Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3617 Buttons

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Weak desires produce weak results, just as a small fire produces little heat.


I went to the country house this past weekend, and again was overwhelmed.  I took Hal, the little car, so I couldn't bring back much, mostly kitchen stuff, like my electric wok, a large and a small electric grill, the huge electric griddle, a few dishes.  I also brought back two large jars of buttons:

Yeah, I collect buttons.

I put a regular teacup there to show scale. The larger jar is 11 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter. There are three or four more jars about the size of the smaller one still upriver.

Looking into the larger jar:
My grandmother used to keep me busy when I was a toddler by having me sort her buttons. She had about two shoeboxes worth, in a drawer in her treadle sewing machine (the machine I learned to sew on). She'd dump the buttons out on the kitchen table and have me sort them into bowls by color. Next time, she'd want them sorted by material (wood, metal, plastic, leather, pearl, etc.). Next time by shape (round, square, animal, oval, toggle, etc.).   Next time by number of holes (one, two, four).  When I was all done, she'd pick out one button ("There it is, that's the one I was looking for.  Thank you.") and then dump all the bowls together into the drawer.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED sorting buttons.   I'd be quiet and happy for hours!  Some were so beautiful.  Every time I sorted buttons, she'd let me keep the one I liked best to add to my own collection.  Those buttons were the start of my adult collection, planning toward my own grandchild.

I think my collecting got out of hand because I was disappointed in the button pickings these days.  Gramma's buttons were so diverse.  Many shapes, many materials.  These days, you get a choice of round or round, plastic or plastic.  So I search auctions and yard sales for buttons, and have to buy a bag of fifty plain ones ($3) to get the two duck-shaped ones and the one metal one.  I never throw out old clothing without cutting off the buttons.  One of the things I like about Coldwater Creek is that they use nice buttons, and always include extras - which go straight into the jar.  I've been known to pay a dollar for a tattered vintage dress or jacket at Goodwill just for the nifty buttons on it.

Ok, so maybe I'm a hoarder?  But my collections are in categories!  And they're sorted!  And neatly stored! It's just that there's so darn many....
porcelain owls
Staffordshire dogs
stone balls
... oh dear.
I guess there's a lot of categories, too.


Becs said...

I bought a sweater at Goodwill because it had leaf-shaped buttons. I understand.

~~Silk said...

Um, Let me know when you're finished with that sweater....

rockygrace said...

I LOVED buttons when I was a kid. And I agree, they don't make 'em like they used to ...