Shopping for buttons in New York

Recently I blogged about a visit I made to Tinsel Trading in New York and its amazing selection of ribbons and trimmings and I thought I would tell you about another little gem of a shop that I visited on my trip. This time, floor to ceiling BUTTONS !

After finishing at Tinsel Trading and having a much-needed Starbucks to revive us, Lou and I jumped in a yellow cab and headed uptown to Tender Buttons.

We were on a mission to find some blazer buttons for Lou’s husband and any others that took our fancy quite frankly! Now anybody that knows me will know that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ for buttons and so I was really excited to be going to this shop. I didn’t know what to expect, but if it was like pretty much everything in New York, it was going to be pretty awesome!

East 62 St is so pretty! Tree lined and full of those lovely brownstone buildings that you see if films, this is where we found the sweetest little button shop lurking.

We momentarily got sidetracked by a grocery store across the street selling the most gorgeous flowers but then turned our attention to the buttons!

And look at the gorgeous gold hanging button sign up above the door. It was like a shining beacon in the rain!

We entered the shop, which is absolutely tiny but it still takes your breath away. It has a real old world charm with antique tables and cabinets being used to display the buttons and a lovely vintage looking shop sign over the counter where you stand to be served.

The buttons are stored in cardboard boxes, stacked up high with an example of the buttons inside,on the outside of the box. There must literally be thousands of types of buttons in the shop.

There were  brass buttons for blazers, hunt buttons, horn and bone buttons, amazing jewelled button (my favourites!) all sorts. It takes an age just to go along the row of boxes and to see what was inside.  A little bit of a Tinsel Trading issue here – don’t want to miss a thing so must look systematically!

We found the brass blazer buttons that we had needed to find, and I eventually managed to choose some buttons to take home. I was looking for some cute buttons for my trench coat and ended up chosing some lovely navy and cream striped buttons. I also bought some cute tartan buttons . I have no actual purpose for them (yet) but I think they will look really sweet on a little twin set cardigan…….Oh, and I also bought a gorgeous jewelled button made up of tiny crystals in pinks, pale blues and whites which is just so twinkly. That was my inner magpie coming out! I only bought one of those because it was V expensive! You can see this beauty of a button above in the picture with the shops card.

This picture came out a little dark but you can just about make out the lovely wooden Tender Buttons sign behind the counter. All my buttons came wrapped in the tiniest brown paper bag i’ve ever seen……

These are the buttons I bought. I have stitched these navy ones onto my trench with red thread. I did that to give the coat a slightly nautical look, and it looks good paired with my summer uniform of a Breton top, jeans and ballet pumps. The red thread looks so cheeky!

The other tartan buttons I bought are below. Thinking of adding those to a little cardi, or maybe saving them for some Christmas projects. In the meantime they will just look jaunty in my button tin!

So those were the little gems I came away with after my visit. I think I could certainly have bought more but I couldn’t think what I needed! Tender Buttons is definitely worth a trip, especially if you are looking for something really special . I certainly would love to buy some more of those twinkly buttons. Imagine those down the back of a dress…..

I had to include this picture. We were making our way to Penn Station later that afternoon and were in the fashion district of the city and I saw this outside of our cab while we were waiting at the light. I’d love this outside Lexi  loves if I had the chance but not sure it would pass the Cotswolds planning laws!

Thanks for reading, see you again soon

Lexi xx

Pretty Patchwork

Hello Everyone!

I mentioned in my last post that I would show you our gorgeous patchwork chairs and the process to get them from an ugly old dining chair to a thing of beauty !

I am always particularly happy when I find an upholstered dining chair that is in reasonable condition. Quite often the upholstery is in a terrible state and I am no upholsterer so I have to walk on from those lots and hope for richer pickings another time. This chair was in a good condition so was ripe to be patchworked.

I have been collecting a selection of pink,red and turquoise fabrics for some time, and as turquoise is featuring heavily in interiors this season, I decided to go with turquoise paint for the chair to tie it all together. I ended up using some fabrics from current collections in the shop, combined with others from my fabric pile.

First things first – I cut out 25  12cm x 12cm squares. Squares can be any size, the bigger the better if you want a quicker end result but not too big or you wont get the right look.

Next,  i stitched 5 together in a row. I always try to have them in a random pattern but just keep checking you don’t have two squares of the same print next to each other. Press all the seams so they are pointing in the same direction. Next sew all the rows together and press again. Voila – patchwork done!

Now the messy bit! I remove all the old fabric from the chair base and any old upholstery tacks that are hanging around. I use pliers, makes life much easier. Sand the chair with a medium sanding block to remove any old varnish or paint which allows the new coats of paint to stick properly to the wood. It is advisable to put a primer or undercoat on your chair now and once dried, you are ready to get cracking with the good stuff!

I chose Grecian Spa for this turquoise chair in a gloss finish because I wanted lovely shiny paintwork. Two coats and a lot of drying time later, I was ready to get busy with the staple gun and the upholstery tacks.

Next stretch a piece of calico across the seat and staple into place. It is very important to make sure you have everything taught with no wrinkles ( a bit like your face!) and work opposite side to opposite side. Now stretch the patchwork piece across the seat, checking the seam lines on the patchwork are straight in both directions. Staple into place, again checking the fabric is nice an taught. It can be a bit fiddly folding the fabric on the corners and keeping everything neat, but persevere, it’ll be worth it.

I had been keeping a lovely piece of white tape with red polka dots safe in my sewing box for ages, and decided to use it on the chair. It was about 2cm wide, perfect to hide all the staples. Start at one end where the back of the chair rises out of the seat and hammer in an upholstery tack. Pull the tape or braid tight and hammer in another tack and so on. It’s a good idea to work out how to space them evenly before you start hammering.

Trim the ends, check for any threads poking out of the patchwork and you’re done. The chairs look really stunning and people never fail to admire them in the shop. I just want to find a set of six chairs to patchwork to go around my dining table. Best start looking!

See you all soon

Lexi x

We ♥ strawberries !

Hi everyone!

As luck would have it, the week we changed our window here at Lexi loves the weather has taken a turn for the better, meaning our gorgeous strawberry themed window looks perfectly seasonal.

I wanted to have a red themed window as a refreshing change and Zoe and I gathered all the berry related goodies from the shop together and decided how our window was going to look. Our main pieces in the window are a fabulous red patchwork chair and a huge vintage trunk. We then added in our gorgeous giant strawberry cushions, strawberry print pencil cases paired with bundles of coloured pencils tied up with big satin ribbon bows. As if this wasnt enough we opened the trunk and piled it high with our delicious Pip Studio towels, spotty fabric photo frames and dotted some of our Pootle cards around too! We hung a massive white vintage frame down from the ceiling and draped our strawberry bunting over it to give it the finishing touch. Our handmade lampshade in clasic red and white gingham nestles in the window too, sitting on top of a vintage metal table, painted a pretty sage green. So pretty!

It makes us sooooo happy when people stop in the street to look at our new window displays. Sometimes they even do a double take and come back to have a second look – we like that!

I have posted a picture of the strawberry cushions for you to see. I found the pattern in one of our books called ‘Sew Pretty Homestyle’ by Tone Finnanger which has just the most gorgeous things to make for your home. This book is in stock now if you are feeling inspired to have a go! I have also made the small versions of the strawberry cushions and piled them inside a glass cake dome. I think they are really sweet and would work really well as a pretty pin cushion. Or just hung up in the kitchen with brown garden twine.

See you all soon. Next time I am going to tell you about our patchwork chairs…… we ♥ them !

Bye x

Our first blog ! Woo-hoo !

Lexi and the shop

That's me ! Hi !

 

So here we are! Lexi loves has joined the techy masses and now has a blog! How about that ?! 

Our new website is finished and was launched last night and i am SO pleased with how it looks. What do you all think? I’d love to know. www.lexilovesshop.com 

My aim with these little blog missives is to keep you updated with what has been happening in the shop, to show you new stock and  project ideas to whet your appetite. Some fab stock arrived today and I will take some photos and tell you all about it on one of my future posts. 

I also intend to show you what I have been up to with my window dressing. We are well-known for our(slightly out there!) shop windows, so i will show you the new ones when they are done. We’ve currently got a strawberry theme so I’ll write about that soon too. 

Well, thank you for reading, please come back and visit again soon, I promise I’ll have lots to tell you and even more to show you. 

Bye for now, L  x x x