Friday, May 29, 2009

I Remember.

When I was a little girl I would look up to my dad with big eyes. He was my hero.

What I remember most was the quiet talks I had with him alone. He was a different person then. He was attentive and caring the way I always wanted him to be.

I remember the day I took my police entrance exams. It was the turning point in my life and he was there when I got home. He asked me a battery of questions that made me realize that he really cared. Being one of seven children it was a rarity to spend quality time with my dad. He showed a side of himself that I had never seen before. It was then that I knew he really loved me.

It has been 24 years since I last spoke to my dad. He left this world in 1985. There isn't a day that I don't think about him.

The other day I was working on an order. It was a "Daddy - The first man I loved" key fob and as I worked quietly my youngest daughter, Renee came over to me and whispered in my ear. "Mommy, can you make one of those for me so I can give it to daddy?" She lowered her change purse on the table and dumped out a pile of coins.

Back side of key fob

I looked at her with different eyes. I saw me in her. John was her daddy and hero and she wanted to give him something special. She wanted me to make him the very thing I have been making for so many others. My heart was a flutter. How sweet I thought. I had missed the obvious when it was standing right beside me all the time.

She whispered that it was our secret and that daddy wasn't to know. She had heard me read some of the comments I'd received from buyers and she wanted her daddy's to be special just like them. I gave her money back to her and promised that I would make the most special one for him and it would be the only one in the world. *pinkie swear* So I did.

I would like to wish all our great dad's out there a wonderful father's day.

From our home to yours!!

Anne and family ^i^

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Win A Gift for Your Favorite Seller AND You

I am a true believer in the idiom "what goes around comes around" or loosely translated "Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you". In saying that, I am proposing a contest for our readers.

I, as a consumer and seller, feel very strongly about customer service. It is the back bone of what makes the difference between a mediocre business and an awesome one. John and I strive to be just that - awesome.

So, in appreciation to those people who go that extra length to make a customer feel good about what they just bought - we are going to reward them with a free gift from our shop.

The rules are simple:

If you think one of your sellers falls in the category of "Awesome customer service" - submit their name and/or URL to the comments section of this blog AND what it was that made them so awesome.

At the end of this month John and I will read your testimonials submitted and determine who will be the winner of this contest along with the person who submitted their name. (valued at $20 - plus shipping for both the nominee and person who submitted it)

Kindness and consideration should be rewarded. Make it count and pass it forward.

The free gift will come from Leather Made Nice.

Thanks and have a great day,

Anne & John

Monday, May 18, 2009

Size Matters

Yes size matters!

When it comes to sizing for a custom fit like wristbands and belts we need the exact measurement.
Starting with the wrist measurement. I have received several custom orders from buyers that insist that the wrist size of their significant other is 10 inches around. Well God bless them ~ but I can assure you that in the hundreds or wristbands I have made, over the years, only two were actually measured to fit a 10 inch wrist. The rest, to their dismay, were too big and had to be returned to me so I could add an extra snap on it to fit. Most sellers will not do that since it will cost extra for shipping and materials, which comes out of their pocket. I, however, will accommodate.
It has become routine for me to insist that the buyer measure the recipient's wrist for a more accurate size. I still get responses like, "I have measured his watch and it measures 10 inches long", OR "I measured an existing wristband that is 9 1/2 inches for snap to snap." The latter measurement wouldn't be so bad except that leather does stretch to some degree over time - giving an inaccurate measurement. So, again I reiterate. The best and only way to get an accurate measurement if to measure end-to-end whether with a string or garment measuring tape.
It is up to me to determine how much extra leather is needed to accommodate the proper size and location of the snap.

Pictured are some of the examples I have for you to view for a correct fitting.
Amanda's wrist measures 6 1/2 inches (16.5cm) around.
Christopher's wrist measures 7 1/2 inches (19cm) around.
It is up to the buyer to tell me if they prefer a snug or loose fit. It is then that I can adjust the length of the leather for the best size.
I used a string to measure Renee's wrist. Measure the space between the end and where it meets the other end. Pinch it with your finger and hold it until you can lay it down on a ruler.
Lay the string flat on a ruler and view the length of the string. I usually do this twice to compare my accuracy. If it is different - measure again.

Renee's wrist measures 7 inches (17.8cm) around.

When measuring for a belt. Simply measure your waist using a string or measuring tape. Measure your waist in the same fashion as shown in the previous pictures - not too tight or too loose. I will size the belt to fit you - not your pant size.


Anne ^i^

Saturday, May 16, 2009

We've made it into print

Things are looking up for this little leather store.

I just received an e-mail from a new fashion magazine named VivaLaModa that one of our wristbands was featured in their May issue.

If you are curious check it out page 16 item number 3.

VivaLaModa magazine

Anne ^i^

Are They Our Future Trendsetters?

As a leather crafter I am always curious as to what makes people buy what they buy. What is it that compels them to gravitate to the off beat and unusual?

I have a certain style , as do most artists. Mine comes from many years of following the rules - the right way , if there is such a thing anymore. I have developed a technique that requires clean edges and sharp colors. I am a perfectionist and I become bothered by loose ends or askew lines. So I have to ask myself," Am I outdated, boring, mundane or plain?" I have made a pledge to myself to lighten up and loosen my grip on boundaries, that have limited my creativity.

My crafter friends and I have one quality in common. That is, if the item we make isn't perfect in our eyes, the item does not get posted. I have posted items and removed them within 10 minutes of it being listed because I didn't like the look of it. I'd put it in a box and close it tight.

I am always intrigued by artists that go outside of the box. The daring ones that have no perimeters. Some of the items that I have seen while browsing Etsy surprise me. So I ask you this...., What is it about these fashion no-no's that brings the sellers in?

I have pick some of the most risque and unique items from various artists and solicit your comments on what it is that you think makes them so desirable. And maybe with your responses I will be less anal retentive and venture out beyond the scope of reason.
I think I may already be one of these daring individuals, but am reticent to let go and release it to the world. My secret little treasury is buried in a corner of my work area waiting for the day I will release them.

So please, take a look and feel free to explore.

Triple Pocket Zipper Bilfold - $54.00
By Scabbyrobot

Handmade Leather Pouch Purple - $45
By StudioMu

Antique Brown Leather Shoulder Bag- $148.00
By delacyonline

If you would like to see more products handcrafted by these artist click on the item title to view their shops.

Thanks to these artists for daring to be different.

Anne ^i^

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kinda Lost

Hum..., as I think out loud.

I have been in a kinda rut lately. Not sure why - just know that I am.

As a spiritualist I know that things happen for a reason and that everything comes to an end - bad or good. Despite the fact that it has been 7 arduous months of struggling financially for us and still no sign of things getting better - the overall mood in our home has been a good one. Money issues have never really bothered me because something always comes along. But of late I have been paralysed, if you will, in getting things done. My drive to create new things independent of orders that I get from our etsy site has taken a back seat.

Even meditation, which normally lifts my spirits to a positive level hasn't helped much. I can't even say that people have disappointed me because they haven't. What is it - I wonder - that is bringing me down? Usually by this time of year I am elbow deep in soil in my garden.., but not this time.

I look at our sales in our shop and I am quite pleased actually. I compared ours to other sellers and can't help but think how disheartening it must be for some vendors to get little if no sales at all. How dare I feel down! I thank God each and every day for getting us through, for each sale and for the money that trickles in for food - I thank God. I have everything I need. A devoted husband, three great and loving children and a roof over my head so why am I down?

While in meditation today I asked my spirit guide for answers. I was shown text from a chat room move swiftly across my mind. As I tried to read it, it disappeared. I heard the words, "look back" and then nothing to explain the meaning. And as I walked around the house picking up laundry, I was shown the words, "distracted and unfocused".

Maybe this is true. Am I letting things bother me that normally wouldn't? Am I slow to start on new projects because I am not focused? Possibly. Where is this frustration coming from?

As I try to write this blog I am distracted by laughter. *turned up lip* My son is telling my husband about a rumor that is making it's rounds at school. Apparently, Chris, our son, who is 15yrs old, was pulled over by the police and as a result of this our family van was impounded. Pretty hard to do considering I'm looking at it in our driveway now. 0_o!! Moreover, that the boy recounting the incident to Chris and on lookers apparently witnessed the incident and told Chris he looked peed at the officer. Chris found this rather amusing and opted to let it ride, (he didn't rebut the statement) because as he sees it. The rumour will only grow legs and take off regardless of what he tells people. So the running joke in our house is.., Chris can't drive the van 'cause he might get it impounded. *a bit of humor* :)

Thanks for the ear!

Anne ^i^

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Yes, we have our first winner of our monthly "Treasure Hunt" giveaway.

This morning I changed the price on one of our listed items to 20 cents. (I could not be lowered any further unfortunately)
At 11:39 a.m. Michael Wu became our first winner by purchasing this item.
It will be sent to him free of charge - shipping included.

Congratulations Michael!!

Thank you again to all that participated in this giveaway and I look forward to our next hunt in June. _\00/

Anne and John

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taking Her Life Back

Just when I thought she couldn't do anything more to floor me she did.
On April 17th I wrote a blog about my older sister, Susan. She had surprised the world and myself by participating in AND completing the CN Tower stair climb. She made it to the top - successfully climbing 1776 steps, 144 flights after suffering a debilitating stroke on May 20, 2008.

Well apparently her journey to a healthier and longer life didn't end there.

I received an email from her once again just a few days before May 9th. She shocked me with the news that she was going to run a 5 kilometer marathon. *gulp* She wanted me to pray for her because the effects of the stair climb were still very fresh in her mind and body.

And if I to am quote the famous writer, Lord Alfred Tennyson, "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."

John, Paul (her husband) and Jennifer all very athletic

Susan had immersed herself in the company of some very talented individuals and aspired to finish the 5 Kilometer (3.1 miles) marathon with their coaching and reassurance. I have never know Susan NOT to accomplish something she had set her mind on and this was one of those times.

Personally, I was skeptical but hopeful. I wanted her to finish this more than the stair climb.

In a word - Leather Wristband

I recall walking around on pins and needles that morning thinking that she might push herself too hard and collapse or worse. But between the flashes of lightning and thunder claps I said little prayers for her to finish.
True to her undying nature, she finished. I cheered quietly when I heard the news. All I remember reading was...,

"Hi Anne, I finished the marathon.., Paul stayed with me all the way. I'm so proud of John and Jenny".

I realize this may not may seem like a huge feat to some but to me.... it was monumental. I lost one sister three years ago and I almost lost another last year to a stroke. So to me...., this was is miracle.

Way to go Susan for taking your life back and making the most of it. There is no stopping you now!!!

All my love - forever and always... your baby sister... Annie ^i^

~~~~> Don't forget to check our shop for the "Treasure Hunt". It could be listed anytime. \00/_

Friday, May 8, 2009

Decisions - decisions...,what to choose?.

I have been faced with a dilemma. I have to decided which item in our etsy shop to pick for the "treasure hunt" giveaway this month. I solicited some ideas from my family and this is what I came up with.
Renee, my youngest daughter, choose a very stylish pair of white deerskin earrings from our sister shop. Not surprised - she has acquired all of my jewelry and make-up that wasn't nailed down or hidden. *palm to cheek*

Amanda thought that the "ahhh-dorable baby moccasins" would be a nice choice for a new mom to win.

When I asked Chris his response was, "pick something for a guy." He choose the very masculine and rugged chap leather mystery braid wristband. Actually, the wristband is unisex and can be worn by both guys and ladies. But we won't tell him. *finger to lip*

Johns choice was a more practical one. He thought that since father's day was the 3rd Sunday in June - why not the magnetic money clip?
Hummm. All very good choices..., but I still wasn't sure.

Alligator Embossed Magnetic Money Clip

I thought a pair of my Spatz would make a nice prize for our winner - considering our etsy community is top heavy with female members.

But after a great deal of consideration I came up with this idea.

SPATZ - Boot Jewelry Royal Blue Water Mark Set

I will let the readers have the opportunity to submit their choice of prize via commenting to this blog.
If you have your eyes on one of our treasures drop a comment and I'll add it to the list of possible winners. Keeping checking though, you never know when I will list the free item in our shop. *raised eyebrows*

Have a great weekend! _\00/

Anne ^i^

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Ring is the Thing

It was about 2 weeks ago and I was working on a project when I looked down at the table and noticed a concho laying next to a strip of leather I had cut. *light bulb* The powers that be presented me with a very neat idea..., not an original one..., but a neat one non-the-less. I dug into my supply drawer and pulled out a ton of things. *big smile* I made my first ring. I showed it to my oldest daughter, whom I might add doesn't care for leather products AT all - *sigh*. She loved it. She put it on her finger said, "cool" and walked out of the room. I had to chase her to retrieve it or it would have disappeared into the abyss - her bedroom - never to be found again. 0_o!!

Wow, I thought! She liked something I made without coaching for a positive reaction. I was feeling pretty good about myself actually. I had stepped out of the box for a moment and was pleasantly surprised.

Well, needless to say I went ring crazy. I pulled out all my best fasteners, rivets and rhinestones and went to town. I was looking at everything thinking - this will work.... *whew*

I was on a roll. By the end of the day I had created four rings and....yes I was very pleased with myself. *pat on back* Amanda would walk through the room periodically and smirk at me...., "Very nice, mom", she said, patting me on the head like a well deserving child of praise. Yes, But I had succeeded in creating a teen "cool" item. ah-huh.. that's right!! You know it :D

The best idea came later from John. He said, "You how people sometimes tie a string on their finger to remind themself to do a task. Why don't you make a ring like that but with leather cord instead." I thought it was hilarious..., but perfect..., and so novel. Why "knot" ?
And that is how I started making leather rings. Funny though, I was never one to wear leather jewelry when I was younger ...., times have changed and so did I... sounds like a song. :D

If you have an idea you want me to try out for you, drop by my shop and leave me a convo.


Anne ^i^

Sunday, May 3, 2009


A super nice friend of mine, Delina, who owns a jewelry shop in New York, had a giveaway on her site yesterday. I thought it was a wonderful idea eventhough I didn't win. LOL

The concept of a giveaway is a great idea. I get to do something nice by PIF (passing it forward) and the recipient gets a free gift for participating. It's a win - win situation!!

But my nature dictates that it was too easy. Hehehe! Where's the sport in that? Lets make it interesting.

So here's my plan. Sometime during the month I will change the price on one of my listings in my shop Leather Made Nice to $0.00. (Normally there is a monetary value of no less than a dollar but since it was already listed I should be able to change the value to $0.) In the event that it does not accept the $0.00 value, I will change the cost to $1.00 and the buyer will need only to complete the transaction stopping at PayPal.

Shipping included.

I will post the winner and the item won.

Happy hunting!!! :D

Anne ^i^

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Walk In The Park

AWWW! look at that face! Yes you have seen him before but I can't help it. Isn't he adorable. This is Toby and his owner is my friend, Michelle . Am I bad? I miss my Friday, so now Toby is my...., surrogate doggie. :D

Now that spring is officially here it's time to get our quadruped friends all prettied up and outside for some fresh air and exercise. It wouldn't hurt me any either ;D

Toby is wearing his personalized and very fashionable mahogany collar. My most favorite style and color.

When I jogged. Yes I used to jog..., once-upon-a-time...., I hear snickering back there!!! I would take my dog, Friday with me - for company mostly. Funny though, I always knew that she would take off to parts unknown the second I unclasped her leash. Subsequently, I designed and created this stylish Shake-A-Paw ID bands (and pendant set) just in case she lost her way back to me. One buyer suggested a phone number instead of a name ..., great idea!

With bigger dogs like Friday, she needed a 6 foot leash. We cut ours from a continuous strip of premium "Live Oat" sole grade leather. Trust me even the big dogs can't break this one. :D

It's always nice to get a new piece of jewelry. So why wouldn't you think about your pooch. Whether it's one piece at a time or all together - they deserve it too?

Any and all of our products can be customized to suit your needs. We can add rhinestones, grommets, eyelets, studs.... whatever you want we can create it for you. So give us a try.
It's sunny out in my neck of the woods so I think I will take advantage of this gorgeous weather and work in my garden. :D
Thanks, Michelle for helping me set up my gadgets. It worked!!! You rock !! _\00/

Anne ^i^