Between the Buttons

Our New SeaGems Collection Posted on 7 Aug 17:48 , 54 comments

During my early childhood in Ohio, most summers we would vacation at a campground by Lake Michigan.

When I tell people this they usually give me a look, and I can tell what their first thought is...Why would someone go to Michigan for a vacation?! Well, let me tell you it must be Americas best kept secret!

 It is beautiful! The colors in the water are all shades of blues and turquoise, something you wouldn’t expect from a lake. We could, at that time, run down the massive sand dunes into the Great Lake. Then hike back up them to do it again.We would take our buckets and search for pretty rocks, or sea glass. Sometimes, though rarely, we found a shell or two but I suspect that my dad planted them in the sand when we weren’t looking! 

When we first arrived we’d hike through the woods collecting firewood and stacking it for the week. Nights were spent by the campfire singing songs, roasting marshmallows and telling stories. My love and appreciation for nature, wildlife, our Great Waters, the outdoors came from our many trips there. Reflecting back on these days was my inspiration for the colors and design of my new Sea Gem collection.


Peace, Love, Happiness and...Flowers! Posted on 10 May 17:01 , 49 comments

So, I guess there is a little flower child in all of us, regardless of the year we were born! With Spring and Summer approaching, I can't help but reminisce about my childhood. So many of the things that we did as children involved being outdoors and although simple, they are the fond memories of childhood that stick with you forever. Learning to appreciate the outdoors and these things that we usually tend to take for granted are important to pass on to our own children and grandchildren.

 I will never forget running in the grass with bare feet. Dancing in the rain on a hot summer day. Picking dandelions from the yard and blowing on them, watching them float in the air and trying to catch one little wisp to make a wish! How neat and fun it was to make daisy chain necklaces and headbands with the little clovers scattered around your yard. I loved holding a buttercup up to our chins to see if it shined yellow onto our faces (that meant you liked butter). Wading in a stream. Picking flowers to surprise your mom with a bouquet of whatever flowers you could scrounge up from your yard, or sometimes one or two from your neighbors yard. I could go on forever.

Sharing these stories and ideas with my daughters, nieces and nephews as they were growing up has brought so much joy to my life and theirs. I remember like it was yesterday the first time I showed my daughters that you can blow on a dandelion. I loved the excitement in their faces and the concentration they had when holding a small dandelion wisp in their tiny hands and squeezing their eyes so tightly closed while making a wish.

I was reflecting on these great memories while creating the designs in our New ‘Bee The Change’ collection. These pieces were created to bring back some of this happiness, fun, innocence of days gone by, and perhaps reflect on simpler time in our lives. It’s also a reminder to do our part to protect the earth, just by planting some seeds to help to save our endangered bees! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 Peace, Love, and Happiness to all!

Czech This Out! Our Czechoslovakian button collection. Posted on 12 Sep 17:55 , 48 comments

I have been wanting to share the story behind these little beauties since we started our Czech Glass Collection almost two years ago! In our quest to keep our jewelry line fresh, while still maintaining our classic and timeless feel, we came across these stunning buttons from Czechoslovakia. They are still made the same way they were dating back to the 1880's!  

This method entails heating hot glass rods and molding them one at a time in individual tongs, which have designs molded into them.


We decided to create pieces with these magnificent buttons many of them vintage, some new, because of their uniqueness and exquisite colors and various finishes. For those of you who like a little 'bling' these are a perfect addition to your wardrobe. 

"All Things Bright and Beautiful" comes to mind when you cast your eyes on our stunning Czechoslovakian Glass button jewelry. They have become some of our best selling pieces, and we are proud to say that we even have customers that have become collectors of these fine pieces!

Sadly, I have recently read that it's estimated that these buttons will no longer be made as of the year 2025. This craft, much like most from the past, and still a cottage industry, does not appeal to or interest the younger generations. So, we will continue to create these one-of-a-kind pieces in an effort to preserve the beauty of times gone by.

Something Old, Something New... Posted on 17 Jul 13:43 , 2 comments

I’ve been thinking lately of how fortunate I am to have such a large family. We’ve had our share of disagreements, and our ups and downs, like any other family, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We are always there to support each other, and we all try to be the type of people that would make our parents proud. 

 In reflecting back on the past generations, I keep wishing that I had one little memento from one of my grandparents or great grandparents. Nothing extraordinary...a lucky penny, favorite book, any trinket that was special to them. I was very lucky to have found some soup bowls and small dessert plates at an auction that were from my great uncle’s restaurant in Dayton, Ohio called Kuntz’s Cafe. With a little more searching I was also able to purchase a coin from my grandfather’s restaurant called The Forum, in the same city. So, that is my memento that I will pass along for the generations to come. 

 With one of my daughters  engaged, and two of my nieces getting married this year, and my many cousins and their children getting married and starting their families, I’ve been imagining how wonderful it would be to have my mothers or grandmothers wedding dress. We were all baptized in the same dress, all eight of us! My love for things remembered and preserving a little piece of the past is what started me on my venture to create jewelry from antique and vintage buttons. 

 My memories of times shared with my parents and grandparents, and reminiscing about  family has inspired me to develop a new line of wedding jewelry. The buttons used on the jewelry in this collection date back to the late 1800’s-early 1900’s and who knows, maybe one of them came from a blouse or jacket worn by my grandma! In creating these pieces I’m taking a small piece of history and preserving it. When someone purchases a one-of-kind piece from the collection, they are also purchasing an heirloom piece that can be passed down for generations to come. Starting a new tradition combining Something Old, Something New’....


Do You Know About Perfume Buttons? Posted on 17 Jun 12:43 , 55 comments

Some of the antique buttons that I use in my designs are perfume buttons. Many people haven't ever heard of them so I hope you find this an interesting introduction to another piece of button art from bygone days!

 Perfume buttons were manufactured in the United States in the 1800’s. They were also very popular in Europe, particularly England and France. These buttons had a cloth base usually made of flannel or velvet over which an ornamentally patterned, openwork piece of metal was placed. The patterns were often floral but birds or arabesques were also used. 

The buttons had several purposes. The practical and obvious use was a closure for clothing. However, since perfume is often made with essential oils, it would stain women’s clothing  and this was a perfect solution to that problem. They would put a couple drops of their favorite fragrance on the fabric area of the button rather than risk staining their clothing. The designs on these are so intricate and beautiful that they could be pinned anywhere as a decoration on a blouse, and worn like a brooch. 

The more romantic legend is that during the Civil War in America, ladies would send their beaus off to fight with one of their perfume buttons pinned to their uniform collar or in a pocket. They would always carry a reminder of their loved one left behind.

 I prefer the romantic version, don't you?   I thought so!


The Charm String Story Posted on 26 Apr 14:02 , 7 comments

With wedding season upon us, I thought it would be a good time to share this romantic tale about the charm string.

Making a charm string or memory string was a favorite pastime or hobby from the 19th century, circa 1860-1900. Young women would collect and trade buttons and string them together. These strings of buttons were often displayed in the parlor, as it was common for guests to bring a button for the young lady of the house to add to her collection. It also made a great conversation piece. Telling stories of where they were from, and reminiscing of the past.

Women would often have parties where they would exchange these buttons, and their stories. The hobby became so popular as to be mentioned in children's stories and nursery rhymes.

The custom was that the buttons could not be purchased for the collection. They had to be gifts from other collectors,friends, family, visitors, suitors, or traded.

The gift of a button was considered lucky, and stringing the buttons on a string brought good luck. The legend has it that the girls who collected 999 buttons would meet their true love after adding the1000th. It is rare to find an antique string of 1000 of these buttons. Most of them today are in museums, or owned by button collectors, and usually have 100-150 buttons.

So now you know that buttons were not just used to fasten clothing in days gone by!



Happy Spring! Posted on 17 Mar 19:43 , 4 comments

 Here in the Northeast we’ve been ‘buttoned up’ all winter long! There are still snow mounds scattered about but luckily, signs of spring are here too. Green grass is peeking out from under the snow, and I saw a robin in my yard yesterday! Although it has been a tough winter with these record low temperatures, it has given me more time to spend with my family relaxing indoors, watching the snowfall. It has also given me the time to create some new designs! 

 Button Design Company has a new line called “A Night at the Opera.” These one-of-a-kind-pieces are made of black glass beads, Swarovski pearls and crystals, and touches of  garnet, and of course buttons! Both beautiful antique buttons, and sparkling rhinestone vintage buttons. Take a look and let us know what you think.

 The feedback on my designs received so far has been: “How do you come up with your ideas?” and “Have you always been a designer, or worked in the ‘arts’ field?”

 As a child,  I spent almost every weekend going to craft shows, antique auctions, and book stores with my Mom and Dad. Anytime someone visited from out of town, we had to take them to Historic Sleepy Hollow, and to nearby Philipsburg Manor. We did the tours, walked the grounds, and viewed the presentations of how things were done in the past. On some occasions we got to buy something at the gift shop, which was my favorite part.  By the time I was 10, I probably could have been a tour guide at either place. During our weekend outings, my sisters and I would do anything we could think of to get out of going. Usually, to no avail. Sometimes we would even try to distract my parents from noticing yet another bookstore, by pointing out something across the street. Still, to no avail.

These trips and days spent with them are now my fondest memories. This is how I developed my love for antiques and items from times long forgotten. 

 My childhood home was an 1800’s farm house, filled with antique furniture, not the modern “cool” furniture that my friends’ houses had. Having seven siblings and a million pets, made things even more interesting. Fortunately, my mother had the insight to tuck away little surprises. She saved them for rainy days, snow days, or just any day that we were bored, or didn’t know what to do with ourselves. As a result of this, we spent all of our ‘down time’ creating. We made necklaces, pot holders, sculpted things out of clay, painted, colored...   

Encouraging me to spend my idle time creating was the best gift my mom could have ever given me. This helped me develop a gift for decorating and designing which has endured.

 Some 20 years ago, I received a small box of my Grandma’s antique buttons and marveled at the myriad ways such a simple clothing closure had been designed and decorated. I have been collecting them ever since, hoping some day to have the time to turn them into jewelry. I imagine where each of these buttons has been, and how they have survived 100 years later! Each is unique and beautiful in its own right and it’s difficult for me to let go of most of these little gems. However, as I pick them out of the ball jars on my work table in my studio, I can visualize them in different settings. Finding crystals, pearls, and other beads, and mounting them in the perfect setting to enhance their beauty lights the creative fire inside of me. I take great pride in creating these one-of-a-kind pieces, knowing that they will increase in value with age, and can be passed down for generations to come. I consider it the same as preserving an heirloom, and a little piece of our past. I love sharing the stories and history of them too. 

 I hope you enjoy visiting my web site, and seeing my designs as much as I enjoy creating them. Thanks to all of you for sharing my vision, and your continued support and encouragement. 

I truly appreciate it.

Button Blog Posted on 2 Feb 11:18 , 0 comments

Welcome to my first blog!       

I want to share my love for antique and vintage buttons with everyone! 



I have been a button collector for over 20 years and I have always thought of designing jewelry using these little 'gems' to showcase their beauty, and uniqueness. I make one-of-a-kind pieces that take us back to a time long forgotten when pride and quality were incorporated into everything we made.

I have so many stories and pictures that I will be sharing, so please remember to revisit my blog and let me know your thoughts on my postings.

Since each of my jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind, the store is continually changing as items sell, new pieces are added so please check back often!

First, I need to thank my husband, and best friend, George. His inspiration and guidance have helped me build my dream. He is not only a fine artist and portrait painter, but also the designer of my web site, on line store, Facebook page, and my photographer. 

Also, I want to thank my daughters, Holly and Casey for their never ending encouragement, love and support. 

Last, but certainly not least, my sister, mentor, and other best friend, Mindy! Her never ending love, advice and knowledge keep me motivated to do what I do. She is also a jewelry designer. Her intricate patterns and color combinations continue to inspire me daily. Check her out on FB at Sunny Friendly Jewelry, you will be amazed!

I am very grateful and could not have come to realize my dream without all of this love, support, and expertise!