Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Every button tells a story

One of the things I really enjoy about selling at fairs and markets is the people I meet. My working day is norm
ally a quiet and solitary one so market days are quite a contrast.

Ideas are exchanged, stories swapped and I always keep a little sketchbook to hand as inspiration often strikes as a result of something that happens on my stall that day. A number of new products and a great many products in pipeline are as a direct result of conversations with customers.

One such conversation resulted in the most wonderful gift to me.

A lady was pondering my stall and suddenly asked if I might have use of
her Mother's Button Tin. You can imagine just how very enthusiastic I was and today that lovely lady delivered those buttons.

I know that many of you reading will appreciate exactly how wonderful this gift was to me. Buttons are lovely things and given the choice between old and new I would choose old every time. Charity shops are great sources of old buttons but to receive a whole collection, well, words fail.

The vintage sweet tin is a thing of beauty in itself but this afternoon Tilly and I opened up that tin and spent a very happy hour or so going through the treasure within.

I love to think of one person collecting these buttons, a life-time's worth, within this tin a family story contained. Many of the buttons have been sorted and threaded into groups. This lady and I shared a favour for certain colour combinations.

I am rather thrilled that she looped the red, aqua and cream buttons together, what a pleasing combination. I wonder why she put them together? For her own pleasure or with thoughts of a project?

The little blue butterflies took Tilly's eye immediately.

And the dark, fancy, evening style buttons. All strung together, properly categorized. I wonder what what parties they attended, the clothes they adorned? My glamour girl suggested I sew them to a disco suit, I thought maybe disco brooches would be more appropriate.

That lady's daughter was so very generous to give me this tin of treasure, I know that she is glad to think of them being put to use and I am fairly certain that her mother, that careful saver of buttons, would be pleased to know that her collection was so appreciated. As I sew with these buttons I will think about their stories, imagine the adventures behind them and the new stories ahead.

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Anonymous Ühltje said...

Such a lovely gift. That's a Quality Street tin isn't it? We had one of those as a cookie jar, when I grew up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 5:01:00 pm  
Blogger nimble fingers and steady eyebrows said...

What a fabulous gift. Buttons are the most wonderful treasure, aren't they? I got a big tin from freecycle once, I couldn't believe my luck. I'm sure you'll make fabulous things from them. Laura x

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 5:16:00 pm  
OpenID pamalison said...

I've had a "button box" for as long as I can remember, emulating the ones I remember belonging to my mum and my grandma. Now I look forward to my grandson playing with the buttons from my button box - sorting by colour, counting them, matching designs etc. Really, everyone should have a button box.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 5:44:00 pm  
Blogger Cornflower said...

What a wonderful gift, and how lovely that the buttons are appreciated and will be put to very good use and given a new life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 6:17:00 pm  
Anonymous Annie said...

I'm green with envy ... what treasure !

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 6:43:00 pm  
Blogger millefeuilles said...

What a beautiful post! I am not envious rather moved by the generosity of the lady in question - although she clearly understood you would put them to very good use - and the way you weave a tale from this button tin.

I, like many, would like to embark on the selling at markets adventure so I was interested to see what you had to say on the subject. I have a lot to learn before I embark but I hope to approach a wonderful chateau owner (I wrote an article on her sixteenth century kitchen gardens last year) and ask her if I could sell at her arts and garden fair next october. Hopefully, if she says yes that will give me the time to get ready.

Sorry this is so longwinded. I guess your post just inspired me!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 8:44:00 pm  
Blogger Ali said...

What a gift! I think the buttons have found their way to the right owner.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:03:00 pm  
Blogger Helen Philipps said...

A button tin is like a little piece of someone's history, isn't it? Such a treat to receive one, as you have, and so lovely that you will enjoy using the buttons and dreaming of the stories. I was given a similar one, and it made me imagine so many different garments as I sorted through it's treasure...one of the best in my tin though was a green scottie dog button!
Helen x

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:19:00 pm  
Blogger Willow said...

What a generous and wonderful treasure she gave to you. I have my grandmother's button box. It's a large black tin that originally held those early movie reels. I remember opening the tin and playing for hours with those buttons!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 11:51:00 pm  
Blogger opportunityknits said...

I love your charming stories. The tin is lovely and so are the buttons. Makes me wonder when I am gone, what will happen to my buttons, or yarn or fabric :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 7:05:00 am  
Blogger Cybèle said...

That is exactly what I like about old things - they tell a story, and it makes you wonder what story that is. My mum gave me an old mixing bowl, and every time I use it I wonder what it has been used for before and by who. Much nicer than brand new things.
Jealous of your bunch of dahlias!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 8:43:00 am  
Anonymous Helen in Switzerland said...

I had to laugh...the button tin is THE EXACT SAME ONE that my mother keeps her buttons in! There are probably thousands of ladies of a certain age with their buttons in those tins - Quality Street if I remember rightly!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 1:13:00 pm  
Blogger Frances said...

There really is such generosity in that lady's giving you her mom's button collection, knowing that you would surely appreciate it.

I would imagine that you might make something with some of those buttons as a gift for that sweet lady, keeping the circle complete.

Best wishes!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 2:11:00 pm  
Blogger Pomona said...

What a lovely thing to be given - I have inherited a couple of button boxes, but that one is really special!

Pomona x

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 5:48:00 pm  
Blogger Gina said...

What a treat!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 8:20:00 pm  
OpenID frayedattheedge said...

Have a wonderful time using all those lovely buttons!

Thursday, September 22, 2011 6:46:00 pm  
Anonymous kim said...

I think you know how much I appreciate this post. What a wonderfully lovely gesture. Each time I acquire a new button jar, I wash them all and lovingly sort through them. I'm sure the original collector would be so happy that you have them.

Friday, September 23, 2011 11:07:00 pm  
Blogger Ali said...

That's so heartwarming! Not only that the lady gave you such a lovely gift but your genuine appreciation of the treasures it contains :)
So lovely to think of all the history of those buttons!

Saturday, September 24, 2011 6:59:00 pm  
Blogger nicole said...

What a treasure! I'm glad it went to such a deserving recipient. I have no doubt you will do wonderful things with them.

Saturday, September 24, 2011 7:12:00 pm  

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