Makers Marks

Last month my daughter got me a maker’s stamp for my birthday. I’d wanted one for a while so I was thrilled to get it. Tonight I was speaking with a Brother that makes knives and he showed me a knife he had recently made. It is absolutely beautiful, too, I must say. On the blade he had etched his own maker’s mark, which he also designed. I was very interested in hearing how he put his mark on the blades. It required a template, some special chemical and a special tool. To put my mark on my items is much easier: I just take the stamp my daughter got me and give it a good “whack” with my maul. Of course working with leather compared to metal is like apples and oranges: they are totally different so the processes will be, too.

As I thought about this tonight it made me think of how God seals or puts His mark on His children. We are all grafted into His family at our new birth and marked as His. People are as different as snowflakes, much more different than leather and steel. But since the Lord made each of us He is well aware of that. No matter if we are closer to the properties of leather or closer to the hardness of steel, the Holy Spirit can mark us accordingly. The beauty of being born again, among other things, is being made anew; no matter what we used to be God can make us into what we should be.

My Wife’s Belt

I just finished up this belt for my wife this evening. She’ll be wearing tomorrow so this less-than-ideal photo may be the only one I get to take any time soon. The stamps are Hides to Art matching cross basket and border. This is my first experience with HTA’s tools and I’m really fond of them; I figure I’ll add more as I am able (no affiliation with them, just a happy customer). The finish is EcoFlo Timber Brown with a diluted Briar Brown wash and finished off with brown Kiwi shoe polish. The belt buckle is a recycled brass one, from the belt this one will replace.

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The “Madison” Rose

This rose is a Peter Main design. I got the pattern from my guild’s library: the IILG. I carved it and then colored it using water color crayons, by dipping a shader brush into water, rubbing the brush on the crayon and then painting onto the leather. I then went back and did a little shading and blending. This is a technique I learned from another guild member. After the coloring was done I finished it with a couple of coats of Kiwi neutral shoe polish.

The rose is a birthday gift for a little girl we goto church with; her name is Madison, thus the rose’s name. Her favorite color is purple; that’s why I chose the purple background, which is craft foam sheets to raise the leather carving a bit for more depth.

Reflecting on 2009

I’ve been reflecting on last year a bit the last few days. I know most folks do this a little closer to New Year’s Day, but it’s taken me a little longer to get my thoughts in order on this subject.

At first, I had agreed with a friend that 2009 wasn’t a banner year. I don’t recall my reasoning behind that conclusion at the moment. But that was what I initially concluded.

Over these last few weeks God has brought to mind that last year indeed held many good and wonderful things. I saw Him work in mighty and powerful ways last year in my and my family’s lives. I saw many prayers answered last year and many instances of His intervention in our lives.

Some of the things I didn’t understand at the time and some of them didn’t seem so good as they occured. But looking back with opended eyes of faith I see most of them clearly. And I realize that as the Bible promises all things work out to the good for those who love God (Rom. 8:28).

My faith was strengthened and my knowledge increased. He saw fit to used me as a tool for His purposes more in the last year than ever before, likely because I was obediently open to His will, most of the time. And doing His will has been the biggest blessing of all that I was given.

Last year He gratiously opened up a new hobby to me in my leather work/craft. In giving this to me He has allowed me new and different ways to serve Him and reach people I would otherwise not have been able to. His ways are indeed so much farther above our ways.

I pray as we go into 2010 that He sees fit to continue to work in and through me. I pray that I will be more and more obedient to His call, no matter what that call may be.

Christmas Gift for Me

This is the first item I’ve made for myself, other than a key fob. I am using a kit to make it, rather than cutting the pieces from a pattern as I like to do. The reason for this is that I don’t have any nice thin leather on hand. The kit doesn’t align as it should, a common problem with kits. So I’ll need to trim and punch some new holes to assemble it.

At this point the outside of the wallet is carved and tooled. It has also been conditioned with neetsfoot oil. It needs to be stained or antiqued still; I’ve not decided for sure how I’m going to finish it. After I do that it will need sealed.

More information and photos to come as the project proceeds.

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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Drawing to a Close

C Street Vacation Bible School

VBS is quickly drawing to a close, only two more nights left. I find myself wondering if I’m looking forward to it ending or wishing it wouldn’t.

On the one hand I am tired, physically. Each night I find myself being the last one ready to go, about 30 minutes later than everyone else and holding up the Brother who heads up VBS. The last two days I’ve needed to go over to the church for a few hours in the afternoon to clean up and do touch up work on projects. And then there are the ‘special’ requests from kids not in my class for items that I just can’t refuse.

On the other hand, I’m having a ball. I so enjoy watching the kids work and see them create items for themselves. And then there’s the little ones who are enthralled with the whole process and so interested, too. I should say many adults are also very interested in the leather-work as well. And we can’t forget the wonderful Bible lessons each night! There is just so much fun, fellowship and learning that I hate to see it end.

Kind of makes me look forward to next summer already….

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