Service Project

Our church is doing a service project for a local girl’s group home. My understanding is they are teens that have been basically abandoned or abused, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. There are currently 24 girls living there. We are making up gift boxes for them this year; last year we filled huge stockings.

One of the items on the list was hair bows or barrettes. So I decided to make each of them tooled leather ones. Thus far I have half of them tooled and carved and half yet to go, not to mention needing to finish and seal all two dozen. Oh, and I realized last night they have to be done by Sunday. So I have some work to do!

I’m more excited about this project than any other I’ve done, not counting VBS. I hope they like them and find them to be unique, one of a kind, imperfect, handmade items, just like they and we all are.

As I begin to work on each one, I look at the girl’s name and I pray for her. No, I don’t know any of them or their specific needs or situations. But God does. And I hope and pray that through this small gesture of love they will each see the love of Christ.

Biker Barrette

I’ve made many hair barrettes for folks as gifts, mostly oval shaped and rather simple.  The other day, my wife’s cousin asked me if I could make her one that was for a ‘biker girl’.  I said I would and went to pondering on what I’d make her.

I decided that I wanted to go with something other than the standard oval so I cut out a bar and shield type of shape, to look a little bit Harley-ish.  Then my imagination took over the design process.  This is what I came up with:

Biker Barette

Biker Barette

This is the tooled but unfinished product.  It has two swivel knife cut and beveled borders, a third burnished border with stamping between the second and third borders.  The center has a Tandy 3D stamp with a star-rope stamp on either side.

Finished Barrette

Finished Barrette

Above is the finished product.  It is stained with aged oak Min-Wax gel stain with some neatsfoot oil mixed into it.  I the top coated it with Super Sheene.  The edges are hand burnished as is the back.  The back is also sealed with a wax-based waterproofing product, making the entire barrette waterproofed.

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My Stitching ‘Mule’

Homemade Stitching Pony

Homemade Stitching Pony

I spent several hours Wednesday building myself a stitching pony.  I call it a mule, instead of a pony, because it’s a lot bigger than most ponies (about 40″ tall) and it’s not nearly as pretty.  Oh yeah, it was also a lot cheaper than buying one!  I believe I spent a grand total of $25 on it, a little less actually.  It may not be ‘purty’ but I think it’ll serve my needs.  And it certainly matched my budget.

I’ve been using, before this, a Tandy stitching pony.  It is not worth $5, let alone what ever the actual price is.  And I have special needs with my disability.  My legs aren’t strong enough to hold a pony under my thighs in place and it needs to be taller so my surgery riddled back doesn’t have to hunch over.  With the height of my mule and it’s 30′ or so wide base, I can sit in my chair and place my feet on the base, holding it in place with just the pressure of my legs sitting on it.

On Thursday I got a chance to take it for a “test ride”, lacing up my first, all be it simple, holster.  It did a great job, making the work much easier and faster.  I had no trouble fumbling with trying to hold the piece while working on it and much less trouble keeping the lace from twisting as I worked.  I can hardly wait to make my next project to use it more extensively.

I thank God for providing me this hobby I so enjoy.  It has been a great thing for me to be able to get back into something creative, with my hands.  He provided me with the perfect thing: leather working.  It requires nothing heavy to tug or tote, no getting up and down on the ground, etc.  It is just perfect for my needs.  He is indeed a wonderful God!

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