Wednesday, November 5, 2014

5 Great Christmas Gifts Ideas Under $50! Start your shopping early!

We know it is not yet Thanksgiving and we are not trying to rush the holidays, but taking some steps for a bit of advance planning will allow you to relax more and really enjoy the Christmas season once it officially starts. We have come up with just a little selection from the many custom and unique options of our creations for bags, electronics, housewares, wearables and more.

  1. We guarantee you have not seen belt buckles as unique and personal as ours. We have a variety of patterns and shapes available, all in our high quality hand dyed and tooled leather and metal finishes.
  2. We have a great selection of watches and straps that vary with round silver or square brushed pewter watch faces, and options of narrow or wide cuffs, wrap, or skinny strap bands.
  3. You will make a lot of people happy with our great selection of small wallets. We have coin wallets, bi-fold and tri-fold, passport wallets, and checkbook cases and more to choose from. Again, all are created with our unique tooling and dye process, with high quality stitching and closure options for those on your Christmas list.
  4. For the musician on your list, our cool guitar hangers are sure to please. We have some great patterns from wood grain to poppy and bee patterns for a unique and safe way to hang and store a guitar when not in use.
  5. Those on your list with iPads will love our wide variety of custom iPad cases. We have some great patterns and colors all from flexible, lightweight leather with silicone inserts to protect your tablet.  No worries if you have other tablets such as Samsung or Dell. Contact us with your specifications and we can create a unique tablet case exactly to your specifications.

Bee Patterns iPad Case.

Check out our leather craft kits for the creative one on your list.  Please let us know about any custom ideas you have and we will come up with a final product exactly to your needs. All the beautiful and tooling, dyes and protective finishes on our products are of the highest quality to insure years of use and beauty.  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

100 Reasons to Shop Early


The day after Halloween, my husband had Christmas music playing by 9am.  Fair enough, since the stores already have Christmas d├ęcor lining the shelves.  Why not extend the holiday spirit, I say, and relieve a little bit of the stress of shopping by getting it out of the way in November!  That way you can enjoy family, friends, good food, booze, and warm fires.

And, of course, you can get some decorating done, too. Each year we make 100 limited edition stocking ornaments and give them away starting November 1.  The ornaments are free with every purchase of $100 or more (before tax and shipping) through and we’ll give ‘em away until they are gone – that’s what they are for!


Our bee patterns have been so well loved that this year we decided on the “One Bee” pattern. Each stocking has a bee and a little line of honeycomb.  They’re all the same pattern, but since they are all made by hand they are all a little different.  Each actually opens like a stocking so you can put a small candy cane or gift (engagement ring!? How awesome would that be???) inside.

I’ll post an update here when they’re gone.  As of 11/3/2014 at 4:17 PST they’re still available!



Monday, November 3, 2014

Back on the Market


Yesterday morning I woke up to an email from the employee I hired not even a month ago – she is putting in her two weeks’ notice.  Not for anything I did, or didn’t do, but because she was offered a full-time job elsewhere.  Regardless, though, I have to find another employee in the busiest time of year.

It’s not like I’m totally up a creek here. I have two employees that have been with me or over two years – one is leaving to go back to school in 2015, and the other may just be with me forever.  But looking for a new employee is definitely not my favorite thing to do and this is a horrible time to do it.  Leatherwork just doesn’t come naturally to most people, and no matter what kind of craft and art experience someone has, it certainly doesn’t guarantee that they will do well with leather.

So I re-posted my craigslist ad, and have already sifted through probably 25 applications.  I have to review every application to look for someone who is compatible not only with the job, but with me as well.  It’s a small studio, so having an employee who I get along well with is incredibly important.  I look for things like – commitment, drive, personality, and intelligence.  It is like being single again, looking at profiles of a potential partner.

When I was working at law firms I used to say that jobs were like relationships – in each one, you learn what you need, and what you don’t want, in any subsequent ones.  You shouldn’t expect the first one to be the one that lasts a lifetime, since it will take time to figure out what you need in order to be happy with a job, or a person, for the rest of your life.  Now, as an employer, I feel much the same way – jobs are like relationships, and it should have been a red flag when the employee that just left said when she was single she went on as many dates as possible since it was “a numbers game.” I feel like this job was a number.

When people tell me their dating stories, I always say that the best part of being married is that I don’t have to date anymore.  It is a time consuming emotional rollercoaster, and honestly I’d rather live my life than wonder if someone is going to call me back.  Or, for that matter, wonder if they are going to up and leave. 

Over the years I have only had three employees, and depending on how much jobs are like relationships, maybe only two count based on duration. Each time, I’ve learned a lot about what is really important to me in an employee, and what matters less (or not at all). I have good leads this time, and am confident I’ll find someone who I will enjoy working with, and who will appreciate working for me.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Biggest Mistake (and a give-away)


Last Wednesday when I got home from the studio there was a message on my voicemail from a customer.  The week before we spent a few days making a set of “Conquistadors” flasks for him.   His message said something like, “The flasks look really good, but I’m torn – they say ‘Conquistadors’ on them.”


My heart sank, and I spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what had gone wrong.  My husband looked at the flasks and suggested, maybe it was supposed to be “Conquistador.”

He was right.


When I talked to the customer the next morning I agreed to re-make every single flask.  I had one assistant out sick Thursday, and one came in Tuesday and was taking Thursday off.  I called the gal who usually does just the stitching on an emergency and she helped a bit.  But, 50 flasks in a day is a lot even for two people.

I got the flasks to the post office just after 3pm and they arrived in time for the customer to give them away at the event, “The Conquistador”  - most importantly, everyone loved them.

I beat myself up about this – it was totally my mistake.  We never got printed artwork from the customer so we were doing it all by phone with a poor connection most of the time.  Somewhere along the line, my brain over-rode the singular version because I thought – they are all conquistadors that they are giving the flasks to, so it must be plural, right?

Well, now I have a limited edition of 50 flasks.  And they’re cool, too!  So here’s the deal: I will sell 25 of them at a discount through my Etsy shop. The other 25 I will give away,  All you have to do is tell me the biggest mistake you’ve ever made, and how you conquered it.  That earns you the right to be one of our conquistadors (and gets you a free flask).



Monday, October 27, 2014

U-Kew-Lele Strap



From across the pond, our Sugar Skull Guitar Strap makes its way onto a ukulele and into the recording session of U-Kew-Lele’s first album! Thanks to Michael for sending along the photo.  Looking – and sounding – great!



Thursday, October 23, 2014

A bit of “Street Style”


Back in August, one of our favorite customers, Rachael Renee, was stopped on the streets of Portland and asked about her style.  It just so happened to include a custom  Moxie & Oliver leather cuff! Here’s the blurb her husband sent along from the Portland Mercury.  And, I love seeing your Moxie & Oliver pieces in action, so if you have a photo of yourself wearing/using/enjoying one of our pieces please send it! It’s the reward for all of our hard work!

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Rachael Renee

"My overall style is country inspired because I'm an equestrian. The bracelet was custom made for me by Moxie and Oliver in Seattle. The necklace was my grandmother's. I wear two watches because one was my grandmother's on the other side. The other watch I actually use. Also, I 'm really embarrassed about my shoes but I broke my toe. They are the only ones that are comfortable right now!" -Rachael Renee (check out her amazing band at and her photography.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

LeatherCraft Kits are HERE!


paint 2

This weekend my husband took the kids so I could go to the studio and work on some new pieces.  These are pieces I am especially excited about because instead of putting my artwork on leather, they give you a chance to put your artwork on leather!

We are starting with six of our most popular items as kits and I have been experimenting with different ways of simplifying my artistic methods even more.  For our Clutch Wallet Kit, I did a simple floral painting directly on the leather.  No tools were required, all I need was the kit, paints and some water.  Here are a few photos of the piece in progress (sorry for no hand-in shots – I was working by myself and that is totally awkward. I have no idea how people shoot themselves while working!).  

clutch purse kit 1clutch purse progress 2clutch purse progress 1clutch purse done

The clutch wallet is a piece we have been developing for several months now – and it is handmade, start to finish, right here in Seattle!

The next kit that we are introducing is our Leather-Wrapped Flask Kit.  We are making this kit in four different flask sizes – 4oz, 6oz, 8oz and 12oz – and it makes a wonderful gift.  We have actually made this kit a few times using permanent marker to add pattern.  It works wonderfully – you could let your kids draw on a flask for dad (or mom!) for a holiday or birthday gift.  Much better than a tie or a robe!

flask kit 1IMG_8955flower flask frontmonogram flask front

And speaking of kids – my little one just woke up, so it is time for me to sign off.  He’s making adorable eyes at me so I do so happily.

More soon!