Wednesday, January 28, 2009

For Your Eyes Only

It has been quite a ride for John and I since we joined the Etsy "handcrafters" community. We never imagined in our wildest dreams how well we would do. During the Christmas rush and again in the days approaching Valentine's Day orders came steadily. I lay awake at night processing the orders in my head...., sigh!!! Both John and I are perfectionists so if something doesn't look right...., back to the drawing board we go. There are so many talented artisan's out there coming up with some brilliant ideas that it keeps us on my toes. We are constantly striving for our "A" game and aspire to do better with each new item we create. That alone is a task in itself..., whew, I'm tired already. :)

My biggest hurdled, as of late, was finding a way to make leather jewelry more appealing to men. And I don't mean adding more spikes, rivets or studs to a thick piece of leather. I mean a piece of jewelry that a man would like to wear - something classy, something sexy.

I racked my brain searching for a unique concept. Our personalized word bands seemed to be working for us so I started there. Most of our buyers are woman and bought according to a woman's perspective. I know my husband isn't too fond of wearing wordy wristbands expressing sentiments of love but he and my son do like the more masculine, dark brown or black rugged look of our personalized leather key chains that we made over Christmas. They were very successful and we were quite pleased, however I now wanted create something more, something better. As they say, if you put it out there the universe will deliver.

Well the universe delivered!!

On January 21st a fellow Etsyian, Laura of Lovely Lolli convo'd me and asked if could create a wristband that her husband would wear. She claimed he was a manly man. She drew my attention to one of our personalized wristbands listed on my site. A dark brown word wristband with high lighted text and contrasting tan topstitching along the edges. Laura advised me that her husband wouldn't wear a wristband with sentimental words on it. Was there a way I could stamp text on the inside of the band.., was that possible? She wanted the text inscribed on the inside and hidden from his buddies attention. I thought about it for a minute and accepted the challenge. What a brilliant idea she had. Of course!!!

I tossed the idea around with John and he agreed it was doable.

I made the first one for Laura (pictured below) and sent her a picture of it. She loved it!!! Thoughts become things and I had my classy new product. From a simple idea came the secret message wristband, or as I like to call it "For your eyes only" leather wristband for men.

Now us ladies came pour out our hearts to our men and they can wear a stylin' piece of jewelry without being heckled by there buddies. A win win situation ;=)

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

From the Realm of Dreams

For about ten years I have developed an ability. I have the ability to recall items, faces and conversations that I receive with exact clarity, in my dreams.

Below are two such examples of the products of these dreams. Now that people, generally speaking, have accepted that dreams can play an integral part in our day-to-day lives, I would like to share this part of me with you about the dreams in which these items came to fruition. I am not unique.

When my husband, John, and I decided to put an end to our police careers some 7 years ago we wanted to concentrate more fully on our leather business. There are some very talented crafters out there and although our products were starting to sell rather slowly on our Etsy site in early May 2008, I wanted to create something that was unique enough to call my own. I have to say though, I do believe that every idea, design or product, in its rawest form was created, even in a simpler form, somewhere, some time by someone else. Saying that, by simply adding a rivet, grommet or adorment to a project does not make it original. It makes it unique.

As a spiritualist I like to meditate to balance and align my chakras. While in meditation I go to a place that I loved as a child - my swing that over looks the water at my parent's cottage. While there I await or call upon my spiritual guides for advice and direction.

In one particular meditation, which carried over into my dreams, my spirit guide, named Claire, came forth. We chatted, in this dream, about wants. I wanted to create something unique to me. I have always felt that there is a native side to me and freedom was a driving force attached to it. Claire presented to me a white leather wristband that had flowing fringes and turqouise rivets to adorn it. As she presented this beautiful wristband, the fringes danced in the wind. It was perfect!!! It was me in an inanimate nature.

In the morning I told John about it. Now my only obstacle was to create it. I have made three of these styled wristbands since, the one below, a red one and a distressed brown one.

To my great pleasure I sold the wristband shown below to a beautiful, tanned aboriginal woman. I later saw her wearing it. She was leaning against a railing and the fringes appeared as they did in my dream, flowing and free.

This next dream experience involved another piece of leather jewelry.

I find in my dreams that if I am intended to recall something important, the powers that be will bring it up close and personal to me and a gentle voice tells me to take note of this. My dream will remain suspended until I acknowledge the item or wake up and write it down. I have had many a dream where my spirit guides would not allow me to sleep until I made notes of the aspects of a certain dream only later to be found very important and real.

The details of the choker above were shown to me at one of these times.

I started on the choker right away. I was in a quandry thinking that I didn't have that particular suede at hand. A nagging feeling in my head drove me to go look at our leather supplies. Low and behold tucked in a corner with my delicate deerskin bolt was a small piece of brown suede. To me it was a message to follow though and create it.

So as you can see..., from dreams do come beautiful things.

Anne ^i^

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Solemn Day

My heart sank yesterday as the words from my teen children buzzed around in my head.

I have lived in the small town of Cobourg for 19 years with my family. Our three children have lived here since birth. It is a quaint community where not much goes unnoticed by the locals. If truth be told word of mouth supercedes the speed of press release.

Our children attended Terry Fox Public School in their elementary years. Then moved on to high school. During those many years at Terry Fox we have grown to know the faculty quite well and even though our children have moved on we continue to cross paths with their teachers from time-to-time. We have shared some laughs and eventful moments between our children and their teachers. Some pleasant - some not so pleasant but in the end we remained amicable and courteous.

While driving our two oldest children home from St. Mary's Secondary High school on the 14th of January, in a matter-of-fact tone, our son said, "Mrs. Kernaghan died yesterday." Shocked at the news I fired a hundred questions at him.

According to the newspapers Suzanne Kernaghan, a grade two teacher at Terry Fox, collided with a fully loaded tractor-trailer on Hwy 28 near the 5th line. Suzanne and Michelle Broomsfield, a grade 2/3 teacher at Baltimore Public School were killed in a collision. The woman were returning home after attending a one-day professional development course..., on Tuesday at around 6:30pm.

All I could think about were her two young children, Larissa - 12yrs and Ryan - 10 yrs-old and her dear husband, Roger. My youngest daughter was a student of Suzanne's for three years as was my oldest daughter. My heart went out to them. I am a Christian and believe when we pass on we go on to a better place. But nothing can illeviate the pain her family must be experiencing at this tragic time.

I think of the words that John Travolta expressed about the loss of his sixteen year-old son, Jet recently. I paraphrase, "I treasure the short time that we spent with our son."

We have all lost someone special in our hearts and lives. I have lost my dear sister, Mary, two short years ago in her 47th year, of complications that developed during surgery on her broken hip. I had only spoken to her days before her passing..., then she was gone.

I have designed this commerative bookmark in honor of her life and sent it to my mother as a token of love knowing that she would have wanted it more than I. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of her and my departed father, John Gottschalk. Whether in my dreams or thoughts they will always be with me.

My family and I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Kernaghan and Broomfield family's for their terrible loss.

Michelle Broomfield 1971 - 2009
(Dawn) Suzanne Kernaghan 1969 - 2009
Mary Catherine Gottschalk 1959- 2006
John Francis Gottschalk 1930 - 1985
May God keep you safe!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Beginnings - 2009

Happy New Year - everyone!!!

We would like to welcome you to our blog. Applause!!!

We have had a website on Etsy for eight months and invite you to visit us.
Our site is quite unique in that we create custom and personalized leather products to suit everyones needs.

We are hoping to have our Flickr badge up and running soon. :]
The message on this wristband, which is listing on our site, has become pretty much our moto.

We have found that many of our buyers favour this attractive "mystery braid" leather wristband and have customized it with family names, sayings, expressions of love and BBF names. It is timeless and wears beautifully on both men and women alike...., as I sit here typing I am wearing my family band (not the one shown in the photo) with all 5 names on it. I am the least liking person to wear something of this sort. But attitudes change when it includes the people that mean the most to you - your family. :)

And finally, our personalized leather keychain -fob. The names are highlighted to stand out boldly against the dark brown back ground. They are handcrafted with the finest, virgin leather and finished with brass grommets and rings. A must have for the hard-to-buyer-for individual person in your life.

Thank you so much for dropping by and viewing our blog!!!
Anne ^i^ & John