AT A height of 145cm, or 4ft 9 inches, Maree Bowater admits that stature - or possibly lack of - has been a theme in her life.
"Especially because my twin brother is 6ft (183cm)," Maree laughs. "It's a question I've always asked my mother - why? How did that happen? Luckily we (her twin) look nothing alike."
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- Life Buttons Us Together, Stawell
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But, as the saying goes, good things come in small packages, and Maree has been busy living up to that truism.
The Stawell resident was blithely perusing a craft store 12 months ago when a block of polymer clay - used by sculptors - caught her eye. Not knowing what she'd do with it, she took it home and played.
And lo, her hands started forming and mixing miniature discs, which she has now turned into a full-time button-making business, called Life Buttons Us Together.
While Maree makes conventional round varieties, in high demand by quilters and sewers, it is her customised designs that are the show-stoppers. For Easter, Maree makes egg buttons; at Christmas there are trees and stockings - complete with teeny candy canes and presents stuffed into the top; and for Australia Day, itsy-bitsy thongs.
Next she's contemplating a line of cooking and gardening buttons - miniature shovels, flower pots and cakes.
"I can make pretty much anything people request. I'm sure there will come a time I'll find something too difficult, but that hasn't happened yet," she says.
The buttons are sold to crafters, but she also transforms them into brooches and necklaces.
With no prior knowledge of button-making, the process has been trial and error. Maree makes up to 100 in a day.Customised buttons are $6.50 each, while a pack of six standard ones is $9.
"People find it hard to believe they are handmade. But I just love doing it by hand," she says.
"I think I was born to make buttons, perhaps because they are small and miniature and so am I."