Vintage Button Hairpins

I’ve been collecting vintage buttons for the past few years. They’re scattered around the house in jars and vases and add a nice pop of color wherever they are. When I get a truly special pair, I like to turn them into hairpins. I’ve given out a few sets, like the ones below, as gifts. They couldn’t be easier to make and the recipient always enjoys getting something a little more personal that’s tailored to her.

Vintage Button Hairpins by

Vintage Button Hairpins by

Once you find the buttons, these hairpins are fairly easy to make. Here’s how:

Vintage Button Hairpins

  • vintage buttons
  • needle-nose pliers
  • sharp scissors
  • fine sand paper (optional)
  • felt
  • super strong glue (such as E-6000)
  • toothpicks
  • bobby pins with pads
  • feathers (optional)

1. Select your buttons. The ones with flat backs are easiest to use, but if your button has a shank (a loop for thread on the back) you can still make it work. If there is a shank, try to remove it using needle-nose pliers and/or sharp scissors. If the back is rough after this, you may want to smooth it out with a bit of sand paper.

2. Once you have a flat back, cut out a piece of felt that will cover almost the entire back of the button. Use the glue to secure the felt on the back, use a toothpick to remove any excess glue that has oozed out of the sides and set aside to dry. Repeat with the remaining button.

3. Glue the bobby pins to the felt pads and let dry overnight.

4. If adding feathers (as shown in the slideshow below), cut two pieces of felt for each button and glue the feathers between them before affixing the bobby pins.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

SWWU Tip 1: Look for vintage buttons in antique stores, on websites like Etsy and eBay or check in with your mom, grandma or another older relative (you might be surprised what you find).

SWWU Tip 2: Feel free to skip the felt backing if your button has a perfectly smooth surface. You should be able to glue the bobby pin directly to the back.

Full disclosure: This is not something WE whipped up, this post is something I’ve done on my own. From time to time, we’ll each showcase some of our personal projects on here. We hope you enjoy!

Like what you see? Follow us on twitter @SWWUblog and like us on Facebook for bonus photos and content.

Non-Toxic, All-Natural Wood Stain

Wood staining can be a pricey, messy and stinky project to take on. Let’s not even get into whatever fumes you may be inhaling while taking a plank from a cool blonde to a warm chestnut brown. But sometimes you need to tweak something just a bit, and have no choice but to stain. We were recently given a gift “basket” (really, a wooden crate) full of goodies. The wood was pale and untreated, but the box was sturdy and had good bones. See for yourself:

BEFORE: Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

BEFORE: Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

To help it get a look and feel similar to the vintage wood crates in our house (check out a few on our Stacked In Your Favor post), we headed straight to the kitchen. A few days and a few coats of double-strength coffee later, the box was done!

Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

Non-Toxic Coffee Wood Stain by

Here’s how:

Non-Toxic, All-Natural Coffee Wood Stain

  • wood that needs to be stained
  • double-strength coffee
  • tarp or drop cloth
  • rubber gloves
  • rag or cloth

1. Brew the coffee and let sit until it’s cool enough to stick your hand in.

2. Lay out your tarp or drop cloth in a work space and put your gloves on. The coffee will stain your hands (one of us learned that the hard way)!

3. Soak the rag in the coffee, squeeze out the excess liquid and apply to wood in a thin, even coat making sure to keep your strokes going with the grain of the wood. Cover the entire object, being sure to pay extra attention to corners, ridges and crevices that may be difficult to get into. Set aside and let dry.

4. Add more coats, allowing time to dry between each, until you reach your desired finish.

SWWU Tip 1: If your wood has rough edges you may want to smooth it out with a bit or sand paper or some steel wool prior to staining. It depends on how polished you’d like the final look to be.

SWWU Tip 2: Don’t expect to complete this project in one day. Leave it in an out-of-the-way spot and add additional coats of coffee whenever you pass by. Eventually you’ll get the finish you are going for. The crate above took about two to three coats a day for six days. 

Like what you see? Follow us on twitter @SWWUblog and like us on Facebook for bonus photos and content.

SWWU is Back!

Well hello there! As you may notice, it’s been almost a year since our last post. Where has the time gone? Fear not, we have been busy getting dirty in all sorts of fun ways: in the kitchen, at the farm, and moving into our new place. In the coming posts you’ll get an inside look at everything we’ve been up to and what we’re doing now. Be on the lookout for lots of inspiring ideas, delicious recipes and unique home projects. We’ll even tell you how to throw your own pig roast (once this weather warms up). Stay tuned, visit often and keep in touch! Please follow us on Twitter @SWWUblog and “like” us on Facebook.

A Sweet Way to Say, Thank You

A Sweet Way to Say, Thank You by

Would you want one in the mail? I hope so!

My recent birthday will go down as one to remember. The weekend (yes, I said weekend) included several unexpected out-of-town guests, meals at my favorite restaurants and lots of good fun. The cherry on top ended up being a private after-hours party at a local ice cream shop where I got to create my own ice cream flavor then pedal a shiny red bike hooked up to a hand-churned ice cream machine to mix it. The night was so special and I knew my thank you notes had to be, too. I was able to quickly make the cards pictured above with a few goodies I had lying around the house.

You can do the same, all you need is:

  • textured cardstock
  • oversized hole-punch
  • scissors
  • computer with a printer
  • pinking shears
  • glue
  • heart stickers
  • colorful envelopes

Take one piece of 4.5” x 5” cardstock and fold it in half to create each card. Select several complimentary colors of cardstock and cut out several circles with an oversized hole-punch. Use scissors to cut a cone shape from brown cardstock. Type the words “thank you” into your computer’s word processing program. Play around with the font and colors until you find one you like and print. Cut the printed text out with pinking shears. Glue the text, cone and three circles onto the front of the card. Finish with a heart sticker and mail in a colorful envelope.

Hopefully, the friends who receive these notes in the mail will think they are as special and sweet as I thought the night was.