Hi! This site is an archive of my old craft blog. You can now find my new writing, and my two new shops, in their new homes: Patchwork Jackdaw for one-off, intricate jewellery pieces in muted colours, and Florence Loves Fridays for bold, chunky, quirky jewellery.
My new premium button jewellery collection is now available. These button necklaces, bracelets and earrings are the first few in a series of one-of-a-kind pieces that I’ve been working on over the past few months. The button necklaces are different to most of my others in that they are made with thread rather than wire, and they are double-sided and reversible.
One of the most common problems with thread-based button jewellery is that the buttons sometimes turn over – it’s quite difficult to get them to lie flat during day to day wear, because even the slightest movement can dislodge them from lying in a smooth line around the neck. These new necklaces don’t have this problem, as a slightly rotated button will simply reveal the other side of the necklace with another button on it, rather than the back of the button. My new website shows a view of both sides of each necklace, so you can see in detail exactly how each piece will look.
The button jewellery site has had a redesign – and as well as this there are new products, and a whole load of items at reduced prices in the sale section.
New in the accessories section are some button purses, made by Sharon of Bolsita Bags (she has a shop just up the road from where I live). Each one is a unique, one-off handmade item, crafted from a patchwork of fabric offcuts and decorated with vintage buttons.
I’ve also made a new type of button bracelet. Recently I started using some extra-strong plastic coated wire for my button necklaces so that they were more durable, and I’ve updated my button bracelet design to match these. The new chunky button bracelets look like this:
I still have some of the elastic button bracelets from my previous collection left over, and these are now in my button jewellery sale section – reduced to just £2.99, only while stocks last…
At the Unexpected Boutique, there is a new collection of button earrings – all sterling silver studs, in a variety of different sizes ranging from 6mm up to 12mm. My personal favourites are the flower-shaped studs, which range from a bright hot pink to more subtle shades of silvery grey and khaki.
In other news, in a couple of weeks I will taking a month off and doing that thing that my mother and grandmother have been nagging me about every time I’ve seen them for the past, I don’t know, five years, and Going On Holiday. This means that obviously I won’t be able to immediately send any jewellery to anyone who orders it while I’m away, because I won’t be in my house, but I’m leaving my shops open with big notices on them saying “I’m Not Here” and stuff. I’ll send out any orders that are placed between 16th Jan and 28th Feb 2012 once I’ve got home and recovered from the travelling – that’ll be 1st March, I’m hoping.
Most of the button necklaces I make are short, choker style pieces, which are made on a wire to hold the buttons flat in place against the neck.
However, over the years I’ve had lots of requests for longer button necklaces. Making longer styles with wire doesn’t really work as the wire gets bent and tangled without a neckline to rest on. So I make long button necklaces using a strong nylon cord. The trouble is, with a normal method of button threading, it’s easy for the buttons to get flipped over when they’re on a long cord, so unless the wearer sits quite still, it’s easy for some of the buttons to end up backwards.
Fortunately, I have devised a Cunning Plan. (Even more fortunately, it does not involve a turnip.)
When I make my longer button necklaces, I make them completely reversible. Small buttons are layered on top of larger buttons on both sides, so that the button cluster looks the same no matter which round it is – simple! In between the button clusters I’ve added beads for a bit of variety, too.
At the moment I have two colour schemes for sale at buttonjewellery.co.uk: bright multicoloured, and ivory.
It took me years to work out how to make these button stud earrings without the buttons coming off, but I’ve finally cracked it with the right technique. I originally just made them on silver plated studs, but my sister, who has been road-testing them for me, needed solid sterling silver ones as she tends to leave the same pair of earrings in for months at a time, and this isn’t generally recommended for non-precious metals. So now they are available in two versions – silver plated, and sterling silver. The buttons are 9mm across.
The original pearly plastic stud button earrings are available in a variety of bright colours: red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, hot pink and black. I’ve also made some stud button earrings in natural wood, which are very popular.
After I’d made these, I started experimenting with layering the little 8mm buttons with even smaller buttons, to form tiny collages. They are stitched together, and then stuck onto the earring posts. I’ve made several different designs, mostly with flower shaped buttons layered over the round ones, and one with tiny hearts (was having a cute-overload that day, I think…).
I thought it would be appropriate to begin this blog with an illustration of the current state of my workspace:
I don’t really like to keep it that way; I don’t know how it happens, but I think it’s related to having too many ideas at once, rather having a linear work pattern of Have Idea > Make Thing > Put Away the Stuff Used to Make That Thing > Have Next Idea. Another part of the reason is that some of the things take ages to make, such as the lace collar necklace on the bust in those photos, and others are customer orders that need to be made and posted quickly, such as these (rather hastily and fuzzily photographed) burgundy and olive earrings:
These were ordered to match a rich multicoloured button necklace, which is available “with matching earrings”, even though there aren’t any specific earrings of that colour scheme in my shop. (It’s a bit hard to make something multicoloured when there are only two colours in the design, see…)
I made five extra pairs while I was at it, but then realised this wasn’t a tried-and-tested colour scheme, and I had no idea whether people were going to want it. I said as much to a friend of mine, and he said, “It’s nice. It’s like French food.” I hadn’t previously thought of making jewellery to match different cuisines, but maybe this should become my next design incentive. I could make a lasagna necklace (cream, brown, dark red and hints of green) or a full English breakfast (white, yellow, red, brown, orange, beige… this one might be less popular I suspect…).
But I’m not totally sure about the psychology involved: do people really want to wear what they eat?