Mike Balitsaris’ Favorite Thing: The St. Christopher Bag

St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, which is fitting for this bag.  I made the original one out of S.B. Foot Tanning Co. leather that I traded for when I was in Red Wing, MN several years ago.

I gave one of the local Red Wing guys a case of beer for as much leather as I could fit in my car. The reason the bag is patchworked is that I didn’t have a big enough piece to create a standard panel, so I had to sew a bunch of pieces together to make one side.

I put a pin from my coat lapel on the front to act as a button for the pocket, and I used an O-ring my friend Stuart made for me out of steel in his blacksmith shop. There’s a spoon sewed into the side of the original St. Chris bag — that’s to hide a hole that was in the leather I traded for.

I thought the hole was cool, but my wife said it was lame, so I covered it up. I carved St. Christopher into the spoon to give it some character. I also have my favorite bravery quote written inside, as well as my kids’ names.

They were playing with some of the leather before it was a bag and wrote their names on the back side. I used those pieces to remind me of the crew when I am traveling. I also have a cross on the bottom of the bag for support and inside the cross I put four buffalo nickels.

To me, these coins are there to surprise the person who finds them in 100 years. It also means I will never be completely broke.

Written by Mike Balitsaris

Mike Balitsaris founded Waltzing Matilda: a leather brand specializing in handcrafted leather sandals, bags, and accessories.

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