Old Tack, New Purpose

Almost everyone I know who rides horses has some place in their home, barn or even car, where they keep a pile of unused tack. This collection can vary depending on the discipline, but the most common items are bridle parts, used horse shoes, old bits, worn out stirrup leathers, and boots with broken zippers.

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My collection takes up part of my garage, the back of the car and a good portion of my trailer. I keep saying I am going to sort it all out and do the “sell, donate or dispose” routine…..

Until then, I thought it would be fun to inspire everyone with some great ideas for repurposing these items.

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With the holidays around the corner some of these ideas may even come in handy for gift ideas. They are all easy to do and may just take a little cleaning, some paint, glue, and a nail or two. The best part is that they may even have a carry a sentimental value, if the pieces came from a beloved Equine partner!

A Farrier can weld things for a small fee as in this toilet paper holder made from a curb bit.

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A door knocker can be made with a stirrup and some gold paint.

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A light switch cover is easily made from a used shoe.

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Hanging the shoes from ribbons in colors and patterns that reflect your style adds a fun touch to a room.

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A collection of jewelry holders would also make any young girl very happy.

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Or simply use a stirrup to decorate a wreath made from holly.

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If not holly, make a wreath from old show ribbons.

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Or even use ribbons as simple wall hangings or as in this case, a makeshift headboard!

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Replacing a broken zipper on inexpensive schooling boots is not worth the price, so shine them up and fill them with greenery.b74401139aa89332f9dd14f1ccb45e8d

Or hang them over the chimney with care!

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A vintage silver trophy does a great job on a counter to hold utensils.

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Bits can be used a lot of ways.

They can be framed to remember a special horse.

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They can serve as napkin holders at a horse themed party.

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If you like to sew, pillows are always a good idea.

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A simple no-sew option? Tiebacks from stirrup straps.

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Magazine holders would be a nice addition in the same room.

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These pieces are vintage Gucci. They are letter holders and can certainly be reproduced using your own choice of paint and base material.

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Not the creative type? Then just display it all!

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Put your treasures out for all to see.

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Knowing the cost of tack and even the cost involved in winning a single ribbon, I say be proud and show it off!

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A Day at the “D&D”

For more than 40 years, the address 979 3rd Ave. has been the go-to destination of many Design professionals. The “Decoration and Design” building, commonly known as the “D&D” for short, is 18 floors of showrooms which represent almost 3000 manufacturers of products used for building and design.

The entrance is well known for the mosaic tile of the building’s  logo.

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This past week was Market, which is the time when the showrooms present their new products. There are informative seminars, casual receptions and book signings making it a very fun venue to go to. I received a flyer in the mail describing the two day event and the schedule of events.

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I am embarrassed to say I probably haven’t been there in about ten years, since I stopped working. Now that I write my blog, I had a bug to go and see what I have missed all these years. I called my design partner in crime, Ericka who is a very talented decorative painter, and we went in for the day.

On Wednesday, we were able to attend the panel discussion with Tom Scheerer, Aerin Lauder, and Howard Slatkin. Traffic was horrendous so we only caught the last 15 minutes but we got a great goody bag courtesy of the sponsor, The New York Times!

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Afterwards, the Holly Hunt showroom sponsored a book signing reception so we went and enjoyed some coffee and networking.

As I took a sip, I looked ahead and saw this…

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The showroom of DENNIS & LEEN; beautiful reproductions of 17th and 18th century antiques.

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Gorgeous finishes and just enough detail.

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Their finishes are so well done that is hard to distinguish from a real antique.

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The showroom is an endless treat of lovely vignettes.

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One floor down, 17 to go!

I knew I wanted to go to EBANISTA as everything I have seen posted on Pinterest, I absolutely love.

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EBANISTA is also based on the fine art of reproduction European antiques with a wonderful eye for detail and talent for fine finishes.

Gilding, fine fabrics, hand carving and velvet were evident everywhere.

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I didn’t know where to look first as every piece was something I would have purchased.

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A hand embroidered and applique pillow was center stage on a sofa.

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Another beautiful vignette.

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This is a sample of one the imported cut velvets that are offered by the yard or for custom upholstery.

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We made quick stops at Armani Home, Gracie Wallpapers, Maya Romanoff, J. Robert Scott and Donghia. All were very gracious hosts and all had their incredible selection of new products proudly displayed.

Charles Faudree has a line of fabrics for Vervain and ironically, the simplest fabric was my favorite. It was an oh-so charming blush color buffalo check.

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There was one more stop I knew I wanted to make and I saved it for last.

The FORTUNY showroom.

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When I was a student at The Fashion Institue of Technology I was introduced to the beauty of Fortuny. I was fortunate enough to work in their Design Lab, which did restoration work on the couture that was displayed in most of the costume exhibitions at the time. That is where my fascination began.

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The entrance of the showroom features a new concept the company is using. Squares of mosaic fabric are custom made to make murals that look exactly like tile.

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Behind the mural is a photograph of the original factory in Venice Italy where Fortuny fabric is still carefully manufactured today. It is a very closely guarded process that no one is allowed to observe.

Not even the Queen of Sweden was allowed in when she was in town!

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We had a great time thanks to the showroom manager, Catherine and the backroom assistant, Jun. Jun is a very talented worker and had just made an incredible mobile for Catherine’s birthday. He used scraps of fabric and made all different birds on twigs.

Alexander Calder watch out!

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We were even fortunate enough to meet to owners of the company,Maury and Mickey Riad who were put in charge by their father, Maged.

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Even though the Fortuny process is a closely guarded secret, it is so easy to appreciate the beauty of the centuries old technique.

Bold cotton colored grounds are hand printed with  metallic colors and timeless designs.

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I could have stayed all week, but as luck had it, I had to get back home to the Money Pit to meet the electrician, so I was back to reality by 4:00.

It truly was so fun to go back and see so many wonderful things. The best part was literally running into one of the most famous design icons ever.

As I was leaving the Lee Jofa showroom, I had my hands full of bags, was holding a cappuccino and had a mouthful of garlic bagel. As I turned the corner, I almost knocked over Mario Buatta and I was so embarrassed I was speechless. I apologized and just said ‘I’m so sorry but you don’t know who I am but I know who you are!”.

He kindly looked at me and asked, “and you are??”

I didn’t dare ask for a photo!

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