Tag Archives: buttons

A Bag – for Buttons!

A few years back I remember picking up a plain calico bag that was in the sale at Hobbycraft.  They usually have bins with sale items near the tills and I succumbed!  It’s been in its packet at the bottom of my basket ever since though as I couldn’t decide what to do with it.

Well, last week I decided to have a go at making some rhubarb and date chutney as we have rhubarb in the garden that needed using up.  (The recipe didn’t say how many jars it would make and I ended up with 8 altogether which is about 6 more than I was expecting – fingers crossed it tastes good!)  Anyway, I knew that I’d be using quite a few red onions, and I also remembered from my afternoon with the lovely Annie on Skye last year, that you can use onion skins for dyeing wool and fabric.  So, with that in mind I made sure I kept all my onion skins to one side after my chutney making marathon.

I found some really helpful instructions on line, followed them to the letter, and was really pleased with the results.  It’s a very simple process and I’m keen to experiment with other natural dyes too now.

Basically, you pop your skins into a large cooking pot (stainless steel or enamel but NOT aluminium), cover them with water, bring to the boil and let them simmer for about an hour.

 

 

 

While the skins are working their magic, pop your bag in the sink in some hot water to soak.

 

 

Once the hour is up, remove the onion skins, take your bag out of the sink and squeeze as much of the water out of it as possible before placing it carefully into the dyebath.

 

 

Use a wooden spoon to make sure all of the bag is submerged in the dye.

 

 

Heat the dye gently for about an hour again and keep moving the bag to ensure all of the fabric gets covered.  After an hour turn off the heat and let the fabric cool.  Once cool you can remove the fabric, but you can also leave it for longer (and even overnight) if you’d like to achieve a slightly darker colour.

 

When you do take your bag out of the dye you’ll need to rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear.  You can then hang it out to dry or pop it over the radiator.

 

I was actually rather pleased with the final colour of the bag (which is closer to the photo above than those below), but still wanted to jazz it up a bit.  In the end I decided to sew on some buttons (I’m sure my button tin is magic – no matter how many I use the tin always seems to be full!)  I selected lots of small buttons and set to work.

I wrote my slogan – Bee Kind – on some translucent baking parchment so that I could position it on the bag to see what it would look like.  I then wrote the words directly onto the bag using a washable pen.  These are great dressmaking tools – you can write on fabric but the writing will disappear as soon as you wash it – very handy indeed!

It was then simply a matter of picking out buttons at random and sewing them on to form the letters.  This took quite a bit of time, and was a little fiddly as I had to keep making sure the bag handles didn’t get in the way, so I did it whilst watching a few episodes of A House Through Time which I can highly recommend!

I’ll definitely be experimenting with more natural dyes and might try a t-shirt next maybe.  In the meantime, I have a lovely colourful bag to add to my collection!

 

 

Mini Noticeboard

I’m definitely one of those people who keep things in ‘safe places’.  You know the places I mean?  They seem a really good idea at the time, but when it comes to actually finding the receipt or piece of paper you need, somehow you can’t quite remember where you put them!

 

What could be better then than a little mini noticeboard so I can clip receipts etc in full view.  I had a few of these mdf mini boards left over from a workshop a few years ago, so thought I’d have a go at decorating one.

 

I had a root around my paper and card stash and found a lovely piece of thin card with a pattern and wording I really liked.

I placed the board onto a piece of baking paper and drew around it, making sure I marked where the holes were too.  I was then able to draw the exact shape I wanted onto the baking paper and cut it out.  Because the baking paper is translucent, it’s easy to place it over the card and position it so that you get it exactly where you want it before drawing around the edges and cutting out the card.

 

I used double sided sticky tape on the back of the card to attach it to the board.

 

 

I thought a couple of buttons might be a nice addition, so had a little play around with various colours and shapes before deciding on two yellow flower buttons (which I attached with small pieces of double sided tape).

 

I then used a gold gel pen to work my way around the edges of the card to give it a bit of definition.

 

 

 

Next it was time to add the two little pegs.  They came in a mini jar and I thought about leaving them as they were (plain wood) but then had a go colouring them in using the gold gel pen.

 

 

I used double sided tape again to attach the pegs to the board, making sure I spaced them evenly apart and the board was almost finished.

 

I was tempted to use some twine to hang the board but settled for a nice piece of yellow ribbon from my stash in the end.  It was just a case of threading it through the holes and knotting it at the back and hey presto, one mini noticeboard!

 

Let There Be Light!

Well this has to be possibly my quickest project to date!

 

A little while ago we’d been looking to replace the very old lampshade at the top of the stairs (by ‘very old’ I  mean that it wouldn’t have been out of place in the Beamish museum!) However, I really struggled to find anything I liked that didn’t cost a fortune.  In the end I settled for a plain cream shade that was just £4 from Wilko.  Every time I went upstairs I wondered what I could do to liven it up a little, and then remembered a lampshade I’d seen at the lovely Vintage Powder Room and Tea Shop in Whitley Bay – isn’t it gorgeous?!

 

 

Now that I had a plan, I took down the shade and spread out some of my button stash on the kitchen table to see what I could make use of.  Then I plugged in my trusty glue gun!

 

 

 

Whilst I love the totally random, ‘full on’ look of the Vintage Powder Room’s shade, I decided to go for something a little more subtle and opted to decorate the bottom of the shade only.  I measured the circumference so that I could work out how far apart to space my buttons (and check that I’d have enough of the design I chose too).

To help me space the buttons out, I made use of my sewing gauge which was ideal for the job.  The glue gun took no time at all to heat up and then it was simply a case of sticking the buttons on, one at a time, trying not to burn myself with the hot glue!  I decided to space some lovely wooden floral heart buttons out first, and once they were all in place I went back round again adding in some plain wooden hearts.

I may yet take it down again and add a few more buttons, but for now I’m really pleased! 🙂

Valentine Buttons

After a recent framed proggy heart workshop, I was left with a white box frame just begging for some kind of picture to liven it up!   I’ve fancied having a try at a button picture for a while now so I got out my jars of buttons and set to work thinking about a design that might be suitable.

 

After a bit of a play around I decided on a H and a B (for my husband Harry and me) and had a go at sketching out a design.  I used greaseproof paper which I could fold in half then half again to make sure the initials would fit in exactly the right position.

 

 

So far so good, but when I traced the initials onto a piece of card and started to place buttons along the outline of the letters, I soon realised that it just wasn’t going to look good at all!  I loved the 2 heart buttons, but unfortunately even the smallest round buttons in my stash were just too big, so the end result just looked a bit  naff really!

 

So it was back to the drawing board ,,,

Looking at the frame again, and the actual amount of space available, I realised that a simple shape would look best and, with Valentine’s Day looming, a heart seemed the obvious choice.

On another sheet of greaseproof paper I drew a simple heart shape, making sure it fitted neatly inside the mount and, once I was happy with the shape and size, I traced it onto a piece of plain white card.

The next step was to experiment by simply placing a variety of buttons on the heart to see what it would look like before I started gluing them in place.   When this was done, I carefully slid all the buttons over to the left of my heart outline (as in the photo above on the right).  Then I put a bit of UHU glue on the lower part of the heart and gradually moved the buttons across one at a time, pressing them into place as I went.  The glue stayed wet for a while, so it was still possible to slide them around a bit if I wanted to change the design a little to get the best fit.

Once all the buttons were stuck down, I put a sheet of old cardboard on top, then a pile of heavy books on top of that, just to make sure they all stayed in place and also to flatten out the card as the glue had made it buckle slightly.  The next morning the heart was dry, nicely flat and all ready to sellotape to the back of the mount and pop into the frame!

And there you have it, one Valentine’s Button Picture!