Polka Dot Cottage: One thing leads to another

One thing leads to another

Posted July 2nd, 2008 by

Inspiration

I got this new book the other day – The Pillow Book by Shannon Okey – with the idea of making throw pillows for my bedroom. I’ve flipped through it a few times before, but today I actually decided I wanted to try one of the projects. This button-enclosed pillow would be cool with some of this great Bleeker Street fabric, and my Swamp buttons, don’t you think? I did. Just two problems:

  1. The remnant I have is a smidge too narrow.
  2. I only have four buttons left, two of them are the same pattern, and none of them are really my favorite patterns anyway.

That was a little disappointing, but after giving it some thought, I decided I really didn’t want to use that fabric anyway. What I’d really like to do is use the same Heather Bailey stuff as I used on my pillowcases. I have enough for this project. But the buttons? They’d be an issue. In that I didn’t have any.

Buttons in progress

Do you remember me mentioning that I hadn’t had the urge to do much clay lately because the urge to avoid cleaning up the sewing mess was a much stronger one? Well, apparently this was just what I needed: a situation where I couldn’t sew what I wanted until I had the buttons to match. So, away went the machine, and out came the clay.

Despite telling myself that the colors didn’t have to be perfect, and that I was just making these for me, and that speed was key, I found it really hard to live with not-quite-right, straight-from-the-package colors. I tried, going so far as to make a striped cane out of them, but in the end it was too jarring to me and I gave the cane to the boys to play with.

So, forget speed. I spent all afternoon mixing clay colors, and darnit! if I’m going to go to that kind of trouble for one pillow, I am darn well going to make an army of extra buttons while I’m at it, and sell them to anyone who’ll take them :-D

Buttons in progress

And that’s what I did. For the clayers among us, who know a thing or two about clay texture and temperature, I should point out that I made all of my canes with Sculpey in an 80-degree house. Frankly, I’m impressed that I had any success at all. After today, I am pretty much convinced that I could reduce a stick of butter if it came down to it. Crazy.

Buttons in progress

These buttons are still unfinished. They’re in the oven as we speak. After they cool, I’ll outline each of them in a pretty cream color, add a protective coating of liquid polymer clay, re-bake, and drill through those pilot holes. After that, I’ll be free to add them to a pillow, or just sit on the floor with them, running my fingers through them and arranging them in pretty designs on the rug :-D

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a cute throw pillow to show off! Of course, before that can happen, I will have to get over the urge not to clean up my claythings…

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  • Libby Mills says:

    You really are going to inspire me to dig out the sewing machine one of these days. I love the idea of a throw pillow with polymer buttons. And you buttons are just great!

  • Lucy says:

    The buttons are great indeed. Love the swirly ones.

  • Kathi says:

    claying with sculpey in 80 degrees? I am impressed gf. The buttons look great.

  • Cathy says:

    Ooooh! I really like those grassy, browny, greeny ones!

  • Sue Springer says:

    Reduce a stick of butter? Great demo for Polydelphia ’09!

  • Didi says:

    Wow I am totally in love with your polymer style Lisa.
    Your buttons are always gorgeous. TFS.

    (PS : I would like to say “Sorry” as I didn’t took time to order magazines from your store last time…)

  • OH MY goodness gracious!…I have had you on my google reader for a while now…and just catching up with postings….TRUELY these buttons are the YUMMY-est!!…You are an awesome creative inspiration!!….TFS…creative blessings, Debbie

  • Janice says:

    Lisa – Wow! First of all, you did such a great job with the color mixing – phenomenal! The buttons are gorgeous and this project is very inspiring!!! Looking forward to seeing the pillow!

  • those buttons are gorgeous! Polymer clay is one of those crafts that I am REALLY drawn to, but havn’t devoted the time to yet. I have played with it for Christmas ornaments, but really want to learn how to do canes.

    Anyway, I can’t wait to see your pillows : )

    See what Tonya Richard has been blogging about: Sewing machine makeover

  • Jen says:

    those buttons are fantastic – I LOVE the swirly ones :)

  • haydee hirsch says:

    thanks for sharing—- i love the swirly buttons—-

  • Melanie says:

    “One thing leads to another”…. :) You’ve got that right Lisa!!…I love what you are doing! ..and I told you months ago you got me itchin to drag out my mama’s sewing machine!…and that’s what I am doing…it is in a corner of my living room in a cabinet my dad refurbished for my Mom….so I have to dust it off and tune, oil it up and do a few adjustments I am sure….I bought 2 pieces of fabric from Hancock Fabrics…I ordered the book Simple Sewing, the Flea Market Bag pattern, and also the Lazy Girl Designs Sassy Bag pattern….I am going to match the material with some clay to make buttons of my own…..(any suggestions on how easy it is for you to match the colors in the fabrics would be greatly appreciated!!) :) Happy Creating Lisa!!….and thanks for your wonderful blog and all of your inspiration!!…you make me smile!!…Melanie:)

    See what Melanie has been blogging about: “Clay Day with my Sister”

  • C E Forbes says:

    Cool stuff, and love the colors. Just one comment, as a clay artist myself, I found the Sculpy not strong enough for buttons and it would be a shame to have them break. Experiment with other clays, and you may be pleasantly surprised at the results.

    • Lisa says:

      Oh, I only use Sculpey for the canework. The majority of the button is comprised of Premo, and there is a protective coating of liquid Kato clay on top. More on my feelings about Sculpey here. Thanks for the feedback, though! I completely agree that a button made 100% of Sculpey is not going to last long.

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