Friday, December 25, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Do you hear:
  • wrapping paper rustling as Mr Button begins his annual ritual of wrestling with the ribbon just prior to bed?
  • the carols from Christmas Eve mass still going through your head?
  • the excited little voices checking just one more time that tomorrow REALLY is Christmas?
  • the hum of the air conditioner?
  • Mr Button, Uncle Button and Mr Button's good mate carrying the ginormous trampoline up the hill from the neighbours into our yard? Have I also mentioned that we live on the side of a mountain?
  • the sound of cool drinks tinkling on ice for the strongmen?
  • Christmas cake being munched?
  • Christmas books being read aloud?
  • the turkey sizzling in the pan, ready for tomorrow's lunch?
  • snuffles and snores from tired little buttons tucked up in their beds?
  • blessings being counted and thankful prayers for the good and beautiful life we live?
Merry Christmas to you who have made such a difference to my days and have brought me so much pleasure. I hope the things you hear fill you with the same warm, squishy sense of contentment that I am feeling. Christmas Blessings and Peace to you and to your families.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas Treasure

After a fortnight of barely catching breath, I thought I'd do a quick post and share one of our Christmas treasures. My Dad's brother John, trained as a carpenter many, many, years ago. I think it is probably more helpful to say he is a fine, arts, craftsman. He became quite skilled at chip carving and some of his work is in Parliament House. One Christmas he presented us with a beautiful Christmas string. Each one is an ornament in itself. I love looking at them and notice something different each time I walk past. It was the most surprising and delightful gift!

I couldn't quite show all the pieces and capture the hanging string so I have placed it flat on a table. The detail in each piece is extraordinary. I love the gentle, rustic, colouring of the timber.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thought for Thursday

Laughter is an instant vacation.
Milton Berle

Remember I was telling you about the sewing frenzy taking place around here? Shortly after I wrote about that my trusty Janome threw a hissy fit. I reacted calmly and set about replacing needles and re threading and in a desperate move, cleaned that bobbin area which required unscrewing the plate and pfaffing about with the brush. It was at this point the crisis began. Those wily feed dogs wrapped their tails about their legs and wouldn't go back up. The manual clearly states that for normal sewing to occur the feed dogs must be up - and they weren't. After frantic jiggling, unscrewing, re screwing and gentle coaxing they were still down.

There was no calmness by this stage. Mr Button found me hyperventilating, gesticulating at the 80+ pieces of sewing still needing to be done and laughing maniacally while I rocked back and forth in my chair. Luckily he had his wits about him and suggested we email the sewing machine repair man who lives in our neighbourhood. I shot off an impassioned email detailing the problems, the urgency with which the machine was required and begged for his help. I believe I may have offered to mow his lawn, bake Christmas dinner and give him a pedicure but the details are a bit hazy.

My cry for help sent to cyberspace, I returned to the machine for another look and as I switched it back on, low and behold, the feed dogs were at attention. I asked no questions but threw myself into my work and, to be honest, totally forgot about the repair man.

He phoned today obviously prompted by the urgent tone of my email. I had to report that at this point things seemed to be OK. He sounded a little surprised by the miracle and asked what I had done. He lives a few kilometres away from us but when I gave my reply, I swear I could hear him laughing without the aid of the phone. The phone call was as good as over once I said, "I just turned it on." There may have been more to it but it was hard to hear over Mr Button sniggering in the background.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Little Thank You

Frenzied sewing seems to be happening all about the place at the moment. We are preparing for two markets this weekend and also filling lots of Etsy orders. Some of our fellow bloggers and marketeers were busy last weekend at the BiDM and are now looking down the barrel of 3 consecutive markets on the coming weekend. It surely is a crazy time of year.

In the middle of all the craziness, Mr Button wanted a gift for one of the doctors who have been taking care of him over the past 6 weeks. She is not too far away from having her first bub so I thought this might come in handy during our hot, hot, summer.

There is more to this story than a simple picture. I have a new arch nemesis: The Ruffle Foot. I shall share more about this epic tale at a later time but for now, I would like to state that no super, whizzbang, machine ruffling was used in this garment and it was not for want of trying. I resorted to a good old fashioned gathering stitch and my own little fingers gathered the fabric. Sometimes you just can't beat the old ways!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Little Fimo Family

This Little Family came to our house in 2003. It was the first handmade Christmas ornament our Paddy Button received and was given to him by Nanny Button. She purchased it from our Parish Craft Stall. One of our parishioners made a few sets and they were snapped up quick smart. I think it would be fun to make some Fimo Christmas ornaments with some of the rumpty fingers around Button Central. Perhaps I'll have to visit Raspberry Pink at the BiDM on Saturday and stock up on some supplies.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just for fun!

Today I made this for the Molly Button who has recently discovered the joys of twirly skirts. It took no time at all and I am positively delighted with the result and the twirling it provoked. Will Button, twin brother of Molly Button, donned said twirly skirt after it had been discarded and proceeded to name all the Babushkas one by one and have a bit of a twirl himself. At that point Mr Button left the house muttering under his breath and calling all Buttons outside for some rough and tumble. Last I heard, he was explaining that twirly skirts are not acceptable de rigeur for footy.

Of course, one of the side benefits of using this little piece of fabric is being able to make lots of these with the leftovers.

I have three ideas floating in my head for them.

Some more of these cause I do love making them and giving them to people.

Or something like this on a tee to go with the twirly skirt. Please note the date on this post, Kathy had completed Christmas outfits for her twins by November 17 and was finished early enough to blog about it!

I also have a hankering to try something like this. She is, of course, totally correct about the addictive nature of the self covered button. These kits really should come with a warning and a number for some sort of help line.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Dogs are Barking**

Or so my mother would say. After yesterday's post I was awash with feelings of creativity, originality and the virtue that comes with organising presents in a timely fashion. Today I took a little time out to float around in blogland and found dozens of people had already started making birds and what not for Christmas trees the world over and to be perfectly frank, some were even nicer than mine. No, I'm not posting any links, you'll have to go and find them yourselves! Trust me, it won't take long.

I was telling Nanny Button this information and her reply was, "Well, I didn't like to say anything at the time when you were so excited, BUT, we girls (meaning my aunties), did the same thing years ago when you were all babies. Yours are still very nice and the fabric is probably different." So there it is in a nutshell, fashion is cyclical and obviously, so are Christmas ornaments.

I shall not be deterred, however. I have no recollection of such ornaments and that should mean a goodly number of other family members will also have forgotten the last time the pinking shears got a good workout. Production is in full swing!

Here's one of the handmade ornaments we have received in past years. A dolly peg angel. I love her rustic wings and the simplicity of her outfit. I'm going to share a few more over the next few weeks because they are just too nice to keep to myself!

**Rough translation: Everybody is doing it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ties that Bind

"Wombat loved Christmas. He loved the carols and the candles, the presents and the pudding, but most of all he loved the Nativity Play."
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox (probably the sweetest Christmas story, EVER, by the best children's author, EVER, if you want my opinion)

I am a bit like wombat in many ways and I REALLY love Christmas and always have. One of the things that I love the best are the traditions which pepper the way my family celebrates this time of year.

This is a tradition from Nanny Button's side of the family. I've told you about Nanny Button and her family before....Nin (my maternal Grandma) was the consumate crafter. She had seven girls, one of whom is Nanny Button (my Mum) who is crafty to her core and always finding ways to help me in my little projects. There is a good bit of craftiness running through the veins of the rest of those sisters and also through the squillions of cousins they've gone on to produce.

A number of years back, the family decided that present giving for the mob was requiring a small loan or petty thievery which was not really in keeping with the season. The collective wisdom was that Santa would bring a small gift to any of the wee folk who still went to primary school. The rest of the families would exchange cards and a decoration. Thus, a family legacy was born!

The craftiness takes on a life of it's own in the lead up to Christmas. I think Nanny Button may be the most secretive of all, going to great lengths to keep her decoration a mystery until the party date. People do all kinds of things. Sometimes they are simple - card and glitter in a tree shape with family names printed on it. Sometimes they are exquisite and elaborate - like the beaded angels, sometimes it is Christmas baking. Always they are precious and uniquely beautiful. I love, love, love this part of Christmas and I love, love, love my Christmas tree and it's treasures.

Due to a not entirely explained delay receiving shirts from our supplier, there is a bit of a lull in the Cute as Buttons market restocking department. In the space, my mind turned to the decoration we are going to give this year and I have been having a lovely time playing with some ideas today. My efforts over the last few years have been less handmade and more mass produced. This year I am going to redeem myself! Using pinking shears, I cut two of the birds I designed for Cute as Buttons a while ago, and added the wing heart from Sharon's bird. I running stitched the wing to each side of the body and then running stitched the two bodies together, leaving an opening to stuff the bird and adding a ric rac loop for hanging. I then stitched a button on each side for an eye. I was pretty pleased with the results so I didn't stop there.

I made a heart:

Then our 2008 Christmas tree:

Next a star:

Finishing with this year's Christmas tree.

I can't wait to give them to the clan and you never know, they might even pop up around the place if you think you'd like some for your tree.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heaven Sent

Handmade Heaven has now been restocked with lots of lovely Cute as Buttons goodies. Our girl singlets are stocked to size 4 and boys to size 2. If there is interest in any big, boy singlets, we'd love to know - just leave a comment at the end of the post. Lots of tees to choose from in sizes 000, 00, 0, 2 and 4.
We have a great range of sizes in the the Christmas shirts and if you see a colour combination in another size and want to order it to suit your Little Button, just let Liesa know and she will pass the information on to us.

Mr Button had to throw his shoulder to the wheel last night and spent a therapeutic couple of hours tying gingham strips to a coathanger to help make our Christmas Hair Tie Display. He wants to know if this qualifies him as a Handmadie - Micky, what is your decision? I must say, he did quite a nice job and once I banned him from using the scissors, things went swimmingly! I'm not sure he'll be rushing back to repeat the effort so it may be a one off original!

More goodies crossed off the Christmas List after my time visiting the shop. Liesa and her Mum have made a Christmas Nook to make your treasure hunting even more fun! Look how many beautiful Christmas things were hiding there today! Christmas shopping made easy at Handmade Heaven, Old Flour Mill, Brisbane Rd, Ipswich.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Making My List and Checking Tonight

Tonight I have tucked 3 very weary Little Buttons into their beds and I am sure I will not be too far behind them. We had a great time at the The Handmade Expo and although we were back in Brisbane collecting our Dad by 11:30 it was exhausting.

Just look what we managed to check off our Christmas List.

Presents for teachers from Mango Wednesday. All we need to do is load them up with some homemade yummies and wrap them in cellophane. I love to give teachers decorations or Christmas china as an end of year gift. As a teacher, I loved receiving them and as I decorate my house for Christmas, I remember all the little people who gave me the ornaments and plates that I use at this magical time of year. Incidentally, one of my favourite Christmas plates was given to me by someone who left for Schoolies this morning! I am sure these little plates will also give years of joy.

Christmas gifts for the nieces from Denim by Deborah.

Christmas gift for my sister from Denim by Deborah.

If Deb starts some sort of Loyalty Card business, I am in like Flynn! This takes my D by D purchase total to 8! Each one has been unique and quite hard to give away...I am sure I could squeeze in another bag or two!

Christmas outfits for the Little Buttons from min nah kids. They are cute, cute, cute!

The boys' outfits will match. I am not sure if I am going to get away with that...I have a feeling there may be mutiny from the 6yr old button! I'll keep you posted.

Sadly, there is no evidence of the biscuits from The Cupcake Ladies, Debbie's delicious Fudge from Heaven or Tina's Moreish and YUMMY, coconut ice, cupcakes. I shudder to think of the POINTS value but it was worth every one!

Molly snaffled some Bubba Chenille pants and a necklace from Handmade Heaven but she has gone to bed with them stashed beside her so the photos will have to wait till another day.

Sharon had a busy day on the Cute as Buttons front although, she seemed reluctant to accept my offer to leave one or two of the Little Buttons behind to assist her with her work! Go figure. Our next market weekend is a Double Header - The Handmade Expo on the 12th December and Boutique Markets on the 13th December. I'm going to make sure my Christmas List is ready and raring to go!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spot the Buttons

Image: Taryn Newland
The Handmade Expo will be on at the Ipswich Turf Club, tomorrow, Saturday 21st November. Sharon will manning Cute as Buttons as I am still taking a break to care for Mr Button and the family. I will be attending the Expo with the Little Buttons in tow while Mr Button is at the hospital for his daily visit. No doubt you will see and hear us coming from a long way off!

We have great plans for present buying from Bubba Chenille, Denim by Deborah, min nah kids, Fudge from Heaven, The Cupcake Ladies and Mango Wednesday. If you see us, do stop and chat!

I am slowly replenishing the stock for Handmade Heaven. Some singlets and a few Christmas tees made their way there today. More will follow next week. We will be fully stocked with our Christmas range tomorrow so don't miss out! The min nah girls will have co-ordinating bottoms and my advice is get in nice and early to secure that special Christmas outfit.

Image: Rachael Zelensky
From tomorrow, entry to The Handmade Expo is FREE! What more incentive do you need to start your Christmas shopping?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday saw Sharon making an early start to set up for the final Mathilda's Market for 2009. She was run off her feet selling those (see above) and these:

and all the other lovely singlets in our range. They are such sensible and comfortable attire for wee folk during the heat of a Brisbane summer. There were lots of familiar faces and plenty of brand new ones. Stocking up for Christmas seemed to be the order of the day.

If you're stocking up for Christmas, pop over to The Handmade Expo for a chance to win some market cash to help you with your purchases.

You might like to visit Cute as Buttons at the Boutique Markets at Portside on Sunday where Sharon will once again be holding the fort while I tend to Mr Button during his recovery. We are most appreciative of your comments on the last post. He and his donor are continuing to amaze us with their remarkable progress.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An Unashamedly Personal Post

A hero is a woman who does what she can
Romain Rolland (correction of gender bias - Mrs Button)

Tonight has nothing to do with buttons or sewing. I want to honour a hero. There are no words grand enough or grateful enough for this rare and precious soul. This is the best I can do:

When we were in a very black place and could not think what to do, how to make things right for Mr Button and our family, you gave us HOPE.

You offered a part of yourself to us. It was a noble, generous, compassionate, kind gift which you gave with simple, unconditional LOVE.

Because of your great, good, gift, we DREAM, again. We are dreaming of rolling in the grass, playing at the beach, long busy days in the garden, throwing a football around the yard, going out together at night, having energy to enjoy the 3 beautiful little Buttons we are blessed with. We DREAM about days and weeks and months without doctors or hospitals.

With full and joyful hearts, we say THANK YOU! You are an everyday hero who has done an extraordinary thing. I see the colour in My Darling's cheeks and the excitement in his voice and I can't help beaming. I am in awe at what you have done and I cannot help but share it with this little corner of the world.

I am taking care of Mr Button as he recovers from his kidney transplant. I will pop back when I can. Your support and prayers are gratefully appreciated.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Missed It By THAT Much.

I suspect the title of this post will reflect my age and the fact that Maxwell Smart was one of my Dad's favourite TV shows. It's also perfect for the snippet of family life I am going to share with you.

Having set the context, let me tell you about my crafting 'miss'. It has become something of a family tradition to have receive a new 'Birthday Suit' to wear on the big day. Of recent years, this is often a request for a new Cute as Buttons design or some sort of Bespoke item. This year, Paddy's plans started out well:
  • A red shirt with a desert and a bilby burrowing in a hole.
It moved to this:
  • It's night time in the desert, the moon is shining in the sky, there is an owl flying over the hill and the bilby is sitting on the hill nibbling the grass that has grown there because it has just rained.
I was having some concerns about pulling that one off. However, at some point in the negotiations the plans scaled back dramatically to:
  • anything you like with wheels and army fabric.
I am not sure if there was some intervention by Mr Button or Nanny or, if my wise little boy just took pity on me and decided I may have bitten off more than I could chew but, I must admit I was relieved not to be coming up with the desert scenario. I decided that a motorbike would do the trick and proceeded to work on it. I eventually produced the Vespa like design in the photo and ignored Mr Button's sniggering everytime I mentioned the Motorbike applique. I really wanted to use some more of the chenille pieces Miriam had given me so I cut the handles and wheels out of a mottled grey chenille which I thought worked well with the army fabric. Sewed, pressed and wrapped, I awaited his reaction.

The morning of the birthday arrived, one of his first selections was the present with the shirt inside. As the paper revealed the gift, a quizzical look appeared on his little face as he smiled and said, "Hmmmm."

Mr Button, sniggering again, asked if he knew what it was. Nanny, always the peacemaker, jumped in and said, "Of course he does Dad. It's a bike, isn't it Paddy?"

Relief all over his face, Paddy ended the conversation by saying, "Yes. It's great, Mum. Just not like any bike I've ever seen in real life."

So, the Vespa hasn't made the Cute as Buttons line up but I am proud to say my boy knows how to react politely when given a present he's not too sure about. He did wear it on the weekend and you can see it in his photo on the previous post. I had a couple of emails about the new design so thought I should explain. Seven weeks after the event I can now talk about the 'miss'. Mr Button, be warned, if I hear anymore sniggering I may not be so evolved.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Market Day

The anxious shopkeeper

Saturday saw an early start for my 6yr old Button. He decided to join me at The Handmade Expo in Ipswich. He was great company and quite helpful and he had sold out of his homemade fudge by 9:30am which made him as pleased as punch. Luckily, Nanny was there to chaperon him around the market and help keep him entertained. He loved the World Record Attempt at Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and also the rides and face painting. He found a little stall where he could select and make his own badge which kept him entertained for a goodly while and he's already planning which ones to make next month. It was a great date!

The new hair pretties

We had a lovely shady spot

We tried making shopping easier for the Button Buyers and arranged the stock in areas...Girls, Boys and They Don't Know Yet, which seemed to go quite well. We also resurrected the Jolly Green Giant which Sharon's handy, husband made for us last year to display our Christmas Lovelies. We had some coloured Christmas shirts, as requested, but they went quickly so get your orders in early. If you are an Ipswich local, let us know what you want and we will send it to Liesa in Handmade Heaven. She'd love you to visit the shop and make a head start on your Christmas shopping.

The Green Giant returns

We came home with a cute birdhouse from The Original Eumundi Birdhouse Co. and we are still in discussion as to it's permanent home. For now, it seems to be occupied.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Super Pops Entry

Number of days since purchase of this rug - 11.

Average age of artists collaborating on this project - 2yrs 2 mths.

Expletives uttered by Mr Button - 73.

Look on Mrs Button's face - apoplectic.

Dear SuperPops,

Please accept this as the Button family entry in your recent giveaway competition. I believe it to be the artists' impression of the chaos from which you produce your crafty goodness. At this stage they are not available for comment.

The artwork is on a fairly large scale and only a small portion is shown in this photograph but we believe it accurately conveys the intent of the artists.

You should be aware that this was not our first choice for submission. The older brother of said artists had committed to this project but he is a bit miffed as their choice of medium was the new rug in his bedroom. He has, understandably, withdrawn from the project until further notice.

Kind regards,

Mrs Button.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thought for Thursday

We don't have to move mighty mountains,
We don't have to swim stormy seas,
We don't have to change the world overnight,
We don't have to do famous things.

Wherever we are, whoever we meet, in everything we do and say,
If we get in the groove and let the spirit move,
We can make a little difference every day!

This song is a bit of a fave around our house. Today when I was having a bit of a moment about some domestic mess, my 6yr old button reminded me that I just had to make a little difference everyday and all would be well. What a wise owl and a dear little boy.

So, that is the difference I'm claiming today - I took my son's advice and found my groove! What was the little difference you made today?

Many Hands

It was busy in Button Central this morning. Mr Button left for an appointment at 6am, it was our turn to do the school run and at 8:07am it became apparent that the school shoes would not last another 7 weeks until the end of term. In fact, they wouldn't even last one more day thus necessitating the dropping of sundry Schoolers and their bags at school and continuing on with the small buttons and School boy button to purchase new shoes.

Luckily , the small buttons put their shoulders to the wheel and they hopped in and made our bed while I was trying to force the too big feet into the too small shoes.

I quite like what they've done with the pillows, although, there may be a few more than usual on the bed. I hope sharing a bed with all those Wiggles doesn't discombobulate Mr Button!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

Hair pretties - Christmas ones available on Saturday at The Handmade Expo

No, they really don't get me down! I love rainy days although I do wish the rain had held off for an extra 15 mins or so on Sunday. It did make the end of the Boutique Markets a little damp! There were lots of lovely things to see and we tried a few new ideas in the Cute as Buttons corner of the world.
Carb free cupcakes

Today was a cruisy Monday. We attended a beautiful family wedding after I'd finished at the markets and we've been moving quite slowly today. I did manage to trek over to the other side of town, with the two small buttons in tow, to source some new display baskets at a cane wholesaler. I'll be looking forward to playing with them at The Handmade Expo at the Ipswich Turf Club on Saturday.

Christmas lovelies floating in the breeze

Tweet treats

Deb's Denim Stompers

Couldn't resist this tea cosy from Maggie of Mags Bags

The Handmade Girls must be feeling fine. They have all been hosting giveaways for various milestones. Lovely prizes to be won at Bubba Chenille, Handmadies and Handmade Heaven.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Sneak Peek at Our Christmas Goodies

If you are coming to the Boutique Markets this Sunday or to The Handmade Expo at the Ipswich Turf Club on Saturday 17th October you'll be lucky enough to see and purchase our 2009 Christmas tees and tanks. These usually sell out very quickly so be sure to place an order if you don't want to miss out. We have lots of different pattern combinations and you can make sure your little button stands out from the crowd.

We've had a natter with the girls from min nah kids and they are whipping up shorts, nappy covers and skirts to mix and match with our tops. They will be at The Handmade Expo in November and you can catch up with them here.

Our Christmas range will also be available in Handmade Heaven from the 20th October.

A Beautiful Gift

Last time I was at the Boutique Markets, I received this beautiful table runner from Sandrine Marsh. She posted about an idea she was trialling and I placed an order for one. At the end of market day, she presented me with this piece of art and asked me to give her some feedback. Life became a bit crazy around here and I neglected to get back to her. Sorry Sandrine! Your beautiful gift did make me smile each time I walked past my table and I am very grateful.

The linen is soft and has a lovely organic feel and appearance. I love the splashes of green felt which look so like gum blossoms. I've enjoyed filling a vase with gum leaves and using it as a centrepiece on our table. Due to the high consumption of spaghetti bolognaise and the appalling table manners of the Little Buttons, any centrepiece on our table needs to be quickly swept aside or suffer the consequences. We have whisked this piece of loveliness down to the end of the table and, on occasions, Mr Button has balled it up and plopped it on a chair. Lucky for him it doesn't wrinkle and just settles right back down and gives our table a class and serenity it certainly doesn't experience at mealtimes!

It would make a beautiful gift and because Sandrine makes each piece by hand, the gift would be unique to the recipient. The next Boutique Markets are on Sunday at Portside between 8am and 1pm and will be a great chance to start your Christmas shopping. I know 2 lucky people in our clan who will be receiving one of Sandrine's table runners for Christmas. So, if you're reading Sandrine, whip out that sewing machine!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Extended Absenteeism

Hello Blog Friends. Just wanted to pop in to explain where I've been for the past month. You know that usually I like playing with these buttons:

Lately most of my time has been taken up with buttons that look like this:

Mr Button hasn't been travelling too well but the end is in sight and we are hanging on with our fingers, toes and teeth to get across the finish line.

The other reason for my blogging absence is a piece of advice my Darling Nin gave me many years ago, "If you haven't anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!" With that in mind I've held my peace, played the Pollyanna game and collected my blogging thoughts. Looking forward to sharing some of them with you during the week.