Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Buttons

This may seem to you as if it should be accompanied by the sound of the bottom of a barrel being scraped, but take comfort - only nine more days of daily November posts to go... . Today's post is about my button collection. Or at least, the ones that live in the blue bottle. I have other buttons but they're all everyday ones, suitable for sewing on to shirts, and they live in my sewing box. The ones in this post are what I consider to be my more interesting buttons.

Now, you may spot that there are a lot of little red lions among them. The lions aren't actually buttons, but - well - plastic lions. I may well have the world's largest collection of these. My dad used to have lunch every day in his company's management dining room, which served fine food and alcoholic drinks, including one drink which had a little lion attached to the bottle - to the seal, maybe? I think the drink may have been gin. (I wonder if they were offered cigars as well? And doesn't it sound like a different world?)


Anyway, my dad used to bring home the lions for me and I still have them. And since one doesn't really have an obvious place to keep lions, they live with my fancy buttons.


When I was a little girl in the Fifties we didn't have many toys (cue violins) and I used to play sometimes with my mum's buttons, which she kept in a rather strange, thick, blue plastic bottle. I have no idea where she got this bottle. Years ago she was going to get rid of it and I claimed it.

I thought that my children would play with buttons too. But they had lots of exciting toys. And anyway, Daughter 1 was - well, she claims that she was never actually a button phobic. But she didn't like them and really is still not very keen on them. (Strange!) I even bought some extra buttons such as those above,

to make my collection interesting for her, before I realised this.


Here's the bottle. It's really solid, weighty 1940s (maybe?) plastic.

Look at these beautiful mother-of-pearl ones - probably wrested from some unfortunate shellfish (sorry, shellfish). But lovely - though not if you rub them together, when they make a fingernails-on-blackboard sound.


Somehow I don't see Grandson as a potential button aficionado. But you never know.











19 comments:

Harriet said...

I love button boxes - they are full of individual delights and memories. Every button box is different. I still cut buttons off worn out shirts and put them away...but I can't remember the last time I actually sewed a button on! I think I get the same pleasure from the modern bead shops.

Jennifer said...

Buttons! Those mother-of-pearl buttons are gorgeous. I have my own button collection, and my mother's, and my mother-in-law's, and my grandmother's which I remember playing with as a child......but I find I still buy buttons if I need them for a sewing project.

Dartford Warbler said...

Each one of those old buttons has a story to tell. I love button collections and have my mothers and my mother-in-law`s tins. There are buttons from the coats and cardigans that Mum wore when I was a child. Buttons from school blazers.....

Ali Honey said...

I love buttons and have a collection! My delight in them started when I was very young. My Maternal Grandmother had a lovely old Queen Anne Chocolate box full...so the buttons always smelled very yummy too. Long live button!

fifi said...

oh my my, I thought I was the only button phobic person in the universe. Buttons give me the TOTAL creeps. Just thinking of the button jar gives me shivers.

Only yesterday I was feeling really embarrassed for the doctors receptionist because she had these awful large buttons on her dress, they disturbed me.
LOL!

herhimnbryn said...

I now have pearl button envy!

jkhenson said...

I have always loved buttons, as well, and saw many in your collection that inspired my crafty side. :) Interesting about the red lions! I used to have our girls sort buttons in egg cartons. They would sort by color, size, etc. It was fun for both of us! :)

The Mof said...

I also love button boxes - so many memories. Being the 3rd daughter I did not inherit my mother's box but remember many happy hours playing and sorting. Where else did you learn maths and colours before going to school?
In my 44 years of marriage I have managed to accumulate two large boxes of buttons.

Your mother of pearl ones are to die for!

A button phobia? How could there be such a thing!!

K said...

Despite my distaste for buttons, I do remember playing with these once or twice. I don't think I did more than sort them thematically into piles.

Molly said...

Oh dear Isabelle....This is what happens when one foolishly commits to blogging every day for a month. One finds one's self blogging about buttons. I'm starting a new movement---NaBloWheneverYouDamnWellFeelLikeItMo. So far so good.

Though my mother DID have a large jar, full of buttons, which she kept in the kitchen cupboard. It must be in the DNA....I never meant to keep a button jar, but now, in my dotage, I find I have not one, but several jars whose job is to hold buttons. And I'm very particular about which buttons go in which jar! It's a slippery slope Isabelle. First you collect buttons, harmless enough. Then you start blogging about your collection. Before you know it,each button will be demanding it's own blog post, and while that might solve the NaBloPoMo dilemma ... it could get ugly. You might wake up one day and find yourself on the psychiatrist's couch, babbling on about buttons.

Just a gentle warning from a concerned friend!

fifi said...

There was one in my mother's jar which I was convinced was fashioned from the same substance as kidney, as in steak and kidney, which I also regarded with great dislike....oh, that jar of nastiness.
I also poked them about once or twice, when my mother gave them to me to play with.

dianne said...

i have my mother's old buttons, too ... i like buttons (except metal buttons - metal buttons smell weird) ... i don't much like sewing them onto things, but i do like to let them clatter and clink from my hands into the tin that i keep them in ... well, i SHOULD say the tin that Auntia keeps them in because she is the Keeper of Buttons now, and i have to ask her permission if i want to actually use one or ten....

i have a son who doesn't like buttons at all - when he was little he refused to wear anything with buttons ... but he liked snaps and zippers, so he was fully clothed most of the time...

Mac n' Janet said...

I love buttons, I have my Mother-in-law's collection and I've added to it. When I'm upstairs and supposed to be sewing I often find myself sorting buttons instead, and I like to take a handful and let them slide through my fingers, weird , yeah I know.

Lesley said...

I quite like buttons but I'm more taken (transported actually) by the idea of having lunch in the management dining room and drinking a gin and tonic before or after one's meal.....aaaah, that would be bliss. Now that I work in what amounts to a call centre (the Council's new offices) such unimaginable luxury and civilisation can only be dreamed of. Thanks for giving me pause to dream....

besomom said...

I enjoyed this post quite a bit! These types of posts are why I read blogs. I find detailed glimpses into the lives of others quite fascinating.

Those red lions have a great story behind them. Make sure your children know where they came from!

Gina E. said...

Hi Isabelle, I have greatly enjoyed reading your post and the comments that followed! I have several plastic tubs full of buttons, each tub for a different colour. Apart from the occasional repair job on our clothing, I keep them for use in my various craft projects. Other than that, I don't really have an emotional attachment to buttons!

Lucy said...

Buttons are a great subject!

That bottle reminds me a bit of the ones people had their drinks in when we had pack lunches on school trips. They probably released stacks of dioxins, hormone receptor triggers and heaven knows what other nasties into our orange squash.

My dad was a bit button-phobic. I gather it's a fairly common one. I always loved them though.

Thimbleanna said...

What a fun post Isabelle! It looks like you have a wonderful button collection -- you lucky girl. Perhaps you need buttons from all the continents from which your readers hail? Love those Mother of Pearl buttons!

DangAndBlast! said...

There's a specific type of wine (Concha y Toro?) that comes with a little white plastic bull on the neck. A friend has collected them for years - she uses them to hang on her Christmas tree!