Halloween in the saddle shop

Fall had come to town and the saddle shop was busy with the mix of new orders and repairs that had built up over the summer of hard work.  It was a busy time for Bill who worked as an apprentice in the shop.  He did a lot of the repairs under the watchful eye of Frank, the head saddle maker.

Hand Sewing Leather
Hand Stitching a Leather Wallet with a traditional saddle stitch.

This year seemed particularly busy, with lots of equipment coming for repairs and new orders and such.  It was keeping Bill busy with work and some long hours.  With the fall days rapidly getting shorter as October came to a close, Bill found himself working into the dark evenings more and more.  But he didn’t mind.  The extra work meant extra pay and Bill was a hard worker.

The first time it happened it had just gotten dark outside.  Bill heard a noise from the back of the shop where the leather was stored.  It sounded like someone was ringing a cowbell.  At first Bill ignored it as he tried to stitch a new piece of leather to a well worn headstall.  The cowbell kept clanging, enough so that it started getting on Bill’s nerves.  He walked to the back storage area expecting that Frank or Toby would be pulling a prank on him.  Toby was particularly known as the shop prankster.  

But when Bill got back to the leather storage racks no one was there.  And he couldn’t find a cowbell either.  He walked around the shop and didn’t find anyone.  He eventually found Frank and Toby out front of the shop talking to one of the neighboring business owners.  Very strange…..

The next few days were quiet and uneventful.  But then a couple of days before Halloween it happened again.  This time it was later in the evening, and Bill was working late itaking apart an old saddle.  Working late alone.  He knew Frank, who was an early riser and liked to start his days early, had gone home about an hour ago.  Toby had left about the same time.

While working to take off some of the old worn leather he heard it again.  The cowbell.  Just a ding – ding – ding.  Then silence.  Then he hear foot steps.  No, more like a clopping sound that hooves make on a hard surface..

This time Bill didn’t hesitate.  He hurried back to the storage area where he had heard the noise.  This time he was going to catch whomever was pulling the prank.

No one was there.

Bill looked around confused.  He was certain he had heard the bell and the banging. He looked though the shelves of leather, trying to see if there was a bell somewhere that he hadn’t noticed before.  Maybe the wind was finding a way through the walls and ringing a bell, or something that could sound like a bell? Maybe something was banging against the wall?

In his searching Bill somehow caused one of the shelves to shift.  From the top of the shelf a rolled up side of leather fell and almost hit Bill on the head.  He wasn’t hurt but he didn’t know how he managed to knock it off.  Not that it really could have hurt him.  It startled him more than anything.  He put the side back and went back to his workbench.  Nothing more unusual happened that night.

The evenings were quiet in the shop until the night of Halloween.  It was a quiet Halloween in the saddle shop and Bill was working late again.  He didn’t have anywhere in particular to be that night so he didn’t mind working.  Wile finishing up a project he heard it again.  A cowbell.  

It was coming from the leather storage area again, and this time heheard the clopping sound loudly too.  In fact is sounded a lot like hooves.  The bell was ringing loudly and it sounded like someone had let a bull loose in the storage room.  An angry bull.

Before Bill could do anything to check what was going on, the lights in the shop went out.  And then he heard what sounded like a bull charging towards him.

Frank found Bill the next morning when he came into work.

No one could figure out what had happened.  Bill looked like he had been trampled.  Like he had been caught in a stampede and run over by several cows.  One appeared to have very statically placed a hoof right into his heart.  Yet there was no evidence the body had been moved and nothing else in the shop had been bothered, except for a bunch of leather hides that had been knocked down in the storage room.

Happy Halloween.


Christmas Custom Leatherwork Orders

Fall is here and that means Christmas isn’t that far off.  It also means there is not much time to get your orders in for custom leatherwork and still have them guaranteed in time for Christmas.  

A soft leather handbag with a carved front flap.
Cross Body Bag

Christmas custom leatherwork orders take time to make and there aren’t many slots left in my order books.  If you ware looking for a custom leatherwork item to be that special gift for this Christmas now is the time to contact me.  There is a deadline of Oct 30th to place an order in time for this Christmas.  After that date I can’t guarantee delivery in time for Christmas, but I will do everything I can to complete an item in time to ship for Christmas.

Everyone wants a unique Christmas gift to give their loved ones.  If your gift ideas include a custom leatherwork creation, it’s not too late to place an order with me and have your idea become a reality.  But be sure to place your order soon!  Time is running out and it can take several weeks to make some items.  That’s why it’s important to contact me as soon as possible.  I would be thrilled to make a custom leather wallet, leather notebook, or handbag for you or your loved one.

And as another option, please check out my shop for items I currently have in stock.  There may be something there that is completed and ready to ship that will make the perfect gift.


Finding Motivation

Ever have trouble finding motivation?

Hand tooling a flower in leather.
Process of carving a flower in leather.

Every artist, no matter what your medium, will run into creative blocks that stop the flow of ideas and creative energy.  Sometimes it is a brief feeling that causes you to hang up your tools or put away your brushes for the afternoon but sometimes it’s a feeling that can stifle you for days or weeks.  That’s when you have to do something about it.

Don’t get me wrong.  Every once in a while taking the afternoon off to enjoy being outside or doing some other fun (and usually unrelated) activity is a necessary break to keep us creative and sane.  But if your feeling like your creative juices aren’t flowing and the feeling is hanging on, here are some ideas you can try to overcome the block, find your motivation and get back in the groove again.

Try taking a break

Sometimes it’s the pause that refreshes.  Finding motivation sometimes involves a complete break to do something different and reset the brain.  Try going outside for a walk or exercising.  Changing your mental gears and doing some other activity you enjoy or that challenges you a different way might just be all the break you need to get your flow back on track.  This is good when you just need a small break but if your creative block has been going on longer it will probably take more than this.ยจ

Set a goal

Often our motivation is blocked because the project at hand seems too big or it doesn’t excite us like other projects.  I sometimes get this when working on leather projects that don’t involve a lot of artwork or carving, or if it’s a big new project working on something I’ve never made before.  When this happens it helps to set small goals to make progress towards the overall completed project.  It can be difficult to find motivation when a project seems overwhelming.  By setting small goals that are easier to reach you can make progress is small steps.  Those steps will help build your confidence and your motivation, all of which helps with finding motivation.

And if you find it difficult to reach your goals or keep on track, tell a friend about your goals.  Telling someone whom you can trust can help you feel accountable, especially if they are someone that will remind you of your goals and keep pushing you to reach it.

Make a series of small goals

Small goals can act as manageable steps toward a bigger goal.  Setting up small steps can create more manageable goals, and each small goal gets you closer to the overall large goal and builds your momentum towards completing the project and getting your motivation back.

Celebrate success!

As you reach each goal, celebrate your successes!  Even small steps are an accomplishment towards completing your project and getting your creative momentum up and running again.  Celebrating each positive step resets your feelings towards the project, turning what may seem like a chore into a feeling of accomplishment.  

More to come!

Next time we’ll talk about some ways to find our motivation by releasing your creativity.