I’ve been sharing small shop updates over on Instagram, this time I added a lot more to the shop all at once and I wanted to share it here too. There is such a wonderful variety of earrings in the shop right now. We have earrings in reclaimed Sassafras wood, Oregon Yew wood, and Mountain Mahogany wood. There are different shapes (simple rounds, longer ones, carved ones) and designs (some with woodburning, some with trees.) I love seeing what Jeff comes up with and I love looking through woods with him and picking out all the pieces just calling out to be made into something beautiful. We’ve been loving making so many things this winter. There have been many early mornings in the shop with Jeff sanding while I drill buttons, and then the boy joining us when he wakes up to see what we’ve been up to. I’ve been setting aside some time on Sundays to tie buttons on cards. B and I really enjoy listening to audiobooks together while he draws and I work on buttons, it’s the perfect relaxing time that I look forward to all week. There will be more buttons in the next shop update, but in the meantime… earrings, lots of earrings! Oh, and if you have requests, always feel free to let us know.
Hello there! It’s been over a month since my last post here. (Goodness- I just looked at the calendar- next week it will be 2 months! How is that possible?) As usual, there were many times I intended to come here and sit down and write. With each day that flew by I would think ‘I’ll get there tomorrow’, and then the next day would be just as busy and I felt like I needed three of me to get all the things done that needed doing. I’m sure many of you can relate. My life is busy and full, with limited computer time each day, and I have to work to just keep up with e-mails, so it’s easy for me to go semi-unplugged for a stretch- with no blog posts- for longer than I realize.
It goes like this: hop over on Instagram when I’m in town (with reception) and write a quick post. Done.
Sit down at computer at home (in our living room) to start blog post: begin writing… intend to share quick update… think about what has happened since last post in the midst of busy life… our son sees me sitting still for a rare moment and understandably, would like my undivided attention… get interrupted and lose my train of thought… get back to writing again… try to sort all my thoughts into something cohesive and realize I have a lot to say… post gets longer and longer… have bedtime/chores/meals/responsibilities/life that needs my attention and decide I’ll finish it later… go there again, but it’s more writing to wrap up than I have the time for… feel like there are so many other things that need doing that I should be giving my time and attention to… decide I need to leave the other post alone for the time being and write a quick update instead…
And so it goes. I feel a bit like a broken record because I know I’ve written similar things here before over the years. It’s funny, I don’t know why I find it so challenging to write short updates on the blog, but I do. (Hi guys, we’re still here. We’ve been busy and things are good. Thanks for still coming to read when I don’t update very often. Hope you’re all doing great. Write more soon. Bye!) I’m kind of cracking myself up right now.
Anyway, here I go again when I came to write a quick update! Let’s see… last time I wrote was the beginning of January. Jeff and I have been making the most of winter time, with a break from the garden, to get a lot of work done in the shop. Last year we were really grateful for wholesale orders and custom orders that kept us busy while we worked from home, and then between those orders we focused a lot of energy on our garden and homestead. This year I’m excited about focusing more energy on doing more regular shop updates, and getting our online shop more filled up. The pictures above are from a few mini shop updates I did recently. I have taken so many pictures that I need to sort for the next updates, and Jeff has been busy making new things that we’re looking forward to sharing with you.
Other than that we’ve been busy with daily life, homeschooling, taking our fermentation obsession to a whole new level (more on that in another post), getting Jeff healed up from a few broken ribs (he broke them after that stretch in the hospital in 2019 and once you break them it’s easy for it to happen again, no fun, but he’s doing well now), a building project (more on that later), taking care of animals (we need to share the new pets in another post too, but I will tell you some are insect pets of B’s), and getting outside and hiking when we get the chance. I’m sorry to share so many little teasers above (see why short updates are challenging?), but I do have so many posts I want to share with you, and they will all happen in good time. I’m sure those of you reading have grown accustomed to a slower pace for updates by now, but I will do my best to do shorter updates in between so I don’t leave such a long gap between them. I hope you’re all doing well out there, and until next time- take care friends!
Hello! And Happy New Year! I thought I would come to this space to write again before the year was through, but then it seemed I blinked and it was a new year already. It was so nice being more unplugged and just savoring the holiday season with my family. I’m a homebody and I love being home with my family, especially when we get to slow down the pace a bit, even for a short while. There have been years we put up our tree not long after Thanksgiving, and then there have been years we put our tree up right before Christmas, which was how this year went. I’ve come to prefer it that way. I like having all our orders and gifts mailed out and things wrapped up before I feel ready to start decorating around here. And then I enjoy having our tree up into January, and savoring it for as long as we can. What is more cozy on a cold winter day than looking at an ornament-covered tree full of twinkly lights? I’ve been appreciating the warmth of the woodstove, pajamas, warm mugs of tea, and all things cozy. I hope you’ve been able to enjoy some cozy, winter days where you are too. (If you’re in the northern Hemisphere, that is.)
P.S. To explain the pictures…. Do you remember the tree ornament I knit for B last year? This year he sewed beads on it to look like ornaments, I love it even more now. Another favorite ornament is the JOY ornament I painted a few years ago when we made the wood garlands for gifts. But honestly, I have a lot of favorites. I love getting the ornaments out each year and being flooded with the memories each one brings. Oh, and that wreath is one B made all by himself this year. He started with some grapevines from the garden, and then used some cedar, with a touch of ivy and holly (he was hoping for some red holly berries, but didn’t find any), and tied it with twine. We hung it on our door and I love it so much.
Do your days feel extra full in December too? It’s always a busy time of year. We’ve been working hard to get the last of our custom orders finished up and out the door, and while we haven’t done any shop updates recently, as always we’re busy behind the scenes. Jeff did make a batch of earrings for the shop though, and there’s still time to get them for Christmas! If you are looking for a unique, handmade gift for the holidays, these earrings make wonderful gifts. Jeff has made similar designs over the years and they’ve been so well loved that he decided to make more of them all at once. Each time he makes them they are different, and while these ones all from the same batch (there are fourteen pairs total) might be very similar- no two are exactly alike. So much love goes into making each and every earring.
Jeff made these earrings in red cedar wood and chose a part of the grain that had two different colors, giving these a really fun contrast. He wood burns these by hand, something he really enjoys doing. To me, it’s the magic touch to these beauties and it makes them truly unique. I’m also a huge fan of turquoise, and I love the addition of the turquoise stones in these earrings. I should also mention that the red cedar wood makes for very lightweight earrings, and it also happens to be an absorbent wood so you can use these as aromatherapy earrings if you’d like and add a drop of essential oil on the back of each to enjoy while you wear them.
As for shipping dates in the U.S., I am planning on shipping these out on Monday, December 14th. If you order by then, I can still be shipping out orders through first class mail. If you order them after the morning of the 14th, I would recommend doing the upgraded shipping option for priority mail. Even though USPS says to send gifts no later than Dec. 18 for First Class and Dec.19 for Priority Mail, I think earlier is always better especially since I’ve heard shipping times are running later this year.
We want to thank you for your support this year! We appreciate you supporting a small family business and shopping handmade!
P.S. I have a similar pair of earrings that are one of my favorites, I wear them all the time. I thought it would be good to share a picture to give you an idea of what these look like being worn. I don’t show up here on the blog all that often because I’m usually the one behind the camera, but this time B was the one taking pictures and he took one of me this week. I don’t put a lot of effort in my appearance and when I’m home I rarely even look in a mirror, but when I go out and about I love to put on a pair of earrings- it’s a simple thing that makes me feel dressed up, and it feels kind of special and fun.
In case I’m asked, I’m wearing my Hermione hat I knit years ago. (The pattern is called Hermione Hearts Ron by Christy Aylesworth, it’s free on Ravelry.) I still wear it all the time. My child teased me recently, pointing out the fact that it matches my grey hairs, which is true and also made me laugh. I turned 35 in September and yes, I spotted my first grey hairs this year. I joked with a friend that if ever there were a year to bring someone their first grey hairs it would be 2020, am I right? Other new things this year… I started drinking coffee for the first time, and now I enjoy a coffee drink once a week. Between the grey hairs and the coffee I feel like I can officially be considered an adult now. 🙂
This fall I finished up this bear hoodie for my nephew (which I knit last winter and just needed to add the finishing touches to.) I knit one of these for B when he was little and was looking forward to knitting it again. It’s such a great pattern- The Burton Bear Cowl by Heidi May at The Velvet Acorn. I knit it up in Quince & Co. puffin, in the colorway Twig. It can be a challenge to get good pictures of handknits when they are not being worn, and I found that with this one too, but once this hoodie is on it is just too cute. My sister sent me a picture of my nephew wearing it and he is so adorable, a bundled up cozy bear on a cold day.
The pattern calls for one large, decorative button. I immediately thought of the branches Jeff had in Oregon cascara wood, which is naturally yellow in color and just beautiful. He made me a button to put on the bear cowl, and he made me some extras too. I love these buttons so much! I really liked the yellow button with the brown yarn, I think it makes a great combination. (And I loved how the yellow button matched those fall grapes leaves in the photo above.) I posted nine of these buttons in the shop in case you would like one to make your own bear hoodie, or if you would like some for another project. Happy Creating!
I love the colors of fall, I always have. Do you ever feel like the colors fade too quickly and you want them to last longer? Me too. For years B and I have been dipping leaves in beeswax. It has become a fall tradition for us, and it’s one of my favorites. I absolutely love the smell of the beeswax melting, and I love being able to preserve the leaves to enjoy the beautiful colors longer. Our friend Nicole was the first to inspire us to dip leaves in beeswax, and she shared a tutorial here on the blog years back, if you are interested in making some.
I received some happy mail recently – these three skeins from my friend Rachel at Six and Seven Fiber. When I opened the package and cradled the yarn in my arms (I’m known to do that, skeins of yarn do make me so happy!), I realized they were all fall colors. Funny enough, I didn’t think about that when I was picking them out on her website, I was just choosing colors I gravitate towards and I happen to gravitate often towards fall colors. Between these skeins of yarn and our beeswax leaves… I’m soaking up the colors of fall for a little longer, and for that I’m grateful.
I told you I knit a hat for Jeff and a cowl for B this last Christmas. (It’s June now and I finally took some pictures of them. Ha!) I had some really special handspun angora yarn that we traded for at a fiber festival. (The gal doesn’t sell online, or I’d share a link.) It felt like such a luxury to have it, and to knit with it. If you’ve ever felt angora fiber before, you know how incredibly soft it is. It feels like you’re knitting up a fluffy cloud of goodness. I’ve knit with it a few times before, and if you’ve been reading for awhile you’ve likely already heard me exclaim over the softness (like in this post, about the little hat I made for my nephew.)
I was saving the precious yarn to make something for each of my guys. Jeff was in need of a warm hat, and Bracken had outgrown the other similar cowl I’d made for him years past. I guessed on the size for Jeff’s hat, trying it on him as I went along, but it stretched out a little and is a tad big, so fits best when he rolls up the brim just a bit. I love how it matches his white beard. (Jeff mentioned he has to mow down his eyebrows once a week and joked he didn’t have time for his “eyebrow grooming” before the picture. 🙂 ) His hat is always covered in little bits of moss, and twigs and the like, which makes me really happy because it means it’s well loved and gets a lot of use.
For B’s cowl I followed the pattern in Susan B. Anderson’s Kids’ Knitting Workshop. It’s such a great, simple pattern, and that book is fantastic for beginning knitters. (I used it for teaching B to knit, I’ll plan to write more about that in another post.) His cowl has gotten so much use since I gave it to him. Knitting is magic… it truly fills my heart up to be able to make useful, cozy things for the people I love. To wrap them up in some of that love is the best feeling! And having it be so incredibly soft is pretty nice too…
I did a shop update this week that I’ve been excited to share with you! Jeff and I have been focusing on one thing each time- the last big shop update featured our button mixes. I did some mini shop updates since then, but wholesale orders and custom orders are what we prioritize, so the larger shop updates happen when we get caught up on everything else. There’s just the two of us running our business, and these buttons are lovingly made by hand, so the process has it’s own timeline, but they are so worth the wait. That being said, it’s quite exciting when a big shop update happens!
This time, Jeff and I focused on buttons in shed deer antler, since we’d had requests for them. We love the antler buttons! Seriously, so much. Every year male deer shed their antlers and grow new ones. The antlers make for amazing buttons- not only because of how well they hold up, but also because they are so beautiful. I tell people that the antler buttons are worth the extra cost because they can become heirlooms to be passed on for generations, that’s how well they last over time. Unlike wooden buttons, they don’t need the occasional oiling to keep them nice. And the color varieties! I fall in love with each set. Pictured above is one of my very favorites, when you see those buttons in person, the grey-ish color around the edges actually has a purple tinge to it. It’s gorgeous!
We’ve had many requests for large sets of antler buttons over the years, and I want to explain why those are tricky to make. The antler can change size very quickly, tapering from inches to the pointed tip. If you are wanting a set of buttons all similar in size, Jeff can use his saw to be cutting the buttons from the same antler, and he’ll end up with a bunch of buttons in different sizes. If he goes to cut more in a similar size from another antler, the color variations and shapes are often different and don’t match. If you don’t mind the larger set of buttons not being perfect matches in size or color, than we can make larger sets, but if you want them to match- it’s usually the smaller sets that are available. You’ll notice in this shop update that there are a lot of sets of three.
Look at the variety! From a small size with the white hue, to the grey-ish ones (to me, those also have a purple tinge in person, but I don’t see that in the picture as much), to the larger size ones in this bottom picture- see the darker markings in those? It makes me wonder about what created those in the antler- like the rings in wood, I feel like the markings in the antler tell a story.
We have ONE set available of six buttons in a tiny (1/2 inch) size. These tiny sets are rare. Not only is it challenging to get that many matching in that tiny size, it’s also very challenging to sand that size without sanding your fingers. (Especially since Jeff does a “rounded sand” on his buttons, rather than flat sanding them which is more typical for handmade buttons.) To give you an idea, we could cut hundreds of antler buttons, and only come up with one or two sets like this. I want to explain that so our customers understand why they cost as much as they do. Also, the antler buttons in general cost more because we have the cost of purchasing the shed antler, and only get a limited amount of matching sets from each.
When you look at the price of a set and you divide that to figure out what it costs for each individual button, it gives you a different perspective than seeing the initial price of the whole set. I honestly think that if anyone, who thought the price of our buttons was too high, came to watch the process of one button from start to finish, they would come to the conclusion that we were not charging too much but too little. They’d need to spend more than a day in our shop, because the process takes time. Jeff wet sands each button on four grits, ending in a 1200 grit, which is super fine. That’s what makes the buttons so incredibly smooth and gives them a mirror finish. Then they need to dry before the final buffing on a polishing wheel.
Handmade things… and farm fresh food… they do cost more. Being a family that makes a humble income, though, I understand the need for budgeting. I’m sure there are plenty of people feeling that way right now, with everything that’s going on. This shop update happens to have our most expensive buttons, but I want to mention that if you are wanting to use our handmade buttons for a project, but need to keep your spending down- please contact me in the shop, we can make rustic wood buttons for a more affordable option. (And we do offer the occasional trade for things we could use, so it never hurts to ask!)
For fun, I put together some mixed sets with the buttons too. It’s usually too time consuming to list buttons as singles in the shop, or even sets of two, so when I put them in larger mixed sets it’s a better use of my time. (To give you an idea- it can take a minimum of six hours for a larger shop update- to process all of the pictures, and create all the listings. That doesn’t include making the buttons, tying them on cards, and the time included in photographing them.)
AND we have antler toggle buttons back in the shop! I’m go glad to have these back. I love them! I want to show the variety in those also. You can see in the first picture that Jeff sanded those smooth. They feel amazing. In the set of three pictured, you’ll notice a deeper brown hue and the antler left natural on the sides. In the last picture is a mix of both. The colors are different and unique with each antler- no two are alike. We have a variety of longer and shorter toggles available. There are only so many tips per antler, so these antler toggles usually cost more than our wooden toggles (the exception being specialty woods.)
Lastly… something I’m really excited about? I made a batch of antler toggle buttons myself and included them in this shop update. I sanded them, drilled them, and felt so proud when I tied them on cards. I’ve helped with slicing, drilling, and many other aspects of the button making process over the years, but Jeff has been teaching me some sanding techniques and I had so much fun making these. I call these ones our rustic antler toggles because I left the edges completely natural, only sanding them at the very ends. I didn’t sand them as smooth as Jeff sands his, and chose purposely to do this so we could offer them for a little less. I’m looking forward to making more of these! You can see the new buttons in the shop here.
Thank you so much for your support and please let us know what you’d like to see in the next shop update!
I so enjoyed knitting this little sweater! I’ll start with the yarn. I picked up this skein of Ranch 01 by Brooklyn Tweed, when we were booth neighbors with Lani’s Lana at a fiber festival. It was one of those times… you know when you pick up a skein of yarn and find yourself cradling it, and don’t want to put it back. (That happens to everybody, right?) The yarn is naturally dyed, and I love the variations of color throughout the skein. I didn’t feel like I could do the color justice in any of my pictures. (It’s funny, I was never much of a “pink” fan throughout my life, but I’ve noticed the past few years how much I’ve gravitated towards pink yarn. I’m so drawn to the earthy and subtle pinks, and also the deep burgundy hues.)
This adorable pattern is one I had been wanting to knit since Laura Spargo Anderson (Foothill Stitches), first published it four years ago. The Bitty Caps Tee pattern features one of our carved heart buttons, and we were so grateful to her for choosing our buttons for her design. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry, (and she also has an expanded version available with more size options.) I love that the newborn size only uses a single skein of worsted weight yarn, which is the most abundant thing in my yarn stash.
This pattern is a new favorite of mine, it’s such a great go-to baby knit, and I know I’ll be knitting it again. (Pretty much all my knitting projects are gifts (I love knitting gifts), but I knit this little sweater to be a sample knit in our booth. I’ve had a goal to knit more sample knits to show our buttons on projects.) If you decide to knit a Bitty Caps Tee, our carved heart buttons in red cedar are always available as a made-to-order item in the shop so you can choose exactly how many you’d like. …And if you already have one of our heart buttons and have been wondering what to make it with- now you have the perfect project!
Hi guys! How have you been? I don’t know about you, but it feels like February has been flying by. This space has been quiet because I’ve been writing a longer post, and those take more time to finish. In the meantime, short and sweet- those posts really fit much more easily into my days! I wanted to share these sweet little hearts I knit up. I worked on these in the early morning to surprise my boy. When he woke up, he sat by my side while I finished them up, and then helped me put the stuffing inside. B was under the weather and had to miss the Valentine’s Day party he had so been looking forward to. He was such a good sport about having to stay home and miss the festivities, but I still wanted to do a little something to cheer him up.
The pattern is Little Hearts by Susan B. Anderson. The pattern is available for free, and here’s the direct link to print it out. It’s such an adorable pattern, and was so fun and satisfying to knit up. I want to knit tons of these hearts in every color now! I love the idea of making a garland with them, like she mentions in the pattern. The blue heart pictured was knit in Home Worsted Weight yarn, by Barrett Wool Co., in the colorway Bluff. (The pink yarn was some leftover worsted weight yarn I had in my stash.) We stuffed them with a little bit of angora fiber (so heavenely soft!) from our friends at Sugar Bug Farm, and added some lavender we got from Charles Little and Company.
Then they were lightly felted, as described in the pattern. The blue one was a little more felted than the pink, thus the slight difference in size (they started out the same size.) (Keep in mind- if you use a natural fiber for stuffing it will also felt and be a little less “fluffy.”) The knit hearts were still wet and drying in the picture above because they were taking too long to dry by the woodstove and I wanted to take a picture. The finishing touch was when B came and handed me the first forget-me-nots blooming in our yard! Such pretty little flowers. Here in the coastal range of Oregon, we are started to see a few flowers around our yard. What a wonderful treat to see flowers and sunshine, and hear birds- a taste of spring- after the rainy, cold days of winter!
P.S. We’ve been asked which fiber festivals we’ll be at this winter. We will not be returning to Stitches West this year (it’s this coming weekend), but our friend Brooke, at Sincere Sheep, will be there and she has our buttons and earrings in her booth!
P.P.S. I wanted to show you the Valentine’s cards that B made this year. I love them! He gave the original to his dad (sweet boy), and worked diligently to cut out all the copies and glue an agate stone to each one. We got all the names written on after I snapped this picture. The day of the party, when I went to town to go to the grocery store, I dropped these off with his friends so they were able to pass them out for him and collect his. I was so grateful for that.