Antique Button Jewelry from The Company of Hounds
Victorian buttons are little pieces of art. I have always liked old buttons (my mom used to have a button bag which I sorted through for hours) and my fascintion with them has expanded into my company as I use antique buttons and cuff links on the garments I make to personalize them and give them a unique touch. Most of the buttons that I use are over 100 years old and one of a kind, so not only am I adding a little piece of history to my garments, but it’s also recycling in a way, which I love.
In the 1800s skilled artisans in France, Germany and England shaped and decorated buttons by hand – plating them with copper, gold or silver. Back then, buttons were much more expensive than they are now, so they were not discarded with one’s old clothes. Rather they were used over and over again, and added a touch of detail and personality to any piece.
Recently, I got a hold of some very beautiful antique metal buttons and I was contemplating how to give them the proper attention they deserve. This is what I came up with:
I handcrafted each pendant so they are all one-of-a-kind. Each piece has a little claw hook on the end that attaches to a chain. This way, you can have several different pendants and only need one chain.
The pendants are a wonderful accessory to my handcrafted garments but also look great with a simple T-shirt or blouse to give any outfit more individuality.
Depending on size, the pendants are $20 - $40 and each chain is $10.
I have many different pendant designs with embossed images of flowers, animals and even children’s book characters. The pendants are absolutely adorable and you will notice a new detail on them each time you wear them.
As always, just contact me directly and I will be happy to send you a picture and help pair a pendant with the proper chain to make it personal to your style. Think outside of the box and recycle old elements to spark inspiration.
The Skippy Purse
I have to admit, lately I have been obsessed with my Attachable pouches, which I named Skippy in the meantime. I use them every morning when I go out to the barn. They're great as a treat bag when I train my horses on the ground and as an iPhone holder when I ride. Sometimes I even find myself color coordinating my pouches so they match my shirt (I know, I know ... but I am a fashion designer after all and I'm allowed to be a little eccentric now and then). They are so versatile and, since they are made out of Harris Tweed or wool fabric, I can just dust them off and they're as good as new.
So, I had another great idea. What if I take Skippy out of the barn and into town? And what if I used Bentley's old reins as a strap for a cross body bag? If that's not equestrian fashion with a twist, I don't know what is.
By the way, my Skippy purse also goes great with my Rosie Shirts.
Despite Phoebe's obvious lack of enthusiasm I love this purse and I hope you will too. Don't be shy! Contract me with comments. I can make you your own personal Skippy purse with your horse's used reins, or any other strap that you want.
Enjoy the little things in life!
The "Attachable Pouch" from The Company of Hounds
I went on a trail ride the other day and started thinking about a safe way to carry my phone on the trails. I could only think of wearing a thin vest (in 90F weather) in order to have a pocket available that would hold my phone safely. I have one of those Velcro phone holders that you can attach to your boot or arm, but they're not very practical or safe. What if you get stuck on something during the ride? Your phone is gone and you can injure yourself or scare your horse.
I realized how great it would be to have an extra little pocket to attach to my belt, almost like a fanny pack but without the extra strap around your waist. Even though a fanny pack would be great functionally, it isn't the 80s anymore and alas not in style. But what is? Harris Tweed. So, meet my new, updated version of the fanny pack that you can easily slide onto your belt and hold your belongings while on the horse, walk, or even around town.
The bigger Attachable Pouch fits a cell phone, keys, money, a pocketknife, tissues, chewing gum, treats, etc. The smaller Pouch fits a cell phone, a couple of treats and maybe another small item.
Of course, I tested the bags immediately after my first creation and found that the bigger one is also ideal as a treat pouch during training sessions (Bentley approved too), and the smaller pouch is perfect for arena riding and a short ride-out when you only want to carry your cell phone.
The Attachable Pouches are $40 each and I can make them in many different colors - to match your breeches, shirt or horse! Let me know what you think.
Love and Peace to all of you! <3
Introducing the "hounds" of In the Company of Hounds
How did I come up with the name "In the Company of Hounds"? Well, there do happen to be a lot of "hounds" in my life, but it actually came to me in a dream. One morning, I woke up and knew "In the Company of Hounds" was going to be my fashion line's name. Simple, and definitely a sign from the universe or wherever dreams come from, since I take a lot of inspiration from the sport of fox hunting.
I am an avid horseback rider and since we moved to Virginia's hunt country I have been inspired to eventually try fox hunting. As of now, I have a bunch of dressage horses and let me tell you, it's a task to make at least one of them into a decent "fox hunter" but I'll tell you more about that process some other time.
Thankfully, I won't need my own pack of foxhounds to go fox hunting, but nevertheless let's talk about the "hounds" in my life:
Oliver, the Corgi:
Oli kind of looks like a fox but without a tail. It's a good start to get my horses accustomed to the general "orangeness" of a fox. Oli also likes to play dress up and is the perfect future model for my line of dog coats, which I will introduce in the fall.
Bruno, the Australian Shepherd #1:
Shepherds, corgis, foxhounds ... they are all dogs after all, so why discriminate and only get foxhounds? Bruno knows the art of snoozing and relaxing, which resonates with me, but he is a great addition to my barn staff and does a wonderful job herding (scaring) squirrels and crows. He also thinks he can actually herd horses ... but don't tell him that the horses don't care about him at all.
Phoebe, the Australian Shepherd #2:
Phoebe is the latest addition to the team and has great potential. With only 9 weeks under her belt she already knows the ins and outs of how to successfully always look cute. "Cute" in this household gets you anywhere, even if it involves eating a shoe or stealing all of Bruno and Oliver's toys. Phoebe also brings some much needed girl-power to the barn, which our mare Stella appreciates I'm sure.
Welcome to my "In the Company of Hounds", there's never a dull moment. Especially with these three "hounds" around.
Chris lives and designs in Virginia's horse country. She writes about her new designs and her many pets who inspire her every day.