Making Notes: Button Push Pins

I have lots of buttons. See:


Some of them are ones I have bought specially for things I make. Some are ones I have cut off clothes I no longer wear. Some, I suspect, have been handed down from my mother and grandmother. But my button collection exploded last Christmas (or maybe even the one before) when I happened to mention to my husband that buttons are really expensive and he might like to buy me some as a present.

Well, he bought a job lot! Which was nice, except that too many of them were black, and not enough of them were matching pairs or trios. So I have struggled a bit to find uses for them.

Then the other day, loitering in a stationery shop, as I often do, I saw some drawing pins and realised that they could be cheered up by the addition of a button. I’ve since googled of course and discovered that I am not the first person to do this. But that doesn’t matter – there are, after all, no new ideas.

So I tipped all my buttons onto my desk and spent a happy hour sorting out sets of five. And today I have spent another hour or so sticking buttons onto drawing pins.

I used plain, cheap drawing pins – the golden type that you find in most offices and schools, which break your nails when you try to pull them out of a notice board. These pins have a slightly rounded head, and some of the buttons aren’t completely flat on the back either, so I decided that silicone glue would be the best option for keeping the two together – on the basis that it would fill up any gaps.

I tested my plan with a set earlier in the week, and they seem to be pretty strongly attached – certainly firm enough to cope with normal use.

So here’s my little collection of button pin sets:


I will leave them to set for a couple of days. When they are completely secure I will probably have to take a scalpel to some of them to clean up the results of over-zealous gluing. And then they will be done – a simple and relatively cheap little craft.

Now I just need to work out how on earth I am going to package them!


A Dream of an Idea

I’m sure every parent is familiar with the phrase “I had a bad dream”.

We first encountered this problem about a year ago, when our little one was coming up to 4 years old.  Every so often, the patter of his little feet at 2am would announce his presence in our bedroom, where he would explain that he couldn’t sleep because of the bad dreams.

My solution was simple: give him good dreams instead.

And it worked.  All I had to do was tuck him back into his bed and reel off a short list of some of his favourite things to give him something to think about that would banish those bad dreams.  It was easy for the first couple of times – it took me no time at all to come up with Buzz Lightyear, a rollercoaster, ice cream, and a christmas tree.  But at 2am my brainpower is somewhat limited, and after a few nights of this I was running out of ideas.

So the “Dream Box” was born.

I typed up a list of as many of his favourite things as I could think of – TV characters, real people, food, places, and things.  I laminated the list and cut it up into individual words, which I put into a box that had once contained some kind of conference freebie and was waiting in my drawer for its opportunity to be reused.  Then I just decorated it with a few stickers.

Dream Box

It was a bit rough and ready, but it did the job.  And continues to do so.  Every night at bedtime we choose five dreams.  Sometimes we make up a little story with them.  This was last night’s selection:


So now I have decided to share the dreams, by making Dream Boxes to sell in my Folksy Shop.  They are rather more attractive than the original, and I can personalise them to include the recipient’s favourite things.

Here’s the new improved Dream Box:

It’s available to order from

Just don’t tell my son, or he’ll be wanting a new shiny one too!

Here’s Some I Made Earlier

Last Christmas a lot of the presents we gave were handmade (by me.)  In fact, most of them were.

I don’t quite know where the idea for giving only handmade gifts came from.  It might have been that I was feeling disillusioned with the whole Christmas shopping experience.   In the run up to Christmas, shops are full of things that no-one really wants or will ever use, many of them specifically created to fill non-existent gaps in people’s stockings.  Much as I love shopping, I can’t get excited by spending money on something that will end up gathering dust in the back of someone’s cupboard.

It may also have been partly prompted by a desire to keep our credit card bill at a manageable level.

But mostly it was because I enjoy making things, and I kept coming across good ideas.  I won’t deny that it was a massive undertaking, beginning in August and only completed – in a bit of a panic – just before the day itself (by which time it had become clear that making my own wrapping paper was probably a step too far.)

It was hard work, very time consuming, but ultimately quite satisfying, and – I think – appreciated.

Behold the fruits of my labours:

Handmade Presents Christmas 2010

In traditional left-to-right, top-to-bottom fashion, you should be able to see: skittles, colouring books, photo calendars, story books, a cookbook with spice mixes, puzzle books, bath fizzers, flavoured vodkas, marmalade, cupcake flannels, juggling balls, taggie blanket, jingle cube, handmade cards, photos, paper wallets, pen pots, apron, car seat tidy, “moment of calm” bags, seed paper shapes, cookie mixes, mobile phone holder, book safe, sewing kit, handbag bra, folding bag, pints of socks, curry mixes, shortbread, fish seeds, stress ball, record bowls, sock monkeys, surprise balls, and a ring pull bracelet.

If you feel inspired and want to get started early for Christmas 2011, keep watching.  I’ll be posting links, photos, instructions and ideas for some of these creations anon.