from the button box

Hello! I’m a wee bit later than usual in posting today, as I’ve spent most of this morning busily finishing off a few projects. I’ve bound off, woven in the ends, soaked, and blocked something that I’ll (hopefully) be able to show you later in the week. And I have also been picking out some buttons which I’m hoping will provide the perfect finish for the straps of a second-hand pinafore dress that I found a few months ago on eBay.

Would you like to see inside the button box?

I think this large box may once have contained some Betty’s Christmas treats. It is now so heavily laden with buttons and fastenings that I have to ask Tom to move it around for me.

Inside there are a lot of buttons. I love handmade buttons of all kinds . . .

. . . ceramic

or glass – the set above was made by legendary British button-maker, Lionel Nichols

while this card features glass buttons of the vintage Czech type that are still fairly easy to pick up on eBay.

There are cards of buttons, some of which have already been partially used up on different projects

. . . and some whose vintage packaging I love almost as much as the buttons themselves.

When I look at some of my button sets, they seem to demand that I make something just for them.

And while many buttons carry happy memories, some prompt recollections of a kind I’d really rather forget: the square buttons above, for example, are the offending objects that bled all over the first iteration of my Carbeth Cardigan and which, for some reason, I’ve never quite managed to discard!

Like many of you, I imagine, there are several old buttons of the ‘precious’ kind in my collection, which I love to look at and handle, which originated in my mum and grandma’s button boxes. There are a few of these above, including a button whose appearance always makes me think of kippers, and one which, as I child, I referred to as the “jam sandwich.” I bought the ‘go’ buttons on a research trip to Philadelphia (I think their ‘stop’ counterparts are somewhere about) and the blue and pink button with the ladybird-like appearance was actually made by me. Some of my first forays into crafty entrepreneurship as a teenager involved making brooches, earrings, and buttons from fimo clay which I sold on to my classmates.

Some of my favourite buttons have been given to me as gifts, such as these examples from thoughtful friends, Anne and Elizabeth.

while these vintage buttons, stitched to a piece of pink card with a handwritten note, have been knocking about my collection for a decade.

The buttons were sent to me in 2010 by Jenny and Vanessa – two women I’d never met, but who like many others, were kind enough to send me a card and a wee something to wish me well after I ended up in hospital following my stroke.

I’ve decided to use these buttons to finish off the straps of my pinafore. Something nice to be reminded of when I wear it! And if you are still out there, Jenny and Vanessa, thanks so much.