Monday, November 10, 2008

I need some oompa-loompas

One of the great joys of having children is being able to share some of my favorite childhood books with them. Right now the boys and I are about two thirds of the way through Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ryan and James have seen the movie so they know what's coming next, but it hasn't taken away from the fun we've had reading it and discussing which obnoxious child is going to be the next to disappear from the factory tour. Along the way, they've also made the astute observation that Mama could really use an Oompa-Loompa to help out in her "saddle factory."
I think they're right. I am nearing the midway point on the three black saddleseat saddles. The past two days have been all about preparing the saddle pieces for the actual construction. Steps towards that goal include cutting, dyeing, skiving, edge coating, and sealing the leather. Preparing the saddle pieces is the single longest stage of a making a saddle. It's also the most boring. Building three saddles at the same time is efficient, but it makes this preparation stage seem endless. Progress is so slow when every step has to be repeated again and again. I do very much enjoy the actual construction phase of saddle making, but I would love to have my own team of well trained Oompa-Loompas to take over the prep work!I am very pleased to report that my last rush order of 2009--the saddleseat bridle featured in this space a week ago--made a successful debut at Region X Regionals this past weekend. Liesl sent this email today: "WELL... I have news for you! My morgan won the saddleseat class... and then went on to CHAMPION in the overall pleasure stakes class! This means he won over western, english, and other saddleseat entries. I was so surprised. The bridle fit him perfectly, and now I can't wait to get his saddle." While I would love to take credit for that win, it's worth noting that this is the model in question:
He's an Independence body with a Knightly Cadence head. All the customizing and paintwork was by Liesl Dalpe who is a truly talented and fearless customizer. I suspect the main reason his showring debut was such a big success had a lot more to do with his extreme coolness rather than the tack he was wearing.

I don't know how he did in the harness class, but that is a Braymere harness. It's the first--and so far only--harness I've made with patent leather. I didn't take a picture of it before I sent it to Liesl, so I'm really glad she sent that photo!

Ah well, I suppose I should go pick up the Saddle Factory and transform that space back into a dinner table... That would be another good job for the Oompa-Loompas!