MiBelle Custom Leatherworx

Wayne Higgins, the very creative owner/operator of MiBelle Custom Leatherworx (based in Dartmouth Nova Scotia!) stopped in to see me while he was on a cross-Canada tour.


After visiting with me for some time he left me with a couple very lovely wallets and a belt. One of the wallets is a 4 slot vertical card wallet – made of kangaroo leather. Kangaroo leather is one of the strongest leathers available to work with and yet the wallet he made is incredibly soft and almost waxy to the touch. Very cool.


Another plus to the kangaroo leather wallet is the very rich leather scent.

The main outside piece of leather is quite thick and the inner leather used for the card slots is a thinner leather making it have a substantial feel to it while keeping a relatively thin profile.

Some have commented on the size of the logo on the outside front of the wallet. It is larger than I like but because it is burned into the leather it is not obtrusive nor too obvious.

Something I really admire about Wayne’s work is the stitching he does. On this wallet I had to search with a magnifying glass to see where he started and finished his stitching. It is, simply put, top quality stitching.


The same things apply to the Horween Leather Passport holder Wayne gave me – perfect stitching, perfect edging, and a wonderfully waxy feeling leather.

Simply put, Wayne Higgins at MiBelle Custom Leatherworx makes wonderful little wallets. And, stay tuned – I will be organizing a giveaway of the Horween Leather Passport wallet very soon!!

Bexar Goods Porter Satchel Follow Up Video

After looking back at the video review of the Bexar Goods Porter Satchel that I recently completed, I realized that I had not talked about how much the bag will hold. So I filmed a follow up review to discuss that. Here it is – 

My Father’s Day Gifts Guide

Mason Jar Mug

If you are anything like me, you like to be quite clear about what gift you receive for Father’s Day. So in my effort to help you help your gift giving family members, here are a few links to the items that I believe are good ideas for Father’s Day gifts.

It will likely not come as a surprise to you that the best items for Father’s Day gifts are leather items.

The first place to look for a Father’s Day gifts is towards my friends, Josh and Jen Koch, leather workers supreme. They are a small operation and have always been willing to listen to suggestions or make small modifications to items I have purchased from them.

Horween Field Notes Sleeve
Horween Field Notes Sleeve

One of the prettiest pieces of leather work they make is a Field Notes Sleeve. The sleeve will hold a slim pen and a small pocket knife or business cards.

You can have your Field Notes Sleeve stitched in your choice of thread – I always get Josh to use a bright red thread on the work he does for me. You can order the Field Notes Sleeve for $60US plus $6US for shipping.

This one is a beauty!!

If you are looking for a budget price item and the dad in your life uses a double-edged safety razor, get him the safety razor cover for $12 and $3 for shipping.

Safety Razor Cover
Safety Razor Cover

I’ve got one of these razor covers and it is too cool for words. The cover protects my razor when I drop it into my dopp kit while traveling.

Another leather worker who’s work I really admire but have not yet had the pleasure of owning is Norman Cahn’s.

Burgundy Cabrio
Burgundy Cabrio

When I see the work that Norman Cahn does with wallets and I read the reviews written by his customers, I have no hesitation in adding my personal endorsement to his work. The stitching he does looks flawless!!

This beautiful little wallet, what he calls a Cabrio Horween Leather Wallet, is available in a variety of colours and could be in your father’s wallet for about one hundred dollars.

Norman has a good selection of items listed on his Etsy page and like Josh and Jen Koch, he is very open to working and collaborating with his customers to create amazing pieces of leather work.

MiBelle Wallet
MiBelle Wallet

 

The third Leather worker I have recently learned about is Wayne Higgins of Mibelle Custom Leatherworx and he is located in Dartmouth NS. He is going to drive across Canada, from the eastcoast to the westcoast and we plan to meet up so that I can have a look at some of his leather creations.

I am quite curious to see the leather work he does with Kangaroo leather. He has wallets made in brandy or black kangaroo leather that are lined with pig skin. The lined version sells for $32.00 CAD.

Mason Jar Mug
Mason Jar Mug

And last but definitely not least, from California are Juan’s Unique Creations from the Gentlemen Factory. Here you can buy a Horween Mason Jar mug and dontcha know, drinking from a Mason Jar is the hip thing to do. However, if a Mason Jar mug is just a shade too hipster for your, dad get him a Horween Valet Tray for $30.

Or if you really want to kick it up a notch and spoil dad, get him a Horween leather briefcase for $550 or the Steinbeck Messenger bag in Horween for $450. Once again, the work done in the Juan’s Unique Creations from the Gentlemen Factory is beautiful with exquisite attention paid to detail.

Whichever business you decide to purchase your Father’s Day gifts from, you are pretty much guaranteed that the dad in your life will be delighted with the gift.

Bexar Goods Co Porter Satchel

Here is a video review of my latest leather goods purchase, a Bexar Goods Co Porter Satchel. I will say up front that this is not my best video work, but here it is anyway.

I didn’t make it clear in the video but this is a leather bag that I purchased used from a friend so it is more than a couple of months old. In the time that I have had it, it has really has developed a lovely character and feel to the hand.

I often find myself using the Bexar Goods Porter in backpack mode on the weekends when I am out and about with my family. This Porter Satchel from Bexar Goods Co is a beauty in the city and out in the woods.

The Value of Artisan Produced Goods

There is a movement, a resurgence of manufacturing taking place in North America. The resurgence is taking place with small mom and pop type shops. This is a movement away from massive factories with hundreds of workers chained (figuratively speaking, of course) to machines.

People like Railcar Fine Goods – makers of fine denim wear.

Railcar Fine Goods
Railcar Fine Goods

The amazing thing about these jeans, made from what I understand is raw selvedge denim is that you do not wash them very often and you NEVER put them in a machine dryer.

The pair pictured to the right have been worn 384 times! With one cycle through a washing machine!

The thing that makes these jeans even more attractive as they age are the creases that develop in them. I believe it is called “fade”. The deeper the fade, the more street cred you have.

About the jeans pictured here, they are owned by Suzy, a Facebook friend of mine who lives in Texas. Suzy is also part of that resurgence of creating goods. She owns and runs an Etsy shop called The Lazy Leatherworker. In her shop she sells wallets and small leather goods like Field Notes covers, leather bookmarks and other interesting things.

The belt in her jeans is from Sweet Trade, another one of those small, owner operated studio workshops. In their “about” page they talk about working with American sourced goods and how it costs them a little more and takes a little longer but they feel it is the “right” thing to do.

Before you go all “why the promotion of American made goods,” another denim worker I follow is Naked and Famous Denim. These people use only the most unique and rare denim fabrics from Japan. The prestigious mills in Japan, from which they import all their fabric, are committed to producing only the best (and most expensive) denim in the world. Even though they use the finest denims they can get their hands on and everything they produce is made in Canada, you can still get a pair of awesome jeans for $150 or so.

Levi 501s
Levi 501s

Some might think that is a lot of cash for a pair of jeans. But keep in mind these are produced right here in Canada using premium quality denim.

Compare the $150ish price to the internet price of $60 I paid for my raw denim Levi 501s (pictured to the left) and I see the value in supporting the smaller, home grown artisan-like people who are producing goods.

The cool thing is that the internet has made it so that artisans are available and accessible to a much larger marketplace making their chances of success that much greater.

Anyway, enough rambling away by me. All I am really saying is, before going to a mall and buying mass produced goods, consider buying from a small shop. It may cost a little more but typically you are receiving premium quality goods and equally important, you are putting your money into the hands of the person who made the goods and that is just all-round good for society.

Oh one last thing, my Levi 501s in the picture above have been worn since May, about six months ago without once being machine washed. I sat in my kids’ pool one hot summer day with them on but that is it. They are developing a beauty of a set of fades.

One more last thing, the belt in my 501s is from the guys at A Simple Leather Belt (I love their belts and the story behind how they are made!).