Monday, September 30, 2013

Mighty Mini Wallet


My family goes to Vancouver every year for Labour Day, and this year while trying to get the littlest Moxie to sleep I decided it would be best to go for a walk with him.  I took out an old business card case, shoved in my credit card and ID, and off we went!

It was pretty much the perfect fit since it went nicely into my pocket, and held all I really needed to impulsively purchase things on my walk.  A pouch, I thought, was the perfect minimalist wallet.  But it could be better.

I get a lot of requests for wallets with coin compartments in them.  Mostly from customers in Europe, Canada and Australia, but some from the US as well. I know cash is no longer king in many parts of the US, but for the people and the parts of the world that still use it, a coin pocket in a wallet is a must.  And, most “minimalist” wallets don’t include one!

So with a few tweaks, I made my little pouch into the Mighty Minimalist Wallet, or the Mighty Mini Wallet for short(er).  It has two card slots on the back, plus a secure pocket for coins and cash so that if you happen to carry cash, you won’t accidentally send it through the washing machine from stuffing it into the pockets of your jeans.  Genius! And if you don’t carry cash, you can of course use that secure pocket for additional cards (or both cash and cards, if you are so compelled).

I made up ten new styles and have listed them in my shop.   The Sugar Skull No. 1 Mighty Mini Wallet may be my favorite. It’s so hard to decide!

Antsy baby, and time to roast some veggies for dinner – more coming soon!



Monday, September 23, 2013

Leather Q & A


I am trying to make my husband a Filson-style bag for Christmas.  What type of leather should I use for the handles?  Can I just buy a belt at Goodwill and use that?

Well, my ambitious friend, the leather they use is something called “Bridal Leather.”  And if that doesn’t answer your question, hopefully this will.  Bridal leather is basically the leather equivalent of waxed canvass – you take a wonderfully durable natural material, and finish it with waxes and oils.  Bridal leather comes from the tannery colored, since the waxes and oils it is treated with would make it impractical to dye on your own.  Bridal leather is typically about 3.5 to 4mm thick.  This corresponds to about an 8-10oz weight, which is right in the range for what a belt would be made from.

So if you decide to use a belt, I highly recommend you look very carefully at those Goodwill belts before you waste your hard-earned dollar on them.  You probably won’t find a bridal leather belt, but you might find a vegetable tanned leather one.  A vintage tooled leather belt would work – just look for a belt that is made of a single piece of leather. If you can see that it’s several layers glued together, or if it has stitch lines around the edges, put it back on the rack.

When you get it home you can enjoy the patina that it has gathered over the years.  I wouldn’t aggressively clean it, since you would strip off the oils.  If anything, I would recommend just oiling it a little more – some Neatsfoot Oil is always a good choice.

If you want to make the handles yourself out of new leather, you can look for bridal leather at your local shop, or you can go for vegetable tanned leather and oil and dye it yourself.  Going for a veg tanned leather gives you a broader range of colors to chose from, in case you want to opt for red handles instead of the standard black/brown.  Veg tanned leather will be a little stiffer to start, but it will soften up nicely.

Good luck! And if you need more help, or you want someone to make the handles for you, I’m always here.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Not your Grandmother’s stockings


I start thinking about Christmas a little earlier than most people – I have to start stocking up my wares, applying for holiday craft shows, and of course, making Christmas Stockings.  I made four for my family earlier this year, but decided it was time to come up with a few new patterns.  I started making these a few years back because I was making felt Christmas stockings for everyone in my family, and I’m convinced (mostly) that anything that I can make out of fabric I can also make out of leather. It may not be comfortable (leather crew socks, anyone?) but I can make it.

This year it seems a few people have been starting to think about Christmas early – we’re already getting stocking orders from both wholesale and retail customers – and I’d recommend you do, too (if you celebrate it – still working on that leather Menorah…).  That way, you can get a personalized leather Christmas stocking that will hang artfully from your mantle, and that Santa will never forget.