Over the past year & a half I have been dabbling with bracelets. Sometimes it’s just for fun & at other times I feel like a bracelet factory. I tend toward using leather pieces that are floating around my office. I like the old, broken in straps with lots of character. I also like breaking in the leather myself though & so I can see the transformation happening on my wrist. My latest love is a 2″ wide natural leather braided cuff that started out a very light, light tan color & now, after 2 months of wear is a beautiful caramel color with a broken in sheen.
I recycle horse bridles, old belts & random vintage accessories. I paint, punch holes, embroider, sew & wrap. I like that it is a project I can typically finish in 1 sitting & can wear out in the evening. I like to take big pieces of thick natural leather & dye, cut, wash & oil them. You never get the same results twice. Each bracelet is unique with it’s own character. Occasionally, someone will say,”I want one just like the one you’re wearing.” I wish I could fulfill that wish but then I would have to take it off my wrist & give it to them (which I have done happily.)
Today I’ll spend my time playing with tools, leather & trinkets in hopes of creating a fabulous new bracelet.
I love my job…..
Lately I have become (slightly) obsessed with old fishing lures. I love the way they jingle-jangle together when they are on a ring. I currently have one hanging off my linen tote bag & I love just seeing & hearing it. I carefully removed all the rusty hooks off all the lures, then cleaned them, I thought the best way to recycle them would be on key rings. I looked around my office & found my favorite yellow metal bucket & thought that with some magnets it could be a decent way to display them. I admit, it was pretty precarious & sometimes they did fall off but as a whole this system seemed to work pretty well.
When I found this old canvas jeep cover, I couldn’t yet imagine what it would turn into. The more I paired it with the bright warm colors like yellow, orange & sometimes, clean, white stripes the more versatile it became. The options & combinations were limitless. All colors seem to compliment this neutral tan fabric. I made shortish handles using leather bridle reigns, popped the inside in bright contrast canvas colors & the patch pocket on the front is perfect for holding plane tickets. When I came up with this long rectangular shape I was picturing it used to hold a computer & essentials while running through an airport. It feels & is a sturdy bag that is fully machine washable when the straps are removed. (*if your trying to guess what those bright straps are that hold the body together, you’ve guessed correctly if you said , Martial arts belts!)
I found this big, heavy canvas, turquoise duffel bag & immediately knew it could be something fun. I held onto it for about 4 months before I actually had the nerve to cut it apart. From this bag I was able to make 2 fold-over clutches (One with white leather & one with brown) & an oversized tote bag (that will be another post… it’s a work in progress).
By adding a leather bottom, contrast zippers & a leather pull, the simple canvas fabric was transformed into a real hipster clutch. When it’s open, it can also be used to hold an iPad or small computer. I like when there can be more than one use for a simple bag.
The fabric for this clutch is made from an old army tarp. Add some bright canvas, paint some stripes, sew in a zipper, add a leather tab….Wa-La!
A friend was out perusing a local antique market & called me with a great find- A vendor had a pile of vintage canvas library bags. These big bags were used to empty out the bins to return the books to the shelves. When I first got them, I was trying to figure out how to make the best of the pieces already available. The grommets were brass but not spaced evenly on each bag so I addressed each bag differently when it came to attaching handles. I also liked the front window aspect of each bag & thought a nice piece of natural vegetan leather with a little design may be a nice neutral way to pull them all together. I also thought, this leather would darken & age over time so it would end up with a really beautiful patina after it oxidizes. The handles were treated with the same idea. Let me tell you too, I took a bag along with me on vacation to the beach & by the end of just one week my handles were so soft & at least 3 shades darker than when I left. The best part about these bags is that each one is unique from the actual wear of the canvas, the colors & also the straps & stripes that were painted on each one. This to me is the classic canvas carry-all that will never be out of style.
This slouchy tote was made from a beautiful herringbone, antique linen. The fabric itself had texture & a beautiful heavy weight but something was missing. When I laid out the fabric, it just seemed obvious that it was calling out for a nice simple stripe down the middle. I do hesitate (usually) to fool with such an expensive fabric by painting on it but this time it just fit. Lately I’m really into the clean white stripe on neutrals. It just makes such a nice pop.
Just wanted to share a picture of my latest fabric delivery. These will soon be tote bags sporting leather handles. This kind of fabric is like a magnet for me. It has history, texture & soul. Fabric that could tell a story gets me every time.
I found this great antique letter holder (or is it for toast?) at an antique shop. I love the little bird in the middle & I especially like that it’s painted a great shade of red! Currently, I have it on my desk & I use it to hold all my little sketchbooks.
A friend came to me & requested a linen bag. She had a very specific use for it & we wanted to create a tote that could go all around town, hold her things (like a computer) plus extra kid stuff. Her water bottle was floating around the bottom of her current bag so I suggested we add an extra outside pocket to hold her drink. Simplicity was the key, she is a person who has such a beautiful natural yet subtle style. The tote material is an antique, heavy herringbone linen. The handle is a knotted horse bridle that can be removed for washing & the lining is a nice neutral striped linen fabric.
The hand stitched initial was a last minute addition just for her.