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!