Learning Curve #6: Frustration

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by MsDebbieP posted 03-07-2007 11:51 PM 1822 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: The Challenge Part 6 of Learning Curve series Part 7: I Quit!! »

...and so with excitement and anticipation I began my second purse.

Step 1: the design
Again, adapting a design seen online I created a pattern for the purse handle, thinking everything through as much as I coud, given the amount of experience I had with making wooden purse handles (ah, that would be 1 prior handle)

Step 2: Cutting the handles
I chose to use a 1/4” thick piece of hmm… was it oak that we had picked up? A hardwood, anyway, and I placed the pattern on the wood and used the scroll saw to cut out th shape, the rod “hole” that would hold the leather, and two heart shapes in the handle that would be for 1) decoration and 2) for holding the purse using just a finger.

The scrollsaw work went really well and oh I was so pleased. The hearts looked like hearts. The straight lines were relatively straight and the little heart “tops” on the top of the purse lined up exactly as I wanted them to, creating a fingerhold for prying the purse open if I decided to put magnets in the wood for the closure.

Step 3: finishing the hearts.
The little hearts on the top of the purse needed to be completed and I decided to use the woodburner.
Frustration #1: After completing the outlines I felt that this cheapened the look of the handles and they were tossed on the counter for a couple hours while I avoided the problem.

After some time to refocus I thought about how I could remove the woodburning. Can’t really sand it away so I thought I would use the dremel to etch the design, which would remove the woodburning and still provide an outline of the hearts.
Frustration #2: it still looked cheap. Back into avoidance mode.

Again, some time later, I revisited the handles and doing pros and cons for a variety of options decided to revisit the woodburning and highlight the etching. Not great but better than the other two attempts.
I then hit the “good enough” wall and although I’m working really hard at going beyond “good enough” I thought that if I kept playing with it I would just end up breaking the handles or being so disgusted with them that they would end up in the trash. So I decided that this “good enough” was the best I could do given the situation I was in and the knowledge that I had at the time. And so the etched/burned hearts remain.

Step 4: not done yet.
Still not completely happy with the hearts I decided to paint the one heart red and after some brainstorming I grabbed a stamp pad and a Q -tip and did a little staining and, for me, the handle looks MUCH better. Decision: don’t mess with it any more!

Step 5: the purse.
So… now comes the tricky part, creating a pattern for the purse that would be functional and fit the handles.
I measured, drew, and created the pattern and then cut out the leather. I then stamped the inside with my Wolf logo and added a heart shape to the outside. I had originally planned on doing beadwork but since the level of success on the handle wasn’t what I expected I didn’t want to put hours into beadwork for an “ok” purse. So out came the stamps again.

I then wasn’t sure whether to attach the main pieces to the handle first or sew the purse first and then attach it to the handle. Both seemed like they would be difficult.
I opted for sewing the purse first and checked to see if I had made it big enough to use. Going well.

Frustration #3: and then I tried it with the handles “attached”. I have made several purses without wood handles and the opening can be quite small and still be usable. But—the wood handles (dah) don’t mold to the hand and the opening has to be larger than I am used to. ARGH.

Time to attach the handles.
Thinking (correctly) that if I sew the leather as close to the edge as possible I’ll still be able to get my hand in the opening, I started to stitch.
Oh wow, what a pain in the butt/fingers/eyes/ nerves that process was!! It is really hard to stitch around a piece of wood and keep the lines straight. I need more clamps!!

And now the purse is finished. It is a purse. Handcrafted from start to finish with (oak) handles and doeskin leather. About 6 hours of work but it’s just “good enough”.

Happiness Level: 6
Frustration Level: 8

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

7 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4666 days

#1 posted 03-08-2007 12:18 AM

here are the photos:

1. The purse.

2. The “good enough” handle

3. Close-up (note the overlap of the front handle and the back handle).

4. Inside look at the handles—should have left them blank. These look much nicer than the outside!!

5. The opening : yup.. can still get my hand inside.

and there you have it: handcrafted “good enough” ...

“3” is a charm, right?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4906 days

#2 posted 03-08-2007 12:23 AM

Debbie: I don’t see any pictures

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4666 days

#3 posted 03-08-2007 12:24 AM

I see that…
if you do a “right click” on them, you can open them in another window.. it should take you to Picassa.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4805 days

#4 posted 03-08-2007 12:33 AM

I tried the right click , but there’s no choice to (open another window.)

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4666 days

#5 posted 03-08-2007 12:36 AM

well now.. isn’t that frustrating.. hahaha how appropriate!!

I’ll post them under my projects.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4816 days

#6 posted 03-08-2007 02:51 AM

Hang in there, Debbie. We’ve all been through the process that you are describing. I know nothing about making purses, but wouldn’t it be easier or less frustrating to sew the purse first and then make the handles to fit? Kinda like making the mortise first, then making the tenon to fit. This way the opening in the purse is made to an appropriate size and is not dependant or constricted by the handle because it was made first. Just a thought. On step 5, you wanted to do the beadwork, but didn’t. If for no other reason, it would have been a good time to experiment with design or just improve on your technique. It is times like this that trying something new is easier, because you are already not pleased with the way it is turning out. Just another thought. Waiting to see the pictures.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4666 days

#7 posted 03-08-2007 01:09 PM

Os, pictures are posted under my projects.

I’ve made several leather purses before without the handles and without the wooden handles the purse was wide enough. I hadn’t factored in the fact that the wood doesn’t bend. Learning “curve” (or straight line as the case may be).

I’ve also done beadwork before – it’s a lot of piddley work. It’s a good idea to use every opportunity to improve (hmmm sounds like “going beyond the good enough” factor). ...But I chose not to. hahaha

Oh, and the stamped heart on the purse? It’s the only thing that my daughter likes about the purse. Sheesh!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics