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Holiday gifts

That time of the year again and I had planned to make some specific gifts. So I needed some specific leather 😀

All Italian veg-tan finished leather. Some of it is earmarked for a purse I’ve been prototyping, but the matt emerald green was used to make this Corter Leather pattern bucket bag for my sister:

And the ocean blue was used for a small backpack along with some nice suede for a friend in the US:

First time making a strap, that. It’s annoying that I’m still learning stuff quickly – every time I make something like this and look back at it, I see six to ten things I’ve since learned you should do…

Some of the pieces are more rustic though 😀

That one taught me that Americans have very small beer bottles – the pattern came in two sizes and the standard beer bottle size was smaller than this one and only fitted 300ml bottles, not our 330ml ones. I did finish the first one after finding that but all it’s really up to is hot sauce…

I think the most well-received ones went to the niece and nephew though…

My niece (who’s six and going through her pink phase) is quite taken with the bag.

That bag (it’s not fully finished in that photo) was for another friend who’s helped enormously this year.

Gotta say, the hot foil press was really useful in all of these. The press itself wasn’t very spendy – the brass letters set was a bit, but the biggest part of the total cost was a shock – almost a hundred euro to ship the package from Hong Kong and when it arrived, without any advance warning, there was 120 euro in customs, duties, handling fees and so on levied at the door. And the driver couldn’t take a card, we had to call into the head office to sort the bill out. Not very impressive UPS, not impressive at all.

Can’t fault the machine mind you, it’s small, neat, effective. Not up to commercial use obviously, but even for a small batch run it’s pretty nice. It’s a pain swapping out the T-slot holder so you can bolt in the makers mark and other custom stamps, but there’s a stamp holder that you can get that will fit into the T-slot so that should prevent a few more fun burns on the fingers (the nut you have to tighten to hold the stamp is in between two plates that are almost always at 120C….)

Playing with the machine and some of the foils I got was fun 😀

I was also in a secret santa this year with some other engineers. My giftee was a D&D fan who also camps so obviously you’d make up a travel dice tray and dice bag…

Still getting to grips with the foil stamp there 🙁 And in return, someone sent me this beautiful thing:

🙂

Bunch of new tools arrived for these – an acrylic pattern for wallet making (well, more so I could see what acrylic patterns looked like), a strap cutter for those bag straps, magnetic bag closures, some fine thread, a few stitching chisels and more rivets in brass and copper. It’s funny how much cheaper tools are for this than they are for woodworking!

Even got a set of dies and moulds to make this lovely little cats-paw. Might be making a few of those for fun.

And bought some more materials – lining leather, some more natural vegtan leather and some more vegan leather (the cork-bonded-to-fabric stuff). I think I have enough materials for six months or so now at the rate I’m going.

The cork fabric stuff is really interesting – they (MB Cork) have done some really neat effects with metallic inlays and dyes.

Still have a few more projects underway, but trying to get as much time walking in the hills as the weather allows…

The tool collection has… grown a bit. In fact I think it’s almost complete. There are some things that I don’t have to hand but they’re more machines than tools. And most of this is cheap knockoff clones from chinese sources rather than actual decent versions and I might change some of the most used ones out over the next few months but for right now I don’t really have a hole in the tool lineup for what I’m doing, which is really nice.

I even found my old schoolbag from primary school (my parents may be hoarders). It’s in dire shape and I hated its harness when I was Calum’s age, but maybe I can rehabilitate it, improve it a bit and Calum might get some use from it if it works…

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