The WWII canning guide which I had promised I would post is now posted on my other blog, Vintage Homemaking. The first part can be found here: Canning Guide
One of my favorite desserts is Black Forest Cake! This chocolate & cherry cake is known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in it’s native Germany. Schwarzwälder, meaning “Black Forest”, describes the region of Germany where this dessert originated. The Black Forest was named by the Romans who referred to it as such because the forests were so dense that they blocked out most of the sunlight, making them very dark. The Black Forest region is in the southwestern corner of the country in the state of Baden-Württemberg. I’ve marked the forests on the map below with red stars. The Kirschtorte half of the name comes from the traditional inclusion of an alcoholic liquid called Kirsch, made from distilled cherries. A torte is a cake. When you put it all together you get Black Forest cherry liquor cake, and in fact, in Germany you can’t market the cake AS a Black Forest Cake withOUT the liquor. Of course our recipe contains no Kirsch and is completely non-alcoholic, but feel free to add it if you’d like. This Americanized version still contains the chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream that make it so delicious!
I know that a lot of parents read my blog and can be very busy or sometimes have restrictive schedules, because of this we made our recipe with a boxed chocolate cake mix. If you have ample time and wish to make your cake batter from scratch, we recommend Martha Stewart’s basic chocolate cake recipe. More time saving measures would be to skip the fresh cherry preparation and the homemade whipped cream frosting and to instead use canned red tart pie cherries (1 & 1/4 standard size cans should do) and/or pre-made whipped cream. However, for best results you should always use fresh ingredients and start from scratch!
1 boxed chocolate cake mix – prepared to bake or one recipe homemade chocolate cake ready to bake
2 Cups fresh cherries or 1 & 1/4 cans cherry pie cherries
1/4 Cup granulated sugar (if using fresh cherries)
2 pints heavy whipping cream or pre-made whipped cream
2/3 Cup confectioner’s sugar (if making your own whipped cream)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
You Will Also Need…
non-stick baking spray or baking cups (paper or silicone will do)
pasty bag with your choice of tip
hand mixer (whip beaters are a plus)
glass mixing bowl
If you are using fresh cherries, pit and half fruits the night before you prepare the cupcakes. Sprinkle 1/4C granulated sugar over 2C of cut cherries and mix to disperce evenly. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and refridgerate overnight. This process is known as maceration and is intended to soften or break down the fresh fruit while drawing out the juices at the same time.
Prepare chocolate cake batter as instructed based on which type you chose to bake; box mix will have instructions and ingredients list on the packaging. Once batter is ready to bake, either spray cupcake pan with non-stick spray or line with baking cups. I personally find the cups easier to clean up after as the spray can tend to bake onto the pan. Fill the cups evenly 3/4 of the way and bake at temperature and for time suggested in respective instructions.
When ready, remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow them to cool. While cakes are cooling, place macerated cherries in a medium saucepan along with the extracted juices (and Kirsch if you are using it) and saute until fruit is soft like pie filling. If you are not using fresh cherries, this would be the right time to open your cans of cherries. Right now you should place your mixer beaters and your glass bowl in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to get it nice and cold before you start your whipped cream frosting. If you are using store bought whipped cream then skip this and go on to the next step.
When cupcakes are cool enough to handle, remove part of the top center of each cake, leaving a cavity into which you will put the cherries. I have seen many people do this using a small cylindrical cookie cutter, however, we have found that the quickest and most efficient way to remove this part of the cupcake is to use a melon baller. We save & freeze or snack on the removed parts of the cake because it’s a shame to waste good chocolate!
After you have made space in each cake for the cherries, spoon the fruits into each opening until the top is level and ready to be frosted. These are the kinds of skills people learn from online culinary arts universities.
Removed chilled beaters and bowl from freezer. Place heavy cream, vanilla and 1/3 of confectioner’s sugar into chilled bowl and whip with mixer set on high. Once combined, slowly add the rest of the sugar until soft peaks begin to form.
When you are satisfied with the consistancy of your frosting, spoon mixture into pastry bag and pipe desired amount onto each cupcake. Decorate however you wish, I use a little shaved chocolate.
This is an old post, but since I’ve been making some changes to the original project recently that I will post about later, I thought I would repost it to freshen everyone’s memories.
You might recall that I bought the desk below from the Goodwill about 2 weeks ago for $8. My plan was to sand, stain and seal it. I was also going to replace the rusted pulls, fix the front of the drawer and make it more stable because it was coming apart. It is almost entirely wooden peg and dovetail construction so I knew it had been nice and could be again with a little work. I’ve only found 3 screws in the whole thing. lol. We want to use it as a desk in our future library. It’s not too big, but not small either. I love upcycling items like this because they aren’t just decorative, they are really useful. Also, this is the kind of project anyone can do, even if you don’t have an online interior design degree.
The first thing I did was to sand it all down. This took me a while, especially on the top, but I did finally get it sanded. Next thing was to wood glue the frame back together. That was difficult to do with just MY two hands, but after much profanity and screaming I managed it. I let that sit and dry while I took the veneer off of the front of the drawer and removed the old pulls. While doing this I managed to stab myself with the screwdriver, lol, but I got that all cleaned and sanded too.
Last night I moved on to the staining. This took about an hour because I put a couple coats on it. I just used a fabric scrap, rubbed it on and let it sit. I’m pleased with the color really. Today I hauled it out the back door (which was a feat doing it by myself) and polyed it several times so I’d get a smooth, high gloss finish. That stuff stinks and it was 1,000 degrees outside today so, needless to say I was left with a splitting headache. By the time I took a cold bath and some Excedrin the final coat was dry and I could bring it back inside. lol. More miracles.
I had bought some antique brass pulls on eBay last week which were all tarnished. I loved them because they were sort of Victorian filigree, but had the Scottish thistle design (Hubby is Scottish). It only took me about 10 minutes to shine them up good with the dremel and then I sprayed them twice with clear lacquer to keep them from tarnishing again. The last step was to drill two more holes so I could attach them to the drawer. I measured them so they are even. In the picture they look a little off because they are sagging. The screws I have are the wrong size but worked well enough to hold them on for a photo.
So I used about $2 worth of stain, the desk was $8, I used about $2 worth of poly and the pulls were $15 off of eBay. That is a total of$27. Not bad for the finished product I don’t think and it’s exactly what I wanted for our library… now I need to find a matching chair! LOL.
I’ve recently come across a great little online wedding shop called Bride & Groom that I wanted to share. I know that this isn’t a wedding blog and that I am already married, but some of their invitations are so beautiful and so “British” that I fell in love! Our wedding was so small that we didn’t bother with invitations at all, so maybe it’s a little touch of wedding envy coming out now, but I am so jealous of the girls who get to mail out these beauties below! I love the classic elegance of the gold and tone-on-tone Claddagh invitation. I can’t get over how the pinks and blues of the Vintage Rose invites really POP! The design is so reminiscent of Cath Kidston fabrics that I am really digging on right now. What Union Jack lover wouldn’t like to have these sweet little Cool Britannia invites arriving at friends’ homes to announce their special day?
There are also many beautiful designs that don’t limit you to a color scheme or specific theme. Below are three examples of lovely invitations that you can order not only with customized text (as with all of Bride & Groom’s stationary) but also in your choice of colors. I loved the classic, muted neutral tones of the Romance invitation in Cappuccino. Fuchsia is one of my all-time favorite colors and it looks especially cute as the accent bow on the Ribbons invite. The Silver and Baby Blue of the Empire invitations were so elegant that I had to pick those to show you as well. Many of the invitations are only one piece of complete wedding stationary sets. You can purchase everything from table/seating plans to menu cards and thank-you notes to match your colors and designs.
If you are more of a DIY type of gal, they have you covered on that front, too! I know that personally, I have a terrible time finding EXACTLY what I want and usually end up making it myself. You can make your own invitations for a wedding or any other event you might have planned with simple DIY invitation kits like the traditional cream and white sets shown below. You can print your own text, you could have a large stamp made if you are going for that antique look or you can even purchase home embossing kits from any number of craft stores. I even use blank invitations (intended for weddings) and a stamper to make my own personal stationary for everyday use.
Along with all of the stationary needs you could possibly have, their online shop also carries many of the other goodies you will need for your special day. Candles, cameras, table decor, attendant gifts, garters, guestbooks, etc. can all be found on their website. I am in love with these table crystals, which you could use for any event, not just a wedding. I am thinking of all of the other DIY possibilities I could come up with for these little gems! Another item that would be great for a wedding or other occasion is the monogrammed pewter soccer (foot)ball bank. You could give it as an attendant gift or have it personalized for a child that plays soccer. My husband coaches a U14 girls soccer team and I am sure that any one of the girls would love this as a birthday or Christmas gift. I bet even my husband would love one; maybe then I wouldn’t find his loose change everywhere!
If you are in the market for some wedding stationary or novelty items, check out Bride & Groom!
Winter is probably my favorite season of all. I love looking out of the window and seeing a blanket of fresh snow. I love the holiday season and all of the tastes, smells and sites that come along with it. I don’t even really mind the cold as long as I have a nice stylish and WARM pair of boots. If you are a frequent reader of my blog, then you already know that I believe a great pair of shoes can really make an outfit. You especially need ALL of the help you can get making your outfits look cute when you’re going to be all bundled up and wrapped in your winter gear. Just put on a simple sweater, some jeans or leggings and a pair of women’s boots and you will be good to go!
One of my favorite looks this year is what I call “roughing it”. I love the more natural leather tones and western/work styles I’m seeing this year like in the examples above. (Lucky Brand Northview Boots in Sequoia, Naturalizer Trinity Boots in Tan, Chinese Laundry Fearsome Boot in Stone.)
Another look I’m falling in love with is more of a classic tall boot. Why not make a departure from you standard black and try something more eye-catching? (Vince Camuto Laird Boot in Ruby, Ralph Lauren Laveda Boot in Polo Tan, Circa by Joan & David Everlide Boot in Grey Leather.)
Of course, if you live in a region where it snows frequently, then it’s not practical to wear some of the previously mentioned styles all the time, for some activities you’ll need something a little more rugged. I’ve picked out a few examples (above) that I think will be more utilitarian while still looking great. (BeBe Rafa Boot in White, Coach Tasha Boot in Black, G by Guess Easiest Wedge Boot in Cream.)
Right now Macy’s is having a great sale on their winter boots (including all of the styles featured here) and they now offer international shipping too!
This past weekend Hubby and I traveled down to our house in Bedford Indiana for a couple of days to get the inside of the house cleaned up some. When we moved, it was a last minute thing AND we were in the middle of renovations, so the place was left an absolute disaster. We’ve only been back since then to do some quick emergency repairs on the outside of the house, so our plan was to spend the weekend giving it all a good cleaning. When we arrived we noticed that our very small yard looked like a jungle! LOL There were trees growing through our pavement and a rain forest had somehow sprouted in the little 5 foot wide strip to the side of the house! We went to Lowe’s, bought a couple rakes and a hand saw and started clearing. We got as much of it cleared as we could in the time we were there. We borrowed hubby’s friend’s truck and hauled it all out to his “adopted” mom & dad’s house where they have a yard trash dumping area. The yard isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to last through the winter now and hopefully we will be able to do something a little more permanent about the problem next spring. We also fixed the front retaining wall. There were once HUGE overgrown yews in front of the porch and the root system took up so much space in the small front yard that they pushed the retaining wall out and it was almost falling onto the sidewalk. It’s been something that has bothered me since we bought the place and finally this weekend we fixed it. I didn’t think it would last another winter in it’s condition so hubby and I moved the huge limestone slabs off the wall, cleared the soil from in between the slabs and about 6 inches back into the yard and then put the slabs back.
We didn’t morter them again (all the old morter had busted out). but they are sturdy as they are and will last for a while this way. We did have some good yard news when we arrived though! The Irises that Travis bought me 3 years ago for our anniversary still apear to be healthy. While they weren’t in bloom when we were there, the leaves looked strong and helthy at least. Also, I had bought a star jasmin plant when I lived there and it immediately died and I got so mad I threw it off the front porch and forgot about it. While we were cleaning the side yard, I noticed that it has spread like crazy! It is in many spots up and down the yard and has grown up the front corner of the house. It smells so beautiful! I can’t believe that it waited to grow until I was 2 states away and couldn’t enjoy it… well, lol with my luck, yes I can believe it! LOL
We managed to fit in meeting up with all but one of his local friends while we were there and had a great time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sad to leave Bedford as I was this weekend. I took some detailed measurements of the kitchen and will hopefully be able to start planing out what I will need in the way of cabinets and counter tops so that we can maybe get that room completed in the Spring. While I’d like to do the full kitchen and nook area all at once, I might have to make due with just doing the kitchen and then finishing the nook later. The only waste that will result from doing it in stages is in the paint I put on the wall that I want to remove eventually. I suppose that is an acceptable loss to be able to get the kitchen functional sooner rather than later. I will post more updates when I have them, but for right now I’m off to do some organizing of my computer files!
I am now only a day or two away from having the full overhaul and clean out of my craft room finished! As promised I’ll be taking pictures of all of it, but for right now I’m posting the general craft supply areas. These storage ideas could also help someone working on an online degree in art, with a ton of art supplies to store. I know when I was working on my degree there were half used paint tubes and scraps of paper all over the place! I previously posted about organizing zippers and organizing buttons. By doing this I hope to give you a few ideas of how to organize your own crafts and supplies. I use mostly items that I have laying around the house and that most people would throw away to do all of my organizing. I DID buy these two small drawer units, 2 of the collapsible crates and 3 (only one seen here) of the large drawer units over 2 years ago on clearance; I think they cost me under $50 for all of it. That’s a lot for me, but they have been well worth it. The other two large drawer units are used to store some of my Etsy things. All of these images can be enlarged by clicking on them.
I started out by labeling my small drawers. I did this by simply cutting pieces of scrapbooking paper to size and then writing what was in each drawer on the backs. I slipped the papers into the fronts of the drawers and used two pieces of scotch tape to hold them in place. Everyone who has ever bought a stack of scrapbooking paper has found a few pieces that they find incredibly ugly, LOL, I’ve found a million uses for these papers and this is one of them. I would like to do something a little bit nicer with this, but I’m not sure what, so at the moment this will have to do.
The collapsible crate is where I store my scraps. If a scrap piece is smaller than about 4X5 or isn’t a long consistent-width strip, I shred it instead of keeping it with the larger pieces. All of the shreds, pieces like salvage edges and thread balls most people would throw away, go into a bag (mine is a reusable shopping bag that I got for free). I save these scraps to use as stuffing. This saves me from having to buy stuffing when I want to make a toy or a draft-blocker for the back door. The shredded pieces work better than if they were left slightly larger, this way they fill small spaces just like batting would. To organize the scrap basket itself I separated everything into piles by type of fabric because that usually determines what I pull out when I’m looking in it. The larger piles went into small paper shopping bags. I like to use these because some of them are made very strong and they hold their structure. Here I used a Williams-Sonoma bag and one from Anthropologie. The Anthro bag is particularly thick and that’s why I kept it! LOL. The smaller piles went into various sizes of plastic zip-bags. Most of those were larger than the standard gallon size and came as packaging on new items thqt we’ve bought over time and that I squirreled away. My embroidery hoops are stored on a double wall hook that was left on one of the closet shelves when we moved in; it works pretty good, but wish I had another one. I have many hooks like this back in Indiana, but this is all I had here at the moment so I am making due.
Two of the three large drawers are used mostly for scrapbooking and paper craft storage. I reuse the 12X12 plastic envelopes that scrapbooking paper comes in to store my specialty papers. I found a large 12X12 twist-closure plastic envelope at a thrift store for 75 cents I think and since it is large, I use that for my plain papers. My embellishments, stickers, etc are kept in standard size, purple, twist-closure plastic envelopes that I had left over from college. I also had a large purple plastic accordion folder that I use for smaller than 12X12 pieces and salvaged scraps that I find here and there. I actually have a lot of paper because I used to work for a newspaper that was also a printing company. LOl I would dig large scraps of colored or cool textured papers out of the garbage cans (used only for paper) in the shop and save what I could from sample boxes that came in before they made it to the garbage. I use a mint tin to hold my paper cutter and X-acto blades all in one place. An upside down lid from a 100-CD stack works perfectly for everything from scissors to markers to beads. I use mine here for my dollar store decorative-cut scissors and int he top drawer I use one for all of my patches and appliques. I reuse small boxes and cover them with paper to store lots of things. There is a yellow one in the top drawer as well as the very long white one that I use to keep my bias tape and such. That box is actually the packaging that kept my Wii Fit extender platform from banging around in the box. We used to use it to hold pill bottles, but now it holds my notions in perfect alignment. The opaque white boxes are from my favorite Dove face-scrubby pads. A few years ago they discontinued the style that I liked, so I got online and bought several cases of them on discount. Each case came with one of these for every two refill containers. Since I only really needed two of the little pop-top plastic boxes for the storage of my scrubbies themselves (one for home and one for travel) I have used the rest all over the house! LOL They are perfect and secure for storing any number of smallish craft supplies. In these three drawers alone I use them for glue sticks, snaps & hooks, Velcro pieces, tassels and sewing machine parts/tools.
My “MISC” drawer is always difficult to make look nice, LOL by way of zip-bags I’ve tried my best. My jewelry supply drawer is mostly organized with round tins and round stackible mini-jars. The mini jars were bought, when I was in high school for my then smallish bead hoard, lol, when it grew larger I was lucky enough to find a 24 pack of the clear-top metal tins in the clearance aisle for $8 I think it was. I also use small baggies for the beads I don’t have tins for. The large zip-bag full of small baggies is where I keep all of the jewelry hardware. The dove box is full of broken old jewelry that I can use to fix or make NEW items and the (what was once a) Crystal Light mix jar is full of beads that were too numerous to fit into a tin.
This drawer holds my sewing hardware like handles and straps. The big white thing is a large homemade envelope to keep my “metal fabric” from snagging and there is another Dove box, this one has buckles and frogs and stuff like that in it. The stamping and embossing drawer is fairly normal with just a zip-bag and the original packages.
I write the name of the color in each bottle on the top of my paints so that I don’t have to pull them out individually to see them, it make it easier for me. I used an apron that I was given at a charity event to make the brush holders. I cut it down to 2 inches above the pocket line, hemmed the edges and then sewed lines in it to hold the brushes. This keeps them from sliding around in the drawer and displays them for me to be able to quickly see and pick the one I want.
The calligraphy and drawing drawer is pretty basic and uses the original packaging. I use a little bead organizer and cardboard bobbins for my embroidery thread. As you can tell from the bobbins on the right, I never throw away the left over thread from a kit. LOL. The knitting needles were from a thrift store, I bought a HUGE pack for $1 and this is only about half of them, the rest I’ve set aside for a future giveaway.
The most colorful of all of the drawers is the marker/crayon/colored pencil drawer. I keep my sharpies in the pink, blue and green hard-sided pencil cases. My few non-heirloom pastels are in a homemade envelope to keep them from marking up other things and the colored pencils are in a zip-bag. I had, literally over 1,000 crayons. I never threw them away, ever… LOL I sorted out the ones that I wanted to keep and made the rest into larger crayons that I intend to give away, probably to one of my cousins. I was still left with A LOT of them that I needed to organize so I took two plastic folders that I have had for 2 years and cut them into2.5 inch strips the length of the width fo the drawer and 4 or them I cut down to be about 6 inches long. I made notches in the bottom of the long ones and in the tops of the 6 inch ones and put them together to resemble the type of packaging used for bottles or glasses. This gave me a bunch of little spaces to put the crayons which I arranged in color order.
My space is limited, and therefore so are my storage options. Up until last weekend I was storing my zippers in little plastic boxes shoved into a plastic drawer in one of those storage stacks. The drawers are so weighted down that they sag in the back and I can hardly get them in or out when I need something. I also had SO many zippers that I was having to spread them out over several little boxes. The zipper monkey was one that I definitely wanted off of my back! By final tally I had 118 zippers of various lengths, styles and colors. That becomes a problem when trying to find a place to put them! lol. I didn’t want to get rid of a bunch of them, although I did manage to part with 5 or 6 of them… but I wanted to keep the majority of them because even though I probably paid a total of $15 for all of them together, it would cost me FAR more than that to try and replace them. Some of them are salvaged from discarded garments, most of them were purchased at thrift stores for next to nothing and only a hand full of them came new from the craft store.
I had to first get them all in one place, There was a huge pile on the couch that was frightening Brooni. lol. She went and hid while I sorted out which ones I felt I could give away and the ones that needed to be thrown away because they were damaged. The next step to having them set up the way I wanted was to iron them all. Most of them smoothed out really well, but a few that were stored rolled for 50+ years Won’t be flat until they are sewn into something. After I had them all ironed (which took forever) I measured each one and labeled them on the back side with the length. Now came the big choice: Do I separate them by length or by color? To me, anything but by color would look like an absolute mess, so I laid them out in proper rainbow fashion like you see above.
I had no room to store them INside anything, so my only option as I saw it was to store them out in the open. I had a nice little space on the wall next to my craft desk where I thought they would look nice. I decided to hang them from a wooden dowel that I had bought for another project that I never got around to starting. I didn’t want to paint the dowel, and I didn’t want to make a fabric sleeve for it, so I decided to wrap it with twine. Several months ago I bought a small box of antique handmade lace and lace making supplies in it. One of the supply items was a spool of hot pink twine. I used a pin to hold one end of it in place and began wrapping the dowel by knotting it, this also created a nice twisting pattern on the rod. The image above demonstrates how to wrap with a knot.
Once the rod was completed I tied off both ends and then lit a tea light candle. Once enough of the wax was melted down I blew out the candle and dipped my tied ends into the wax and let it dry. This keeps the ends from sliding off the rod and coming unraveled. My dowl was very thin, so I chose to anchor it to the wall in three places, each end and the middle. I used the J-hooks that we had so that we could hang things in these plaster walls! They made a nice little place for the rod to rest securely. Next I took the zippers in the order I had laid them out in and ran a piece of thread through each with a needle and then tied them off to create small loops. Finally i slide the zippers onto the rod , spaced them how I wanted and then placed it all back on the hooks. When I need a zipper, I can simply snip the thread and there you go!
It came out looking like a really cool art piece of sorts and is very functional! It took a couple of days to set it up initially, but now that the main body of them are done, it will be easy to add one or two here and there as I acquire them.
A few months ago I mentioned this great tutorial from Ooh Leela! for a way to package lemons. I’ve been so eager to try to make my own version of it, but I haven’t had much call for gifting lemons lately. However, while organizing my buttons, I found a reason to use my own take on this idea! It was cheap, it was easy, it looks SO cute and I just HAD to share it with you! I found myself with several piles of buttons after I was finished downsizing my personal hoard. I separated the ones that I figured I would sell into three lots of 120 buttons and one of 200 buttons (btw if you are interested, they are listed HERE). I hate the way they look so messy just thrown into a ziplock bag, but I also don’t like containers that you can’t see through like boxes of cloth bags. I try to package my Etsy store/flea market items so that they are pretty to look at as well as easy to organize. I hope this tutorial is as useful to you as it has been to me!
First you need to gather the supplies. For this project you will need a 12 X 12 sheet of decorative scrapbooking paper, scissors, a pencil, some scotch tape, a ruler (not pictured), a bone-folder (optional) and the see-through window from an old bill envelope. I love this version of the craft because I’m able to use the windows out of mailer envelopes and then the rest of it can be recycled! I like to use these BIG windows, usually they come with our home owner’s insurance statements, lol. I also was able to use up those pieces of scraping paper that I always end up with from a bulk stack that I won’t ever use for their intended purpose. I have a whole rack full that I usually use to wrap books that I am mailing off, but after years of doing that I still have tons of them!
The first step is to fold the 12X12 sheet exactly in half. It doesn’t matter which way, it comes out the same no matter what because it’s perfectly square. I use the bone folder to make sure that the fold is crisp. I then separated the paper on the fold line. I simply pulled it apart, but you can use scissors if you’d like.
Take one of the now 6X12 inch pieces you just separated and fold it twice with the decorative side facing out; one fold will be 5.5 inches from one end and the other fold will be 1 inch from the opposite end. Use the bone folder to make your folds sharp.
Now on both open sides of the package, make a 1/4th inch fold toward the side where your closure flap faces. Once you have the fold crisp, cut along the edge fold line to the center fold line on both. This removes some of the unnecessary bulk where you will be sealing the sides. I chose to round off the remaining edges of the side folds and the closure flap so that it looked neater. You should really be able to see your basic envelope shape forming now!
Don’t tape anything down yet! You have to cut and install your window first. On the front of the envelope (the side that faces away from your closure flap) use the ruler to figure the placement of your window. You do this by measuring your window and then marking the edges of where you would like it with a pencil. Always make the “frame” a fraction of an inch smaller than your viewable window so that you won’t see the edges of the original paper envelope that it was salvaged from. I leave the edges on so that the tape will hold better.
Now just cut along the lines you made! I make my windows slightly to one side so that I can write on the envelops down the one side or across the top later. Don’t forget to go back with the eraser and clean up any pencil marks that might remain.
Place the window over the opening you just cut, line it up straight and then tape it down completely on all sides. The last thing you want is for a part of it to come loose and for all of your buttons to spill out!
Finally fold the edge flaps over onto the back of the package and tape them down completely, again you don’t want any of this to come apart or you will have a real mess.
Your packaging is done now! Just write on it, label it or decorate it however you’d like. Fill it with your buttons and seal the closure flap. I used tape, you could use stickers or something cute too, it’s up to you. As with most of my project tutorials, I like to make it very opensource so that you have the freedom to customize it and really make it your own. This can be made smaller or larger if you’d like, you can change the pattern of the paper (just make sure it’s cardstock weight so it won’t tear), the size or location of your window, you could put another window on the back too, how you label it, what you use it for, you could even make it thinner and taller… possibilities are endless!
This mess (above) is what my button hoard started out as. I really didn’t think that I had THAT many buttons to be honest, LOL. My collection would be a dream for people working on their design degrees. So many colors and style, the list of possiblt uses is endless, I guess that’s why I never throw any of them away. Three years ago it was pretty much limited to what came as extras when I bought a new piece of clothing and a few that I had salvaged off of clothing that was too far gone to be donated. A “friend” (at the time) gave me a bag of tan and grey buttons and I hit a streak of REALLY good luck at thrift stores and garage sales. Then we went to the huge flea market in Elkhorn where I added a bunch more to the pile. We went to an antique store where I bought a giant glass jar of vintage and antique buttons for $8. Many of those were bone, real mother of pearl and glass. When they had the floods in Tennessee last year hubby had to go down there for two weeks and basically keep watch over a room full of servers with important info on them because the people who normally worked at that base were trying to clean up their homes and he had the right clearances and such to be trusted to do that. When they finally came back to work and were cleaning up their flooded office they were throwing most of it away. He noticed a box FULL of the big black peacoat buttons with the anchors on them. He remembered that I had bemoaned the extortionist prices they want for them on eBay and asked if he could have them since they were just throwing them away and the rest is history! So that added 50 more buttons to the list and even in recent months I’ve been able to pick up whole baggies of buttons (like 110 brass buttons for $1) for next to nothing. Even with several large scores, it just didn’t hit home until I decided to try to organize them and gathered them all in one place.
Boy oh BOY! What did I get myself into!?
Like most things that take me a week or more to do, it is something that I needed to do for my own good. I tried to organize them into baggies once, then into jars, then onto cardstock sheets, then individual cards. There were just too many and so many different ones that none of these options were working. It always ended up as a disaster that spanned several locations around the house. LOL. I was sitting here wondering what I could do that would make it easy for me to see them ALL without having to go through bags and cards, but wouldn’t take up a lot of space. I decided to keep them in a binder! I took card stock and began sewing my buttons to the pieces of paper by groupings (if they were the same) or individuals.) Once I had two cards finished, I used a whole punch on each and taped them together (back-to-back) around the outside edges of the sheets. This made the cards stronger and kept the threads holding the buttons on from getting caught on the buttons of the following page. Then, I just put the pages into a 2.5 inch 3-ring binder. I did have to keep a small box for baggies (about 5 or 6) that contain buttons that I have WAY too many of to sew to the large cards. For example I have 190 standard 2-hole white glass buttons, those are in the box (see below).
Now that everything is organized and sorted, that mess above now looks like THIS! (see below) Just a binder and a small box.
The pages inside the book are still a little on the chaotic side, but with 1,105 buttons that had to be sewn on to them, I was getting rather tired of the job early on. Below are photos of each sheet of that you can see all of my buttons. For a detail view, you can click the images to enlarge them.
All together I ended up with 1,666 (HA!) buttons that I am keeping. There are about 600 that I will be listing on Etsy in 4 lots and another 375 that I will be giving away in the near future. Below I’ve taken some close up shots of my favorite out of all of the keepers!
I love the peacoat buttons! The highly detailed antique black buttons are so cool!
I love the tiny buttons, especially the faceted green ones. The “pearl” buttons are actually hand blown glass and are hollow!
So many cool ones in this first photo! The crystal buttons came off the most gorgeous pink silk blouse. I have yet to make anything good enough to use these on! The hand cast pewter pirate buttons came from eBay. I ordered 28 of the skulls, and the artists threw in 10 of the ships as a bonus!
ANCHORS! These two might possibly be my favorite out of all of them! I love “uniform-ish” buttons.
these two big beauties came from a thrift store and only cost 80 cents for the pair! I bought these faux MOP rectangles at Joann’s last year. I just love them!
More Anchor buttons! More uniform-ish buttons!
I only have 4 of these bright matte finish buttons but I love them. More anchor buttons!
These handmade pewter buttons came from out trip to Williamsburg a couple of years ago. It was the only set they had left of the anchor design in the whole place! They were at the back of a basket on a bottom shelf in a little back nook area in one of the shops. LOL I’m so glad I never leave any stone unturned!