Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Button mad

I knew writing these posts was going to be awful.  I've been putting this off for weeks, wracking my brains for a subject.  I was going to do a post on Hallowe'en, but I've decided to save that for next.  So I'm back at buttons.

The reason for having so many buttons in the first place is that I use them in making earrings.  My favourite are the little 8mm four-holed matte ones, which come in a massive range of colours.  They're the mainstay of my button stud earrings collection, and I nearly had a heart attack a couple of years ago when they stopped producing the purple ones.  I do use other sizes of this type of button, but 8mm seems to be the ideal.

From there it was a logical leap to using the wide variety of character buttons that are available.  You can get a themed button for almost anything these days, and some of them are just too cute to pass up.  (See how I managed to casually fit Hallowe'en in there?)  The seasonal studs are perfect for office wear where you want to have a bit of fun but rules prohibit dangly earrings, and they're very popular with children, too.  I'm currently trying to source the little magnets, so that kids without pierced ears can have them as well.

Buttons come in a variety of materials; you'd expect plastic, ceramic, metal, even wood, but what about Swarovski crystal, or coconut shell like the one used for the brooch above?  This one's quite large at 40mm, and I've used matching but smaller ones to make earrings.  They come in all shapes and sizes, so it seems silly just to sew them on clothes.  They deserve to be showcased; they may be utilitarian, but that doesn't mean they can't look good at the same time.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

A slight addiction

I have to admit that I have a problem.  I seem to be addicted to making bracelets.  I make far more bracelets than I sell, but I can't stop myself.  A bracelet is the ideal compromise when jewellery-making.  Earrings can normally be done pretty quickly, and often I don't feel like I've really accomplished anything.  Necklaces are either just a case of adding a pendant to a chain or cord (in which case, see the problem with earrings) or they're more complicated and take me longer than I can comfortably sit in one session.  Bracelets can usually be done in one session, and involve enough work to make it feel worthwhile.

The theme for this week has been buttons.  I've got a box of reclaimed (for 'reclaimed', read 'painstakingly cut off clothing' , 'begged and borrowed from friends and relatives' and/or 'bought from charity shops') buttons of all shapes and sizes, plus spares that were bought for dress-making and knitting patterns but never used.  I also have two boxes of brand new specifically bought buttons, again of all shapes and sizes.  A few times a month, I dump these buttons out on my bead mat and rake through them, trying to decide what to do.  I invariably sit there for half an hour, picking through them, before sighing and putting them back in the box.

This week, I decided, would be different.  No more pawing at them, action would be taken.  Not only would action be taken, but action would be taken with the buttons I had deemed most boring - the white shirt buttons!  I had loads of those.  It was only when I started to separate the white buttons out and pile them together that it became evident just how pretty they were.  Most of them were pearlescent.  Some of them were even natural shell. 

So the decision was made: instead of using some, I would use lots; and to satisfy my bracelet craving (I hadn't made one for days!) I would make a button charm bracelet.  So I did, and liked it so much that I decided to make more: first a white-silver-grey-black graduated one, and then a more colourful one with my favourite 8mm four-hole buttons.  I currently have a tentative order for a much darker version, which I really should be doing now.  So, goodbye for now ...

P.S. I figured out how to put photos in - yay me!!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I need more coffee

The reason I say I need more coffee, is that I've drunk the one I made half an hour ago before coming in to write this first post.  I've been sat here desperately wracking my brains for a way to start, and all I've accomplished is one cup of coffee.  For someone who loves the written word, I'm not very good at talking to people, whether it be in person, on the phone or on screen.  I've been putting off starting this blog for some time now (I managed to put it off for another hour today by not noticing the 'save changes' button when making up the template) and it's purely because I often have a problem convincing myself that I know what to say.  So I'm rambling.

I assume that this is the place where I'm supposed to tell you about me and Dragonrat.  This is something else I have problems with.  I've just put in for the Redcar & Cleveland Creative Directory for 2011/12, and I had to write a short bio for that.  It took days.  Naturally, I can't find the email that contained it, or I'd copy it here and that would be problem over.  Instead, for now, I'll just say that I used to make jewellery as a hobby for myself, and that it expanded to selling on eBay and at craft fairs, and now I have the website and Etsy. 

The Dragonrat part is explainable, though.  While I may live in Middlesbrough, I'm actually from South Wales, and I've had an unhealthy obsession with dragons since an early age.  I've got a reasonable collection of dragon figurines and the like, and get my literary dragon fixes through a range of fantasy and sci-fi books and films.  The rat part came into my life about eight years ago, when I got my first pet fancy rat.  These days we have rather more than one, and rehome for local rescues and the RSPCA.  And the wings just look right on a rat.

I think I'll leave it here now, finish it up.  I'm not sure if I've actually said anything, but there seem to be enough words.  Knowing the way I am with technology, I'll probably manage to lose all this before it posts (it's a constant source of amazement to me that I've not killed the website yet *touches wood*) but if I don't, please be kind.  I'm off in search of coffee and chocolate, that holy pairing.