Saturday, February 19, 2011

Success at Last!

...and not the model horse tack kind... unfortunately. I finally finished my total synthesis of a natural product at school (it has been a rough last few weeks!). I have been on this project since I started grad school and it looked like I was going to be finished LAST year at this time. But alas, research does not always go as planned. I will be going into hiding again the next week or two while we write up a publication and I finish all the last experimental stuff. Then I hope to finally have a life back and not be rushing to get things done all the time. I plan on working somewhat more normal hours once we get this paper out the door, which means I will hopefully get more tack done, more gym time in (we'll see about that one...) and things like that.

I'll leave you with some photos from WEG. Can you guess what obstacle these riders all have a different style of approaching?

Rodriguez Pessoa always has the softest and nicest equation...

Here is the giveaway:

I have to pull my mom's photos out to get the shot of the actual obstacle being "tackled".

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chemistry and Horses

Have I ever told you how much I love chemistry and horses together? I knew Alltech was a sponsor of the World Equestrian Games, but I didn't know molecules would be all over!




Even this glass horse that was suspended from the ceiling of the Alltech building is made up of little benzene rings..

A little bit of math and biology in there too...

The horses even had to jump over them!

And of course, the huge entry into the Alltech building:

I think the next jump I make for performance showing will have to be a molecule like the first picture. I even have a molecule kit, it would be pretty easy to put together, and really, it would only be fitting :)
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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Workin' Hard

Here are a few progress photos of the Cleveland Bay in-hand tack. All I have done so far is the bridle! I ran out of the gold buckles, so I need to place an order for more - but I had to wait until I got paid yesterday, LOL. I'm still not sure how I'm going to attack the surcingle - I want it to be as realistic as possible with the correct shape over the withers and the padding on the sides. But, I'm happy with how the bridle has turned out.

Don't pay attention to all that sticky wax on the bit! :) I would like to be able to use this set for a showmanship class at a live show, but it's not looking good for attending one of those this year. The only show I was able to attend last year was BreyerFest. Talk about competition, yipes! So this piece may come up for sale once I'm all finished with it.
It has been some really late nights in the lab. I can't even believe I managed to get these pieces cut and dyed and some even stichmarked! I have two orders for pony saddles, so it will be nice to bring both of them through at the same time. I feel it is much more efficient to be able to toggle back and forth between the two - no waiting around for stuff to dry before moving on.

I'm not sure how I feel about them yet. The leather might be a little too thin for these saddles, but we'll see. I'm feeling good about the color so far. They will darken up when I condition them, but you never know how they will turn out until then.
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Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Look into 2010

Even though we are 2 weeks into 2011, I thought it wasn't too late to evaluate 2010.

Twenty-ten was hands down a stellar year all around. It was successful both hobby and school wise. I'll start in chronological order with the highlights of both.

January - I pass my oral exams for school, officially making me a PhD candidate in chemistry, and snagging the masters as well

February - My mom and I make plans to go to the World Equesrian Games in Lexington, KY

March -
  • My fiance and I got to travel to Steamboat Springs, CO for my friend's "baccalaureate" party where I saw friends I hadn't seen in years.
  • Robin Briscoe, of Breyer Animal Creations, contacts me to see if I would be interested in making a tack set for a diorama that would be on display at the World Equestrian Games
May - Completion of one of my biggest model horse tack projects, the tandem collar harness for a pair of Palouses

June - I receive an email from the National Science Foundation offering me a Graduate Research Fellowship due to a few people declining their offers (I don't know why ANYONE would decline one! I had previously received an email in April saying that I did not get the grant). What this fellowship means is a raise in my yearly salary and I will not have to teach any more labs, making more time for doing actual research.

July - BreyerFest! I also got to be a volunteer for the first time where I was able to demonstrate making tack for a few hours. I received this lovely volunteer model:

I was also lucky enough to win the Kathy McKenzie NAN Donation off only $20 in tickets. She is so beautiful and I felt so honored to have one of Kathy's last pieces in my possession.

August - I spend a nice, long weekend visiting my mom in Phoenix, AZ

September/October - World Equestrian Games!

November - My diorama volunteer model arrives!

December - My WEG Factory Custom Breyer arrives!

I'm not thrilled with the amount of tack I actually made this year. In fact, I can probably count the number of sets on just my two hands. Not only that, but about half were donations! I don't mind donating to shows, but I do need to re-coup some money. I'm really going to try to make more this year, but most often, by the time I get home from school, I have absolutely no energy!

Chemistry wise, well, I thought I would have been done with my project by now. But there have been so many setbacks, it is unbelievable. I really do hope to have it finished by the time summer hits.