Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting it Done!

With the Holidays upon us and a notion in mind to help stuff everyone's stocking, I have been busy in my little workshop! Besides the guitar straps I posted about yesterday, I have been making oodles of belts, piles of wristbands and as many of my Earth Medallions as I can wrap leather around!

Here are some samplings from my recent listings and custom orders -- a story in pictures of the hours of my days!

Just a teaser list, of course... visit me at my Etsy shop to see more!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Guitar Straps

It's gotten darned cold outside -- snow on the ground and temps in the teens. Powwow season is behind me for the year and it's time to change direction. Still, it can be difficult to leave the dancing, the colors and the patterns behind. My solution? Guitar straps!

Using the same love of color I employ in making belts for powwow regalia, as well as similar motifs and patterns, I turn wide strips of leather into unique guitar straps.

Adjustable and so durable they literally will last a lifetime or longer, these straps are starting to appear in my shop just in time for Christmas gifting!

They're made of full-grain cowhide and are all fully tooled. A musician's style is unique; why shouldn't their accessories be just as individualized?
I have a couple listed at a few more waiting for pictures to get taken. This is just a sampling...

I'm working feverishly to get more done, and I'm always willing to make one to custom order! Thanks for looking!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What If You Couldn't Go Home?

Today, November 10th, is designated a Refugee Awareness day by Bloggers Unite. The idea of tens of thousands of bloggers worldwide bringing attention to a worthy cause is one I gladly take part in! There are many worthy causes, but this one is particularly heartrending.
I don't live in a war zone, but my imagination can certainly wrap itself around the horrors that must entail. Fleeing those horrors would be an option of last resort, but for many it is the only choice to preserve life. More than 35 million people throughout the world have had to make this heartbreaking choice.
The agony of leaving one's home behind is often compounded by the lack of contact with loved ones, resulting in fractured and fragmented families.
Those of us who live in security and safety should perhaps spend at least some time in contemplating our good fortune and in considering what we can do to help.
Please check out some of the links posted here and consider if there might be something you can do to help!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stitching Leather Together

I have nothing against sewing machines. In fact I own 3, each tweaked for different types of materials. When putting cowhide together, however, I usually prefer the low-tech high-strength methods. Here are two of my favorites.
For the joining of multiple layers of heavy leather, as with this axe sheath, I like my stitching awl. It's a heavy duty little tool!
The waxed thread feeds from a center-mounted spool through a groove in the needle.
It's a push-pull operation; push the needle through a prepunched hole, pull back to create a loop, then pass thread through the loop on the other side of the project and pull the needle out. This creates a strong, tight and durable lock-stitch.

The leverage provided by the hand-held awl is very useful when working with heavy leather.
When I put something together, I intend for it to stay together!

Though there are certainly machines that could handle the thickness, the precision and control of hand-stitching creates a finished result that I consider superior.
For lightweight leather, I prefer the two-needle method. One piece of the same heavy waxed thread i use in the awl with needles at both ends. The needles are passed back and forth through the same holes, making fast work of any job. Pulling each stitch ultra tight is key!
The end result is strong and very stable. It's my stitch of choice for my Earth Medallions, as well as for wallets and small leather bags.
There are many other methods of joining leather, including decorative lacing. We'll cover those in a future post!