Humbly Learning Pine Coiling

I watched a few videos and read a few stitch guides…and I’m pretty happy with the results! These are “mini-baskets” so I could learn some new stitches and play around with different lashings. I learned many things…

group_stump3 group_stump2

artificial sinew in a v-stitch
artificial sinew in a v-stitch
blue button in the middle
blue button in the middle



black waxed thread with beads
black waxed thread with beads
I think the black thread should go all the way around…(I was going for half/half…didn’t work out)


Black jewelry wire (see the diamond shapes?)
Black jewelry wire (see the diamond shapes?)
inside button - I'll go for less wire wraps next time
inside button – I’ll go for less wire wraps next time


the bottom of this mini-basket...might be nicer than the inside...
the bottom of this mini-basket…might be nicer than the inside…or maybe not…










































That was a fun week of weaving and coiling (kind of rough on the fingers – lots of great ideas…). I’m reading through my Alabama Chanin Stitch book and ready to do some hand-stitching next!!


Cross-stitch progress

It’s a slow crafting week here as I get ready for some time off from work (that always requires prep, planning and the dreaded IT documentation).

I’m imagining a present for Marge that involves some of the buttons she gave me attached to aida cloth with shisha stitches. More to come on that (I’m going to try sketching out my design first then creating it in stitch – working on creating my own patterns.)

And here’s my progress on the hooded baby towel:

Cross-stitch so far
Cross-stitch so far – I can see ducks and bubbles, but I’m not sure what’s happening in the middle (even from the pattern)

I can see some shapes forming, but I’m questioning some of my “in-stash” color choices and I’m also out of some of the main colors I randomly assigned. I probably should have bought the yellow’s, at the very least – there’s a lot of that color. But I still have faith that the outline stitches will bring it together (plus a trip to the store for more thread!). WIP for sure!

It’s really hard for me to continue on free form patterns not knowing what the outcome will be – I get kind of hung up on the intended end result and whether this path will actually get me there. I think that’s a first hurdle to overcome – probably best achieved with lots of experimentation.

Clean Storage Unit = New Craft Table!

I’m celebrating two momentous occasions here: we cleaned out a storage unit (mo’ money in the bank) and we discovered a craft table (mo’ crafts in the houz…sorry couldn’t resist…it seemed meant to be.)

So I’ve rallied the button troops and got everyone moved to the new staging ground.

My new craft table!
My new craft table!
these are valves - here's what it says: "Insta-Valve: this side toward bottle." The back side is a moving that goes up and down.
these are valves (sorry for the blurry picture) – here’s what it says: “Insta-Valve: this side toward bottle.” The back side is a moving piece that goes up and down. What is this thing?
fun red buttons
fun red buttons
baby buttons!
baby buttons!

(i’ll get better at close-up photography…as God is my witness…!)

BONUS: metallic thread that arrived recently for a future project...not tellin' which one!!
BONUS: metallic thread that arrived recently for a future project…not tellin’ which one!!

(well I guess there’s some detail in that photo…learning)

I’m headed on the road this weekend and haven’t figured out how to post to WordPress from my phone. So i’ll try to pursue some kind of art every day and take pics with my phone, then I’ll catch up on Monday with a cumulative post. Seems like the easiest way. The buttons will rest at home for awhile and I’ll figure out what crochet to take on the trip (maybe I’ll finally finish that tote bag?!)

fun red buttons

Marge is an angel

I just got off work and I plan to finish up my crochet tote bag tonight – so hopefully more pictures to come. But I had to take a moment and share that my amazing friend Marge called this morning out of the blue and when I answered (I never know if she might be having an emergency she needs help with – it’s happened before), she said, “Is this the artist lady who is making art with buttons?” I find her at her sharpest right now – never missing a trick. I love that she absorbed our last conversation about art and thought to check in with me on it. It was a nice morning wake-up call/reminder of what makes me happy.

I am envisioning an embroidery picture I can make with some of her buttons as flower centers….

A story about Marge and Aaron that I love:

One day we stopped by while walking the dog and a basketball game was on the TV (it was the San Antonio Spurs so I was particularly interested). They were watching the game together and Aaron told us that they met in high school because they were both on the basketball team (separate teams for girls and boys of course) and because of their shared interest they began to date. I love to imagine Marge and Aaron as high school sweethearts and athletes, and it’s certainly no stretch to see the way that follows through as they care for each other in old age.

Going go to string a few more buttons together…

vintage buttons

Keep On Keepin’ On

Today’s art was more about process than end result. I’m pretty close to the end of the crochet bag I posted yesterday, but the picture won’t look much different. I think I finished the last part of the strap tonight (I got very distracted on the last/50th round by “Meet the Patels” on netflix – I gave it 5 stars even though the captions didn’t cover all the parts in Gujarti. I had to guess and extrapolate for those parts.).

I suspect I just need to connect the two pieces of strap and attach the Grisly Adams elkhorn button and I’ll be done (if I decide not to line it…should I line it? what will I put in it that might fall out of the crochet holes? Maybe a crochet hook for the next project? I’m pretty sure I’ll line it with a piece of white curtain that doesn’t fit any of my current windows.).

So I’m back to the buttons. There’s so much life in all these collected pieces, I’m taking my time sorting them and stringing them (back) together. It’s occurred to me that using sandwich bags or containers might be quicker to categorize them, but I’m sad to cut the old thread system that held them all (as soon as I lifted it they started breaking off). So I’m sewing them back together in loops like Marge must have done at least 60 years ago. It seems like the best way to store them for their next life in crafting.

As they arrived
As they arrived

I think I just figured out the way to link to larger versions of images!! Watch out. 🙂

All connected on one string
All connected on one string
The green background w/ white tree is part of the tin she's storing these in.
The green background w/ white tree is part of the tin she’s storing these in.
She told me these were buttons from a sailor dress!
She told me these were buttons from a sailor dress! Hand-painted for sure – they’re so big and impractical. It must have been an amazing dress.
I have never seen white buttons this BIG and this SMALL! What shall I do with this amazing windfall?
I have never seen white buttons this BIG and this SMALL! What shall I do with this amazing windfall? (can you spot the square button?!)

(P.S. Speaking of made things, the background is our dining room table to which I affixed a National Geographic map when my kids were young. We played lots of fun geographic games over meals in those days…I still think it was genius, if I do say so myself.)

And now for something completely different…

Scruffy ears, with pine cone frame
Scruffy ears, with beginnings of pine cone frame
Meditation Session
Meditation Session

OK – so here’s my next project. I’m heading to an art retreat in early March and I need to sew some arms/legs/body for a doll. So here’s the materials I’ve picked out from my stash.

I think dots are legs, orange is body and hearts are arms (tattoos!)
I think dots are legs, orange is body and hearts are arms (tattoos!)

(Clicking on those images will give you some close-up opps.)

The Good Ol’ Days

Recently I pulled all my “WIP’s” (Works in Progress) out of their hiding places and lined them up for completion. It’s an interesting task, seeing all the spots in projects where I decided to “give it up” and move on to something new.

Here’s a purse I started at least 3 years ago on our trip to Spain (I know because I remember starting it as a gift for my daughter, and also there’s this band pasted at the bottom of the pattern book 🙂

The only word I recognize on the band is “alcohol” so it’s guaranteed as an artifact of my trip. 🙂

I think my daughter has outgrown this style of purse by now (plus she has so many others in her repertoire at this point), that I’m planning to use this for my sewing projects.

So there’s these interesting buttons I bought at a garage sale up the street a few years ago, and i think one will work perfectly on this purse.

I’ve decided to use this in honor of Grizzly Adams’ recent death (it’s kind of toothy and I’m not sure when I’ll sew a rawhide moccasin next).

So then there’s my wonderful friend Marge a block over. We met about 10 years ago when I was walking our (then) new puppy Scruffy. She’s now approaching her centenarian years and she shared her button and spool collection with me today.


As we slowly uncovered these things from her closets and drawers she told me that she was a child of the Depression, so she saved everything (one of her kitchen junk drawers contains self-threading needles and rounded needles. I’ve never heard of self-threading needles and she and I and both couldn’t remember what one needs a rounded needle for. We’ve both seen it, but can’t remember it.)

And in this tin of buttons I found whole shirts’ worth, jackets’ worth, baby clothes’ worth of buttons. They’re huge and they’re tiny, and they’re steadfastly gathered from clothing that must have moved on to the rag bag. Before it went to rags she gathered these buttons from each piece, and I feel moved to create something from each set of buttons. We really don’t do that anymore do we? Work pieces and parts until they’re basically ground to dust. Some of these buttons actually disintegrated in my hands.

There’s coconut buttons along with plastic blue and yellow buttons – all steadfastly gathered from the shirt before it went to the rag bag.

Wooden thread spool threads she saved.

Pearl and diamond buttons that were removed to be used later.

Some big and small buttons

There are some super small buttons in the mix that must be from baby clothes or doll clothes.

Actual leather buttons! I love to imagine what these came from and I’m excited to think about where they’ll land.

How lucky I am to know Marge and Aaron in my neighborhood. I love you both so much and I appreciate you sharing your history with us.