Thursday, January 21, 2010

VANCOUVER 2010 - Welcoming the winter Olympics

As a proud Canadian and a former athlete (many, many years ago) I am both thrilled and delighted that Canada is hosting the 2010 winter Olympics in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. Although I cannot be there personally I will be watching my favourite winter event on T.V.

As a young girl I watched Karen Magnussen (famous NHL brother, Keith - Chicago Blackhawks - defense) and Dorothy Hamil (I even got my hair cut like hers. LOL) float like angels on the ice. Like many girls, I dreamed that one day that would be me. Although I am much older now - I still dream.

I made these leather wristbands to commemorate the occasion. It is not limited to Canadians but a unique keepsake for fans, friends, family or participants of the Olympics.

After these wristbands were finished I checked the Internet to see if I could use the Olympic logo (the five rings) on my wristbands.

Unfortunately, I cannot. Any use of the logo, without permission, is an infringement of copyright laws. :(

However, I will continue to make and sell the following wristbands and any deviation there of, that a buyer can imagine (minus the logo) to create a special moment in time for you.

I can stamp names, countries, events..., whatever it is that makes this momentous occasion special for you.

Let the games begin!!!

Contact us with your ideas and we can discuss the possibilities.
Thanks for viewing,

Anne & John

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's in the bag

I am quite excited about this artisan. I am not really sure where exactly it was I met her but I fell in love with her deerskin waist bags instantly.

I would like to introduce Linda, my new friend and owner of HighsmithStudio . She is the creator of these very practical and gorgeous waist bags.

I am particularly fond of deerskin. It is a wonderful medium to work with. I have always been reticent to use the rough edges of a hide but after seeing her work I may have to re-think my decision. I am sure I have a long way to go before I can create something as stunning as Linda's waist bags. But with practise and imagination one never knows. :D

As a motor bike rider Linda created this style of bag for hands free convenience. There are spring clasps on the side of each bag so it can be attached to a belt or pant loops.

The white deerskin bag below is my personal favourite. She utilizes the entire deerskin to create these one-of-a-kind bags.

As you can see, her work is very well thought out. I like her use of contrasting colours and placement of feathers and heart cut outs - quite striking actually. I find myself staring at each bag and examining every little detail. Just beautiful.

Linda has not been a member of the Etsy community for very long so I invite you to visit her shop and take a browse. You won't be disappointed - I wasn't.
Thanks for viewing,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Knife Sheath Like No Other

If there is one thing I learned about men, especially sportsmen, is that they take their knives seriously. Over the years I have had all kinds of knives in my home while my husband handcrafted a custom sheath for them. Some of them quite impressive while others I wouldn't use in my garden. But all of them have something in common. Sentimental value to the proud owner.
I slipped once, while at our local Farmers Market, when an avid knife collector brought three knives to our table. They were wrapped and bounded in layers of soft cloths. I looked on as the owner gingerly unwrapped each one and recalled the story behind the knife. With cautious consideration he handed my husband, John, one of his Bowie knives. John with the same care handled it like it was gold. I slipped, something I will never do again, and stated rather quietly, "it's only a knife". If ever I felt small it was then. The gentleman gave me a look that would freeze alcohol.
I have since learned to respect and understand the value of one's prize possessions. In retrospect it is like comparing an aluminum camping pot to a set of Lagastino cook wear. The user will know the difference.

That said, I will show you some of the awesome custom knife cases John has made for some very satisfied customers. Only recently has John found the time to make the sheath below for a knife he has cherished for over 40 years. Both knife and sheath were handed down to our son, Chris.

The next case was one of several made for a collector - the gentleman I previously spoke about at the Farmer's Market. The buyer choose the sheath to be able to slide on his belt. He also choose the stamp pattern and dye colour.

The next two cases, which will be used to house the pictured knife, are used for underwater divers. I personally wouldn't suggest leather for underwater but the owner was okay with it. The sheath was hand formed around the knife to give it a fitted appeal.

One case was customized with the owners surname and the other with wolves.

The following cases were handcrafted according to the owner's specs. One for a left handed person and the other a right handed person. Every detail right down to the thread and snap colour are left to the buyer.
When John makes each case he actually creates a new pattern, a new design. As I have seen there have never been two the sheaths the same. And that is the beauty of a custom case.

What John has been doing lately is making cases from knife outlines. As we all know it is virtually impossible if not insane to attempt to send a knife over the boarder. So in an attempt to fulfil orders he has been working with cardboard cut outs. We are happy to report that it has been successful thus far.

For the most part the majority of knives John has created cases for are antiques. There is nothing quite like it to see the face of a customer when John hands him/her their knife in a new case. It is like they have just received fine crystal and mustn't drop it. I have asked John to wait for me to be home when a buyer drops by the house to pick it up. If you can imagine it can be rather spiritual. But only someone on the receiving end will understand. I can only aspire that people receive my work with that kind of reaction. Luckily John is a very modest man so I will do the bragging for him.

The sheath below, in my opinion, has to have been one of John's favourite ones to make. It was made for a Bowie knife that has no hilt. Many hours of planning and pondering went into this one. The owner didn't want snaps on the back of it because he is a hunter and felt it would most likely fall off when he bends down. As a matter of practice now, John hand stitches all his sheaths rather than snap closures over belts.
Each one of these knife cases are unique and as individual as one's finger prints. I have not attempted to make one yet, and maybe I won't too soon. But for now I will leave this aspect of our business to the true master - my husband, John :D

'Nuf said. If you would like to chat with us about having a knife case custom made please do not hesitate to email us. We are always happy to create something special for you.

Thanks for stopping by and do visit our shop Leather Made Nice


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Celebrating fellow artisans!

I promised myself that this year I would be more active in the appreciation of fellow artisans. I often sit in amazement at the skill and talent that goes into these works of art.

Today I came across one such artisan. The shop is Miamiamia designs and the wonderful creative force behind these original pieces is, Esen.

My jaw dropped as I browsed her shop.

Some of the most intricate and stunning beaded cuff bracelets I have ever seen were on sale for a fraction of the already inexpensive price. Esen is closing her shop but will be re-opening another under the name Mystic Fibers.

I have "hearted" several pieces that I have added to my wish list. But the way things are moving they won't be available too much longer.

I invite you to view her awesome shop and possibly pick up one of her designs for a song.

The pink and silver surf style peyote beaded cuff below was in the sold file. Sorry ladies.

This peyote beaded bracelet was featured on the from page of Etsy. I just love the mix of solid to translucent beads. I drooled over this one many times today - It was just sold!! *sigh*

This is one of Esen's signature designs which I think is stunning also. Again she combined various beads to create this fascinating and brilliant look.

The last time I looked this hot pink cuff it was still available for only $30.00. What a steal!!! I'm hoping that when she opens her other shop she will have more of these lovelies for us ladies that missed out on this opportunity.

All of Esen's items are shipped to you in a lovely organza gift bag.

I know I will be going back to visit her shop.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Anne ^i^