30 September 2014

A Few New Leather Creations

Since posting some of my leather creations, I've made a few more worth sharing: This first one is the Leather Maverick or Gambler's Hat,like my own, that is now for sale on Etsy. The leather for this hat took on an aged, very rugged appearance when dyed. This is a small leather notebook cover, not yet dyed to a customer's specification: This last is a pair of Adult Amusement items, wrist or ankle restraints.

20 September 2014

Children Not Being Taught the Basics

I just read an article in the 7 September 2014 Miami Herald entitled "Teach Kids to Do More Than Click", written by Pam Allyn. In it, she describes how children are not being sufficiently taught how to write by hand and are too dependent on the use of computers. I can well relate to her feelings on the subject because I, as an Engineer, have had similar thoughts on teaching the use of computers before being taught the basics of physics, mathematics, chemistry, et cetera. Since Junior High school, I print, quite legibly,almost everything I ever write by hand, except for my signature. I pulled out my old slide rule, some weeks back, to see how much I remembered about using it. They are accurate to three decimal places and, if one knows how to use them, they are as quick to come up with an answer as a calculator and they do not require electrical power to operate. I can still remember the very basic uses of my slide rule, but I'd have to bone up on some of the other functions, logarithms, exponentials, trigonometric functions, et cetera. If we were to have a natural or man-made catastrophe and lose the use of computers, we would be in sad shape, since so much of our "knowledge" is gleaned from asking the computer for answers. I wonder about this every time I see a demonstration of state of the art scientific equipment - usually computer programs or computer-controlled operations - and I know that few of those using them know how they actually work and do not know how to do the same tasks without them. Whether using a slide rule or a computer, one must know how to set up a problem before either may be used to come up with an answer. Computers are wonderful and valuable tools, but they must be put in use in educational settings after students are taught how to do everything by hand and by researching the hard way, with books and other forms of educational materials. In college, one of my classmates had bought the very first $500 HP scientific calculator. One of our professors took note of this and asked the class to vote on whether this fellow could use his calculator while we continued using our slide rules. We voted to allow him to use the calculator, but he still had the lowest grades in our class. Again, if one does not know how to set up a problem, the computer or calculator is useless. Ditto for the slide rule. Most of us never used slide rules until we enrolled in a technical curriculum, in our case Electrical Engineering. One friend of mine, who was a Physics major (as was I in my Freshman year), was given a failing test grade, once, because the teacher thought he was cheating. He simply wrote down the answers. He had not written down the steps in which the answer would be obtained, as most of us would have done, and he kept the steps in his head, using his slide rule to come up with the correct answers. Generally speaking, and other than playing computer games, I do not believe children should be using computers for technical school work, until perhaps their seventh school year, maybe later. Professional educators and parents should seriously consider the often detrimental impact on children's education of having them use computers too soon. Maybe they'd prefer to have computers in a classroom setting much later in the educational process.

09 September 2014

Ben's Blog: Visit my Shop on

Ben's Blog: Visit my Shop on

Primarily meant for my leather creations, I've added separate sections to my shop for leather, wooden items, miscellaneous vintage items, vintage vinyl LPs and, finally, Leather Goods for Adult Amusement. For those interested in seeing what I offer - and this changes often - my shop on is entitled "ArnoldsLeatherGoods".

06 September 2014

North Miami High School, Deceased Alumni

The link, below, leads one to a listing of, among other things, my high school classmates who have passed away. I only discovered this because I'm on the reunion committee and we're trying to find lost classmates and to determine those who have died. The link is: I am adding as a JPG the listing of my own school and class year: 1969, North Miami High School in North Miami,Florida. Should anyone know of others who have died and belong on this list, by all means get in touch with me or add it to the list yourself. We had a graduating class of about 1,100 and we didn't know everyone by name, but I've already spotted some classmates that I did know and never got to see again. [For those interested in checking on their own high school classmates, this site covers any high school information that is entered onto the site. The link just happens to be to my own high school.]

19 August 2014

Visit my Shop on

In recent months, I've been listing some of my Leather Goods for sale on I then added some vintage items ( prior to 1995 ) and then even more in the form of dozens of old LPs of various types. I have perhaps hundreds of these old LPs obtained from a neighbor. Many were his mother's and date back to the 1950s. I even added some wooden boomerangs that I'd made, some years ago. Etsy, for those who do not already know, is set up for people to sell handmade items and/or vintage items. Anyone with items you've made or with vintage items you'd like to sell, this is a good place to do it. For those who might be interested, my shop on is entitled "ArnoldsLeatherGoods".

17 August 2014

The Last of my Kendas

I've finally gotten around to photographing the last of my Kenda  paintings.  It is the smallest of a set of three - all different sizes - depictions of horses on a carousel.  As are most, if not all, of Karl's smaller paintings, it is acrylic on canvas.

It is most definitely one of his earliest efforts.  I have written on the back "1963-4", which must have been told to me by his widow, Ann.  I hadn't even met Karl for another five or six years.

It's obvious to me that he was still working on what I consider to be his later, signature style, during his Cosmic or Psychedelic Period, as I have termed that stage of his development as an artist. 

14 August 2014

Animals Left Unattended in Cars

A few days ago, I saw a news video of a dog hunkering down below the dashboard in a vain attempt to escape the heat that was near to killing him.  I thought that it would be quite appropriate if all parking lots, especially those of the larger businesses, would post signs such as, "The local police have the authority and the will to break into any unattended vehicle in which an animal is obviously in distress."

There's undoubtedly a shorter way of saying the same thing on a sign, but that's the gist of it.  Such signs could not be posted unless it was, in fact, determined to be legal and the police were encouraged to watch out for such violations of the law, not to mention compassion for a helpless animal.

I have since heard from a friend that a similar sign was posted in some big box store's parking lot and it included, obviously, children also left in a stiflingly hot car.

I am considering starting a petition to my county commission to allow the police this latitude and to encourage businesses to post such signs.  It might also be helpful to make such violations a felony, whether child or animal left in such dangerous conditions.  I simply have to compose the right language and I also have to consider whether to make my petition for local or state legislators.

Perhaps state legislators would be best.  Each municipality would have to come up with their own protocols for the police to follow.  Also, if I design my petition for my state (Florida) legislators, viewers in other states could easily emulate the petition for their own law makers.

I believe I'll get in touch with  some of my political friends to see what they think and I'll let everyone know the outcome.

13 August 2014

Newly Created Leather Items

I've just added a number of watch bands and bracelets to my shop.  The latest are made of stingray skin:

This first one is a stingray spine inlaid into an antiqued silver-plated bar concho with stingray skin as the band:

This next one is similar, but with a cowhide band:

Finally, we have a watch band made of stingray skin.  I will only attach the second loop once a buyer tells me the distance between his watch's mounting pins:

Stingray skin surface is very hard and pebbly and difficult to cut, even with a rotary blade.   To use it as either a bracelet or a watch band, I must line it with some thin cowhide.  The stingray spine, as shown in the first two photos, is apparently the only portion of a stingray that is cartilage.   I'll add a photo of one of the skins, here, to illustrate that:

09 July 2014

Just for fun, I thought I'd share some of the leather items I've been making to sell on, along with one wooden item. 

        This first item is a Large Belt Pouch with a Swing Latch closure:
These next items are also Belt Pouches of a different design, both large and small:
These are lengths of two belts I'm offering, but I have not  yet dyed them to a customer's requirements:
This is but one design of a boomerang made of airplane model grade plywood.  Others have three and the traditional two wings.  All fly beautifully:
Dice Cup with an extra thickness of leather at the rim to prevent anyone from finessing the dice out to their own benefit:
Eyeglass case with riveted sides, snap closure and a rigid plastic insert:
Another belt, this time a Hair-On cowhide belt:
This is a Jack, a drinking vessel used in Britain hundreds of years ago to drink their ale.  Heating and sealing the leather with Brewer's Pitch or Beeswax causes the leather to turn quite dark, black in fact.  These also became rock hard after the heating and they were often used in bar fights.  Hence, the term "Blackjack."
Depending on the occasion a woman may wish to wear this, it can be either a Steampunk Mini-Corset or a Cosplay Corset:
The following two items are also Steampunk in style, a Plague Doctor's Mask and Aviator Goggles:

Leather Tankard, also used in Britain centuries ago.  I have not yet dyed this, but it is already sealed with Beeswax:
This last item is a Vest Extender, ordinarily used to keep one's motorcycle vest from flapping in the breeze:
I keep trying to dream up more and different types of leather creations to sell on  I'm working on a leather hat at the moment, termed variously as a Gambler's Hat, a Maverick Hat or just a Cowboy Hat.  I think the term "Maverick" came from the old James Garner show "Maverick."
I've almost finished with a small leather notepad cover and a woman's leather and bead Wraparound Bracelet and am about to try my hand at making some heavy leather Watch Bands. 
This is a prime example of taking a creative hobby and making a small business out of it.  I enjoy making these items and it's even more fun when one makes some money from them.
Should a viewer wish to check out my shop, search for "ArnoldsLeatherGoods."
For those not familiar with Etsy, it's similar to eBay, but prices are set and it's only for Handmade items and Vintage (meaning pre-1995) items.  I've sold some old items on Etsy already and have been posting 1950s and 1960s vinyl LP records on there by the dozens.  [I was given hundreds of old LPs by a neighbor, among them Latin (Mexican, Italian, South American, etc.), Big Band, Jazz, Pop, Pop Rock, and who knows what else.]

17 May 2014


One would be proud to own any of these tree houses, whether as a  primary residence or a vacation get-away:

 Issaquah, WA
 Unknown Location, Exterior
 Same Unknown Location, Interior
 Witch House in Ibiza, Spain
 Seattle, WA
 San Antonio, TX
 Another in San Antonio, TX
 Annapolis, MD
 Upstate NY, Exterior
 Upstate NY, Interior
Washington, D.C., area