Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Containing My Button Collection

Do you ever tell someone you’re collecting something and then they start collecting that item for you too? You end up receiving heartfelt gifts of stuffed bears, salt and pepper shakers, a little of this and a little of that to go with your compilation. This works nicely for a while, but after a few years, your personal collection is no longer a collection, it’s a huge mess of items gathering dust and you can no longer enjoy it because now you have way too many of the once unique items and absolutely no where to store them all.

With buttons, it seems to be a different story. When I tell someone I collect buttons, I very rarely receive a button to add to my every growing assortment. As well, there all kinds of fantastic ways to keep this menagerie in some kind of beautiful order and it never seems to grow old or even unreasonable as the collection grows and grows.
Buttons are truly unique in so many ways. They are vibrant, pastel, and shiny; they come in a huge rainbow of colors, large and small sizes and every shape imaginable. Some are highly collectible and very valuable whereas others are just distinctive, hold little value and only mean something special to you. While I’d love to take the time to get into individual buttons and collectability; I’m actually writing to tell you how I “contain” my buttons and manage to keep on collecting them year after wonderful year, button after wonderful button.

For me, buttons are magical. I love the textures, the colors, the shapes, and I love the dreamy thoughts they invoke of years gone by. A vast majority of my buttons sit in vintage containers above my computer desk. It’s here where I dream, write poetry, and catch up with so many others through emails, blogs and specialty groups on the web. Having my buttons surrounding me creates a sense of uniqueness in this room. It is here where many of my collages gather on the walls and photos of long ago relatives congregate. The vintage containers which house some of my buttons come in many shapes and sizes as well.

As you can see by the photos, a large glass butter churn and a vintage gumball machine are filled with these dreamy little items, while old glass milk jugs, mayonnaise churns and canning jars create wistful images of another era. This is how I manage to keep collecting; a button comes along, and into a jar it goes.

Sometimes, I find a special button; perhaps it is made of glass or celluloid…these I put into the antique candy container because they may hold more value and they are certainly more fragile then many others. By keeping them in a separate container, I can enjoy them more and I can share these magnificent pieces with others when they are in awe over the exceptionality of my collection.

I do have one container, a large decorative box with a pull off lid which sits at the end of my hall. It’s this box that I pull from for creating ATCs, and other arts and crafts. This box is also the button box my grandson is allowed to look through. As you can see, the box is full of all shapes and sizes and it is here where I also keep the bags in which my grandson and I can separate the buttons into the same colors as well as same type of buttons. This turns out to be a lot of fun and is a great learning experience as well.
The one thing I’ve learned as a grandma is that “Every grandma needs a button box.” A button box is amazing and hours of time just pass by with games and imagination, math and matching. It’s also a bit difficult to get the legs working again when it’s time to get up off the floor so I would recommend a few stretching breaks now and then.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my collection with you. Please share your thoughts and ideas about buttons and collecting by leaving something in the comments section of this post. I’d love to hear all about them.


Patti said...

Love your collections. They all seem to be useful.

I collected Roosters and now I have so many when we moved from CA to OR I had to sell some of them on Ebay. I love them all but enough is enough. My husband is the culprit! I finally had to tell him to stop buying Roosters for me. He had a period where he was buying on Ebay and each day I came home from work there would be another rooster!!

Maybe we should tell our loved ones as soon as we know we have enough.

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

I love buttons too! Sometimes I buy old clothing at the thrift just to harvest the beautiful buttons.

I have enjoyed your displays. Very clever to fill an old gumball machine. Now I'll be on the hunt for one as well.

Thanks for sharing your collection!


Scallywags Scribbles said...

I LOVE buttons and collecting these has been one of my passions for years. My favourite memory was my mum's old padded chocolate box of buttons. This was always brought out for us to sort through and enjoy whenever we were sick inbed.

Prim and Proper Folks said...

WOW!! That is an awesome button collection, Angelina! Thank you for sharing with me. :-) Susan

LADY JANES' EMPORIUM said... You,ve got the BUTTONS! I love your collection! You have them displayed so beautifully..could make a girl envious you know...I love your blog...and the giveaway!!! I had the Give-away posted on my blog and it has disappeared!
Hey...In all those there an EASY button for New blogger? lol

Debbie said...

I love your gumball machine filled with buttons! Thank you for sharing your button collection story with us!


Ewe and Me Creations said...

I just had to say that I love love love how your buttons are displayed! My mom had an old gum ball machine that she was trying to get rid of but I just called her to tell her about using it to keep her buttons in. She loved the idea and has decided to keep the gumball machine! lol

Thanks for sharing!

Couture de Papier said...

Wow that is the biggest collection I have ever seen! A new antique shop opened up in town and I bought a shoebox full of buttons for $5.00! Another new addiction!Thank You for commenting on my blog..maybe they disappeared for the best because I am opening a Lollishop too!

Linda said...

Wow what a collection. When my daughter was little I had a large collection of children's buttons. Very cute buttons in all shapes and colors. One day I got the idea to sew some onto a sweater as decoration. I kept sewing and sewing until the entire sweater front was covered in buttons. She wore it to school and it was a hit, everyone loved it. We still have that sweater packed away somewhere.

Tammy said...

Love the antique gumball machine. How fun! They are like candy. I have 4 jars full but I try to use them in my artwork. I do have some that I will not part with because they are special.

Anne said...

Wow! That's some collection! I love how you've used your button collection to personalize your space and lift your spirits! :-)

Joanie Hoffman said...

I love button collections! My Mom had a button tin & I had ONE when my son was little. Now I have (ahem) a few.
Have you visited ?
Happy days,

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Wow! All those lovely buttons. That button churn sure brought back memories. I used to help my mom churn butter when I was a kid.
Thanks for posting the pictures.

Jenny S said...

How fun! I agree with the collection thing!! I collect star and moons and you should see some of the well meaning but...unusual items I have gotten!! Yipes! LOVE all the buttons though!

x vInTaGe VioLeT x said...

hi i just found you over on button floozies - i love your gumball dispenser full of buttons that's great!
i don't know what it is about buttons that i love but i just can't get enough of them! I've opened an etsy shop to sell off some of my surplus buttons but it is very hard to part with them!

Melanie said...

you have more buttons than I ever imagined possible for one person to own

Neabear said...

Loved reading about the ways you contain your buttons. I use canning jars to sort them by color roughly. It is not exact yet. I never thought of it as a special collection. I rummage through them when I need buttons for a sewing project. If I don't find something that works, then I go buy some with the extras being added to the jars. If my granddaughter ever lives close to me, or me to her I will have to add a Grandma's button box. Sounds like that would be a fun way to hang out with her.

Cheryl said...

What a GREAT collection of Buttons I love them as well you can never have too many BUTTONS! Thanks for sharing.

Peace and Blessings
Cheryl..Snatch JOY

jo said...

i can totally relate to how people just start collecting items for you and it just ends up being a big mess. I used to collect vintage ashtrays and i eventually stopped i just had too many. Now i collect buttons myself and i can't seem to get enough. And when ever anyone goes overseas they bring me really unusual buttons - i just need an interesting way to store them now - like you do - i absolutely love the gumball storage idea. REALLY cool. My blog is probably a way of "storing/documenting" them. As i just love taking interesting photos of all the different kinds.