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…

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

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!

button craft challenge alert!

March 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Posted in button projects to do, buttons!, chatty, contributor news, project extras | 1 Comment

The button hairclip video is already up from this morning’s episode of AM Northwestjust 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!

bolt and beyond

March 30, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Posted in book events, button projects to do, buttons!, chatty, project extras | Leave a comment

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.

Button It Up at Bolt!

magnet-making at Bolt

This one is blurry but happy — it was so nice to get to talk about buttons with people who love them too.

talking about buttons at Bolt

Thanks to Chelsea‘s wonderful article about her family button collection, some folks brought their own canisters and jars of treasured buttons to show us…

button it up at bolt

…it was lovely to see them all.

button it up at bolt

A huge thank-you to Lee for taking these photos of the heirloom buttons, that was an incredible gift.

button it up at bolt

This amber color was so fresh and gorgeous — like it was brand-new instead of decades old.

button it up at bolt

This one was so exquisite in person, the details and faceting were spectacular.

button it up at bolt

Just lovely.

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!

button cookies and cupcake toppers!

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!

Button hairclips for Powell's

button cookies for Bolt!

March 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Posted in book events, buttons!, chatty | 2 Comments

Hope to see you at Bolt on Saturday afternoon! I just made a sample batch of magnets,

sample magnets for Bolt

and a sample batch of button shortbread cookies,

my first super-successful batch of button shortbread cookies

and I’m really looking forward to the party! Please come say hi if you can make it over.

Button It Up at Bolt!
4:00 this Saturday, March 28th
Bolt Fabric Boutique, 2136 NE Alberta St in Portland, 503-287-BOLT

ps: I’ll have the how-to for these button cookies plus some bonus cupcake toppers posted on CraftStylish on Sunday, if you aren’t in Portland and want to throw your own button party!

button features and embellished shoes

March 23, 2009 at 9:56 am | Posted in book reviews, button projects to do, chatty | Leave a comment

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.

Button! Button! (part 1)

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!

button shoe embellishments for CraftStylish this week

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.

button hairclip extravaganza!

March 21, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Posted in book events, buttons!, chatty | 3 Comments

Thanks so much to everyone who came to Powell’s Friday night! It was so much fun to see all the cool clips people made (not to mention getting to hear about the fantastical poker-chip buttons Ryan is planning for his upcoming trip to Vegas).

I read from the book and chatted about a few of my go-to shops and sources, and people shared some of their favorites too…

me chatting about buttons

I also brought some of the projects from the book, and it was so nice to see them all out on the table together!

button it up projects

Then everyone got down to business: button hairclip-making. There were some really gorgeous ones in the mix, I loved seeing what people made!

button hairclips

button crafting table

button crafting at Powell's!

Button Hair Clips

A special thank-you to my awesome friends Caitlin, Sarah, and Diane, who helped me with every bit of the night, from setting things up to snapping pictures of it all. You can also check out some very nice posts from Diane and Sarah about the evening if you like! Last night was a bit of a blur to me (I have a sick little baby here at home, and it’s been a long week) so it was really nice to hear about it today from a not-me perspective, to tell you the truth.

And of course a huge thanks to Powell’s for hosting our Button It Up craft night! In case you couldn’t make it by and would like to pick up a signed book, they have them ready to go.


me signing a book

Thanks to Lee, Caitlin, and Sarah for sharing their photos with me — the first four are Lee’s, the fifth one is Caitlin’s, and the last three are Sarah’s.

Hope to see you at Bolt!

getting ready

March 16, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Posted in book events, buttons!, chatty, project extras | Leave a comment

I made some button hairpins in the style of the Shiny Set (page 136) for samples to show at my Powell’s event this Friday night… here they are in progress with the glue drying. Hopefully I’ll have an action shot of them accessorizing something pretty soon!

Button hairclips for Powell's

There are a few more pictures from our little Sunday button craftathon in the Button It Up flickr pool. And Caitlin made these two hairclips (with a bonus magnet for good measure) — so pretty!

Button Hairclips and Magnet
(photo by Caitlin)

I also just did this covered button bracelet and ring set for Button It Up month over at CraftStylish. It’s such an easy and fun little project, and super-customizable if you mix up the fabrics! I used a favorite Denyse Schmidt print, but I think alternating all different patterns or colors could look fantastic.

Covered Button Bracelet + Ring on CraftStylish

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