Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My day so far…


This morning while I was waiting for the upholstery store to open I walked up to the hardware store to look for some hooks to hang planters on the outside of the studio.  As I was leaving this guy told me that he used to carry a baby raccoon around inside his shirt, much the same way I have my baby boy wrapped to me.  Apparently he found a raccoon and kept it like a cat – but it would open beer cans while he was gone and destroy his kitchen.  I’ve never met someone who had a pet raccoon before. 

The rest of my day has been wardrobe changes for both kids (two for each) and making sure everyone is fed, and gets adequate daytime sleep so I can check my email.  And here’s what I found:

“Good morning! I just wanted to tell you that I love everything in your store! You made a guitar strap and a pick case for me about a year ago and I love it so much! I get complements on it all the time! Your work is beautiful! I just wanted to tell you that!”


“About 3 years ago I put a product of yours on my wishlist and received it as a gift. It's a leather pouch/clutch with a floral flap and winged koi fish on the back. I love koi fish. I would say once every 5 times I pull it out to pay for something the cashier/waiter/whomever immediately compliments me on it.
I don't like big heavy fussy wallets and this clutch is simple and has served me well over the years. So I just wanted to say thank you and keep making amazing products!
The next times I get compliments I'll be sure to drop your name and hopefully send some business your way. :)”


Yeah, it’s a good day.




Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Moxie & Oliver Guitar Straps – How it all began

This is the very first guitar strap I ever made.  Not just the first pattern, but the very, very first strap.  It’s the Sugar Skull Guitar Strap in Antique Black.  It looks like it was from September 10, 2007 – just 5.5 short years ago. 

Since that first strap, guitar straps have become my biggest seller.  I currently have a collection of 113 handmade leather guitar straps on my website, and some come in multiple color combinations, so I can’t say offhand how many options there really are but I’d guess over 200.  The customer favorite by far is the Personalized “Smokey” Guitar Strap since you can make it completely, 100%, yours by adding your own inscription.

I never thought I’d be in the business of making guitar straps.  I’m “tone-dumb” (apparently I’m not really tone-deaf, though most of the time I feel like I am) and tried playing guitar for about a year in the 8th grade.  It was grunge, I lived in Seattle, I liked guys with long hair.  Needless to say, it didn’t take.  I never actually managed to play a song on the guitar. 

So, for those of you with an ear for music and a penchant for picking, I’ll make you some killer straps.  I like to say that a beautiful strap makes you a better musician, since it will inspire you to practice (maybe that was my problem all those years ago!). I added thirty or so to my website recently, and here are a few of my favorite of the new ones:

The Harbinger Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with stork - Moxie and Oliver

Harbinger Guitar Strap, $115

The Smokey Lotus Strap - Personalized leather strap with lotus flowers - Moxie and Oliver

Smokey Lotus Guitar Strap, $115

The Nellie Poppy Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with skull - Moxie and Oliver

Nellie Poppy Guitar Strap, $115

The Hugs Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with octopus tentacles - Moxie and Oliver

Hugs Guitar Strap, $110

The Butterfly Poppy Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with butterflies - Moxie and Oliver

Butterfly Poppy Guitar Strap, $115

The Smokey Buckle Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with buckle adjust - Moxie and Oliver

Buckle Guitar Strap, $115

The Dragon Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with dragon - Moxie and Oliver

Dragon Guitar Strap, $115

The Rosa Guitar Strap - Handmade leather guitar strap with roses - Moxie and Oliver

Rosa Guitar Strap with Buckle, $125



Thursday, May 9, 2013

What's in a name? The proper monogram format.


I’ve always done my monograms the same way, mostly because I like how it looks.  I do the initials in the order they appear:  First Middle Last.  It works well since there are people out there who don’t have a middle name, or who have more than one, so the format is universal.  But recently customers have been asking about the “correct” way to do a monogram, so here’s a brief tutorial on the traditionally correct way.

Monogramming for Men:  Woohoo!  So I’ve been correct.  The way to do a monogram for a man is First Middle Last, so if your name is James Michael Smith, the monogram would be JMS.  All the letters would be the same height, like on my Monogram Bifold Wallet (shown above).  So the monogram would look like this:



Monogramming for Women:  This one is different.  This is the way that a lot of people think that a monogram in general is supposed to look, with a larger last initial in the middle, flanked by the first and middle initials. So for Jessica Marie Smith, it would look like this:

J   S M

And, of course, in this modern world a woman can choose the more traditionally male monogram and opt for hers to be First Middle Last all in the same size lettering.


For married couples: The monogram should look like the women’s version, with the couple’s last initial in the middle and their first initials to either side.  The current form is that the woman’s initial comes first, so for Amy and Thomas Miller, you’d have:


Apparently, though, this is a more modern arrangement.  Traditionally the man’s initial is listed to the left to show ownership over the last name and the woman.  I’m kind of glad we’re not going by that rule anymore.


Those are the simple, current answers to the monogram question.  They get more complex with the various things people do their last names – how to monogram a hyphenated last name or a gift for a couple who isn’t taking the same name are more complicated questions.  Most of the monograms that I do are for individuals, and mostly men, so naturally that was the one that I was most interested in.  I guess I’ll just keep on doing it as I have been – all in the same size lettering, First Middle Last, unless requested otherwise!

Out to enjoy the sunshine…



Monday, May 6, 2013

Hey Jude - Happy Birthday!

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I’ve been keeping this piece a little bit of a secret, since I know as soon as it hits my Facebook feed, the new owner will know it is for her.  Or, she’ll be tempted to ask me if she can buy it.  This Jude Travel Bag is a gift for my stepmother for her birthday – she has been a wonderful supporter (both by purchasing M&O goods and by taking care of my little girl so I can make them) over the last few years and she deserves something special that was designed just for her.

So, inspired by Hawai’ian quilts, I made this bag.  The pattern has little turtles (which she loves) worked into a symmetrical floral pattern.  I didn’t want the piece to be too turtle-y, so the flowers and vines seemed like a wonderful way to incorporate them into a pattern.  The colors are yellow, green, sage, white, bronze and antique black has brass hardware.  It’s available, as a made-to-order, piece through MOXIEandOLIVER.com if you’d like one of your own.