Saturday, 13 December 2014

Last Custom Orders for Christmas

I'm getting quite excited that I'm almost to the point where I have the last of my custom orders for my buttons ready to be shipped out.  Two more orders to finish up this weekend and then whew!!!  I do have other custom orders on my list but these aren't Christmas orders so I have a bit of time.  As soon as I get these last buttons finished and ready to dry I'm going to work on a few primitive wooden items for my other website.  I'm looking forward to that for sure!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Handmade Reclaimed Wooden Cedar Fence Post Cabin Sign

I painted this piece of reclaimed wood with the word "CABIN".  I'm going to hang it at my cabin in the woods.

The wood is naturally aged reclaimed cedar fencepost.  The top has a slight curve on it.  The post was made by taking the tree and taking a slice off the side.  The back is flat and, as I said previously, the top side of the sign is curved out like the side of the tree from which it comes.  This wood has been outside for years and is greyed with age.  You can see how it is naturally worn.  Before painting I did sand the top of the wood to remove some of the roughness.  Once I painted the word "CABIN" on the top I sealed the wood with a water based sealer to protect the paint and the wood from further deterioration.  I plan to make many more of these signs.  The next time I go to the cabin I hope to salvage more of this wood so that during the winter when I can't access the cabin, I have lots of wood to work with.  I love the rustic look of this sign.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

More Country Cabin Decorating


As I mentioned a few posts ago we have purchased a cabin in the country. We take possession next Wednesday.  We're busy with all the last minute running around that entails such as signing papers at the lawyers and getting insurance etc.  Lots of work.  I can't wait until we actually get there and I have time to take some time and look around to see what I have actually purchased.

In the mean time I'm trying to keep myself from buying every woodsy cabiny themed item.  It's a small cabin after all and I have to decide what I actually can fit in it.  I couldn't resist these owl salt and pepper shakers I found at Urban Barn today.  They were actually 25% off which I didn't know until I went to pay - that's even better!  I'm trying to keep the d├ęcor cabin-like but not too cheesy.  I think these are very cute though and will add a cute little touch.  Now I just have to stop buying items and either make them myself or, at the very least wait until we get there, to see what I actually need LOL!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Cabin Decorating

I found this adorable soap dish at my local Winners store.  I think this will look adorable in my cabin.  It's now inspired me to make some soap dish accessories for my shop.  I won't be making an exact copy - that's not nice :) but it has inspired me to think about making some cabin accessories.  I think this soap dish would need something underneath to catch to drips but I'll think about that in a bit. 

We haven't even taken possession of the cabin yet and I'm not sure where this will go.  I don't even know if there is a ledge on the bathroom sink but I'm sure I'll find somewhere for it to go.  I have some old handles like the one shown here so maybe I'll incorporate them in some way.  I'm not sure what I plan to use for a base.  I'm inclined to use wood but I don't think that would stand up to water and soap so I may have to give that some thought.  Maybe I can use a wooden frame and some mesh for the bottom.  I'll be sure to post my ideas here so you can take a look.  If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Our Cabin in the Woods.

 We recently bought a cabin on 215 acres of woodland.  It's in the country on an unmaintained road so right now there is only three season access. The cabin is off-grid and has some small solar panels to run the lights.  It also has a gravity fed well which is a dug well but the water runs into the home via gravity.  I've got lots of projects in mind for redecorating and also for setting up a comfortable off-grid retreat.  I'll use this blog to document my adventures.  We don't get possession until near the end of November so hopefully we can get in there a couple of times before the snow makes the road inaccessible.  Since the roads aren't maintained that means there is no snow ploughing.  The unmaintained part of the road leading to the property is about 3 km so it's too far to have someone plough.  The pictures here are as the cabin sits now in the fall.  We haven't taken possession yet.  These pictures were taken when we had the home inspection done. 

As you can imagine I have lots of projects in mind.  I'm not sure how much I can get started over the winter as I'm not sure I'll be back to take measurements and such.  We don't want to intrude on the current owners.  The owner apparently really loves the place but is getting a bit older and his health isn't as good as it used to be and his family have been after him to sell.  He wanted it to go to owners who wold take care of it.  My husband and I are very excited at this new prospect.  I will admit working without electricity and relying on solar power and generators do intimidate me but I do find it intriguing.  There is also a very nice garage that I intend to use as a workshop.  The ideas for things I can make with reclaimed wood and wood for the forest of 215 acres that we will soon own are flowing in my head.  I'll keep you posted and try to take lots of pictures along the way.

 The first thing I really have to think about is the solar energy and how that works.  I want to be sure I have ample lighting at night.  There is no one around for miles except all the critters.  I've been told that it isn't uncommon to have deer and wild turkey in the yard.  I also believe there has even been a bear spotted.  Now that I can do without :) 
I'm excited for our adventure to begin.  I'm also having a little bit of second guessing.  I hope we chose the right property.  Since we can't access it in the winter I'm a bit concerned about that.  I guess we wouldn't likely go in the winter anyway but I would like to be able to do so if we wanted.
 Since we won't be there year-round we have to take the water out in the winter and the only source of heat at the moment is a wood stove.  Luckily there is lots of wood already cut and dried.


The picture above is of a dried up pond.  I'm told there is a dug well just behind it.  Perhaps there is some way we can make it into a year-round functioning pond.  I'm not sure how that would work but perhaps if we dig it out and do something with the well (if I can find it) then that will work.

 I love this tree.  I'm not sure what it is but I'll have to take a closer look the next time I go out there.  It really does add a bright touch of colour for the fall.
In this picture (to the side) you can see one of the many piles of drying wood that the current owner has cut.  He's leaving this wood for us.  We likely won't have to cut wood for quite some time but it might be an interesting project.


Anyway, as I mentioned earlier.  The ideas are flowing.  Lets see what I actually am able to put into practice.  I'll post some pictures of the inside of the cabin shortly and let you know my plans for redecorating. 

Monday, 4 August 2014

Home Made Butterscotch Ice Cream.

 I made this homemade butterscotch sauce yesterday.  It uses real scotch, cream, butter and brown sugar.  Yum.  It is really sweet though.

 I then made some home made French Vanilla ice cream which you can see mixing here.
Below is a close up of the ice cream when it was just about ready.  The last picture shows it with the butterscotch sauce added.  Now it just has to sit in the freezer for a bit to get a bit harder and then it's all ready to go!










Home Made Butterscotch Ice Cream

Monday, 21 July 2014

Painted Fall Sheep




 





It's been a while since I've done any painting.  I'm usually kept so busy making buttons that I have let other creative endeavours fall to the way side.  Recently I've decided to try and get back to some of my other creative loves.  I'm going to incorporate some painting into my buttons I think.  This is the first thing I've painted in a while.  I'm a little rusty but I think it will all come back eventually.

I'm going to paint some primitive style items and then transfer that image to my buttons and perhaps a few pins or brooches.  This is a design by Betty Bowers but I plan to start designing my own items.  I think this prim sheep turned out pretty well.  I still have to put the final sealer coat on this and then I'll probably list it in my other shop. 

Fall is the perfect time to start decorating.  I know, as I write this, it is still July but those of us that create know we need to start way ahead of the seasons.  I've been listing Halloween and fall buttons lately and will soon start on Christmas items.    Actually just this past weekend I sold a few Christmas buttons so I know those of you out there are also starting on the season early :)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Bright Red Fused Glass Bird Sewing Buttons

 

Handmade Fused Glass Bird Sewing Buttons

It's a new month and a new beginning.  I'm excited for June to begin and for summer to "hopefully" get going in full swing.  It's a bright sunny day today so I'm very optimistic.  I'm up right now and trying to get some work done on my buttons before my son (adult son) gets up.  I'm hoping to spend the day doing some fun things with him.  It doesn't matter how old your children get it's always a good thing when you can spend some quality time with them.

I don't mention it often but I have another buttons site www.buttonsbyrobin2.com where I have my artisan buttons.  On this site I have fused glass buttons (like the bird sewing buttons shown above), ceramic, hand painted wooden buttons and more.  These buttons are much more labour intensive and a labour of love.  They don't get as much attention as my resin buttons at www.buttonsbyrobin.com but to be fair I really don't spend as much time on them as the resin buttons.  I simply love these bright red fused glass buttons though.  They look much better in person but I hope you can see their potential in the above picture.  These are made with a base layer of black glass and then the red pieces are individually cut out and they're fused together in the kiln.  Once the glass has been fully fused together I drill holes in them with a diamond (yes real diamond) coated drill bit.  It's a labour intensive and expensive process.  Given the hardness of the fused glass the drill bit will only drill about 10 buttons before it has to be replaced.  A set of 5 drill bits is about $50 US so as you can see even drilling the holes costs a fair bit.  I truly love these buttons though and so will continue to make them and other designs in glass.  They are truly beautiful and I know those of you who appreciate artisan buttons know how much love and art goes into making them

If you have any questions or have any suggested designs you'd like to see in glass please feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Fire Truck Sewing Buttons

                                           Fire Truck or Fireman Sewing Buttons

I have a son of my own and remember how difficult it was to get cute clothes for him when he was a baby.  He's a grown man now but I always try and think of little boys when I make my buttons.  I want to be sure that the Moms and Dads out there are able to find cute clothes for their little boys.  I hope in some way that my fireman buttons (and my other boy themed buttons) add a special touch to their outfits.  Of course I realize that it's just not little boys that like fire trucks.  I know little girls may as well and I try not to be too stereotypical in how I list my buttons.  I do have a section for boy buttons in my shop www.buttonsbyrobin.com but I know a lot of these would be perfectly adorable for little girls.

These particular buttons have been pretty popular in my shop so I'm happy to keep them in stock.  If you have other ideas for buttons you'd like to see drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.  I'm always looking for new ideas and inspiration.


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Green Dandelion Sewing Buttons


Green Dandelion Sewing Buttons

Okay I'll admit it.  I'm a bit cranky today.  As a matter of fact I'm slightly more cranky than I was just a moment ago.  I was writing this post and hit something and deleted everything.  The funny thing was I was writing about how listing these buttons in my shop and writing a bit in my blog was starting to turn the day around and then - boom - deleted my blog post.  Oh well....I guess you just have to laugh.  There are certainly much worse things in the world. 

I must admit I really do like these dandelion buttons.  I haven't had them in my shop www.buttonsbyrobin.com in quite some time.  I think they were last listed in 2012.  It's funny how all of a sudden I'll see some buttons I've made in the past and want to remake them.  The one thing about having a website and making all my own product is that usually there are very small numbers of buttons made.  I get bored easily so want to move on to another designs.  I guess that's why I have close to 500 designs in my shop currently.  It's probably not the best business model because I'm constantly having different designs (which is good) but that means when something sells I no longer have it available.  I've started to make a few sets at a time most of the time.  This way when something sells I have another to put in it's place.  Again, if a design is a flop :( I have a number of sets that sit there.  I'm constantly rethinking how to get the best use out of my time when making the buttons.  Particularly since it's just me making the buttons - no manufacturer - no production line.  What is your best trick for making handmade items in a productive manner?


Monday, 26 May 2014

Turquoise Blue Whale Sewing Buttons

Turquoise Blue Whale Sewing buttonsI love these whale buttons.  The blue is so bright and pretty.  Images are from Digi Web Studio and when I saw the collection of sea creatures I just couldn't resist them.  There are a number of other adorable sea creatures that I'm sure will be making their way to my shop shortly.  I've already started on a blue and yellow fish. 

Looking at these sea themed buttons really makes me want to go on vacation again.  I particularly love going to Mexico and the Caribbean.  I remember being in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) a couple of years ago and being out on the ocean watching the whales.  Now they weren't this cute blue but they were beautiful and majestic as they jumped and frolicked around us.  We were in a ship that was respectful of the distance.  There were other smaller ships that went far too close.  It's dangerous but also disturbs these wonderful creatures.  I can't wait to go on my next vacation.  We've booked a trip for next February to Antigua but lately I've been wanting to go back to Mexico.  We've been there about five times I think but it almost seems like going home.  Maybe I'll go look a www.itravel2000.com and see what trips are available.  A great deal of the fun is the search for the perfect place and the anticipation of the wonderful times to come.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Butterfly Sewing Buttons





Bright Butterfly Sewing Buttons

I just love these bright butterfly sewing buttons.  These have been sold out on my site www.buttonsbyrobin.com for a bit and I just got around to putting them back up today.  These are really perfect for summer as they're so bright and cheerful.  I love these pink/purple colours with a touch of green and bright yellow.  These have been pretty popular in my shop.  Today is a day for butterflies I think.  I'm trying to think positive thoughts and these certainly do help with that.  These are the type of designs that are sure to brighten someone's day. 

Custom Request Rodeo Buttons

Sometimes I'm asked to do custom requests.  Well actually often I'm asked to do custom requests.  This time it was for some rodeo buttons.  My customer sent me the pictures and I made some sample buttons for her.  These are ready to have the holes added if the images are approved.  Custom requests sometimes give me really great ideas about what people are looking for.  I haven't been able to find cowboy images that I've been really pleased with for my shop.  I've made a few sets of cowboy buttons over time but I'm still on the hunt for something that really fits the bill.  I hope my customer is happy with these buttons.  She only needs 6 so hopefully will be able to find 6 that are suitable.  It's really challenging sometimes because everyone has different taste and likes different styles so it's hard to know what idea someone is thinking of.  Having done these I think I'm inspired to go on the hunt for some more cowboy themed images and see if I can come up with something within the next few weeks. 

Sunday... Sunday

So it's another Sunday and time to get organized for the work week coming up.  It seems that there is always so much to do on Sunday to get ready for work.  I'm lucky in that I get every third Monday off from my day job.  I just work a little longer and take a shorter lunch each day to make up the extra time.  That lets me accumulate the time to get every third Monday off.  I'm working tomorrow though so no extra long weekend for me this weekend.  I'm already half in work mode and starting to think about everything I need to get done.

The laundry is underway and I've just showered and will be working on my hair.  That's a project in and of itself as my hair is fairly long.  I've thawed the chicken for dinner and think we'll do a BBQ today so hubby will cook that.  Then I have to think of the sides and from this prepare my lunch for tomorrow.  I'm not a morning person so I'm not able to get up and make my lunch before I get to work.  Also I have my adult son living with us temporarily right now so after years of just hubby and I have to think of someone else as well when it comes to preparing meals.

Also this is typically a slower time in my shop so while I keep plugging away it's a bit discouraging.  I'm trying to think more positive thoughts though and as I said yesterday in my blog post I need to start thinking more of me.  I'll see what the day brings but may go and get a manicure or pedicure or maybe even both.  I'll see how I feel.  It's still early here.

I've also gathered up the buttons I started yesterday so will have to see how those have turned out and take some pictures for someone for a custom order they have requested.  Then in my other shop www.outspokenjewelry.com I've also had a request for some Ice Princess hair clips.  I've made the no holes buttons and will hopefully get those clips made for that shop.  I've recently renamed that shop Buttons By Robin 3 but haven't changed the URL yet so it's still linked to www.outspokenjewelry.com I'll have to change that in a bit.

So after a bit of a grumpy start to my day I think I'd better change my outlook and enjoy this wonderful day I've been given.  It's beautiful and sunny outside and I need to take advantage of this wonderful bright may day.

What do you do when you wake up a bit grumpy?  How do you get out of the funk?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Set 2 of Knight and Dragon Sewing Buttons

Knight and Dragon Sewing Buttons Set 2Here is the second set of knight and dragon sewing buttons I mentioned in my earlier post today.  This time the princess or damsel in distress is wearing a pink dress.

Knight and Dragon Themed Sewing Buttons



Knight and Dragon Sewing Buttons

 
 
I'm finally back to blogging.  I've definitely been neglecting the blog.  I've been busy with my buttons and have close to 500 different sets of handmade buttons listed.  I've decided it's now time to get back to sharing my creations.  I think these knight and dragon pictures are appropriate.  I've been neglecting taking care of myself lately I think and I've been focusing on others.  That's not a bad thing but now it's time to fit me in there somewhere.  Sometimes I wish I had a knight in shining armour to take care of things :) - seriously though I know it's up to me to prioritize.  In fact I'm going to take a large chunk of this day and just go do something fun.  I'm not sure what that is just yet but it's a bright sunny day - something we've been lacking lately this spring so I think I'm going to go out and take full advantage of this bright and wonderful day.  What are you doing for yourself today?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Waiting For Spring

This winter has been brutal.  It's the middle of March and there is still a ton of snow on the ground.  I was lucky enough to have been away in February for a bit to beautiful Jamaica.  The weather was wonderful and it was really nice being out of the freezing cold and snow here in Canada.  Since I've been back from vacation I've been working on lots of bright spring themed buttons.  I can't wait to leave the bleak and dreary winter behind and head out into some wonderful spring weather.  To get you started and hopefully in a spring mood as well take a look at these adorable spring sheep or lamb buttons.  They'll be great for spring.


Saturday, 1 February 2014

Shopping

I spent the day shopping for shoes.  How much fun is that!  We're going on vacation in a bit.  I can't wait to get out of this cold cold Canadian winter.  This winter has been especially cold.  It really reminds me of the winters from when I was a kid.  I guess we've been spoiled the last few year.  This year though 'Old Man Winter" is out and about with a vengeance.  We've had a terrible ice storm just before Christmas where we lost power for a couple of days.  Luckily it came back on the morning of Christmas Eve so we were able to have a normal and pretty great Christmas.  Since then though it's been cold - bitterly cold - most days and more snow than I care to think about.  It's been a tradition for us to go away for Valentines Day though (don't worry I'm not announcing to the world my house will be empty - there will be people at home while we're away).  This year it's Jamaica and I can't wait.  I hear the beach at our resort is lovely http://www.sandals.com/main/whitehouse/wh-home/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=CA_Sandals_Brand+-+Jamaica&utm_term=sandal%2520whitehouse&utm_content=RP 10 days of beautiful sunny warm weather sounds absolutely wonderful.

There are lots of things to do to get ready though.  It always seems I need to buy new bathing suits each time.  Once can never have too many bathing suites - I think it's the optimist in me hoping that the next one I buy will miraculously make me look like the 20 year old I used to be (more years ago than I care to admit here).  Today I decided I need resort shoes/sandals.  It's not that easy finding summer shoes in February in the middle of a snow storm.  Luckily I did manage to find a couple of pretty cool shoes.  One even has a fair bit of bling - now that's resort wear!

Next weekend I'd better get that pedicure done!!!

OK for now I'd better get back to listing some buttons and hopefully having a few button sales to pay for my purchases :)

Until next time......................

Saturday, 25 January 2014

New Glass Buttons in the Works!

I've finally gotten around to working on some glass buttons.  It's been a while since I've used the kiln.  I'm just waiting for the glass to cool and then I get to see how they turned out.  I've peeked inside and all looks well but they're too hot right now so the actual colour doesn't show.  I've also put some laser transfer crow buttons in there.  I'm not sure if the same temperature will work for both but we will see I guess.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pretty buttons to post pictures of.



 
 
I guess while the glass buttons are cooling off in the kiln I'll post some of my latest resin buttons.  These are a different fire truck design.  Fire trucks seem popular.  I guess little boys still want to be firemen.