I recently went out & found these rubber coated small tie bags as part of an old vintage boy scout pack. They just put a big smile on my face. I like the part how there is an “old sock”.
I cut here & snipped there, painted on the back, added bright orange zippers & vintage lures & this is the result. They would make the most unique dopp kit ever & also a great conversation piece.
Have a great weekend!
Oh, I can’t tell you how happy I am to get this giant, oversized bag made. It will be perfect to carry my tools & samples when I need to haul them around town. I made it just in time for a visit to our local Fairview High school tomorrow where I will talk to the student government about my small business. I already have it packed with repurposed samples and a couple tools so I can do a quick demo.
The bag was made from a really big, very old canvas carrying type, tarp. It had 3 leather handles attached on either side with old 3″ cotton webbing supporting the bottom. I don’t really know what it was used for so if anyone has any ideas, please do share. The canvas it self is a bit dingy even after 2 washes & I did have to cut off the webbing as it was falling apart. The handles weren’t in the best shape either so I kept the bottom part & reattached a new leather belting to the back side for strength. The thing I do love about all these old samples is the character that comes with them. The original rivets are fantastic & I can never resist an awesome selvage line. To clean it up a bit, I lined the bag in a subtle striped linen that has a bright pop drawstring closure. I also added 4 interior pockets on either side for organizing tools. After painting the stripe, adding the number “4″ & reinforcing the bottom with heavy white suede (very tool-baggish) I’m ready to go.
Although it’s basically the middle of winter, I seem to have gotten spring fever. It could be due to the amazingly warm, un-winter-like weather we’ve been having here in Boulder. I can’t seem to get enough of the natural & white combination on the leather which feels like a warm vacation all wrapped up in a bag. A simple stripe can make quite an impact! I generally like to keep my bags fairly simple but I can never resist that small pop of color whether it’s in a small embroidery, paint or appliqué . The overall effect is screaming summer! That’s what I’m thinking about as I look outside right now & the flurries are falling to the ground…. winter is back.
I made this a while ago for my husband. He is a really great cook & was just ruining his shirts so I thought this would be a practical but fun gift. I took a 4 pack of IKEA dish towels & just sewed them together to create the base than cut out the shape of the apron. The straps are linen & all the patches & embroideries were made by hand & then sewn on. I made my own stencils out of plastic sheets. This really is a one of a kind apron made especially for him. I must have had a lot of patience back then as I’m not sure I’d have the time any more to create such a detailed piece.
I found these amazing Italian military sacks in Texas last October. They were very dirty but had the most amazing character & stenciling on each one. I only found 3 & ended up keeping one for myself because I thought, “this is one of the coolest fabrics I’m bound to ever find.” The bottoms were pretty wrecked so I took the seams apart & patched on leather bottoms with additional pockets. The old worn in belts were perfect to keep the flaps down & the shoulder straps were well worn horse bridles. This combination was just perfect together & gave it a very vintage feel. They definitely appear to be from the WWII era & if I’m extra lucky, maybe I’ll trip over more someday.
I’ve been playing with different proportions & construction & this is one of the models that popped up. I like how the handle fits through the top hole & how the flap is a natural edge shaped by the leather hide. This is my new favorite leather & I’ve got a bunch of it so will be trying out all sorts of models. I’ve also been playing with “self” handles so the whole bag has the same color & texture. It looks very grown up to me like it should be out on the way to an important meeting.
This vintage european back pack was transformed into a tote bag that is roomy enough to carry a weekends worth of packing or a full day at the gym. The 2 front bellows pockets are big enough to hold a pair of shoes & main pocket can be overstuffed if you wish because the front closure is so long. All the hardware is original so should be sturdy enough to last a life time. I have fallen head over heels for anything vintage military & am building up quite a collection of WWII bags that are being transformed into more contemporary, functional every-day bags. Stay tuned!
I am head over heels in love with these old vintage boy scout back packs. I found one locally then went on line to hunt down some more. They are a labor of love. They spend a day soaking in oxiclean, then I have to cut off all the dry rot leather straps that have turned into a jelly consistency. They get washed, dried & then the fun reconstruction part starts. I add leather to flaps that would otherwise have gaping holes. I find alternative buckle solutions, add bright cording & sometimes new pack straps. I try to use all the original hardware so the bag stays authentic. I’ve also started adding shoulder straps so that it can be used 2 ways. I have found packs from the 1940′s & 50′s. You can tell by the rivets that are used. They are of a very vintage variety that we just don’t use anymore. If the pack has a leather patch on the back it is definitely from this time period as the later ones have a heavy plastic name patch. The more I learn, the more I love.
(*I call this one “The Reluctant Boy Scout” as the boy that had it colored in the logo)
This clutch is made from one of my new favorite veg tan leathers. It’s thick but spongy & soft. By adding this vintage buckle with just the right patina it seemed to finish the bag off nicely. What I like best about these fold over clutches is that there is a zipper closure for safe keeping & also the leather buckle can just be popped off by a button, no need to unfasten it.
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.