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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hope you have lovely holidays! I’ll be back much, much sooner next time…
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:
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!
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:
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!
Please come by between 1 and 2:30 pm on Sunday to make a set of Button Hairclips with me.
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.
You can also snap up a signed copy of Button It Up if you like!
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)
FREE + All Ages
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.
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!
I’m so pleased to be one of the contributors to a fantastic new holiday ornament e-book, 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
I actually made three versions of the hat, in baby, small toddler and big toddler sizes. So cute.
I also made my Yoda a companion snake, and got to use some favorite vintage white moonglows for that too!
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!
The button hairclip video is already up from this morning’s episode of AM Northwest — just click “crafting with buttons” on their front page and you can check it out if you’d like. Wow, that was fast! They showed off a few of my book projects and then I made three hairclips — a solo blue one, a Blazers-inspired black-and-red layered one, and a spring-y pink sparkle and green one (a similar style to these three, which were some of my samples from last week at Powell’s).
photo by Lee
One thing that might be helpful from this little video, which isn’t mentioned in the book, is that it’s easier to keep your hairclips balanced and even while the glue is drying if you slide them onto a postcard or envelope or something else to hold them in place — otherwise they can tip to one side and the button can slide around a bit. I figured that one out at Powell’s last week when people were making hairclips and needed to take them home before the glue was completely dry, it works nicely for these guys.
And I’m super excited that Craftster is doing a button-themed craft challenge this month, with a copy of Button It Up as the prize!
This challenge calls for you to decorate an existing item in any room of your home with buttons.
You can use buttons from your stash, purchase new or vintage buttons, or even craft your own buttons! Glue, sew, resin, or use any method you want to attach the buttons. Your object could be something as small as a soap dish in your bathroom or even as big as a piece of furniture in your living room. Just choose an object and make sure the end result is adorned with buttons.
You can find all the details on this thread, and you’ll need to post your entries between April 1 and April 5 to enter. I can’t wait to see the projects…
A huge thank-you to Leah Kramer (who made the lovely Buttons and Beads necklace, which you can see more of on the project extras page and pictured on page 57 in the book) and Craftster for including the book as part of their fantastic contest. Good luck!
I had such a great time at Bolt on Saturday afternoon! Thank you so much to everyone who came by to hang out and talk buttons, make magnets, and eat lavender shortbread cookies.
This one is blurry but happy — it was so nice to get to talk about buttons with people who love them too.
…it was lovely to see them all.
A huge thank-you to Lee for taking these photos of the heirloom buttons, that was an incredible gift.
This amber color was so fresh and gorgeous — like it was brand-new instead of decades old.
This one was so exquisite in person, the details and faceting were spectacular.
So, thank you so much to Gina, Amy and Julia for having me, to Lee for the spectacular pictures, to Andrew for wrangling our little pearl button so we could all hang out in the shop together, and of course to everyone who came by, it was such a treat to spend the afternoon with so many button enthusiasts!
Two more bits of button-project news:
My CraftStylish post this week is how to throw a button party, with how-tos for making button cookies and cupcake toppers. I loved making these and maybe you can use some of the ideas for a crafty party of your own!
And I will be on the AM Northwest show tomorrow, Tuesday 3/31 (on KATU 2 here in Portland from 9-10 am), showing how to make button hairclips from my book, and talking about the upcoming Handmade Nation premiere. You can see it live tomorrow morning (I think about 9:20, though that could change) and then the video will be on their website by Wednesday. So if you couldn’t make it to Powell’s and you’d like to make some hairclips, now is your chance!
On Sunday, Chelsea Cain wrote a lovely feature for the Oregonian about her family button collection, and how it connects her with her mother and now with her own daughter — something that is especially meaningful to me now that I have my own pearl button to share my treasures with.
She was kind enough to invite me over to their house to make button crafts with them and wrote about her childhood memories, my book, and our afternoon “great button geek-out” of gluing, sorting, arranging, and rearranging. It’s not online (yet?) so I snapped some quick photos of the page and put them here if you want to read along. Thank you, Chelsea!
And if you’re as eager for spring as I am, you might want to try this simple little pick-me-up project I just did for CraftStylish: making button and felt embellishments for a plain pair of shoes.