper level dressage set finished and all gold! I'm thinking the stirrups will stay silver just for the realness of it, but the bridle will definitely be all gold and all gorgeous!
Starting that bridle is about all I got done today, but it was a good start and still very satisfying.

Another wonderful purchase at Michaels was this kinetic sand that had gone on sale (how could I resist).
(photo isn't mine)
I got it with my performance show, Sleepy Hollow Live in October, in mind, and I can already tell it's going to be FANTASTIC. 
playing around
It's so easy to imprint and mold; I absolutely love it and really look forward to using it! I just need to find somer very shallow trays big enough for my set ups. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Business Cards!

Today definitely was not as productive as yesterday on the tack front. Still, I managed to finally get around to putting together and printing some business cards!

They'll be going out with all my tack from now on, and I can always send extras to people who want to spread the word.

I also managed to get Randa's bridle packaged and shipped out (complete with a new card)
So today wasn't totally unproductive, but tomorrow back to the desk to get some actual tack done!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Who Knew

I could actually have a productive day? Today I managed to not only make a bountiful stirrup garden
awaiting treads then finished!
and do 90% of a jump saddle for myself,
sporting some fresh stirrups
but also to make an entire bridle that was ordered only this morning! 
the buckle on the reins needs fixing. shhh
It may be a super simple bridle, but still, considering from ordering, to lace dying, to skiving, to assembly, to photo shoot, the whole process was done within a 13 hour window, while I was multitasking on the above, thats pretty impressive for me.
Honestly I'm pretty proud of myself! Clearly this whole motivational blog thing is working out well!
Heres to hoping the productivity sticks around. 

Motivation Blog

Hello and welcome to my new studio blog! This will be updated much more frequently than my facebook page because it will include anything and everything I get done in the studio for the day, instead of just occasional pictures of finished tack. Kind of like a journal of all my progress. More than anything, this is to motivate me to get stuff done!

Stay tuned!