Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Button Bracelet Tutorial

So, what do you do when you have some buttons you love but can't find a sweater they'd look good on?  Make a bracelet!!  It's super simple - just one skill to practice a bit!  First, gather three buttons, chain, a clasp, jump rings (make sure five of them are big enough to fit through a buttonhole and then through another jump ring), some headpins, and a bunch of beads.  You'll also need needle nosed jewelry pliers, regular jewelry pliers, a wire cutter, and round nosed jewelry pliers.  I thought I was going to be using pearls on these seashore inspired buttons ....

... but after I got to the part where I put them on the bracelet, they didn't look casual enough, so I found these polished tourmaline nuggets that have been sitting around for awhile.  I love how they look like beach glass!

First, take one of your large jump rings and put it through a hole of one of the buttons.  If you haven't used jump rings before, see this past post.

Add a large jump ring to another button and, before you close the ring, hook it through the jump ring of the first button.  And sorry about the ugly bandaid in the photo - I had a run in with a kiln stilt!

It should look like this.

Repeat with the last button ...

... and add a large jump ring to the empty holes on the end buttons.

Measure your wrist - not loosely, but fairly snug.  Cut a piece of chain and add it to the jump ring of one of the end buttons.

Attach the other end of the chain to the jump ring of the other end button.  Don't panic!  It won't stay looking like this!

Find the middle of the chain and open that ring.

Add a jump ring ....

... and the clasp.

It should look like this!

Try the bracelet on - if you like how it fits, great!  If not, add a few links from the extra chain to the non-clasp end to make it a bit longer.

Now comes the fun part!  And what might be a new skill to practice for some of you.  Take one of the beads you want to attach and a headpin.  A headpin is just a piece of wire with a flat end that keeps it from going all the way through the bead.

Put the headpin through the bead.

Take your needle nosed pliers and place them next to the bead.

Make a right angle on the wire and cut off the extra, leaving about a half inch.

Place your round nosed pliers at the end of the wire and use them to bend the wire into a loop, making sure it closes completely.  This seemed like a hard skill before I tried it, but with a few times practicing, it worked!  Not as beautifully as a professional jewelry designer, but serviceable for me!  I take the pliers out a few times, rearrange, and make the wire rounder each time.  Find some cheap wire and practice, practice, practice!!  And if you want to see the technique in action, this short You Tube Video is good.

Here's mine.

Either before you close the loop on the end of the bead (or open it back up if you forget, like I often do), attach it through a chain link on the bracelet.

Keep doing this until your bracelet has the number of beads you want it - I put one on every other link.

If you're looking for some art ceramic buttons to try out on this bracelet (or for sewing with!), there's a new update in my shop of 17 new button sets - and some ceramic jewelry findings based on my forest walks.

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Inspiration - Fiona Rainford and "The Remains"

One of the things I most enjoy when looking at pieces of art is learning what inspired the artist to create it, what went into their process from idea to finished work. has a wonderful interview here with mixed media artist Fiona Rainford talking about her piece The Remains, which was inspired by an old woolen mill that a group of artists she was part of was focusing on.

The Remains, 2016

Fiona talks about what first interested her about the mill, shares the photographs she took (which are wonderful studies in textures and form), and tells about her research.  It's especially interesting to read about how what she first was interested in and focused on did not become the subject of the piece she created, but led her to looking at the old machinery parts and cogs.

If you want to see more of Fiona's artwork, visit her website - there's a lot to see!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Many Rivers Shawl and Short Rows

I've been slowly checking off my list of new knitting techniques I want to learn - cables, check, colorwork, check .... short rows.  That was one I was a little worried about!  You hear such stories .... There was this intriguing shawl sitting in my queue for ages before I realized it was done using short rows.  The reviews on how easy it made learning how to do them convinced me to give it a try - and they were right!  The perfect project for first time short row-ers!

The pattern is Many Rivers by Pam Jemelian and is available on Ravelry here.  The pattern calls for (and is lovely in) three colors, but I had a Madelinetosh exclusive Georgia yarn from two years ago (more on this in a moment) I'd been dying to use and another that went well - didn't have a third that I loved with them, so I went with two.  Madelinetosh Sock in Chattahoochee and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Solid in Kerfluffle.

I love the way the motifs look like eddying river water!  Now, more about the yarn - a couple of years ago, Madelinetosh made an exclusive colorway each month based on a Georgia landmark.  This yarn was only available at a Georgia yarn shop, Eat.Knit.Sleep.  Chattahoochee became a permanent exclusive and is still in stock in a few of Madelinetosh's yarns, but I believe all the other colorways are long gone.  This year, Madelinetosh is creating an exclusive colorway each month based on the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to go along with a fun game you can play, earning store credit and other prizes based on the projects you knit or crochet.  Be forewarned - it's addictive!!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, October 6, 2017

Halloween/Day of the Dead Shop Update

The new Halloween and Day of the Dead beads, pendants, and bracelet spacers are now available in the shop!  Click the button at the top of the page or go to  

Next up is a big button update in a couple of weeks.  Big update, not big buttons - they're all regular sized!

Happy Creating!  Deborah