Sunday, 4 December 2011

Working Smarter?????

I've decided on a new plan for my shops.  I'm going to try working smarter not harder (as the saying goes).  I'm going to start making more sets of the same design of buttons and earrings at the same time.  It's not any less work making the actual items since they're all made one at a time by hand.  What will save me time is that I can take the pictures "once" and list a set of 3.  We'll see how that goes.  This will also help for people that want more than one set of buttons.  They won't have to email me to ask for a second set.  The listing costs in Etsy will be more and if the design doesn't sell I've invested more than if I had just made one set.  Anyway we'll see how it goes.  I have a good selection of items so I dont' think I need to keep adding tons of different designs.  I'm hoping this will cut down on some of the time for me.  The creating time isn't the problem - it's all the added time taking the pictures, writing the descriptions etc. that really adds up.  We'll see how this goes..............

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Taking a Break - Sort of.....

I've decided to take a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle and constant pressure to create and get everything done.  I had thought perhaps I'd close up my shop for the holidays but then decided against that.  What I've decided to do is to take a break from custom orders for a bit (until at least after the holidays) and only make buttons that I want to make.  I've got lots of buttons and button jewelry/jewellery made so will list these when I feel like it so there will still be lots of new items going up.  I've been wanting to work on some other creations and haven't really had much time to do anything "just because".  I've got lots of ideas for ceramic and glass buttons so hopefully will work on a bit of these.  I've also become really interested in cake decorating and hope to make a few of these creations.  That might be a bit harder because since I'm always watching what I eat I'm not sure I want the temptation of having these goodies around but we'll see.  Hopefully I'll start by making a few creations for the upcoming holiday party at work and then we'll go from there.  I do feel a bit more relaxed now that I've decided to slow down a bit to enjoy the holidays.  I must admit making the sales is really great and I appreciate each and every one of them so I'm a bit hesitant to do anything to slow this down.  As well right now there is the added pressure of getting items mailed out and hoping they reach their destination in time for the holidays.  I really don't want to disappoint anyone even though I know (as do they) that I can't control the postal system.  Still I never want anyone to be disappointed.  We'll see how far this self imposed "sort of vacation" goes.  Perhaps after a few days I'll be anxious to get going again but we'll see.  It's been a busy few months of button making so perhaps a break will be good.  I'll start focusing on my business plan for the new year and perhaps start thinking about some new designs.  I've already made a few Valentine's themed buttons.  Crazy I know.....  I'll drop by here from time to time to let you know how it's going.  I hope you all take some time to enjoy your family and the holiday season as well.  Family is the most important thing after all.  As my family grows smaller and smaller with the passing of family members this becomes even more important and apparent.  Happy holidays all!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Christmas Owl Handmade Buttons

I just love this colour combination of red and turquoise.  This is an unusual colour combination for Christmas but I think it looks great.  These buttons are listed in my Etsy shop  The Christmas rush has started and I have been busy in my shop at Buttons By Robin.  I have tons of ideas for my ceramic buttons but am having a hard time keeping up with my resin button orders.  That’s not a bad problem to have though J . I do know things will slow down a bit shortly as I’m in Canada so I only have another week or so before orders that are mailed out won’t be delivered in time for Christmas.

I do have a few days off from my day job right now so I’m going to take full advantage of it. I’ll spend some time with my husband but will hopefully get a lot of work done. We are planning a vacation to some warmer climate in February (not sure of the destination just yet) so I’ll do a bit of exploring about that as well. It is just such a pleasure to be able to sleep in a bit and enjoy a couple of leisurely cups of coffee in the morning before starting my day. When I have to go to my day job it’s up and out of the house at lightning speed and there just never seems to be enough time in the day. When I get home from work it’s pretty much all I can do to package up any orders that I get. I have no creative energy left after working all day as a policy analyst. It’s not a very creative job. It’s actually pretty structured and well “analytical” but I don’t have the energy left at night to do more with my Buttons By Robin. I always have such big plans and then exhaustion sets in J We’ll see how the next few days pan out while a have a vacation from work. I’m looking forward to it. How do you cope with keeping up the energy after your day job ends to find a bit of that creative spark that is within you?

Friday, 11 November 2011

Customer Service

It's easy to say that customer service is your number one priority when all is going well.  You're really put to the test when something goes wrong or turns out not as it should.  If you sell at all something is bound to go wrong at times.  The most frequent problem I run into - and thankfully it isn't often - is something taking a bit longer to arrive in the mail than anticipated.  I'm in Canada and the majority of my packages goes to the United States, Australia and Norway.  Most of my international customers are aware of the shipping times but not everyone.  Sometimes people don't realize I'm in Canada and that the mail will take a bit longer to arrive.  I do email at the time of purchase to let them know approximate shipping times etc.  It's understandable that some people don't read the messages.  We're so inundated with emails that it's normal to ignore what appears to be just another email.  The best advice I can give when a problem comes up is to communicate and be empathetic to the situation.  My customers are usually really understanding when they realize that I'm a bit further away than they may have realized.  They are also reassured when I let them know that if there should ever be a problem I will fix it.  Just being in contact and responding in an understanding manner goes a really long way.  It may be cliche but treat your customers the way you would like to be treated.  As long as they know you are there to fix a problem should it occur and that you are understanding and responsive they will probably be more than happy to work with you. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Cooler Weather and Winter Themed Handmade Buttons

The weather is getting cooler so it's making me start to think of the upcoming winter weather (as much as I hate to do that).  Oh well if you can't beat the cold weather I can at least make some buttons in bright and cheerful colours/colors to help cheer up the dreary and cold winter days and nights.  I must say I do love these beautiful cardinal buttons  These have just been listed in my Etsy shop.  They really want me want to get out the knitting needles and knit something up.  The sad truth is I don't have much patience for knitting but I do admire those who do.  I can do a few basic knitting stitches but rarely finish a project.  I hope these buttons inspire you to pick up a project to start to fill those long winter evenings.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Finding The Creative Muse

No pictures today.  I'm feeling a little blah.  I'm off from the day job this week and had all the intentions in the world to create, create, create and yet I don't really feel like it.  I'm having some success with my buttons and I really appreciate it but for some reason I'm just not in the mood to make buttons these days.  At least not my resin buttons.  I think it's a combination of having a couple of packages go missing and some technical difficulties.  These are all part and parcel of business and of creating but for some reason it's really having an impact on my wanting to create.  I'm pushing through and continuing on but I'm also turning this into a positive and using this as a reason to rethink my direction.  I have been making some ceramic buttons and jewellery pieces this week though.  With ceramics there is no immediate gratification but I am looking forward to firing up the kiln maybe tomorrow to see how they turn out.  I've got lots of ideas and am learning as I go.  I've never taken a ceramics class but have read lots of books, completed lots of Internet research and watched lots of videos.  The problem with ceramics is that when things don't turn out it is extra disappointing because there is so much time invested in it.  Well wish me luck as I sit back and work on some fun projects and wait for my creative muse to reappear.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Halloween Owl Handmade Buttons.

I keep telling myself I need to stop with the Halloween buttons.  I really have enough on my Etsy site  I mean really how many Halloween buttons can someone use.  What do you use Halloween buttons for anyway?  Despite my trying to be rational about it I just love these Halloween designs so when I found these images I couldn't resist so here they are  Halloween is fast becoming a very popular holiday.  I find myself drawn to it more and more.  When I was young it was just the one day.  You dressed up at school in your costume and then went out for candy that night but other than that not a big deal.  Now my neighbourhood is fully decorated and people seem to get right into the "spirit" - no pun intended.  I guess it's just a simple holiday with no big expenses associated with it and no big expectations.  Perhaps that's the appeal - oh and all the spooky creatures that come out that time of year as well!  Happy Halloween all.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Large Dragon Sewing Buttons (Handmade Buttons)

Finding images that work for boys seems to be more of a challenge than it is to find images for girls or for women.  Maybe I'm just more drawn to those images (being a girl and all :) ) but seriously even with clothing it's much easier to find cute things for girls.  I have a son so I know what I'm talking about.  Boys want to be stylish as well and I think these dragon buttons have just the right amount of masculine appeal and cuteness!  They can be found here  The buttons pictured here are my larger size but I've also made them in the 3/4" (2 cm) and 1/2" (1.5 cm) sizes.  I've heard from my customers that they like variety.  The ones in the picture are 1" or 2.5 cm and would probably be good to decorate pillows or maybe along the tops of curtains in a nursery.  They sure are cute and not too frightening for the little ones!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Christmas Owl Hair Clip - made with my handmade button

I'm loving these handmade flower hair clips.  I've used my handmade owl button and a pattern I purchased from another Etsy seller Precious Patterns to make the flower.  I've listed it in my Etsy  If you'd like to use my buttons to make your own hair accessories for sale of just for fun that's fine with me.  I love seeing my buttons on your items.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Back to School Handmade Buttons

Okay don't tell the kiddos but it's time to start thinking back to school.  I's still July but September and back to school will be here before we know it.  If you're going to be making something special for that little one for their first day of school or for their first day of school in the new year then these buttons will add a perfect touch  This set of handmade buttons includes all sort of school supplies and brings back memories of going out purchasing all those brand new supplies.  Even now (although I'm way past school age) when I see those piles of pristine supplies in the stores it makes me want to go out and purchase them.  Maybe these will satisfy that urge.  I'm also thinking that I might take a set of these and make them into zipper pulls.  They could then be attached to back packs, lunch boxes and pencil cases and act as a ready identifier so that it would be easy to tell your child's items from all similar items.  The back is plain white so if you took a magic marker you could even add a name or phone number.  How cute would that be!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Primitive Witch Handmade Buttons

Although it's a hot July day as I write this my mind has been thinking of fall and Halloween.  It's not that I'm wishing the summer away.  I love summer and wish it was summer all year round.  However, in the crafting world you have to think at least one season ahead all the time.  I've started listing my Halloween themed items on Etsy so that everyone that makes crafts or items with my buttons has a chance to order them in time to make all their wonderful goodies.

I've been enjoying looking at some wonderful penny rug creations on Etsy and that got me thinking of the primitive style.  I've had a lot of fun adding some prim buttons this weekend and have plans for lots more.  This is one of the sets I added this weekend  Isn't she adorable!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Vacation Photo Bracelet with my Handmade Button Charms.

I love going away on vacation!  Well who doesn't.  I love it so much I'm planning to buy a vacation home (eventually to be a retirement home) somewhere warm.  I'm currently looking at Costa Rica. To remind me of my dream and of the wonderful vacation we had there in February 2011 I've taken some of my vacation photos and instead of making them into my buttons as I usually do I put a hole in the top and made them into little charms and simply added a jump ring and put them on a chain/bracelet.  Now I can have my vacation memories with me any time.

While I can put photographs on my buttons (as you can see from above) it's a bit tricky and I sometimes find they're a bit darker than I'd like.  It's hard to get the contrast just right when the photographs have similar tones.  These charms are also about 3/4" or 2 cm round and I think next time I'd make them a bit bigger just because the photographs have a lot of detail so it would be easier to see them that way.  The backs of the charms are just plain white.  I think I might put a colour/color on the back next time as well.  This was just an experiment really but I think it turned out pretty well.  I'm not a jewelry/jewellery maker so will not be adding these types of items to my Etsy shop.  This one is just for me and it's fun and brings a smile to my face when I remember the fun we had in Costa Rica.

Halloween Cupcakes Handmade Sewing Buttons

 When I saw these images from Jazzy Patterns I couldn't wait to turn them into my buttons.  As I write this the US is celebrating the Fourth of July and here in Canada we just celebrated Canada Day (July 1st) so the weather is hot and thoughts have not yet turned to fall for most of us.  However I know that crafters need lots of lead time to create their wonderful creations.  I am imagining these turned into adorable Halloween hair accessories or maybe just added to a simple black shirt or sweater to make an adorable Halloween outfit.  I have so many ideas in my mind about what I want to make with these that I can't decide where to start.  I have only made one set for now which is listed here but I plan to make several more sets since they're just so darned adorable. 

Happy Fourth of July to my US friends and happy crafting to all!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Handmade Button Necklace - Butterflies and Bright Buttons.

I've been experimenting with different ways to use my handmade buttons.  I bought these ribbon necklaces the other day and thought they' would be a great place to add my buttons.  At first I thought I would sew the buttons on but it turns out that gluing them on works much better.  I glued one button to the front of the ribbon and another to the back and the ribbon is sandwiched in between.  On this necklace I've used three of my handmade butterfly buttons and then used some brightly coloured/colored purchased buttons.  These are bright and cheerful.  Right now I'm not putting these in my shop  I think I'll keep these for myself and try them out to see how they work and how they look and then I'll see if I want to list them.  If any of you want to use my buttons to make button jewelry/jewellery or anything else for sale that's not a problem.  I love seeing what you make with my buttons.  I'm a button maker not a jewelry/jewellery maker and just dabble in experimenting with different ways to use the buttons so I'm not concerned if someone uses my buttons to make jewellery/jewelry.  There are lots of ideas for all of us.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Superhero Handmade Buttons

These are my latest line of superhero buttons  These buttons are 3/4" or 2 cm size but can also be made in other sizes.  These would be perfect for a boys outfit.  It's very hard to find cute things for boys so whenever I can I try to make items that would be great to use on things made for boys.  I will admit I have lots more buttons made for girls but I do try to add boy themed items when possible.  I hope to do more superhero designs shortly.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Red Riding Hood Handmade Buttons

Aren't these Red Riding Hood handmade buttons adorable? I've added them to my in this size which is 3/4" or 2 cm and I also have another listing which is 5/8" or 1.5 cm size.  I love that this girl had big eyes and a large head and her red cape is bright and cheerful.  This is a modern take on the classic Little Red Riding Hood.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Mary Had a Little Lamb (Handmade Buttons)

I've been adding a number of nursery rhyme themed buttons lately.  I think they're adorable and I get excited each time I find a new set of images to add.  This particular set is of Mary Had a Little Lamb  These are available in my Etsy shop at  Lately I've been asked by my customers to make the buttons in smaller sizes.  Since I don't knit or sew I'm never sure what size I should make so have up until now opted for a pretty standard size.  Now that I have this feedback from my customers I will be adding more of the smaller size.  Hopefully this will be helpful to people that sew.  I love getting suggestions from my customers. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Summer Time! Summer Time!

It finally feels like summer here. The weather has been beautiful this week and the cherry on top of the situation is that I am on vacation from my day job this week as well. I'm using the time to enjoy some time with my hubby doing nothing in particular but enjoying every moment. I'm also using the time to catch up on custom handmade button orders. All in all the best of both worlds.

I've had some suggestions from some of my customers lately to make my buttons in a smaller size so I'm trying to make each of my buttons in my usual 3/4" or 2 cm size and a smaller 5/8 or 1.5 cm size. Of course all my buttons can be customized to the size you need so if you see anything just send me an email and I'll see what I can do.

I hope you all are enjoying your week as much as I am and that wherever you are the weather is co-operating as well. It does make me want to be on vacation somewhere exotic but I think all in all I'd rather save my vacation dollars for the cold cold Canadian winter times. I'll enjoy this "tropical" feel weather here at home for now.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

At the Seashore (Handmade Buttons)

These buttons remind me that it's time to start thinking about summer It's a rainy Sunday afternoon as I write this but looking at these bright seashore themed handmade buttons it sure makes me dream of hot summer days at the beach (and it really makes me remember my vacations in hot tropical locations!).

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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Goldilocks and Three Bears Handmade Buttons

I was very excited to finally come across these images of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I've been wanting to make these buttons for a while but wasn't able to find the images I wanted. I know I could actually draw them myself but I haven't quite mastered the art of graphic design. I'm slowly learning and did manage to make an image I'm going to be making into buttons later today but the unveiling of that will have to wait. For now I've used these images (with permission of the artists Glazed Mud). I am very thankful that she has allowed me to use these adorable images and I hope you like them as well.

Well I'm also nearing the end of my week off from my day job and as I mentioned I know I'd never be able to make enough product to be able to support myself financially so I'm very thankful to have a pretty good day job to support me. For now I'll have to concentrate on the buttons as a very nice side supporting business. I do have dreams of owning property in Costa Rica (after our last trip there in February 2011) so perhaps I'll make some goals of expanding the business with this dream in mind. Who knows one can dream and it's a great incentive to get those buttons going.

I'm also having lots of fun this week watching some videos from and am learning lots about different ceramic techniques.

For the next little bit I have to get some more resin buttons made and then I'm hoping to play with ceramics this afternoon. I am bound and determined to make these ceramic buttons a hit. It's been an uphill battle so far and I haven't quite found my niche but I need to make them unique and different from all the other wonderful handmade ceramic buttons out there. I'll keep experimenting and plodding and along and we'll see how it goes. I also want to expand a bit into ceramic beads and use some of the wonderful techniques I've learned over the last few weeks. And let's not forget my love of fused glass! So many ideas and so little time or so it seems.

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Ceramic Bee Buttons - Handmade Buttons in Etsy Treasury

My ceramic bee buttons are included in the great Etsy treasury to PaperPicker for including these buttons in this treasury!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Butterfly Buttons - Handmade Buttons

I love love love these bright and colourful/colorful handmade buttons with the butterfly images I think they would look wonderful on a simple white or black button up sweater but I'm sure that you can think of many more interesting ways to use them. I think these are so beautiful that they would take a simple garment and elevate it to something extra ordinary.

I'm also on day three of my vacation from my day job. I've quickly come to the realization that I could never make enough buttons (quantity-wise) to be able to quit my day job so for now it has to remain a nice supplement that I have to fit in. I am going to give it some more thought though as I do think there has to be a way to increase production or make supplementary products that will compliment the buttons. I am a bit distracted today though because I have found some adorable images of children's story books and I can't wait to get making some buttons out of them so my practical approach has gone by the wayside by now and as soon as I finish this post I'm going to get started on some of these adorable buttons. I've been looking for these types of images for quite some time and now have finally found them and can't wait to get started. I'm sure I'll be posting pictures of these in the upcoming days.

Well enjoy your Tuesday everyone. It's a rainy day here and the perfect day to be inside making buttons!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Girly Skull Handmade Buttons and Day 2 Experiment

Here is the handmade button of the day These are bright pink girly skulls. These aren't my usual style but I think they have a girly punk appeal. I listed these yesterday and also have them in a bright yellow and a pretty bright blue.

Yesterday was Sunday and was a typical day in my home studio. I made and listed lots of buttons. I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was going to treat this week as if it were my real day job. So far today it seems I'm off to a slower start than I anticipated. I did manage to get a kiln full of buttons fired and I'm waiting for them to cool. I have been able to peek into the kiln and I think they turned out really well. I am finding that ceramic buttons are pretty time consuming and really don't seem to give me the quantity I need to list new buttons all the time. I really love them but I think they're beyond the budget of most craft sewers so sales are not as high as they are with my resin buttons which are much more affordable for people. Also with the resin buttons I can make them quite a bit faster.

Anyway so far today I've fired a kiln with the third firing so that when these ceramic buttons cool they should be ready for listing. Fingers crossed they turned out. Ceramics are so unpredictable and each step takes so much time. I had some buttons yesterday but they aren't quite what I wanted as an end result so I have to decide if I want to try and change them in some way. I'm not sure yet what I plan to do.

I seem to be getting distracted with household chores and interruptions from my husband who works a split shift so was home for a couple of hours earlier this morning. I have to learn not to be so easily distracted.

The plans for the rest of the afternoon include finishing listing the resin buttons I took pictures of yesterday and take pictures of the newest batch of resin buttons that are ready to go today. Then I have new buttons to make and get ready for tomorrow. It seems a never ending cycle - make, take pics, list and repeat. I also want to fit in some more ceramics. Since I am teaching myself ceramic button making not all my experiments are successes but I do learn something each and every time.

Oh and I must say I had four packages to mail off this morning and I know one purchase was as a result of my facebook page since I was contacted through my facebook fan page. So off to list some new buttons and tweet them to see if I can get some views and hopefully attract more people to my shop.

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you have a successful and productive day!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Handmade Button and Vacation Plans

I am quite excited because I have the week off from my day job. Usually when I'm on vacation I go away but this time I'm home by myself since my husband doesn't have as many vacation days as I do. This means I have the week to stay home and work on my buttons. I know that a lot of people dream of quitting their day jobs and doing their art as their job. For this week I want to explore that a bit. I'm going to pretend that this is my day job and approach is not as a vacation but as a real job. I know right now that I'd never be able to make enough buttons to replace the income from my day job even if I made buttons 8 hours a day every day. They're just too labour/labor intensive to actually be able to make them in quantity by myself. Never-the-less I'm going to explore my options and use this as a mini experiment to see what I can do. It also happens that today is the first of the month so it's a good day for some new beginning and exploration. So far today I've fired a load of ceramic buttons in the kiln and am experimenting with some glazing and handmade decals combined in a technique which I thought I had discovered. It turns out that this isn't a new technique but something that has been explored by others. It's funny how I really hadn't seen this combination of techniques before and yet it's not new. I guess there really isn't anything new under the sun. Anyway I'm going to explore this technique, make it my own and see how far I can push it. I've also made some more resin buttons which are drying. They should be ready tomorrow. I've also listed a few resin buttons that I made yesterday (I took the pictures this morning and am in the process of listing them.) So for my first "pretend" day of the new job I've done a lot of work. So far no sales for today but Sunday (and weekends in general) tend to be quiet so I'm optimistic that the week will be successful. I'm going to continue to list the rather large pile of buttons I have ready to go and will then decide what I plan to do tomorrow. I do know I have some ceramic buttons ready to go in the third firing of this really labour/labor intensive creations. The problem with the ceramic buttons is that they take a lot of time so are quite a bit more expensive than my resin buttons. They should appeal to a different type of buyer though so I know it will take some time to get them going. I have so many ideas I just hope the week doesn't fly by too soon. I'll try to keep this blog updated throughout the week to let you all know how it is going. Here's to all of us dreamers who want to make a living with our art!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Handmade Buttons. Art Quilt Embellishment-Blue Bird.

I just love the EXTRA LARGE ceramic bluebird buttons I just added to my Etsy shop These are extremely large for a button and measure approximately 4 1/2" or 8.5 cm. Although these are too large to use to use on items that need to be opened and closed through a button hole I thought they would be a perfect embellishment for a home decor item such as a cushion or pillow or better yet - wouldn't they look wonderful on an art quilt. I am sure that there would be endless possibility for large buttons such as these. I just love the bright colours/colors and how the orange and yellow blend together. I'm not sure if I'll do more larger buttons but I am happy with how this experiment turned out. How would you use such a large button?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Custom Purse Charm made with my Handmade Button

In addition to the buttons I offer on website I also do custom buttons on request. Here is a felt and fabric purse charm made with my handmade button in the centre/center. The designer of this charm sent me their image I made it into a button which matched the fabric they were working with. I love seeing all the beautiful and unusual things made with my buttons. They aren't just for clothing (although they do add a special touch to hand sewn items.)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Bird Sihouettes (Handmade Buttons)

I have an unexpected day or two off from my day job. The bad news is that I had to take a couple of vacation days because my fairly new (5 year old) house has sprung a leak in the roof so I have to be home for the roofers to come and make the repair. Unfortunately they didn't come today so I will have to stay home tomorrow as well as they say they may come then. I'm not happy about having to fix the roof but I am pleased we will be getting it fixed shortly. Because I had to be home I have a couple of extra days this week to work on my buttons so I'm making the most of this opportunity. I made these beautiful bright bird silhouette buttons that I absolutely love. I originally thought I'd use these images just for the silhouette and make some screens to screen print on clay which I've been experimenting with lately. When I saw them though they were so bright and cheerful and quite lovely in their simplicity that I decided to make them in my usual resin buttons. Having the extra day off from my day job today I was able to make some silk screens and I do plan to try screen printing them on clay in some of these bright colours/colors much like they are here. Having this extra day gave me the time to get the screens ready so that when I'm ready to work with the ceramic I will have the screens ready. If it doesn't rain tomorrow I will be taking the day off as well and hopefully the roofers will come and I can continue to work on some more beautiful buttons. I guess this is what they say is "making lemonade out of lemons". Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone - the Easter long weekend will be here shortly and hopefully you will have an extra day or two to do something enjoyable for yourself as well.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Handmade Buttons (Ceramic Rabbit Buttons)

I am very fortunate to have my buttons selected for quite a few different Etsy treasuries. These adorable bunny buttons can be found in this "Mint and Chocolate" treasury here I love these. They turned out really well and I can't wait to make more ceramic buttons.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Handmade Buttons. New Ceramic Bird Silhouette Buttons.

I've been having a lot of fun lately working on my ceramic buttons. These ceramic bird buttons are some of my latest creations. These are on a peachy pink background. I love how they turned out. They're a bit shabby chic and distressed looking. The bird image is fused into the ceramic so it won't come off - it is part of the glaze/glass covering the buttons. I've been experimenting with screen printing, painting and laser transfers as well as other options and am having a blast! The only thing with ceramic buttons is that you have to have patience. You have to make the shape then wait and let it dry which takes several days to a week. You then have to bisque fire so you get the plain button with no glaze. Then you have to glaze and fire and sometimes glaze and fire again depending on how many colours you want and the effect you're going for. This little work of art was fired four times. This means lots of planning in advance and lots of waiting for various stages of firing, drying, glazing, waiting, drying, firing, firing and more waiting. That means no instant gratification with these but I think the wait is worth it.

I'm still continuing on with my resin buttons which make up the majority of Buttons By Robin but I've decided to expand and see what I can come up with. The possibilities are endless and I'm so excited to see what I can come up with. I'm self taught with all of this so am finding my way around the Internet and incorporating other techniques with the formal ceramics techniques. I think that being self taught is a wonderful opportunity to find new ways of doing things because if you don't know you're not supposed to do something you go ahead and try and sometimes you discover something new and exciting. On the other hand sometimes you find out why others before you haven't done it either as it turns into a mess. But that's the fun of experimenting. Have fun with what you do and don't be afraid to experiment a little. Do remember to always be safe though with what you try so if you're not sure its safe don't do it!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Exciting Destinations for My Handmade Buttons!

These buttons are off to Maryland in the US. How exciting to think about all the destinations that my buttons have been shipped to. Other packages are also being prepared to go to the North West Territories and to Norway! I wonder what these buttons will be when they grow up? Will they adorn hand knit sweaters, clothing, cards or maybe some adorable button jewelry/jewellery or hair accessories! Oh the possibilities with buttons!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Handmade Buttons. Duck buttons for Easter.

I think these buttons would be great for Easter but they aren't so Easter-specific that they would be out of place any time. These bright yellow ducks would be a very cute adornment on your handmade hair accessory or for that super cute spring outfit that you've made for someone special. I keep telling myself that I'm going to learn to sew one day. You'd think with all the buttons I make that I'd put them to good use but the thing is I rarely use them on things for myself. I really need to get sewing or at least adding buttons to my own items to spruce them up a bit. Happy Easter everyone - it will be here before you know it!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Handmade Button Rings - Peter Pan Button Rings.

I love it when people send me images of things they've made with my buttons. Aren't these Peter Pan button rings made by Etsy user marthamilln beautiful! People are so creative and it's really nice to see my buttons in things besides clothing. Of course they're great on clothing and knit items but for those of us (like myself) who don't sew these show a wonderful way to use these buttons for other applications. Thanks marthamilln for sharing your wonderful creations with me. Here are the buttons on my Etsy shop so you can see them before they were turned into these adorable creations!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Etsy Treasury - Dandelion- with my handmade buttons.

My handmade buttons in this beautiful dandelion design are in this beautiful Etsy treasury which honours/honors the lowly dandelion! Click on the link and take a look to see how beautiful the dandelions can be

Friday, 1 April 2011

Handmade Buttons - Ceramic Dragonfly Buttons

Well after a wet snow yesterday it seems as if spring might actually be starting to peak her head out. It is supposed to be a warm weekend and I'm looking forward to a day spent with hubby. We are going to the trendy downtown area where we live and will spend the day wandering around bead stores, art supply stores and the fashion district. What a good husband he is to spend the day doing all these wonderful things with me. In celebration of spring I thought I'd post a picture of my newest ceramic dragonfly buttons. I'm teaching myself the ceramic button process and with some bumps and bruises along the way things are starting to come together. I've got lots to learn and I'm also experimenting with some big ideas of my own. Sometimes I think not having formal training in an art is a good thing. That way you aren't afraid to think outside the box because you don't really know what being "in the box" means as you don't know the formal rules. Now don't get me wrong I've been reading up on the process and I've been working with fused glass for a while so I know my way around a kiln. Some of my earlier glazing processes weren't what I had hoped for so I'm really pleased that the last few sets of buttons have been something I'm very pleased with. I guess I can only improve with time. I hope you enjoy these buttons I have some custom orders to complete of my resin buttons this weekend but I hope to experiment with my ceramics a bit more as well. Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Handmade Buttons. Dandelions.

What is it about this lowly weed (the dandelion) that is so appealing? Normally these are yellow weeds that invade our lawns and which we try to eradicate so they don't spread their seeds all over and completely take over the landscape. However when you put them in images such as these (particularly with colour/color) they take on a whole new feeling. I think for me it's something about their ethereal floating qualities that appeals to me. They are airy and light and make you think of freedom. I absolutely love these images and have made a couple of dandelion designs for my Etsy shop and am thinking of trying my hand at making them into some ceramic buttons. It's funny to think how even the simplest of images can become art.

Monday, 28 March 2011

When Will Spring Arrive?

I know that spring has arrived (at least the date for spring 2011 has come and gone) but I'm wondering when the warm weather will arrive. It's still very cold here in Ontario, Canada and I can't wait for the spring flowers to poke their heads out. I guess that's why I've been in the mood to make spring flower handmade buttons lately. Does longing for spring make you create bright and cheerful items?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

New Handmade Ceramic Owl Buttons

I am having a lot of fun working with my kiln and creating all kinds of new handmade ceramic buttons. These are some turquoise owl buttons I made and listed yesterday I love the look of them and have created the same design in lime green and yellow.
Working with ceramics takes patience though and you never know what you're going to get. You have to take the raw clay and make the buttons and then wait, and wait, and wait some more for it to dry. I usually leave it at least a week to make sure they're bone dry. Then you have to fire in the kiln for several hours. Then when they cool you can glaze them. Each glaze needs to be applied at least three times to get the depth of colour/color required. Sometimes I glaze in steps depending on what I'm doing so I may glaze some of the buttons. Fire in the kiln which takes a full day (including the cooling time) and then glaze and fire again. It's a very labour/labor intensive process but I must admit I do love how they look.
I'm teaching myself the process and have lots of ideas - not all of which work out. Since there is so much time involved from start to finish it's truly disappointing when an experiment doesn't work out. I guess that makes the successes that much sweeter though.
I can't wait to get started on some of the other ideas I have in my head. Now let's hope they translate well to ceramic!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Personalized Handmade Sewing Buttons

Now isn't this a great idea. I was asked to make these personalized buttons to be worn for a birthday party for two little ones. What an adorable way to identify twins to your party guests. Well I'm assuming they're twins as they have their first birthday on the same day. I'm always amazed at what people do with my buttons and this is certainly a unique idea. I know personalized buttons could have many uses but I thought I'd share this idea with you. What would you use personalized buttons for?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Bright Spring Flower Handmade Buttons

Well it's a glorious Friday morning and spring seems like it might actually arrive sometime soon. I know we'll have some colder March days here but I am very optimistic that warm sunny days will be here soon. I don't know about you but I'm tired of drab winter and messy snow and can't wait for the flowers to start peeking their heads out. In celebration of all things bright and springy I've listed a few sets of spring coloured/colored flowers at This set is just one of several I have listed and I can't wait for the weekend to get here so I can start adding some more. I have Monday off from the day job this week and so have big plans to make buttons buttons and more buttons. I have about three custom orders to make but then it's all me-all buttons. I'm itching to get to them. I just have to get through the Friday work day at my day job and then I can get going. I also have some ceramic buttons that have been bisque fired (quite a while ago) and really want to get these glazed. So many ideas so little time! Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I hope you have time set aside for your creative projects!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Buttons and a Grandmother's Love

These are some tiny custom buttons I made for a Grandma who is going to make some doll clothes for her granddaughter. She thought it would be great to add buttons that were handmade just for the little girl. How special will this little girl feel to know that her grandmother made the doll clothes for her and that everything - even down to the buttons - was made just for her. I so love seeing all the wonderful things that people make and especially all the things they make for the ones they love. It's such a wonderful feeling to know that my buttons help add to these creations and make that just that bit more special.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Daylight Savings Time and Spring Butterflies

I must admit I do look forward to daylight savings time - except for the first little bit when I have to wake up and it feels so super early as my body hasn't adjusted to the "spring ahead" of the clocks yet. I'm super tired today but know I'll soon adjust. On a positive note I know that with the moving ahead of the clocks that spring is just around the corner and I can't wait. I think its my favourite/favorite time of year. With that in mind I thought it would be appropriate to show my bright and cheerful collection of butterflies They look yummy and they certainly make me feel like spring which is a welcome change after the cold and dreary days of winter.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Button Pony Tail Holders

I planned to have a very productive button making day today and spent the morning getting caught up on my saved TV shows and making these simple yet cute (if I do say so myself) hair accessories. They're super simple with my handmade button just sewed to a pony tail holder. I think they'd look great with an outfit made with matching buttons - how cute would that be. I haven't listed them yet in my Etsy shop but will probably list a few tomorrow. I like to show different ideas of how to use my buttons. Of course they're great for sewing projects but I don't sew and I know there are lots of people out there who don't so I like to show different simple ways to use these buttons. I also don't mind if people purchase my buttons to make their own hair accessories since my business is primarily buttons and not really the hair accessories. Anyway as I said I had very good intentions of having a full button making day but my son called unexpectedly and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend some time with him. So this afternoon I spent some time chatting with my son and then had dinner with my two favourite/favorite boys - my son and my hubby. We went to a wonderful Korean BBQ place where you cook your own food at a BBQ at the table and then went to Pacific Mall which is an Asian mall here in Toronto. I bought a couple of good luck charms (hope they work) for myself, my son and his girl. Too bad she wasn't able to join us today. I did manage to get the couple of small custom orders I had promised to do done this today though. They are drying as we speak so should be ready tomorrow. I just didn't get to do all the extras I had planned. That's OK though. As long as my obligations are met it's really nice to take the time that is available when it becomes available to spend time with the ones we love. I hope you all had a great Saturday as well. Now tomorrow I really must buckle down and get to "buttoning".

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Back to my Primitive "Button" Roots - Primitive Crow Buttons

When I first started making buttons I began by making buttons with primitive themed images. I was into tole painting and primitive art at the time so it was natural I'd make buttons in these designs. I still enjoy the primitive look but my buttons have evolved and changed over time and I've forgotten my prim loving friends. I think I need to get back to carrying a line of primitive style buttons to fill that niche. I've got lots of ideas in mind but for now here is my latest prim creation

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Three Little Pigs Handmade Buttons

I've been wanting to make some Three Little Pigs Buttons for quite a while. I've listed a few sets before but they didn't have all the images I wanted. I am thrilled with these. I think they are just adorable. This is my larger size but I've also made some in a smaller size which I hope to list later today. I've also just made a pretty big investment in some equipment which will help speed up the button making process for me. I really hope this works out so that I can make a lot more buttons in a shorter amount of time. I have so many ideas and just not enough time in the day. I find that through the work week (when I'm at my day job) that I have little to no energy in the evenings and it's hard enough just to package up orders that come through. Don't get me wrong - I am so excited with each and every order - but sometimes I just don't have the energy to package them up in the evenings. Of course I do it because I want to get your treasures off to you as soon as possible. I pride myself on customer service. If the equipment I've purchased works out this should help out quite a bit so that I can make a lot more buttons on the weekends and then just list throughout the week. We'll see how it goes. Now I just can't wait for my equipment to arrive in the mail. It will likely take 2-3 weeks so until then it's the usual labour/labor intensive process. Making the buttons will still be fairly labour/labor intensive but I'm hoping to decrease some of the processing time by quite a bit. Fingers crossed.......

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bunny Town Card Embellishments

I'm having a bit of a play day today. I've finally pretty much got caught up on custom orders - yeah! I've had this idea for a while to make a simple greeting card and to decorate it with my buttons. The idea is that when the person is finished with the card they can remove the buttons and embellish some clothing with them (sort of the premise of a DIY embellishment kit). If you can sew a button you can take a simple t-shirt or other garment and embellish it with these buttons to make something special. We'll see how these go over in my shop but I think the idea is quite innovative (at least I've never seen it before). Here is a link to the listing Let me know what you think of the idea. Is it something that you'd try?

E-Bay Handmade Button Auctions

I've got a few E-bay auctions going this week for some of my most popular buttons. You may be able to snag a deal as the auction prices are starting at a lot lower than my usual retail price. I don't have sales in my shop as I believe that's unfair to those who have purchased at the regular price. Having these auctions may introduce other to my buttons as E-bay has a very wide audience but you may also be able get a great price on some handmade buttons that are only available from me - Buttons by Robin. Here is the link to the Snow White auction I've also listed some Red Riding Hood Buttons and some Alice in Wonderland Buttons I plan to list more over the next few days and on an ongoing bases as it allows me to introduce my unique buttons to a broader audience so keep checking E-bay or sign up on my Face Book page through the link at the bottom of my blog and you can be notified of potential auctions and hopefully save a few dollars.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Construction Tools buttons for Boys

I'm always looking for designs which I can incorporate into my handmade buttons for boys. I find that there are so many options for cute buttons for girls but not as many for boys. I think these fit the bill and will hopefully be a hit with those who sew for boys

Monday, 28 February 2011

Handmade Bunny Shaped Buttons

I "think" I'm finally caught up on my custom orders - the last batch is drying and once they're ready I can take the pictures and mail them off to their new homes. I'm very excited to be caught up for the most part so I can move on to some of my new creations such as these adorable bunny shaped buttons These shaped buttons wouldn't work very well as buttons that need to be opened and closed through a button hole since their ears would snag and probably break off. They'd be adorable for use to decorate Easter Cards with though or as an embellishment on something that didn't have to be opened and closed. I created these originally since I wanted to use them on my Easter cards but I fell in love with them and thought they'd be a really wonderful addition to my Etsy shop. I hope you like them as well. I'm loving the shaped buttons more and more and while they are more labour/labor intensive I think they're well worth the effort.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Red Riding Hood Buttons.

Well I've been back from vacation for a week and am back into buttons big time. I have a large number of custom orders I'm working on and I'm trying to balance that with making the buttons that I find fun. Lately I've been into making fairy tale and story book themed buttons and I love these Red Riding Hood Buttons I think these would look adorable on a child's outfit or as special embellishment to items in their room. There are so many things that you can do with buttons besides just using them on clothing. I have so many ideas but now I just need to find the time to bring them to fruition!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Heading Home and So Excited!

I've had a wonderful time in Costa Rica and will be starting the trek home in about an hour. I am so excited to be heading home (yes even to the snow!) This has been a fantastic vacation and I love Costa Rica and will be back another time for sure.

I'm excited to get home first to my son and family but I'm also looking forward to getting back to my handmade buttons. I plan to use the time on the plane to organize my custom orders and plan a strategy for moving forward with the projects I have been dreaming of this week. My new supplies arrived while I was away so I need to go to the post office to pick them up and then I can move forward full speed.

I want to incorporate some more artisan buttons into my line - ceramics and glass in particular and perhaps even get back to some handpainted wooden buttons. We'll see. I do know I have to make a concerted effort to launch these as they take a lot more time and planning than the resin/acrylic buttons not to mention several stages of creating. I do think they're worth it though.

I also haven't forgotten that I reallly want to work on my sewing skills this year and while I've been away I have also decided I want to incorporate more of my original art into my buttons. That means I have to improve my graphic design skills. All of this has to happen while I'm working at my day job. I will have a couple full days before I head back to work and then next weekend I have another three day weekend coming up. There never seems to be enough time in the day though for all my ideas.

Anyway I am back and energized and ready to get back to handmade buttons!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Last Full Day of Vacation

Today is my last full day of vacation here in beautiful Liberia, Costa Rica. I'm sitting by the beach writing this and enjoying the beautiful sunshin and the nice cooling breeze coming off the Pacific Ocean. I have had a wonderful time but am looking forward to getting home and back to my buttons and other ideas.

I have a number of packages to pack and some custom orders to get started on. Tomorrow will be mostly a day of travel but then I still have two full days before I have to head back to my day job. I've been trying to focus a little bit during my vaacation on the direction I'd like to take my shop. I have some ideas but only time will tell if I think these are developed enough to actually put into practice. I do know I have to find a balance between my custom orders and the things I want to do just for me. I also want to start doing things for my home. We've been there for three and a half years now and have done little to no decorating. I think its time to make my house a home and inject some personality into it. I also want to organize and redesign my office and creative spaces. I have packed in far too much extra stuff into my tiny office and am feeling a bit stifled creatively. The problem is that I love doing so many different types of creating from glass to ceramics to metal smithing etc. My main profitable endeavour though is by far my buttons. I haven't really seen anything exactly like them and because of this they seem to be quite popular. Because they're popular its hard to find time to experiment with my other ideas and I'm not able to get enough of a selection to actually see if my ideas are something that can take off. In my dreams I do dream of being able to quit my day job and earn a living creating. I know this would take the magic and a lot of the joy out of it though because it would put pressure on me to make money to pay the bills. Right now I don't have that pressure and any sales are able to fund new and fun things.

Today as I sit by the beach everything seems possible. Tomorrow as I travel back to reality I hop0e to bring that sense of possibility with me.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

There is a time to relax and a time to make buttons!

Right now I'm writing this from a sunny beach in Liberia, Costa Rica. It is about 90 degrees fahrenheit and there is a beautiful breeze coming in off the Pacific Ocean. The tide is out now. I've just had a leisurely breakfast and my husband has gone diving. I've been here a few days and absolutely love it. I have taken a much needed break from button making but now that I've been away from it for a few days my mind is wandering back to button designs and I'm starting to think of all the things I want to make. New ideas are bubbling and yet I have a few more days before I can start to make my ideas into tangible objects.

When I do get back home (to the cold and snow) I have a few custom orders that I have to make and some packages I have to mail out from people who have purchased this week and are willing to wait until next week for me to mail them to them. As I write this I don't have a picture to post but I'll do that shortly.

This morning is the perfect time to sit back relax and think about where I want to take my business this year and what I want to do with my creativity. It's also a time to realize how lucky I am to be able to take this time and escape the Canadian winter for a short time and enjoy this wonderful wonderful weather and the truly warm and inviting hospitality of the people of Costa Rica. I can say this - we'll be back another time to enjoy all this beauty.

Thank you to the wonderful people of Costa Rica.