May 30, 2011

New Website!

Wild Bear Buckles is now Wild Bear Designs - just click below to transfer there!

May 25, 2011

Belts & Buckles 101: The Right Size Belt

Belts & Buckles 101 has finally returned for a short installment! One common question for anyone ordering a belt is "what size??". The answer is not "whatever size your waist is". So here are some tips...

Keep in mind!
  • Belts usually come in even sizes - 30, 32, 34, 36 inches...
  • Err on the side of too big! If you get a belt that is a bit too big, you can take it to a leather/saddle/cobbler shop and have them punch in another hole. Or just do it yourself with a sharp knife, ice pick, or similar. But if your belt is too small, there's nothing to do but return or exchange it...bummer.
  • For a perfect fit, your buckle should attach to the center hole. (There are usually 5 holes in a belt.)

The very best method

If you already have a belt that you like to wear, it is best to use it to figure out your size...

1) lay your belt out flat

2) measure, in inches, from the hook, D-rings, snaps, etc. (basically, wherever your buckle holds onto the belt)

to the hole that you use (or whatever part of the belt "hooks" with the buckle)

I use the second hole from the left, or the scrumple-y bit of the fabric belt. Both of them are at about 32 that's my belt size!

3) the measurement you get is your belt size - that's it!

Other ways to do it

But perhaps you're buying a belt because you don't have one now. Here are a couple of tips...
  • If you are a guy or a girl who wears pants with a waist measurement in inches, the rule of thumb is to add 2 inches to that to get your belt size...  30 inch jean waste + 2 inches = 32 inch belt size. And remember, if you are not sure, choose the size up!
  • Try on your best friend's belt, check out the size, and just add or subtract the inches that you need for it to fit.

    May 14, 2011

    Quick Alter-Art Update

    Just a quick note to say that my very first full size quilt is complete! It was a real adventure to do all of it - and especially the quilting. It wouldn't have been possible without some great instructions from my extremely talented mom. And she even answered the phone when I called for the 50th time in an hour - I was getting nervous for the quilting part. Thanks, Mom!

    The whole enchilada...

    And a couple details of the quilting. I used a simple free-form wave pattern - a great choice for my first try at quilting...

    Now, just in case you want your very own amazing quilt, here's your chance. My fantastically talented mom made a stunning quilt that is being raffled off this year to support the Piecing Partners Quilt Guild, including their charity work with the Department of Human Services.

    Here's a look at the quilt. It's actually quite big - 94"x93" - and it's called Domestic Drama. I've held this one in my own hands, and photos cannot do it justice, but here goes anyhow...

    For just $1 a ticket, you can be entered to win it! So, if you want a few raffle tickets (I recommend it!), please just shoot me an email and I can put you in touch with the right folks.


    May 4, 2011

    Everyone loves free!

    I can't think of anyone I know who doesn't like free. What else could explain waiting in line for an hour at Ben and Jerry's for the teeniest bit of free ice cream on free cone day? And, as my nephew would say...

    I don't like free......I LOVE free!!! (Except he would insert many other fantastically exciting kid things I don't know instead of "free")

    And one of the best kinds of free is free handmade goodies. In fact I spent about 3 hours standing in line to get a swag bag of free handmade things from the Urban Craft Uprising this last winter. I had good company. And a good bagel sandwich. And then got great free goodies. Hurray!

    So when I got a chance to add to someone else's bag of free goodies, I couldn't pass it up. "what? free?" you ask. Yes, the sure-to-be-wonderful Seattle etsyRAIN craft show is this Saturday, May 7th. And those who are willing to wait (for about 2 hours or so) to be the first in the show get swag bags of treasure.

    So, I got to work making my first pieces of Wild Bear swag...

    I decided to make Wild Bear bottle cap magnets. They require resin (of which I have plenty!) and then just something cute to go inside. I played around with my soon-to-be new Wild Bear Designs logo (you heard it here first!) to make bunches of wild mountain magnets.

    And the close-up...

    I found high strength, little magnets to put on the back for a clean look.

    Once they were all done, they went into bags with a card and a special little note - not to be revealed here.

    Who wants one? I do!

    To get yours - and lots of other handmade treats - come on down to the etsyRAIN craft show. I'll be there myself in the afternoon, so just give a holler if you'd like to come along!

    Apr 23, 2011

    Buckles, buckles, everywhere!

    Sorry I haven't put up a new post recently. Buckles and Belts 101 will continue sporadically, and definitely let me know if you have any particular belt or buckles questions!

    Even though class hasn't been in session lately here online, I've been having Buckles 600 at home and all the surfaces around are filling up with buckles. Big Sky is hosting a high profile international conference in May and I'm betting some of those visitors are going to need a buckle or two. After all, buckles are a quintessential western accessory. And that means making sure all my fabulous retailers are well stocked.


    buckles by books...

    buckles on the mantel...

    buckles on the ironing board...

    buckles on the living room chair...

    and buckles in the light box...

    Well, so much for spring cleaning. Good thing I love buckles more than brooms!

    Are you spring cleaning or stockpiling something more fun?

    Apr 3, 2011

    A Different Craft - Quilt Preview

    As you know - and probably a lot of you can relate - I like having my hands in more than one craft at a time. While most of my time might be about belt buckles, that doesn't mean I shouldn't fit in drawing, cards, jewelry, quilting, random crafts, and anything else that sounds intriguing and uses some creativity. In my temporary Seattle digs, I so far have a place for buckles (of course), sewing, and jewelry. I did just get a book on candle making, but I'm fairly certain that wax on someone's floors is not a good way to say "thanks for the accommodations!".

    So, in a quick break from Belts & Buckles 101, here's a preview of my current quilting project.

    Next, I'll chop off the ends of the rows and straighten things up. Then, I'm trying to decide whether to add a plain batik border before putting it all together. What do you think?

    Mar 25, 2011

    Keep Your Buckle On! Or...How to Make a Leather Belt

    Since I spend an unusual amount of time chatting with folks about belts and buckles, I've made some interesting finds about what might simply be called "General Belt & Buckle Know-How". Not surprising, most folks don't think twice about the topic, but I happen to think it's pretty interesting. So, in the spirit of increasing everyone's General Belt & Buckle Know-How, this is installment one in Belts & Buckles 101.

    Today - How the heck does a person make a nice leather belt anyhow?

    While I sell high quality leather belts here at Wild Bear Buckles, I don't make leather belts myself. So, we are headed to the experts for the answer. Take it away Maine Line Leather...

    How to Make a Leather Belt - A complete tutorial!

    Mar 18, 2011

    Thinking of spring

    We had an epic powder day yesterday. It included
    • fresh tracks
    • 12+ inches of new snow
    • sunshine
    • many face-shots
    • maximizing the awesome-ness of my new (extremely fat) skis
    • general celebration of snow and winter 

    Nevertheless, today I find myself daydreaming of summer mountain trails.

    And thinking of summer is inspiring buckles with fewer ski maps and more color. Even though this has some autumn leaves, it also has the bright colors of summer!

    Back to daydreaming now...

    Or putting more wood in the stove.

    Mar 14, 2011

    Guest post at elle.mnop!

    The fantastic Elle over at elle.mnop is featuring a guest post by me today! Thanks so much to Elle for keeping up with my blog and asking me to contribute to hers. I love her sense of style, the great DIY projects she posts, and the fun things she finds around her neighborhood and online.

    Since things have been crazy at the Moon house, I decided I better write a post to remind me (and maybe you) to take a deep breadth and relax once in awhile. With, of course, a few suggestions...

     So, head on over there to read my guest post and check out Elle's two-thumbs-up blog!

    Mar 10, 2011

    Treasury round up

    Things at the Moon house have continued an alarming level of mayhem. But, thanks to the superior productivity of others, Wild Bear Buckles have appeared in some colorful, full, seasonal, and moody etsy treasuries recently. Click to check out all of the unique handmade items...

    Get Your Circles On

    Blue Skies - Blue Styles - Montana

    Now, back to chaos...

    Mar 4, 2011

    A cornicopia of fantastic (free!) fonts

    As business continues to grow at Wild Bear Buckles, I'm spending more time considering branding and a proper logo. In my quest for great design ideas, two different friends have mentioned one website -- It took me a bit to get around to look at it, but let me tell you - it rocks! I hope I'm not giving away some fantastic trade secret of text designers, but this website is worth exploring for anyone who likes
    • design
    • text
    • being creative
    • writing words on the computer
    I'm assuming that pretty much means all of you.

    So, here is the deal with You hop on the site and you can browse literally hundreds of font designs. You can even type in your text and preview how it will look. When you find something you like, just download it and follow the (very simple!) instructions to add it to your computer's fonts. Just make sure you take note if the font is "free" or "free for personal use", so you know how you can use it.

    Check it out...

    Wild Bear Buckles goes on a Caribbean vacation...

    ...dresses up as Frankenstein and sings Thriller...

    ...gets cultured at the avant garde movie theatre...

    ...does time...

    ...attends a night at the opera...

    ...and gets in touch with its Montana roots...

    And that's only the beginning. Now go find your own crazy, fun, funky, modern, vintage text for your latest crafty idea. (Warning: may cause sleep loss.)

    Feb 26, 2011

    Thanks for the dance!

    Clearly all of you had a great time getting your groove on for a snow dance, because it worked. Thank you!

    I just got back from our backcountry yurt trip over in the Tobacco Root mountains - 4 days of great snow, fantastic company, and some good ol' time in the wilderness. Thanks to the Montana Backcountry Adventures folks for keeping this yurt up and running!  Here's the tour...

    First off, home base yurt. Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to the backcountry yurt without some wood chopping. And a dog to gnaw on all the wood chips....

    You already know of my love for wood stoves, so I can't help but show off this beauty that lives at the yurt. She's even got the side car that you can fill up with snow to make warm water for dish washing. I imagine that if you were a real pioneer woman, this handy contraption would be a high priority on your pioneer husband's to do list.

    The real point of the yurt ski trip, though, is the ski part, so there was lots of that too. Hard work going up...

    pays off with lots of fantastic turns, almost captured on film!

    And along to keep us entertained, was our trusty powder hound. Here he is scouting his fresh line. I can tell you that he does a lot of straight-lining and is always getting face shots. He's a real snow junky like that.

    What an adventure!

    Also, since this blog of course includes belt buckle talk, I'd just like to warn you. When you return to the truck after a long ski out from a yurt, and the temperature last night was well below zero, and the current temperature is probably not too far above zero, and you are pulling your change of clothes out of the truck and putting them on, you should probably tuck in your shirt. Because that belt buckle is cold!

    The belt buckle to match this snowy trip? Or course, ...

    Now, back to work!

    Feb 19, 2011

    Snow Dance

    I'm starting some running around for an upcoming backcountry skiing trip in the Tobacco Root mountains just west of us. Can't wait! In preparation, I'm also asking all of you to do a snow dance.

    What? You want the snow for your own ski runs? That's okay, just add the Tobacco Roots into the chant you've already got going.

    What? You don't want snow because then you have to shovel it? Well, send it here!

    Because we are dreaming of more of this...

    and this...

    and this...

    Thanks for shaking your booty for snow!

    Feb 13, 2011

    Why Buckles?

    Buckles, huh? When there are so many great things to make out there, why choose buckles? Well...

    I've always loved to make things by hand. Several years ago I thought what better way to try my hand at a handmade business (sorry, couldn't help that one) than jewelry, right? So I made jewelry...

    Jewelry for my sister-in-law's wedding...

    Jewelry to sell at the summer market...

    And making jewelry was good, and I liked it and as best I can tell other people liked it to. But here is the thing - I don't actually wear jewelry. Well, I do, but only the same jewelry every single days for years. Here's the run down...

    The blue lapis ring goes on my right hand and was given to me about 10 years ago by my high school (and still) best friend. She made it in a college class.
    The other set of rings are pretty obvious - my simple engagement ring and the single wedding band Mr. Moon surprised me with at our wedding. These go in the usual spot.

    Then there's the necklace Mr. Moon gave me about 6 years ago. It was the first sign of true love and the only time I'm not wearing it is when the leather string breaks.
    And the three "sleeper" earrings - 2 in the left ear, one in the right. I think I can safety say I've been wearing these for more than 15 years.


    And, of course, the nose ring. I got this on my 18th birthday at "Mom's Body Shop" in San Francisco, and nothing has changed since.

     So, as you can see, I have a wonderful, but very, very stagnant, relationship with a few particular pieces of jewelry, and it really ends there. (Unless it's a really fancy wedding, but that doesn't happen too often around these parts.)

    And here is the other problem. I'm not really a girly-girl. I don't wear make-up, I don't own hair products, and I'd rather climb a peak than go to the mall. Also, I don't really wear dresses. My power suit? It's pants and a jacket. So where does that leave me? Belt Buckles!! I could wear the heck out of belt buckles!

    Belt buckles are...
    • practical (needed to keep my belt on to keep my pants on)
    • have personality - of all sorts
    • do not get in the way when I have to lug some wood into the house
    Belt buckles with salmon shirts...

    Belt buckles with brown shirts...

    Belt buckles with jeans and black...

    So when I'm making belt buckles, that means that I can make a million things that I want to wear. And that is a good time!