I have a lot on my mind regarding ownership of ideas. I have a feeling this is going to be a long post....
I think the more sharing of ideas in this world, the better. I've learned a lot about this concept lately, and I really think it's true. The more you share ideas and thoughts with other people, the more you learn. The more proprietary you are about your ideas and thoughts, the less you get back. This can be hard, but talking about what you're working on can be really helpful, and other people can help you a lot. Like Paul Arden says in his awesome little book, we should be open with our knowledge, and we will gain more in the long run.
Unfortunately, some folks I respect a lot have recently had their ideas ripped off by other people who are selling almost exactly the same thing they are doing on venues like Etsy. And it's very upsetting. I want to believe that the people involved in our community are respectful, decent people, but unfortunately, there are some bad apples who aren't willing to respect other people's work.
So I want to say that if you have the brains and the spunk to copy someone's design, then you also have the ability to come up with your own designs, right? I mean, if I can copy a design I see at H&M while I'm out shopping, then theoretically, I could sit down and sketch out something original. It's one thing to see something that you like and to go home and try to make it yourself instead. Heck, I do it all the time, partly because I'm curious to see if I can replicate the style myself, and partly because I have virtually no budget for clothes shopping. Besides, why should you buy a very simple dress if you have a piece of fabric, your sewing machine and a basic understanding of how clothes go together?
But it's another thing entirely to knock off someone's design and start selling it. The people who created these designs worked for years to come up with their products, and then for someone to steal their ideas and produce the object cheaper and faster is unethical, disrespectful and distasteful.
So please respect this community and above all, yourself.
I had planned to share a tutorial today, and it just so happens that it fits pretty perfectly with what this post is about. I saw something I liked, decided to tinker around to make it myself, and am now making them for myself and my friends as gifts. I'm not putting them on Etsy, I'm not selling them. Even though this item came from a big luxury brand company, I still want to be respectful of the people who came up with the concept and the craftsmen who created the item.
So here's the tutorial in the spirit of DIY. But just know that there is always a fine line to this DIY world, and always consider first how you would feel if someone stole your good ideas to profit from them.
Out with the jive!! Moving on.
I was flipping through the recent domino magazine and saw this beautiful little tassel keychain by Hermes. For those of us that love beautiful little things, this is right up there. But $180? I thought for a second....it's purple....it's buttery soft... but it's still $180. (click for a larger picture and to see the super cute illustration of the bird).
I remembered that my aunt, a rep for a furniture company, had given me a big pile of leather samples about a year ago. I couldn't figure out what to do with them, because I was sure my machine would eat them up if I were to attempt a bag or purse.
My leather may not be the same purple, but it's nice in it's own way, and I have quite a selection of colors and textures to work with!
I set to work making my own tassels with a little trial and error. I have two options for you. First, there's one where the leather strips hang straight down, and then there's one where they fold up like the one by Hermes. You can try both ways and they both have their charm. (Keep in mind that you can click on all of the images to make them bigger.)
Options: Folded or straight leather strips? Maybe try the simple one first, and then attempt the folded leather version.
So here it is: The totally easy, fast, keychain tassel! Impress your friends with your cutting and gluing skills.
Put your snacks away folks, because leather "dust" will fly everywhere when you cut it. And when you get to the glue part, you're definitely going to get goo on your hands.
For the simpler of the two tassel styles (the one that doesn't have folded strips of leather), cut a strip of leather about 10 1/4 inches long and 2 1/2 wide. Make a line on the wrong side of the leather 3/4" from the edge, lengthwise. This will be your cutting guide.
Make small (as small as you can- I did 1/8" or so) cuts in the leather to the cutting guideline. Continue making these cuts for about 8 inches of the strip.
Once you've covered about 8 inches with the small cuts, trim off the bottom part to make a flap. This flap will wrap around the top of the tassel to create a finished look.
Cut a small piece of leather from the same or coordinating color for the loop. I made mine about three inches long and about 1/4 inch wide. That's just long enough that you can secure it within the tassel.
Apply some Shoe Goo (available at most hardware stores) to the leather and start rolling up the tassel, bit by bit. Start rolling the strip, and after one rotation, place one side of the loop into the roll. Rotate once more and place the other side in.
Keep rolling until you get to the end, and then apply another blob of Shoe Goo to secure the flap.
Tassel #2 has a bit more work, but it's also pretty easy.
Cut the leather strip extra wide. I made mine about 6 inches wide. Cut the strips like you did before, but fold the leather strips up to form a loop, a little at a time so you don't get glue everywhere. Roll it just like you did for the other tassel, but you might not need to do as many strips because it will be a thicker roll.
If you like this project but don't want to use leather, you can buy "pleather" at lots of fabric stores. I had some left over from a previous project that has a great look to it. However, the "wrong" side of the pleather has a white fabric adhered to it, so it won't be as uniform of a look. I bet you can find something comperable with some digging. Or maybe you can try a fun vinyl, which is made in a million colors and would be just as durable.