About 80% of kids’ toys purchased in the USA come from China. How many recalls do we have to hear about (lead, toxic chemicals and who knows what else) before we smarten up and start buying products that are made safely and close to home.
Here’s a example: Green Toys has the most adorable collection of toys for kids! But it’s not just the cuteness factor that makes them so appealing. They’re made in the USA from recycled plastic milk containers (one of the safest plastics) and their packaging is made from recycled corrugated materials. No harmful phthalates. No BPA.
Some of their vehicles are shown below, but they make many other items, from kiddie dish sets to simple stacker toys for toddlers.
One of the nice things about doing this blog is that every now and then you get to connect with one of the people who actually makes the products we write about. In this case it was Bill Briggs with Lone Tree Leather in Dell, Montana. We featured one of Lone Tree’s belts in a post the other day and got a nice note from Bill in response.
He wanted to tell us about hand tooled leather and how it’s a dying art in the American West. His son, Roland, though, is a true practitioner with “an amazing gift for this craft.” The belts shown here are his work.
“80% of the images are carved free-hand with a knife blade,” according to Bill. “The remaining 20% would be other hand tools such as shaders and bevelers.”
Check out these hand-worked masterpieces:
The video link below will give you some idea of the work involved in making a hand tooled belt.
Not only are the belts works of art but they capture the western spirit. As I have mentioned before, I am really enamored with western style even though I am a guy from the wilds of New Jersey.
We’ve been featuring belts this week and, for sheer creativity, we had to devote a full post to Foster Weld of Boise, Idaho. Their belts are colorful, whimsical, maniacal, brilliant and beautiful. You know you’re in heaven when somebody gives you a high-design belt with a skull buckle – and one eye of the skull also pops open your beer bottle!
Enjoy the madness!
Oh, and their leather cuffs are pretty fine too:
We’ve updated our list of Made-in-USA belts for men and women. Check it out here.
SkinnyJeans.com has given sports fans an extra incentive to buy their American-made jeans. Their new color choices include the colors of, “every major university and professional sports team in the USA.”
We checked and they’ve got out favorite team covered (Go Blue Devils!). How about yours?