Field Trip: Tender Buttons, NYC

We almost went right by it, my sisters and I, as we walked along 62nd Street in Manhattan on a humid morning in July. Luckily, the golden button hanging above the storefront caught our attention and we found ourselves on the doorstep of Tender Buttons, a shop that's been beloved by button collectors and needle artists of all sorts for more than five decades. 
I first learned about Tender Buttons in the 1980s when I was working as an assistant copy editor at McCall's Needlework & Crafts magazine. Before each issue's photo shoot, the fashion editor would make the short trip from our office on 53rd Street to Tender Buttons to select the perfect buttons for the knit and crochet sweaters that would be featured. Back in the copy editing office, we made sure Tender Buttons, along with the yarn companies, was credited in the captions. After the issue was published, I was responsible for sending tear sheets to each credited vendor. Although I found the buttons that came out of…

Cross-Stitch Minis: By the Sea

Floss & Fleece: Cross-Stitch Minis: By the Sea chart

Floss & Fleece: Embroidery floss key for Mini Cross-Stitch Motifs

Last month on the blog, I shared some mini cross-stitch motifs for spring. You all seemed to like them so much, I decided to the same with some summer designs. In anticipation of beach season (which, in my opinion, can't come soon enough), here are a crab, lobster, sun, seashell, starfish, sand dollar, and school of red fish for your cross-stitching pleasure. I included a key for the floss colors I used, but you can experiment with any colors you like. The motifs are teeny-tiny, so you can stitch each one up in minutes and make all sorts of summer accessories and decor.

To jump-start your creativity, here's a peek at two of the projects I used these mini motifs in . . .

Floss & Fleece: cross-stitched lobster ornament

The lobster became a beachy ornament with help from some scraps of red felt and a bit of gingham ribbon.

Floss & Fleece: cross-stitched sun watch

I used the sun design to upcycle a broken watch into of fun summer bracelet. Who cares what time it is during the summer, right?

Of course, you can always stitch up the motifs as they're shown on the chart and frame them. Remember, the thread count of your fabric determines the size of the finished design: 11-count Aida creates a 4 1/2"-square design; 14-count creates a 3 1/2"-square design; 18-count creates a 2 3/4"-square. Happy stitching!