Friday, May 13, 2011

Envelope style Kindle case

Yes, I've been a bit scarce again, I've been trying to finish up my old project back log and that has meant I wasn't really working on anything new. Then I got a Kindle and decided I didn't like any of the commercially made cases. That lead to working out a pattern and deciding it would be cool to have something that was tooled to act as an advertisement for my business and this is the end result:

The case is made from 4 ounce tooling leather, lined with camel colored suede (I don't have any pictures of the interior so you'll have to trust me on that) and closes with two brass buckles. The tooling design comes from one of the vintage leathercraft books I've collected, in this case Designs for Tooled Leather Book II by Louise Hoeffer (second edition published in 1938). It was intended to be used on a book cover which I thought worked well on a case for a digital book. In doing the tooling I decided to go with inverted carving and finished off by painting it with Lumiere acrylic paints. The entire piece was then stained chestnut tan, the paint touched up and sealed.

The pattern worked out well so I'll be making some to add to my shop, but I'm not sure if I'll do any with carved designs. I love doing the carving but the time that goes into it means that larger tooled pieces are more expensive and that seems to put people off.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Neo-Victorian Ferns the beginning

I thought I'd try something a bit different and do as close to a step by step set of pictures as I can manage on one of my larger pieces. I can't find the pictures of the early steps, prepping the design to get it ready for transferring to the leather, if I find them I will put them up as a separate entry.

This piece is one that I've wanted to make for some time now, since I saw the spiral of leaves that looked somewhat like a fern to me. It comes from the Dover book Victorian Floral Designs which is a reprint of Suggestions in Floral Designs by F. Edward Hulme originally published in 1880. Like most Dover books you can use a certain number of designs without permission and if you have an interest in Victorian design I really recommend it.

Here is the moment before I began to transfer the design to the tooling leather. The leather has been rubber cemented to poster board to keep it from stretching and deforming when it is tooled, and has been sprayed with water. I always cut the poster board at least an inch or two larger that the tooling leather on each side because it gives me enough space to staple the tracing film to it to keep the pattern in place as you see in the picture above. The next step is to trace over the design on the tracing film with a stylus which will engrave the design into the damp leather. (And yes it can end up being a lot of tracing with some projects, on this one I will end up tracing this design 7 times. )

And this is the transferred design, as you can see the ferns and lines are engraved into the leather, this will give me the guidelines I need when I start my carving and tooling. But not quite yet because I want the design to repeat across the cover so I will be transferring it 4 more times.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Garment leather cuffs

Now that the August craft show is behind me I thought I'd share pictures of my newest pieces. Much like it took me forever to start doing tooled cuffs and belts I've just gotten around to making garment leather cuffs. There were a couple of reasons why, for one I had wanted to stick with mainly tooled pieces and there are a lot of people making garment leather cuffs and I felt they did it much better (and I didn't want to look like I was copying them). Then I came up with an idea to put brass filigree on leather cuffs and just couldn't figure out a way to attach the filigree to a tooling leather cuff that I was happy with so after a few failed attempts I admitted defeat and decided to try the idea on garment leather. After I had made that decision then my imagination ran away with me and I came up with all sorts of ideas to make cuffs using some of the odds and ends of hardware I've collected, so here I am with 4 done, 3 waiting to be sewn, and a bunch of strips of leather ready to be decorated and made into cuffs. (This is my main problem with my creative impulses, they tend to be on the obsessive side so I end up overdoing it.) So, for your viewing pleasure, here are the fruits of my recent creative impulses.

This was the first try at the brass stamping and filigree on leather and I was so happy with the result that I kept this one. The leather is from one of the leather sample sheets I have collected, the brass stamping and filigree I found on Etsy, it closes with two snaps and the cuff is lined with brown suede.

These two are the result of me playing around with some of the hardware I've collected. Again the leather is from sample sheets with the various hardware and straps riveted on with antique brass rivets and both cuffs close with antique brass buckles. These were a lot of fun to make, especially coming up with the way to use the lacing Ds.

This the second try at using filigree on leather. I love the look of the brass on the oxblood red leather but I'm not happy with the way the spots ended up, they were supposed to be graceful swirls and ended up pretty wonky. The upside is that I made them equally wonky so they match.

And finally this one made from a fantastic olive green deerskin I've had for a few years plus some fantastic vintage brass filigree I found on Etsy. There are four of the open rosettes spaced out across the cuff and it closed with an antique brass buckle.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What I've been doing. . .

Just a selection of pictures of the things I've been working on the last couple of months.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

iPod Touch Case

It's been a long stretch between posts again, hasn't it? I've been working at getting some of old projects I had laying around finished, plus we had vacation at the end of April, and on top of all that Scooter had a torn cornea which has lead to an emergency vet visit, a couple of surgeries and lots of stress for me. Amidst all of that I did get a few things made.

I realized about a week before we left for vacation that I had never found a case for my iPod Touch that I liked so I decided to make one. Initially it was going to be a simple case that I was going to get cranked out quickly but then I thought it needed to look a bit nicer, so I decided to do a little decorative stitching and then it just snowballed. . .

The case is black sheepskin, lined with dark blue deerskin split. I did the decorative stitching using some old embroidery thread that had belonged to Grandma. The brand name is Nun's Boilproof Thread and after looking around on the internet it appears to be quite old, so I'm not sure where Grandma might have gotten it, possibly a garage sale or maybe from my great-grandmother. Beyond a little bit of wobble on the side seams I'm very happy with how it turned out and I can see adding this type of case to my Etsy shop.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tendrils journal cover, completed

Yes, I'm finally done with it, after what, like 6 months, maybe more? It took so long because I set it aside to work on other things and never picked it back up and the most embarrassing thing is I set it aside after I'd finished the tooling which is the most time consuming part. I'm happy with the way it turned out, even if a few things aren't quite like I imagined they would be.

The biggest thing that is different than I imagined is the color of the paint I used in the tooling. It is a much more purple burgundy than I expected, but that's my fault because I didn't actually look at the paint until I started using it. The green isn't as even or as dark as I would like, but I always struggle with that problem with blue and green dyes. The uneven dye makes it look a bit older and worn though which isn't a bad thing.

So, now it's on to the next big project, I've got a few ideas but not sure which way to go yet. In the meantime I am going to try to do some tutorials, definitely one on card cases and one on embroidering on leather (and similar materials). I also may try to document a project from the beginning. We'll see, hopefully I can stick with it and actually do that.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Belts and card cases, oh my!

I've mainly been working on a couple of custom pieces, an embroidered two pocket card case and a belt, and I got them done last week so here are some pictures:

The case is blue top grain leather with alternating stripes of light and medium blue embroidery done with silk floss. I got a bit silly and did the stripes on the two interior pockets as well. The case is lined with a lovely dark blue suede

The belt was made for a friend. It is 1 inch wide and stamped with a repeating diamond design that will make it easy to resize in the future.

I may try to do some little tutorial posts in the near fututure, maybe one on how I make card cases and another on doing embroidery on leather. I'm hoping that will get me to post more frequently. I am also trying to get the lattice journal, notebook cover and interlace card case sewn together so hopefully I'll have pictures of those to post soon as well.