Creating ‘Antique’ Buttons

I decided I may need some antique buttons for the infamous ‘Box to Book’ project………… I’m not absolutely sure, but might need to embellish a page or two with some.

I happen to have three Victorian buttons, one is from a beautiful antique night gown I used to wear when I was young and romantic – the night gown is long gone [along with my youthful romanticism – but that’s another story ….] and all I have left are the buttons, which I am a bit reluctant to actually use, as I just like having them lying about in my button box – smiling wistfully to myself whenever I stumble upon them…… which sounds a bit Miss Haversham-ish when said out loud…….

Two of them have such a beautiful hand made look to them ~ the one at the bottom left of the photo is off the night gown and the button on the right may be pre-Victorian and came from a ladies glove.  It is very delicate and bendy – that’s a technical term –  apparently just a bit of leather covered with some fabric:

Victorian Buttons

I’d recently seen a You Tube video from the remarkable Jennibellie, a talented young English artist who recycles everything and I took inspiration from her and decided I too could make my own buttons!

I wanted to achieve a similar hand made look, but knew I would never have the patience to make something quite so small and would need to be satisfied with a slightly bigger version and mine also needed to be coloured to complement their supposed destination………

However, in true Contented Crafter fashion I completely forgot to take photos until the project was almost complete, so I staged a couple of steps – like this first one

All you need to start

All you need to start

I used half a food wrap inner tube – about the same size as a toilet paper cardboard inner, just slightly weightier.  I opened it out and cut it into strips then squares, then rounded most of them up to make something resembling circles.  I cut bigger circles and an equal number of smaller circles and had enough to make nine buttons.

I glued one big and one small circle together, nine times.  When the glue was dry I punched two holes in each ‘button’ with my trusty WRMK  crop-a-dile.

Using the multi-media glue I took squares of white tissue and wrapped each button 3 or 4 times with layers of wet paper.  I used black tissue paper on two of the buttons and left them all overnight to set.

This morning they greeted me looking remarkably button like – I was most pleased with them and remembered to get the camera out!

Buttons 2

The next step was to add layers of colour and a little patterning for interest:

Buttons 3

I achieved this with a base of ‘Aged Mahogany’ and then randomly stamped a little floret stamp in ‘Blazing Red’ over the top.

When the inks were dry I embossed with clear powder to get a glazed appearance for the coloured buttons and made up a mixture of black, gold and green embossing powders to give an aged worn-gold appearance to the two black buttons:

Buttons 4

And now I have to apologise for the quality of photos [yes, again!] any light coming into my play-room had been stolen by the black thunder clouds that had moved in and begun to hurl hail stones the size of golf balls at my tiny house………… poor Orlando retired to the bedroom and burrowed under the duvet ….. where I was tempted to join him despite it being 1:00 in the p.m.!!

I soldiered on and kept on embossing until I was satisfied with the results.  Here is a close up of two buttons, on the left is un-glazed and the one on the right has been completed:

Buttons 5

And here are all nine, finished and ready to go:

Buttons 6

One pink button has been treated to a wee scatter of the worn gold mixture and has a satisfyingly well worn appearance, which my unfortunate photography skills have entirely missed capturing ….

Now it will be interesting to see if they make it into the current project – or maybe turn up somewhere else altogether!

Thanks for dropping by – always lovely to see you’ve been!  🙂

Little Free Library: Books Beneath the Willow

This is such a great idea – I just love it and would like to set one up if winter ever ends ….

Gardening Nirvana

Several times in the past few months, I’ve passed what looked like a tiny, curbside library.  I’d heard about these little libraries somewhere, but it was just a vague idea, tucked away in my brain.  I had never actually seen one and assumed they were ‘somewhere else.’  Do you know that place too?

Well guess what?  We have one right here in our neighborhood.  I’m hooked!  I finally took the time to stop the car to show my sister, then went back later with my husband, a couple of books and my camera.  It was so much fun!

Here is what I’ve since learned about the movement:

It started as a simple tribute to his mother, a teacher and bibliophile. Todd Bol put up a miniature version of a one-room schoolhouse on a post outside his home in this western Wisconsin city, filled it with books and invited his neighbors…

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Box To Book – Part 5 – The Cover Finished

I thought I’d better post these photos of my progress before I get side tracked [again!]

We are having exciting weather – it was supposed to snow but that appears to have missed my part of the country and we have just had rain – endless rain …… cold, wet, hard-falling rain!

Lots of flooding and landslides and roads closed and bits of the promenade falling off into the wild southern ocean ….. I’m not a fan of weather like this – give me snow any day!

However Orlando is as happy as a bug in a rug – or a cat ….. he gets to go outside to potty and come back in and get a towel down.  He loves a towel down!  He suddenly finds he has to go potty many, many times in the day  – far more often than at any other [drier] time of the year – and, on his return,  presents himself side on so that I may touch the wet fur and retrieve his towel and do my job…………..

If I could film at the same time as towel down I’d post a little something for your eddication and enjoyment…….. head back, eyes closed, mouth a little open and rumbling like an aeroplane preparing for take -off……….

However I digress.  Here are the last photos I took a few days ago:

The finished cover

The finished cover

Cover finished 2

The title is made with individual letters stamped onto dyed grunge paper and embossed with gold and rubbed down a bit for a worn look.  The antique lace was an after thought – found in my stash when I was looking for something else –  and is perfect for just right there don’t you agree?

Lace has been attached to the spine for added texture

Lace has been attached to the spine for added texture

The row of tiny pearls shows up in this last photo, nestled alongside the antique lace…..

Currently I’m working on the verses and finishing touches for all pages – I do what I can in between towelling down the cat, keeping the cat warm, singing to the cat, taking the cat for his daily walk – well, I walk he rides in my arms and points the way with his nose – retrieving his lost toys from under furniture and or appliances ……and now and again seeing to the needs of myself or other folk……….

Lovely that you stopped by, leave us a note do….

Box To Book – Part 4: The Cover

Welcome, if you are a new reader [or follower 🙂  ] here is a brief introduction to this project:

Last Christmas I received a Grand Calibur die cutting machine which came in a large and sturdy box which – in a moment of madness – I decided to turn into a book.  There are three previous posts showing the progress I was making – I haven’t made much progress for a while really………….


So I hit a wall – I was thinking too much and everything I did was awful – truly awful!!

A good lesson for me to learn – stop thinking and start creating!

I got into the rut because I really wanted to make something special out of that box – the idea is to return the box to the original giver in a new form, so therefore I couldn’t muck it up………….. and, of course, therefore I thought too much and mucked it up ….. !!!

So I had a wee paddy and went into the play room today saying through gritted teeth – just go with your gut and play and chuck out all the ‘shoulds’.

And a miracle happened and in just a few hours I made the cover for the book:

I took some cream card stock and painstakingly put it through the machine six times to get the embossed pattern into it.  I used stains in ‘Aged Mahogany’ and ‘Brick Red’ to colour it and when it was dry I sprayed liberally with glimmer mist ‘Black Cherry’ to get a slightly worn, but rich red.  [NB:- The photos were taken with the low winter sun streaming onto the desk, the colour is not quite this pink in reality]

Day 7 Cover 1

Then I prepared the inside lining for the cover.  The small paper example to the right is the original, to the left after it is sprayed with the same glimmer mist colour.  The edges are stained and slightly tattered:

Day 7 Cover Inside 1a

When I had made two boards – front and back covers – I left them to dry and played around with the glimmer mist on some lace and punched a length of pretty paper using a Martha Stewart punch:

Day 7 Cover 2

I decided it looked a bit insipid, so it too got sprayed liberally with the glimmer mist!

I cut a strip of grunge paper to size and that got a good coat of ‘Aged Mahogany’ stain and came out really pretty – it looks and feels like velvet!  Then I attached the dyed lace with a light coat of multi-medium.

Day 7 Cover 4 Spine

There was a strip of the inside paper lying around so I decided to use that on the front cover too, everything was glued on seperately and layered carefully.

Finally I attached the outer spine using a combination of hidden staples and tacky glue and then – fittingly – left it sitting under the weighty die cutting machine – the item which came in  the original box – to dry:

Day 7 Cover 5 Drying

When it emerged from under the machine it looked like this:

Day 7 Cover 6

I’ve started on the title and a little something else which is needed – and I’ve got a line of pearl beads to attach tomorrow –  but the worst of it is done.  What a relief!

I’m really happy as at last it is starting to look the way I wanted it to – like a really old book that was beautifully and carefully hand made and has been much used and is now just a little the worse for wear ……

Thanks for sticking with it – let me know what you think………..

Orlando’s Revenge!

Last night, as you may have previously read, I went out for the evening to the historic Carey’s Bay Pub to watch YD eat an enormous Seafood Platter…..

Orlando doesn’t much like it when he is left home alone on a cold winter night.

He has no one to keep him warm.

Even though I leave on the lights, the heating and the music for his comfort and enjoyment.

I even make sure it is just the right music – he doesn’t much care for Bruce Springsteen for instance, that usually means the vacuum cleaner is coming out and he doesn’t much care for the vacuum cleaner either.

I have a play list on itunes which should be titled ‘Orlando’s Music’ it contains a variety of music from Faith Hill to Josh Groban; Bob Dylan to Ronan Keating and Delta Goodrem to Kris Kristofferson and even a bit of Adele, Alfie Boe and a few early Claptons.  Nothing too loud and driving as it offends his sensitive hearing …….

Any way, all this is supplied for the comfort of the spoiled rotten little fella – but still when I came home I found him on my dining table, curled up to a dish of potpourri.

Orlando is not allowed to sit or lie on the table.

No one is.

Here is proof that Orlando takes no notice of me:

Orlando and potpourri 1

Orlando and potpourri 2

Look at the tilt of those ears – those are the ears of a Guilty Cat!  That, ladies and gentlemen, is a Cat Who Knows He Is Doing Wrong – But Isn’t Going To Move!

The crystal dish does not usually sit on the table, it was left there when I was practising my photography yesterday.  It is filled with potpourri and those balls and roses have sandalwood  and other essential oils in them.  

Orlando likes those smells and often buries his head into the bowl – when it is on the bookshelf which he is allowed on –  which sends all the bits rolling about all over the place…..

These photos were taken this morning.  I think he spent the night there.

He is still cross that I went out and left him home alone!


Seafood Platter at Carey’s Bay Hotel

I had a little nearly mid-winter treat last night – YD and her friend, tLK and I went out to dinner at a beautiful and historic old pub about 15 minutes from town in a little bay just past the big industrial wharf of Port Chalmers.  YD had somehow scored herself – and us – a free bottle of Riverstone Sauvignon Blanc to accompany the meal.

None of us had been there for years – the last time I went was to have lunch with a couple of friends in the garden of the pub.  The food was okay and the service slow, but seated at the next table over were Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth and we spent the entire lunch admiring and eaves-dropping and wishing she would just up and sing……….. but as it was only us and them, that never happened.

Since then the pub has undergone a transformation – the garden is now covered in and heated by huge gas heaters and you can dine in it even in the middle of winter.  The service is a million times better and the food has upped its game a gizillion fold since Cleo and Johnny sat in the garden with their fried cheese sandwiches and bottle of best  NZ Pinot Noir – I told you we eaves-dropped!

The reason we were heading for Carey’s Bay was the seafood.  The pub is famous for it. But, like I said, none of us had actually been there for a long time. There had been a lot of discussion prior to the event on whether the fish platter was  an actual platter or a basket – YD being set on having the platter – so it was relief all round when she announced during the drive that it was indeed a platter as she had checked on line.

YD has an absolute fetish about fish platters.  I think she has tried most of the platters available in restaurants both locally and nationally – and even in parts of England and Australia.  She likes New Zealand fish the most and locally caught fish best of all.

YD likes fish.  She especially likes fish platters.  Fish baskets, not so much.

Personally, I didn’t care nearly so much, it was just such a treat to go to this lovely old pub with these two lovelies and have a good meal and share a [free] bottle of wine.

We arrived and parked in front of the hotel, right on the waters edge.  The night was calm and almost mild.  The lights twinkled beguilingly on the water and the waves lapped at the moorings of the fishing boats.  The stone pub stood stolidly on its ground, through the lit windows fires sparked and patrons sat in groups talking quietly over their drinks or meals.

Two elderly ladies sat by themselves in the smallest bar, at a small table right in front of a roaring open fire.  A large, heavy silver teapot sat on the table between them as they talked earnestly together.  They were still there when we left……….

We took our seats in the enclosed garden restaurant close to a roaring gas heater and entered into a complex discussion on whether to have the fish platter or some other offering.

Eventually it was decided that we would indulge in a small shared entree, a selection of delicacies available as mains.  In this way, other tastes might be sampled and the fish platter still be loyally adhered to.

When the entree arrived it looked to be enough to feed us all adequately with no need for anything else.  But we had already ordered our main courses……….

The selection was delicious and we took our time over it, sipping on our wine and swapping stories of our doings since last we had all met.

Eventually the main courses were carried out.  I say carried, but really the server needed a horse and cart to get it to us and we needed a much larger table to accommodate it!

There were gasps all round and cries of both wonder and horror conjoined – tLK and I shared many theories on how YD would manage her platter  – and even YD, it must be said, looked somewhat stunned for a few moments.

Careys Bay 1 June 13

This is the platter!

Careys Bay 2 June 13

In the background is tLK’s seafood broth and the Contented Crafter’s fish of the day and salad with a bowl of fries on the side.  The rest all belongs to YD.

YD pretty much ate all of it!

YD is 5’9′ tall and 140ibs.

It’s really not fair…………

If you  are in this neck of the woods, take a trip out to Port and on to Carey’s Bay Pub.  You won’t be sorry – but share the fish platter with someone you love.

Box to Book Part 3

Two weeks have gone by and the work on this project is not going according to plan …..   But I am remaining true to my usual way of working, and continue merrily on with my hit or miss style

I’ve been working on different embellishments that will be added into the book – most of them still requiring finishing touches as I kept running out of supplies – and as I buy most of my stuff on-line there can be a five day delay between ordering and receiving.

If I discover, say on a Friday afternoon [and this actually has happened] that I need more embossing powder it can be Thursday before it gets to me – depending on the supplier.  It can really stop me in my tracks – so I’ve spent a  bit of time checking everything this week and making a list…………. [Yay me!]

So consequently all I have to show at the moment is the layering process which is underway.

What you are about to see is simply phase two and there are at least another two steps to be taken in this process – And just to keep your interest up [hopefully] I’ll finish with a quick peek at a possible phase three page.

Day 6 Layering 1

This is a page towards the back of the book.  Card-stock has been torn, dry embossed [the script] and then attacked with some ‘Old Paper’ ink to age it up.  The edging of lace is done the same way – but this may well disappear altogether as I don’t really like it……

The strip of fabric edging on the right side is loose so that more pages can be tucked under it later on.  Most of what you can now see will soon disappear…..

Day 6 Layering 2

A close-up of the lower left page.

Day 6 Flip Page

This is a page towards the front of the book – it’s actually two pages as the curved part is the edge of a flip page, narrower and incorporating a pocket for more embellishments to be tucked into, and the bird belongs on the following page – I quite like that you can see this glimpse of what comes next..

A couple of pages on you’ll find this:

Day 6 Envelope Page

Another flip page, made to look like an envelope with lace edging and ribbon tie.  Well it doesn’t just look like an envelope, it is an envelope and will hold a couple of poems inside.

Day 6 Layering 3

This is the page before the envelope – that’s the back of the envelope on the right hand side.  The page on the left has its first layer on and the next pic shows what I am considering as layer three for this particular page:

Day 6 Layering 4

I can’t adhere anything as yet as I still haven’t decided what text I am going with  – but two strong contenders are Khalil Gibran – selected extracts from ‘The Prophet’  – or a selection of my favourite Rumi verses…….decisions, decisions!!  But once that decision is made and the verses all printed out then everything will come together – I’m hoping another two weeks will see it done………

Stay tuned!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by – I love that you came!