Wednesday, January 08, 2020

When buttons go bad

I have a pot that I put all the rejects that I make into.

Some are just fine - I've half made a button in a workshop for instance, as an example so that people can see the process. But, I'm not likely to finish it because it was illustrating a particular step or technique.

Or perhaps I've used a silk that's too fine for the design - so the definition just wasn't there, or the thread was too thick and just wasn't right, making the button look horrid.

Sometimes it is about colour - the colours just don't go well once they've been made and so I have to start again.

And at other times, there's a mistake. Something that can't be fixed at the time, and jumps out at me in such a way that I don't want any one to see them!

I will often just cut off the threads right away and start again. But, if I am on a roll - or I want to learn from the mistake or process - I will keep the reject for a while. And then it goes into the pot to be reclaimed.

The above is perhaps about 3 or 4 years worth, and all satisfyingly cut away and a pile of moulds ready to be used again.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

If it's too good to be true...

For those of you who buy Au Ver a Soie silks from us, please be on the lookout for outlets / people selling them cheap.

It turns out that between Christmas and New Year, the Au Ver A Soie factory in France was robbed. This is a huge blow to the small company, who really had managed to get themselves back on a good footing after losing virtually everything in a major fire a few years back.

They announced this theft on their social media pages, and it seems from the translations that the majority of what was taken was their Soie de Paris, Tram and Perlee, along with their sewing silks, "surfine" and 1003.

I am not sure how the stolen items were packaged, but they do have loose skeins, and have been using more and more of the reels as you can see in the image above. If the mini perlee has been taken, these are on little wooden spools, and is the tram silk (often used for fly fishing), and occasionally cardboard spools are used. The image shows some of the options.

Please - if you see any of their products sold at prices too good to be true on outlets such as eBay, etc, let them know at - I am sure they would rather be falsely notified of a real seller then not told about a seller that is actually a thief.

Of course, this may mean that some colours and types are not able to be ordered for a while, as they will need to get their stocks back on track.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Mini books and bigger blogs

Wow! Here I am restarting my blog after a very long time. I'm actually going to be keeping two blogs in the coming year - this one and a new One Button a Day challenge blog. Of course, the Button a Day challenge will be added to daily, while this one I am sure will be a little less often. But hopefully it will still keep you updated with what we are doing.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the Christmas break? I've had a little bit of non-button time, working on a mini bookcase and books as part of Tando Creative's new 366 challenge. I don't see myself taking part fully in that challenge, as I'll be a bit busy making a button everyday, but I am thinking of using the mini books to list each button's title and a few details. And perhaps use a few of their prompts if I'm stuck button-wise :) Then again, I might do their monthly challenges!

Putting together the little case was ever so easy, and then on to the decorating. I used Kraft tex paper for the main decoration - I crumpled it then glued it flat (using a brayer to help flatten it), then used some distress ink to change the colour a bit. Then, I rubbed every panel with beeswax and polished it well, giving a nice leather look.  You can see from this picture how different the paper looks at the start to the finish.

I then added some fantastic wired passementerie cord that I've been saving ever since Sevinch from Sevinch Passementerie gifted it to me a few years back. It's gorgeous, teeny and perfect. As I was adding it, I thought the whole thing rather reminded me of the state beds found in stately homes, so decided that this also needed some passementerie finials!

That side tracked me quite a while, making a fancy finial (using a paperlathe mould) and corner pieces! A bit mental perhaps, but totally me.

I also took some time to work on 6 of the mini books - the set is designed so that the pages can be put in after the signatures have been stitched in (very clever) and using the living hinge technology means that creating the book cover isn't that difficult. So I was able to just enjoy making the covers.

The first uses a pleather fabric and ruched using one of our flowercombs (I've got a YouTube tutorial for how to make this style of cover). The next uses a small piece of fabric woven years ago by me on a backstrap loom. I'm glad to have found a use for that!

The blue/purple uses a piece of fabric I eco dyed last year. Well, sort of eco dyed. I threw some logwood chips in too, which may or may not be what is classed as eco-dying...

Next, a piece of snakeskin that I have had about 20 years. It was in a box of items we got at an auction, the other contents being at least 50 years old and honestly, it has sat in a tin all this time. I've always thought it needed to be used for something special.

The next, covered in parchment. Real parchment, given to me back in my medieval re-enactment days. I was given a few small pieces to create my own inventory lists for my silkwoman demos, and to try out real parchment passementerie. My husband has a 17th century book bound in white parchment that is lovely, so I thought I would use some to make my own version.

And the last, using some red pleather fabric, to mimick a hand bound medieval style book that I have.

It's been lovely to use some of those little bits of materials I've been hoarding for years, and I have already set aside special items for the next six!

I hope that you will follow this blog - join me on social media - and of course, follow the One Button a Day challenge at