A mess of buttons

After showing you my organised cupboard last week, I find myself in a mess of buttons, threads and doilies. The table is covered with little hills of vintage purple, gold, blue, cream, white and red buttons. Fine velvet ribbons curl around each other and doilies lie piled up like pancakes. This is my favourite part of the creative process. I sort and swap, arrange and shift, pick up and put down. When finally I’m happy, I start to stitch.


An upcycled doily, with velvet ribbon and vintage buttons,

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turns into,


a lovely little necklace. Available in Winter Owls Shop.


Thrifted Buttons

Any button lovers out there? I promised in my last post that I would show you some of the buttons I’ve found in Charity shops. I’m not going to say much, the buttons speak for themselves. I will let you know though, that when I spot them on one of my thrifting adventures, they do make my heart beat a little faster.

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Probably my favourite vintage button find so far…

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Neatly stitched on buttons

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Beautiful glass buttons which sadly, I’ve only found four of.

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An assortment of little novelty buttons.

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Button bundles

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Lovely creamy buttons and old thread.

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I like to store my buttons in a large glass jar, which surprisingly, isn’t quite large enough to fit them all….

Snipping and stitching

One of things that gives me lots of pleasure is playing with my button collection. I found some lovely ones yesterday whilst out thrift shopping, but you will have to wait until my next post to see those. I like to play around with different combinations until an idea pops into my head. I made these little brooches, with scraps of vintage Australian pure wool blankets, tiny pieces of doily and embroidery thread. Things have been getting busier in Winter Owls Shop with the holiday season on its way, and my day job of course, so I’m sorry if I haven’t popped in to visit your blog lately. but I hope to see what you’ve all been up to very soon.

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A twitchy nosed upcycled bunny brooch

brooch 2

A sweet little blue bird brooch

brooch 3

A cosy wool bird brooch, with vintage pink and green buttons, available with its friends, in Winter Owls Shop


The unfortunate stain

Our lovely family Christmas went for three days. We started on Christmas Eve with carols and dinner with my Stepmother and Father. It was a lovely evening but I think our singing, with the exception of our Stepmother, left a lot to be desired. As she teaches singing I think she may have needed a lie down after that experience! On Christmas Day, lunch was spent with my sisters, Mum, Stepfather and little nephews. A lovely feast. On Boxing Day everyone from my husband’s family came to our house for lunch. There were nineteen of us so thankfully the weather was kind and we could eat outside. Lots of eating, laughing and sharing of gifts.

For the last few days we have had no commitments, which has been lovely after the busyness of Christmas. Finally I have had time to do a little craft project that needed doing. On my grey cardigan, in an obvious spot, I splashed coffee on it the second time I wore it. And of course, it stained.

Deciding to rescue it from my gardening clothes pile, I tried out various colours and arrangements of vintage buttons. I liked them all really but ended up choosing a  pastel selection which reminded me of colours popular in the 1950’s. Then I used some embroidery thread and sewed a simple running stitch in a circular pattern. I didn’t try to make the stitches exactly the same size as I wanted it to look hand rather than machine made. The final result looks like a brooch and best of all, no stain. Hopefully, I won’t add further stains to this cardigan as I think there probably is such as thing as too many buttons, but then again, some of you may disagree!

The unfortunate stain

The unfortunate stain

Grey buttons

Grey buttons

A colourful mix

A colourful mix

Blue vintage buttons

The choice made

The choice made

All stitched up

cardigan full shot watermarked

The stain vanquished

Christmas garland

Yesterday in Melbourne it was hot and sticky.  A perfect day for staying inside and making a quick Christmas garland. We certainly won’t be having real snowflakes here for Christmas so I thought the doily shapes I cut out were a good alternative. I love red and white for Christmas, it’s just so festive. Here’s how I made it if you want to make one too!

You will need:

Old buttons (with reasonably large holes)

An old doily or scraps from one

A few old book or music pages

Embroidery thread, wool or string

A large needle with a big eye


First of all cut star shapes from an old book or music pages (mine came from a Mills and Boon book “Outlaw Heart”), not Christmassy but something I didn’t mind chopping up!

Next gather buttons of different sizes but make sure they have big holes so you can thread them easily.

Cut up an old doily (this is a good way to use up a stained one).

Choose your thread for stringing (initially I was going to use Jute or kitchen twine, but my needle eye was too small so I chose red embroidery thread).

Cut your thread longer than you want your finished garland to be so you can tie a knot at one end and/or make loops to hang it by.

Lay out your buttons, paper stars and doily snowflakes in a row until you are pleased with your design and then tie a knot or loop at one end.

Simply thread through buttons, and stitch through doily and star pieces with a little space in between each one. Tie a knot at the end and make a loop if you want one.

Hang up and enjoy your up cycled Christmas Garland!

red plate

Vintage buttons and doily pieces

Christmas doily

Christmas doily

stars watermarked

Don’t look too closely at the text!!!

red buttons watermarked

Red vintage buttons

close up

Threaded up

close up star


christmas garland

Completed Garland


Light up your Christmas

Feeling blue

This week I have been feeling a little down. Those of you who have been reading my posts for a while will know that my job is ending this month. I have loved working with young adults with mild intellectual disabilities and/or learning difficulties and seeing the growth in their work skills, confidence and friendships. The course I have been teaching for ten years is being discontinued at our college due to funding cuts. Our course doesn’t make money, so it was one of the first to go.

Of course, sometimes it was a frustrating, exhausting job, but so rewarding too. I shall miss my funny, lovely students so much. I will especially miss their honesty. Only last week one of them asked me why I was walking funny. I replied that I had a sore foot. She thought for moment and then said ” Do you have gout”? They made me laugh when I felt like crying.

It has been hard to feel inspired lately. Thinking about how we say we’ve got the blues, or we’re feeling blue when we feel sad, got me thinking; blue actually makes me feel happy. It’s the colour of the thrifted vintage tablecloth that I want to turn into a dress or skirt, the buttons I have plans for. It’s the colour of the sky on a clear day, the eyes of my eldest son and my mother, so different to my dark brown ones. It’s the colour of the sea in summer……….

"She gazed once more"

“She gazed once more”

" It was the reason"

” It was the reason”

Avon swan

Avon swan

banana lounge watermarked

Blue banana

Blue buttons

Vintage blue buttons

close up blue seersucker watermarked

Vintage seersucker table cloth

Blue music

Holly Hobbie, a childhood favourite

Being neutral

It’s interesting how we respond to colour at different times. Sometimes I feel like a lot of colour, wearing an orange cardigan, with pink top and green skirt(you can’t miss me). And then, at other times, just looking at a lot of colour feels overwhelming. I went through a stage where yellow made me feel ill, but recently I’ve been craving it. Why? I don’t know. When colour feels too much it’s nice to turn to neutrals. I don’t think I could ever be disciplined enough to limit myself purely to neutrals, although I do love looking at homes that are all neutral. It’s very restful on the eyes, such a calm environment to live in.

I’d like to share two neutral owl paintings that have flown recently into the Winter Owls  Shop. The first owl is entitled “Bookworm”. This is a sweet-faced owl who is obviously a big reader. My younger son said it looks like it is wearing an owl costume. Well why not? The second painting is “And as handsome as I am”, this is quite a self-assured fellow, who really is a looker I must agree.

A post about neutrals also had to include some other lovely neutral objects. One of the things I noticed when looking at the photographs below, was how texture and little details of the objects really stood out, when eye-popping colour wasn’t present to take over.

I hope you enjoy these neutral photographs and have a relaxing and calm weekend.


“And as handsome as I am”

A creamy Iceberg rose

Pacific Ocean Cowrie shells

Cowrie shell

Buttons in an old printers tray

Neutrally vintage

Buttoned neutrally

Naughty neutrals

Beautiful vintage buttons

Dreamy neutrals