Saturday, July 28, 2007

Very excited

This may not look like much to anyone else, but I am really excited about it. The other night I pulled out my reliable old Singer and did some fiddling around with it and discovered that I can sew the garment leathers I've been working with on it. (The picture is my test pieces.) That is going to make the custom piece I'm working on so much easier, and it means that putting together bags will be easier too. All I need to do is go get heavier thread in more colors and some more bobbins and I'm set. I just hope I can find what I need here since we have no fabric stores at this point, otherwise I have to order stuff and wait.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Six letter syndrome

I think I posted here or in my other blog on what my husband and I call 6 letter syndrome, which where you can't stop at saying 'No' you have to keep going and add those other 6 letters which means you end up saying 'No. . .problem' instead. I get myself into a lot of trouble with that, but at the same time it also makes me push my boundaries and learn more. Well, I've done it again and now I have to try to figure out how to do a project and hope it works. And hope my hands survive the attempt. I have got to get the 29-4 up and working so I can lean how to use it. I'll still have to hand sew the tooled pieces but the machine will speed up the garment leather one. I will of course post pictures when I'm done.

In the meantime here is a picture of one of my recent projects which is a bit more experimenting with the new stains.

The leaf is from a book on Japanese textile designs and I think it is a stylized ginkgo biloba leaf.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On sales and liking what you make

I had a large sale from my Etsy store yesterday, one of my largest ones to date, and it got me thinking about a few things. One is that while I love everything I make I never stay too attached to any of it. If I really wanted any of them I would just keep them or make one of my own so it doesn't bother me to send them off into the world. I'm not sure why I feel that way at all, but it works for me so I'm not going to worry about it. I just tend to be very nervous while they are in transit and I worry about if the other person will like it or not. I also realized that I have a tendency to end up making one of a kind pieces just because I get bored using the same tooling designs and stamping designs, but I don't want to specifically market anything that way beyond ACEOs because I don't want to be tied down, I want the option to reuse a design if I want to. This isn't something I every consciously decided to do, it just happens to be the way I ended up doing it. Is it just part of the way I am or is it connected to the craft I do? I'm not sure at all, but it makes for a nice of philosophical thought oin a Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More experimenting

I think I'm slowly getting the hang of the new stains, but it's going to be a while before I get it perfected. I have figured out a few tips for using the new Eco-Flo Hi-Lite stains from Tandy:

1. you can't be afraid to really rub it into the leather otherwise you don't get good even color
2. it works a lot better to apply it with a rag because you can get better pressure
3. trying to apply it with gloves on is nearly, but not quite, impossible
4. definitely wait to apply more of the stain until the first coat is dry because you run the risk of disturbing the initial coat
5. when the instructions say apply one coat of finish and let it dry before applying a second coat, they really mean it

All in all, though I am just loving this stain because of the colors. Below is another one of my test pieces, and I'm really thrilled with how such a simple stamped design turned out in the blue.

This is exactly what I had wanted every time I griped about how frustrating it was to only have black and different shades of brown available in antiques.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Small journal cover

This is another piece I finished recently, and I think it came out quite nicely.

The tooling is based on a Persian embroidery design, and was done in the inverted carving style. This was a test piece for some of the newer metallic acrylic paints that I've gotten and they worked well, although I think I may need to start doing a number of light layers to get good coverage with the paint. This one just closes with a deer lace that wraps around a metal button which is a lot easier to set up than the bead toggle closure so I may end up using this style in the future.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bamboo ACEO

This piece is my first full scale try on the new stains over paint.

Above is the piece after it was painted. I chose this design because I've wanted to use it for a while now and it seemed like it would look nice with the green tea stain. The design itself is based on a Japanese textile design and I did basic inverted carving on it. The paint is a metallic brown for the trunk and metallic moss green for the leaves.

This is the piece after being stained. It's not perfect because I didn't realize that you have to rub the stain into the leather to get it to take well so it is uneven and shifted around when I put the finish on, but it's not too bad. I think it's interesting that it makes the tooled portions look like they have verdigris on them, that may be something to keep in mind for later projects.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The final verdict for the initial trial

The pieces have dried and I've gotten the finish put on them and all in all I think everything went well. I did discover while putting on the finish that it is very easy to pull the stain up off the leather and out of impressions when the finish is applied which means that neither piece has quite as even of staining now as it did in the initial picture. The same thing happens with antique but not to this extent, so I'm going to have to sort out if it was not leaving the pieces to sit and dry long enough between steps or the applying the finish with a sponge brush that did it.

Stain test project pictures

OK, here are pictures of the first two pieces that I tried the stain out on. On the left is a stamped piece stained with sky blue, on the right is a piece with a cut designs stained with thistle purple.

The sky blue piece was made out of a piece of tooling leather with a darker tone and I think that is effecting the color of the final piece, but I do like the end effect. I think I need to do another test piece for the blue out of lighter leather to see how it turns out.


The new stains arrived yesterday and so far they are working exactly like I had hoped, a lot like the antiques I usually use. The only issue I have found so far is that if you are using the lighter colored stained on tooling leather that is sunburned or a bit darker in color the stain will not cover it as well and that darker base color will show through. It's not bad as long as you know about it and I think I can use that fact to create some cool effects. I am waiting on a stamped test piece and a cut design test piece to dry then I can finish them and get some pictures to post. I also got an ACEO tooled and painted to see how the stains work over that. Based on a discussion with another seller on Etsy I may try to use these stains as a wash over a dyed piece as well, but I'm going to need to get the right design for that.

The iPod case kit is not quite what I was hoping for, unfortunately. I think it may still help me with working out my own pattern so it isn't a complete loss though.