Friday, 28 December 2012


Oh, it's been a long time since I've posted!  Sorry about that!  I've been busy in my shed leading up to Christmas and some of the projects I've been working on have been for gifts, so I've not been able to photograph them.  There was also a spell of cold weather which made working in the shed a bit miserable to say the least ........

Brrrrr, the little jug of water that I keep for dampening the leather has completely frozen solid and on a few nights, I had to bring my bottles of dye into the caravan to stop them freezing too.  Luckily, it's just raining now so it's much better (if I can make it across the muddy garden without slipping over onto my bum that is!!).
Here is the beginning of a covered notebook.  The leather is completely raw at this stage and very easily marked.  It's lucky that I hate having long fingernails, as the tiniest little scratch at this stage in the making will show up for ever!  Once the dye has been applied and the leather is buffed and polished, it is sealed and protected and can take the usual daily battering and I can breathe easier!
And here it is, freshly dyed and drying off.  It is at this stage that the leather really reveals itself and all sorts of marks and patterns appear.  Leather is a completely natural material and no two pieces are the same.  Think about your own skin, the years of wear and tear and changes that it has been through - weight loss, weight gain, injury, dehydration, allergy etc etc.  Well, those are the marks that you see on a piece of leather.  The hide that this notebook cover was cut from has some beautiful stretch marks on it, naturally created as the animal grew and matured.  They make a lovely, almost marbled effect when the dye is applied and they are picked out.  Now, tell me stretchmarks aren't beautiful!!!
And here it is, waxed, lined, laced and all finished.  I love making these and I want to make myself a leather writing notebook, but I haven't decided on the pattern yet. 
And now Christmas is over, I can show you this handsome chap!  I was asked to make a Green Man last month and this is how he came out!  I was a bit apprehensive as I'd not done anything like that before, but I was really pleased with the results!
 Here is a personal organiser that I made a few weeks ago, using one of my horse sketches.  It has now flown all the way to Nashville!

So that's a bit of what I've been up to.  My camera is back now, so I can take more pictures, although the light in my shed is usually too dark at this time of year.  Isn't it great that the shortest day has been and gone.  Even though Winter is far from over, the daylight hours are getting longer - yippeee!!

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Back to Black!!

 Well, I've been nipping in and out of my shed a lot lately, whenever I get the chance, even if it's just to do a bit of dyeing or tidy my bench as the daylight is so precious at this time of year.  It's also so flippin cold in my shed and working on a slab of granite is VERY cold work!!  I've been bringing pieces of half-finished work into the caravan wherever I can to warm them up a bit and let the dye dry thoroughly.  So, on one wet, wild day, I wasn't too unhappy to be seated in the warm with various copies of Horse & Hound and Racing Post around me for inspiration, sketching horse's heads!  These are the ones that I was happy with and that should translate well onto leather.

I'm working on an organiser with a horse head design at the front and will hopefully have it in my shop in the next day or two.  At least the lacing round the edges can be done from the warmth of the caravan too!
 I also had a commission for a belt to make for a lovely customer.  The flowers were drawn freehand first and then I carved them out with my trusty little swivel knife.  (not easy to carve AND photograph at the same time, so excuse the blurring!)
 Once carved, I could set to work with my modelling and beveling tools, trying to create the details of petals and seeds and a feeling of 3D.  And then I did something that I haven't done for years!!  I reached for the black leather dye!!
I normally shy away from black as I worry that it doesn't show off the designs as well as antique brown does, but actually, I like the black a lot!  After lots of waxing and buffing up, the belt is all ready and I can't wait to give it to it's new owner!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


For some time now, I have been thinking of carving a horse's head into leather.  It's been a long time since I sat down with my art bag as drawing has been replaced by sewing and leathercraft over the years, but I spent most of my childhood drawing horses!!  I've been trying out different angles and styles and finally settled on an Arab head because they are just such beautiful, graceful animals and have very distinctive features which I thought would look good when carved into leather. 
Here is my horse sketch, carved into the leather!  Since taking this photo, I have dyed the leather and I'm just waiting for it to completely dry so I can apply the wax and get polishing.  This will be a leather organiser when it's all ready! 
This is a sample piece that I did to see how the design would work on leather.  I must have been pleased with it as I've added my initials!! 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Autumn Leaves

We've been away for a break recently and while walking in woodland, I picked up some leaves and did lots of wax leaf rubbings with them.  This is a really great way to pick out the veins and textures of each leaf (as well as being childishly fun to see the picture appear!  Go on, you try it, it's very relaxing!). 

I then picked out the clearest leaf rubbings and traced the outline onto tracing film.
And once I'd transferred the details onto the leather, I carved them out and dyed them!  So each leather leaf is a pretty direct copy of an original woodland leaf!  These two leaves would look great as part of a seasonal display. 
Here are some that I carved out and are waiting to be dyed.  A mixture of Sweet Chestnut, Field Maple, Oak and Hawthorn leaves!  This will be a personal organiser when it's finished.
And here it is after being dyed and waxed!  This is the exciting part, when you start to see how the finished item will look.  Just needs to have lacing holes punched, a strap attached, to be lined with suede, pockets cut, edges laced and clip attached and it's all ready!!  Better get my skates on!

I love using leaves in my designs and of course everywhere I go now, I have my nose to the concrete, looking for interesting leaves to pick up. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Wristbands and Organiser all finished

Sorry for the long break since my last blog post!  I am having a few troubles with the camera I use for photography my leather things and it is now in the hands of Curry's for repair!  Here are the finished wristcuffs that I was making.  I'm really pleased with how they turned out and will hopefully make some more for the shop.

Getting the time to spend in my shed gets tricky at this time of year, but hopefully I will have electricity this year which should give me some extra hours.

Today, I finished this and put it in the shop -
I'm really pleased with it, the leather seems to have really taken on a lovely, rich colour.  It has taken me a long time to get the dyeing process just right, I used to be terrified of it and many things ended up in the bin (or flung against the far wall!!) when the dyes went wrong.  Thankfully, I have a lot more patience than I did when I was younger! 
I'm working on some other nature-inspired ideas, so I will let you have a peep as soon as I have some more time in my shed! xx

Friday, 28 September 2012

A few things I've been working on

Here are a few things I've been working on lately. 
Two small notebooks which I've enjoyed making
My fridge magnets have worked out well, the magnets have been glued in with a hot glue gun as I hate it when the magnet bit falls off the back of fridge magnets don't you!  I'm not sure what to do with them yet, they seem a bit small to put in a shop.  I'm still hoping to find a place to sell my leathercraft in 'real life' and a little bowl of fridge magnets will make nice, small gifts.
I finished this and it is now in my shop.  The lacing took ages and resulted in me busting several needles!  I like the finished effect though.

I put these little mobile phone charms in my shop too.  

Right now, I am working on some decorative wrist cuffs for a customer and am really pleased with how they are shaping up.  My little shed has become something of a dumping ground over the summer, with tools and pram and paddly pool finding their way in.  I need a good old shed clearout and a bit of inspiration on how to make it a cosy place to work.  A trip to IKEA maybe!! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New Things From My Shed

I've been busy in my little shed lately.  Here are a few things that I've made and some that are still in the pipeline -
Some of these are patches which I will soon be adding to my shop.  Others will hopefully become fridge magnets and a few will become little free gifts which I like to add to my parcels!
 This year, swallows discovered our barn and built two nests in the rafters.  It's been lovely to see them swooping in and out.  I have been doing some sketchings of them and came up with some simple designs which would work well when carved onto tooling leather.
 The antique stain really picks the details out and brings out the grain of the leather.  There were quite a few natural streaks in the bottom piece of leather which make a lovely effect I think.  The top piece will become a little notebook and the bottom piece is destined to be a personal organiser with lacing round the edges!
I carved these little pieces of tooling leather with my initials and a small flower and I will attach them to pieces of my work as a kind of signature tag.  I have sold two organisers lately - one to Australia and the other to the USA which is always exciting.  Funny to think of my work travelling to places on the other side of the world.  I have had a few keyring orders lately too, so I need to tidy my shed up a bit and maybe order more leather so I'm not running out. 

Lastly, I've been busy with this project which was a birthday present for my husband.  I bought him a Kindle for his birthday and I wanted to make a protective cover for it -

I was really pleased with the way it turned out.  The elastic straps hold the Kindle nice and firmly too.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Prize Draw Results!!!

Well, I received a large response to my giveaway and thank you to all of you who left comments and 'liked' my Facebook page.  This afternoon, I put all the names from this blog and my Facebook page into the hat and my two 'little' boys pulled out two winners -
The first name to be drawn was - Suhana Daughteroftheninemoons Hart!! The little leather notebook is now yours!
The second prize goes to - Laura Wehko who will receive the leather bookmark.

Once again, thank you to all of you who entered, it's been good fun and I hope the two winners enjoy their prizes.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Some of My Favourite Handmade Shops - Part Two

Here are a few more of my favourite online shops -
Here is Lively Sheep which I discovered recently on Etsy.  These fairies are really beautiful and each of my girls has one hanging up in her bedroom.  I love the small details that makes each fairy unique.  They would make a lovely gift for a little (or not so little!) girl.

This is Caractacus Pots where I have bought quite a few of my chunky mugs from.  The pottery is all hand thrown on a potters wheel and is very cosy to wrap your hands around!
And speaking of lovely, hand-thrown pottery, here is Little Wren Pottery which is another of my favourites.  This shop has some gorgeous bowls and canisters and I have promised myself a set of 'tea', 'coffee' and 'sugar' canisters with swallows on when we finally build a house.

There you go, another three of my favourite hand made online shops, I will be adding more every so often as I love browsing Etsy and the likes and discovering new places.  Don't forget to enter my blog giveaway if you haven't already and thank you to those of you who have 'liked' my Facebook page, it's been lovely to log on and see all the 'likes' I've received!  I'm a bit new to Facebook and took a bit of persuading to create a shop page, so it's been a confidence boost to see the 'likes' and messages.  All the names from here and from Facebook are going into my hat and the closing date is 14th August. xxxx

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


At last, I've got my act together and I can now introduce my PRIZE GIVEAWAY!!  The first name to be drawn from the hat will receive this -
This little hand-tooled leather notebook measures 8 x 13cm and contains sixty pages of high quality, Windsor & Newton cartridge paper (110gsm) which have been stitched into the leather cover using waxed thread.
The notebook is tied with leather thonging which you can trim to suit.
Designed, carved, stamped, dyed and stitched by me and worth £20.  It's a perfect size for slipping into a handbag or coat pocket.

There is also a SECOND PRIZE for the second name that I draw out of the hat and here it is - 
A hand-tooled leather bookmark!
I've put a little length of thonging leather at the end because I always like to have something to twist and twiddle round my fingers when I'm reading a good book!!

So, what do you have to do to enter this prize draw?  If you are on Facebook, then I would love you to go to my Leathercraft page and 'Like' my shop as I'm trying to increase the 'Likes' on this page.  Here's the link - Pippa Dore Hand-Tooled Leathercraft.   

If you'd rather leave a message here instead though, that would be great and if you have any comments or suggestions that would be even better!!  Either way, your name will go into the hat and the prize draw will take place on

Tuesday 14th August 2012 

I can post anywhere in the world!!

Best of luck!!! xx

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Present for Me!!

It's been a busy week, but I've manged a little time in my shed to make a start on these two notebooks.  One of them will become the prize in my blog giveaway!!  I just have to apply some wax and give the covers a good old polish and then start measuring and cutting the paper to go inside.  Each of these notebooks has 60 pages, so it takes a little while to cut them out using my guillotine.  They will then be stitched into the leather covers with some nice, strong, waxed thread.  I like the page-stitching process.  It's a little fiddly, but it's very satisfying seeing the pages grow and the notebook filling out.  A good job to do whilst watching the racing with my dear husband!!

 I made this personal organiser last year for my shop, but I have decided to keep it for myself.  I designed the pattern myself, not long after my sixth baby was born.  It depicts a lady holding a baby, so I was always a bit reluctant to put it in my shop as I liked it too much!  It replaces the very old and tatty Filofax that I've had since I was a teenager!  I haven't thrown the old one away though (far too much of a hoarder!), I'm using that to store my old Filofax diary pages in, because I can never throw them away either, (you can imagine how cluttered my desk is!)  I love my new present to myself and it reminds me that I want to make some more personal organisers as they were very popular last Christmas and I have some new designs that I want to try out.

I'm hoping to launch the giveaway very soon and also post Part Two of my favourite handmade shops.  Hope you're all looking forward to a nice weekend. xxx

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Back in Business!

Phew, my shop is finally open and I listed most of my items last night, but had to break off to eat tea, wash children and get some sleep!  Hopefully, I will get the rest of my stock listed today and photograph a few of the things that I couldn't yesterday because of the rain. 

Some of the prices have been tweaked because I am using more expensive materials these days as the finished appearance is so much nicer and the costs of my raw materials have increased.  This is the part of running a business that I find the hardest.  Give me a jammed hole punch and some spilt leather dye any day!!!  And then there are the new postage rates to consider too which are a headache.  Don't you hate that little plastic slot that they have in post offices now that the letter/packet has to squeeze through in order to decide what postage to pay?  Sometimes my postmistress gives the letter a helping shove, other times, she's feeling mean and if it so much as grazes the sides of the slot, she's certain it's a parcel!  I haven't raised my postage costs by much because I don't like to buy something and then find a huge delivery charge at the bottom, so my general price increases have shouldered a lot of the postage costs too.

It's great to have my shop open again though, just being back amongst the whole crafting community is exciting.       

Some of my favourite tools!
To celebrate the opening of my shop, I am going to offer a giveaway competition over the next week, so be sure to drop by and enter!  Details will follow .....................

Thanks again to all of you who have given me encouragement with my leathercraft business, it's meant a lot and givem me a lot of support. x

Friday, 29 June 2012

Some of my Favourite Handmade Shops - Part One

Well, I was going to photograph some things that I have been making, but my computer has been taken away (more like rescued from cruelty!) by the computer doctor as it choked to death on dust a few days ago. Which means that I can't upload any photos or get my shop any closer to being re-opened until it's returned. I'm itching to get my shop back open again, I miss the whole Etsy community and being a part of it, but I suppose this will teach me to dust the poor computer every now and then. So, for now, I'm going to steal an idea from Shell's blog and show you some of my favourite online shops. So, get yourself a cuppa (make me one while you're at it) and enjoy -

First up is this great shop - Handmade Haven. I have bought several lovely cards and I have a regular stash of gorgeous cold-pressed soaps from here on my dressing table. They look almost too pretty to use and make the room smell lovely and add a bit of luxury to my bathroom! They are very special because they don't make my sensitive skin flare up either. Lots of lovely hand-sewn gifts in this shop too - I use my cloth bags regularly.

Here is Under Rainbows and if you have little girls, they will just adore this shop. I have my two little girls with their noses glued to the screen when I'm browsing this shop and they've already put their orders in!! I know that I would have LOVED a doll from here when I was little.

Here is Castle On The Hill. I bought a great birthday present from this shop for a young Jane Austen fan who was happily studying 'Pride & Prejudice' for her GCSEs. The artist paints really stunning portraits of the book's key characters, but instead of using plain paper, they are painted onto the pages from the book, so it's almost like the characters have leapt up from the pages and come to life. When we eventually build a house, I have put one of the originals on my wishlist as I am a big Jane Austen fan.

There you go, I will let you go and browse these lovely shops and I will show you a few more of my favourites when I next blog. xx