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.


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.
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
Anonymous 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.
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.
Annie said…
I'm green with envy ... what treasure !
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!
Ali said…
What a gift! I think the buttons have found their way to the right owner.
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
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!
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 :)
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!
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!!
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!
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
Anonymous said…
Have a wonderful time using all those lovely buttons!
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.
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!
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.

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