Thursday, 8 September 2011

Grandma's Buttons

Spoiler alert- Please do not read this post if you suffer from Koumpounophobia! (button phobia)

When I was a little girl (oh so many years ago...) I used to love going round to my Grandma’s house.  One of things I’d do was to gleefully rummage in the cupboards to find her button tin...

Once found, I’d open the lid & run my fingers through the buttons.  Then I’d tip them all out on to her 1950s swirly carpet & sort them.  There were so many ways to sort; colour, size, type of material, like/don’t like, what they might have come from, how old they were...I’d imagine the clothes they’d come from & my Grandma would describe the clothes and people she remembered. 

That tin amused me for many a long rainy afternoon, the gas fire hissing in the background & the promise of potato cakes with butter for tea.

Thirty years on and the tin and all its contents are now mine.  I’ve added more buttons to them; my other Grandma’s, mine, my mother-in-law’s, boot-sale and charity shop finds. 

One rainy afternoon in a fit of nostalgia, I sorted them into colours...


Then I started to create...




I decorated lavender bags I’d made from thrifted fabrics.



I did some trading to get a ‘garden’ necklace from silverpebble.  I wanted to include a transparent flowery button from the tin and a shell given to me by my (then) tiny niece. I was particularly thrilled by the addition of a tiny pewter bee and a silver clay pomegranate.

Winter arrived, Mr TH complained about a draught under his office door, I made him a sunny yellow draught excluder to warm him and cheer him up as he hates winter. I finished off the end with buttons. Mr TH raised an eyebrow but he does seem to use it.

I had a separate pile of favourite buttons, they were the quite special, unusual, very beautiful buttons.  Another rainy afternoon arrived, it was a Sunday. There was a good film on TV, I settled down & began to sew a few buttons on to an old duvet cover.

I got a bit carried away...


It’s nearly finished but not quite.  Despite that I’ve put it on our bed.  Each time I see those buttons I remember the afternoons with Grandma & I smile.

This winter I will sew around the edges with coloured thread to pick out some of my favourite button colours.

I'm also stock piling woollen fabric and tweed to make a wintery quilt held together by tufted quilting through buttons.

A friend told me how he’d made hair bobbles for his daughter by threading colourful buttons on to thin ribbons & tying them round a pony tail band so that there were 2 strands of buttons that jangled each time she moved.  I’m planning some of these for September Niece who has long hair.

But I’ll still have lots of buttons left...
Any other ideas for creative ways to use buttons?

19 comments:

Nimblefingerssteadyeyebrows said...

you might want to have a look at this post: http://noknittedknickers.blogspot.com/2011/08/hello-geronimo.html,

One of those would be awesome!

silverpebble said...

Tiddlywinks?

The little MOP ones make great earrings - they were popular at Open Studios.

I went to Yoxford to my favourite scruffy jumbly junk shop (we must go). It was the best button haul ever. Two of the glass ones were enormous and would make ace light pulls.

Annie said...

Oh my, button love :D

A couple of posts back I featured buttons on my blog ... a kind of prelude to a project I'll blog about later. You might like the pictures :D

crafts@home said...

I adore buttons, I remember the hours spent rummaging through my Mums button tin, imagining and sorting, I now have my very own button tin, alongside my Mums, although she collected buttons from old garments, whereas I buy nearly all of mine!!!

Thrifty Household said...

Glad to hear there are some fellow button-fans out there! I've really enjoyed looking at the links to other posts about buttons. 'Button art' got me thinking, maybe my quilt was a subconscious homage to Damien Hirst's Spots?

noknittedknickers said...

What a lovely tin! We only ever rose to an old Quality Street tin in your house... C.x

Scented Sweetpeas said...

oohh buttons, how can they hold so many memories! I was recently given my parents button box and my Dad had popped some in there that used to be on my dressing gown and cardis as a child, as soon as I saw them happy memories flooded back.

Button hearts look lovely (threaded on the wire) and look really nice on a christmas tree with the lights behind them.

marigold jam said...

I use small ones in groups on my crazy patchwork and I have seen some pretty tee shirts in certain shops decorated with buttons round the neckline. I love your quilt cover and with the coloured stitching it will be even more beautiful.

Stef said...

I used to love playing in my grandmother's sewing box too! I used to think I was the only one! Great post :). If you had a long scarf, I would add a pocket on to it so you can put your keys or your hands in there in the winter. You just cut a slit about 6 inches up from the bottom on each side and sew a piece of material in the shape of a pocket onto the back of the scarf- you can then use a button to secure the flap or decorate with the buttons to make a cute, quirky and bespoke scarf!

Stef,

http://makedoandmendinthe2000s.blogspot.com/

Thrifty Household said...

Mmmm, Unfortuately I'm often playing 'hunt-the-keys', so this idea could be a good one for me...
Thank you!

Pomona said...

I just love buttons - there is a Search Press book on button jewellery which I reviewed a while back - in the 20 to make series. And I have used a few on some cushions for my daughter recently - again on my blog last week, I think. But I still have stacks of buttons!

Pomona x

CATHERINE DANIEL said...

First off - I can't believe there's actually a word for fear of buttons! Anyway, glad you haven't got it cos your makes are inspirational. Lovely blog.

Calico Kate said...

My goodness you're organised! But if they're in little bags surely you can't run your fingers through them and stir them round and round like a pudding?! I LOVE buttons and have several tins worth now, however they are not sorted into anything recognisable as organisation though I do know roughly what's where!
Love the duvet cover, but what about ironing it?!
CKx

Thrifty Household said...

Practical adult v gleeful child- it was easier to locate the required button if sorted but I do miss the 'button stir'...
Mmm, the ironing- if I was ever to make another button quilt I would leave the spaces between the buttons iron width...I didn't think of that at the time. I tried ironing it on the back but it didn't work well. I could hang it on a drying frame in the bathroom to get steamed flat by the shower?

Belinda [simple things] said...

Is there a name for the opposite of koumpounophobia? Because I think (you and) I have that.

My grandmother also had a button tin. I think my mum has it now - perhaps I need to see if I can liberate her of it.

I have a very extensive button collection, also sorted into colours over a few rainy days. Isn't it therapeutic! I did an event recently that included several workshops held on round tables, and I made some button bouquets to decorate the tables. They looked very cute, and people took them home at the end of the night.

Barbara said...

Thinking of your neice. Buttons are quite popular as decoration on children's clothes these days.

Karen S Booth said...

I am a BUTTON LOVER and this is a lovely post ~ love the photos of granny's button tin and all of those enviable buttons too. We used to do the same thing when we visited my grandmother, her tins were sources of treasure for all of us......
Karen

Cheryl@Gingerbread Crafts said...

I want to swim in buttons.

Thrifty Household said...

Oh yes! A bit like a grown up version of the Ikea ball pool...there could be blue, green, white & silvery buttons...

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