Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A bowl full of buttons

I like buttons. I find them incredibly therapeutic to play with. Like grains of sand running through your fingers. Shiny, fabric, functional, decorative, 2-hole, 4-hole, shank, chocolate - there are just so many to chose from. As a child, I would spend hours playing with my mum's button tin - my favourite was a bright blue rabbit button. My own button collection is rather small and, alas, lacks in little treasures (apart from a certain little blue rabbit...). It certainly has never been the treasure trove all mothers and grandmothers appear to have tucked away for rainy days, projects and bored children.

The other day I popped into John Lewis with my friend R to track down some suitable buttons for a bracelet. We spent some time deliberating and cogitating over colours and combinations. When we'd made our decision, we pulled out the tube. I was astonished. The buttons that we wanted were £3.95. Each! And the project wanted 12 of them. Suddenly making a present didn't seem to be the thriftiest idea after all.

So, I've been keeping an eye out for buttons in my local charity shops ever since. I popped into one of my regulars on Wednesday and spied a shelf by the counter with jars of buttons. Lots and lots of buttons! Big ones, small ones, white ones, wooden ones. I can't believe I've never spotted them before. There was no price tag - when I asked, I was told that I should pay what I felt the button I wanted was worth. Blimey. I decided to put an offer in for the whole jar. And they accepted. They kept the jar and I walked away, pleased as punch, with over 100 large buttons. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour sorting and matching, and discovering some real beauties like these.

I wonder what garment they once belonged to. You can hardly see the pattern unless they are held up to the light. So, thanks to a little thriftiness, my button collection can no longer be called small and I have lots of bits for my corsages. India Knight would be proud. Hoorah.

Now, all I need is a larger button tin...


  1. What a find! Those buttons are beautiful. I've recently started a kilner jar of buttons which is filling quite well. I think it'll be a long time before I match your new stash though.

  2. Weren't you lucky - they are such a lovely assortment!

    Have you ever read Julie Myerson's (controversial at the moment, I know) book, 'Home - the story of anyone who lived in my house'? If you haven't it's a very interesting book in which she traces the people who have lived in her late Victorian Clapham house and imagines what their lives were like. It's well worth reading.

    Anyhow, perhaps you could write your own book about the history of a button - it could prove quite fascinating!

  3. Hi there,
    Sassy site! Just want to invite you to join a new social networking's global...mainly women from Australia & USA right now but wanting more from UK, Europe & Asia...join us at Get sassy today!