Tag Archive | vintage buttons

Friday’s Favorites: Numbers and Measures

Measuring Up
Measuring Up Montage

The montage has a collection of a few of my favorite things. The jewelry pieces are just fun, with both new and old typewriter keys, and charms. The dog tags belonged to my mom’s dog when she was growing up, my dad won the medal in a model airplane contest for one of his own designs. Other images are my dad’s actual dog tags from WWII, coins (from my grandpa), a wooden nickel I got a Knot’s Berry Farm as a kid and more buttons.

Shown here is the bracelet close-up. I started with a very well loved, tape measure that belonged to my Grandmother. I paired it with grosgrain ribbon and a few buttons that I found at the thrift store. The small button at the right has my mom’s initials on it. When I found it I thought must save this for just the right project, I think that I did!

The first bracelet was found on eBay, it was made with vintage typewriter keys. The necklace is made from new two-hole beads, with typewriter symbols, that have been strung on a rayon cord. The last bracelet, is made from new charms, that are attached to a vintage chain bracelet.

Favorite collection of measuring devices

Numbers can be viewed differently by the way you present them, such as “I HAVE 5 weeds!”, or “I only have five weeds…”; vice versa: “I only have five roses…” or “I HAVE 5 roses!”… you get the point. Numbers can also relate to how much money you have, or how wide you are by the inches on the tape measure, or the accumulation of years that equal your life.

Measuring up can mean quite a few things as well. With New Year’s Eve looming, and resolution lists waiting to be written, for me it means gauging my accomplishments, successes and triumphs. Did I spend my time wisely, did I make a difference, did I contribute?

Whatever your answers are to these questions, I hope that you enjoy the days, hours, and minutes to come! Be happy creating or be happy creatively! Enjoy- Christen

National Button Day, November 16, 2022

I LOVE buttons!!! As a kid my mom kept a wooden cigar box in the sewing cupboard, it was full of buttons and all manner of treasures! When we were sick, or sometimes just bored she would pull out the box and let us play with them. At first I just loved the sound that the buttons made when they fell on the table, then I loved just looking at the colors, then I started imagining what I would do with them all. I learned a lot about color, shapes and sizes by playing and arranging these little treasures on the rug in the living room. My mom in her quiet wisdom allowed us to explore, and to create our own self-taught course on design.

What button box, stash or hoard does not include mother-of-pearl buttons? Here are two pins that I have made for a project that is included in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New. The last image shows you a shell that the button blanks were cut from, and a collection of buttons.

Every discerning collector has a favorite material or type of button that they collect. I happen to love all of them!

  • Santa Fe Talisman starts with a base of velvet ribbon. I used abalone shell, brown muscle shell, jade and turquoise buttons. Additional components are glass seed and larger beads, shell and freshwater pearls.
  • Cobble Stone Collar is entirely worked in a beaded stitch. The Tahiti and brown muscle shell buttons, and fresh water pearls were stitched on after the piece was stitched.
  • Umbrian Vintage starts with a base of two silk rouleau cords, with the buttons and beads worked between them. I used metal, celluloid, and glass buttons as the focal points, with glass seed and larger beads for embellishments.

Buttons are easy to stitch in place with threads or beads, and therefor are not damaged in anyway. This way the beauty of the button can be appreciated, and the history preserved.

  • Deco Plumeria started with a grosgrain ribbon base, with hand-stitched ribbonwork flowers and leaves. I embellished these with a collection of celluloid buttons and glass beads.
  • Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride started with a velvet ribbon base. I used black glass buttons, metal buttons, and a few novelty buttons. The embellishments include vintage glass beads, seed beads and larger glass beads.
  • Woodland Roses also started with a velvet ribbon base. I used carved Bakelite roses for the focal points, and surrounded them with a collection of tagua nut and celluloid buttons.

If you want to know more about buttons, check out Piecework Magazine July/August 2013, for an article that I wrote called My Button Box. And in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing, I have a chapter dedicated to “What’s in Your Stash”, with two pages dedicated to button materials, types and more.

I hope that you too have happy fond memories of your mom’s button box, bag, or jar! Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 19

Question: Do you like to embroider over a pattern or print: I like the fact that I can follow a guide, but mix it up a bit and add more color to the piece. You can find the following pieces in my book the Hand Embroidery Dictionary by C&T Publishing.

20″ X 19 1/2″

Glamour Girl by Christen Brown

This piece started with the fun print that was used in all four blocks. I loved the colors that were used and found additional fabrics in both stripes and prints in those same colors. I also incorporated a few precious strips of vintage batik fabrics. The piece is embellished with rickrack trim, grosgrain and novelty ribbons, embroidery, beads and sequins, and novelty buttons.

21 1/2″ x 12 3/4″

Big Leaves by Christen Brown

This piece started with the large linen leaf print. I chose Valdani perle cotton, from Rusty Crow Quilt Shop, for the embroidery stitches because of the ombre and variegated colors. The printed fabric gave me so many opportunities to use a variety of embroidery stitches. I used a wide grosgrain ribbon for the border, and embellished this with vintage wooden buttons.

12 1/2″ x 13 3/4″

Misty Blue Hills by Christen Brown

I used a printed upholstery fabric for the center that had great lines and colors that I could work with. I pieced the simple border with blue and creme colored printed fabrics. The embroidery stitching follows the pattern in the center, using a variety of stitches. I used a Sashiko style of stitching on the border fabrics. Many vintage glass, metal, shell and celluloid buttons were used for embellishments, along with two bone dragons.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

Day 31 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 31 of FLOWERS GALORE!

vintage buttons, vintage hanky

vintage buttons, felt heart

This is an ensemble I made with some of my favorite buttons. The white buttons in the necklace were from my friend Phred, with the remainder of the buttons primarily celluloid and Bakelite. These are stitched down onto a vintage jacquard ribbon base. The bracelet on the left is made from vintage Czech glass buttons using a bead woven stitch. The bracelet on the right is made from celluloid flower charms, new plastic sunflower buttons, and acrylic leaves connected to a celluloid chain. The vintage clip-on earrings are made from plastic with a little bit of bling.  I made the pin in high school, so it too is vintage!

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 29 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 29 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Country Cottage Tussy Mussy

May your day be filled with everything and everyone that you love!

This is a class that I taught for Joggles. I loved working with all of the different materials, and textures which include cotton fabric, lace, grosgrain ribbon, satin ribbon, felt, crochet streamers, and vintage buttons. The vessel that the flowers are displayed in is made from a cardboard cone that has been covered with mixed media techniques.

One of the flowers that I think is the prettiest is the shabby rose. If you would like to make this flower click here.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 25 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 25 of FLOWERS GALORE!

buttons, charms, ribbon

Funky Junky Steampunky

This was an on-line class that I taught for Joggles. The base of the bracelet is made from two ribbons that are woven together to make a larger base. The flowers are made from zippers lined with satin ribbon, other flowers are made from satin and vintage lace. Additional embellishments include glass, shell and metal buttons; metal, glass and wood charms; lace appliques and other collected treasures.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 24 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 24 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Mariposa Fall

This is a small wreath that is comprised of flowers and leaves made from hand-dyed silk ribbon, Hannah silk bias ribbon, vintage grosgrain ribbon, vintage jacquard ribbon, taffeta ribbon, and satin ribbon. The wreath is also adorned with vintage buttons and butterflies, lots of butterflies! The techniques can be found in my book Ribbonwork Flowers by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 22 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 22 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Vase with Flowers

This is one of nine blocks that were designed for my class the Stitch Along Sampler series. The embroidery stitches included both traditional and silk ribbon techniques. The stitches can be found in my book Embroidered and Embellished by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 17 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 17 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Crazy Pieced Needle Case

This is a close-up view of a needle case that I made for a class that I teach. The base is crazy-pieced with cotton fabrics and embellished with ribbonwok flowers, silk ribbon embroidered flowers, traditional and silk ribbon embroidery stitches, buttons, charms, vintage tatted trim and appliques. Many of the stitches can be found in my book The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!

Day 5 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Day 5 of FLOWERS GALORE!

Welcome Home

This is a wall hanging that I made using two cotton fabrics, a blue chambray and a fun print with bees in flight. I included some vintage lace for the vase and the center frame, and a novelty ribbon for the outer corner frame. The buttons are really the star here, and they are all vintage, with the exception of the bees that are mingled around the frame of the chambray square. All of the beaded embroidery stitches can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!