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 It Up at Urban Craft Uprising!

July 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Posted in book events, button events, buttons! | Leave a comment

It’s been a little while — this has been a busy summer!

Speaking of, if you’re in Seattle, I’d love to see you at Urban Craft Uprising this weekend…

Urban Craft Uprising!

I’ll be signing copies of Button It Up (plus a few copies of Bead Simple for good measure) from 1 to 2 on Saturday afternoon.

Button It Up - cover!

And from 2:30 to 3:30 on Saturday, Kristen Rask and I will be doing a super fun crafty demo together, Button Mania! You can make yourself some button hairclips or sewn accessories in your favorite colors — we’ll have all the stuff you need for both projects and you can wear your new fanciness home!

Button Hairclips at Powell's

I also had the chance to teach my Bead + Button Jewelry class as part of PNCA’s Summer of Making last week, which was fantastic. Here are some of my favorite button projects from my students…

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

Mandi made this incredible crocheted button-and-wire necklace using some lovely techniques Diane taught on Wednesday. I absolutely love this piece!

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

And Marty made these two sets of button-cluster earrings with antique buttons from her family collection. (More on that later!)

Bead + Button Jewelry - Summer of Making

All my class photos are here on flickr and in the Summer of Making flickr pool if you want to see more!

Hope to see you at Urban Craft Uprising this weekend… the organizers are nice enough to sell copies of Button It Up (and all the featured authors’ books) both days of the fair, so even though I’ll only be there on Saturday you can enjoy the button-ness (including a peek at Kristen Rask‘s new book Button + Stitch!) both days!

bead + button jewelry in the summer of making

June 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Posted in book events, button events, buttons!, crafty, vintage treasures | 1 Comment

I’m very happy to be teaching a new jewelry-making class as part of the Summer of Making next month at the wonderful PNCA here in Portland!

summer of making

The Continuing Education department has put together a fantastic line-up of classes, and they’re offering a very generous giveaway this week if you help spread the word about them

Button It Up - cover!

from the blog:
We have a nice package of promotional items to give away. This includes a signed copy of Susan Beal’s Button It Up, Denyse Schmidt’s Quilt-It Kit, a yard of County Fair, Patchwork Promenade Print by Denyse Schmidt and a Summer of Making Poster. To win leave a comment on the blog, become a fan of Summer of Making on Facebook or mention us on your Facebook profile or blog. You will get one entry for each of these (maximum of 4). We will randomly select the winner June 21.

I am very honored to be one of the teachers alongside some of my favorite crafters. Denyse Schmidt is coming to teach a two-day workshop, which I am so excited to take! Jess Beebe is teaching By Hand: Needlework and Macrame, Sarah Schlosser-Moon is teaching Artful Blogging, Brenda Mallory is teaching Contemporary Fiber Art, and I am teaching Bead and Button Jewelry.

mending jewelry: tools and materials

I’m so excited about this class. We’ll have four days to work on jewelry, beading and embellishment techniques of all types, a luxurious amount of time to make things! Bead + Button Jewelry meets Monday through Thursday, July 20-23 from 10-3 in a nice big classroom with natural light at PNCA — all the details are here.

my finds from The Needle

from the website:
In this hands-on class, students will learn and practice a range of beading, jewelry-making and embellishment techniques, including wirework, stringing, weaving, knotting, gluing, hand-sewing, and other craft methods. Bring in your own favorite pieces to design around, complementing them with vintage and new beads, buttons, findings, chain, fabric, and other materials from Susan’s collection.

vintage beads for earrings - black white + red

Aside from the nuts and bolts of practical making, we’ll focus on color, balance, arrangements, and intuitive design – creating a collection of jewelry and other crafts that bring your treasures to life. With four days to work together, we’ll create a collection of instant favorites for gifts or for yourself, while building a strong foundation for designing future projects with your new skills.

buttons in search of their hairclips

The projects we create will reflect each student’s personal sense of style and other favorite elements – instead of a cookie-cutter approach, each designer will enjoy the flexibility to focus on what he or she prefers.

Pages from Bead Simple

If you want to know more about any of the classes, you can download a syllabus for each one on its page at the Summer of Making site. And if you have any questions about mine in particular, please ask away over here!

vintage beads for earrings - brights

One last thing: if you are interested in taking Bead + Button Jewelry, I would be thrilled to have some crafty friends in the class. If anyone who registers mentions that they read my blog or either of my book sites (or have checked out my flickr, or know me through Portland stuff) I will put together a special package of vintage beads and buttons as a thank-you! You can leave a comment here or just let me know the first day of class, and I’ll put something fun together with some of your favorite colors and styles and bring it for you to craft with the second day and beyond.

p.s. I’m cross-posting this announcement on West Coast Crafty and Bead Simple, so sorry for the exact repetition if you see it more than once, but since the class ties together techniques from both of my books, I’d like to spread the word in all directions!

maker faire report

June 4, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Posted in book events, button events, contributor news | Leave a comment

Diane snapped some photos of the crafting going on at our Buttoning It Up demo at Maker Faire on Sunday!

buttoning it up at Maker Faire!

buttoning it up at Maker Faire!

She said it was a lovely time and that people made some very cute hairclips! She was also nice enough to snap a photo of my books and jewelry kits in the Maker Shed — so cool to see.

My books and kits in the Maker Shed

So great to get some peeks — thank you, Diane! You can see all of her photos here and read about some of her fantastical experiences on Craftypod.

I’m writing up a post about Summer of Making, which something else I’m very excited about, and will have lots more details about craft classes and a button giveaway soon, but for now here is the beautiful poster!

summer of making

button it up at Maker Faire!

May 28, 2009 at 10:30 am | Posted in book events, button events, buttons!, contributor news | Leave a comment

I’m excited to announce that Button It Up will be part of the magnificent Maker Faire this weekend!


Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it in person myself… traveling solo with a one-year-old got a little too complicated, and I’m so disappointed to miss it. But lucky for me, my dear friend and Button It Up contributor Diane Gilleland will be there and generously offered to teach my crafty demo: making button hairclips to take home!

button hairclips

Diane will be leading the free half-hour Buttoning It Up workshop at 4pm on Sunday afternoonall the details are here. I put together a whole box of colorful buttons and some extra bits and pieces for her to bring down to the event. Stop by and choose your favorites to make a set of crafty hairclips — you can embellish them with rhinestones, alphabet beads, or layer on more buttons if you like, too!

buttons in search of their hairclips

And if you are interested, you can get your own copy of Button It Up in the Maker Shed all weekend, too. Thank you so much to Diane and CRAFT: for their support of the book and their love of buttons!

Diane's Maker Notebooks for Maker Faire!

There is so much amazing stuff going on at Maker Faire — along with the awesome Bazaar Bizarre craft fair, there are lots of make-and-take projects to check out. Some of the ones that sound especially fun to me are:

Diane’s Maker Notebook project at the Provo Craft booth
Cathy Callahan’s Vintage-Inspired Paper-Mache
Kathy Cano Murillo’s Secret Tips for Using Craft Supplies
and Michaela Murphy’s Kids Crafts: Story-Telling!

I wish I could be there myself (I’m already looking forward to next year) but I’ll be eagerly checking out flickr and the CRAFT: blog for colorful updates and details! Have fun, makers!

Next week I’m going to start up my Favorite Shops series again with some new button sources I especially love. Let me know if you have one to suggest, too, I’d love to share some favorites from other folks!

the Oregon State Button Society show!

May 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Posted in button events, buttons! | 2 Comments

I had the chance to visit the 2009 Oregon State Button Society show this month and it was spectacular! I had never been to a button show before, but Myrna Goldware (of The Needle fame) told me about it a few months ago, and I marked my calendar right away. I had Pearl in tow, so my time was short, but it was a fantastic experience and I’m so glad I got to see it all.

Oregon State Button Society Show

The theme this year was “Buttons… The Stories They Tell,” which was fascinating. Everyone at the show was so welcoming and they immediately gave me permission to take pictures… so I started my trek around the room with a few of the exhibits, like this set of hand-embellished clothes and accessories in the style of the world-famous Pearly Kings and Queens.

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

There were also rows and rows of trays in the back of the room, which members had created for themed competitions.

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

I loved seeing all the buttons together in these inventive and fascinating combinations, it was almost too much to take in! Here are a few I especially liked, all having to do with my favorites, pearl buttons:

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

The center of the room was all dealers and collectors (you can get a much better idea of the scope in these photos), with thousands and thousands of buttons for sale. I got to meet Jocelyn (who supplies The Needle with buttons galore), which was lovely, and snap a few photos of some of her legions of buttons for sale, all neatly arranged on cards inside dozens of flip-boxes, sorted by material and type:

Oregon State Button Society Show

Oregon State Button Society Show

I’ll round up all of my finds and post a photo of them together — I found some very sweet Bakelite, casein and (of course) pearl buttons. My last purchase was six tiny, exquisite baby pearl buttons, perfect for embellishing something special for my own baby Pearl.

Oregon State Button Society Show

All of my photos are here and you can find out lots more about the Oregon society here, and see their photos from the show here. The 2010 show is already set for April 30 – May 1, and the theme is Luau, Button Style… I’ve got the dates circled on my calendar and this time I’m hoping to spend a longer chunk of the day there!

For information on button societies in your state (in the US), visit the National Button Society website to find the nearest organizations and events. The national convention, which is themed “When Buttons Fly Over Colorado,” will be taking place in Denver this August 3 -8, and it sounds like it will be amazing. In the meantime, you can read some excellent articles on vintage and antique buttons on the NBS site, and see photos from past shows, too.

Thank you to the OSBS and everyone I met last week, it was wonderful!

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