I forgot to show you my new belt, you guys!
The story behind it is this: I've been taking riding lessons, and my instructor believes in a very holistic method that involves not just actual sitting on the horse, but also grooming and stable care, as well as learning to use, store, and maintain tack (saddles, bridles, etc) correctly. Recently she handed me a bridle and set of reins that were dry, stiff, and coated in grimy dust. "Look at this," she said, tutting sadly. "A perfectly good bridle. Can you believe someone let it get this way? Take it home and clean and oil it." So I did.
Part of cleaning your equipment is checking it for wear or damage. I think this is good practice for anything, really, be it riding or sewing or camping, or whatever. So when I noticed during my soaping and oiling that one of the reins had a tear in it near one of the buckles, I showed it to my instructor, asking if it could be repaired.
"Nope," she said. "Throw it out. We'll get you another pair."
I stood there with the rein in my hand, hesitant to throw out what was perfectly good leather except for the one flaw.
"Trash!" she said. "It's not safe to use."
"Maybe I could make a dog collar or something..?" I said.
"Take it home then; it's yours. But I don't want it here."
Free leather! With pretty leather lacing! It's a good thing my lesson was over, or I'd have not been able to listen to instruction because of all the ideas whirling in my head. A new collar for Josie! Or a strap for my hunting horn! Or -- a new belt! Yes!
I gave it another coat of oil and tapped a few brass decorations on to give it a feminine look. Then I used some blue wool I had on hand to make cord, attaching it through holes in the leather's ends with a larks head knot. Tied into tasseled ends, and accented with a little red cord and just a bit of gold thread to make it pop, I think it's a very pretty and period-looking belt.
Dave says "How long til someone catches you in the tack room with a knife?" But he's only kidding. I mean, how many belts does one girl need?
Oh, and here's a picture of the work on my Bayeux-embroidered bag. Coming along very well, though next time I think I'll do the fill first, and the outline afterwards. I think it will look better.