Monday, September 15, 2008


I got my Necchi BU last week and got a chance to play with it yesterday. It sews through leather like it's lightweight fabric, it's just wonderful. I got so excited that made my first project with it, this little black and purple mini Moo card case.

It's another project out of sample sheets, but these were so small I wasn't sure what I could do with them. It turns out that you can use two to make a mini Moo card case and I have slightly larger sample sheets that I can use to make similar cases for business cards. I'm also trying to work out how to make a business card case in this style with a small pocket on the front for mini Moo cards.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Best laid plans

Last Saturday was the craft show I had been getting ready for. I didn't have quite everything done that I wanted to do but I was in pretty good shape, a little stressed but otherwise doing good. Then the rain came. It started out innocently enough with regular rain showers in the afternoon, then moved to torrential rain in the afternoons and culminated in rain that started last Friday and didn't stop until Saturday night. The craft show, which is an outdoor one, was cancelled and not rescheduled. I'm still a bit disappointed, it's hard not to be with all the work, but I'm trying to look at the bright side. I'm ahead on making things for my Etsy shop right now and that means I'm ahead in making stuff for the holidays.

The more pleasant news is that I am getting an industrial sewing machine. It is a 1951 Necchi that has been completely reconditioned and rewired and the people I'm getting it from may be able to work on the Singer 29-4 for me too. I'm really excited, the Necchi will really help me speed up my production on garment leather items which will give me more time to work on my tooling.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fun with sample sheets

I was fortunate enough to get some leather sample sheets though a recycling group for Etsy members and I recently got around to playing with them. One of the sheets was large enough for me to get a card case and iPod sleeve. I wish I could say that I did the embroidery on the pieces but the leather came that way, the embroidery is machine stitching.

After playing with the sample sheets I had gotten through the recycling group I bought a large lot of sample sheets so I'm going to be doing more with them. They are the perfect size for a smaller piece, and they are a great way to get different colors without having to buy whole hides.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So. . .

. . .would you buy the I've been busy excuse again? No? I don't blame you even though it is true, I've also been really lazy and not posting.

Right now I'm in the midst of getting things made for the craft show in August, there's a bunch o' cuffs ready to be finished waiting for me, then I need to make a batch o' key fobs, and then a need to make some wallets. To be honest this is the easy part, I'm much more worried about the show itself. I keep telling myself that if things don't sell there then I'm ahead for my Etsy shop, but I'm not doing a very good job of convincing myself.

I'll see what I can find for pictures to post for the next little bit at least.

Friday, June 13, 2008

No really, I've been busy

I've been a bit lax in posting again, mainly because I was busy making a big batch of cuffs and key fobs to take into the State Museum shop. The good news is that she took all of them so I have my first wholesale contact ever, the bad news is that I was either working on them or sitting here wondering what I was thinking. I've got a few pictures to share, I've gotten new stamps in the past few months and I've been having fun playing with them.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Embroidered leather

Something I started to do in the last few months is to decorate some of my garment leather pieces with embroidery. Embroidering leather is nothing new, there are a lot of examples of embroidered gloves and even shoes from the Middle Ages and Renaissance and machine embroidery is still a popular way to decorate garment leather. It being me, I do my embroidery by hand and I've been using silk embroidery floss because I love the feel of it and combination of the leather and silk. Overall, it's actually much easier than doing embroider on fabric because I have to pre-punch the stitching holes and I have to space those holes out well to avoid creating a perforated line.

This is one of my favorite embroidered pieces so far, grey and blue grey are two of my favorite colors, and they work so nicely together here.

This iPod sleeve is another favorite because the embroidery floss is a variegated pale blue and pale green so the color shifts subtly across the design.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's so very. . .pink

I frequently struggle with making only things that I like and trying to make things for a broader audience, which is something I think many artisans and craftsmen struggle with. There are times when it's harder for me than others. I prefer more subtle colors with a touch of something to draw interest rather than bright or bold colors. Somehow though I ended up with a full side of pink cowhide. It's not a pastel pink pink either, I could deal with that because while it's not my first choice it's a more subtle color. No, this is much darker shade of pink, pretty close to fuchsia which has made it hard to work with. I have no point of reference on if a piece made from it looks good or not because I'm so weirded out by the color. So, I made an iPod case case out of it:

To add to the unsettling effect I added a black applique with rhinestones and spots. Someday, maybe, I'll come to terms with the color of this leather. Until then it's going to freak me out every time I go to work with it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bunch 'o cuffs

This is the latest batch of cuffs. I'm really having fun making them, they a nice little project to work on between bigger pieces or while I'm waiting for something to dry. It's also made me look at some of the stamps I have a bit closer and think about how I can use them so it's really given me more options as well.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Harness cuff

My latest little cuff and what may be the beginning of my first line of items because they are so dang fun to make. They are a nice item that I can make at the same time as I'm working on more complicated tooling pieces. Now I just need to figure out how to do the listings. Well and make them.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Victorian design cuff

One of my more recent pieces, this wristband was an interesting experiment. The tooling design is from a reprint of a Victorian book of textile designs, and I just beveled it rather than cutting and beveling. Then I painted the design lightly with metallic campaign and metallic brown paint and then stained the piece with dark brown antique. The goal was to make it look like the cuff was made out of a much older piece of leather. I think it worked well, but it's funny to consider how much time I took to make something new look old. My hope is that it would be considered somewhat steampunk with the Victorian design and the overall look.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Decorating excess

In my quest for new source material for tooling patterns I've begun to delve into Victorian design books and along the way I've learned some interesting things.

The first is that it is really easy to find reprints of actual design books from that era which makes the research much easier. Being able to look at these reprints has been wonderful because I get to see the designs in their original context. This has lead me to the next thing I learned which is that the Victorians apparently decorated every decoratable surface in a room. After reading a couple of these books I'm pretty sure that if someone stood still for too long or fell asleep in the wrong place that they would get decorated too. I'm still trying to figure out if there was mixing of decorative styles, like a Neo-Greco panel design on the bottom of the wall and medieval inspired designs above, or if you tried to stick with a theme for a room. I have this sinking feeling that it was a mix and match sort of thing.

The other thing that I learned has to do with something i was told long ago. When I first started doing calligraphy and illumination in the SCA we were warned pretty strongly against using any of the Victorian designs collections as the source for illumination designs. I didn't understand it then, but I do now that I've had a chance to look at both. The Victorian source books are not collections of exact copies of any of these designs, they are collections of Victorian interpretations of those designs. That might not seem like a huge distinction but it really is because you're different aesthetics and attitudes toward colors, layout and so on. For my history geek side this has been very exciting. Ultimately though I'm hoping to get some good designs out of this and maybe to expand into doing some different things, even some vaguely steampunk-esque stuff.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I didn't think that through at all

There's a back story here so bear with me. I went poking around recently and looked at the blogs of some of the people who have commented on my past entries and came across Bloggy Goodness by rexxtime. While I was looking at his pictures I was wondering where he got all the cool spots he was using on his wristbands, then I came to the entry where he mentioned Standard Rivet and I had to go look. Then I had to order some stuff, which meant trying to meet the $25 minimum order and that is damn hard when some of the spots only cost two or three cents each but I managed to do it. It wasn't until today that I took a closer look at the confirmation email and noticed it gave the total number of spots that I had ordered, which is 1150. 1150 little bits of metal I have to find a home for. Why didn't I think about that and my lack of storage space before I ordered?

The only upside is that they are small and will be easier to store than a side of tooling leather.