Magpies Like Shiny Things

Trend setting designer Kristy Lash leather in jars as artwork The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag Hardware Magpies Shiny Things

A plethora of handbag hardware waits for placement on trend setting handbags that are created in the workshop of The Kristy Bag by CG. Glass jars and bottles hold pieces of leather and thread acting as art pieces.

“What do magpies have to do with our handbags?”  Read on, you’ll love it!  Having a reputation for an attraction to shiny things, magpies belong to the crow family and there is much folklore associated with them. They’ve been regarded as thieves in some cultures and in others they mean good luck. It all depends on how you look at it I guess.

Science has proven however, that magpies don’t necessarily only pick up shiny things. We just happen to notice them with the flashy things as they fly. They pick up all kinds of things that are not eye-catching as well.  So, I’ll cut the magpies some slack since science has proven their thieving only glitzy things as false. But I’m not cutting any slack to calling both Kristy and Dave “magpies”!

Wooden crows in The Lil Yoga Barn Crabtree Gardens The Kristy Bag by CG sister studio

Wooden crows sit high up on the beam at The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens which is the sister studio to Kristy Bag’s Carriage House Artist Studio.

When they began using the Carriage House as their workshop, they started to save every bit of scrap  from the leather trimmed from the leather pattern parts. Kristy picked up some cork-top bottles to store their trimmings in as art pieces. The ultimate handbag team not only makes trend setting handbags, they seem to be on the road to setting a new trend in saving everything handbag.

American made leather handbag leather trimmings thread The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag artwork

The Kristy Bag by CG workshop has bottles and jars filled with pieces of leather trimmings, thread and punched-holes that create art pieces

Kristy also started to save the tiny punched-out dots of leather and pieces of thread that were left after stitiching.  I’m usually the tidy-up person and I’ve been told to separate the leather trimmings into the proper bottles! Both Kristy and Dave love the look of their stashes. They say it adds je ne sais quois to the workshop.  (Remember magpies pick up everything!)

American made leather handbag leather trimmings thread The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag artwork 1

This unique piece of hardware will be added to an original trend setting “Kristy” tote bag for the Oh! So Special Handbag Event. Close-up of the leather hole-punches can be seen inside the glass jar.

The stereotypical magpie nature of their affinity for shiny objects really comes out when Kristy and Dave are debating on the supplies that they need to order, especially hardware. This seems to be their greatest joy during work sessions. They are drawn to hardware of any and all kinds. They can be overheard oohing and aahing about the item they are focused on. Then when the package arrives with the shiny new hardware, I see them cooing over it, knowing that a future bag will look perfect sporting that special piece of hardware.

I know that they order all of this hardware planning that when time permits, they will be able to get a few new bags made using it.  I am highly anticipating the day that they are able to use the unique things that they order. Currently, the handbag order backlog prevents them from doing much with it but we are thankful that we have orders in process.

Trend setting handbag designer  The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag Hardware Unique hardware on trend setting handbags

Several pieces of handbag hardware in brushed nickel, antique brass and shiny brass will be used to create additional American hand made trend setting handbags.

Handbag Confetti*: We use three different hardware finishes on our handbags: Shiny brass, antique brass and brushed nickel. (The handbag magpies are attracted to all three.)

This is why the June “Oh! So Special” Handbag Open House that we have planned is so exciting to all of us. It is forcing us to make time to work on special handbags in between our current backlog so that we can offer some specially made pieces using some amazing colors and some of the beautiful new hardware on that day.

Trend setting handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Wristlet  Kristy Lash artist  American made leather handbag veg tanned leather handmade tumbled pokeberry

This wristlet is made from a special veg tanned leather that accepts the dye in a very unique way. It gives the bag a tumbled look. There is a unique piece of hardware added to the wrist-strap. This is Kristy’s wristlet.

It also encourages us to try new things. After all, this is a trend-setting handbag-making operation we are building and we plan on continuing to set new trends in handbag design. Remember our trend setting “Kristy” Tote bag?

Trend setting Tote bag handbag The Kristy Bag by CG  Crabtree Gardens trend setting handbag Kristy Lash handbag designer

The trend setting handbag that started it all has an eye-glass sling, a handle that is attached north to south, a stitch-in-nine shoulder strap and Lining-a-la-Lash. The hardware is antique brass which accentuates the pig-skin lining running vertically on the sides.

 

Today, I’m working on dying a “Hottie Pink” bag that will be lucky enough to have some special hardware added to it. This color should be popular in the collection.

The Kristy Bag by CG Custom made American Leather Handbags Hottie Pink Stained leather

Front section of “Ivanna” Wristlet shown in NEW “Hottie Pink” color for 2015-The Kristy Bag by CG

 

It seems that I want to keep each bag that I work on and I know Kristy feels the same. I think Dave covets them too 😉

American made leather handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag vintage look handbag hardware

Uniquely interesting handbag hardware that has a vintage look will be added to a new trendy purse.

If you are all “ears” waiting to hear more about the special bags and the event that we have planned in June, you can follow our new event page called Feed the Hand. We will post photos of the completed new trendy handbags as they become available. For now, I must leave you “dangling” with this photo of the Handbag Hottie sporting a bit of her own creative “magpie bling”.

Trend setting designer Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash Zipper Earrings The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag Hardware

Kristy Lash, the Handbag Hottie is seen with a zipper earring dangling from her ear lobe.

Handbag Hardware zipper earrings The Kristy Bag by CG Handbag Hottie wears zipper earrings

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash created this pair of zipper earrings from spare handbag zipper parts.

* Handbag Confetti is the phrase I use to explain tiny bits and pieces of information about our handbags and their construction. It’s useful information for handbag lovers. For more read previous post Handbag Confetti.

Following up on the previous post’s question of whether our story would make national news-Crabtree Gardens did in fact make national news after the Snoga Event! Here’s the link to Accuweather our story is second to the last.

Snoga or Yobaga?

 

Kristy Lash Handbag Hottie yoga pose The Kristy Bag by CG Trend setting handbag designer Snoga Flash Event 1

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash shows off her “Dancer Pose” while stitching the trend setting satchel “Angela” in the color “Deep” in the Carriage House. She couldn’t attend the trend setting “Snoga Event” held here so she’s named her new yoga style- “Yobaga”. Gotta love her!

It has been a wild ride here at Crabtree Gardens since Sunday! There was “Snoga” FLASH  EVENT organized by The Lil Yoga Barn at Crabtree Gardens. It was a brief outdoor yoga class held on the decks surrounded by snow. Angela Preat, owner of The Lil Yoga Barn developed the event based on a suggestion by one of her yoga students named Molly.  Kristy, Dave and I would have loved to attend, but we were involved in the Sunday worksession so we had to pass.  However, our clear view from the Carriage House enabled us to see the parade of cars that drove through our entrance road headed to the outdoor decks. It was very exciting to the the amount of people who attended on a few hours notice. Dave and I met Kristy through yoga so this is an important connection for all of us.

We knew Robert Ferdinand of the Lil Yoga Barn would be here taking photos of the event so we cunningly set up the handbags with hopes that we could coerce him into getting a few good quality photos of them for us for future blog posts. Even though I do many of the photos for this blog, I have so much still to learn. Robert is our friend and a great go-to person for help and his photos are great! We will be using a professional photographer who is familiar with product display when we have all the display bags completed.

Trend setting handbag collection The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Snoga Event

Trend setting handbags from The Kristy Bag by CG 2014 Signature Handbag Collection displayed at Carriage House.

It’s not often that we are able to get all six of our trend setting handbags from the The Kristy Bag by CG’s 2014 Signature Collection together for a photo. Since we can’t seem to find the time to make display handbags, we use the prototypes that Kristy and I carry which differ slightly from the final designs. We know we need display bags, but our order backlog is the most important thing so we continually push off making the displays.

After the “Snoga” event, we offered hot cocoa, cappuccino and cookies to the “snogis” inside the Carriage House. What were we thinking? Hot drinks and cookies among leather handbags on display wasn’t the most thoughtfully planned out idea. But thankfully everyone was very careful and there were no accidents and most of all more people saw the bags up close!  After seeing Kristy’s crossbody take a beating (see the photo Handbag incident “1 in previous post), I guess there shouldn’t be any worries about removing accidents (even road dirt 😉 )!

In true blogging fashion, I set out yesterday to capture the “Snoga” event in my other blog called “Her Way at Crabtree Gardens” after Robert had sent me the link to his photos.  I posted the link to my blog called”Yoga in the Snow-Snoga” on Crabtree Gardens Facebook page. In about five minutes I noticed that there were 48 shares onto people’s Facebook pages. That amazed me! I kept watching the tally climb and began to wonder what was happening. Kristy noticed that she was getting people sharing it from her personal Facebook page as well.

It was an amazing day watching the shares and comments come in. Everyone was excited for the next event like it. I posted the link onto Jasmine Brooks‘ Facebook page. She is our local news personality who had covered a previous Yogathon we held here in 2013. Jasmine expressed definite interest in attending the next Snoga event here! The tally kept climbing and was at 188 blog shares when I posted a link on The Weather Channel’s Facebook page showing how our yoga community was welcoming winter and dealing with the snow. Our website couldn’t handle the flow of traffic and it started to falter. I honestly thought the post would go viral! As of this writing at 7:05 AM, there were 305 shares and it’s still going!

Trend setting American made leather satchel The Kristy Bag by CG Deep Color 2015 Ultimate Handbag team

The Ultimate Handbag Team are shown working in the Carriage House following the Snoga Event at Crabtree Gardens. Kristy is working on the “Deep” color “Angela” Satchel with stunning silver hardware and Dave is working on a matching man’s wallet. The pieces were commissioned by a husband and wife.

This is an amazing journey for all of us.  The idiom “A rising tide lifts all boats” seems to fit so well here today. We are one big family at Crabtree Gardens and when one part of our family does well, it helps the others succeed.  Will Crabtree Gardens and The Lil Yoga Barn get national exposure? Will more people learn about the Handbag Hottie? Damn, I certainly hope so 🙂

Trend setting handbag collection The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Snoga Event Handbag Hottie

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash strikes her infamous hand-on-hip-head-tilted-smiling pose for Robert Ferdinand’s camera at the Carriage House Artist Studio at Crabtree Gardens while the first “Snoga” Event took place in the gardens.

 

 

 

Deep Dark World of Handbags

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens color deep leather garden inspired handbag colors veg tanned leather American made handbags

A sample swatch of naked veg tanned leather dyed “Deep” is placed between different shades of foliage and flowers of the same color family. Variations of colors ranging from purple to mahogany brown can be seen in the leather color swatch. “Deep” is a new color offered in The Kristy Bag by CG 2015 Handbag Collection, hand-made at Crabtree Gardens, Drums, PA.

We’ve crossed the line and are heading down deep-deep into the dark side. We have been commissioned to produce a bag so very unique that each step along the way fascinates us!

Our client commissioned an “Angela” Satchel and thrilled us by asking for it to be hand-dyed in our 2015 color “Deep”. After visiting our workshop at our first open-house and viewing the cowhide that would be used to fabricate her handbag, she was attracted to the larger natural range marks that remained on the hide.

There were tick bites, barbed wire scratch marks, neck wrinkles and other noticeable imperfections that intrigued her. She asked Kristy and Dave to allow those marks to be prominent on her bag when they placed the pattern pieces for cutting. She appreciates the beauty and quality of real leather, perhaps since she’s an equestrian.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Handbags Veg tanned leather making leather handbags by handUnder normal circumstances, we avoid using large imperfections in prominent areas and usually cut around them. There will always be smaller less noticeable skin markings like discernible veining and some tiny wrinkle lines and light scratches that can be seen under very close inspection. That’s all part of the intrinsic beauty of naked leather. It’s not chemically treated to remove those marks. That’s why we love working with it so much.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Garden applied color veg tanned leather  American made handbags amazing handbags  1

At close view, small hide marks remain visible even through color dye application on veg tanned leather.

After punching the cut pieces of leather, it was time for a dye-job. As I previously mentioned in the last post, each piece of leather accepts the dye differently. It’s a matter of keeping the leather cased (moistened) evenly and getting the dye on that moistened leather very quickly so that it penetrates the surface evenly. It’s time consuming and a little unnerving, especially after punching all of the holes. Handbag Confetti*-There are approx. 3500 hand-punched holes in the “Angela” satchel handbag.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Garden applied color veg tanned leather  American made handbags amazing handbags

Hand-punched, hand-dyed and hand-waxed leather parts await construction into The Kristy Bag by CG “Angela” Satchel color “Deep”. This will be one amazing handbag when it’s completed!

The true color of a dye-job comes through when the leather parts get hand-waxed. After buffing, the nuances of color are reflected in by the shine and the leather comes to life. It’s amazing how different it can look under indoor lighting, overcast outdoor light and in direct sunlight. I mentioned previously (previous post “Handbag Colors Hottie Pink and Deep“) that this particular handbag reminded me of the shine on a horse’s coat.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens color deep waxing dyed veg tanned leather mink oil  American made handbags

Mink oil is hand-applied to the naked veg tanned leather dyed color “Deep”. When dry, the leather parts are buffed to create a protective coating on the leather.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Garden applied color veg tanned leather  American made handbags amazing handbags  2

Deep, dark and downright gorgeous hand-stitched amazing leather bag!

Though this amazing handbag is not yet completed, I couldn’t wait to get some photos of it. I took a few quick shots of it outdoors but it was overcast and cold so I think I’ll wait to show it off when it’s all done!

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens color deep leather hide range marks veg tanned leather American made handbags

A partially constructed “Angela” satchel in color “Deep” is shown in overcast light outdoors. Natural hide range marks were taken into consideration when designing the handbag per client request. The Kristy Bag by CG welcomes special commissions such as this unique concept.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens color deep silver hardware veg tanned leather mink oil  American made handbags

This handbag is under construction and shows the yet unattached “gable” portion of the top of the “Angela” Satchel shown in color “Deep”. A silver zipper and hardware accentuates the dark color beautifully.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Garden applied color veg tanned leather  American made handbags Handbag Hottie at work

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash at her work table in the Carriage House hand-stitching the zipper into the top opening of the “Deep” Angela Satchel.

I didn’t forget the Handbag Hottie either! Here she is working on the zipper and gable top portion of the handbag at her worktable. Don’t you just love her color combination of coral and that taupe scarf?

* Handbag Confetti is the phrase I use to explain tiny bits and pieces of information about our handbags and their construction. It’s useful information for handbag lovers. For more read previous post Handbag Confetti.

 

 

 

 

Handbag Colors- “Hottie Pink” and “Deep”

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American made handbags Handbag Hottie Hottie Pink leather color Crabtree Gardens Handbag line

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash announces the newest color in The Kristy Bag by CG 2015 collection-“Hottie Pink”.

It’s a GO! The newest color offered in our handbag line will be “Hottie Pink”. It’s a very rosey-colored pink that’s just as hot as our Handbag Hottie!  It’s the exact color of the inside of her tool case. A previous post  (Handbag Confetti) showed the color in testing stages. Today it finally made the cut for the color selector. It’s beautiful and of course eco-friendly.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American made handbags Handbag Hottie Hottie Pink leather garden inspired colors Crabtree Gardens Handbag line1

The new color “Hottie Pink” was named after our Handbag Hottie, Kristy Lash.

We will be creating a one-of-a-kind trend setting handbag with it in the very near future. Maybe the “Elizabeth” prototype will be the lucky handbag to wear it first. I’m hoping for it!

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American made handbags Handbag Hand dyed leather Hottie Hottie Pink leather colors Crabtree Gardens Handbag line

The Kristy Bag by CG Garden Inspired Hand Dyed Leather Handbag Color Selections for 2015

New “Hottie Pink” looks great among the other colors on our color selector.  I have a feeling it will be a perfect compliment to leopard 🙂 After all, leopard IS timeless! This color is going to make a fantastic girly-girl teen wristlet too! And what about our up-coming mother-daughter handbags Jenny and Annie, wouldn’t it look good on both of them? Oooooooh, I can’t wait! And maybe the clutch, oh boy, we better get working! Now all Kristy needs is a perfect shade of lipstick to match it! Any suggestions out there?

Other Stuff: We are currently working on a commissioned handbag in the color “Deep”. When I dyed the first piece of this “Angela” satchel I knew I had to have this. It’s not mine but I really wish it was. It is such an intriguing color with nuances of brown, purple and even wine. It has an equestrian look to it. I took a piece of freshly dyed leather outside just to see what it looked like in sunlight. It was rich! It reminds me of a show horse a little bit. Here’s a photo of a shiny coat of a show horse doesn’t it look like that with its nuances of color?

Hand dyed American Leather heirloom handbags The Kristy  Bag by CG Fine Leather Goods made in America Garden Inspired Colors Crabtree Gardens Deep Color

“Angela” satchel leather parts hand dyed with color “Deep” and waxed with Red Wing Shoes Mink Oil prior to stitching is reminiscent of the shiny nuances of color in the coat of a show horse.

Here’s some Handbag Confetti*-A satchel requires approximately 5 oz. of dye for a good coverage and it also depends on the leather itself as to whether the dye penetrates deeply or sits near the surface. Each part of the hide absorbs the dye differently. Talk about unique! There will be a future post detailing this very unique handbag, hand-dying and it’s hardware. It may just be the new trend setting handbag color among our own 2015 handbag collection!

* Handbag Confetti is the phrase I use to explain tiny bits and pieces of information about our handbags and their construction. It’s useful information for handbag lovers. For more read previous post Handbag Confetti.

 

Handbag Confetti

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Handbags Heriloom Handbags Veg Tanned Leather

There is a cause for throwing a bit of “handbag confetti” in celebration of our journey creating amazing handbags here at The Kristy Bag by CG! We have completed the last of the Namesake Signature Handbags a few days ago!

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Handbags Heriloom Handbags Veg Tanned Leather  1

The Kristy Bag by CG ‘s Namesake Signature Handbags are ready to be shipped to their namesakes.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Leather Handbags

“Angela” Satchel at left, “Sue” Clutch in center and “Cheri” Crossbody on right make a beautiful mini-collection in front of the fireplace.

We also received a bit of very inspiring news yesterday. The big excitement for all three of us is the possibility that our handbag line will be expanding into a special boutique very soon. We are in the preliminary stages of working out the details. I’ll say more when I can. Serendipitously we already had dinner plans at our favorite Thai restaurant Bloom’n Thai along with a beer and a dessert stop at Marley’s Brewery. We are foodies!

Trend setting handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Kristy Lash designer  American made leather handbag veg tanned leather handbag Crabtree Gardens Handbag

Kristy did a selfie with Dave and I in the background at Marley’s Brewery.

And now…time for some confetti!

Confetti is comprised of bits and pieces of paper that’s released when there’s something to celebrate. Alone, the tiny pieces wouldn’t really make an impression but when grouped together and released it’s becomes an exhilarating experience. Although our handbag “confetti” may not be exhilarating, it is quite informational and we know there are followers out there who enjoy learning about it because they told us so!

A newsworthy thing happening here is that we are in the process of adding a new color to the line. I dubbed it “Hottie Pink”. I knew Kristy would be happy with the name and she was. Actually, it was named after her.  Confetti: Our other colors are eco-friendly dyes, and the new color is an eco-friendly stain. It’s a hot, pinky-rosy color that is really “girly-girl”. It’s the color of the inside of Kristy’s tool case. Now she’s hot on the trail of lipstick to match. Go figure!

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Girly-Girl Hottie Pink Color

We got really excited when we saw the color in liquid form. Kristy could see it on a clutch with white stitching and silver hardware. I could see wristlets and bagettes stained with it. Dave saw it as an accent panel on some of the handbags.

To test it, I cased the leather (haha that sounded funny) upon Dave’s instruction. Confetti: “Casing” is the term used when you wet leather before working on it. It opens the pores and allow the surface treatment to be absorbed. This time I read the directions (see previous post about reading directions on new products) that said to apply with a circular motion. The results were blotchy. Then I tested it without casing the leather and the results were the same.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Girly-Girl  Testing Stain on Leather Hottie Pink Color

I re-read the directions and it said to apply in a circular motion with a sponge. I used a wool swab. (Note to self-read all of the words in the directions.)  I didn’t have time to apply it the correct way to see what would happen. So right now I’m looking forward to Sunday’s work session to find out. You will know soon enough. We all love this color.

Other stuff: We create prototypes of Kristy’s handbag designs to see what works and what doesn’t. Going from a paper sketch to 3D can have some quirks. Fortunately we get to use the prototypes and pick out things that need further refinement. Confetti: Kristy came up with an in-house word for our prototypes. She calls them “lette’s” (pronounced let-ay).  When the bag is made and it’s not exactly like it should be, we add that word to the end of the style. It sounds rather chic!  For instance the first wristlet prototype that was made was too small. We dubbed it the “Wrist-lette” pronounced as wrist-le-tay. I’m using the wrist-lette for a wallet and it’s great. The actual “Ivanna” wristlet is larger and the wrist strap got wider.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Girly-Girl  Wristlets

The prototype satchel had a few tweaks too. The new wrapped bottom, which removed the bottom row of stitching from the front and added wrapped corners instead of just angled corners looks much cleaner.  It also received wider handles and the zipper opening changed directions.  Our CG logo shrunk down too.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Handbags Angela Satchel and Prototype Veg Tanned Leather

The opening on the crossbody prototype was shrunk down creating a more clean visual line on the front of the handbag. The change strengthened the opening allowing more leather on the sides.

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Handbags Cheri Crossbody and Prototype Veg Tanned Leather

There’s so much happening every day and we are really enjoying the path we are on. In case you think that I may have forgotten a Handbag Hottie photo, I didn’t. Have a great week everyone and thanks for following and sharing our posts!

Trend setting handbags The Kristy Bag by CG American Made Handbags Heriloom Handbags Handbag Hottie

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash curls up with the completed “Angela” Namesake Signature Handbag. Along side rests her black tool case lined in the color “Hottie Pink”. Note her pretty matching penguin socks in those same colors!

Written by Sandi Crabtree for the Kristy Bag by CG

 

 

Handbag Hottie-Got Mink?

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash in Mink and leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Handbag collection 2015It’s New Year’s Eve! What a great time to discuss the luxurious yet controversial subject of mink. We had just a little tease of some faux mink on the red sweater “cape” that Kristy Kringle wore during her Christmas visit to the Carriage House. That was just a precursor to hook her followers into the anticipation of this blog post. It’s just how her mind works. She’s always planning the next move. Her prowess amazes me. 😉

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash in Mink and leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Handbag Collection 2015 Trend Setting Handbag Designer1

The Handbag Hottie, Kristy Lash is the epitome of the word “mink” as described by the Urban Dictionary. She is extraordinary, high class and definitely has expensive qualities. This time her blog antics are a bit more, shall we say, “reserved”. She’s not off running around with a meat cleaver chasing a turkey that swooped down and snatched her tote bag. She’s just chillin’ out with a group of vintage minks while she lounges effortlessly on top of the American antique mahogany, drop-leaf, splay leg table that we use to roll out our leather for pattern cutting. She’s not hurting anything at all here peeps, she’s just enhancing it. The Handbag Hottie, Kristy Lash actually is advocating the use of mink – oil that is.

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash Red Wing Shoes Mink Oil leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Trend Setting Handbag Designer

We are talking naked here! Just as Kristy needed to cover up for these photos, our veg tanned leather (known in the industry as ‘”naked”) needs something to help protect it from normal life outside of the handbag dust cover. Since there are no chemicals used during the tanning process, the leather is very open to anything it comes in contact with. Before our handbags are stitched together, they are hand rubbed with a coating of mink oil.  It treats, preserves, and adds water resistance to leather with a bit of shine. We became quite fond of using Red Wing Shoes mink oil because of how beautifully it protects without imparting any noticeable darkening in the leather.

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash Red Wing Shoes Mink Oil leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens  Hermes Bracelet

Coincidentally, a few days ago, Kristy showed up at the Carriage House looking quite upset as she presented her “Cheri” crossbody prototype to me. It seems that her handbag encountered an incident which caused black marks to remain on the handbag. She really could not explain how they ended up on there. (Personally, I believe it fell out of the car while she was in a mall parking lot and she ran over it with her tire, but who am I to judge.)

Cleaning naked veg tanned leather

I could only offer to get out our pure, scent-free, dye-free glycerin soap to try and help to remove the black marks (dirt). It’s made exclusively for us in the shape of little handbags by our local soap guru Rose at Sugarloaf Soaps.  Beginning January 1, 2015, we will be including a free glycerin handbag soap with each handbag sold.

Cleaning naked veg tanned leather  1

Kristy’s prototype handbag was previously coated with mink oil before it was stitched, so I had confidence that we would be able to lighten the black marks (still thinking…road dirt). Do any of you remember me telling you how Kristy abuses her handbags (An Art to Handbag Design)?

I made a lather with the soap and using a soft, barely-moistened cloth, I went to work rubbing the dirty areas then rinsing with a clean damp cloth. We could see them lightening up except for two little spots that looked as if they were splashed with black oil.

Cleaning naked veg tanned leather  2

It was a bit unnerving for us to see how the leather absorbed the moisture but Dave assured both of us that it would dry. And dry it did!  The black marks (road dirt) came out and the bag was ready to get re-coated with more mink oil. Kristy breathed a sigh of relief. She still cannot pinpoint when or where it happened.

Cleaning naked veg tanned leather  4

We purchased another brand of mink oil that we never used before and when it was applied to the handbag, it immediately darkened the leather. It was just enough to make the handbag look as if it had a light patina. The description on the can stated that there could be a darkening of leather. None of us read it. It taught us a lesson first hand. Always test new products on scrap or in an inconspicuous area.

Cleaning naked veg tanned leather  5

So now Kristy’s prototype crossbody has a new look! Dave said that the leather was drier than our normal leather which has a slightly higher oil content left in the tannage. Our prototype leather is 2-3 oz. and our standard leather is 3-4 oz. and both are all natural veg tanned. The new mink oil even changed the feel of the handbag. It made the leather very soft and supple, almost like a different kind of leather. Both Dave and Kristy love the supple feel. I’m partial to the stiffer-bodied feel of the bags.

We celebrated with a Crabtree Gardens Cranberry Mink Cocktail again. They are so smooth and delicious just like the rich and silky smooth feel of a mink. Is anyone out there interested in Dave’s recipe?

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash in Mink and leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Handbag Collection 20152

So our mink lesson taught us that one can never be certain as to how naked leather will react to any surface applications. It also taught us that Kristy feels completely comfortable in just about any type of photo shoot that we can conjure up for her. I can hardly wait until the Black and White post in January. That’s all I’m letting out for now. Have a Happy, Happy, Happy New Year everyone!

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash in Mink and leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Handbag Collection 20151

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash wears a white enamel Hermès bracelet and is surrounded by her trend setting handbag collection as she is draped in vintage mink.

All of the minks in these photos are vintage family heirlooms and are lovingly owned by David and Sandi Crabtree.

Handbag Hottie Kristy Lash Red Wing Shoes Mink Oil leather naked veg tanned leather American made handbag The Kristy Bag by CG Crabtree Gardens Vintage Minks