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!

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!

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).

clips
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

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

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!

make yourself a button necklace (or two, or three)

March 9, 2009 at 2:15 pm | Posted in book events, book reviews, buttons!, chatty, project extras | 1 Comment

I made a few versions of a button link necklace for CraftStylish this weekrow of reds (using a few vintage buttons I especially liked), black and white handmade (using the shrink art buttons I made in last week’s tutorial) and the blue circles and blossoms version from Button It Up. This is a personal favorite of mine: easy to make, easy to wear (if you don’t have an eager baby reaching for it every five seconds), and super-customizable. And I love making spin-off projects, too; I think it’s really fun to see how using different materials or colors changes an idea up so quickly.

Button Link Necklaces - three ways!

The complete tutorial is here and you can check out an archive of all the button-themed projects so far for March — there are some gorgeous ones up for grabs over there! It has been really inspiring to see all these fantastic button crafts.

And in book-related news, I wanted to mention that the two signed copies of Button It Up I posted to benefit the Roy family in Texas sold the first day (thank you!!) and I’ve added a few more to my Etsy shop, in case you want one. (These new copies aren’t part of the fundraiser, but the kits in my shop are, and I’m hoping to do more for it soon, too.) I’ve also been ordering supplies and sorting buttons for my upcoming book events (the first one is Friday, March 20 at Powell’s, and the second one is Saturday, March 28 at Bolt Fabric Boutique), and I’m getting excited for those. Hope some Portland folks can make it out to them!

And Heather of Dollar Store Crafts wrote a nice review and is hosting a giveaway on her lovely blog, starting today! You can enter via comments or on twitter. Thank you, Heather!

I’m going to post about some favorite button shops and sources this week, so please stay tuned if you’re looking for some new treasures…

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!

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