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!



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Weddings



ro wine tote

If you ever need an extra wedding guest (yeah, because who ever needs MORE people at their wedding?) invite me! I love weddings.  Totally, totally, love them.  My assistant has, in the past, accused me of “loving love” and I suppose she’s right, I do. 

I fell in love young-ish (21 or so) and knew immediately it was love.  We met online so I can’t say it was love at first sight, but at first sound.  One snowy January day when the busses weren’t running and I couldn’t get to our date, I called my now husband and left a message. He had me at “You’ve reached the voicemail…”

I still love the sound of his voice.  And he’s adorable, so that’s a bonus, and it means we make really cute children.  But I digress – I’d marry him all over again, not just because I love him so much, but because I love weddings, too.  The celebration of love and family, pretty dresses, lots of presents, food, cake, wine, dancing… what part of this sounds bad?

So since I can’t go to weddings every weekend, I’ll settle for making wedding gifts.  Recently I made a custom wine tote for one of my mom’s employees, and a former co-worker.  He’s a graphics guy, so of course he had a logo made for the wedding.

pressed idaho 5idaho groomsmen 1

For a wedding that happened this past weekend, in Idaho, we first did the ten flasks on the left for the bridesmaids.  Each is a limited edition with our “Pressed” leather with an Idaho applique on the back.  The bride was following the progress on Instagram, and showed her smoke-jumper husband.  He decided to go for a set of woodgrain ones for the groomsmen!

jordan 3

This last piece is a valet tray that I made for a high-school classmate to give one of her friends as a wedding present. She and I hung out in the same circles when we were in school together (and I won’t say how long ago that was) but we weren’t close.  Working with her on this piece gave us a chance to reconnect – we both have small children, and are artists married to non-artists.  She is, of course, across the country from me but smart, creative, baby-loving people are always welcome in my life and I am glad that my work has given us an excuse to reconnect.



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tiny Megaphones



On Tuesday as I was pulling out of the driveway I saw something pink on the ground in front of me.  It looked suspiciously like my phone.  In the middle of the concrete.  I got out, picked it up and found my precious phone with a shattered screen.  Did I run over it? Who knows. The better question is – how did it even get there?

So I got in the car and my daughter says, “What’s wrong, mommy?” I told her that my phone was broken.  She then proceeds to tell me that it is going to be okay, I said I know, it’s fine, I just have to pay money to fix it.  She tells me to tell “them” that I don’t want to pay money and they won’t make me.  I say, that’s not the way it works, and can we please not talk about the phone anymore?

That lasts for 30 seconds.  “Mommy, you don’t seem like your normal self.  Are you sad about your phone?” 

I try a different approach.  “Let’s talk about something else.  Tell me about your playdate with Evan yesterday.”

She tells me about her playdate, and we make it to school (40 minutes away) without another mention of the phone. 

Until Wednesday.  Just leaving the house, I wanted to remind my husband to bring our daughter’s swim bag with him.  She says, “What are you doing, mommy?”  I said, “Calling daddy to remind him to bring your swim stuff.”  To which she replies, “With your broken phone?”

Yes.  Thanks for the reminder. 

This morning in the car we made it to school with no phone mentions.  I did hear her start singing along to Meghan Trainor’s song “All About the Bass” in the backseat.  It could be worse, I think – at least she is singing with a song that empowers women to not look like Barbie dolls. 

But then I remembered the music video. If you only listen to the song, there’s an element of empowerment.  Finally someone is telling women to not look like they’re 12-year-old boys.  If you watch the video, though, you have to wonder how anyone could take the delivery of this message seriously.  There isn’t a single attractive-looking woman in the video, even Trainor herself is dressed like a baby doll.  If you’re going to try to convince women that they look great the way they are, why not make them look great the way they are?

By this time you’re probably wondering how in the world Meghan Trainor and my broken cell phone are related, other than they are both mentioned in the car on the way to school.  The answer is in my daughter.  Our little kiddos are megaphones for our bad behavior, the things we don’t want them to see, hear, or focus on, but also on the things we reward them on.  As a woman who had body issues growing up, I am very conscious of how I interact with my daughter regarding her body. My husband and I recently did the “Whole30” diet, and I was very careful to make sure she knew that changed our eating because it was good for our brains and our bodies – I never mentioned our good looks.  It’s like saying “don’t think about the white polar bear” – as soon as it comes up, it’s all you will think about.

One of the side-effects of trying to raise your children to focus on health over perceived beauty, and not to dwell on the broken phones of life (as in, teaching your children to be positive, healthy people) is that it forces you to do it yourself.  These tiny beings won’t listen to a word you say about how to behave, unless you embody it yourself.  I say it all the time – having children forever changes you, and for me, it’s made me a better person.  Hopefully that will help them realize their full potentials as well.



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Learn Leathercraft at a Moxie & Oliver Workshop

Now that the sun has set on summer and the weather is getting colder, it’s time to pick up a hobby for those long, dark days of fall. Looking to get crafty this season? Give leathercrafting a try! Constructing with leather is a unique skill that is versatile for all types of creations, from works of art to clothing accessories to home d├ęcor. It’s never to late to learn something new. Now that the kids are back in school and outdoor activities are winding down, it’s a great time to pick up a new hobby that will keep your creative mind working through winter. You could even get started on handmade holiday gifts made of leather for the whole family.

Don’t know where to start? Well you’re in luck, because Moxie & Oliver is hosting a leathercrafting workshop for beginners. The class is geared towards those with no previous leather experience. This hands-on workshop is on Saturday, October 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Moxie & Oliver studio. The course is $200 and includes all materials, so all you need to bring is your desire to learn!

Leathercrafting is the process of making leather into art or objects using shaping and coloring techniques. It incorporates molding, stitching, dyeing, painting, stamping, carving, and other methods of adornment. In this workshop, Caitlin will be demonstrating how to make a beautiful leather bag from vegetable tanned leather. Students will learn how to make and use patterns, how to cut and punch leather by hand, how to add color and pattern using carving and pyrography, how to hand sew, and how to add hardware to leather, resulting in a gorgeous finished piece. You’ll go home with new knowledge, skills, and handmade leather bag!

To register, email or send a Facebook message. You can also contact us by phone at (206) 632-1342.