Friday, September 17, 2010

Free Pattern Day!

OK, here we go!  Our first Free Pattern Friday!

In honor of my daughter, who is serving in the US Navy, I picked this project.

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This cute little star is quick, easy and versatile!  You can wear it as a pin, a hair clip,  purse clip, flip-flop decoration, or package trim.  Make it large or small, the choice is yours.


1.  Print out the pattern templates provided below.  There are 3 sizes given, so choose the #1 and #2 pieces that correspond to the size you wish to make.  You can shrink or enlarge any of them on a copy machine.  Trace the templates onto the right side of the red and blue fabrics with a wash-out marker.

2.  Sandwich a piece of blue (right side to the table), a piece of batting, and the blue piece that has the pattern traced on it (right side up).  Pin together, if you need to.

3.  Sew through all three layers on the traced line for each color.  You can do this by machine or by hand.

4.  Trim approximately 1/4 inch outside your sewing line.  I used pinking shears to trim mine.

5.  Place the small triangle on top of the “rocket” shape, matching the bottom triangle point to the “V” point, as shown in the picture.

6.  Place a button (or 2!) on top and sew through all layers.  I used several strands of embroidery floss and tied a bow.  Be sure to place a dab of Fray Check seam sealant on you knots to keep  your button secure!

They work up so quickly, you could make several on one piece of fabric and chain sew!

Attach a pin or other finding to the back and wear it proudly!

Star Pattern

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Project Runway

Taking a break from my travel log series….sort of…to show you some fun button fashion:


While on our trip to Atlanta for the American Sewing Guild Annual Conference, my daughter-in-law, Lisa, and I went shopping.  We combed through the Forever 21 store at an upscale mall in Atlanta and found the cutest button clothes!  This jacket had a double row of metal buttons, but closed with hooks and loops.


This jacket had a zipper, but was “embellished” with buttons.  I think I would have hidden the zipper and used prettier buttons, but I haven’t gotten any phone calls from Tim Gunn or Heidi Klum, so I guess that’s just my opinion!

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Finally, this dress was Sew-adorable!  I think it was a lightweight jersey; very soft and flowed nice.  It is, as you can see, strapless.  The skirt has box pleats with these sweet bows and button centers.  Now, I won’t be wearing this dress (or any other garments from this store!) anytime soon, but I sure can apply this technique to something else…say, a purse!

I recently was told that my Warman’s Buttons Field Guide is out of print, with no plans to reprint it.  I am very hopeful that we will be producing a second edition or newer version of this wonderful little book, but I have no news yet.  I have been told by many in “the industry” that buttons are HOT right now, but they feel it will cool off very soon.  I could not disagree more!  Not only have buttons been enjoying a popularity similar to when quilting was brought back into the forefront, but if we, the consumer, continue to buy, design with,  request, use and cherish our buttons we can send a strong message to the powers-that-be.  Button Up!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Initiation of Gorski Men

There is something magical about the second Saturday in July when you’re in Sister’s Oregon.  The town is inviting, the flowers are blooming, the mountains are glorious and the quilts are spectacular!  oh, and one other thing…there are more people there than in the state of Rhode Island!


This is looking north on the main street in town, halfway through town.  There are 3 main streets and the whole south end of town, and they all look like this……I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!


It takes a huge team of people, including the local fire department, to put up and take down all these quilts for a one day show.  That’s right, one day!  Not to mention the planning, etc. that must be done all year long to make this the best quilt show in the country (in my humble opinion).  The craziness is part of the charm and you meet some of the nicest folks!


There were dogs everywhere and Tristan wanted to see them all.  This nice lady let him pet her puppies while Babcia ran around taking pictures of blankets and Dzia-Dziu relaxed in the shade.  We ate ice cream, shopped for a new cowboy hat, and learned something that all Gorski men must know:


Where to find the “man bench” outside the quilt shop door!  It is tradition for husbands (and grandsons) to sit on this bench outside The Stitchin’ Post, hold packages, give out money and reply, “yes, Dear” on cue.  Tristan has been initiated!  Steve is a pro at it!

As promised, we did not stay all day, and returned to Bend for some Pizza and swimming in the pool.  Tristan got better each day as he practiced his swimming.  He was such a quick learner and we had a great time together.


This photo shows one of my favorite views in the whole world:  The 3 Sister’s Mountains and, on the far left, Broken Top.  Further to the left you would see Mt. Bachelor, and to the right, Mt. Washington, Jefferson, and Black Butte.  The Deschutes river runs through the center of Bend and fish and birds abound.  Paradise!

By the way, if you’d like to see all of the quilt photos I took, here is a link to the album.  They are truly exquisite, but too many to post here!  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reindeer and Llamas and Snow, Oh My!

We pick up our story as we wake up in Bend, Oregon on a gorgeous Friday morning.  As we eat breakfast, Steve and I can’t help but fondly reminisce about the trip we took with our own 3 kiddos.  We spent several glorious days in Bend one Easter when they were about Tristan’s age and it is still a favorite memory.  We are hoping to show Tristan some of those same magical places his daddy enjoyed.IMG_0406

First stop:  Operation Santa Claus Reindeer Farm.  The farm has dwindled alarmingly since we were here with the kids.  We talked to the owner who told us that government regulations and disease problems have caused him to keep the numbers low.  We drive down the road to where the reindeer are lying in the shade of a few trees.  There are a few little ones among the adults.  IMG_0404 IMG_0409







They are fun to look at but there are llamas down the road, so off we go.

Any time we visit Bend, we try to stop at the Hinterland Llama Ranch.  It is a stunningly beautiful place with hundreds of llamas, a barn full of swallows and a house and garden that are a showplace in their own right.  IMG_0430

As we come up to some of the enclosures, the llamas seem very curious about Tristan. In fact, when we walked up to one area, all 8 llamas actually ran to the fence to check us out.



I lifted Tristan and they took turns sniffing him. 








Finally one allowed him close enough to stroke his neck.  Tristan was delighted!


Tristan kept insisting that he wanted to talk to the farmer, and we did find one of the hands who talked to us for quite some time.  I was saddened to that after many years, the owner was retiring and the ranch was for sale.  Does anybody have $4, 500, 000 they can loan me?



On our way out, we stopped at the pen with several mamas and adorable babies.  This one wanted to go home with Tristan!  They were so sweet, running and frolicking together.  We hated to leave.


IMG_0468                                                                                                           We spent the rest of the day driving up to Mt. Bachelor and playing in the snow and lava beds.  We put our feet in the cold, cold water of the Deschutes River, “just like Daddy did”.

It was a memorable day.  Too tired even to go swimming (gasp!)  we slept soundly!


Tomorrow:  Sister’s Outdoor Quilt Show and passing on manly traditions!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Lesson in Polish.


  I love being a Babcia!  That’s Polish for Gramma, by the way and pronounced “bobsha”.  Tristan is the son of our oldest son, Chad, and his wife, Anna.  He looks so much like Chad, but then, a cock of his head will transform him into his Mother’s son!  He is, without a doubt, the biggest blessing in our lives.

We recently took a vacation with Tristan.  Here we are, on day one, feet in the water at Mukilteo Beach in Washington.  We then proceeded to “jump” the ripples he called waves.  We laughed and screeched and nearly fell in !  What joy!


The next day we stopped to visit old friends and Tristan played with his new best friend, “Kat”, at this play place while we adults chattered away and watched them at play.  Mostly we asked each other where they got their energy form and “remember when?”.

IMG_0385 Tristan’s Dzia-Dziu (more Polish, sort of pronounced “Jaw-Jew”), insisted it was time to teach his grandson how to speak “cow”.  Not just any, cow…Tillamook Cow!  It’s a special dialect that only Steve can speak. (true story!)  Tristan was delighted to find he can now speak IMG_0380English, German and Tillamook!  Here we are enjoying real Tillamook ice cream!  Yummy!

It’s been a long time since we’ve heard those immortal words, “Are we there yet?”, but Tristan knows them very well!  We took the rest of the day to cross over the Cascades into the town of Bend, Oregon, or, as I like to call it, “Paradise”.

To be continued……

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spreading Button Love!

Thought I would share a couple more fun sites with you:
Bonkers About Buttons and I Have a Notion . Both refer to wonderful creations by 2 Martins In A Nest . I am in awe of these talented ladies and just had to share them with you right away! Enjoy!

Buttons For a Cause!


I saw this on the California Button Society blog and thought it was important to share with all of you.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new….I’ll try to do better.  This is the jump start I needed!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Memories of Carmen

So many buttons were created to commemorate historical events or echo themes of the times.  Glass fruit buttons, manufactured in Germany,  were originally created to pay homage to Carmen Miranda’s wonderful fruit covered hat she wore in the 1943 movie, The Gang’s All Here .


“Miranda's enormous, fruit-laden hats are iconic visuals recognized around the world. These costumes led to Saks Fifth Avenue developing a line of turbans and jewelry inspired by Carmen Miranda in 1939.  Many costume jewelry designers made fruit jewelry also inspired by Carmen Miranda which is still highly valued and collectible by vintage and antique costume jewelry collectors. Fruit jewelry is still popular in jewelry design today. Much of the fruit jewelry seen today is often still fondly called "Carmen Miranda jewelry" because of this.” (from Wikipedia)

220px-Carmen_Miranda_in_The_Gang's_All_Here_trailer_cropped I have just finished my latest creation and I’m naming it “Tutti-Frutti”.  I have, at the moment, 5 kits available at the price of $40 plus $5.00 Priority Mail shipping (includes pattern, buttons and everything you need to make the bracelet as seen) :

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I have to admit, it turned out just “peachy”!  (You may groan now!).

Be the first to make this adorable bracelets for yourself or as a gift. It only takes 4 hours of your time ( I promise!  Even if you have never beaded before!)

Email me at 

or call me at 719-661-9218  to place your order.  The price will be slightly higher when it is posted to the web site this next month.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Saved The Best For Last!

Was I kidding?

010(2)When I saw this card, toward the bottom of the stack of cards, I literally gasped.  When people tell me they have buttons to share with me, this is the last thing I expect to see.


The first thing that caught my eye was this incredible large Satsuma.  This button was made in the Satsuma province of Japan in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  The material is a type of porcelain with a distinctive shank style and decorative style. (This is a very interesting subject.  I may have to write about these buttons in my Newsletter!)  This button is worth at least $150.00 on the open market.

 010(2) (4)  When I snapped these photos, I was in a bit of a hurry and so I did not think to document or even look very closely at these buttons.  I see at least one other small Satsuma (3rd button down on the left) and the top right button is a flat steel button with a yellow metal embellishment (hand holding flowers).  I think I will have to meet up with Barbara again and look this card over more carefully.  These were obviously her relatives’ “deluxe” buttons!

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The buttons at the bottom of the card show at 2 enamel buttons (far left and right).  They are beautifully painted and show no wear at all!  The center button features a fan design on a “Japanned” brass button.  I believe there is a beaded button and several mirror backs, but I am only surmising.

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The buttons with the photographs are called Ferrotypes, or Tintypes, and were popular and inexpensive to purchase in the late 19th century.  The smaller Tintype button may have been a Civil War soldier’s mother or sweetheart and could have been worn on his uniform.  The button in the center has an unusual border for the period and I am thinking that this looks a lot like President U.S. Grant.  If this is the case, this may have been made as a campaign type button and mass produced, but I would have to do more research to be sure.  One thing is certain: it is a fabulous button!  010(2) (5)

The buttons to the left are Indian silver buttons.  The button to the right shows a bird with cut steel embellishment on a metal button.  Next to this is a mountain scene carved onto a material that was then set into a metal frame.  I will not even hazard a guess as to what this material is without closer inspection.

As you can see, Barbara is the custodian for a phenomenal collection of 18th, 19th and 20th century buttons.  We can learn so much about our past from these miniature works of art.  They certainly have given me cause to do some more research and learn more about some of these buttons.  Keep an eye on my Newsletter and this blog for the results of my educational pursuits!

Until then, Button Up!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Barbara’s Buttons III

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These uniform buttons were sewn to a piece of velvet and mounted to a piece of cardboard.  There are Army, Navy American Legion and railroad buttons here.  My favorites were the Confederate Army Infantry and Artillery buttons circa 1860-65:

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These buttons are just plain fun!  I see a Bakelite “cookie” button as well as extruded rods, colored glass and plastics.  Cool design, too! 

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Last, but not least, are these small metal buttons.  There are pewter, brass, white and yellow metals.  I see Twinkles and cut steels as well!


I am saving the best for my last post of Barbara’s buttons tomorrow.  You will be impressed!  Don’t miss it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Barbara’s Buttons II

Since I discussed China buttons in my Newsletter that was released today, I’ll share Barbara’s card of Chinas:

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Isn’t this fun?  Here is a close up of one area.  Notice the one Calico that is a blue body with a white design.  While these are not rare, they are not plentiful, either.  Most Calicos are a white or crème color body with a colored design applied.

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In addition to Calicos, there are inkwells, stencils, hobnails, hollow-eye ringers, and Aurora luster buttons in this close up!  There may even be others, but it’s hard to tell from the photo!

Button collectors made do and this card shows just how far they went to conserve resources!  Let’s look at the back of this card:

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Note the date on this wonderful campaign poster!  Sept.15, 1936!  It sure is handy when your family helps you date your collection! 

While this next card does not come from Barbara’s button collection, (I believe this is from the collection of Pam Maine) I thought it would be a good time to show it.  Here is another favorite way for collectors to arrange their China (in this case, Calico) buttons.  So much fun!


Tomorrow, part 3 of 4.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barbara’s Buttons

I recently spoke to a wonderful group of ladies at the League of Northern Colorado Quilters in Ft. Collins, CO.  A lovely lady, Barbara, brought a box with some carded buttons to show me.  I’m afraid I can’t recall exactly which family member they belonged to, but they were only a small portion of what was left to her.  Let me share these beauties with you!

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This is a card of Black Glass buttons.  They are sewn to a piece of cardboard with a heavy thread in a lovely arrangement.  The center buttons are especially gorgeous.  Here is a close up of the very center button:

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As I recall it was about one and a half inches across and very round on the back (like a half ball).  The outer design is incised while the center is deeply carved.  This picture does not do it justice!

Then there was a card of Goodyear Rubber buttons.  Isn’t this a clever way to mount them?

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This card is completely covered with Whistle buttons, many of them made from Vegetable Ivory.  A Whistle is a construction method that has one hole on the top of the button and two holes on the underside.



There are several other cards to show you, so I’ll break it up into a couple of posts.  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Live For This!

It’s my favorite time of year….Baseball is back!  I was able to see 2 Spring Training games at the new Surprise, AZ stadium.  The second game I went to was a night game and I went alone, but the first game was a 1:05 start and I went with my brother and his family.

The weather couldn’t have been better, the grass greener, the hot dog tastier!  We sat in the outfield where the kids could play and I kicked off my shoes to caress the grass between my toes.  Oh, yes, I live for this!


Here is Daddy (my brother, Jay) explaining the finer points of the game to his crew of three.






Grace enjoys a hot dog.






Jeannine gets some sun and lovin’ from Ryan.





Seth was determined to catch a home run ball, but there were none in this game between the Royals and the Brewers.

Not that it matters, but the Brewers won this one. 

“Put me in, Coach, I’m ready to play!  Look at me, I can be centerfield!”