Monday, July 17, 2017

Cat walk! Haircut! Paul Bunyan! Oh my!

This post is a bunch of random photos of recent happenings in my life.  First is a series of photos from the first time my cats followed me on a walk!

The first walk, I got two streets over before they got skittish and wanted to go back home.  The second time, I got a little beyond the third street.  They seem to be having fun following me around.  It's super adorable and I love it!

Mohawk!  It's the first time I've had a mohawk.  I love it so far!

Also, this plaid shirt cost me only a couple dollars at the best thrift shop in Ann Arbor, the PTO Thrift Shop.  The only issue was that the sleeves were annoyingly about one inch too short.  So I spent about 45 minutes carefully hemming the sleeves down to 3/4 sleeves.  I love it now!  <3 thrifting and sewing!

Random photo of a recent lunch, with my Iron Man bento box and SCAdian belt knife.  I'm quite happy with this fruit, veggie, and nut lunch with some summer sausage.  Tasty and mostly healthy!

I traveled to Minnesota recently for an awesome family reunion.  This is a fun photo on a Paul Bunyan statue at a rest stop with my sister and boyfriend.

I found this couch on Craigslist for $100!!!  I'm so happy with it.  It's definitely elevated my home a lot.  It's so comfy, and so so so so much better than my previous couches, both of which went to friends who were happy to have them. 

And we're ending the post with more cat photos, because I can't help it.  They're my beautiful fur babies and they deserve all the photo love.

Kobold's a big snuggle bug.

A rare photo of Gnome!  She's harder to pin down.

But she's still super snuggly, too, when she wants to be.  This is my favorite photo of my baby girl.

And another of a sleeping Kobold.  Oh, cat yoga.

Things are still rough adjusting to my new life schedule with the new job, and July is always hard for me (grieving month), but there are bits of joy.  So I thought it would be fun to share the bits of joy, because it's important to remember those when times are difficult.

Any bits of joy in your life lately?

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Monday, July 10, 2017

The Stars of Border War

Moira brought three kittens to Border War, a local SCA event.  They were definitely the stars of the day!  This post is entirely gratuitous kitten photos with me and my friends.

In case you're wondering, this patched hood is the same linen hood that was in this post of me blacksmithing.  It has worn down so much that all of those patches are covering rips and holes.  Six years ago, it was all from one piece of fabric:

Now it's almost entirely patches, and had a kitten cuddled up to it just last month.

Look closely - there's a kitten curled up asleep in Azriel's lap!

Kittens are the cutest!  ~Birke
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Monday, July 3, 2017

Custom Card Game Organizer

It's been over two years since I started designing my storage case for my Dominion cards.  I finished making it in May of 2015, and it's had a year of solid use before these pictures were taken.  Let me tell you: it works, and it's awesome.  I've ironed out the couple bugs it had (one of which I'll point out later in this post), and it's a thing of beauty and a powerhouse of a carrying case.

And I'm offering to make a custom-ordered version of it, or similar work for a different game, in my Etsy shop.  It's the most expensive thing in there, because it's the most labor-intensive to make, but boy do I think it's worth every penny if you're an avid gamer and have the money to buy nice things (and support local artists!).

Here's a more in-depth look at my custom card game organizer!

Carrying all those cards is heavy, but there are two carrying straps: one thick adjustable belt for carrying it over the shoulder, and one hand-held handle.  Both are firmly stitched on with multiple tracks of saddle stitching and woven into the spine of the case, so they should last for a very long time.

Two more belts wrap around the case, holding it shut.  Undoing those buckles and laying out the case on a table, this is the first thing you see - another layer of leather protection to make sure those cards don't slip around and get lost, damaged, or wet (if it rains while carrying it outside).  These leather flaps are tied together with leather thongs, so they can be pulled snug to keep the cards in place.

Peaking out of the end, you can see the longer case that holds the larger sets of base cards.

Opening the two leather flaps, you can see the top page of the "book" of cards and the long case for the base cards.

In order to make pockets that perfectly held 10-16 cards without the cards easily falling out, I made eight different prototypes.  The final result is made from a beautiful black cotton twill that is backed with two layers of strong interfacing between each set of cards.  This fabric was specifically chosen both because the names of the cards pop out easily against the black background and it's durable and strong, with just the right one-way stretch to allow the pockets to grip the cards securely.  The pockets are cut and stitched meticulously by me, because a mistake of just 1/8" will make the pockets too loose or too tight to hold the cards right.

The last page includes a folder that holds the rule books.

This page, with pockets to hold the mats from the first few expansions, I do not include in the custom version for others, simply because it does not hold up to time.  The mats are simply too slippery to stay in the pockets, and they slide around too much.  In the custom order, I will make the outside pocket (for coins and other mats) larger, in order to fit them, unless the customer has a different idea they would like to try.

The base cards are in a wet-formed and painted stiff leather case, held closed with buttons.

I am open to ideas for how the customer wants to separate their cards.  I have simply written the names of the cards on heavy cardstock that is a little taller than the cards, but these could be printed with custom name plates that are much more visually appealing.

Here is a close-up view of how beautifully the cards pop out against the twill fabric.

The one-of-a-kind pocket on the outside holds mats, coins, and other pieces for the game.

You can see how strongly all the pieces are stitched together.  The handle is also adjustable, to fit different size hands.

Interested in a custom leather case for your treasured favorite game?  Let me know!  I am willing to make up prototypes and quotes for other types of games, too.  I adore my Dominion case.

Your nerdy local neighborhood leather artist,

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