...and so with excitement and anticipation I began my second purse.
Step 1: the design
Again, adapting a design seen online I created a pattern for the purse handle, thinking everything through as much as I coud, given the amount of experience I had with making wooden purse handles (ah, that would be 1 prior handle)
Step 2: Cutting the handles
I chose to use a 1/4” thick piece of hmm… was it oak that we had picked up? A hardwood, anyway, and I placed the pattern on the wood and used the scroll saw to cut out th shape, the rod “hole” that would hold the leather, and two heart shapes in the handle that would be for 1) decoration and 2) for holding the purse using just a finger.
The scrollsaw work went really well and oh I was so pleased. The hearts looked like hearts. The straight lines were relatively straight and the little heart “tops” on the top of the purse lined up exactly as I wanted them to, creating a fingerhold for prying the purse open if I decided to put magnets in the wood for the closure.
Step 3: finishing the hearts.
The little hearts on the top of the purse needed to be completed and I decided to use the woodburner.
Frustration #1: After completing the outlines I felt that this cheapened the look of the handles and they were tossed on the counter for a couple hours while I avoided the problem.
After some time to refocus I thought about how I could remove the woodburning. Can’t really sand it away so I thought I would use the dremel to etch the design, which would remove the woodburning and still provide an outline of the hearts.
Frustration #2: it still looked cheap. Back into avoidance mode.
Again, some time later, I revisited the handles and doing pros and cons for a variety of options decided to revisit the woodburning and highlight the etching. Not great but better than the other two attempts.
I then hit the “good enough” wall and although I’m working really hard at going beyond “good enough” I thought that if I kept playing with it I would just end up breaking the handles or being so disgusted with them that they would end up in the trash. So I decided that this “good enough” was the best I could do given the situation I was in and the knowledge that I had at the time. And so the etched/burned hearts remain.
Step 4: not done yet.
Still not completely happy with the hearts I decided to paint the one heart red and after some brainstorming I grabbed a stamp pad and a Q -tip and did a little staining and, for me, the handle looks MUCH better. Decision: don’t mess with it any more!
Step 5: the purse.
So… now comes the tricky part, creating a pattern for the purse that would be functional and fit the handles.
I measured, drew, and created the pattern and then cut out the leather. I then stamped the inside with my Wolf logo and added a heart shape to the outside. I had originally planned on doing beadwork but since the level of success on the handle wasn’t what I expected I didn’t want to put hours into beadwork for an “ok” purse. So out came the stamps again.
I then wasn’t sure whether to attach the main pieces to the handle first or sew the purse first and then attach it to the handle. Both seemed like they would be difficult.
I opted for sewing the purse first and checked to see if I had made it big enough to use. Going well.
Frustration #3: and then I tried it with the handles “attached”. I have made several purses without wood handles and the opening can be quite small and still be usable. But—the wood handles (dah) don’t mold to the hand and the opening has to be larger than I am used to. ARGH.
Time to attach the handles.
Thinking (correctly) that if I sew the leather as close to the edge as possible I’ll still be able to get my hand in the opening, I started to stitch.
Oh wow, what a pain in the butt/fingers/eyes/ nerves that process was!! It is really hard to stitch around a piece of wood and keep the lines straight. I need more clamps!!
And now the purse is finished. It is a purse. Handcrafted from start to finish with (oak) handles and doeskin leather. About 6 hours of work but it’s just “good enough”.
Happiness Level: 6
Frustration Level: 8
-- ~ Debbie, Canada (http://www.execulink.com/~yohan)