Black Beauty, the story begins….

Oh English leather, how do I love thee?

And no, I’m not talking about the cologne for men. Although that is kinda sexy too, on the right guy…

Leather hides imported from England are things of rare beauty- so soft, so un-marred, so…blank. I horde the English hides I have, taking them out only for special occasions. The Jubilee party we had was AMAZING.

oh hey-look, pictures!

the small barrel Chuck Smith swivel knife with a carbide tip is perfect for this!
At the start, its all moist hides and high quality knives.

Look at those adorable teeth. Also notice the awesome Chuck Smith swivel knife with a carbide tip!

Now most of the images of the Black Beauty mount are kind of…lacking in serious skull detail. Except that hard core one with all the welding sparks. Thats just fierce! Again with the Chuck Smith swivel knife, I know, I know. My leatherworking tools are the only thing I’m a brand whore about, so…that makes it all better.
mmmmmm....brand whore for sharp things, and I don't mean heels!

Now the skull does need a lot of detail cutting- I’m going to have to pull a SVP memoir from a few years ago to help flesh out…er, I mean bone out? That sounds really inappropriate.

Where was I. Oh yeah,


IT’S ALIVE!!!!!!

Oh, sorry. Wrong project. Here’s nice pictures of an amazingly cool project- geology bag with a lovely Microraptor gracing the front.


Stainless steel trigger snaps and D rings, 7-8 oz leather body saddle stitched for durability. Strap is adjustable by 5″, made of 6-7 oz leather, lined with suede. Guts of the bag are lined with glazed pig skin. Front pocket 5 oz leather wet molded and lined. Coloration done with Tandy water stain in Light Brown with Smoke Black Hi-lite. Sealed with Resolene and a lot of patience and swearing. Microraptor tooled and hand painted with acrylic artists paint.

Design references:
New Specimens of Microraptor zhaoianus (Theropoda: Dromaeosauridae) from Northeastern China
Sunny H. Hwang, Mark A. Norell, Ji Qiang, and Gao Keqin
American Museum Novitates Aug 2002 : Number 3381, pg(s) 1-44

Four-winged dinosaurs from China
Xing Xu, Zhonghe Zhou, Xiaolin Wang, Xuewen Kuang, Fucheng Zhang & Xiangke Du
Nature January 23, 2003 : v. 421, pgs 335-340

Preserved Feathers on the Four-Winged Dinosaur Microraptor gui under Ultraviolet Light.
Hone DWE, Tischlinger H, Xu X, Zhang F (2010)
PLoS ONE February 15, 2010 : 5(2)

Dyeing is killing me

OK, not really. Dyeing the bag was actually very fun- I like distressing finishes. Stippling the new formulation of the Tandy line of waterstains is awesome- they layer beautifully. The new hi-lite (replacing the Antiquing) is the most forgiving stuff I’ve ever played with. It even washes off your skin, instead of leaving you looking like you’re developing leprosy. The kicker comes with the finishing. The new formulations of dyes don’t play nice with the old formulation Satin Sheens. How you ask? Well, they sorta dissolve the hi-lite and pull it out off all the nooks and crannies, and redistribute it in pools….really, not attractive. Before you ask, yes, I let the hi-lite cure for 2 days before finishing it.


(And saving the day for the finish was a combination of the old Satin Sheen and the amazingly finicky but tough Restolene!)

nearly there!

Pretty bird! err….dino

I have a bunch of pics for the sewing stage, which is about 1/3 of the way done. I’m off to construct a strap today, and edge finishing!

With strange aeons

I’m tweaking the design of the Geo bags. This is the same one I had on display at the Maker Faire. I made me swell with joy to see people pick up the Lovecraft Ornaments and make happy sounds.
This would be my que to pull out some of the darker things, including the beautiful design of Cthulhu and the Sigil of the Gateway designed by Albino Dragon.

Ah fossils. Strange aeons and worlds past, death dies in finding immortatity in the imagination of children and a few singularly constructed adults. (If you don’t know what quote that is a riff from, I have a reading list for you….)

This still has some work left to be done on it- the gusset and the top/back are one color, and the bag front and pouch still have some coloration that needs to be added. The stitches have not been hammered flat yet, because I’m not done sewing just yet. Strap will be made last. I’m thinking of playing around with how I do it- something to match the detail on the pouch, I think.
Oh, and a closure. Still torn between just leaving like that and doing a button or something….

Now for more dinos.

Swivel Cut

Cut the design in
This lighting shows the texture of the hide really nicely.

Bone Machine

Tooled and Colored
I’m very happy with how the coloring turned out. The fossil is a very pale bone/burgandy color

For Books
Field notebook pouch, on the outside for easier access. The pencil holder is not yet sewn in. The pouch has not had the burgandy top coat yet, so its still plain tan.

Ex Gnosis Ad Scientia

Miskatonic U Department of Geology and Paleontology ROCKS!

I have amazing pastimes. Not only am I one of the cool kids who discovered Lovecraft and fell in love with his writing, I also love paleontology. I am going to Canada to be elbows deep in learning about fossil prep and conservation, and share a bit of what I’ve learned in the field. Like all good scholarly pursuits, there will be beer and lot of booze a fund raiser to help keep the Fossil Preparation & Collections Symposium going strong for years to come. These are a couple of Field Bags I’m donating. The tall one is a reinterpretation of ‘Reconstruction of Megalosaurus and Pterodactylus’ by Samuel Griswold Goodrich from Illustrated Natural History of the Animal Kingdom (New York: Derby & Jackson, 1859). The second one is the awesome Coelophysis at AMNH.

Enough text, time for pictures!

Both of them
Long one has a pocket for a 5X7 notebook.

The tall one holds a 9.5 6.5 notebook
with room for spiral binding.

Wonderful illustration from the 1850′s.

Coelophysis close up

I left out the stomach contents. This time.


2 pens, a fat marker and a scale bar

The long one for sure will have a place to attach it to a belt. Not sure about the long one yet. I’m going to put straps on both of them, also. Because nothing says cool like a dinosaur satchel.