Hard Working Leather

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Happy Sunday, all!

I promised some more MAGfest vendors and this week I would love to direct your gaze toward the creators over at Detroit Leather Company. They have quite the selection of very wonderful leather goods. Ranging from masks:


To goggles:


To leather wrapped flasks:


To these absolutely gorgeous leather journals:


I am so entranced by the twisting lock and the pin locks on those last two pictures. Aren’t they amazing?! I can personally attest to the effective holding power of their flasks as well. If you would like to view their other wares, they can be found on their website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. See you next week with a new tutorial!

Stay crafty!


The Cheap Dye That is Surprisingly Decent

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Dying things can be a long and expensive process sometimes. Not to mention all the steps you have to go through to prepare it so that it’ll stay. Thankfully, the internet has come to our rescue once more! Today I’ll be sharing the secrets of using the cheap drink brand Kool-aid as your all purpose dye.

I first started looking into this when I can across a post were a leather user talked about how they decided to try this just for laughs while making a drink:

I was making a drink while cutting the snaps off some new straps for my pauldrons and I got curious, so I tried it, thinking, “ok even if this works, it will just wash out.”


It took the “dye” (undiluted) in about 3 seconds. After drying for about an hour and a half, it would not wash off in the hottest tap-water. It would not wash out after soaking for 30 minutes.

They then go on to talk about how it took boiling the dyed leather to even slightly remove the dye. O.O That’s some pretty powerful stuff there. So, what can we learn from this and apply for ourselves? Well, after some experimenting and reading on my part, I’ve found that Kool-aid as a dye works pretty well for a variety of natural fiber mediums such as leather, wool, cotton, hair, flax, jute, silk and so on. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re not just making Kool-aid proper and then adding your items to it. It needs to be the flavor only packet/liquid as the pre mixed once have sugar. The sugar will make your end product sticky and unusable down the line. That’s no good for anyone

Also, you’ll want to heat the dye water up, just like you would with commercial dyes. This helps stimulate the molecules and ‘activate’ the dye to help the color permeate. Once it’s set for 20-30mins, let it dry and then rise in cold water to remove the excess. 😀 Several people have even made charts to help others achieve desired colors! A quick google search gave me this one, but there are loads more, including yarn results which very much so appeal to me, lol.

So there you have it. Never think that dying something it out of your budget as long as you have access to Kool-aid. ^_^

A Cozy Needle is a Happy Needle

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Happy Sunday, all!

Today we are ensuring that we continue to take excellent care of the tool that arguably works the hardest for anyone that does any kind of sewing. Last time we covered needle cases which are great for trips and transporting odd sized or duller needles. This time we are going to give our needles a bit more care and store them in soft felted cloth, more specifically in a needle book. Most needle books are fairly simplistic: take several squares of felt and sew them together in the middle to form a spine, then fold in half. Some crafters and artisans have taken this to a whole new level. This first one from Mouse Garden uses the traditional and adds their own flair:

Simple, pretty, and ready to carry your needles!

Using all felt makes it easy to add simple embroidery or other designs. Like this second rather whimsical one from Crafty Cat Lady UK:

I love it’s cute whiskers!

Many of us that mix our different sewing projects can also relate to this third one  from Angelic Emporium that may help to clear up some of our quilting scraps to make something useful for hand sewing components:

Plus a skull and roses needle book is super cool!

Finally, if you want to be super fancy, I suggest treating yourself to one of these beautiful vegan leather needle books from Naeh St Design:

All the way from Germany, no less!

Keep your needles happy and they will always treat you right! The felt pages of needle books not only serve to prevent accidental stabbings while rummaging around in a project bag but also help absorb leftover oil from your skin! Next week we will look at a different type of needle case.

Stay crafty!



Finger Armor

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Happy Sunday, all!

Continuing our trend of decorative and useful tools, this week we are focusing on a small but essential bit of sewing paraphernalia: the humble thimble. I don’t often have sewing projects that call for extra finger protection but when I do, it’s because the fabric is super thick or stubborn. I have a traditional old-fashioned metal thimble that was my grandmother’s but I think my idea of thimbles has been thoroughly expanded by those available online! First and foremost, I adore the simple and tasteful design on this leather thimble by Holly Hawk Designs:

Very elvish looking with the pretty little tree!

I also appreciate the ability to customize designs on wooden thimbles available for purchase from Becky’s Craft Shack:

I mean, asking for a sloth thimble would be just perfect!

If you want something soothing and elegant, this Nephrite Jade thimble from Jade Mine Canada is just gorgeous:

Jade is also said to enhance creativity.

By far one of the coolest and most unique thimbles I found, though, was this blown glass one by Eighth Planet Glass:

Though this one makes me want to bust out my blacklight like it’s the 90s again.

I may give one of these a whirl someday when my Grandma’s gets a well deserved retirement. Next week, I think I will give my crochet tools some love, starting with some amazing yarn bowls!

Stay crafty!


Serviceable Stylish Steampunk

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Happy Sunday, all!

I’ve made my second trip to the local Renaissance Faire this weekend and purchased something I’m so very excited to use! I will say that while I don’t have a full outfit as of yet, the Steampunk aesthetic has always fascinated me and so I found myself purchasing a teacup holster because one never knows when you are going to need a cup of tea.

This is not exactly mine but very similar!

This is not exactly mine but very similar in idea and performance.

This got me to thinking, what other functional Steampunk accessories are available? Anyone can slap some gears on a hat/necklace/bracer/belt and call it Steampunk but what about those things that actually…work? I’m kind of a sucker for stuff that not only looks good but serves a purpose as well. Here are a few more items I found that may someday find their way into my cosplay attire.

A parasol holster because let’s face it, I’m pretty fair skinned even with SPF50 slathered all over:

Could also hold a traditional umbrella for those unexpected showers!

Could also hold a traditional umbrella for those unexpected showers!

A bracer that holds tailoring essentials because outfit malfunctions can occur at any time in any place:

Or, you know, if you are suddenly inspired to do a little darning while you wait...

Or, you know, if you are suddenly inspired to do a little darning while you wait…

Or even this lovely bandolier with optional pouches and straps for vials, mirrors, or stakes (if you happen to find yourself dealing with pesky vampires):

There is the possibility of an alchemist's panel as well with more room for vials!

There is the possibility of an alchemist’s panel as well with more room for vials!

My summer wandering days are coming to a close so I think upcoming Sunday posts may include more holiday prep, gift ideas, and settling in for colder weather. See you next week and stay crafty!


Lovely Leather Loot

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Happy Sunday, all! While at Wizard World Philadelphia last week, I also had the good fortune to meet a wonderful leather worker. Steven is the owner and creator of all of the wonderful leather bits at Loot Maker.

A stylish way to store money for chimichangas!

A stylish way to store money for chimichangas!

From purses to wallets to a wide array of leather coasters, there is all sorts of excellent loot to acquire!

LootMWallet  LootMCoasters

He has something for practically every fandom and if he doesn’t, there is always the possibility of a custom order. I must say that I was particularly attracted to the lovely flask sets.

This will help you imbibe in a flash!

This will help you imbibe in a flash!

If you’d like a geeky leather fix or to set up a custom order, Loot Maker can be found on Facebook, Etsy, or their website.

Stay crafty!



A New Kind of Notepad

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Hello Thursday readers!

I have something simple and yet incredibly cool for you today. It’s a beautiful hanging notepad that’s a little different, courtesy of Design Sponge and you can find the full tutorial here. You’ll need some materials and tools, but they should be fairly easy to find. You will need a long skinny bran
ch that’s a straight as possible, though you can be a little more industrial and use a pipe or a dowel. Any of these things you can spray paint any colour you’d like! You’ll need 2 leather strips that are at least 40″ long which you can find here. I would also check craft stores, and if you know any leatherworkers or beltmakers. You will need a thin leather cord which can be found at most craft or dollar stores. You will need a 12″-24″ long roll of paper with a centre hold of at least 2″ in diamater – most craft paper rolls should have this. You will also need a hammer, 1″ nails, a couple clothespins (which you can paint if you’d like) and a wee ceramic pot with a hole in the side. You can find something like that at Ikea, or keep an eye open for any small basket that would work. You basically need something with a hole in it that you can tie to the branch.

First you need to decide how long you’d like your leather strap to hang on the wall. You will be folding them in half, but you can cut them as short as you’d like. Just keep both of them the same length. Second, you need to decide on the height you’d like your roll of paper to be at. Fold the first strip in half to form a loop, and hold the loop at the height you’d like the paper to be. Pinching the top ends of the leather strip together, hammer a nail through the ends where they meet on the wall.

Before you nail the second loop to the wall, to make things easier, you should insert your paper roll onto the branch and then one side of the branch into your loop. You can use a friend or a level to decide where the second strip should be attached so that your roll of paper is level. If you’re using a branch that has some curvature, you may need to adjust the second strap so that the roll of paper hangs level. Nail the second strip to the wall, and if you’ve needed a different length, you can trim the excess.

Take your length of leather cord and fold it in half. You can tuck the centre fold through the little hole in your hanging pot and pull the ends through the loop to secure it. Tie the cord to the branch in whatever fashion you’d like. The photo below shows a sleek method for this.

Your last step is to use your clothespins on the edges of the roll of paper on both ends to weigh it down so as to keep the paper from rolling back up onto itself. And voila! You’ve got a really cool, super easy notepad that you can use for anything – grocery lists, messages, notes, whatever you need!

Happy crafting! Have a wonderful weekend!


Leather Barrettes

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Over the years, my hair has been many different lengths but I generally default to a longer style simply because it is the easiest to pull back out of my face. Because of this, I like to find embellished hair ties, bows, and barrettes. During the convention season this year I regret one major thing: not purchasing a leather barrette from Armoured Wolf Productions. These little beauties are so detailed and eye catching that I couldn’t help stopping at the booth just to take a closer look.

A lovely knot to keep your hair free of knots.

A lovely knot to keep your hair free of knots.

I’ve purchased similar hair accessories in the past but Armoured Wolf had some truly unique designs.

Hair in your face? Nevermore.

Hair in your face? Nevermore.

For the lengthy haired steampunk enthusiast in your life, tentacles and gears are always a good idea.

OctopusBarrette  GearBarrette

Besides unique hair tamers, Armoured Wolf Productions also creates beautiful leather pouches, bracers, and other excellent cosplay pieces. They can be found on Etsy or Facebook and I would suggest making a beeline to their shop to take advantage of their current holiday special coupon!

Stay crafty!



Vaporeon Inspired Journal

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Alright, I’m crossing my fingers with this one. This fabulous book maker has only just started posting their work and it shows quite a lot of skill so I’m hoping we will only see more of their style in the future.

While there is not a lot of detail done on this book, everything that has been done was clearly carefully planed and pain painstakingly handmade. That adorable leather Vaporeon? I was made using onlay techniques meaning each strip of color is no more than .2mm thick and offers almost no noticeable raised texture to the cover; and yes, each color is it’s own strip.

The rest of the details are just as subtle and beautiful. The end bands are hand sewn and the marbling on the top of the pages was created by compressing the book and then hand painting the effect on. Aqwell is an artist from Finland whose work definitely bears watching and if you’d like to see the other book she created you can find it on her deviant art account.


Artist Feature – Abbots Hollow Studios

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The artist at Abbots Hollow Studios has quite the imagination, and wants you to join in on it!  He is creating highly crafted pieces to add charisma to even the most basic outfit, and reminding us that we need not limit ourselves to department store selections!

You can choose between a more demure looking pouch, or call upon the power of a dragon to watch over your possessions… be careful, though, as he may take it for his own.

Need to add some personality to your card holders and dice cups?  These’ll do the trick!

More ways to enchant your everyday.

These pieces are amazingly crafted and designed and the leather looks to be of amazing quality.  Abbots Hollow Studios is really us showing that you don’t need to be in a fantasy novel to experience the fantastical, all we have to do is see the possibilities… perhaps having an extra eye will help?