Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Real quick

I have my second parent teacher conference of the day in fifteen minutes, so today's post consists of a single picture.  This is Tiffany's classic scale pony all purpose saddle.  I am really pleased with the way it turned out!
Also--don't forget entries for the Reader Appreciation Raffle close tonight at midnight.  I'll post the names of the winners tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Sometimes it's good to be me.
This adorable little Pixie arrived yesterday, and I just can't stop looking at her.
She is cute from every angle!
Pixie was sculpted by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig and was painted by Danielle Feldman. 
Minkie babies.
Thank you so much, Danielle.  I love my new baby!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Out with the old!

(sometime old simply means "finished"!)
And in with the...  really, really old?
I made this classic scale pony saddle in 2007.   Unlike most of my work, this was never intended to see the inside of a show ring.  Instead, this was a rare experimental piece, made solely to trying out several new ideas.  Some of those ideas worked.  Others didn't.  Once the saddle was finished, I put it on a North Light pony and let it gather dust in the basement.

A few days ago, I went looking for that little saddle.  I remembered that it had an elastic girth so I knew it would be perfect for the saddle rats.  Also, it occurred to me that it might be just the right size for the new Breyer pony.  This would be a real time saver because it's much easier to adapt an old pattern than it is to start from scratch. 
So today has been all about playing with paper.  I always enjoy this stage, and it's nice to work on saddles again after three weeks of harness.  Hopefully, I'll have a beautiful little saddle to share by the end of the week!

Iguanas under saddle

It seems that every time I post photos of the saddle rats, someone says she's going to saddle up her cat/rabbit/guinea pig/lizard/other completely unhorselike critter.  No one ever does it, though...

Until now!

Today's photos come from tackmaker Cory Sanford and they feature her saddle iguanas, Moose and the Baby.  Cory describes Moose aka the Moo this way:  The slightly bigger, older and greener of the two.  He is so gentle and relaxed all the time so he actually let me slightly tighten the girth on him!  He is such a good boy.  He crawls up in my lap while I am doing things, such as making tack, and puts his hands on my hands to get some attention.
The Baby is the younger, bratty, orange one.  He thinks humans are far beneath him and wouldn't tolerate my human ignorance long enough to allow a girth...definitely the bratty one. ;)  He gets to hear "No!" a lot.  You might also notice that of of the two he is an "easy keeper!"  We are always joking about his "thickness" which the lady iguanas would find very handsome.
Cory adds:  I hope you got a kick out of this and can share it with your readers for some fun.  My iguanas are both pretty spoiled and especially the Moo will tolerate being tacked up so look for lots more iguanas under saddle pics in the future.  I think we will try a halter next! 

Ok, Cory--you're committed now.  I expect lots more photos of both the saddle iguanas and your amazing tack.
P.S. Be sure to check out the Western bridle/breastcollar/halter set Cory has for sale on MH$P.  Lovely work, Cory!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday lazy Sunday

The entire Buxton family is still recovering from yesterday's trauma drama.  Right now Seth is napping in the basement, the kids are chilling with Sponge Bob,
and the dogs...
are holding down their respective beds.
I'm hanging out in the studio, but mostly I'm just puttering.  I've done a little bit of prepwork... 
plus some leather dyeing.  I'm trying out a new color for Tiffany's pony saddle.  So far I'm not a fan!
The tack friendliness article will have to wait a little longer.  I'm way too busy being lazy to write it today. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bargain Barn--Jo's resins

This isn't the post I had intended to run today.

Then again nothing about today has gone according to plan.   Instead of spending the morning with Trillium in Watkins, I got to drive to the doctor's office and the ER and the pharmacy and...  Well, you get the idea!  Everyone is fine and all's well that ends well, but I am worn out and no longer feel like writing a serious piece about tack friendliness.

Fortunately, I have a back up plan.  Just this morning, reader Joanna Kindley sent a couple new entries to the Bargain Barn.  

First up is this lovely original finish Brave Hart resin.
Jo writes:  I just recently started to buy resins.  I have 3 to date plus several I am paying on, but won't see for several months.  Anyway, I answered an ad on MH$P for a resin for $25.00.  It said his name was Braveheart and when I looked it up, and based on the price, I was convinced he was the SM sized resin.  I also guessed he had a rough paint job and was pretty much a mess.  He arrived last night, and I was blown away.  he turned out to be Brave Hart by Sheryl Leisure, and he has a gorgeous chestnut paint job.  Can you believe I got such a stunning resin for $25.00?  I am on top of the world.
This little cutie is one of Jo's other resins.   Now I'm not an expert when it comes to minis, but something about this one looks kind of familiar...
Here's why:  Oh, one of the other resins I just bought, is called Mighty Mouse and he was made by Tiffany Purdy before she was a Purdy, I think.  Evidently it was only a run of 10.  I will send you a pic of him too.  I know you and Tiffany are buddies.  I just love him, he such a neat little guy!!!!  He is in the LB scale.
Thank you so much, Jo, for sharing your pretty resins with me.  I actually have a chestnut Brave Hart resin, but I did not get him for twenty five dollars.  And that little paint...  he's Purdy darn cute!

(Ha!  Sometimes I crack myself up!)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Green broke

I'd like to begin by thanking every single person who has commented on my blog in the last three days.  As of right now, there are one hundred and sixty eight entries in the raffle.  Amazing!

Since a lot of those comments mentioned the saddle rats, I thought it was time for a training update.  All three girls are doing well, but Nutmeg in particular is showing amazing under saddle aptitude.
She's a very quiet and docile rat and seems completely unfazed by the weight of a saddle.
Still, even slow rats are slippery...
so we've started experimenting with girths.
This make saddling a bit more complicated.
Pssst, James!  That's a girth not a breastplate! 
Holly's first reaction to the girth pressure was to freeze in her tracks. 
However, in just a few moments she was striding out like a champion. 
And then there's Peppermint... 
Poor Peppermint!  She may look like Basil, but trust me, she's no Basil!  We haven't quite given up on her, but don't expect to see her in any tack related photo shoots soon.  She's just not into it.
That's ok I guess.  It would have been nice to have a saddle rat drill team, but a saddle rat pas de deux will be almost as impressive!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Pending final approval from the new owner, one of the harnesses is finally done.
I have a love/hate relationship with harnesses.  They're not my favorite thing to make, but I always kind of fall in love with them once they're finished.  One of these days I'll make myself one to keep.
Giselle/Stage Mom/Valentine makes a lovely harness horse, but that forelock poses real fitting challenges in regards to the blinker stays and browband.  Customizers take note--this is a good area to "fix" if you're working on this particular mold.
Since this harness is destined to be used with a sleigh rather than a cart, it comes with sleigh bells!  These can be positioned either in front of or just behind the surcingle.  
So--that's one down, one to go.  With any luck, I'll be back to saddles by the weekend!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Petite tooling calf

There are three types of leather that I use to make almost everything--kangaroo lace, sheepskin skiver and petite tooling calf.  Once upon a time, all three of these were available locally at either Tandy Leather...
or the Leather Factory.
This was really convenient for me, but times change and so do inventories.  The kangaroo lace was first to go.  It was brought back eventually but only in one width.  That wasn't sufficient for my purposes, so I started buying it from Melody Snow instead.  Sheepskin skiver was next on the chopping block.  Fortunately, a group of enterprising hobbyists organized a large special order, the results of which can be purchased from Alison Bennish on eBay.  Yesterday, I made the sad discovery that Tandy/Leather Factory has discontined petite tooling calf.  
Luckily, the Denver store still had two beautiful hides in stock.  I bought them both, and that should time me over for a long, long time.  Still, I'm pretty bummed that I won't be able to hand select my hides in the future.
comparing hides in 2009
I know I'm not the only tackmaker who uses this type of leather, so I quizzed the store manager about current supply levels.  He told me that petite tooling calf is no longer being stocked by Tandy, and there is none left at the main warehouse.  However, there are still some stores in the system with healthy inventories and store to store transfers can be arranged.  The price is $8.99 a square foot retail, or $6.40 for wholesale club members ($35 a year).  This really is the best leather for model horse saddlery, so I highly recommend that everyone gets it while they can!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Half a million

Sometime within the next twenty four hours this blog should receive its five hundred thousandth page view.
Now, I realize there are some large mainstream blogs that get that many hits in a single day. But you know, I write about model horse tack.  I think half a million page views is pretty darn impressive!
Impressive in his stall at Faulkner Quarter Horses in 1990
I also think it's worth celebrating so I've decided to hold a reader appreciation raffle.  From now until the end of the month, every comment left on this blog will equal one entry in the raffle.  Two winners will be chosen at random and a third will be selected on a merit basis.  All posts are fair game.  In truth, I really love getting new comments on old posts so keep that in mind if you're going for the merit award!
I haven't decided exactly what the prizes will be, but I can tell you that they won't be saddles.  Halters, bridles, boots and other accessories are a distinct possibility, as are models and tack making supplies.  Most likely, I'll let the winners choose for themselves.
Good luck to all and thanks for reading!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Prep school

Today I decided to take a break from those harnesses and spend some time prepping my Bint Soraya resin.  Since I get the occasional question about prepping, I thought I'd go ahead and document part of the process. 

Here's my work desk set up for prepping.  My tools include a carbide scraper, an X-acto knife, fine grit sandpaper and a Sharpie marker.  Good lighting is a must.  I'm working under both an open window and an Ott light.
This particular resin is a very clean casting so there aren't a lot of major issues to address.  However, careful inspection reveals several small divots such as this.
It's easy to lose track of all the little dings, so I make my life a lot easier by highlighting them with the Sharpie.
Once I've gone over the entire model, it's time to move onto the filling stage. 
A lot of people use Bondo spot putty to fill the little dings and divots.  I'm not one of them.  Bondo is stinky and at least somewhat toxic.  I much prefer "messo" which is a mix of modeling paste and gesso.  
I dab it onto the marked area, 
and then wipe off the excess with my finger. 
You can see the white messo filling in the divot here.  I let the area dry and then carefully sand it smooth.  
Obviously this still needs to be sanded!
Prepping isn't hard, but it does require a lot of patience and attention to detail.  Please feel free to share your best prepping tips in the comment section!

P.S.  Anyone who's seen the project shelf in my basement knows I needed a new unpainted resin like I need a hole in the head.  In my defense, I offer this photo:
I can't imagine a better horse for the six year Marston costume than Bint Soraya.  However, I'm a bit undecided as to what color would best compliment both her and the costume.  Suggestions are definitely welcome!