I finished the sewing by running the thread back through the last three holes and double stitching them. Then cut the thread off at the base. I then went out to the garage and punched a hole in the wrapping tab I had cut, using a punch for a tarp grommet kit I had in a drawer. After that, I lashed a length of leather shoelace that matched the stitches to the tab using a lanyard hitch and called it good.
An important thing to do when attempting something like this. Make a card stock or cardboard template first. I made mine from a manila envelope. Then trace the final template onto the backside of the leather. Make sure you flip your template over to get the right side you want up on the axe. I goofed on this, but it turns out i hadn't done my planning correct to begin with and my screw up worked out better in the crate box case. Color it a happy accident.