Shiny, Shiny!

This month has been a complete whirlwind! I had to lay out my priorities & with making all the goods for the Holiday market, school obligations, husband traveling, after school sports, family with flu & getting ready for Christmas, I just had to draw the line somewhere & it was with the blog & computer use in general. I have always set such a firm schedule for myself when it came to this blog. I mean, this is where “it all started” in a way. It was an outlet to show what I like to make & to share creative ideas. It allowed doors to open & opportunities to come my way that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. I’ve been at it for just over a year & a half. What I didn’t expect was that I would actually end up with this small handmade company “by elke” that I adore. If I could have my way, I would be all day, every day up in my tiny studio with the radio on & my hands working. My production has gone way up & is taking more & more of my time which means less & less time on the computer & taking pictures in general. I still prefer to work in a way that allows me to be free in the afternoons with my children. I like to wear the 2 hats & I don’t want to give any of them up.

My goal for the new year is to do my best with keeping up this blog. Post projects that I have worked on & announce new things that are in the works. ……. Enough of this chatter- I’m not one for a ton of words & this already has way too many so lets just look at some new shiny things!

I never thought I’d be one for patent leather as I tend to be attracted more to the veg tan leathers & natural finishes. My friends who have a great antique pop-up shop, Highstreet Shoppes, here in Boulder had some rolls on hand that they wanted to part with. The colors were really classic & just right. I decided to take them off their hands & see what I could come up with.  Here are just some examples of styles & goods. Because of the shiny, slippery nature of the leather, I came up with perforated designs as it seemed like a clean way to spruce it up a bit. Each design was drawn on the back of the leather & the holes were punched one at a time by hand. This ended up being a bit time consuming since I carried this technique & “signature stamp” throughout the line.

After I used up the first batch of leather, I went & got more from a leather source. I was smitten. I think I’ll be adding a bit of shine in the line going forward. Stay tuned!

I think the fold over clutch with the zipper would be a real snazzy bag to carry for New Years & all winter for that matter.

Bridles & Beads

I’m having fun putting together a new line of bracelets for the Firefly Holiday market. These are made from horse bridles & have been strung with brass beads & sparkly chrystals. A little bling with old leather is such a nice contrast. Each bracelet is a different combination of leather & beads so when they’re all together it’s hard to pick a favorite.


Boy this week flew by & I spent it mostly quarantined in my office working like an elf the week before christmas! The goods are piling up in all corners & when I run out of space, I know it must be time for a great weekend market! 2 weeks from today will be the opening night of the Firefly Holiday Market & I’m determined to make enough bags & goodies to fill a booth.

When I start putting a line together I start with laying out all the fun materials that I’ve hunted down & slowly work my way through each one. This time around I started with patent leather which took me by surprise with how much I loved working with it. Because of the shiny surface & stiffness of the leather, I started punching holes to be used for design purposes. When the next material was brought out, I carried through using the punched designs as a signature for this fall. I still love the simple cross motif & it has been punched into about every piece of leather I’ve used. Each cross is drawn on the back of the leather by tracing a stencil then I hand punch each hole at a time. By the end of the day my hand muscles are cramped but the effect on the bags is worth it!

Tonight I’m heading to Denver to the Fancy Tiger Holiday Handmade market….Let the season begin!

Have a great weekend!!


Firefly Holiday Market!

Happy Thanksgiving to all! As I write this, the breeze is blowing & the kids are out surfing…. It has become part of our family schedule to check out for Thanksgiving break every year which can make for a very low stress holiday since I’m not worrying about the turkey & the trimmings.

Saying that, I’m also so excited for the upcoming Firefly Holiday Market which will be just around the corner when I return from this lazy holiday. If you’re in the area, please come by the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art from December 14-16 to check out all the beautiful wares the local elves have been busy putting together.  I’ve been making lots & lots of bags & accessories the past 2 months & hoarding them in my office so I can fill a booth for this excellent market.

Please stop by and say hello!


The Best Chocolate Cake…..Really

For our latest family birthday one of my tried & true chocolate cake recipes was requested …. once again. This cake is always moist, very chocolaty but with the whipped cream frosting, doesn’t sit in your stomach like a brick. It’s especially good the next day when the whipped cream had dissolved a bit into the cake. The key to this recipe is to add the ingredients one by one down the list & the best part is the hot coffee which make the chocolate taste rich & dark.

I can’t recommend this cake enough so try it out yourself & let me know what you think!

Hand Embroidered Tablecloths

Recently when I went down to Texas “treasure hunting” , I came across a booth just piled to the sky with hand embroidered vintage table cloths. When you started to dig through the stacks, you could just imagine the hours & hours involved in sewing these. The fact that all that love was selling for just $20 a piece kind of broke my heart. I tend not to buy fussy patterns or even florals for that matter but I just couldn’t resist the personal touch in each one. Here are 2 of the examples that I got. You’ll notice the backside is just as clean looking as the front. What amazing work  this is & it’s definitely a craft of a by-gone era. No one these days would actually take the time to embroider such a large piece to just put on their table.

Linen & Waxed Canvas


I really like the combination of these two fabrics. They really have such different textures but compliment each other so well. This was the start of the cross body bag which I have expanded on for the fall season. The waxed cotton part of the bag is actually 4 functional pockets. Two in the front & 2 in the back for extra storage.

Slouchy Tote

This was the first time I took my linen bag silhouette & translated it into leather. This quality of leather was so thick but soft & spongy so had some nice form after being sewn without being too stiff. The strap & closures are recycled horse reins. I especially like how this one had a big knot at the end to keep it from slipping through the brass D-ring. Every bag needs a little bling of course so a key ring was added with some vintage fishing lures to the strap. I only made 2 of these in september & wish I had made a bunch more as the style was one of my favorites. Good thing I’m making a bunch more for fall!


This past weekend I visited the kidrobot store that recently opened just 2 convenient blocks away. They happened to have just had a big event where artists came to paint these little plastic statues. My son was amazed by the possibilities. Who knew you could do more than just color them with a marker & call it a day? We were told that if you add some modeling clay (the kind that hardens like plastic in the oven) you can go to the next level by creating your own characters. Well, who could resist that? So, we bought enough for my sons & myself & spent Sunday afternoon sculpting & painting. Fun you ask? Most definitely! I liked that it was a project that attracted boys that are close to 11 & 13 years old. That’s not so easy any more.

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