Friday, October 14, 2016

Leatha Notebook, Midori Style

Have I mentioned my addiction to notebooks and lists? I will find any excuse to get more notebooks, so that I may fill them with lists. Today I wrote "Blog" on a post-it note so that when I'm done posting here I can scratch it off. It's a sickness.

So during my leather journey, I have been guided by the lovely and talented Ian Atkinson from Leodis Leather. His videos are great. And he has one called:

I ordered the pattern off his Etsy shop, purchased a flat sheet of veg tanned leather from Michael's, and yes, decided this was a GREAT EXCUSE to order Moleskine notebooks off Amazon. Hooray!!

I stamped and tooled it up, dyed it, then used his pattern to place the holes and rivets and elastics, and here it was on Monday when it was done, with the elastic closure pulled across:

Let's talk about the dye. I used Fiebings Saddle Tan, which seemed way darker than I had expected. Also it's blotchy because I did not apply the dye evenly and should have probably gone over with another coat to even it up. I was disappointed with myself. That was Monday...

BUUUUUUT, check it out today, four days later:

The dye has lightened up to the EXACT color I was expecting, AND the splotches evened out. It's better than I could have hoped. Way to go, Fiebings!! I WILL NEVER DOUBT YOU AGAIN.

Here's the interior:

The elastic loops through the rivets on the spine to hold the two notebooks inside, which is really tricky and I had to watch Ian's video while I did it. But it works great.

You can see in the above pic that I added holes to the back cover for my skinny Cross pen that I have had for ages and have no idea from whence it came. Ian had suggested adding a pen holder, and I skipped that part. But after one day of using this thing with no pen holder I became homicidal, so I punched the holes as soon as I got home.

Ian also suggested adding bookmarks, which I did by tying some leather cord in the top hole:

I love this notebook holder, and I plan to make lots more of them. So many N.U.T.S.A.C. Agents to outfit....

And in Drunken Basket Weaving news: A couple weeks ago I grabbed one of my leather remnants, jammed holes in it with an awl, and used it as a basket base:

That finished edge is APPALLING. Pretty sure I have Bulleit Rye to blame for that. BUT I CAN'T STAY MAD AT YOU BULLEIT.

That's all for now! [scratches out "Blog"] Aaahhhh.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Vegetarian's Got A Brand New Bag

Last time I mentioned I bought scrap bags of leather from Hobby Lobby & Michael's, and that I was using them to make a bag. Here's the previous photo:

It's finished! And I've actually taken it out on a few journeys and it hasn't fallen apart or anything! Here it is:

I added a pocket to the inside flap:

and a pocket on the inside back:

To the left of that pocket you can sort of see the loop I installed to clip my keys to, genius, and to the right you can see one of the two pen holders I added, also genius. Not genius: Punching a hole in the wrong side of the middle of the pocket so that I had to stick a rivet in there to cover the hole.

I stuck rivets on what I considered to be stress points, and also where the handle met the bag:

And I used my husband's old belt to make the strap adjustable:

[It's pretty much impossible for him to throw anything into the charity pile. "Yeah no, I might need that..."]

And when I say adjustable, I mean ADJUSTABLE. Look at all those holes! I want my T-Rex arms to be able to access this bag no matter what coat I am wearing.

And then I slapped on some tooling. I stuck my practice scrap on the front under the flap, with the magnetic snap closure underneath it. You can see in the very first photo how it was still skin colored, and when it stuck out under the flap it looked like a fupa. So I dyed it black. Here it is right-side up so as to best admire my fine technique:

It's got everything! Rattlesnake, veiner, cammo, stars, beveler, basket weave, swivel knife, three kinds of lettering!!

I wanted more tooling for the outside flap, but I had a hard time choosing what I wanted. So I just went with an initial, and then crammed every stamp I could fit in around it, finally dying it black and gluing/hammering/sewing it on:

That's right. I got a barbed wire stamp. How dope is that.

Y'all, this was a ton of work. And I'm fairly proud of it. I mean, obviously I'm shit at tooling, but it's enormously satisfying anyway. Plus I finally have a bag that fits my short, square, stubby-armed body perfectly. It's a miracle!! AND, ALSO, because I'm left-handed, shit is always on the WRONG SIDE, like buckles and clips, and I'M TIRED OF LIVING IN YOUR BACKWARDS WORLD!! HAHHHAAA, SCREW YOU, I WIN!! HOORAY ME!!!

Oh yeah, I took a shot with a ruler, so you can get a rough gauge of the size of my square torso:

I love it.

ZOMG, I ordered a side of leather from the Tandy Outlet. Here's how big a side is. Brace yourself:

Sorry if that's disorienting, I was half on the couch trying to fit the whole thing in my camera. The chair and the bar stools should give you an idea. O_O It's big. So much potential...


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Now I've Discovered Leatherwork

So what had happened was:

Dragon*Con is such a major clusterfuck by now that the only way I can enjoy it is to sequester myself in the hallway where all the crafting demos happen. This year I watched a chainmaille demo, two leatherworking demos, two fabric distressing demos, and sort of a resin demo. Quick recap:

1. After the first hour of the chainmaille demo, many folks in the room still couldn't close a jump ring. They were in hell.

2. The guys running the fabric distressing demos were GREAT. Well, most of them were...I think one was on serious drugs. But I also learned about Worbla which is a thermoplastic, and stay tuned because I signed up for a workshop on THAT in November. The Russian guy sitting in front of me at the demo was a hardcore Worbla fan, and his enthusiasm made an impression on me.

3. The woman running the resin demo was dressed like Kara Thrace and looked a whole lot like her. It wasn't really a demo, just her talking about all the awesome stuff you can do with resin. I plan to stalk her at her studio in the near future.

4. The lady running the leatherwork demos was fairly unfocused and scattered, saying that she had until recently been in the hospital after having a car wreck and had been unable to prepare. So they weren't the greatest workshops in the world. But when she eventually got down to business and showed us how to wet and shape leather, and handed around some leather stamping, that was it for me. I was HOOKED. And I pelted her with questions, which she was more than happy to answer. My fate was pretty much sealed.

Tandy Leather and my Amex are now engaged to be married.

YOU KNOW I HAD TO GET THESE. And oh my god the alphabet stamps. I made this wristband for my sister-wife because she's a bad girl:

And this for my gym buddy:

This one has a lot more tooling than the first one, and was my first time using leather dye.

I made the next one for myself. I call it Soviet Bees:

I made a box:


And I took two bags of leather scraps from Hobby Lobby and Michael's and I'm piecing them together to make a bag:

It's almost done. I need to add an interior pocket, some rivets to reinforce the corners, and a magnetic closure, and I might add another tooled panel to the front flap. The tooled panel in the photo is my sample project that I randomly decided to throw on there. I later dyed it black to match better because when the flap was closed it looked like the bag had a fupa.

Friends, I have been looking forward to the day I would finally find my Voltron Project that makes use of all these skills I've been amassing. I think leatherwork might be the one: I keep supplies for different crafts separated into different train cases so that depending on what I'm working on, I can select the proper train case and get started. This is my kitchen floor during leather projects:

Clockwise from top center: Metalworking case (blue-gray); Rivets, Studs & Bedazzler (green); Scrap Rags (black pile on the floor); Rubber Stamps (clear); Leatherwork (yellow).

Shout out to my new Youtube Dad, George Hurst from Tandy Leather, for being such a soothing, practical teacher. And props to Ian Atkinson of Leodis Leather for telling it like it is, and for demonstrating 101 uses for the mallet. ("He'll use the bone folder to make that crease-- NOPE, WAIT, here comes the mallet again...")

If anyone has been keeping track, yes, I'm a 20+ year vegetarian. And I just ordered a side of leather from Tandy. Sure, I feel shitty about it! And I'm not even attempting to reconcile it in my brain -- I love animals, I don't want to eat them, I hate factory farming....but man, is leather satisfying to work with. It's like fabric, paper, clay and wood all rolled into one. It's indestructible, immortal, and biker vests and guitar straps are made out of it. BUT I CAN'T WITH THE LIZARD SKIN, TANDY. THAT'S WHERE I DRAW THE LINE!! :((

And I think the guys in the Tandy warehouse are onto me -- I used N.U.T.S.A.C. Enterprises as the return address for my order, and found this written under the shipping label:

To sum up: Leather is amazing, and I am a horrible person. A horrible person that maybe just found her Voltron Project.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

...because Flickr is not taking it well at all.

After years of Flickr's abuse, I'm moving on to another photo hosting site. It's QUITE laborious.

I'm trying to not delete albums that link to these posts, but also I'm using the opportunity to trim the fat. So if you see photos disappearing, that's why. I'm slowly working my way backwards through the posts and replacing the photos with new links.

However, the crafting has not stopped!! So I will have plenty more junk to share very soon.


Over & Out

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Basketweaving: Part Four

I feel I should mention something here: You know how much I love encaustics? How much I have wanted to work with them my whole life, and now I can? And how my life has been changed forever and I have never felt so complete? Well guess what? IT'S 100 DEGREES IN MY GARAGE RIGHT NOW. There is no way in HELL I'm standing over a hot griddle again until the temp drops at least down to the high 70s.

I am sad, yes, but the fire inside me still burns! The outside of me doesn't burn, because I'm sitting on the floor of my air conditioned den weaving baskets and cutting my hands to ribbons. Hooray for indoor crafts!!

Continuing in the spirit of the tree basket from before, I made these two:

And one more bone basket:

These are all up in the Etsy shop and I feel like a tool every time I say that. :(

Anyway, the baskets will continue as long as Georgia remains a Sweltering Hellmouth. So probably mid-October. OR until I run out of bones.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Basketweaving: Part Three

YES. We left off with Rit Dye. Behold:

I think the red was called Scarlet. The dark purple was called Black and also "Azkaban" or something which is rad.

The red came out better than I hoped. The black came out pretty much like I expected, which was more of a dark purple, because you're never going to get a real black out of that stuff. :(

After my house and body were completely covered in dye, I dragged out the beginner patterns again and made this:

That's a vertebra on the handle. One particularly delightful house guest asked me, "Do you want the bucket of bones I have in my car?" I think we all know the answer to that question. [Incidentally, if you want this basket, feel free to purchase it in the Dr. Craftenstein Etsy shop. SQUEEEE]

In the meantime I had also ordered this book:

in which I found the pattern for this next basket, as seen in the bottom left corner of the book cover:

But I can't leave well enough alone so I collaged a dead tree on the front. [ETSY, SQUEEE]

Using that amazing red reed and another pattern out of the new book, I made this basket to hold the husband's vast collection of sacks of dried beans:

I have to admit I'm kind of proud of that one. But it would not be nearly as impressive without the vibrant red color. Imagine it in natural reed col...ZZzzzzzzzzzz... OH SORRY I FELL ASLEEP.

So to celebrate my achievement, and also mark the birth of the Glorious Beccula, I made this:

Please note that my hands are now permanently red and black at the same time. Like a fancy coal miner.

I filled the basket with lovely tree clippings from my yard and delivered it to her doorstep.

Happy Birthday, Beccula!! Do not fail me ever again. Consider yourself warned.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Basket Weaving: Part Two

Previously on "Basket Weaving": I'm sure we can all agree that I sufficiently conquered the Beginning Basketry patterns in the kit found at It was time to branch out on my own!

I started by dyeing some of the reed with this:

I used half the package and I'm not sure how much reed I tossed in the bucket. But it came out looking kind of just weathered and faded instead of like a deep Country Gray or whatever. Which is totally fine, and I thought that the bleached gray kind of suited the pile of vertebrae I've had lying around. So I made this:

[Please ignore my hideous claw-hand. The lighting was awesome -- sacrifices had to be made.] Obviously I don't know what I'm doing with spacing yet. The bottom looks good though:

But up top, two sides are tightly woven, two sides are not. And I failed to toss the lashing into the dye bucket, so it is still natural colored.

Wow, my hand looks like it's wearing pantyhose. No wonder Madonna wears gloves all the time. D:

I lashed the vertebrae onto the sides after I worked the edges. And here you can get a better view of my shitty side spacing.

All in all I do like the basket, but clearly I need more practice. AND PLEASE BELIEVE I AM GETTING IT. Wet reed flying all over the house, coils of dry reed piled all over the floor, because I DEFINITELY NEEDED ANOTHER MESSY WET HOBBY.

Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of a couple of other baskets I finished, so I will be back later with Part Three: Rit Dye & More Bones.