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Posts Tagged ‘buttons’

It’s been a hectic few weeks, finishing up things at school so going part time this term can be an easier transition; spending 4 long days of the Easter holiday sorting my classroom out so my personal brand of organisation is accessible to someone else and then a wonderful week’s holiday in the Lake District with some friends and some of the most superb weather I’ve ever had on holiday in the UK!

Grasmere from Loughrigg fell

                    (Grasmere from Loughrigg Fell – not a cloud in the sky!)

But hopefully now I’m only teaching 3 days a week I can actually get a work-life balance.

Anyway, as well as the miniature embroidery we did at the last Embroiderers’ Guild meeting, (which I made up into a card for my youngest’s 9th birthday on Friday) we sadly had another pile of a former member’s sewing items available to take home for donations.  I don’t believe a single woman in that room, me included, truly needed any more threads, fabric, buttons etc. but we couldn’t help ourselves! Other people’s stuff is utterly irresistible and it was the button box, a wonderful conglomerate of buttons and other oddments, that drew me like a magnet.

Button box treasure 1

These brass WWII naval buttons will be perfect to go on one of the army uniforms we have at the theatre group which is currently unusable because it has no buttons – no one will be able to tell on stage.

I also couldn’t resist the marble, miscellaneous key, odd earring and pencil stub!

Button box treasure 2

Mother of pearl buttons are pretty irresistible too, and some of these had the most amazing pearly flash and glow.

Button box treasure 3

I especially like the stormy purples in the dark grey ones.

Button box treasures 3a

And such gorgeous shapes. The floral one at the back is actually a stud and the single hole one on the right has a double hole on the back so when you stitch it on, the thread stays below the top face of the button. Very nifty!

Button box treasure 4

French jet (black glass ) beads from a broken bracelet and an odd earring.

Button box treasure 5

Wooden squares with brass shanks and big coat buttons in unusual bold designs and colours.

Button box treasures 6

Glass, metal and a pencil stub. The two almond shaped buttons have red around one hole and blue around the other but the colour refracts through the facets of the button giving a wonderful moving play of colours around the edges.

Button box treasures 7

All sorts. I’ve no idea what some of these things are.  The turquoise cabochon has a hole part way into the back, so probably part of an old earring. A clay marble, painted to look like glass, gold thread wrapped beads, very thin red plastic buttons on a piece of ribbon, basket-like ‘things’, beads, a workbox or jewellery box type key and a paste gem tipped stud.

Button box treasures 8

I might do something with them, or I might not – sometimes it’s just nice to cherish little things for their own sake.

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I’ve been asked to make a tunic and hooded cowl for a friend who is just starting Live Action Role Play (LARP). The cowl will need a fastening and it occurred to me as I was clipping seams and struggling to turn things inside out, that instead of communing with my button box, I actually now have the skills to custom make a metal button!

After consultation with the friend and a bit of a mooch on the internet for outline images, we chose two leaf designs, one oak and one maple, and I scribed them onto a piece of annealed brass.

Leaf buttons 1

Then I set to with the piercing saw. Cutting shapes so small (about an inch across) and so intricate was a real challenge, but much to my delight, I managed it with the loss of only one blade.

Leaf buttons 2

Next, the fun bit: finding a suitable hammer in the garage and using it to texture the leaves.

Leaf buttons 3

It hasn’t given as crisp a hammered look as I can achieve with the tools in the workshop, given that it was a domestic tool against the metal end of the workbench vice, but I actually like the rougher look just as much.

Leaf buttons 4

Leaf buttons 5

Then I measured, marked and drilled the holes with one of my new drill bits which is supposed to be resistant to breakage, and actually managed all four holes with a still intact bit which has to be a first as well!

Leaf buttons 6

Both buttons, start to finish in under an hour. All they need now is to sit in the barreller for an evening and they’ll be ready for the recipient to choose which one will be the finishing touch for the cowl.

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Once ‘Regency Romance’ had been put to bed, my next focus was on making a variety of stock items and preparing for the craft fair to be held at the local high school on July the 1st.

I came home from work and sewed every evening.

I beaded thrifted silk scarves:

Created more sea glass pieces with green glass:

These became cards…

…and this one was mounted onto a canvas.

I used some free gift buttons from a recent issue of ‘Mollie Makes’ magazine to make some more quick cards:

They’re stitched onto samples of silk matka fabric with silk thread.

This one is made with a scrap of lace and some hand dyed fabric from the creative and talented Karen at Stitching Life.

I made another couple of felted spiral brooches:

and added more felted pebbles, some felt and crazy patchwork hangings, some beaded earrings and a felt flower pendant.

On the Saturday I got together all the things I thought I would possibly need to dress my stall, labelled, tagged and priced and packed everything up for the Sunday. I felt I had priced my goods competitively, I had a range of items from £1 upwards and I was quietly confident.

On Sunday morning I arrived in good time and set up. Apologies for these photos, taken on my camera phone indoors, but it hopefully gives an idea of the range of what I made and how it all looked.

By the end of the day I had sold three items, totalling £10.

I don’t think it was that I had overpriced my stuff – it just didn’t attract any attention – only one person looked at the silk scarves and no one showed any interest in any of the sea glass pieces. People just walked past without a glance.

I suspect some of it was to do with the demographic of the punters. It wasn’t a purely craft fair in the end and most of the people who came were parents etc. from the school’s catchment area. It simply wasn’t their type of thing.

That said, it was still very demoralising, especially after I had worked so hard to create a wide range of items for sale on top of a very busy and stressful day job, the new production for SLTC and trying to run a family!

As a result I just couldn’t face picking up a needle for several weeks. And the next project was looming: ‘Cycle Song’ and the Brumby Bash.

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