Whimsy Wedding

Today we’re sharing the inspiration behind our newest [square.ology] release, Whimsy.


5 years ago on a hot day in June JABC designer, Rachel married her husband Josh. The outdoor ceremony and reception where full of red, white and blue whimsy. From vintage blue mason jars and fabric pennant garlands to bouquets of paper flowers, it was festive summer affair.

These photos were taken by Elizabeth Maxson for Where Women Create and shared originally on her blog. Enjoy!
















Now you can stitch some festive, summer-time Whimsy of your own! See the charts here.


Cross Stitch Finishing Tutorial – Bloom Bit

It’s good to be back online! After two months of working around website issues we’re finally back to share some button fun with you. Today we’re bringing you a cross stitch finishing tutorial for finishing [bloom.bit] as a fob like the one pictured on the cover of the chart. If you’re unfamiliar with the [square.ology] series, read about it here. If you are familiar with it, then read on and enjoy this step-by-step tutorial for making a fabulously-fun fob!

Bloom Bit chart


The full cross stitch finishing tutorial is shown below but you can also download the PDF here.


JABC - HOD bloom bit tutorial-1JABC - HOD bloom bit tutorial-2

JABC - HOD bloom bit tutorial-3


JABC - HOD bloom.bit tutorial-4

JABC - HOD bloom.bit tutorial-5

For more [square.ology] fun…

JABC - HOD bloom.bit tutorial-6

We’re Back Online!

It was Black Thursday—April 30th—when our website went berserk.  First the wheels fell off the Shopping Cart and then the Search Box forgot how to spell and then entire pages began to play hide-and-seek. We kept in touch with you by phone and email, taking lots of deep breaths as one fix after another led to more digital issues.




Some things that we did to stay busy while living under our digital black cloud:

  • Four Buttoneers celebrated birthdays and three celebrated graduations. And JABC marked it’s 19th anniversary! 
  • Rachel bought a new house AND had a baby. That’s right—we have another Miss Button!
  • Miss Amelia Button learned at least 75 new words, including sunshine and helicopter. She’s mastered all the hand movements to accompany Wheels on the Bus, and she is thrilled that the new baby doll at her house (Miss Anna Button) has real hair—not the molded, painted-on variety.


button babies


  • [Square.ology] releases [AHOY] and [SCARE.OLOGY] were shipped to shops, and Juicy Fruits Sliders slid in right behind. New [WHIMSY} and halloween Sliders are underway!

juicy fruit on buttons1


  • Row by Row launched in quilt shops all over North America and we shipped a boat-load of water-themed buttons to happy shops.
  • On a related note, Buttoneer Darla drilled 132,730 holes in JABC buttons and Dawn labeled and filled about 6000 little zip bags.



  • Meanwhile Cecile learned a bunch of tech-speak from the support team at our hosting company—and the first names of EVERY team member. Sadly, none of these smart-guys could figure out how masses of digital garbage could suddenly clog my site when all I did was upgrade the server to handle credit cards more safely.


We needed a real human to help.  Enter our Database Ninja—Brittany.  She’s been working round-the-clock since the end of May to fix what she called the Perfect Storm hidden behind our site.  I pictured cleaning out a closet.  Brittany pulled everything out and was amazed at how it all could have fit into a space so small.  Apparently she found over a half a million digital mismatched socks and broken tennis rackets that should have been pitched months ago.

Thanks to Brittany, storm damage is repaired, the closet is clean and the wheels are back on the shopping cart. Plus, our brand new website maintenance plan is in place.

We love our customers—we appreciate that you continued to call and email us when you couldn’t get the site to work!  To thank you for weathering the storm—we are offering free shipping on all online orders through July 8th, up to $10 value. Includes wholesale and retail orders.


A last deep breath as we put this chapter behind us,

Cecile's Signature



Cross Stitch Finishing Tutorial – The Flat Finish

Flat finishing is the fundamental finish for the [square·ology] series…so we are THRILLED to share a cross stitch finishing tutorial for the flat finish today!

Once you’ve mastered this technique, you can move on to our other complimentary finishing tutorials!

Everyone send a big THANK YOU to Cathy Habermann for writing and photographing the instructions for this tutorial. Cathy(Hands On Design) is an expert finisher AND one of the designers of [square·ology]!

The full cross stitch finishing tutorial is shown below, but you can also download the PDF here.

Happy Finishing!

Flat-Finish Tutorial

Materials & Supplies

[square.ology] stitched piece


cotton batting

Stitchery tape (double-sided acid free)

Lacing thread (pearl cotton #8

or hand quilting thread)

Sharp needles

Rotary cutter

Quilter’s ruler

Cutting mat

Box cutter

Iron & pressing surface



Measure and cut on your cutting mat:

  • With the box cutter, cut the matboard to the desired size (4 3/8”square for 4” designs, 2 1/2” square for 2” designs).
  • With the rotary cutter and quilter’s ruler, cut a matching piece of cotton batting . Cut a second smaller piece of batting if you would like a more cushioned look. Attach the first layer of batting to the matboard piece with double sided tape, lining up the cut edges.  Center the optional second piece of batting on top.
  • Press, then trim your stitched piece approximately 1 1/2” away from the stitched image of a 4” design using the rotary cutter and quilter’s ruler. Leave just 1” of linen around a 2” design.



Lace the needlework

  • Thread your needle with a long length of strong thread. Knot the thread near the end.
  • Center your stitching over the batting side of the matboard. Place face down on your work surface and begin to lace.
  • Fold the upper edge of linen down over the matboard. Anchor a knot in the top right corner of the linen at the edge of the matboard.
  • Secure the first stitch by running the needle in a scooped motion through the linen (needle in and out of linen parallel to the edge of the linen—a scoop is less than 1/4”). Scoop it through again close to the first scoop. Pull the thread tight.  Now your knot will not pull out.



  • Scoop stitch your way across the board, first on the lower linen edge folded up over the matboard, then back up to the top edge—about 1/2” between two scoops. Be careful to pull firmly, but not too tight so as to distort the linen. Knot at the far end.




  • Turn the piece over to the front to make sure that the design is still centered. Move linen around to make any adjustments.



  • Fold the two remaining edges of linen toward the back. You may need to trim away some of the excess corner linen if it appears too bulky. If so, cut away linen from the corner only—and don’t cut any closer than 1/2” from the matboard edge or the cut may pull around to the front.  The linen tends to angle in at the corners as you fold it.  Tuck it in a little as if you are wrapping a package so than the end of the folded edge is at least 1/4” in from the edge of the matboard.  This keeps the edge smooth and neat from the front if you are top-mounting the finished piece.



  • Scoop stitch back and forth to lace the two new folded sides. Sew the angled edges of the new folded sides to the sides already laced.  Knot off and run your needle through the linen about 1” away from knot and toward the center of the piece before clipping the thread.  This helps keep the thread tail from showing on the front of your work.



  • You are ready to flat-finish all of your [square.ology] stitching—to mount with double-sided stitchery tape on all sorts of fun boxes, frames, fobs and wall-hangings!   Show us what you create!



©2015, Hands On Design, Just Another Button Company™    No permission is granted to reproduce these instructions or images for commercial purposes, although shops may distribute the instruction sheet as part of a class or tutorial featuring [square.ology] or other products by Hands On Design or Just Another Button Company.  Permission for other uses must be granted individually and in writing.  The instructions and images may not be published or shared electronically by shops or individuals. Instructions and images are property of Hands On Design and Just Another Button Company.






It’s Good to Be Square!

I’m excited to share the scoop on a SMOKIN’ HOT new series today!

[square·ology] is the brainchild of Cathy Habermann, Cecile McPeak and Rachel Martin of Hands On Design and Just Another Button Company.

We got together with the idea of creating something unique and fun for the cross stitch world.

The result was a delightful collaboration of three styles, presented in a brand new– and totally fun format!

Today, I’ll share the format AND give you a peek at the first designs.

We hope you have a blast with this series!


It all starts with a square!

Let me show you how [square·ology] works!

You start with a square chart– nothing new about that!

But a [square·ology] chart is just a 1/4 of a complete cross stitch design.

It might look like this:

corner start with pivotDo you see the red dot at the bottom left corner of the chart? It’s a pivot point!

Center the pivot point on your linen and stitch the chart once.

Now hold on to your Q-Snaps as I tell you what happens next…trust me, it’s soooo much fun!


Turn & Stitch

Turn your chart 1/4 turn clockwise, keeping the pivot point in the same position. I know, it’s radical, but you can do it– and it’s the [square·ology] secret!

Stitch the chart again in this position, leaving no spaces between the lower edge of your first stitches and the upper edge of your new stitches.

 half chart with text smallDo that, without losing your cool, and you’ve completed 1/2 of the design.

[Note: in the graphic above, the colored sections have been stitched, the gray sections are the fun yet to come]


Turn & Stitch Again

I bet you can guess what comes next!

That’s right, keep the pivot point in the same spot and turn the chart another 1/4 turn clockwise.

Now stitch the chart for a third time.

You’re so smart…I know you know what it looks like now, but I’m going to show you anyway because it’s part of the fun!

 step 3 smallerNow do a little dance or jump up and down because you’re almost there and you’re having soooo much fun!

Keep the pivot point in the same spot and rotate the chart 1/4 turn clockwise one last time.

Stitch again and voila! The design is completed!

Aren’t you clever!



step 4

I hope you’ve enjoyed this demo of the [square·ology] concept!

This simple chart is only an example of how [square·ology] works. To see the first designs from the actual series keep reading!


What is Bloom?

The first [square·ology] release, Bloom, celebrates all the things we love about the warmer months of the year.

It sets the pace for all [square·ology] releases, with 3 charts that feature the turn and stitch concept. These designs are small and easy to finish, measuring 4″x4″.

[square·ology] releases will each also have a 4th chart for a 2 1/2″ square fob companion piece.


side by side

final bit1 - blurred


Are you ready for all this fun?

Look for [square·ology] in a shop near you!

Then watch for the next 2 [square·ology] releases, Ahoy and Whimsy, coming in May and July respectively.

Also you will want to check back here for finishing tips for the [square·ology] series.

Have a question about [square·ology]? Leave a comment and we will answer you!