The Romance of Buttons + Summer 2013 Stitch Magazine!

May 2, 2013 at 11:04 am | Posted in button events, buttons! | Leave a comment

Yay, this weekend is the annual Oregon State Button Society show – The Romance of Buttons!

Giant button in Brugge, Belgium

The show opens to the public tomorrow and Saturday from 10-5. Dealers will have buttons of all styles and materials for sale, from colorful unmatched 25¢ poke buttons (my favorite!) to rare antique treasures. There are also lots of programs scheduled on both days, and of course the judged competition trays in the back to admire – it’s like a museum of vintage and antique buttons, arranged on cards in interesting themes and sub-collections.

some of my finds from Exclusive Buttons

Speaking of buttons, I was so excited to write a new feature about them for the Summer 2013 issue of Stitch magazine! It’s out now and it’s a fabulous issue.

history of buttons article - Stitch summer 2013!

I’ll be sharing more about Stitch and another fun embellishments project I’m working on soon, but really, REALLY wanted to get to cover the OSBS show before it opens tomorrow! Hope to see you over there.

one of my vintage button cards

If you go:

Oregon State Button Society 2013 Show – “The Romance of Buttons”
Keizer Renaissance Inn
5188 Wittenberg Lane NE, Keizer, Oregon
Open to the public 10-5 Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4
Admission $6 ($1 off with a flyer or by visiting the OSBS site!)

2012 National Button Society Convention!

February 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Posted in book events, button events, buttons!, chatty, vintage treasures | Leave a comment

Hello, friends and button lovers!

National Button Society 2012 convention in Portland!

It’s been quite awhile since I had time to post, but I wanted to share an exciting update… my hometown of Portland, Oregon will be hosting the National Button Society’s annual convention this August! If you’re nearby, or can plan a trip, I hope you’ll join us at the show. I’ve been to three of the Oregon State Button Society shows, and they’re so interesting, from special card competitions to shopping with dozens of button dealers. The national convention should be amazing!

Button Curve Necklace

I’m happy to say that my friend and Button It Up contributor Diane Gilleland and I will be giving a talk on crafting with buttons, sharing plenty of visuals and ideas for using buttons in your sewing, patchwork, knitting, crochet, collage, and any other craft you enjoy. We’re already having a lot of fun putting our presentation together…

Button It Up - button hoop earrings

I’ll also be teaching a button jewelry class as one of the workshops at the show. I’d love to work with you to create a beautifully customized bracelet, earrings, necklace or set with your favorite buttons. Time and date on both of these are TBA, but several of the other workshops are already posted as well! You can also download a discount admission coupon at the OSBS site.

Button It Up - button charm bracelet

I’ll definitely be posting more often over here, I hope monthly at least, and sharing my favorite new and vintage button finds and projects to make. It’s been a busy couple of years, but I’ve really missed getting to write about buttons and share what I’m making with them. Thank you so much to everyone who’s followed the blog or asked when I might update again. I would love to hear what you’re making, too!


one of my vintage button cards

PS: If you’re interested, I do post regularly at my main craft blog, West Coast Crafty, and would love to see you over there as well.

PS 2: If you’d like a signed copy of Button It Up, they are available on the shelf in the Orange Room at Powell’s City of Books!

button holiday decorations!

December 21, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Posted in button projects to do, buttons!, chatty, crafty | 1 Comment

Hello! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I last posted, also just before the holidays, but I guess it has. I’ve been pretty busy finishing two new craft books and meeting our brand-new baby (Everett!) – so the months have just flown by without much time to do button crafts, let alone write about them. But this week I am happy to have my mom in town to cuddle the baby and read books to Pearl, so I’ve gotten a chance to do a few Christmas-y button projects too.

holly button decoration

I made three batches of Christmas cookies this month: peanut butter kisses, sugar cookies (from The Christmas Table cookbook), and coconut-almond brownies. So many of our Portland friends have been so thoughtful since Everett arrived, and I wanted to send along a little box of cookies with my thank-you notes.

my Christmas cookies

One lucky find of a box of soft, velvety holly leaves later, I had a super-simple decoration in mind to decorate my cookie gift boxes. All you need for this mini-project is a box or bag to decorate, a red button, two green leaves (I found mine premade at Paper Zone, but you could use vintage leaves, or cut them out of fabric or paper), and double-stick tape. Just use small pieces of tape to secure your leaves to the box, and then add a favorite button right over the join with another piece of tape.

holly button decoration

This way, your recipient can reuse the holly decoration when she recycles the box… but if you’re decorating something nicer (like a metal or glass canister to save), you could use hot glue instead of tape for a more permanent bond.

finished winter wonderland ornament with ribbon rosette

I also made some winter wonderland ornaments using this lovely tutorial (I posted lots more about these with more photos on West Coast Crafty) and added a little button-ribbon rosette embellishment to those, too. This one is just as simple to do – all you need is a couple inches of light green ribbon (I used 1/8-inch satin ribbon from the craft store), a red button, and a hot glue gun.

making the ribbon rosette

First, fold the ribbon in half like an upside-down V (or the bottom section of a prize ribbon) and add a dab of hot glue right where you want the rosette to go. I added mine off-center on the rick-rack edging at the base of the ornament. Press the folded ribbon into the dab of glue, right at the fold, and let it set.

making the ribbon rosette

Add another dab of hot glue at the fold and press your button into that. Trim your ribbon edges as short as you’d like (I cut mine at an angle) and you’re all set!

finished winter wonderland ornament with ribbon rosette

Hope you have lovely holidays! I’ll be back much, much sooner next time…

tiny-eyed owl ornaments!

December 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm | Posted in button projects to do, buttons!, crafty, project extras | 3 Comments

Thank you to everyone who came to the button hairclip demo at Crafty Wonderland! It was a wild success — I brought zillions of buttons and 288 (!) blank hairclips with me, and left with about a quarter of the buttons and about a dozen clips. It was super fun and I got some fantastic handmade things at the sale, too.

Speaking of free button projects, I wanted to share one I came up with last Christmas — I miniature-ized the Big-Eyed Owl into a teeny little ornament to decorate with — the Tiny-Eyed Owl! Here are the ones I made for an ornament swap with some crafty friends:

Big-Eyed Owl Christmas ornament

They’re very simple to make — here’s how to get started whipping up your own Tiny-Eyed Owl ornament!

You’ll need remnants of felt in two colors, a tiny triangle of brown felt (or you can embroider a tiny beak), two 1/2-inch covered buttons in a contrast fabric, a six-inch piece of ribbon, a puff of batting, scissors, sewing machine or needle and thread, and a small bead or button.

1. Using the instructions for the Big-Eyed Owl project on page 163 of Button It Up and the owl template here, adapt the same general owl shape into a tiny, 3-inch tall version. I cut mine out of newspaper. Pin the mini-pattern to two layers of felt in color #1 and cut it out.

2. Pin your two pieces of felt together. Double the ribbon into a loop and tuck the raw edges into the top of the owl’s head (it will become the ornament hanger, as you can see in the photos). Hand- or machine-stitch most of the way around the perimeter of the owl, catching the ribbon ends inside the seam at the top and leaving a small opening at the bottom for stuffing.

3. Tuck the batting inside the owl so it’s nice and plump and pin and stitch the opening closed. Sew the covered-button eyes on and glue or embroider the beak below them.

4. Now cut a strip of felt in color #2 (mine was 7 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide) and fringe the edges to make a little scarf — you can see the fringe in the photos. Wrap it around the owl, securing it in the back with a few little hand-stitches, and cross it in the front as shown. Secure it with a little button or bead — I used alphabet beads with each friend’s initial.

5. Give it to a friend (it would also look very cute adorning a wrapped gift or ribbon-ed bag) or hang it on the tree!

Big-Eyed Owl Christmas ornament

If you happen to make any Tiny-Eyed Owl ornaments of your own, I would love to see them — please add photos to the Button It Up flickr pool.

I have a few other quick and easy holiday craft project ideas up today, too, if you’d like to check those out:

Carnelian and Black Agate Earrings over at Bead Simple,

earrings for Pearl's teachers

and Tiny Ribboned Gift Bags to put them in, over at West Coast Crafty.

Little gift bags for earrings

Hope you enjoy them and that you have wonderful holidays! Thank you for the very kind support for my little button book in 2009 and I will see you in the new year with more buttons and projects!

button hairclips at Crafty Wonderland!

December 9, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Posted in book events, button projects to do, buttons!, chatty | 2 Comments

This Sunday, I’ll be doing a free crafty demo and signing copies of Button It Up at the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale here in Portland!

Crafty Wonderland!

Please come by between 1 and 2:30 pm on Sunday to make a set of Button Hairclips with me.

buttons in search of their hairclips

I’ll have everything you need to make a pretty pair of hairclips to bring home: buttons, rhinestones, beads, and blank pins to fancy up.

Button Hairclips at Powell's

You can also snap up a signed copy of Button It Up if you like!

Button It Up - knotted necklace

There are four crafty demos on Sunday, here are all the details:

11:00am-12:30pm Personalized Fortune Cookies
with Kristen Rask of Schmancy and author of Plush You!

1:00pm-2:30pm Button It Up Hairclips
with Susan Beal of West Coast Crafty and author of Button It Up and Bead Simple

3:00pm-4:30pm Vintage-Themed Glass Tile Ornaments
with Maria Raleigh of Collage

5:00pm-6:30pm Embroidered Holiday Cards
with Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod and author of Kanzashi In Bloom

And there will be more than 200 vendors selling all things handmade for the holidays!

Hope to see you…

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Sale
Sunday, December 13th
at The Oregon Convention Center, Hall D
(777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR)
from 11am-7pm
FREE + All Ages

red and gold holiday wreath in the Houston Chronicle!

December 1, 2009 at 10:46 am | Posted in button projects to do, buttons!, project extras | 2 Comments

I’m so excited that my Red and Gold Holiday Wreath project is featured in the Houston Chronicle this week! Thank you so much to Mary Vuong for spotlighting it.

red and gold button wreath!

The entire how-to is here, but if you have the book handy, I’ll point you to the illustrated techniques that go along with the written instructions: the wrapped loop on page 25 (which gets you started with a neat “knot” to secure the first loop — there’s a video here, too), and the wire looping sequence on page 27 (a bit more detail about how to wind your wire).

I’m working on a new version of my button wreath this week (can’t believe it’s December already!), and I’ll post it over here when I’m done. If you’ve made your own wreath (or any other project inspired by Button It Up), I’d love it if you could add it to the flickr pool. And please let me know if you have any questions about the project…

Thank you to Mary Vuong and the Houston Chronicle!

crafty (button) tree trimmings

November 30, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Posted in button projects to do, buttons!, vintage treasures | 1 Comment

I’m so pleased to be one of the contributors to a fantastic new holiday ornament e-book, Crafty Tree Trimmings!

Crafty Tree Trimmings!

You can find it right here through December 31st, so be sure to order soon if you like it. The book is an instant PDF download with printable pages that includes directions and templates for making six pretty holiday ornaments, and 15% of all sales go directly to Project Linus. I designed a set of Bead and Button Sparkle Ornaments, which were a lot of fun to make.

Bead + Button Sparkle Ornaments

You could do your own version with all buttons, or in any colors of your choice… this is a super adaptable project you can take in any direction. I mixed vintage beads, rhinestones, and buttons in a simple configuration, but I think this ornament would be darling covered with tiny antique pearl buttons… or with an ultra-symmetrical arrangement of larger and smaller buttons for a sleeker look.

Bead + Button Sparkle Ornaments

Diane Gilleland and Patricia Zapata are the dynamic publishing duo behind the book, and the other contributors include Betz White, Linda Permann, and Kayte Terry. We each chose a fellow crafter’s ornament to make for fun this month, and I got to make Diane’s lovely Gossamer Thread Trees!

Gossamer Thread Tree 2

I made them as mantel decorations instead of hanging ornaments (lots more on that here), and added tiny button-star toppers to each one using some of my favorite things: glitter, felt, and vintage pearl buttons.

gossamer trees with button stars

Here’s how to make your own star toppers to ornament these gossamer thread trees, if you’d like to try making a set too! You’ll need a small remnant of felt, scissors, glitter or Sparkle Mod Podge, two pearl buttons, a toothpick, and a hot glue gun for each star.

button star toppers for my gossamer thread trees

1. Follow Diane’s instructions on pages 15-18 of Crafty Tree Trimmings to make your gossamer trees. At step 7, when your first layer of wrapped thread is drying, cut one star out of felt for each tree. I cut mine freehand out of plain white craft felt — they were each about an inch across — but you can use a template or pattern if you’d rather.

2. Dip each star into the bowl of fabric stiffener you’ve been using for the thread so that they’re soaked through. Set them on acetate or another resistant surface they won’t stick to to dry.

3. When they’ve dried completely, brush on a coat of Sparkle Mod Podge (or sprinkle glitter on them while they’re still wet) to add a glittery effect.

4. Use a generous dab of hot glue to attach a toothpick to the back of each star. While that is cooling, add a pearl button to the front of each star with hot glue, then turn it over and add the second button over the toothpick on the back. Using a button on each side will make the topper balance nicely — it may tip forward if you only use a button on the front.

5. When you’ve finished making the tree (step 10), set one star onto the top of each cone. They should sit nicely and the toothpick will be completely hidden within the body of the tree.

6. Set the trees out on your mantel or a tabletop, or any other place you’d like to decorate for holidays!

gossamer trees with button stars

I’ll be back tomorrow with more button holiday ornament and decorating ideas! I’m hoping to post every day this week — holiday crafting is one of my favorite things and of course any excuse to make things with buttons is a good one as far as I’m concerned…

Halloween buttons

October 29, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Posted in button projects to do, buttons!, crafty | 1 Comment

I made my daughter Pearl a Yoda costume for Halloween — starting with a hat from Heather Mann’s fantastic and easy tutorial, and dipped into my stash to pick out a set of brown buttons for his eyes.

Yoda Pearl

I actually made three versions of the hat, in baby, small toddler and big toddler sizes. So cute.

three Yoda hats - baby, little toddler, big toddler

I also made my Yoda a companion snake, and got to use some favorite vintage white moonglows for that too!

Yoda and his snake

The entire Yoda costume tutorial is here on the CRAFT: blog if you want to check it out.

Meanwhile, Craftster member thestamppit made this incredible Coraline “Other Mother” costume for Dragon*Con, covering her eyes with buttons. I wrote a bit more about it over at Geek Crafts, and the Craftster thread on ideas for the costume is over here.


If you used buttons on your Halloween costume, or spotted a good one someone else made, I’d love to hear about it!

a button round-up

September 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Posted in buttons!, contributor news, favorite shops | 1 Comment

Giant button in Brugge, Belgium

I love this giant yellow button-sign — I think it was above a tailor shop. I took this photo in Brugge, Belgium when Andrew and I were there a few years ago. I wonder if could I make one? I have to think about this. Hopefully I will successfully reverse-engineer it and my next post will be a tutorial for making a giant button to adorn your own house or craft room… or tailor shop.

Giant button at the Fashion District kiosk - New York

Speaking of giant button-signs, if you are in New York and want to shop for buttons (or fabric, lace, trims, sewing tools, beads, feathers, or any other crafty stuff) be sure to visit the official Fashion District kiosk for some divine guidance.

Giant button at the Fashion District kiosk - New York

I got to go a couple of years ago and described it this way:

There’s a bubblelike official Fashion District information kiosk at the corner of 7th Ave. and 39th St. I’ve walked right past it a million times, but this time, for some heaven-sent reason, I stopped and went in. There’s nothing on the counter but some public safety leaflets warning against pickpockets and a well-thumbed book that’s mostly retail clothing shops, but I asked the woman working if they had any guides to shopping for supplies in the neighborhood. She noted what I was interested in browsing, typed the terms into a search engine, and two minutes later I had 24 pages of customized listings to look through — each shop is described in detail along with the street address, phone number, and website!

And of course I love the motif they chose…

Diane's button-fabric jewelry

On another note, my friend (and Button It Up contributor!) Diane Gilleland recently made these darling button-embellished fabric squares that she’s turned into jewelry pieces! Check out her full tutorial here — outstanding. I can picture these in every color combination in my button stash.

Diane's button-fabric jewelry

And speaking of Diane’s button-and-fabric alchemy, don’t miss her wonderful new book, Kanzashi In Bloom. She recently showed me how to make a button-center Kanzashi flower — my first — and I just love it:

my finished kanzashi!

More on the that fun morning over here, and more on her fabulous book over here!

Marty’s vintage button collection

August 19, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Posted in buttons!, chatty, vintage treasures | 3 Comments

I mentioned in my last post that one of my lovely Bead + Button Jewelry students, Marty, brought in her antique family buttons to show us, along with some gorgeous vintage Bakelite pieces she’s found more recently. She was kind enough to let me snap photos of her beautiful collection, including the magical button tin that holds it all!

Marty's vintage button collection - the button tin

These tiny shell buttons and the larger carved ones were passed down from her grandmother.

Marty's vintage button collection - tiny mother of pearls

Marty's vintage button collection - carved shell

Look at these adorable teeny-tiny doll buttons, too!

Marty's vintage button collection - tiny mother of pearls + doll buttons

These two pairs of earrings on the right are made with some other treasured family buttons — the tiny jewels are hand-set one by one in these settings. Beautiful!

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

And she has been collecting lots of beautiful Bakelite buttons to add to the heirlooms, too.

Marty's vintage button collection - colorful Bakelite

Marty's vintage button collection - colorful Bakelite

She mentioned that she’s found lots of her favorites through Jocelyn, who also sells buttons at The Needle and at Oregon State Button Society shows.

Marty's vintage button collection - green Bakelite

Marty's vintage button collection - red Bakelite

Marty's vintage button collection - ivory Bakelite

I can attest that Jocelyn has marvelous buttons! Here are some of my favorites from her booth at the show I went to in April.

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

A few other bits and pieces to mention…

A good-sized chunk of Button It Up is now up on Google Book Search if you’d like a peek at some of the housewares and embellishment projects! Please give it a good rating if you like it, that would be great.

Urban Craft Uprising was fantastic! I’ll have pictures of the fabulous Button Mania workshop Kristen Rask and I co-taught to share soon (my laptop is full to the brim and I need to start moving old photos somewhere else before I can even retrieve what’s on my camera)… but in the meantime, check out her new book, Button + Stitch, which is available for pre-order on Amazon!

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