32. How to Make a Trinket Dish

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

This episode is subtitled: ‘A little kindness goes a long way…’

A few kind words is what I should have had for Caitlin last week. I felt guilty for not having the patience to have a proper conversation with that defiant six-year-old, so since then I’ve been consciously trying to do kind things every day.

I started at an easy place – my next-door neighbour, Lily. Whenever I can, I pick her up for the Companions session at Teacups so she can have a cup of tea and a piece of cake with other people who are looking for a bit of company. But I don’t spend enough time with her myself; so I made a point of popping round on Monday evening and taking her some flowers from Tulips that didn’t have a long enough shelf life for me to sell. She was delighted.

On Tuesday I did something big that I’ve been meaning to do for ages – sign up for organ donation. How wonderful it would be if someone was able to live a healthy life because I’d given something I no longer needed. It only took about two minutes to register on the NHS organ donation website.

On Wednesday I did Lily’s shopping and on Thursday, whilst out on deliveries, I let every car out of every side street that I could. Almost all of them gave me a wave or thanked me with a flash of their hazard lights, which made it all worthwhile. Even tiny gestures really do make people feel better.

It was time to do something thoughtful for the girls on Friday and because the flower shop was fairly quiet in the afternoon I was able to let them leave a bit early. It was only a small act of kindness but the younger ones were grateful for the extra half hour to get ready to go out, and Gillian was able to stroll to the butcher and choose something special for tea.

After a hectic Saturday in the shop I headed next door into Teacups for our usual Teacups & Tulips catch-up meeting. It has normally quietened down by then but they were in the thick of a rush of customers so instead of sitting and waiting for Kim I cleared a few tables to ease the burden while Kim and the gang did the difficult stuff like making cappuccinos and cutting cake.

That left Sunday. What kind thing could I do on Sunday? I took a deep breath and rang Richard to see whether Caitlin would like to come for a walk with Blue and me. Petra answered and decided that the recent rain would have made it too muddy and dangerous.

Oh, please, I thought, how ridiculous was that? Ah well, I’d tried, (and I was secretly delighted!). So I picked up Hannah instead and we had a lovely afternoon tramping through the woods, talking about the important things in life like beetles and butterflies. And after the walk, with Blue snoozing in his basket, we had a go at something I’ve been meaning to do for ages – experiment with air- drying clay.

Blue's signatureLaura had given me a part packet of air-drying clay a while ago that Hannah didn’t seem interested in any more but the prospect of getting messy with Auntie Jenny sparked her enthusiasm. I decided that a part packet of clay wasn’t really sufficient to be the salvaged element of the project so I wanted us to incorporate some old buttons from my button tin into the design. We tipped the contents of the tin onto the table and chose some that could be used in a set of three trinket dishes.

We gathered some supplies, including a rolling pin that I’d bought specifically for crafty things. Although we tried with the cookie cutters, they were a bit too small and the most successful was the set of pastry cutters that allowed us to make three different sizes. Ours were 6cm, 7cm and 8cm.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

I wanted us to get an even thickness of clay when we rolled it out so I picked up two thin CD cases and put the clay between them so the ends of the rolling pin were resting on the cases. We cut out three different sizes of circle with the straight edge of the pastry cutters.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

We embedded the buttons (firmly) in each one then dropped them into separate glass dishes to form the slightly dished shape, pushing the circle gently against the glass all over. And that was how we left them to dry out.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

The smallest came out as a very shallow dish shape (more like a plate!) and the other two were better although the indentation underneath from the buttons means they are a bit wobbly. So the result is fairly rustic.

Hannah came back on Tuesday evening to help me finish them off. First we took one of my nail files and got rid of any rough edges, which only took a few minutes.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Then we decorated them with watered-down acrylic craft paint. The reason I added water to the paint was to make it easier to wipe if off the buttons, but I also prefer the paler look because the buttons would have been a bit lost otherwise.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Here are the three painted dishes.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

I wanted to add gloss Mod Podge to them and decided that the best course of action was to cover the buttons as well. All of them started out shiny so it wouldn’t change that, plus I thought the Mod Podge would glue them in place in case the clay didn’t hold them. They do feel very firm.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

And there we are, a lovely time spent with my niece and three sweet dishes to show for it.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Make a trinket dish with air-drying clay and decorate it with old buttons.

Tips:

  • Keep the clay fairly thick so you can sink the buttons in without going right through.
  • If I did it again I’d choose larger sizes so they’d be a bit more useful.
  • If you don’t want to use buttons, you might like to follow this from Alice & Lois.

Salvaged Items:

  • Old buttons

These are great for small earrings and rings although I’m not sure what an eight-year-old will find to do with them. Any ideas? What will you do with yours?

Next week I’m hoping to give you a peek into my wardrobe. Fingers crossed my creative project goes to plan! Hope to see you then.

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