Texas Boot Leather Ornament Tutorial

In my lovely little piece of South Texas, the weather has turned mild dashing my hopes for a white Christmas. As part of the Texas Posadas Blog Hop, I pondered what type of craft I would set up for you. I have a love for poinsettias. The deep red blush of their leaves always reminds me that it is time for Christmas.

My house, like my abuela’s and my mother’s, is filled with Poinsettias and a few Nativity sets. Although, attempting a porcelain clay poinsettia ornament would have been amazing and a little over ambitious. I opted instead for the epitome of Texas, The Boot.

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I decided to use acrylics to paint the leather and instead left out the final step of covering with a thin dye to age the boot. I forgot how bright white paint really is without distressing it.

Materials Needed

3 oz leather

Modeling Tool

Exacto Knife

Acrylic Paints in White, Blue, and Red

1 mm to 1.5 mm leather string for barbed wire 

Directions

Case leather, wait a few minutes. Draw outline of boot with modeling tool. Add in details.

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Cut out boot with exacto knife. Paint with watered down acrylic paints. It is important for you to water down the paint before applying to the leather.

Don’t forget your edges. Paint edges and finish them using a circle edge slicker or bone folder.

For barbed wire closure, tie small about 1 inch  pieces of cord onto the main leather cord which creates the Barbed wire effect.

Texas Ornaments

Merry Christmas, Ya’ll!

Jessie

Texas Posada Blog Hop

I’m participating in Texas Posadas Blog Hop as part of the Texas Social Media Network (#TXSocial). You can visit these other blogs for more on Posadas: food, traditions, etc. We’ll be celebrating our Posada Blogs for the next nine days. Join us!

12/16 – My Tots Travel

12/17-  Sweet Life Bake

12/18- Expecting the Unexpected

12/19- Frida’s Cafe and Juan of Words

12/20- Tejana Made

12/21- Monica Wants It

12/22- Sybilline

12/23-  Your Sassy Self

12/24- Que Means What

Fabulous DIY Gifts for Women {Handmade Holidays}

Handmade gifts sometimes get a bad reputation but sometimes they can be just as beautiful as the store bought fashion jewelry. While some of the tutorials for  jewelry can be a little complicated, these  are a cinch to make. Find some beads and let’s get started.

Memory Wire Bracelets

rosary bracelet white

I love memory wire bracelets.They are  the easiest thing you will ever make besides a strung necklace. The hardest thing about memory wire is deciding what beads you are going to use. 

Double Spiral Memory Bracelet by My Beads 4 U ( Intermediate to Advanced)

Pearl and Crystal Wire Memory Bracelet by One Artsy Mama (Easy)

Braided Memory Wire Bracelet by Desperate Craftwives (Intermediate)

 

Leather Wrap Bracelets

wrap bracelet

Leather is definitely on trend this season. These easy leather wrap bracelets are sure to be a big hit with those who want something that is edgy and yet fashionable.

Leather Wrap Bracelet by Poppytalk

Leather Friendship Bracelet by Make and Fake it

Ladderstitch Bracelet from Lima Beads

Stormy Seas Bracelet Tutorial from Lima Beads

 

Loomed Bracelets

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I am not talking about those looms that use those rubber bands but actual beading looms. The great thing about Loom Bracelets is that you can use almost anything to make them. You are open to your imagination.

Five Row Beaded Cuff made with Bead Loom by Beadiful Nights

Ladder Bracelet by Kendra Higgins on Positively Me

 

 Easy Earrings

earrings

Earrings are a great gift to give to someone. They can be flashy or subtle. Crystal beauties that glisten in the winter moonlight or reminiscent of a warm spring day. Whatever your style, there is an earring for that.

Fiesta Sunset Earrings By Mill Lane Studio

Crystal Fan Earrings by Thanks I Made It

Pink Crystal Bead Earrings by Art Platter

 

I hope these tutorials have given you some ideas on how to make your holiday a little more handmade.

Happy Handmade Holidays!

Jessie

Milagro Leather Pendents

Milagros are miracles. As a Mexican American, Milagros have been a vital part of my life.  The small brass or copper ornaments can  resemble a heart , an arm, a leg, eyes and nearly a dozen other things and each one of them represents an ailment or problem.

When I was a teenager, I injured my knee and my mom is an extremely devout Catholic. She ushered me to the Basillica of  Our Lady of San Juan . When there we purchased our candles and our little gold colored milagro of a leg. It was meant to usher her  prayers through the Virgen of San Juan to God’s ear. We made our way into the Milagro room that was filled with wedding dresses, crutches, pictures,  charms, and even braided hair.

In that room was hope and the essence of people’s faith. It was a showing of how devout they were and what they were willing to give up as a thanks for prayers heard.

Religion and Culture in the Mexican American community are interchangeable. The two mix so much that it is hard to know where one ends and the other begins. These tiny trinkets have been a part of Catholicism for centuries. They are essential to what is known as Mexican and Latin American folk art. Some of the most intrinsic designs are a mix of faith and culture.

The most common images of Milagros or the ones found in Pop Culture are the Virgen de Guadalupe and the Corazon.  These hearts are also known  as the Sacred Heart, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and even the Sacred Heart of Mary.

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Sacred Heart of Mary Via ETWN

I decided that it was time to expand out of my repertoire of  bracelets and try and create a pendent.  There are many different renditions of these hearts and the one thing to remember is that the smaller the object the harder it is to tool the detail in the leather. I used up some scraps that had been sitting in my leather bin.

I did two designs. One was of a rose and the other was a hand drawn milagro. I have been practicing the Sacred Hearts for awhile now  so it was easy to recreate it.

Pendents

I used a modeling spoon, a beveler, and a swivel knife.

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Jessie

Dia de Los Muertos {Culture}

Black Rosary

What is Dia de Los Muertos?

 Orginally, Dia de Los Muertos was a celebration where the Indigenous populations mocked death. The Spaniards tried unsuccessfully to eradicate this celebration. Instead this day  became a hybrid of indigenous beliefs and Catholic theology which resulted in the addition of this day to the Catholic calender (although it is not an official Holy Day). Specifically, it falls in conjunction with All Soul’s Day and All Saint’s Day (which are Holy Days of Obligation).

All Saint’s Day begins on Novemeber 1st. Unfortunately, this celebration has been muted by the grandeur commonly associated with the Big Day of Sugar Skulls. It  should be known that this day is just as important Dia de Los Muertos (All Soul’s Day). In many Spanish speaking countries, it is commonly called  Dia de los Angelitos.

 All Saint’s Day is meant to celebrate the loss and life of children, infants, martyrs, and Saints. On this day and the one following it, prayers are given to show favor for those still trapped in Purgatory, prayers for those who are in Heaven, and prayers for those left behind.

November 2nd is All Soul’s Day  also known as   Dia de Los Muertos. This is the day to remember your loved ones, to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments, their life, and their memories.

Dia de Los Muertos is not Halloween.

It is a separate entity all by itself. It is a celebration entrenched in religious belief whether Catholic or Indigenous. It is important to understand that this day is meant for celebration. It is not  meant to be morbid.

Rather, it is a celebration of life and love.

Dia de Los Muertos is a way to celebrate our past while moving forward to our future.Together, we can mock death and live our lives knowing that we will never be forgotten.

This is part one is a series about Dia de Los Muertos.

Resin Jewelry Making by Katherine Swift {Book Review}

*I was given a book for review but as always my opinions are my own.

I must confess that I am a dabbler. You know, a dabbler. A little bit of this which happens to be mixed in with a little bit of that. I am easily bored and sometimes easily frustrated. When I started making jewelry, I saw these wonderful etsy shops filled with the most amazing resin bangles, rings, and pendents. I was obsessed with the artistry of it all.

So, I dabbled. It was pretty bad but then came a time when I had an accident. I think most crafters face this.  A mold of uncured resin plopped face down on my hardwood floors. Original 1950 hardwood floors, I tell you. That resin never cured and it was laying on my craft table for little over two days.

I have been following Katherin Swift for over a year now.Around these crafty parts, she is known as Resin Obsession. There are so many tutorials that i pinned because of her. She has an amazing product and is a very talented Resin Artist.

Resin Jewelry Making: Your In-Depth Guide to Creating Resin Jewelry and More is her first e-book that covers the do’s and don’ts of Resin making.

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I was sent a copy of this book to review and was delighted to finally have in my hands a guide to what I was doing wrong. This information was extremely beneficial for me as a crafting enthusiast. Most of the time I am fearful of deviating from the tutorials because of my insecurities with resin.

Her chapters on Safety, Troubleshooting, and Tips are quite possibly some of my favorite because most craft books discuss tutorials forgetting that most of us are novices. Resin has a very short fixing period. You know fixing an oops. Swift gives some sound tips in order to navigate these murky resin covered wells.

Did I mention that she proudly portrays a few of her own “first pieces” and i must say I was a little relieved that her first pieces also looked like my first pieces. The projects were fun, simple,and easily adaptable for most artists and crafters.

Overall, this book is a welcome addition into your Craft and Art Project collections especially if you are trying to branch out into other mixed media mediums. It is well written and chock full of useful information and tutorials.

Leather Tool Tip: The Veiner

ToolTechVeiner

When I was first starting out in the leather crafting world, I had no idea what any of my tools really did or their names. I just knew that they created really cool indentions into leather. It seems that as I progress I have wanted to learn more about my craft and really delve deep into what my style is and what I want to focus on. It also would seem that different tools are used for different jobs and styles.

Veiners are mostly used for hand stamping out the designs in flowers or Sheridan Style Carving. Sometimes they can be used to re-create a Victorian style theme or even perhaps an Art Noveou style stamping pattern. Mostly veiners help to create details in the flower carving commonly used in the Sheridan Style.

I am not sure when Sheridan Style became popular but I do know that it was and has been a sort of homage to the late 19th century (Early Western Period) and I wonder what the British were carving back then as well. I also wonder if many Steampunk artists have thought about how intricately scrolls and flowers were portrayed in early leather carving. Especially Acorns.

Anyway this is what a veiner looks like.

Where to buy Veiners:

Hackbarth Stell Leather

Clay MIller Tools

Barry King Tools

Tandy Leather

Springfield Leather Company

Interesting Leather History:

Cowboy Saddlery

Leather 101: Veg Tanned Leather

There are a number of different DIY tutorials out there for leather cuff bracelets and many of them will call for leather. As a rather generic term, it can become overwhelming to realize that not all leathers are considered equal.

3oz and 5oz Leather

3oz and 5oz Leather

I thought leather was leather so in my head craft store leather was a  good place to start . Unfortunately, the leather can change from a really great piece to a really bad piece in the time it takes you to pull two of them off the shelves.  Even bags of leather remnants can be 50/50 considering most of them come in odd color lots, ounces, and can be heavily damaged.

Most vegetable tanned leather (Veg Tanned) is minimally processed allowing you to be able to design, paint, and seal to your heart’s desire. It is also know as a Full Grain Leather.

These Ounces are typically used to create small accessories such as wallets, masks, wrist bands, cuffs, key chains, phone cases, some purses. The higher the ounce dictates the thickness of the leather. Higher ounces mean more durable leather for saddles, bags, holsters, knife sheaths, straps, spurs, and anything else you would want to create.

1 to 2 oz being the thinnest and I find that this is common in garment and lining leathers

2 to 3 oz leathers

3 to 4 oz leathes

5 to 6 oz leathers

Some Leather bracelet cuffs are not veg tanned leather especially if they come already dyed. Once dyed and sealed it becomes a finished product and no longer veg tanned leather. Although this may work, especially if you are planning on doing some mixed media work and do not want the added hassle of dying a piece. However, it is important to designate the differences between Suede Leather and Veg Tanned Leather.

They are not the same thing and although many DIY blogs call for “Leather” in actuality what they are using is Suede which is a different cut of leather and may not stand up to the durability of a 5oz piece of leather whether dyed or left natural.

Another thing people need to be aware of is the difference between full grain and top grain leather. Full Grain still has the imperfections of the scars and blemishes that came from the hide while top grain has had them removed.

Veg Tan Leather

When creating pieces, it is very important to be able to choose the right leather for the job. whether dyed/treated or untreated/veg-tanned.

More Information on Leather:

Adam’s Leatherwork: Leather Types and Terminology

Kaufman Mercantile

Where to buy Leather:

Tandy Leather Factory

Wickett and Craig

Springfield Leather

 

Jessie

 

A Rosary with a Past

I found a rosary, broken and discarded hanging from a stone cross that used to grace my Abuela’s home. I pondered the reason why the rosary was hung there.  Was it in the 40′s when she married my grandfather? Was it in the 50′s when she lost her daughter (who was a toddler)? Was it in the 80′s when she lost her son? Was it for the birth of her firstborn?

It hung there, rusted and rare. I had never seen a rosary like it before. It was as though it was protecting a familial secret I was not privy to. It’s blue oval crystals intrigued me, taunted me, and I can even say forced me to recreate it.

Each crystal brought me closer to her memory, closer to creating an heirloom. Creating something my daughter could pass on to her own children, each rung holding a part of my cultura. Each one holding a piece of me clinging to the vast brush and mesquite trees. Each one holding onto the love we have as a familia.

Rosary

I spent a few hours creating this piece.  I tried to get some nicer pictures of it but for a while I suppose the piece wasn’t ready to be photographed.

Maybe I wasn’t ready to show such an intimate piece of  myself hidden in the gold crystals and along the linked chains. Like raices (roots) connecting me to her, to my hometown, to the land I grew up on. It held me to myself. I stare at it sometimes, wondering where I go from here.

Paths are uncertain but sometimes all we need to do is hang onto the rungs as we make our way to the top.

Sometimes, we hang in suspension.

Sometimes, we make our way in circles.

Sometimes, we just need  something to lean on.

Jessie

Leather Cuffs: The Progress of Tejana Made Cuff Bracelets

Tejana Made Cuff Bracelets

Evolution, progress, and just plain getting better at what you do is not linear. In fact, it can be frustrating. One day you nail a cuff and the next day you ruin the cuff. Even in writing, prose can be hit or miss.  When I received my leather craft kit from Tandy Leather, i never would have imagined the spark it would have created. I have noticed a clear and concise path in my design. Each day  I grow closer to finding my own voice.

We all need to start some where.

Painted Hand Stamped Cuffs

I created this tutorial as the starting off point for my leather crafting.

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These were my first ever leather cuff bracelets using pre-made cuff blanks.  Evolution, people. I found this great tutorial on leather painting that I reference often. It was basically the starting point for me.

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Hand Tooled/Stamped Cuff Bracelets

Something happened, one day I watched this Leodis Leather video and my inhibitions came crashing down. I re-evalued why I loved leather and reengaged at that point with mastering this craft. I called this Big E’s Mancuff because he was tired of all the girly painted ones and frankly so was I.

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PicMonkey Collage2I have really fallen in love with leather crafters and all of us have our own unique style and techniques.  Each project brings me closer to myself and to mastering the basics of leather work. Maybe one day, I can actually make that Biker Wallet.

Jessie

Leather 101: Hand Stitching

Hand Stitching Cuffs

Some leather goods benefit from hand stitching instead of machine stitching. As I have said before, It all depends on the leather ounce and what you are trying to accomplish. I mean I would not hand stitch garment leather. It is much too thin. However knife sheaths, coin purses, some wallets, and cuffs benefit from the beauty that  hand stitching can provide.

Some stitches are pretty straight forward and simple like this Coin Purse. I believe this it is called a running stitch.

Stitching in Hand

 

Or it can be done using a double needle saddle stitch like this new hand stitched cuff I have been working on.

Blog Pic

 

I was having a hard time with the leather sections staying adhered. It kept separating when the prototypes were worn. I had three options.

1) Glue the leather, again.

2) Rivet the piece in place.

3) Or practice my hand stitching.

I choose the latter and let me tell you the double needle sewing without a stitching pony is just plain murder on your hands. My thumbs have not been this sore since my last Call of Duty Marathon with Big E on the PS3. I have a few new books in my possession but what I learned about stitching is from a flimsy starter book I found on the Hobby Lobby shelves called The ABC’s of Leatherwork. There are some great resources out there but many of them are in Japanese because they have recently had a long love affair with Leather Crafting. Here are a few versions that I found to help guide you into the beauty of hand stitching.

Hand Stiching Resources and Tutorials

The Art of Hand Sewing Leather by Al Stohlman

Hand Sewing LeatherCraft for Bikers (In Chinese)

Hand Stitching Video 

Hand Stitching Video

Hand Stitching Video 

Hand Stitching Video

Mexican Braid

Mexican Braid Video 2

Leather Stitching Tutorial by Back Room Leather

I hope these resources help you gain the skills and patience needed for hand stitching.

Jessie

Basketweave Cuff Bracelet Part Two: Dyeing and Finishing

djcuff

We just finished setting up our cuff in Part One. We glued the pieces together and now we are ready to dye. Now, some people dye the pieces before the glue. It is all about preference. Please remember that the you should always go by your own wrist measurements and make sure to add an inch.

I took a fine brush and applied Atomic Wax to the letters before dyeing. Allow to dry completely. I failed to do that but I liked the result.

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I used Lt Brown Dye but it comes out a little dark. I keep thinking it will be tan but it is more of a reddish brown. Use a wool dauber to apply the dye. In addition, I used another fine line brush to apply dye in the crevices where the dauber could not reach.

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Do not forget about your edges.  I also dye the back of my bracelets and as I mentioned before it is all a matter of preference. If you do not want to dye the back then you need to be extremely cautious when dyeing. It can easily seep into the flesh side. An option would be to use painter’s tape on the back and remove afterward. Sorry about my nail polish, yikes!

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Allow bracelet to dry completely. Wipe off excess dye with a soft cloth.

When the bracelet is dry, it is time to do the edges. You can use a circle edge slicker or a bone folder.  You can apply Gum Tragacanth or Beeswax, to the edges and began to work the edge.

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Add rivets and snaps according to instructions.

Cuff

 

Congratulations! A cuff worthy of any little Cowboy!

 

Jessie

Basketweave Cuff Bracelet for Boys: Part One

I decided to flirt with geometric stamping again only it was with a basketweave stamp.  Specifically, the x505 Crafttool.  So, not only did I decided to choose an angled basketweave stamp but I decided to stamp the smallest area possible.  I made a prototype and boy is it ugly. I think most prototypes and practice pieces should be ugly. I mean how can you learn to be better if everything you do comes out perfect the first time around. Besides, perfection is overrated.

I started out by watching both Bruce Cheaney ,  George Hurst (Tandy Leather)   and Tactical Leather about basket stamping and geometric stamping. Every time I see those videos I just want to run out and buy a maul. I don’t even know what weight I need but they make really good impressions. I still prefer carving to stamping but I really need to nail this skill anyway because geometric stamping and basket weave seem to be really popular patterns for holsters, cases, and wallets.

Basket weave or basket stamping needs to be done carefully and accurately to get great results. Practice, Practice, Practice. These should be like Leather Golden Rules.

I decided to combine a cuff bracelet I was making for my son and the basketweave stamping. The measurements for this cuff are for a very small wrist, use your own wrist measurements when deciding length.

Materials

Rivets

Snaps

4-5 oz Veg Tanned Leather 

Fiebings Lt Brown Dye

Alphabet Stamp Set

Bone folder/edge slicker

Leather Cement

Box Cutter

1) Measure Cuff out 1 1/2 inch wide x 7 1/2 inch long.  It is always easier to cut off excess leather  than it is to add leather.  Cut  secondary piece of leather that will be 1 inch x 4 1/2 long.

Cuff blanks for Basketweave Cuffs

2) Case Leather and measure out a guide on where you will begin stamping with the X505 Craftool. Do not press too hard into the leather or the guidelines will become permanently etched into the leather.

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3) Begin stamping. You will alternate creating the basket weave.

Basketweave

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4) Create a border stamp (optional) and trim edges to make them circular. Create an edge on the secondary piece using a wing divider and cut with swivel knife. Stamp name into center.

DJ Cuff

5) Create holes for rivets and stamps using a leather hole puncher.

Holes Punched

6) Glue Secondary Piece on top of the base. Let dry overnight.

We will continue this tutorial with Dyeing and Finishing our Basket Weave Kid’s Cuff.

Jessie

Conquering the Embedded Cuff

PicMonkey Collage

Recently, I put away the embedded/inlay stone cuff bracelet for a while in order to focus on working on simple skills in leather crafting. Measuring and using rulers was something we get used to in school but it is a skill that degrades very easily. We forget how the simplest tasks can get rusty.  I look under drafting tools for different items that work well for leather making.

I finally was able to recreate the embedded/inlay  cuff but this time I placed the circle on top of the bracelet.  It was not a very good oval or circle so I know what I need to work on.

Materials:

Cuff Bracelet blank

Stamps

Craftool J815

Craftool Y649

Craftool G529

US Stamps BW5 (Veiner)

Rivets and Rivet Setter

Snaps and Snap Setter

Dyes:

Cordovan Dye cut down 25%dye 25% dilute

Color Box Crafter’s In Lime

Atomic Wax or Super Sheen

Other Tools

Box Cutter

Bone Folder

Rulers, Compasses, Circle Templates

Leather Cement

e6000 (The glue god)

This is similar to my Distressed Cuff Tutorial.

1) Case the leather.

2) Stamp flower patterns with the petal stamps

3) Cut a circle or oval, case, create stamping pattern

4) Cut out inner circle in the shape of your stone. Glue Stone to cuff. You want to burnish the edges of the cut circle now. Take water or wax, place on edges, take bone folder and rub. Your edges will be shiny and smooth.

5) Add leather cement to the edges, place over stone. It should be peeking out of the cut circle. Let dry overnight.

6) Punch four holes the size of the rivets.

7) Paint a think layer of green paint on the tool indentions. ( I painted all over but it didn’t work)

8) Let dry. Use Cordovan dye to begin dyeing the cuff.

(9) Use fine grit sand paper and sand bracelet until you like the distressing.

10) Repaint the tool indentions around the flower with the lime green paint.

11) Let Dry. Dye back with Cordovan Dye.

12) Place Atomic wax, buffer till shiny.

13) Burnish Edges with bone folder. (rub bone folder against edges)

14) Add rivets and snaps.

 

Jessie

Leather and Crystal Bouquet

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I have been doing this bouquet on and off for about a month because I did not have the courage to mold the flowers. Crystal Bouquets are very popular there being several different kinds such as Cascading Bouquets, Brooch Bouquets, Crystal Bouquets, and hybrid Flower and Crystal Bouquets.

I did the bouquet at night so I did not get to snap as many pics as I would have liked of the process.

A little bit of Sass and a little bit of Class bouquet is now on the scene. I used 3oz leather and drew a basic two flower template. After I cut out the flowers, I submerged them in lukewarm water for thirty seconds or until the leather was pliable. I mold the flowers to resemble petals and place them in the oven at 240F for a minute. Use a craft oven if you can or a heat gun. Check them after 30 seconds because the leather will crack and dry out. Keep molding them until they are to your liking. Allow to dry.

I would have painted them after the molding but since I was using already dyed scrap leather the rough edges showed up. For a more detailed tutorial on molded and dyed flowers try Spunky Junky who used her Sizzix Machine to cut up garment leather.

Tundraberry has a great tutorial on flower making.

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I used 26 and 22 gauge wire to make the wired crystals. 26 gauge is very thin wire so expect it to hang over but that was not the look I was going for. Measure at least a 12 inches of wire, add beads, and fold in half. I used a drill to create the twisted wire look by adding a cup hook into the place where the drill goes.

I ran out of wire and I had a spool. I arranged the flowers and crystals and tied them using some wire. I cut the ends and wrapped the stem with floral tape. I added ribbon and some pearl trim.

My first leather flower bouquet and can I say that this little lump took FOREVER!!!

Things I could change:

1) Use sturdier wire so it does not move around so much. It was a little too flimsy.
2) Create better flower template.

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Jessie

Biker Wallet Fail

This biker wallet seemed to just not want to be made and in the end we chalked it up to be a very poorly made prototype. Hey Failure is the first step to success, right?

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I know that I need a larger cutting for wallet making. The initial design was not horrendous but as they say my execution was lacking. I scoured everywhere for some sort of tutorial. There were a few on some leather forums but reading off forums is not the same as readings off blogs or watching you tube videos. I can find TONS of tutorials on knife sheaths but not very many on Biker Wallets/Roper Wallets and I still do not know what the difference is.

Initially, the interior of the wallet was supposed to have a money slot and a card and ID slot. It was ambitious and then a studio accident occurred. I spilled wax all over my leather. Do you know what happens? It is best if I show you because I accidentally created a splattered background. I tend to create that a lot. Happy Accidents.

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The look was interesting but it just kept getting harder and harder. I glued the insides to the exterior and had to cut it out. The card slots were not wide enough and the list went on and on.

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Unfortunately, it is back to redesigning the piece and I hope this time I come up with a better option. This is the reason we are beginners.

Things I Learned:

1) Close all dyes, paints, and waxes when not in use. (seems obvious but it happens)
2) Leather Cement is really hard to take off
3) Measure, Measure, Measure
4) Use a stitching pony! You can make your own here or here.
5) MEASURE!!!

I think that about sums it up. If you want a great template try Black River Laser Company because they have some great patterns for sale.

Biker Wallet: Design Problems and Fixes

I tried to make Big E a wallet this weekend but I encountered a few ( two) problems.

1) Big E is one tough customer
2) I cannot measure a straight line to save my life.

He wanted multiple patterns on the wallet and it was a complicated stamp design for a newbie. I should have practiced on scrap leather but I just wanted to get my wallet done.

I became increasingly frustrated with the design and scraped the whole piece of leather. I wanted a simple wallet to practice my stamping. Although, he has a lot of faith in my design technique and I appreciate it. However, who wants to spend FOUR hours stamping a design!

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Ugh, now it could be that I just do not have the patience for hand stamping patterns. I tried measuring, using guidelines and my rows and lines did not match up. There was a moment where I took a step back and realized that I probably needed to use a grid of some sort.

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Turns out a grid for geometric stamps is really important as well as remembering which way you stamped the tool. They must always follow in the same direction. This wallet design was a major fail. Concept wise, I should have sketched it out but I do not always think that far ahead.

In the picture below, you can see how the lines and circles do not match up. I am far from a perfectionist but even I have a crap radar.

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My fellow newbie crafters, here is what we learned with this try and fail craft.

1) Sketch the design beforehand.
2) Measure out a grid using rulers or a craft aid.
3) Slow and steady and remember which way you stamped the tool.
4) Stamp until you reach the brink of insanity. (Seriously, it feels like insanity)

Now, that we have begun to troubleshoot our pattern problems it should be easier to design the wallet. The next post will discuss dye and assembly of our biker wallet.

Jessie

Inspiration

I wish I could come up with a snazzy title for inspiration but I won’t. Inspiration is found in the most random of places and in the faces of those who surround us. Inspiration is easy to confuse with imitation because we often imitate those around us. I wonder if it is because we are fearful of discovering our true selves.

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We see the world in ombré colored lenses since rose colored ones are so 1990. I started crafting with each project tinted with the faint lingering of other inspirations. Always fumbling for what was current, what was trendy about never answering to my own inner self who was desperate to get out. It was during my homage to rosary making that I was able to discover my style and my inner self. It was there I was able-to connect to the girl from that small Texas town who spent years trying to hide her humble beginnings. I was trying to hide my cultura which was  my connection to self. It was that moment I realized that the deep purple hues of the cactus fruit held the meaning of inspiration.

Through the thorns, although small and painful, held behind it a sweet taste of life. Each day we use our art, the ruggedness of it all to develop our signature style. It can be through jewelry, leather, pottery, or paint.

Our pain, our joy, our suffering are often hidden in our art unbeknownst to ourselves and to our patrons. I look at the wild flowers of Texas. The yellow bloom on a cacti and know that art is humanity echoing in every fiber it touches, every textile, every mound of clay taking with it a piece of the artist.

10 Leather Starter Tools You Need

When I started leather crafting, I had received a kit for review from Tandy Leather. I didn’t even know the names of the tools I was buying. I didn’t even realize that there were specific tools for different carving techniques. Over a few months, lots of reading, and personal errors I decided to write this post to give other beginners a starting off point.

This is just my personal list that I have in my own tool arsenal.


1) Rotary Hole Punch

This is a rotating punch with different sizes for punching holes into leather.

2) Veiners, Camoflauge, and Background stamps

Each one of these stamps does something different and they are great for hand stamping patterns.

3) A sharp knife or box cutter.

I use a box cutter to cut my leather. The are also round knifes, cutting knives, etc.

4) Alphabet stamp set

There are several different types but I really want the ones from Melody Ross.

5) A Mallet

You will need a poly mallet for leather crafting. Never use a metal hammer because it will ruin the integrity of your stamps.

6) A hard surface to work on.

I use a granite sink cutout that I found as scrap at a local tile place.

7) Dyes, Paints, Finishes, Resists, and Antiques

Not all dyes are created equal but as a new crafter I suggest water based dyes which are more forgiving. Do not be afraid to experiment with acrylics

Resists help when dying objects different colors on the same piece of leather. Antique glazes add more of a brown coat to the leather. It is actually a very beautiful technique.

8) A ruler and cutting pad.

I use metal rulers and a quilt cutting board that is soft to absorb cuts.

9) Tracing or Transfer paper plus a stylus.

A stylus tool is great and there is one that even has a modeling tool at the end of it. The stylus allows you to transfer your picture to the leather.

10) LEATHER preferably Veg Tanned.

If you want to achieve a beautiful stamped finish I suggest veg tanned leather. As a beginner you may want to stick to the least expensive options instead of buying a huge side.

Next post will cover different leathers available for use in small leather projects.

Jessie