Sunday, July 25, 2010

Button Bonanza

Last week was busy for me, and I can't even much remember much of what I did. 

One thing, though, was this: I bought a jar of mother-of-pearl buttons from the online Goodwill site.

The whole jar, including shipping, came to around $30, but it's a small price to pay for how entertained it's kept me.

I still haven't gotten all of them separated, but I did quite a few. I'm storing them, by size and by color, in manila envelopes.

Encased in glass, they don't look like that many, but upended on my work bench, they make me think I'll be separating buttons for years!.

Here's a shot of them along with a button painting I made. (Though the buttons in the shoe are all MOP, they're ones I already had.)

A closer shot. See the dyed ones at the top? I'm loving those. There's a purple/brown, which may be the natural color of the shell, and pink and green and blue and red, and I even found a yellow one today.

A closer shot of the shoe. I stitched the buttons onto a piece of scrapbook-paper-covered cardboard.

More shots of the buttons. I'm also loving the carved ones. I found a wide variety of carved designs. (On the left side, upper third of the picture, you can see a couple of moon buttons. I've found three so far.)

Still more.

See the dyed carved ones in the middle? And the white carved on the right?

How about that lone little diamond button on the right. Isn't it gorgeous? And there's a square one on the left side that is darling. At the very bottom, you can see bits of the moon buttons. 

A closer shot of the diamond, along with some of the carved buttons. 

I'm also loving the MOP buckles. Making bags thriftily often means you don't have enough fabric for one long strap so I've been using buckles on them. These will work great! 

Too cute, right? 

Another thing I haven't shown here is the rag quilt tea cozy I made. I went thrift store shopping with a neighbor a week or so ago and found some small pieces of upholstery samples. From those, I made this:

I really like the look achieved by the rag quilt process. Who knows where it'll take me. I'm already planning others. (On that same trip, I picked up some scraps of teapot/teacup print fabric I think might work well with this technique.)

The back side of the tea cozy. (Aren't my name tags cute!)

Sunday's almost gone now, and a new week is starting. Hope you all have a terrifical one.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nifty Thrifty Me

Last Friday the hub and I stopped at our local DAV thrift store. It's not the best of places; you have to dig to find anything, if in fact there is anything to be found. But the pricing's great. Nothing is marked; you simply take it to the check-out counter and they quote you a price, usually quite low. This time, I stumbled on a couple of 20" pillows with down/feather inserts. That's all I paid attention to: the inserts.

The checker messed me up though; he told me to pay whatever I wanted. Dang him! I know I could have had them for a couple of bucks, but it's a charity, and the inserts would have cost a pretty penny retail so I gave him seven dollars. Still cheap, all things considered.

Once home, I discovered the pillow coverings were nice in themselves with a neat quilted front: a center medallion and paisleys on four sides. But the rust color wouldn't work with my interior.

Then I found this pattern on a blog I ran across while wandering around the internet.

I don't remember which blog it was, but you can find the pattern here. There's a charge for it--and stipulations on the pattern that it not be used for items to sell. That latter fact I wish I'd known before I bought it, but in the end I decided to use the pattern as a learning tool, and for that $7 is insignificant.

But my mind had started working: I wondered how the outer shell of the pillows would work as a handbag.

Not too bad, all in all. The pleats didn't turn out as definite in the quilted fabric as in the pattern picture. They might be more so  if I ironed them down, but I didn't. I made a few other changes as well.

I put in a zippered back pocket and a magnetic clasp, neither of which were called for in the pattern.

I also added a cell phone pocket in the front. (The pattern included instructions for one open pocket.)

Because the length of my available fabric was limited to 20", I had to fudge on the shoulder strap. (The pattern calls for 24".) I used one 20" length, and a shorter strip with a vintage buckle on the end. Then I added a button instead of the flower--because the button's really neat and matches the color of the buckle. I also think a vintage pin would look good on this.

All in all, it turned out pretty well for scavenged materials. (The lining was something my sis was getting rid of. Of course, I took it!)

And now I have plans for making more. Maybe the next one I can complete in less than the three days this one took. And perhaps next time I can make it look like the original. Maybe if I just follow instructions--I don't know why that's so hard for me.

So now I've finished my second glass of wine, and it's time to join the hub. Ta, y'all.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tossing and Turning

I found myself unable to sleep last night and, after a couple of hours of boring TV and internet, decided to brave the dark and work in my studio. I've mentioned that I live in the country; need I say there are no streetlights? There wasn't even much in the way of moonlight so I turned on the light in the kitchen window.

My cat Max was still in the bedroom, but I knew I couldn't simply shut the patio door. He learned long ago how to open it. There've been times we've forgotten to latch it before going to bed and found in the morning that he'd been playing free and easy with outdoor access. So last night, I made sure the screen was closed. He hasn't learned how to open that yet. (I don't know if that made things better or worse in the end.)

Around 4a., I felt I might be able to sleep so I shut off the studio lights and left for the house.There's a big difference going into the night from a semi-dark house and from a lighted studio. It was so dark outside I swear the night creatures needed flashlights! Still, I know the way. I just kinda had to follow the sidewalk, and I only wandered off a couple of times.

I was barely on the porch when Max started in. Omigosh, you'd have thought I was a night creature myself! I couldn't believe the hub slept through the ruckus. Max had opened the glass door about four inches, and he must have thought I was an intruder because the closer I came the louder he got, hissing and spitting and growling. I tried putting my hand down so he could smell me, but he got worse, like he was in the middle of a cat fight.

So-o-o, what does one do under such circumstances? I had a few options: I could return to the studio and try to sleep on the dinky little chair I have out there, other two options required me to get to the front of the house, and I wouldn't have the light in the kitchen window to guide me.

As I rounded the side, I could make out the concrete flower bed edging so at least I was able to steer clear of the plantings. Thankfully, years ago the hub put up a key pad garage door opener, which has come in handy many times, but never more so than last night.

Max was still spitting when I came in the garage door but calmed down once he realized it was me. And still the hub slept on. (My last option was to ring the front doorbell, though I'm not sure he wouldn't have slept through that too! Thank God I didn't have to find out.)

So what did I do those hours in the studio?
Of course it involved buttons, and of course it included a shadowbox. 

These buttons are all mid-century. To me, they're works of art in themselves. Can you imagine a time where simply clothing closures could be so lovely?

Now I have to learn how to take pics of glass without a glare. Google search coming up!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Button Shadowboxes

I have a new obsession--well, one of several new. A while back, I picked up a button-filled shadow box at the thrift store. I've never made a secret of my love for buttons and the shadow box was reasonably priced so of course I had to have it. It's now hanging in my office. (I have no bare wall space in my studio!)
This isn't the greatest pic in the world. Today's rainy so I don't have the best light, but maybe you can get an idea.

Since I have such a large collection of old buttons, I decided to make a shadow box using some of mine. This is what I came up with.
I used some scrapbook paper as a backing and a regimented display style. Now I'm think it might be too regimented. This one, though, will remain as is. It's my next one I'm fretting over now.

While I was in Fredericksburg a few weeks back, I found an empty shadow box at a thrift store. (Living in the country means I don't have a large number of places to look for them.) It was obviously vintage--probably '70s--but I thought I could make it work.
The above was my first mock-up, before I realized the frame is supposed to be horizontal. It wouldn't be that hard to shift around, and it's not too very regimented.
Still, I tried this positioning: a spray of mother-of-pearl buttons. (Again, remember the lighting. I didn't want to get out my tripod or my natural light. Forgive, please.) This is using the same scrapbook page as the first sample, a paper I intend to be the backing of the final product.
Here I tried grouping the buttons in a bird pattern. All of these are shell/MOP. (The white pattern is underneath on this test run so if I choose this the blue paper will show between the buttons.)
My final mock-up: I replaced the dark shell eye button with a blue plastic, which I think I like the look of better. (The blue is vintage--probably from the late '80s, early '90s, but it's not as old as the others.)

Shall I go regimented, random, or pattern? Or shall I mimic the design of the first? It would be easy enough to copy that randomness. Can you even tell the last two mock-ups are birds?

I'd love to hear your comments, thoughts, ideas. Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Post Corrected---Just a Note

In case anyone was unable to view the pics in last Saturday's post, I've fixed the problem. Sorry for the mix-up and thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tassels Finito

Remember Billie's triangular pillow?
 Here are the tassels I made for it.
I know they're different, but I'm hoping Billie will appreciate that about them.
I used the same white crochet cord for the tassels and tied them all together with one bead that's the same. On this one, I added a silver leaf bead cap on the head, a light blue bead, then another silver bead cap, and topped it off with a Chinese blue and white bead.
This has a silver bead cap (rescued from a vintage piece of jewelry) covering the entire head, then the same Chinese blue and white bead, and a pearl bead.
I used the same silver leaf bead cap on the head of this tassel, then a darker blue bead, next the leaf bead cap with a silver bead, and finally the same Chinese blue and white bead.

All in all, the time I spent making these was a nice respite from everything else I should be doing, but now they're done, so it's back to reality.

Happy Fourth, y'all!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Miscellany, Etcetera, Ad Infinitum

In case you were wondering (I know you were!), I survived the lunch I gave for my friends, but I've had neither the energy nor the inclination to post since. Still, as I've been the recipient of some cool pics lately, I thought I'd share them with y'all.

I recently mentioned that my sis Billie is redoing her bedroom in blue and white. This pic was taken with her cell phone. (It's pretty good, considering.) Doesn't the bed look cool? (The pillows bookending those in front are ones I made for her. On the left is the one I showed in this post. On the right is one I made for her birthday in January. Never got around to showing pics of that one.)
The triangular pillow she recently found at a thrift store. I'm in the process of making tassels for each point. (I love the fourth pillow, though you can't get close enough to clearly see the details of it. 'Minds me of an embroidered dresser scarf.)
My 'nother sis Ginger recently learned that her beloved cat Buster has a heart murmur. Devastating news. She's treating Buster with meds but the vet can't promise more than a year. (We're hoping Buster proves the vet wrong!) To help her get through the devastation of what she fears is coming, she found a new kitty who needed a home, a Bengal. He's the creature on the table in this fuzzy pic--another made with a cell phone. She wasn't able to get a really good shot of him, said she'd get the phone set to take a photo, click it, then before the pic actually gelled, the son-of-a-gun was gone!
Buster's in the foreground. She's hoping they'll become friends so Buster will have company when she and her hub aren't home.
Another shot of Rufus. He hasn't learned how to play to the camera yet. Ginger thinks he's not actually a full-blood Bengal, but he's pretty darn cute anyway.

We met him this afternoon. He's not a bit shy! And Buster looks wonderful, as if there's not a ding-dong thing wrong with him, though he does seem to have slowed down a bit. Tomorrow's his second birthday. Happy Birthday, B-boy!
Here's Buster eating heart healthy. Max wishes he could be so skinny! (Max and Buster are both yellow kitties, though Max is a bit more orange than Buster. And a lot bigger. And quite a bit older.)
This next shot is my grand-nephew Maxton. His mother Amanda is a cupcake artist. You can see her work at Adventures in Cupcaking. She said while Maxton was playing in the bathtub, she asked what he was doing. His reply: Making cupcakes! (Isn't he a cutie?)
Last but not least, here's my yet another sister Daisy, sailing with her hub. Doesn't she look gorgeous?!

She wants us to do a calendar with twelve months of photos of the six sisters. She's assigned each of us two months--and no, we won't be nude! I have April and August: Easter and the dog days of summer. (Doesn't Daisy make a great calendar girl?)

Tomorrow, I'll try to post shots of Billie's tassels. They're as good as done, but I'm not in the mood to take photos.

'Til then, ta, y'all!