He was giddy.
He hasn't stopped since.
The first piece of leather fresh off the table was a Willow Homestead belt. I wore it on our recent vacation out West. From here Hank went on to make himself a belt covered in gears. He's a mechanical engineer by day, specializing in any and all geared components on heavy-weight vehicles, and a tinkerer by night, born with an insatiable curiosity about how things work.
My daughter also has a belt with her name on it surrounded by dainty flowers, and my son has a belt with his name and squirrels on it. Hank declared it was going to be a Very Belty Christmas. So family relations, you've been officially warned.
Faced with all of those possibilities, I have started a Wish List a mile long!
However, I already had my belt so the next project off the table was a small, floral keychain that Hank made for the woman he had purchased the supplies from. Her husband passed away earlier this Spring, and she was subsequently selling his life-long collection. The stack of books and patterns that Hank received is incredible. Many of them are older, classic designs and reprints from the 1950s.
Next up was a Leatherman case to coordinate with Hank's gear belt. He wears this every day to the office. Those clean fingernail-ed, khaki-ed colleagues don't know quite how to respond when Hank has, right at his fingertips, the means to solve any emergency. I'm proud to say that Hank breaks the engineer stereotype. The joke, of course, is that engineers are always drafting up pretty blueprints that no blue-collar guy on the shop floor can actually build. Hank is different. He can build anything he designs. And with one quick snap and flip, he'll have the tool in hand and be happy to show you how.
So after all the small, learning projects were out of the way, Hank hunkered down one night to work up a leather seat cover for his bicycle.
He tooled a repeating basket weave pattern and played around with some different styles of lacing...