Introducing a new button product – lanyards! Soft cotton lanyards with a strangle-proof clasp, and finished with a handmade button.
I’m making a conscious effort in 2015 to share more of the ongoing story behind my little button-making business with you. It’s an odd hobby/enterprise choice; people always require me to repeat myself when I mention what I do ‘on the side'; “You make what? Buttons? Really?!” Never fails to make me smile.
It’s been a quiet year for craft fairs at Miss Beatrix, with life being so busy and all, so I’m doing just the one before the clock ticks over into 2015, and I intend to go all out. Even better, I am sharing my humble plot with the talented crochet genius, Adele of Nice Things By Adele. Even better than that – we have made a few collaborative pieces, teaming my handmade, hand illustrated buttons with her splendid crochet to make some special one offs. And even better than that …. we decided to hold an online pop up shop at the same time as holding our real life one.
What?! Yes, we are like slightly eccentric but very enthusiastic Christmas elves.
A few weeks ago my gran sent me her button tin. I had known for a while that she had it in mind to pass it my way, and I expected a hoard of buttons from past garments and sewing projects. I had no idea that the contents of this rather beautiful tin would be quite so old.
It’s Beatrix who has a crafty make to show you today…While every girl likes to change her look, Bea isn’t a fan of fripperies and unnecessary clothing, so we try and keep things simple. She has a few handmade bandannas, and a fair few collars, which are all nylon so she can be a proper dog and get muddy, and I can be a relaxed doggy parent who whips them off her and throws them in the washing machine without any fuss.
I adore making my own buttons, but I also collect them and keep my collection in a pretty glass jar! Here’s a couple of quick and easy ways to use buttons to make bracelets…
You know in those last few moments before you fall asleep, how weird and wonderful thoughts can occur? This was one of those. As I’m sure you’ll imagine, I tend to have buttons on the brain quite a lot of the time, but why the notion of peppermint cream buttons suddenly sprang to mind just feet away from the Land of Nod border… well, we’ll never know.I made a large batch and split them between my office and craft club, where they went down rather well. I think they would make rather lovely wedding favours, too.This is a confectionery I’ve made many times over the years, but I finally decided that seeing as this lot would need to last over several days, and away from the fridge, I would adapt the recipe so as to leave out the egg white. Please welcome instead… condensed milk!The following is for a large batch; just halve it if you require less:Ingredients:450g icing sugar230g condensed milk (plenty in one tin)A few drops of peppermint essenceChocolate (optional)Food colouring (optional)A small round cutter – I made one out of a plastic lid and gave it a good washPour your condensed milk into a bowl (mmm, Winnie the Pooh moment) and sift the icing sugar into it. Give it a jolly good mix, then add your peppermint essence and food colouring if using. I split the mixture into two and made one half green. Knead the mixture until smooth.Roll out your mixture in batches – keeping the unrolled batches in clingfilm to prevent them drying out – to about 5mm thickness. Cut out your rounds, and place on greaseproof paper. Leave to firm up for ten to fifteen minutes, then use a cocktail stick to make holes in your peppermint buttons and draw a rim around each. I made half buttons, half hearts. (I also used a posh doodah for my decorating, but a cocktail stick works perfectly).Pop your creations in the fridge, and if using chocolate, drizzle it on or dip the buttons once nice and firm.Enjoy!I had some leftover condensed milk, which I used to make flapjack. Peppermint creams make lovely gifts, after dinner mints… or in my case, crochet class rewards!
This giveaway has now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered, the winner will be announced later today!
As promised I am pleased to offer up a small giveaway in celebration of this blog reaching 200 GFC followers!
When I started blogging I distinctly remember getting excited that one of my posts got eleven views in one day. I quickly stamped on that habit – not because I’m not grateful that people want to read my blog – but because I never wanted to define this blog’s success by its pageviews. I’m far more excited that over three hundred and fifty of you – through various platforms – have identified enough with something I’ve said to want to hang around to read more. I do a little dance whenever someone joins me, and am thankful and overjoyed that each and every one of you is here.
So as a little thank you, the winner of this giveaway will receive their choice of any two items from my Etsy shop. To enter, all you need to do is comment below. This giveaway is open worldwide, and will close on Tuesday 19th March (Beatrix asked me to choose that date as it is her birthday!)
Enjoy, and thank you again for joining me in the often mad but always welcoming land of Miss Beatrix.
February was a crazy busy month! I’ve had a to-do list as long as my arm written on my glass notice board every day lately, but I love having a full diary and lots to keep me moving and motivated. I always have more creative ideas when I’m busy, which can be irritating when I don’t have time to pay attention to them, but as long as I write them down in my trusty notebook I know they’ll be waiting for me when I’m ready.I always breathe a sigh of relief when March arrives, a clock change is on the horizon, and Spring bulbs start to appear. The #simplepleasureschallenge keeps me noticing these small changes as the days and weeks speed by.Beatrix was absolutely thrilled to be featured in Miss Imogen Smith’s Doggy Doodles series, complete with my very favourite teacup. Imogen is so talented and I was gobsmacked at how well she captured Bea’s cheeky personality and smile.Some new buttons have arrived in my Etsy shop over the weekend, and some very Spring-like energy seems to be flowing from my paintbrush, as there is now a march hare and a lamb available. I’m working away on some custom orders and new designs as well at the moment, including my ‘pouring teapot’ buttons in different colours.February 2013 will go down as the month #PostCircle launched! The response has been incredible, with over 60 participants signing up. As you’ll appreciate this takes a fair bit of organising; I spent a few hours sorting us all into groups last night, and as soon as the last surveys are in I’ll be sending emails and we can get started! New members can of course join in at any time (and yes, chaps you are more than welcome too!) but I know you’re all eager to get posting, so please bear with me and I’ll be in touch in the next day or two.Lastly, the perceptive among you have contacted me to say that my navigation bar and social media buttons are currently absent without leave. I’ve been having a few technical issues but have decided to take this as an opportunity to freshen things up a bit. I’m going to be working on designing new ones myself over the next few weeks, along with giving the Creatives Unite, Recipes and Bloggy Pals pages a makeover. Thank you to everyone who answered my cries for web design advice on Twitter last week, I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew but with your help I’m well on the way to learning some new skillz innit!Oh, and speaking of new skills, the learning to crochet? Let’s just say that I’m grateful that Creatives Unite is now two hours long!Enjoy your Monday,
I am pleased to announce that I have opened an Etsy shop! I have spent many hours making and painting my own buttons and am now able to present them to you.
The buttons are available in three different sizes, and while only a few are in the shop at the moment I have a whole notebook full of more designs in the pipeline, so you can expect more arrivals over the next few days.
I am also able to take custom orders, so if you have an idea for an image you’d like to see on a button just drop me a line – there’s no extra charge!
Each button is individually made by hand and then painted – so each and every one is different, quirky and unique.
As a little celebration tonight’s Creatives Unite will be a two hour special – a sort of Twitter party if you will – from 8-10pm. There will be virtual tea and cake aplenty, as well as a button giveaway.
Hope you can make it,
PS: Hope you liked Bea hosting in my place this week – she certainly enjoyed the biscuity fruits of her labours! x
I know I’m not alone in my love for buttons. I think my fascination with them comes from playing with my nan’s and mum’s button tins as a child. I used to love scooping up little hand fulls of them and letting them cascade through my fingers. I could use them as money when playing shop, group them into categories, then count them, and all for absolutely no reason whatsoever!These days I keep my own buttons in a glass kilner jar so I can still admire them, but I actually use them every now and again too! And I suppose I still use them as currency, swapping them with friends and giving them as gifts. They come in so many colours, shapes and sizes, and I can never resist buying a few when I visit a haberdashery or vintage shop.I have a special button-related project to share with you next week. In the meantime I’m off to play shop with my button jar again!Are you a fellow button freak?Have a well-fastened Monday,
I featured these felt owl keyrings – or trolley coin owls – on the blog a while back. I often make them as gifts and the feedback is always really positive. I think this is because trolley owls are terribly wise and give you advice on bargains when you’re doing the dreaded supermarket run. Also, there are woodland creature motifs everywhere at the moment! Anyway, today I thought I’d show you how to make your very own owlish friend.
You will need:
Time to make: 1 hour plus drying time. (That’s a Creatives Unite! session!)1. The owl itself is made of of five felt pieces, so we need to make the templates for those first of all. Once you have you can use them again and again. Draw the shapes you see in the image below onto your paper. Draw no. 1, then fold the paper and cut two pieces to make sure they match. Then cut the semi-circle out of both body pieces. Use your buttons eyes as a guide for proportion, especially to help you with number 4. Number 3 will be the owl’s tummy, so you don’t want it to be as wide as the body. Number your templates as below, then cut them out. Pin the templates to your felt – in the colours you like – and cut them out.2. Coat all of your felt pieces with spray starch, or very watered-down PVA glue. This will stop your owl going fluffy and frayed as you handle him, will add some structure, and acts as a barrier against dirt. Either leave in an airing cupboard overnight to dry, or you can speed things up with a hairdryer. Be careful, though, those bits of felt blow away easily! (Beatrix ate my beak and I had to make another one).3. Now to put Mr. Owl together. We’ll assemble the front first, then add the back. With embroidery thread, use a running stitch to sew no. 3 onto 1 – no need to bother with the top edge.4. If you have superglue or a hot glue gun you can skip this next step. If you don’t, the next thing to do is to sew your button eyes onto piece no. 4. A different colour thread will give the eyes pupils.5. Now we’re going to sew no. 4 onto the body. Stop sewing just before you reach the bottom upside down ‘V’, tuck piece no. 5 into place, then finish sewing all the way round.6. Time to finish putting your owl together! Take your ribbon and double it over. Trap it between pieces 1 and 2, and use your running stitch to sew it in. You may wish to use ordinary cotton thread or invisible thread to reinforce it, as it will be taking the weight of the owl. Sew around the edge of the owl, leaving a gap at the bottom to lightly stuff him, before finishing off.7. If you didn’t attach your eyes in step 4, glue them in place now (if you’re using two buttons for each eye sew them together with contrasting embroidery thread first). Now all you need to do is attach the ribbon to the keyring or trolley coin, and you have your finished felt owl keyring!And with that, owl be seeing you.
- A keyring or trolley coin, depending on which you want to make. You could make one owl have both, so you always have him with you
- 3 colours of felt
- A 5cm length of thin ribbon
- Either two or four buttons, depending on preference (see image above)
- Spray starch or PVA glue
- A small amount of polyester toy stuffing
- Embroidery thread in your chosen colours
- Pencil, paper and scissors
- *Optional* Glue gun or superglue