Nick is not easy to shop for. Not only does he not need much, the things on his wish list are typically specialized, esoteric implements that I don’t feel comfortable buying without his input. When he actually needs something I can make him, I jump at the rare opportunity.

For years, Nick has been traveling with a nylon duffel bag emblazoned with the 1992 Olympic logo that he got by saving up Kodak film upcs. Unsurprisingly, it’s not in the best shape, so he decided to search for a replacement. When he found a bag he liked, I did my best at probably-totally-unsubtly stalling the purchase, and I ordered some 10 oz. olive drab canvas.

duffel bag
This present was probably one of the most complex projects I’ve ever completed, and an exercise in patience. Sewing really thick fabric on my dinky non-commercial sewing machine was pretty touch and go, and for some sections of the bag I had to advance the needle manually to prevent it from snapping. The first package of cotton webbing I ordered was the wrong color, and when the second was too, I ended up dyeing it (twice) so it would better match the canvas. My leather working skills are not as good as I’d like, so as soon as I finished the first strap pad, I deemed it sub-par and started a second one. It was a process.

zipper pull
Traditionally, the 8th anniversary gift is bronze. I tried to find bronze notions to use on this bag, but the best I could do was antiqued brass. This wasn’t going to cut it, so I ordered some bronze sheet metal (which, incidentally, looks exactly like the brass I’ve already got) and stamped out a name plate. It should develop a patina over time and match the antiqued brass I used for the rest of the duffel bag.

name plate
In spite of the sheer number of challenges this project presented (or, perhaps, because of them), I’m pretty proud of the outcome. It’s a really well made bag that should last a long time, and most importantly, Nick loves it!

Thank you for 8 blissful years, my love!

Click here for past anniversaries: 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

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