Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day 2012

On the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month,
We Will Remember Them.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Things You Own...

I came across this quote over the weekend, and it got me thinking,
so I created my own version. Not that I am owning up of course...
Would love your thoughts, is it true?
And what do you do, to stop 'things' owning you? I'd love to know...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Nichols Buttons Open House

I first met Dixie Nichols from Nichols Buttons a few years ago, when she very kindly sent me some tickets to Unravel at Farnham Maltings. Not only was it an amazing show, but I finally got to see some of the most interesting & original British glass buttons, produced over two decades between 1946-1966. All these beautiful glass buttons were handmade by Dixies late father, Lionel Nichols.

Lionel Nichols produced all of his own work and some of his methods were staggeringly uncommercial. Like all craftsmen, he had no regard for his own time and would work away with his unlit pipe in his mouth & his overall tied with string, in his precarious workroom with no running water and gaps between the floorboards. 

His approach was entirely experimental, and with no industrial experience, what he managed to create was more akin to cookery. He would use anything to hand, to create the button designs, from brooches, to belt buckles to files - they were all used. For a more comprehensive insight into Lionels tools of the trade, please see Dixies blogpost here. There is also another very interesting post, on Dixies blog here, about how her father created his buttons from structural glass generally used on the facades of buildings and as swanky bathrooms tiles from the 1930s & 1940s!

Dixie still has boxes and boxes of buttons, many of them unopened for decades, a treasure trove built up, order by order, as extras had to be made to ensure that a matched set could be found for each garment, inspite of the irregularities of the hand made process. Dixie sells the buttons on her website, which are released as five collections a year; Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Singles. The collections are beautiful and with so many ardent collectors, they tend to fly off the shelves like hot cakes!

Dixie got in touch recently to let me know that she is having an Open House from Thursday 20 September to Saturday 22 September between 12 - 9pm. Based in the Abbey Cloisters of Westminster, which are not open to the public, please email Dixie here for directions and access. Entry is free and there is also a raffle to pick your favourite button set from the website - you'll even get an extra ticket for every friend you bring who buys any buttons! If you love buttons, then it's well worth the browse - there will be tea & cake until 'Gin o' Clock' and then you may well be treated to a glass of wine!

On the Saturday afternoon from 4pm, Dixie will also be giving a 'Button Talk' - detailing her fathers life; how the buttons were made; his couture customers and the Groovy Sixties - as before, if you are interested in this event, then do please email Dixie here for further details. I'll be the one drooling in the corner, so if you're in the area, then do please pop in and say 'Hi'.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The King's Shropshire Light Infantry Buttons

I have these rather beautiful antique military brass buttons in my collection.
I don't collect military buttons myself but can really appreciate those that do -
they have lovely detailing, are chunky and heavy and are great little reminders of a
bygone age. I found the following info about the buttons via our ever helpful friend, 
Wikipedia! The buttons are now listed for sale in my eBay shop here.

The King's Shropshire Light Infantry (KSLI) was a regiment of the British Army,
formed in 1881, but with antecedents dating back to 1755. The KSLI served
with distinction in Egypt in 1882, the Eastern Sudan, 1885-86 and in all
the major campaigns of the 20th Century, including the Second Boer War,
 World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and other tours.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

London 2012

 It's 10 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Olympics Games.
As of today, the Olympic athletes & tourists have been pouring into the capital
and preparations are well underway. I don't have tickets to any of the events,
as I left it a little too late by which time the sports they had tickets left for, 
were sports that I would not even watch on television, never mind sitting there for hours!
We do have the Olympic Torch Relay coming to my town in 3 days and then 
the Olympic Road Cycling Race will also be travelling through on the first couple 
of days of the Games - so all is not lost!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Wimbledon Men's Finals 2012

The UK is expected to come to a near standstill tomorrow
with British tennis fans sitting on the edges of their seats and
willing Andy Murray to win the Wimbledon Men's Finals 2012.

It's 76 years since Britain has had a Men's Final winner,
so in hopeful anticipation, I've dug out my pair of vintage glass buttons
with silvered tennis racquets & balls and I'm going to keep my fingers crossed...

Go Andy!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Impressive, Most Impressive...

Image via here

I love this piece, created by Noah Scanlin for the inauguration of the
Star Wars Remix
project -
which celebrates the creativity of Star Wars fans 
who can literally remix the world around them into the Star Wars universe
we all know and love.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tally Ho indeed!

I spotted this little piece in the July 2012 edition of Homes & Antiques magazine, 
this morning. I have always been a huge fan of the BBC Antiques Roadshow
and I love this magazine as it has everything from Roadshow news
to decorating ideas and the world of vintage & antique.




It was my sons school Summer Fair last night and after a long day of setting up and preparing for the fair, I was very pleased to find a little handmade brooch
with the most fabulous vintage glass button of a dragonfly -
she's huge too, at well over an inch wide!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Trifari Button Pendants

I'd never heard of Trifari Jewellery until I came across a button pendant featured
in an Etsy treasury recently. I love the look of the green button pendant and narrowly missed out on one that was on sale on eBay recently... so the hunt has been on...

image via Etsy

image via eBay

... and then I was lucky enough to finally find one!
A vintage (c1955) Trifari button pendant - it's not the green one I covet
but this will do for now! it's a bit blingtastic but lovely all the same -
the hunt is still on for the green one tho'...

It's raining; it's pouring...

It's lashing it down outside tonight & I am very thankful to live on a little hill - 
otherwise we may well have set sail!

image via here

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Diamond Jubilee River Thames Flotilla spectacular

The Diamond Jubilee Weekend is finally upon us and there is much
excitement (and village, town & street parties!) up & down the country.
The highlight of the weekend, is the Flotilla taking place on the River Thames.
There are up to 1,000 vessels which will travel along the Thames, marking
Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne. The flotilla, the largest such pageant
for 350 years, will range from rowing to military boats, including
the Spirit of Chartwell, which has been transformed over the last six months
from a river cruiser into a royal barge fit for a Queen!
I have blogged about the amazing work of British artist, Ann Carrington before, here.
Ann was asked to make a historic artwork for the Queen in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee. The Royal Jubilee banner will hang from the stern of the Royal Barge,
the Spirit of Chartwell as it makes its journey up the River Thames from Battersea to London Bridge on this momentous occasion - The Thames Diamond Jubilee procession.

The banner is embroidered with over half a million golden buttons and features the Coronation Crown (St. Edward's Crown) flanked by the lion and the unicorn - a reference to British Heraldry and the Royal Coat of Arms. Around the border, teased from metallic thread will be all the Coronations from William I in 1066 to Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

One of the great traditions of London is the Pearly Kings and Queens who have been embellishing their magnificent suits with pearl buttons since the mid 19th century.
Their suits, hats and dresses handed down together with hereditary titles, are sewn
with symbols - anchors, crosses, stars, moons, suns, flowers, diamonds -
their distinctive costumes having sprung from the sinking of a big cargo ship in the
Thames carrying pearl-buttons from Japan in the 1860's.

"I like to think this art work dovetails two
very different Royal traditions whose histories
have both been shaped by the Royal River Thames."
Ann Carrington

For further info & photos on Ann Carringtons work, head over to her website here.
All photos courtesy of Ann Carringtons website.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I made a start on photographing some of my buttons this weekend...

 I love these - they're chunky, heavy and look like little nuggets of faded gold

 my favourite by far - lucite with a black & gold background and with a spinning top shape
I'm sure this shape has a particular name but I can't remember what it is - can anyone tell me?

I'm not sure what these are made from but they are rather lovely
with their rivulets of mottled bronze running through them

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Coming Back...

It's been a while... a long while.. since I last wrote a proper post on the blog. Ever since going away last summer for a whole month, I've found it difficult to get back in the driving seat... but that time has now past... and I'm back... and back on track!

I've not been completely MIA - I've been having lots of fun on the Bonkers About Buttons facebook page (where I undoubtedly spend far too much time) - there are close on 2,500 followers on the page and there is always a giggle or two to be had. I've met a great bunch of crafty people via the page, some of whom are creating some pretty amazing work. If you're on facebook, then do pop over and say 'Hi'.

Knoop Button Bowl by Iñigo Cañedo

I was looking at my blog stats the other day and nearly fell off my chair to discover that this post, about the Knoop Button Bowl has had over 80,000 page views (!) and has been pinned on Pinterest over 20,000 times! I have yet to attempt to try and make the bowl myself but given the comments on Pinterest, the blog and the facebook page, many seem to have tried, but most have had little success to date. The good news is, is that I have spoken to Iñigo, the original designer/maker of the bowl, and he has given me the full instructions on how he made it and also given me his permission to have a go and create a tutorial for it! So, keep your peepers peeled, the tutorial will be coming soon...

In the run-up to Christmas, I was out doing some shopping and as I stepped off the pavement to cross the road, my beady little eye spotted this lost button in the cracks of the road surface. I took a quick photo and decided to leave it there with the intention of going back to see how long it lasted - I didn't get to go back to check for another 2 weeks or so, by which time it was long gone - I wonder if someone picked it up, or if it was swept up by the road cleaners... we'll never know now!

I have a 'mahoosive' collection of vintage and antique buttons, which are mostly stashed away in tins, jars, boxes and bags and as much as I would like to keep them all, I can't, as they are taking over! I have been slowly starting to card them up and have sold some via the Guildford Craftacular craft fairs and the Bonkers About Buttons facebook page. As much as I am not a huge fan of New Years resolutions, I did decide that this year, I am finally going to start listing some of the stuff I make using buttons, aswell as do a button destash, in both my Etsy and Folksy shops - I set up both the shops nearly 2 years ago and have never listed a thing on them, (though i have bought quite a few lovely things!)

So on that note, I'm off to photograph some buttons... see you all very soon!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


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