Sunday, January 11, 2015

Seattle Skyline and Seahawks' 12th Man... in Buttons

I've been crazy busy with work and school this past year, so my cooking, crafting, and blogging hobbies have mostly been put on hold.  However, for the past six months I have been working on an idea for my brother-in-law's Christmas present.  Last year for my daughter's school auction, I helped the first grade classroom create a rooster and chick out of buttons.  The rooster idea was found on Pinterest (of course), but I added the little yellow chick because the students had hatched chicks in the classroom.

I knew my mom and sister would think the piece was cute when I texted a photo, but I had no idea that my brother-in-law would be so excited about it.  I decided that night that I wanted to create the Seattle skyline with Seahawk colors for Todd's Christmas present.  My husband and I grew up in Seattle and are diehard Hawk fans, as is Todd.  I knew collecting that many buttons wasn't going to be easy, but I had no idea just how hard or expensive it would be!  Thrift shops just didn't have many, if any, button collections.  Plus, since I decided I wanted only blue and green, I really limited myself to purchasing mostly new buttons anyway.  I began shopping sales at the fabric and craft stores.

To get started, I purchased the large canvas and made a length of white paper to fit it horizontally by taping together three sheets of 8.5 x 11 printer paper side-by-side.  I then drew the Seattle skyline from one end to the other with the Space Needle in the center.  I cut out the skyline and laid it on the canvas to use as a template.  I traced lightly around the template in pencil and then I was ready to lay out some buttons!

I must have laid out buttons in different color combinations and patterns a dozen times, but ended up dumping them off every time.  I finally put the piece away for awhile when my family came from Seattle to visit and I didn't want Todd to see what I was doing.  When I finally got back to the project, it was when I could do a massive after-Christmas button-aisle cleanup at Joann Fabrics.  They had the best button selections at the best sale prices, and then I purchased all the gemstones I used at the Craft Warehouse. 

I started laying out buttons and the pattern emerged.  I didn't second-guess it this time.  The skyline is made up of approximately 1000 buttons and gemstones.  I placed a few "Easter Eggs" in the piece as well.  There is a bead with a letter on it for everyone in the family: my sister, her three kids, my husband, our two kids, our mom and dad, and Todd's mom and dad.  Todd doesn't have a bead, he has two large white buttons with both his initials "T" and "R".  I threw in a little black cat button for luck, a black high-heeled shoe (if you know me, you know I'm all about the high heels), a four-leaf clover (our Irish heritage), a couple of fish buttons (Seattle means fresh fish at Pike Place Market) and a tiny Swarovski crystal beaded football in Seahawk colors. We used clear crystals to create a number 12 in the sky. 

This was a labor of love and it was so hard to keep it a secret from Todd, but I'm so happy with the end result and even more happy that he loves it too. 

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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License