Friday, June 26, 2015

Production Navigator Map Case

It's not unusual for it to take a few prototypes for me to get to a pattern or process I'm satisfied with.  With the Navigator though, the second time seems to have been the charm.  I could make modifications on this, but if the goal is keeping notes and maps safe and easy to carry around I'm not sure I could improve on it.  It is, of course, available on the shop already.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More D&D Trading Cards

Just about a year ago I made one of our friends a "reminder" card to help him play a rogue.  He still brings that card to every game (and it did help quite a bit) but now that we've started a new campaign he's no longer playing a Rogue.  What's more, all of the players have something that's tended to slip their minds for the past couple sessions.  I still have plenty of 9oz leather left over from a side I picked up back in 2009.  What's left wouldn't really work for anything I was selling but it works just dandy for these trading card bits (for friends anyway).

While I was at it I took the opportunity to work on my technique with the alphabet stamps.  I'm reasonably content with my proficiency with the 1/4" stamps, but the 1/8" stamps were made in such a way that they defy the usual techniques for making the letters stay straight and even.   Conventionally, there's a "bottom" to the stamp indicated by a notch or tiny letter on the top of the stamp.  That way you can line them up with your line and they should all come out even.  With the 1/8" stamps though, the letters aren't equidistant from the notched side of the stamp.  The letter A might be 2mm above the notch and the letter T would be 4mm.  This seems inane to me and I can't imagine why they were made that way.

I had to invent a new technique by eye-balling the letter from the side to make sure it was upright in relation to the marker line and the appropriate distance from the previous letter.  It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than the last time I used them.  I wanted to paint them up a little so they'd stick out and gold paint goes pretty well on green.  I tried using a mechanical pencil to "write" the paint into the letters (they're too small for any of my brushes) but .5mm turns out to be too wide for that.  If I try that again I think it'd be worthwhile to pick up some toothpicks and try those.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Navigator Map Case with Sword Coast Map

This took longer than I expected to finish but prototypes usually do.  I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out.  I was worried the lid might wind up being too loose but it fits perfectly.  Well enough that it can be carried around by the handle and pops off with a little tug. 

I carved the map into heavier leather so that the different contours and textures would really stand out (which worked well enough that I can feel the differences in terrains).  That presented a challenge for such a round shape though.  I molded it around a jar to get the rough shape but by the time I'd stitched it to the tube it'd flattened back out.  Once all the stitching's in place the only drawback is that the tube isn't "exactly" a circle due to the tension between the map and the tube.  I suspect that would slacken over time as the leather forms to it's new shape but I am curious to see how it'd look sans map.  I figured out a fair bit pulling this thing together so I think I'll try making a production model to work any last kinks out of the pattern.  In the meantime this map case is in the store already.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Shoulder Strap with Heart

The orders for shoulder straps keep rolling in.  I really appreciate the ones that allow me to be at least a little bit creative. =)  I suspect there's probably a story behind this particular order but if so I can't say I caught it.

D&D Tales Coming to a Blog Near You

I've been meeting with the same group of friends to play Dungeons & Dragons every week since January 2013 and just in the last week or so I've started my own campaign.  In "English" our storytelling-game-with-dice is starting a new story.  After talking it over with my player pals I've decided to start sharing that story on the blog here.  We have a private forum where we've been writing up all of our campaigns as they happen and I'll just be copying those write-ups (with a few modifications probably) to the blog here.  Before I can do that though I'll have to add a few things to the Blog to give it some context but it's high on my To Do list for this week.  After that's done, every week (probably on Wed evening or Thur morning) the next installment of the campaign's story will pop up here.

If you have no idea what D&D is but you might be interested or curious I would highly recommend listening to the first few episodes of the Going In Blind podcast.  They do a great job of describing both the how and the why of D&D so that it should be easy for anyone to understand.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Busy Week so far

It's only Tuesday and I've already knocked out three orders.  To be fair, none of them were particularly intensive though I did wind up clocking some "overtime".  I could've finished up the scarf slides tomorrow easily enough but I might have a big order starting tomorrow and wanted to clear the bench in case the client hits the purchase button.  If not then I can work on the map case.

The first two orders were a couple more shoulder straps (making a lot of those lately!) though one of them had the novelty of being mahogany brown instead of medium brown.  The pictures make it look pretty purple but that's mostly the lighting I think.  The third order came in from Twitter yesterday and includes two dozen "triangular scarf slides" for a cub scout leader down in the States.  I don't usually send items off unfinished but in this case the cub scouts will be doing the stamping and staining themselves (which is shiny!).  In researching the items all the scarf slides I could find were die-cut so I made sure to bevel these and give them a bit of a border so they have a little something the usual kits won't.  I went ahead and added them to the shop too because why not?  Maybe there'll be some other scout leader somewhere with a similar need.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Dicebag for the Blind

I recently started listening to Going In Blind, a podcast out of Australia chronicling the adventures of a group of vision impaired players.  I'll admit that I hadn't really considered before that the blind could/would play D&D; it just wasn't a thought that had occurred to me.  But they do and that's grand because anyone who wants to do a bit of tabletop out to be able to.  My second thought was " But how do they read the dice?"  It turns out they have a solution for that. =)

With that in mind I felt strongly inclined to make a dicebag along the same lines.  I can't print braille dice (yet) but I can make some pretty dandy dicebags.  In this case there's four D6s on the front of the bag that spell out "dice" in braille.  I'm not sure how effective that braille would be but I applied kote over the finish so the pips should have a different texture from the rest of the bag.  Either way it amuses me and I'm quite happy to add it to the shop.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Custom, Monogramed Shoulder Strap Set

This guy'd had the bright idea of having two straps for his bag: one for going over his shoulder and a much shorter one to go around the handle of his wheeled luggage.  And since the straps are 1.75" and beveled on both sides they probably won't need much in the way of a shoulder pad.  We'd wanted to go for 2" wide straps initially but apparently there's no such thing as a brass buckle that's 2" wide, or if there are they're not trivial to locate.  So I'm glad I was able to get some brass buckles at 1.75" and I'm pretty sure that'll be wide enough.