Thursday, November 17, 2016

Welcome and Small Business Saturday

Welcome to everyone who talked to me at U-Con last weekend!  I sincerely enjoyed meeting all of you.

Having a merchant booth for the first time was a great experience.  I'm currently aiming to repeat this at Penguicon in April, and maybe some other conventions.

Until then, you can always buy many of the same items you saw this weekend in my Etsy shop.  Take a look at your Christmas shopping list for those you love and pick something for them!  A great day to buy something would be on Saturday, November 26th, when a 10% off coupon will be available for Small Business Saturday (enter Level8SBS at checkout on November 26th for 10% off).  I am the smallest of small businesses - it's just me!  All proceeds go directly back into the business and keeping a roof over my head and my creativity flowing.  :)

Only about half of my merchandise is currently in the shop.  I'll be adding the rest in the coming months.  If you think you remember a specific piece that is not in the shop yet that you want, let me know, and I'll add it for you.

My current new commissions list doesn't start until January-February, but I will sneak in a few small commissions of custom bookmarks or dice bags before the December winter holidays start, if you want one for a special gift - just send me an Etsy converation to get that started.

I love looking at the colors in these photos.  Earth tones are definitely my favorite colors!

Here are some of the bookmarks I made special before U-Con.  Pyrography is a fun art that I'm still exploring the limits of!  I love how there's always something new to learn with the creative arts.

I wish the best to all of you, and hope you're taking care of yourselves right now.  With everything going on, remember that self-care is an important part of life, too.  Peace and love to you and yours.

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

U-Con Gaming Convention this weekend!

Is anyone else excited for U-Con?  Because I am!  I'll have a booth all weekend, Friday to Sunday, in the Exhibitor hall - come say hi!  I'll have more than twice the merchandise as is currently in the Etsy shop, as well as a look book going over custom commission ideas that I'd love to talk with you about!  Not only would you be buying a unique hand-made leather item, made with quality materials and years of learned skill, you'd also be helping to support a local independent artist (me!).  All proceeds go directly into the business and helping me keep a roof over my head and making more awesome leatherwork. 

Speaking of the Etsy shop - it's been put in Vacation Mode for the weekend, so I won't accidentally have in person sales of something someone is trying to buy online.  It'll go back online soon after the convention, after I finish going over the revised inventory list.

See you tomorrow!

Level 8 Craftling, Owner and Artist
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Exhibiting at U-Con!

In just two and a half weeks, I'll be one of the exhibitors at U-Con Gaming Convention in Ypsilanti, Michigan.  This convention is really fun: three days packed full of all kinds of games, from board games to table-top roleplaying to LARPing.  You should come out!  See my wares, including a bunch of convention-only items.

Here are some quick pictures I took of some of the items I've made just for convention!  I've been a busy bee for the couple months.  I shifted from opening the Etsy shop to immediately prepping for having a merchant booth at U-Con.  Please come by and say hi to me in the Exhibitor room!

Who's going to U-Con?  What other conventions do you particularly love?

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Thursday, August 25, 2016


Did I put enough exclamation points on the header for this post?  I'm not sure it adequately expresses my excitement.

THE SHOP IS OPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's better, isn't it?

There's a new link at the top of this website (two actually - I finally linked to my Facebook page in addition to the new shop), because the Etsy shop has been opened!

What's your favorite thing in there so far?

I'll be adding more items in the coming months, as this is only about half the finished items I have so far, so keep coming back for more!

If you see anything you'd like in another variation, you know I love doing custom work - message me and we'll definitely work something out to get you that awesome custom piece of leatherwork to fulfill your nerdtastic dreams.

And if you find any spelling errors (or other mistakes), please let me know!  I may have overlooked something.


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Monday, July 25, 2016

Etsy Shop Preview!

Before I go on a blogging hiatus for a short while (I have more projects to post soon!), I want to share exciting news: I'm definitely still working on putting the Etsy shop together!  All of the photos in this post are previews of items going into the shop.

All of the photos have been edited!  All of the work researching and planning for prices has been done and decided!

I'm working now on filling in the giant spreadsheet of information needed for each initial listing (size, weight, type, tags, color, description, section, shipping info, etc).  It is truly an impressive amount of detailed information that Etsy wants.  It definitely makes sense - customers should have all of the information available to them! - but it will take me some time to put it all together on top of my day job.

I'm so excited for when I do get it all put together!  

So: coming soon, Level 8 Craftling, selling items to the whole wide world.  All items handmade by me and one of a kind.  You'll even be able to custom order some of the items to your desired specifications.

See you soon, after I take a short break!  Have any questions or things you like, don't be shy about mentioning it in the comments.  And, as always, I am taking custom commissions and leather repair work.


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Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Just some pictures of my favorite sewing helpers.

Someone decided that the camera was nonsense and just wanted pets.

Hey, Mama, you're not using this, are you?

What?  It's comfy.

Plus, you can't resist petting me before moving me.

Hihi!  Why aren't you petting me yet?  I'm totes helping.

They're so pretty, my babies.  They turned four last month!  Can't believe I've had them so long.  Who else has sewing "helpers" around?

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Rapier Marshal Hood

Last November, I was Marshal in Charge at a rapier event, and I wanted a fancy garment to show that I was acting as a marshal.  For years, I'd always heard the phrase "marshal tabard," but I never wanted to wear a tabard.  Then a member of my barony made a gorgeous marshalling German capelet, and it opened my eyes to the possibilities - I could make a different piece of garb, one that fit my aesthetic, to be my marshalling "tabard."

For those who aren't familiar, a marshal is someone in the SCA who is thoroughly trained in the safety procedures of a particular martial art.  It takes somewhere from three months to a year to finish all of the required training to become a rapier marshal, and every moment of it is useful.  A marshal can run martial practices and events, including all the paperwork and reports involved.  They watch other rapier fighters to make sure everyone is having a good time and that everyone is behaving safely, they authorize new fencers, they routinely inspect equipment, they mediate disagreements, they adjust spacing and timing of fights so that the most people can have the most fun at the same time safely, and, in bad cases, they have the backing of the crown to pull unsafe fighters off the field and tell them they aren't allowed to fight anymore.  I thoroughly enjoy being able to give back to my rapier community through marshalling.

Here are photos of the linen marshal's hood I made!  I am beyond happy with how this turned out.  The insignia of the rapier marshal is black and yellow slanted stripes (similar to caution tape), and crossed yellow rapiers on a black field.

The ever-present cat sewing helper...

I love linen hoods because they keep the sun off my neck and shoulders (to avoid sunburn) and out of my eyes (the sun gives me headaches), without overheating me by adding more layers to my torso.

All of the seams in this garment are french seams.  ALL of them.  These stripes are all french seams that match up in a perfect chevron.  It took forever, but is soooo worth it - these seams will not fray!

This photo shows off the crossed rapier insignia of the rapier marshallate. 

The rapiers are entirely embroidered by hand.  The texture is so neat!

The inside of the finished hood.  Look at all that hand embroidery and those beautiful french seams.

Here's the best photo I have of me wearing it, as I read the results of the rapier tourneys into court at Grand Day of Tournaments last November.

Anyone else working on cool marshal "tabard" options?  I'd love to see them!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Custom Tooled Phone Case

This is a custom phone case I made on commission.  I really enjoy making custom new pieces!

The strap on the back is to thread onto a belt.

This design is the heraldry for the Cavendish Knot, the first rapier award you can get in the Middle Kingdom in the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The intricately tooled knots are about the size of a penny.  It was fun getting the detail to pop while being so small!

As commissioned, there is a hole on the bottom for easy charging.

I always use saddle stitch to make sure the stitching is extra strong and will last a long time.

Gorgeous and understated - a great way to keep your phone on you while displaying custom art that means something to you and supporting an independent artist.

Like what you see?  I take commissions!  Contact me for details.  :)


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Laurel Weaving

As I mentioned last week, the peerages are the highest awards in the Society for Creative Anachronism.  The Order of the Laurel is for arts and/or sciences, indicating that someone has done years of research, artwork, and teaching of a medieval craft.

Another good friend of mine was elevated last year to the Order of the Laurel.  I wove her a belt on my inkle loom.

The design is based on her heraldry.  I did some pick-up weaving to put the word laurel into it, so she can never forget how awesome she is.

Below you can see the hint of the buckle that I attached to it, in the middle of the woven bundle.

So glad she loved it!  Has anyone done any fun weaving lately?  Share in the comments, especially if you have photos!  I want to see and hear about it!

Interested in more examples and instructions on doing this stripes method of pick-up weaving?  Check out this post.


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Custom Master of Defense Pauldron

In the Society for Creative Anachronism, the highest award you can get is being elevated to a peerage.  There are five peerages: the Royal Peers, related to being King/Queen; the Order of the Chivalry, for armored combat; the Order of the Laurel, for arts and/or sciences; the Order of the Pelican, for service; and the Order of Defense, for rapier combat. Each peerage has various regalia associated with them.  For the Masters and Mistresses of Defense, one of those pieces of regalia is a decorated leather pauldron (shoulder plate armor).

One of my best friends recently got elevated to the Order of Defense.  This is a huge deal in the rapier community.  I got the pleasure of surprising him with a custom-made pauldron at his elevation ceremony.

I based the shape off of an actual armored metal pauldron.  The pieces fit together such that they articulate smoothly as it moves with the left arm.

Every piece of the design is deliberately chosen to match my friend's clothing, heraldry, and awards.  I did all of the work for this piece myself.  The design of the heraldry is partially based off the design of another pauldron in the Middle Kingdom, though the overall composition is hand-drawn by myself.  I created the design, cut the leather, tooled the design into the leather pieces, boiled and shaped the leather to harden it, painted it, riveted it to a support scaffold that allows it to articulate, cut and dyed the straps, and sewed the buckles on.

First, the design includes a Pelican shedding blood from its breast, the heraldry of the Order of the Pelican, of which he is also a Master.  It symbolizes how the Pelican is always giving to others, down to its very own lifeblood.

The three swords is the heraldry of the Order of Defense, the rapier Peerage.

The black dragon is directly off of his personal heraldry.

The gear is also part of his personal heraldry.

The edges make a rainbow to match his always very colorful clothing, which often includes all the colors of the rainbow.

The white background with the red pale, or vertical stripe, is the heraldry of the Middle Kingdom.  The SCA is broken up into twenty kingdoms all around the world.  Michigan is the region of Pentamere in the Middle Kingdom, which covers the lower peninsula of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and a smidge of Kentucky and Ontario (Windsor area).  

The pauldron attaches through two straps: one across the chest and underneath the right arm (red), and another around the left arm, just above the elbow (purple).

The middle yellow-edged panel goes right over the ball of the shoulder.  The top two panels rest up on the shoulder by the neck.  The bottom panels cover the upper left arm.

Regalia for fencers is historically worn on the left arm.  The penultimate award for rapier in the Middle Kingdom, the Order of the Bronze Ring, can be indicated by wearing a bronze cord or scarf worn around the left arm, typically just above the elbow or further up on the shoulder.  

I am ecstatic with how it turned out.  It was a lot of work, but worth it, to show my friend just how much he means to me.

Interested in a custom piece of leatherwork?  Contact me - I take commissions.  :)

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