Sunday, 11 April 2010

Button It!

As it was a glorious sunny Sunday morning today, I couldn't resist popping out to my local car boot sale. It has just reopened after the winter and with such good weather, it was pretty packed with sellers and buyers. I'm never one to roll out of bed early on a weekend, particularly a Sunday, so I didn't actually get there until about 10.45am and it opens at 7.30am!

I can never decide with car boot sales if you should get there first thing to snap up antique and collectible gems or wait until the end when people are so fed up they sell everything off at rock bottom prices. As I hit the ground running midway through, I didn't really have very high hopes.

About half way around the stalls, I spotted a pile of fabric remnants which looked interesting. I bought a couple of useful pieces for making door stops, which were only 10 pence each, so I was quite chuffed. A bit further on though I thought I was hallucinating when I spotted a biscuit tin full to the brim with buttons. Not to put too fine a point on it, I love, love, love buttons, particularly vintage ones.

After a quick stir of the buttons with my finger, I asked the seller the price. She hesitated for a moment and the said £5 the lot. I couldn't pay her quick enough! I didn't even bother to haggle over the price. It was only when the seller popped the lid on I realised that even the biscuit tin was a vintage treasure too. It looks to be about 1950's or 1960's. It needs a bit of a clean but other than that is in good, collectible condition.

Having got home, I spent a happy half hour with a cup of tea sifting through all the buttons picking out the ones I want. The reject pile was probably two thirds of the tin, which I will sell on eBay, as well as the tin. I reckon the tin and buttons will sell for at least £5, making my button pile free with a bit of luck!

There are some fabulous buttons in my keep pile, lots of them are old, dating back to the 1930's or 1940's. I am always drawn to interesting shapes, sizes and colours. Anything that looks interesting really. I use buttons on all sorts of projects from lavender bags to handbags. I often change the buttons on my clothes too if I don't like the buttons they are sold with. I've certainly got lots of lovely buttons to choose from now anyway!

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Friday, 2 April 2010

Custom Made iPad Stand

I had an interesting question a week or so ago from a chap in the USA. He was looking for a stand for his new Apple iPad to use when he was watching films. He had found me on Etsy and was interested to know if I could custom make him a stand, based on my door stops.

My first response was"Yes!". Then I had to google iPad as I didn't actually have a clue what they looked like! Having found them, I noticed that the iPad's do come with their own case which can be folded so that the iPad is stood on its side for viewing films. I contacted the man in the USA to check if he knew this or not, as it seemd fair. As it turned out he had seen them but wanted a simple bean bag design which could be used anywhere.

Having already said that I could make a stand, I then had to think about the best way forward. As I was basing the stand on my existing door stop designs, I felt the easiest option was to sew a strip of elastic along the bottom to form a lip which would stop the iPad slipping downwards. When I looked at my door stops, I realised that if I orientated the seams into the correct position, the zipper which is usually underneath would end up on the side. At first I thought that would be unacceptable as you wouldn't want the zipper on show. Then I realised that if it was underneath, you would run the risk of scratching surfaces with it - not the best idea if you placed the stand on your polished dining room table!

I didn't think the zipper should be on the side either though, so I relocated it to the back seam of the stand instead. I chose a wide strip of black elastic and a navy furnishing fabric to make the stand in. The furnishing fabric would be durable for constant use and the dark colours would hide grubby fingermarks. The overall size of the door stop design had to be increased to accomodate the iPad but otherwise it was quite straightforward.

The finished product really seems to do the trick. I don't have an iPad, so I had to experiment with a book which was about the same size. As you can see from the photos, the stand holds the book at a good angle, as well as quite securely at the base. The chap in the USA was happy with the photos, so the stand is somewhere mid Atlantic as we speak. Hopefully I will get some positive feedback shortly.

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