December 22, 2008
This weeks featured artist is a fellow Aussie mum, Lou of the the etsy shop Buttons by Lou Lou. You just must take a look in her shop at her amazing range of fabric covered buttons that she has made into all kinds of items like hair clips & bobby pins, earrings, hair elastics, brooches, sewing buttons and even gorgeous home and office supplies!! All of Lous handmade items would make perfect 'just because' gifts and with her gift wrapping added on it couldn't be much easier than that!!!
Tell us all about yourself and your craft?
I live in Melbourne, Australia. I am a mother of 2 boys aged 2 1/2 years and 5 months old. I am having a break from my usual work for a little while to be at home with my boys.
I love looking for all of the beautiful fabrics for my buttons. Cute pictures, classic polka dots and stripes, beautiful florals. Some things for children, some for adults and of course finding some for the boys.
While I was learning to make these buttons and products there was a lot of trial and error. There are a lot of different types of buttons available to cover in fabric but some don't have a big enough loop on the back (shank) for my elastics, some have a shank that can't be taken off for my hair clips, some are too time consuming to make or are designed so that it is impossible to get the picture in the centre of the button. Finally I have found the ones!
I also needed to experiment with attaching the buttons to my accessories so that they were safe for children. My sister has bought button hairclips before that were just glued to the clip - they fell off even before my niece wore them - so I use a metal craft wire to securely attach the button. Some people just slide a button onto a bobby pin - which of course will just slide back off - and this is fine for adults. I have had to use bobby pins with a flat pad so I can glue my buttons to the bobby pin. I always use a jewellers glue so they won't come off.
When selling my products the hardest thing is always the pricing - how much of my time can I charge for but still sell them!
How long have you been creating your craft?
I started making 'buttons' just a few months ago so I am very new to this craft. I decided that they would be a lovely present for my older son's friends, my niece, the older sisters of new babies that were arriving. I started making them for myself, other people wanted to give them away as presents as well - and it has just exploded from there. Who would have thought just a few months ago that I would have made well over a thousand fabric covered buttons in such a short time.
What is one of the biggest lesson you have learnt about your craft & selling it?
It is such a learning experience and as I am so new to it am am learning so much more all the time. Once Christmas is over and I have a little more time (hopefully) then I can look at everything again - my supplies, my prices, my stockists, etc. and try to get things on track for 2009.
Which of your items did you have the most fun creating & why?
It is hard to know which products I like creating the most as all of them are special to me because I use my often precious little time to make them. I think I like whichever buttons have my favourite fabrics - although that is most of them because I choose it all!
I like my products when they are finished. When I have glued a whole batch of magnets or earrings and I am packing them up all finished and beautiful ready to sell - a good sense of achievement. I love to wear the earrings because I have a bit of an earring addiction. I love to give the clips and elastics to little girls and the magnets the adults. I could go on and on. I really enjoy making them because I like them all.
Is there a basic ‘household’ item you use when creating that seems to work just as good if not better than the actual ‘tool’?
There's a couple of pens and pencils at home that come in handy for my button making - but not used as pens and pencils. I have 2 refillable led pencils that I use (no led) to help me push the backs onto the buttons with the hairclips. I can get under the hairclips and get to the edges that need to be pushed down. I also use a wide pen with a flat bottom to push in the button backs that are hard to get on. I get a bit more strength when I can hold the pen with both hands and push instead of just a couple of fingers on the tool.
What is your favourite candy bar & why?
My favourite candy bar is a cherry ripe - although there are about 20 others that come a very close second! It is just one I have loved for years and still enjoy.
If money, responsibilities, and time were no issues where in the great wide world would you go & why?
If money, time and responsibilities were no issue...hmmm...I would start with a long sleep - it's busy with babies! I have a couple of holidays - maybe small towns in france and italy, go back to London to look around and shop and remenisce ( I lived there for a few years before my boys were born). But I would always come back home to be near my family and friends. I really like living in Australia.