Button, button, who’s got the…

As I was getting ready the other morning, I noticed a loose thread on the button of my blouse. I pulled it, and just as I realized the button was unraveling completely, it fell off into the sink and down the drain. Bye-bye button.


As it was the critical “bra-hiding” button, I had to do something and didn’t feel like changing. Time to dive into that stash of button packets I’d been saving. You know, the kind that come attached to new clothes? After some thought, I remembered where I had squirreled them away: in the small chest of drawers in the vestibule, along with more candles than I’ll likely burn in my lifetime, and a dozen or so extension cords and extra-plug thingees (really useful at Christmas!).

All I needed was a simple white button with 4 holes. What I found was a tinful of memories.

Oh, that beautiful gray sweater. A gift from my best friend from high school. I wore it to death. Loved it; loved her. (Thanks, Annie.)

And that green silk two-piece dress — so pretty. Gave up trying to fit into it and gave it away some years ago.

That navy blue button-down sweater with the crest and the fancy buttons — I wore that a lot! Very nautical.

Of course, for every button or bit of thread I could identify, there were a half-dozen I couldn’t. And after all that, I still didn’t find a perfect match for my simple white button. So an ivory one (from something 100% silk according to the tag) had to do. I’m sure no one will ever notice.

But if I ever find myself needing crochet hooks or the hard contact lenses that were my high school graduation gift that I only wore briefly Freshman year before getting a weird eye infection and giving them up — I now know where to go.

Clearly, I have a thing for buttons. I remember playing endlessly with the buttons my mother collected in a few jelly jars. She told me “they” (she, my grandmother, my aunts) used to cut the buttons off clothes before discarding them. Since I can’t imagine them ever throwing anything away, the clothes must have been threadbare and beyond salvage. It was these same jars of buttons I berated my brother for throwing away a couple years ago when we were cleaning out the “junk room” at my mother’s…the same jars I dug through piles of trash waiting on her porch for garbage day to rescue. Sure, I was afraid she might miss them — we never know what odd thing she’ll pick to fixate on — but part of me also wanted to “inherit” them someday. (Those same jars are still sitting in yet another junk room at my mother’s…it’s a sickness, no, this hoarding gene I fight and win, most times.)

I also snagged a large Necco Wafer jar of buttons my mother-in-law had slated for donation when she and my father-in-law downsized and moved a few years ago. That (no doubt highly collectible) jar is living between the armoire and radiator in the living room.

I did, however, sort through them and put aside some favorites for some still-undetermined future project — those buttons are living in the armoire. πŸ™‚

Seriously, though, clever people do such cute and creative things with buttons — embellishing sweet little pillows…dressing up lampshades…decorating picture frames. Someday I’ll do that too. Really.

In the meantime, if you feel like passing along any buttons you are physically able to live without, I’ll have a jar ready and waiting. And if you should need a button, you know who’s got it.

Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food.
~ Austin O’Malley


  1. mel said,

    Monday, July 12, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I, too, love buttons–although my collection is quite puny compared to yours… I have tried making artsy things with them. One year I sewed them onto felt to make pictures, and then I got more lazy and hot-glued a few into designs on the front of blank books to give as gifts. The hot glue works and you can “practice” your picture first on a flat surface. Try it–not hard at all and sort of like a mosaic, colorful and pretty!

    Or, just start a mending service in your town… : )

  2. mel said,

    Monday, July 12, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    OOOH, and remember in the Laura Ingalls books they made a button string for little Carrie?! You could make the button string to END all button strings!!!! Wait, there’s more: you could string all the big, bright red and gold ones and make a garland for your Christmas tree!!!!! Hey, I might do that myself!!

  3. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Love the garland idea for the tree, especially since I am really into “primitive” these days (could add little homespun bows at intervals). Forgot all about that from the Little House books. I’ve also seen people make patterns with them under the glass on coffee tables and such. They really are neat little things, and some of them are so ornate.

  4. Rege said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

  5. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Great way to start the morning! I’ll be humming Buttons and Bows all day…

  6. jewels said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 9:39 am

    You brought back memories of going through my mom’s sewing box and all the cool buttons she had. I’m sure she still has it. The hoarding gene runs in our family as well.

    At the preschool, the older kids had a sensory table filled with buttons that they could look at, sift through, or dump into plastic cups. It was a huge hit with the kids. You would find them digging through and picking up ones that they were drawn to. If I was more organized I would gather mine together for them to play with, but mine are still in the little envelopes shoved into a drawer in my bedroom! Unfortunately I have the unorganized gene too!

  7. WritingbyEar said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Jewels, now that’s a sign of the times: “sensory table.” Who knew we were improving our tactile sense playing with those buttons! (And then there was musicianship with the pots & pans…) LOL

  8. BoatDrinkBaby said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Love the quote! haha And I too love buttons! What is the connection do you think? I did once sew a bunch of my faves onto the lapel of a jacket . . . true, one person laughed at and made fun of me but I don’t care. I like it. Another fun (read “easy”) project . . . buy some wide black elastic; cut a length that would fit snugg-ish as a bracelet. Sew the ends together. Sew a bunch of buttons onto it. I have a couple of bracelets like that (some I’ve made but the original idea came from DDI Show of Hands πŸ™‚

    • Jantie said,

      Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      going there to be encouraged by how God is woknrig in other ladies lives simply visit Melanie at Only a Breath. a0I’m sure there will be tears at times, laughter at times, but always joy the deep

  9. BoatDrinkBaby said,

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

    p.s I hate it when those dang emoticons happen automatically. Was supposed to be an end paren like . . . : )

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