Buttoned up

May 21, 2007 at 2:33 pm | Posted in biscuit recipes, charity knitting, Christmas, country living, dogs, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, gifts, Habitat for Humanity, knitting, love, marriage, pets, photography, recipes, relationships, romance, volunteerism, yarn | 16 Comments

Fireflys Vintage Button ShopI enjoy shopping for buttons, picking out special buttons for a particular project.

I especially enjoy shopping for buttons now because it consists of grabbing a cup of tea and heading to the comfy sofa in our sitting room to sort through my treasure bowls and tins of vintage buttons (graciously gifted to me by Dorothy and Winnie, friends of ours at church).

There is a small oil painting I recently created of one of the vintage buttons in the photo above up for auction at eBay. Take a look, if only to see the painting and see if you can find the button from the painting in the photo above … that could be fun.

Fireflys Hand Knit Teddy Bear Sweater with Vintage ButtonsThis morning’s task was to find buttons to put on the teddy bear sweater of my own design I just finished knitting. The sweater isn’t anything particularly fancy. It was more of an exercise in getting into the swing of designing and knitting sweaters; a precursor to designing and knitting a sweater for myself.

Blu watched and followed my every move, giving me his opinion here and there. My teddy bears were on the fireplace mantle watching the process as well, wondering which bear would get the sweater. I could almost hear them saying, “Ooh, ooh … pick me, pick me!”

I decided to use three mix-matched buttons on the front button band, but I also decided to use two round leather-covered buttons to secure the collar, hopefully making the sweater look a little more masculine. That was necessary because I decided to give the sweater to D. L. Merrill, one of the larger Boyd’s Bears added to my collection by my children one Christmas.

FIreflys Teddy Bear Models his Hand Knit SweaterHe liked the sweater and was more than willing to sit for a photo shoot, joined by a number of little buddies. Blu was an excellent consultant on the shoot, but that almost goes without saying. (See photos of Blu helping with photo shoots at the I Live on a Farm website.)

The pattern for this teddy bear sweater will be available a little later in the week.

Yesterday was a cool, rainy day. We spent the entire afternoon cuddling, napping, and watching a bit of television. I also took the opportunity to work on one of the Gracious Parcels blankets. I’ve got six out of seven strips of seven 7″ squares sewn together. Tonight I will finish the last strip and over the next couple of days I’ll sew the strips together and one blanket will be ready. If I could set aside most of one day for hand sewing I could complete one blanket in a day, but I don’t ever have an entire day I can set aside for anything so I make time where I can.

Close up of Vintage Button PlacementFortunately, the Habitat for Humanity house we are building isn’t quite ready for the family to move in, so the blankets will be completed in time to be given as a house warming gift, in spite of my limited sewing time.

Knitting and sewing–even writing for that matter–are slower going these days because I now have a fifty-pound (and growing) puppy who prefers to be on my lap whenever I am sitting anywhere. He is soft, and warm, and full of love…very difficult to say no to. When I knit, he gets up on the sofa and lays right up against me with his head, and as many other parts of him as he can fit, on my lap. As I sewed squares together yesterday, he kept changing his position in an attempt to get himself onto the squares. He loves blankets and he must have known those squares were destined to be a blanket of some kind. It was an amusing challenge to work around him.

Gracious Parcels Spring 07 Blanket Number One in ProgressYesterday I also made a strawberry shortcake from a recipe of my Grandma Johnson’s which I have adapted to my way of baking. The problem with this “short” cake is that it tends to come out large. The shortcake itself is about fourteen inches in diameter after baking. By the time it is cut in half and layered with strawberries and whipped cream, it is a very magnificent looking dessert. I will post a recipe for my version of the shortcake later this week.

Other farm news is that the grasses and dandelions are growing so rapidly on the three acres of lawn around the farm house and barn that we have no choice but to get the tractor out and mow more than once a week. My husband also has to get over to our cottage, a few miles down the road, to mow that lawn as well. I help him with the mowing at the farm; I take care of the area back behind the willow tree in front of the corn field north of the barn, from the road over to the other corn field to the east of the house. I also take care of the large area of lawn all along the eastern corn field, between there and the trees by our driveway.

Being out on the tractor for a while a couple of times a week is a wonderful experience. I appreciate the fact that my husband accepts my help with the chore, and that he lets me use his favorite toy: the tractor. Seeing deep blue skies above our corn fields, the woods, the neighbor’s fields, and our farm is beautiful and serene. The warmth of the sun mixed with the inevitable cool spring breezes in the air feels good inside and out. I feel myself expanding and filling up the largeness of open space before me. Ahh, the calm happiness of open farmland.

Fireflys Strawberry ShortcakeBirds fly here and there, landing on tree stumps, limbs, chopped off cornstalks, and what-have-you watching me do my work. I can even hear some of their voices calling out as I pass by the trees out behind our barn. They seem very interested in the work I am doing and have quite a lot to say to each other–or perhaps to me–as I go.

On that note, I suppose I will end off for the morning. Hope you have a wonderful day, getting going on a wonderful week.

Thanks for stopping by.


Copyright © 2007 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. The Teddy bear sweater is beautiful. I can’t wait for the strawberry cake recipe, I’m drooling looking at the picture.

  2. The Teddy Bear sweater is absolutely adorable. I have a large collection of bears in all shapes, sizes and colors some of whom have sweaters knitted for them by my sister.

    There is a wonderful book by Sandra Polley – The Knitted Teddy Bear – you may be interested in.

    If you send me you address I have a little button – a John Deere tractor – I would like to send to you.


  3. Oooh yep I like that sort of button shopping too!

  4. http://www.trimfabric.com Has a great selection of wholesale buttons, very,very,very cheap.
    I love the bear sweater, he looks very smart, and handsome.
    Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite desserts. Do you use whipping cream, or CW?
    -Dandilion tea is used to detoxify the body.
    I recently started drinking this tea, for post oral surgery. So far I do feel better.
    Give it a try.
    Blessings to you and yours.

  5. How nice to have such a supply of buttons to chose from!

  6. The sweater is very cute. Is that seed stitch around the bottom and cuff of the sleeve? I recently finished a sweater with seed stitch on the bottom edge and the sleeves…one of my favorites. I love the seed stitch! I just may have a bear that the sweater would fit, I may have to give the pattern a try. I wonder would it work for a baby sweater? The strawberry shortcake looks delicious. I’m not sure if we are able to get good strawberries yet. The blanket looks nice and friendly and just about ready for someone special. Keep up the good work! Looking forward to talking with you soon!
    Your Friend, Ann

  7. I love buttons, and riding tractors, and I bet I’d like that strawberry shortcake too!

  8. Oh my gosh that strawberry shortcake looks so delicious!

    The sweater is so adorable, you did an excellant job.

    I really enjoy reading your blogs and looking at the photography. I am glad I stumbled upon it last week.

    BTW, I found the button! hehehe.

  9. Cute little bear sweater and Yum Yum Strawberry Shortcake and whipped cream! :-))))))))))))))))))))

    Wonderful day and week to you too! Thanks for the smile and dream of serenity and peace. Your writing is soo soothing… :-)))

  10. Oh my, that cake looks great! I love the sweater and the buttons. I’m very envious of your button collection – I’m trying to amass my own.

  11. Love the bear sweater! Not to mention the bowl of buttons and the divine strawberry shortcake! Thx for the photo of the Spring Parcels Project, too. So fun to see the squares from far and wide … including from my own needles.

  12. Love the pictures of Blu helping you pose your sweater. It is a very cute little sweater.

    I have to make another square for you. Apparently I cannot measure as mine turned out to be an 8″ by 8″ square. So I’ll be starting another today.

  13. Stupendous looking dessert! Can’t wait for the recipe. I love recipes that have been handed down generations. They are always the best since they have been road tested extensively. I love those little books church groups etc put out as fund raisers where everyone donates a recipe to be printed too! and for the same reason…

  14. How adorable is that sweater? See? I missed so much! I just drooled all over my keyboard from the strawberry shortcake. yum…
    It’s so nice to see all those squares become something that will make a family feel loved, wanted and warm. How nice. It’s so much fun to trove for treasures, I love buttons and the leather ones remind me of chilly winter mornings up north.

  15. We’ll have to track down a Merrill bear to go with our Merrill son 🙂 That shortcake looks smashing, I’ll have to make some this weekend!

  16. I’m in love with your button collection. I collect them too, but yours is much nicer! WTG!

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