Monday 8 August 2011

The Monday Project - Tortoise New Home Card

Has anyone seen Augustus? He's pretty suave I think, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. So when Rachael asked me to make a card inspired by Augustus, it all came together fairly naturally. So without further ado may I introduce little August - and his arrival is just in time for the first Monday Project in August (see what I did there?)
you will need:
Natural/ Kraft card blank, about 6" x 4"
Lighter green card scraps (approx 4" x 6")
Darker green card scraps (approx 3" x 4")
Mixed olive green small buttons (1cm and smaller)
Fine black pen (or a good biro, I'm not fussy)
double-sided tape, glue, and a few small sticky fixers.
Rubber stamps for a greeting

Here's How To:
Make sure your card blank is folded in half. Then put it to one side, and trace and then cut out your templates.
Stick your tortoise body onto the card blank, keeping it low. Draw around the tortoise body with your black pen, and draw on a face. You can see where I've done this in a few steps time - to be honest I forgot and stuck on the shell before doing this, and had to be careful not to get pen on the shell. Do as I say, not as I do, I guess.
Score the fold line on your tortoise shell, and fold firmly. Stick a length of double sided tape on the shorter part of the shell, and stick onto your body, placing it in the obvious position. Press down firmly - and you should have created a flap.
Next, using your glue (and we use Gutermann HT2, my fave of all glues - seriously, I should get shares in the stuff I harp on about it so much), randomly glue buttons all over the shell. Be careful not to glue any directly over the fold line, because (sorry if I'm being too obvious here) you won't be able to fold it.
Get a scrap of green card (doesn't matter which colour) and write on your greeting. It needs to fit into the top right hand corner, so bear this in mind when composing your text. Decorate around the edge with your black pen - faux stitch lines are always a winner with me.
Stick on some sticky fixers - I like the greeting to be a little raised always - don't ask me why, but I always do. Stick on to your card and you're done.
Under the flap is left for any secret messages you may have, because a tortoise always keeps it's secrets under it's shell. Everyone knows that.

Monday 11 July 2011

The Monday Project - Button Cake Flags

Here at the buttoncompany, we like to name our cakes. That's because if you don't name it, chances are you won't get to eat it either, someone else will have gotten to it before you. We like our cakes. So here are some heart button flags to ensure that you can have your cake and eat it every single time.
You will need:
Wooden Coffee Stirrers
Plain cardstock
Heart buttons, bigger than 1cm
Glue (we used Gutermann HT2, a brilliant textile glue)
Alphabet stamps and ink or (pretty handwriting and pen!)

Here's How To:
Cut your coffee stirrers in half - each half will make one flag.
Cut your plain cardstock into strips about 1cm wide by 6cm long, and then from one end cut out a triangle shape.
Stamp your names onto the card flags, towards the right hand side. I always like to start from the last letter and work backwards, to make sure my spacing is okay. This is easy if you have a palindromic name like mine (anna) but requires more thinking if you are called something long with lots of letters, like, hmmm.. Madeleine?
Anastasia? Be prepared for a do-over if necessary.
Next, with your scissors, round the left hand edge of the flag. Leave a little bit of space between the edge and the name, but feel free to trim a little shorter than the original 6cm. This rounded edge will help hide the card under the button.
Next, with your glue, glue the cut end of the stick (you don't want splinters in your cake) to your back button, then the flag to the stick, and then your front button onto the flag.

Make multiples, all with your own name, and stick them in all the cakes you can find. Or, use them in birthday parties or hen do's or any occasion where you want to eat cake. Yum.
a x

Monday 27 June 2011

The Monday Project - Save The Date Button Cards

So I don't know anyone getting married at the moment, but last year I had to design my brother's wedding invitations and things. Of course, my first thought was: buttons. Bizarrely, my brother isn't into his buttons so much (I know, right?), so this ended up a no-go. Nevermind, ignore my brother and his non-button love, here are some save the date cards that embrace the button love.

You will need:
Plain Card
Patterned Card
Small Button selection - to match your colour-scheme
Needle & thread - to match colour scheme
Corner Rounder Punch - optional
Computer & Printer (or rubber stamp, or beautiful handwriting and a steady hand)
Paper trimmer
Sellotape and double-sided tape

Here's How To:
Set up on your computer the information you need in a fancy font. (Remember you can download hundreds of beautiful fonts for free off the internet, to get exactly what you're after). Copy & Paste over the whole page (you can get about 12 to a page). Print onto your plain card. If you don't want to use your computer, you could get a stamp made up, or you could do it all by hand if you're a confident calligrapher.
Cut each card out - you should end up with a finished size of about 6cm x 8cm. When you cut, cut close to the left hand side of the writing, and leave a gap on the right. Measure and cut the patterned card to about 1cm larger than your plain card.
At this stage, with your corner punch, you can round off the corners of either one or both of your cards. Experiment, see what you like. Oh, and check out the top picture, can you spot the deliberate mistake? Hmm..
Next, thread up your needle. You don't need it for the wrapping around the card, but it'll make life easier for putting the buttons on. And it helps to have your tape in an easy dispenser too, if not, three hands may be an option you'd like to consider!
Stick the end of the thread onto the back of the plain card, on the other side of the blank part. then wrap roughly three times around the card. Fix on the back with a bit of sellotape(fig. 1 & 2). On the fourth time around, thread on your buttons. Place them where you want on the card, and pull the thread tightly to the back. Fix again with tape.
Now, with double-sided tape, centre this card onto the patterned backing card. Stick down firmly, et voila. You're done. Repeat 150 times (or however many guests you have!)
By the way, the names 'Marjorie & Edward' and their wedding date were randomly generated by Rachael- but if by chance someone happens to be called that and is getting married on that date - they can totally steal this idea ;)

Monday 13 June 2011

The Monday Project - Off-Centre Button Brooch

I've made plenty of stacked up button brooches in the past - and we've even sold kits of them in the past too - but this is a little take on the theme. So today's Monday Project is the off-centre button brooch, which does stack buttons up, but it puts the stack off to the side, giving the old classic a bit of a twist!
What you need:
  • 1 x large button (5cm diameter works well) you can find them here and here. We've used coloured agoya shell buttons, as the colour on them is like no other. Here's a couple.
  • 1 x brooch pin (any size will do)
  • 1/2m waxed cotton cord in a complementary colour to your buttons, thin enough to go through your button holes.
  • Small selection of buttons (for the topper)
Here's How To:

Decide what buttons you are going to use on your topper. This could be one, or could be two or three. On my sample I've used two. Thread the cord up through the back of both buttons, and down through the front, pulling them tightly together. Pull them to approximately 1/3 of the way along your cord.
Using the longest side of your cord, thread down through the front of one hole of the big button (fig.1). At the back, thread through the base of your brooch pin - making sure the flat side is flush to the button back(fig.2). (The amount of times I've done this the wrong way round I am too embarrassed to tell you.) Then thread the cord back to the front of the button (fig.3).
Position your button to one side as desired. Pulling the cord tight across the button, pull around to the back and wrap around the base of the brooch back (fig.1). This will give you an anchor with which to tie your knot (fig.2). Tie your knot tightly, and trim the ends of your cord close to the knot (fig.3). You may want to dab a little bit of glue or clear nail varnish on the knot to keep it doubly-secure.
As you can see in the top picture (the whale button) you can use shank buttons too. I tied a knot at the back of the shank to secure it in place (it wobbled otherwise), and double cord for extra effect. Then used a fine permanent ink pen (like a cd-writing pen) to draw on the bubbles. I have also in the past used charms on the tops of the buttons (dragonflies and butterflies make for a cute flowery effect!).

As usual with button jewellery, the concept is super simple but the possibilities are endless... so I'd love to see what you all come up with.
a x

Monday 30 May 2011

The Monday Project - 2 Tier Button Necklace

I have a million variations I think on the button necklace, and over the next few months I'm going to try and get them all on here for you - as well as some other button projects as and when I come to them. For now, here's a variation on a simple theme - the double stranded button necklace:

What you need:
  • 30-40 mixed buttons. I like smaller (up to 20mm ones, but bigger ones work just as well.) My necklace only used 30 buttons, but I like a shorter necklace than many people.
  • 2m of 1mm or 0.5mm waxed cotton cord. (This is much longer than you will need, but trust me, it's just easier having more than less.)
  • 1 lobster clasp
  • 1 calotte (crimpy thing)
  • 1 split ring (any size will do)
Here's how to:

Thread your lobster clasp onto your cord, approximately 3/5 of the way, and tie a knot (as shown.) The different lengths of the cord will help with your two tiers.
Start threading your buttons onto your cord. Always thread from the back to the front. For 4 hole buttons (fig.1) thread diagonally, and for shank buttons (fig.2) tie on with a knot at the back.
(Here's a secret to button jewellery: people ask me all the time what keeps the buttons from twisting around and not facing the front all the time - after all, they do it in the books, right? - wrong. They only lie flat in the books because the photographer has laid them all out flat. You know for sure as soon as it's picked up the buttons will twist around in whatever which way they want. They're buttons, they like to thwart you in their un-neatness. Deal with it.)

Space the buttons a few centimetres apart. The thickness of the cord should hold them in place. If your cord starts to fray and it gets hard to thread, whatever you do, don't suck it! Trim it off with a pair of sharp scissors - that should do it. This, and the knots, is one of the reasons you want extra cord to start off with. If you are working with children, their sticky fingers will mean you probably have to cut off twice as much as you do with your cool, dry hands.

Hold the necklace up to yourself several times to check length. This is a personal thing - some people love it longer, some people shorter. I guess I'm a short-to-mid kinda girl myself. When you're ready with the length, tie both the ends together. Pull the knot as tight as you can to make it as small as you can. Make sure you are ready to knot, 'cause unpicking this will be a pain! Because of your different lengths of cord when you started, when you hold it up to yourself, you should now have two tiers!

Get out your calotte (I had to look up what this was called, before this I knew it as 'one of those crimpy things'), and lay the knot across it. Close the calotte, trapping the knot. Before you do this you may want to fix the knot with a dab of glue or clear nail varnish. I sometimes bother, sometimes I don't! Trim the loose ends. Excuse the fluffy ends on my pic, I didn't have my nice sharp embroidery snips with me. Fold down the loop, trapping your split ring in it.
Check you like the placement of the buttons. If you don't, just move them about a bit until you're happy. And that's it. Make again in as many different colours as you have in your wardrobe!

a x

Thursday 26 May 2011

Creative & Contemporary

It's time for another customer profile! Let me introduce Victoria Avery from Creative & Contemporary:

Creative and Contemporary is my company which i run from my home in Surrey. I specialise in making handmade decorations for wedding and parties, helping to add creativity and quirkiness to special occasions.

Making things by hand has always been something which interests me, and the idea for Creative and Contemporary came about after helping my sister with her wedding preparations. I was given the task of creating all her decorations as she just didn't have time, and she didn't want the standard decorations you can buy in the shops. Helping her made me realise that there must be hundreds of people who want handmade, beautiful decorations which are different to the norm. So I decided to create a range of unique, affordable decorations, and launched my first products in January 2011.

Customising products for individuals is really what I love doing. Creative and Conte
mporary allows people to add their own special touches to my creations, be it customising text which is stamped on, or matching colour schemes. I am also always happy to think of new ideas for interesting themes.

I currently sell my products through my website www.creativeandcontemporary.comand also through Etsy

Thanks for getting in touch, Victoria, we're loving the button name place hangers!
If you would like to be considered for a customer profile, let me know, I am planning on doing some more over the coming months!

Saturday 7 May 2011

Alpaca Select & The Button Company

We always like it when we find people using our buttons in creative ways, so we were delighted when we found that Liz Baxter, an English knitwear designer, was using our buttons in her designs for Alpaca Select.
This is the Thea kit, which uses our vintage theme bag. I usually associate the vintage themed buttons with more period tones, so it's really refreshing to see them on a pink background - I think it really works.

And this one is the Asha kit, which also uses the vintage buttons (but I think would also look great with Wuthering Heights, don't you agree?)

So after this I've decided I really want to know where our buttons have found themselves after we send them out into the world. What projects have they been used on? Let us know what you are using our buttons on - we'd love to see!

Monday 18 April 2011

Rule Britannia... Rule Buttonia

With Royal Wedding fever upon us all, we had to have some appropriate buttons. If you look closely, one of those buttons in the picture even has Britannia on it. Get us.
And if you've seen some of our felt rolls, ric rac mixes, & button jars in John Lewis over the past few months, you may fancy looking out for our new colourway - Rule Britannia. I think mini felt bunting in red, white and blue with a bit of button & ric rac embellishment would be perfect for all your Royal Wedding street parties. I may even get around to doing this myself. These felt rolls are only available in John Lewis, and are of a limited quantity, so get your hands on them quickly or they may be gone before you get a chance!

Friday 21 January 2011

And the winner is... drum roll please

None of you!

Haha, only joking.

Before I tell you, I should tell you what inspired this colour mix. It was a range of fabrics from a French company called Mas d'Ousvan - I don't have any left but here is a link to one of my favourite prints: Angele Bleu

I didn't want to tell you the inspiration because I like people to make up their own minds without interference from me. And I loved all the ideas of beaches and vintage and linen, but at the end of the day what still kept coming back to me was the idea of provincial france. And while I'm not going to go with quite that, I think it's only fair that the winner is:

I am inspired (email me with your address and I'll get your winnings on their way to you!)

So ladies & gentlemen (although I get the feeling it's MAINLY ladies!)
Here is is:
"En Provence"

But fear not the rest of you - I may have another naming competition coming up soon, and with that one I promise I don't have any secrets. Keep your eyes peeled.

Oh, and by the way. If EVER anyone feels like coming up with a new colour for us - we are always looking for new ideas. And if we use your ideas we will of course always give you buttons in return!

Friday 7 January 2011

Help! I need a name... but I'll give you something in return, I promise!

So, usually I am pretty good with coming up with names for our theme bags, (in fact, often the name comes before the colour!) but sometimes the names take longer to come up with than others. It's then that I usually turn to the rest of the ButtonCompany team, and usually they come up with something that helps. But this time we are all stumped.

Soooo, I turn to you, button fans. I know I have severely neglected you, but hopefully I can make this up to you.
Come up with a name, and send it to me either as a comment here, or send me an email.
The winning name gets a 100g theme bag of this new colour. But I need it soon, as our trade show is coming up, and I need all the paperwork done for that. Ok?
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