Wednesday, November 12, 2008
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.