So I bought thicker yarn, a bigger crochet hook, and decided to add a couple more buttons. This is the result.
Much better I think! The only downside is thicker yarn is more expensive and there's less in the whole spool. The scarf above is using the entire spool and I still think it could have been thicker. I used ALL double crochet stitches, and the buttons fit nicely in between. I probably won't redo this one... I'll take it!