Monday, December 28, 2009

So. . .

It's been a while hasn't it? After my last post things got a bit crazy here, I got sick twice (once with probably the flu and second time with definitely the flu), our hot water heater died on us, I went on vacation and I was trying to get ready for the holidays. Things have finally settled down, but I'm trying to get a few old projects done and out of my way before I start working on anything new. Once I'm done with that I'm planning on at least posting pictures more regularly. No promises, but that's the plan for right now.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The custom belts, the final shot

And this is the belts completed. They both look fantastic, but I'm just blown away with how good the desert weeds design came out. I'm very happy with the final results over all and I can see doing both designs on belts again.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Custom belts

This has been my current project, a couple of custom belts. It's been fun making them, although there was a point on the diamonds one where i wondered what I was thinking because it required a lot of stamping. The next step will be to dye the diamonds belt black and stain the desert weeds belt brown. I'm hoping to get that done tomorrow, I have more canning to do today.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tendrils journal in living color

I'm relatively happy with the end effect, the paint turned out to be much more of a purple burgundy than I expected, but I like the end effect. (It's my own fault, I had this mental image of what the color should be rather than looking at the sample the store had.) The dye, as usual, ended up being uneven and I'm still not sure if I want to go in and do touch ups. I expect it would help if i wasn't so impatient, by the time I get to this stage I really don't want to mess around with multiple light coats of dye so I guess I just need to learn to love the effect the uneven dyeing creates.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

And now for something completely different --

For my shop of course:

I've done a couple custom belts but this will be the first pre-made one in my shop. I'm really happy with how it turned out and I love that buckle. It's funny I put the buckle on just for the photograph but it looks so nice I'm going to keep them together. Next step will to work on more belts so this guy isn't lonely when I list him.

Then it is on to making some test run bags, a messenger style one and a small purse that I want to have done before going on vacation in December. That way I can try them out and make sure they work before I start making them to sell.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Tendrils journal cover step three

I finished to tooling on the tendril journal a couple days ago and went over it last night to even out the tooling. The next step is dyeing, and I applied the first coat of dye this afternoon. Depending on how it looks when that first coat dries I may need to do another coat. Once all of that is done I will paint the tooled area. I'll definitely be sure to get a picture after all that done.

Monday, August 17, 2009

After the craft show

We made it through the craft show and I guess we did OK. We didn't sell a lot but we did have some sales so it wasn't a complete bust. I really think the weather and the economy were working against us, it was cool and we mostly ended up with scattered rain showers and lots of lookers. Hopefully next year will be better, and on the plus side I have a lot of cuffs and key fobs to list.

One of the things that really worked at the show was the display rack E made for the cuffs:

It still needs a bit of tweaking to get it just right but it worked perfectly. It was pretty simple to build too, 2" by 1" pine board, some screws to attach it all and small hinges to attach the legs. Once E is done making a few changed I'm going to stain and seal it.
This is the rest of my display:

The baskets worked well for everything except the key fobs, they really needed to be out and visible so E is working out a display for them too. It will be similar to the cuff rack but will have hooks to hand the fobs.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Final push

It's been a while again but I've been busy trying to get ready for the museum craft show which is tomorrow. I'm not sure how many people may have been reading last year, but this is the same show that got cancelled then due to torrential rain. So far the weather looks good, just scattered showers on the forecast so we should be fine.

Overall I think I'm ready, but there's always that little chunk of my brain which is worried about something getting forgotten. I just have to keep telling myself that it's all going to plan and to stop panicking. One thing I'm a bit disappointed about is that I didn't get as many pieces made as I had hoped. I did get a lot of smaller pieces, like cuffs and key fobs, done and maybe hopefully I'll be able to have more done for the next one. E was also nice enough to take my rambling ideas and gestures and translate them into a display for the cuffs. I put the camera in with everything so I definitely get pictures of the set up and post them. It may not be until Sunday though, I'm guessing I'm going to just collapse in a heap when I get home tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tendril journal, the tooling begins

So, I finally made up my mind on the tooling and ended up going with doing silhouette carving. This is around 1 1/2 to 2 hours worth of tooling since I have to bevel and background the design. I'm looking at at least another 3 or 4 hours of tooling since I have to finish the rest of the beveling and backgrounding and then I'll need to go back and even out the backgrounding. This is going to be one of those projects that takes me a while. I'm really wondering what I was thinking now.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Wide cuffs

A couple of new wide stamped cuffs since the other ones I had sold.

I really like the way this one turned out, the black strap on the blue is a very striking combination. I just love this little stamp too.

It's hard to tell with the strap the way the strap lays when it is buckled but the cuff is put together so that the stamped cubes alternate creating a checkerboard-like design.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tendrils journal cover step two

And here it is with the design cut. About midway through I really started to wonder if doing it in silhouette carving is the best way to go. (Coincidentally that was also about the same point my hand started cramping and I started to wonder what I was thinking when I chose this design. All of these things may or may not be connected.) If I change directions then I'll do somewhat traditional tooling and have the tendrils stand out and background the. . .well the background of the design. I'm going to let it sit a day or two and decide then.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tendrils journal cover

This is the beginning of my newest large project, the next step will be to cut the design and start tooling. (Well, after I go back and put the remaining bit of the design in on the lower right corner.) The current plan is to do silhouette carving for the tooling, dye the main part of the cover green and paint the tooled section in burgundy. Now that I have it transferred to the leather I'm wondering if it's going to turn into one of those "what was I thinking" sort of pieces.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The saga of the ginkgo wallet

It looks pretty innocuous, doesn't it? Just a bi-fold wallet with ginkgo leaves. Looks can be deceiving though, this ended up being a Murphy's law project, almost everything that could go wrong did. Here are the steps the project went through:

1. Get request. Establish that the customer wants same design and colors as the ginkgo checkbook cover in shop, ID pocket on the back of the wallet, tooling on the front and the interior of the interior should have a coin purse.
2. Get sick.
3. Begin to look for ID card pocket from suppliers. Determine I can get them but they won't work for this piece so I figure out how to make my own.
4. Go to get pre-assembled wallet interior, discover that Tandy no longer carries them and doesn't even have them in of their kits so I can't scavenge one. Manager at local Tandy can't find any in the system.
5. Give customer update and then begin digging through my books to see if I can figure out how to make a coin purse. I find some possible options.
6. Spend a couple of weeks tinkering to see what is going to work to make a coin purse for wallet interior.
7. Tool, paint, stain and seal wallet exterior. Realize I'm going to have to figure out a different way to attach closure strap.
8. Sew ID pocket on and put wallet interior together.
9. Get closure strap in, line wallet, get interior in and ready to sew together. . .and realize closure strap is not long enough.
10. Pull old closure strap out.
11. Make new closure strap and then reassemble wallet pieces.
12. Finally sew wallet together.

All in all it took me almost 2 months to make what seemed like a pretty straight forward piece. The up side is that I figured out how to do a few new things. The down side is I figured out ways to do some things better as I was sewing the wallet together.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

No really I'm still alive

Another large gap between posts, I'm just not sure if I'm ever going to get better about that. I get these great ideas for posts and then never get around to posting.

At any rate, I had some family stuff come up and then went on vacation and I've been trying to get back on track since then. I did manage to get the small bag with the embroidered strips done but i need to re-work the design so no pictures of it yet. I have some custom pieces I've been working on and new wide stamped cuffs so hopefully I can get back to posting pictures of new stuff soon.

I'm on Twitter now too (link to the right) I'm not sure how much better I'll be to posting there but it seems to fit better with my random thought patterns.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tree journal cover

Have you ever had one of those projects where you get a point where you wonder what you were thinking? Well, this is one of those projects. I had a glimmering of that feeling as I was cutting out the tree and all those little leaves, but it didn't really hit me until I was halfway through the tooling and at that point it was way too late to stop. This is probably one of the more difficult bits of tooling that I've done just because of all the little fiddly bits.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Emboidered band

This is for one of my current projects for myself, it will eventually be part of a decorative applique on a small purse. The embroidery is done in a variegated silk floss from a company called Hand Dyed Fibers. The color is called Dragon Opal and is one of my favorites from them. The leather I'm using is a pearlized grey lambskin and it's been interesting to work on, it's light weight enough that I haven't had to prepunch the holes for the needle.
Over all, this is going to be one of my trial runs for making purses using the Necchi and I'm hoping to be able to finish this project before we go on vacation at the end of March so I can give it a good test run.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


This is the end result of one of my projects this weekend. Some time ago I had bought some chunks of beeswax with the idea that I could melt it and make it into small cakes that I could use for my hand sewing and that E and A could use for waxing bow strings. Well I never got around to doing it until now. After getting some advice on the Etsy forums I broke the beeswax into smaller chunks, melted it in a quart jar in a pot of boiling water and poured it into a silicon mini muffin tin to make the cakes. It was a bit messy but worked out well. I ended up with a couple dozen little cakes of beeswax which is probably going to be enough to last me for the rest of my life with plenty to spare.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mine, all mine

The titles says it all, these are all things I made for myself. I'm really bad about wanting to make things for myself and never getting around to it so this is a big thing for me.

My personal collection o' cuffs. I'll probably end up adding to it, I love cuffs and bracelets. The black one with the spots was originally intended for the shop but I liked it so much that I kept it.

I made this case for when we travel, it's great for clipping on the outside of my carry on to keep my ID handy. When we are in Vegas I have it clipped to the strap on my purse and it's an excellent place to keep my player's club cards and a little bit of cash tips.