Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chap tops with color

Here's something new I started working on over the weekend. Jake was making a pair of chaps and while I was going through patterns and sides of chap leather, I decided to work on a pair myself. It was kind of fun to get back to carving something that I am really comfortable doing, carving oak leaves. The oak leaf/basketweave pattern is similar to one I used on one of my saddles. Just for something different, I decided to add some fall colors to the leaves.

I colored the leaves with Tandy's eco flow dyes. I really like how these dyes work and how easily the colors blend. I also used them for the background. As soon as I was done with the coloring, I oiled the whole piece with neatsfoot oil. That was a little scary as I didn't know how the oil would work with the dye, but it was fine. After letting the oil soak in for about an hour, I added a couple coats of Neat Lac as a sealer. Let that dry for about 10 minutes and then added a coat of Fiebing's medium brown antique paste. Then for a final finish, a coat of Tan Kote. I know most people would have taken a lot more time to do the coloring process, but I get really impatient when it comes to the coloring. The results were pretty much what I had in mind when I started, so I was pretty happy. The fun part for me is done. Not sure when I'll get around to sewing them up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Black bear for Lesson #2

Here's Jan's completed  black bear from last weekend. This is a bear pattern that Jan first did back in 1999 and entered in the IFOLG show in Denver where it took best of show. When things slow down around here, I'll start working on writing up the lesson. It's amazing how fast Jan can get one of these projects finished in the marathon sessions we do for these lessons. We worked close to 12 hours on the bear on Saturday, then finished up the embossing Sunday morning.  Jan colored his in the afternoon. I just watched, asked questions, and took a lot of notes and pictures of the coloring process. I'll probably write up the lesson before I do the coloring on mine.

It's been a long week!  Monday night it rained a LOT!!  We started to get some water in the basement and ended up spending most of the night trying to clean up the mess. Finally got to bed around 4:30 AM and was back up at 6:30 to head to town for a new sump pump. After a full day at work, Stacy and I went out for her birthday supper in town. That was the best part of the day!  I still don't think we've caught up on our sleep.

Jan wanted me to let everyone know that he's available to teach lessons one on one in his home in Billings, MT or he'll travel to teach classes. If he has to travel very far, he needs a minimum of 10 students and a 2 days class will run about $185 per person.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tornado in Billings

I spent the weekend in Billings with Jan Schoonover, working on a black bear project for the next lesson in our series. We finished up around 3:30 and then I had to do some quick shopping before I headed for home. Once that was done, I went to fill the car up with gas. As I was going into the station, a man sitting outside asked me if I had been watching those clouds. He said he was pretty sure they were going to turn into a tornado. By the time I came back out, the storm sirens were going off.  Most of the clouds were off to the west and I was headed east so I decided to take off. I called Stacy and was telling her about the strange clouds when a funnel cloud dropped out of the sky. It was off to the north of the interstate maybe a half mile. Most of the cars and trucks on the road were pulling over to watch and take pictures. I decided to just keep going. I could see the funnel cloud for a few miles as I was driving, but I couldn't tell that it had touched down. I stayed ahead of the storm most of the way home, but passed through several bouts of heavy rain and lightning. When I got back to Belfield, my daughter was at the gas station and she told me it was a good thing I had left when I did because a tornado had gone through Billings. That's when I first learned that it had caused some major damage. When I got home, Stacy showed me several videos on the computer people had taken of the storm and the wreckage. The Metra park where most of the damage was done isn't all that far from where Jan and Alice live. I just got off the phone with Jan and he said they didn't receive any damage, but did get 2 1/2 inches of rain and some small hail. Thankfully, there were no reports of serious injuries.  You can see more about the storm that went through Billings here.

I'll make another post soon on the black bear project Jan and I worked on while I was there.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finally finished painting my antelope

Since I didn't go to Billings last weekend to start the bear lesson, I took some time to finish up the painting on the antelope we did for the first lesson. It seems like I really need to be in the mood to paint if I want it to turn out. I had done some painting on it before, but felt the shading needed more work. I decided to use some of the tips Jan had given me when we painted the grizzly, and I felt like they really worked well in this. The tips were fairly simple, darker shades in the shadows and lighter shades for the highlights give more depth and shape to a painted project. I am pretty happy with how this turned out. I haven't sealed the picture yet as I still think I'd like to add some background scenery to the picture, but I haven't decided what yet. Here's how it looks now.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lesson #2 postponed

I was supposed to be in Billings this weekend working on the black bear lesson with Jan, but he called last night to tell me he had taken a fall and broke a rib. He was in quite a bit of pain but in good spirits. He asked if we could put off starting the lesson until next week or the week after. He is very disappointed in having to put it off, but I think everyone will understand. Next weekend is Stacy and my anniversary and we were planning to do something together to celebrate but we aren't sure exactly what yet. So right now the plan is to start the bear lesson on the weekend of the 19th and 20th. The week after that Jan is headed to Pennsylvania to teach a class on embossing a wolf head.

After spending a couple days crawling around on rafters this week, I was looking forward to a weekend of sitting safely in front of a bench pounding on leather. I guess I never thought much about how falling down in your shop could break a bone too. Still, it's not nearly as scary as balancing on a 2x4, swinging a hammer at a nail while staring at the ground 30 feet below.

Being I was home for the weekend, Jake and I worked with the young horses again today. We rode them both in a bigger pen and they are coming along really well. They learn quickly and seem to enjoy being ridden. We're planning on another session tomorrow. The weather has been almost perfect here this past week for being outside. We are thinking of a taking a hike tomorrow morning to take some pictures in the badlands. I'm not sure when the last time was that they have been so green. We might do a little work on our saddles tomorrow too if we have some time.