First Competition: County Fair

After too many funnel cakes, cheese steaks, French fries, apple dumplings, deep-fried onion rings and other calorie-laden food options, the anticipation of knowing what place KristyBag has been awarded in an Arts and Crafts Exhibition at our county fair has ended. Thank goodness for our waistlines that the judging is complete and we have been able to see her, rather, the first handbag of Crabtree Gardens’ KristyBag line, displaying our first of hopefully many more ribbons.

Although we are still a little blue that we didn’t win first place, we are grateful that KristyBag is sporting a ribbon in a lovely shade of red. Actually, the red color is not too far off from the color of our “Spicy” colorway (wink-wink). Our KristyBag took second place to a doll dress that was made from leather which had a beautiful intricate-stitched design.

KristyBag at the County Fair

KristyBag in her first competition.

When we entered the contest the only category that fit our bag was a very broad “leather” category. There were no guidelines other than the item had to be handmade and not entered in a previous contest. All leather items entered must have then been separated into smaller groups of three where the organizers felt they belonged. They placed our handbag, a leather vest and a doll wearing a leather dress together.  By entering our leather handbag in this very broad contest, we really took a chance.  Did we ever think that our multidimensional, lined leather bag would be judged against an intricate stitching pattern on a doll dress? Not in our wildest dreams. We had hoped that it would have been placed next to saddle bags, tool bags, harnesses, wallets, bible covers, even chaps, but never a doll dress.

For whatever the reason it was placed in the category with these other two items is still a bit confusing but we believe in destiny.  There’s a tagline from a well known auto rental company that uses their ranking among their competitors as number two to their advantage. That company tagline set a new standard for the car rental industry. So with that said, we can only hope that similar circumstances lie ahead for us. Though we can’t currently put ourselves on the same playing field as companies that have been around for decades, we really do look forward to setting new standards in the leather handbag world.

High-up on a shelf sits “Kristy”

In a previous post, I mentioned how The Kristy Bag by CG handbag line started from the ground up. We believed that the county fair would be a great way to get exposure and offer local folks a chance to see the beauty of a fine handmade leather handbag created here in America in our own locality. Unfortunately, KristyBag could barely be seen because of how high-up they arranged items on shelves.  Her lining was not visible and the people who placed the bag didn’t close the latch on the handle (see photo above). There she sat high up on a shelf with her handle dangling down in a pitiful nature. We wondered if she had been judged only half-dressed. (Poor KristyBag!)

Dave and Kristy at the County Fair

Dave and Kristy at the County Fair

The county fair was an eye-opening experience for us. We realize that we must be more selective with future competitions that we enter and choose to enter those with more specific guidelines. We are very pleased that we are walking away with an award. We can now honestly say ” We are an award-winning handbag.”

Written by Sandi Crabtree for










We Have Nothing to “Hide”


Crabtree Gardens Handbag line the kristy bag eco friendly handbag colors CG LOGO

The Kristy Bag by CG is an American made handbag line created at Crabtree Gardens in Drums, PA and we have nothing to hide. Our handbags are made the old-fashioned way, by hand using leather hides. In this world of fast-paced, high-tech manufacturing, it’s a pleasant change. It truly brings back the beauty and romanticism of a bygone era when true quality was created by human touch using natural products.

Our talented handbag designer Kristy Lash is definitely setting new trends in handbag design by reminiscing time-forgotten details into her unique designs. Dark waxed threads wrap around raw edges of light, naked leather creating a binding visual beauty out of sheer functionality. The eye is immediately drawn to the contrast of stitching color that contains the leather pieces. These hand-stitched details impart a feeling of gravitas to her line.

Pigskin suede hand-stitiched on raw edges of top grain cowhide.

Pigskin suede is hand-stitched on raw edges of top grain cowhide.

Attention to detail on the "Kristy" tote bag

Attractive stitching details on the “Kristy” tote bag

Kristy calls attention to how each handle or strap is attached with an attractive stitching detail creating even more interest. The soft, velvety feel of her choice of pigskin suede lining makes the inside of the bag feel like a luxury (Lining a la Lash).  Kristy Lash loves handbags and her passion is apparent by the distinctly unique and exciting designs that she creates.

Crabtree Gardens Handbag line the kristy bag handbag team Kristy Lash Dave Crabtree

Dave Crabtree and Kristy Lash are the “Ultimate Handbag Team”

Dave Crabtree, our leather artisan sources out suppliers for the leather hides that will be fashioned into our handbags. His knowledge and experience working with leather and creating patterns allows him to determine which parts of the hide will be best suited to each bag. This time-honed skill empowers Kristy’s ideas to be fashioned into the fine handbags that she demands. These two talented artists collaborate to create one-of-a-kind handbags that emanate quality, luxury and beauty. They are the ultimate handbag team.

The leather used for The Kristy Bag by CG handbag line is veg tanned top grain cowhide and pigskin. In leather terminology, “veg” tanning is the industry’s term for vegetable tanning. This method of tanning animal hides causes the least amount of impact on our environment as opposed to leather that is tanned with chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Veg tanned leather is more costly than chemically tanned leather and its quality shows.  Since Crabtree Gardens is a naturalized, chemical-free garden, this style of tanning falls in line with our beliefs.  After all, humans have been using hides for covering since the beginning of time. It doesn’t get more natural.

The Kristy Bag by CG garden inspired colors have been created by hand-applying leather dyes to the “naked” tanned cowhide. The dye itself is water-based and eco-friendly. The color is then sealed into the leather with a wax coating which is hand-applied. The variations in the porosity of parts of the hides accept staining with individual results. This gives subtle color variations and adds uniqueness to each piece that is made.

Natural dyes applied to veg tanned leather

Natural dyes applied to veg tanned leather

The intrinsic beauty of the hide’s imperfections, pores and textures are able to be seen and appreciated for what they are-natural. Our handbags are unique and truly individual works of art. There will never be two alike. They are an investment that will provide many years of service and will gracefully age offering a warmhearted patina through the years.

Since we are a boutique handbag company, we can easily communicate directly with our clients as to the progress of the individual bag that is being created or customized for them. They can watch the creation of each bag design through our Facebook page The Kristy Bag by CG.

Customer orders for wristlets and bagettes are cut and ready to be punched by hand.

Customer orders for wristlets and bagettes are cut and ready to be punched.

We enjoy seeing the level of enthusiasm that our clients get from knowing where their handbag comes from and that it’s a handbag made in America. We appreciate the time they take to share in our wonderful journey growing from the ground up and we are truly very grateful for all of their support.

Next post: “KristyBag” Goes to the County Fair

Written for by Sandi Crabtree


New Handbag Colorways for 2015

Kristy Lash holds the "Kristy" tote bag at Crabtree Gardens

Kristy Lash holds the “Kristy” tote bag at Crabtree Gardens

Organic is in and so are we with our new 2015 handbag color line that has taken its cues from the natural palette of colors abundant here at Crabtree Gardens. Our eco-friendly color line originates from water-based leather dye which is hand applied to each piece of top grain veg tan cowhide  (more about veg tan in the next post). The color is then sealed in with several coats of wax, which is also hand-rubbed, giving the handbag a low-luster finish.

This new line of garden inspired handbag colors offers five distinct shades which will be available in each of our current styles: The “Kristy” tote bag, “Cheri” crossbody bag, “Angela” satchel, “Sue” clutch, “Ivanna” wristlet, and even our “Bagette” which is a money-case key chain accessory.

Shown above on the Kristy tote is Natural. This is our “naked” standard top grain veg tanned leather without any stain applied. It will patina to a warm mid-range tan over the years. It is the ultimate neutral bag color. This timeless beauty is what The Kristy Bag by CG bases its designs on.

The Kristy Bag by CG 2015 Colorways

Cucumber colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Cucumber colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Cucumber – A cool choice for a change of pace. Subtle color variations ranging from golden undertones to grassy accents create a multi-dimensional color that actually mimics the skin of a cucumber. It stands out against a range of beiges and tans and would make a stunning accent against navy or black.

Coveralls colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Coveralls colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Coveralls – Like a pair of denim coveralls, this blue will slowly develop a time-worn patina with use. As the name suggests it is a shade of blue that can easily be worn with browns and blacks, acting as your coverall neutral.

Deep colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Deep colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Deep – This complex color shows undertones of purple and mahogany in a range of depths exuding a mysterious look. “Deep” adds a note of sophistication without being pretentious.

Spicy colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Spicy colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Spicy– It’s spicy and grabs attention! This racy color is the ultimate accent that will cause some heads to turn your way. In either a little dose, like our “Ivanna” wristlet or a big dose like the “Kristy” tote, this uplifting color will definitely spice up your life

Terracotta colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Terracotta colorway 2015 The Kristy Bag by CG

Terracotta– This warm neutral is a soft-take on terracotta pottery. It enhances warm colors and is just the right contrast for the cooler palette as well. It partners well with ivory, grey and green tones. In daylight it appears warm and indoors it has a more sallow effect.

Stay tuned for the next post “We Have Nothing to Hide”. The post will explain our materials and design direction.

Lining a la Lash

The luxurious pigskin lining surrounds the inside of a "Kristy" tote bag that is ready to be hand-stitched.

The Kristy Bag by CG boasts luxurious top grain pigskin suede lining.

Handbags can take on all kinds of roles; from becoming temporary mini-shelters that store bits of paraphernalia which we consider necessary accompaniments to acting as a vital accessory completing the look of a fashion statement. Fabricated in everything from metal to paper with anything else in between,  handbags are available in any shape, size color and of course, price range. Pretty much, the world of handbags is your oyster. By the way,  there are even oyster shell handbags available.

"Kristy" tote bag is trimmed with pigskin piping on the sides as well as lined with it on the inside.

“Kristy” tote bag lined and trimmed with pigskin suede.

To many people, the inside of a handbag may not be the defining detail that either makes or breaks a bag. It doesn’t set off a spark because it’s just that –an inside, unless of course you are consumed with the finer details of bags. The lining of a handbag is there for a several reasons. On an aesthetic level, it hides the unfinished edges of the exterior material of the bag and provides a finished look to the inside. It serves functionally to provide a surface that can cradle the cargo it carries, no matter how thrifty or precious it is. It can also help to compartmentalize belongings for quick access. We can easily conjure up a mental picture of the location of items in our bags. Many times we reach into our bags and quickly retrieve the item we need without even looking inside, all the while not paying a bit of attention to the lining.

Now just imagine if each time your hand touched the inside of your handbag you felt luxury. Lightly brushing against something soft and textural with the back of your hand or fingertips each time you reached inside would make you look forward to it.  In those few brief seconds you could be rewarded with a feeling of comfort and pleasure.

Soft and textural top grain pigskin inside The Kristy Bag by CG.

Soft and textural top grain pigskin inside The Kristy Bag by CG.

Kristy Lash is a trend setting handbag designer. Her handbag designs provide excitement and luxury. Kristy is consumed with the finer details of her bags. Each handbag in The Kristy Bag by CG line has been designed with a top grain pigskin suede lining, a design detail referred to as “Lining a la Lash”. From the “Kristy” tote bag to the “Bagette”, a money case key ring, each has her signature “Lining a la Lash” hand stitched inside of it.  It is a well-thought-out detail that offers a luxurious feel and look to each one of her bags. Kristy says “It’s something that’s exciting when you open it and I like it!”

In this age of instant accessibility and the constant bombardment of social networking, we need a little bit of daily escape. We need just a little reminder every now and then to appreciate the wonderful. With each brush against “Lining a la Lash” you can be reminded that there are little luxuries in life if you just take time to look inside the shell of the oyster.

"Bagette" money case key chain is lined with soft top grain pigskin suede.

“Bagette” money case key chain is lined with soft top grain pigskin suede.

Written by Sandi Crabtree for The Kristy Bag by CG