Friday, February 26, 2010

make do and mend

I have this friend who is very good at finding treasures.  All manner of curios have passed through his hands over the years, and occasionally one is gifted to me.  Perhaps you have a friend like this, or you have this strange ability?  Once, he found a vintage suitcase on the side of the highway.  Upon opening it, he saw its lonesome content: a taxidermied baby gator, very dusty and old.

Last fall, he found a rusty red tin of buttons and gave them to me.  The tin appeared to contain a lifetime of buttons, none of them newer than the 1960s I think.  (Is there a button-dating resource?  I'd like to know.)  One night I sat down and separated the buttons into shank and flat jars:  


Digging through the sediment, I found many striking old gems.  Buttons today just don't measure up!  I also discovered button tins are full of non-button things, such as belt buckles, bra backs, and beads.  If you collect buttons, for the sake of the next generation, please keep your miscellany separate!  The remnants:

I like the feeling of viewing a person's history (or a family's history) through the lens of a button collection.  There are matching sets apparently cut from a garment, and covered buttons slowly disintegrating.  I found several dozen clear flat buttons designed for utility's sake. Probably a third had been salvaged from clothing--the thread was still attached.  This collection was a hard-times response: make do and mend.  Today, maybe it'd be considered hoarding.  It doesn't appear the collector wasted a thing, and I hope to do her thriftiness justice over the years.  I will never, ever need to buy another button in all my years! 

Here's the best part!  My three favorite non-button finds, two bullets and a lapel pin named Don:

Another gift, found by said friend and given to my other half, guards our living room.  I will let you decide whether it is treasure or something else:


  1. If you can guess what is in this suitcase, you don't have to lick what is in this suitcase...

  2. ...just discovered your your sewing projects and fabric choices...very nice!

  3. I feel the same way about sorting through someone else's old stuff. You wonder about the history of it all. And, you're right, they certainly don't make buttons the way the used to.

    As far as your husband's "treasure," it is definitely something else to me. LOL


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