The ABCs of Leathercraft

I have a unique appreciation for the art of leatherworking.  I find there to be something very zen about the juxtapositioning of a detail-oriented craft that requires patience and restraint with the physical rigor of an upper-body workout.  Like with most bespoke goods, there’s also kind of personality to each thing that you create; a sort of energy in it from the person who made it.  Not to mention, it’s a more lucrative hobby than playing video games.

As a new dad, most of my “free time” is dedicated to watching cartoons, cleaning up messes, and making noodles, so I don’t always have as much time to invest in my extracurricular activities as I once did.  Fortunately, I’ve found a few ways to incorporate the kid into some of the projects, which not only gives me the opportunity to teach her a skill while practicing it myself… it also allows me to justify buying new tools!


The first project I included her in was some basic stamping of letters.  Pretty simple, although a kid flailing a small mallet requires some fairly intense supervision.  We started by just letting her stamp different letters into a piece of scrap leather and letting her tell me what letter she stamped.  She really enjoyed this because it was always a surprise when she lifted the stamp and she found excitement in being able to identify the letter, but also she felt like she was making something.  (Mommy did a great job of feigning excitement for each and every battered scrap of leather she received as a gift.)


I had always intended on making her a bracelet of sorts with all of the tiny letters stamped on it so that she could practice identifying them (in the car, at the grocery store, etc.), however she really picked up on them pretty quickly.  I think it has more to do with the fact that she’s just a sharp kid than anything I may have done, but I like to believe that every little bit helps!


Nutella Dipped Strawberries

There’s always that moment of dread: it’s Valentine’s Day and, although you thought you had a vague plan, you realize how few details you actually worked out.  You stop by the grocery store on the way home and think, “Chocolate Covered Strawberries!  Yeah!  That’s the ticket!”  and then you realize that it’s $10+ for 6 of them… and really, who eats only 6?

I got on the googler and looked around at a few recipes and came up with a treat that was delicious and so easy a kid could do it!  (Quite Literally) (Disclaimer: Adult Supervision Required)


What you’ll need is:

1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips

2 heaping spoonfuls of Nutella (size of spoon varies based on your love of Nutella)

Fresh Strawberries

1/4 c white chocolate chips (optional)

The strawberries only took about 10-15 to make and were set after another 10-15 minutes, so around 30 minutes over all.  Yields roughly 12-14 dipped strawberries.

  1. Wash and dry the strawberries (yields probably about 12, but lets be honest… you’ll probably eat one or two for “quality control”).
  2. Prep wax paper on a cookie sheet to place the strawberries for cooling.
  3. Mix together the Nutella and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a small bowl and heat in 20-30 second intervals, stirring in between.  After roughly 3-4 cycles, it should be pretty creamy and smooth.
  4. One by one, grab the strawberries by the stem and dip them in the chocolate, rolling them around a bit to make sure that you get even coverage over most of the red.  If you’re not looking for picture perfect strawberries, this is a great step for the kid to do.
  5. Once you’ve filled the sheet, run out of strawberries, or the chocolate is getting too shallow, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes so they can begin to harden.
  6. Eat the remaining melted chocolate (share with the kid if so inclined)
  7. Once the chocolate has hardened slightly, pull the strawberries out of the fridge.  Microwave the white chocolate chips in a new bowl, again in 20-30 second intervals and stirring in between.  Once it is creamy, grab a large glob on the spoon and attempt to gently drizzle the white chocolate on top of the chocolate in some kind of Polleck-esk design.  The kid loved doing this step too, although her white chocolate application was a little bit more heavy handed.

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