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!


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!

busting out your buttons!

May 21, 2009 at 11:38 am | Posted in book reviews, buttons!, contributor news | 1 Comment

My sweet and talented friend (and guest designer*, jewelry maker, and writer extraordinaire) Jennifer Perkins is a constant crafty inspiration to me — she’s always up to a million cool things at once!

me and Jennifer Perkins on the set of Craft Lab
here we are on the set of her DIY Network show Craft Lab a few years ago

And this week she has two posts on her Naughty Secretary Club blog about Button It Up: a lovely book review and giveaway (be sure to enter by next Tuesday for your chance to win a book!)

Button It Up - cover!

and an interview with me about all things buttons, along with some other fun stuff. Thanks so much, Jennifer!

Cathy of California on the Martha Stewart show!

*If you haven’t seen her wonderful projects, check out her Bric-A-Brac Charm Bracelet from Bead Simple

Bric-a-Brac Bracelet

and her Feedsack Covered Button Necklace from Button It Up. If you like these beauties, you will love her craft book, Naughty Secretary Club: The Working Girl’s Guide to Handmade Jewelry.

Naughty Secretary Club button necklace

p.s. I have just joined Ravelry (as susanstars) if you would like to be friends over there. I am a pretty slow knitter (I love it, but it’s kind of my sixth craft) but it’s so much fun to see what other people make, and I was thrilled to see that there are a whole bunch of groups for button lovers!

a bonus owl + a fantastic e-book

April 18, 2009 at 8:10 am | Posted in contributor news, project extras | 1 Comment

I made a new owl toy project this month — this time, he’s a baby-friendly bigger cousin of the Big-Eyed Owl toy from Button It Up!

Big-Eyed Owl and his baby-friendly cousin

To keep him safe for the smallest children to play with, I replaced the covered-button eyes with felt circles, and left off the button claws. To make up for the distressing lack of buttons, I added a secret crackly surprise inside: recycled wipes packages to provide a satisfying crinkle when the baby grabs hold. He has been a big hit with my daughter, Pearl!

Pearl and her new crinkly owl!

The full tutorial is here on CraftStylish, and you can use the same template I made for the Big-Eyed Owl (found here on the project extras page) — I adapted mine to be bigger and wider for easy grabbing, as described in the tutorial, but it’s the same basic shape and pattern. I would love to see yours if you make one!

And in other news, my good friend and talented contributor Diane Gilleland has just published a fantastic new e-book… and look what’s on the cover!

Making a Great Blog

It is a warm, clear, and ultra-helpful guide to concepting and writing a craft (or other creative) blog that is not only fun for you to do, but inspires community and response and attracts enthusiasts and readers — and her examples to illustrate her ideas include vintage buttons among many other lovely crafty things! Congratulations, Diane!

You can get your own copy here and read more about the scope and details in Rachel’s review at CRAFT:.

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!

button hairclips + magnets + more

March 12, 2009 at 11:25 am | Posted in book events, book reviews, buttons!, contributor news, project extras | Leave a comment

I’m getting excited about my two upcoming button book events here in Portland — the supplies I’ve ordered are arriving and I’ve been making my sample magnets and hairpins to show… so I thought I’d try picnik-ing* a a little invite!

Button Crafts at Powell's + Bolt!

And as I’ve been getting everything ready, I was thinking that it would be more fun if I could share the up-for-grabs free project with people who aren’t close enough to stop by Powell’s or Bolt and make one in person there. So I’ve added a little bonus to my Etsy shop: if you buy a signed copy of Button It Up, I’ll include a little bonus crafty pack of an assorted buttons grab bag and two blank hairclips to make your first project!

bonus crafty duo: signed book + buttons + hairclips for your first project!

The buttons will be a random mix, not the exact ones I used for the project, so you can make a couple of hairclips and add the rest to your collection… or use some favorites of your own for the clips, and keep the bonus ones for another project!

Anyway, if you’re in Portland I’d love to see you, and if you are not, I’d be happy to send you a little project pack to make yourself some pretty things at home.

Speaking of pretty things, my lovely friend and contributor Amanda Blake Soule (who made this gorgeous Buttony Fabric Cuff and wrote the wonderful book The Creative Family) posted all about her super-fun Tuesday this week…

button earrings

…she made these fun button projects using some favorites from her collection!

button magnets...and a zebra

I absolutely love the earrings, and the magnets are awesome — such great combinations. These are the very first Button It Up projects I’ve seen out in the world, which is so cool! I have a huge soft spot for fun, simple projects that just let the buttons shine — the ones you don’t have to order anything special for, or run out to get those last few crucial things, or spend any money at all… you just find that little window of time and put something cool together. A huge thank-you to Amanda for her sweet and generous review post, and for sharing her photos with me!

If you make something you like, I’d love to see it — please add it to the Button It Up flickr pool!

*I’m pretty much a scissors-and-gluestick type, but flickr and picnik have totally transformed my world. Love them!

button bags, ribbon-straw flowers, + artful sewing

March 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Posted in book events, buttons!, chatty, contributor news | 1 Comment

I’ve been putting together my little button bags for the Bolt book event this morning! It’s been fun sorting through trays of buttons and picking a mix of all different colors and sizes to put together.

sorting through my buttons to make the bags

Each person who buys a book at the shop will get to choose a tiny goody bag of buttons to get them started with a project. No two are alike — I don’t think I’ve seen any overlaps at all!

button bags

And each bag has one of my little button moo cards tucked inside, too. I like how they turned out…

my button it up moo cards

I’ll post more about the party when it gets closer, but the details on my two Portland events are all right here. I can’t believe the first one is next week!

I also have some exciting contributor news to pass on: Cathy Callahan, who designed the Covered Button Necklace, will be on the Martha Stewart Show tomorrow (March 11), making these beautiful ribbon-straw flowers! Congratulations, Cathy! I can’t wait to see it.

Crafty Chica-fied sewing machine!

And I’m happy that one of my Bead Simple contributors (and crafty buddies), Kathy Cano Murillo, has a new book out: The Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing! She embellished this sewing machine with buttons and trinkets and sparkles for the book — so Kathy. I wrote a review for CraftStylish today and they’re doing a giveaway over there, so leave a comment on the post by March 17 for your chance to win!

loop-d-loops + more books up for grabs

March 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Posted in book reviews, contributor news, project extras | Leave a comment

Yay! CRAFT has posted my Loop-d-Loop Button Curtains as their weekly pattern podcast today! You can see a very sweet write-up and download the pattern and instructions here if you’re interested…

Loop-d-Loop Button Curtains on CRAFT today!

I love this one — it is quick, easy and uses pretty much all things you have around the house. I made mine with cloth napkins but you could also use vintage pillowcases or your favorite stash fabric. And of course the buttons are up to you — I used all assorted black ones (what I now think of as Coraline buttons) but neat loops of identical ones, or a total exuberant mix, would be great too.

There are also two more book giveaways in full swing, thanks to my lovely contributors! Kayte Terry of Love Forever is asking her readers what they’d like to make with buttons, and Kristen Roach of Craft Leftovers would like crafters to send in a letter or postcard and she’ll draw a winner from the mail she gets. So cool, thank you both so much!

Next week I’ll be posting about some of my favorite sources to find good buttons… stay tuned and have a lovely weekend.

Thank you, CRAFT, Kayte and Kristen!

March 3rd!

March 3, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Posted in book reviews, buttons!, chatty, contributor news | Leave a comment

Today is the official release date for Button It Up — yay!

Pearl tries to eat the book

Pearl celebrated with me by trying to eat the book! It is hers, after all…

So I just wanted to update about a few button-y things. Now that it’s today and official and all, I’ve added a bunch of new stuff to the site — project extras and patterns like these patterns and tutorials for these three lovely sewing projects,

Big-Eyed Owl, Button Sampler Tote, Spring Roll Delight Market Bag

plus my favorite resources for button shopping and reading-about, and the reviews it’s gotten so far. And I started a button it up flickr group for spotlighting vintage buttons and projects, I’d love it if you wanted to join and share some treasures over there!

I also added two signed copies of Button It Up to my Etsy shop — all the proceeds of these first two copies are to help out Baby Ike and the Roy family. So if you would like a signed copy, I would be very honored if you supported the fundraiser. (Rachel just posted about some really cool crafty things folks are doing near and far too!)

Button It Up - cover!

And I’m so pleased that some of my favorite sites are doing very generous giveaways. First, Button Sampler Tote designer Diane Gilleland is offering up a copy: tell her a button story by Wednesday at noon and you’re entered to win! I love the comments people have left so far. Awesome.

Natalie at CRAFT: did such a nice review + giveaway too — leave a comment letting her know why you need your own copy of Button It Up by 10 am Wednesday and you could win one of two copies!

And Michaela at CraftStylish wrote an absolutely lovely post welcoming the book, with a special spotlight on the projects my fellow CraftStylish writers Diane, Kayte, and Linda created. Leave a comment by next Tuesday and you could win a copy there too!

Last, a huge thank-you to Rachel Hobson of Average Jane Crafter for her thoughtful and generous review of the book today! I am so grateful that people are enjoying the projects and the photography and illustrations, but it means the world to me that people like the me-parts — the vintage button history I really enjoyed writing up, and the button-love itself.

Thanks, y’all!

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