I do...I do. I have lots of buttons. I'm thinking of getting more. I've been noticing jars and boxes of buttons at yard sales and thrift stores. But I"m picky when it comes to buttons....only the unique and beautiful will do. Buttons do fascinate me. Certain collections are like a mini history lesson.
As children we would sort through our grandmother's and mother's button box (or coffee can in the case of my Mom)...arranging, rearranging, by type, by color, by size. The other day two of my nieces were over. The 10 year-old had learned to hand stitch some little pillows and the 7 year-old was trying to keep up with her big sister. I got out my button jar and let them paw through the collection and choose some to sew onto the tiny pillows. It was like watching my sister and I, nearly a lifetime ago negotiating and trading until we had just the right ones then they'd go back in the box. I let the girls take their choices home with them.
About 15 years ago after the birth of my first niece in the family, I gathered the best buttons from all the women in the family...some from my grandmothers, aunts, my mother and sisters. I had read about a Victorian tradition where friends and family of young women would give her their most beautiful buttons to make a "Button String." The young woman would thread the buttons on the string and when she got to 1000 buttons her true love was supposed to arrive.
I'm a little put off by the tradition, sweet as it may be, but I love the fact that it gives us the opportunity to pass on the special buttons in a family to the younger generations....the ones that have history and meaning. And with the buttons the stories that go with them.
As it happens there are many things one can do with buttons. Things that could actually turn into inexpensive and charming gifts.
-String unusual buttons on elastic to make a bracelet or for small children you can string them on a pipe cleaner and twist it on or off
-Glue buttons on a picture frame
-Cover the front of a vest with cool buttons to make it a one of a kind
-Decorate a pillow with buttons
-Make a small string of buttons on elastic for napkin rings
-Glue buttons on the top of basket or box and use it for a sewing box
-Glue buttons on a vase or pot to make it special
-Keep your button collection in a mason jar and leave it out to be enjoyed
Even if you do nothing with the buttons, get what you have out, run your hands through them and remember where they came from....appreciate their history.