Saturday, November 1, 2008

Buttons Galore

Yesterday I went to an estate sale and made a find. There was a box, about 12x8x3, full of buttons. It was hard to get past the top level of buttons to see what was really in there because the box was so full and many of the buttons were still on cards obstructing the view of the others. I couldn't see a price and so took the box to the gal in charge and she unburied the price tag - a whopping $10. Well, the buttons looked a little less than promising, but I thought "there might be little jewels hidden underneath all of that" and pull out my wallet, secretly wondering if I was throwing away my money, but also hoping there would be something redeeming in the box to make it worth it.
Well, it was a couple of hours before I got it home and started to sort through it. I like to sort buttons mostly by color, but also have a spot for buttons made of shell and buttons that are uniquely shaped. At the very end I pull out my favorites - buttons I know I'll use on a quilt - the plan already laid in my mind. When I finished sorting my fingers were covered in grime (in fact I had washed them several times in the process) and I didn't want to think what was all over those buttons! I decided then and there to wash them by color group. Each group required fresh water because the water had turned brown from the years of dust that had accumulated. I didn't realize how dirty they were until I saw them clean! Wow - there was more there than originally met the eye.
I laid them out (by color of course) on paper towels in my kitchen. It's funny how I agonized over the sorting. I had tons of white buttons. Many were shell and went in the shell pile, but the rest I sorted into two groups. One was the "has some potential" and if there is something, even if remotely interesting about it, it went in that pile. It might be that it had larger button holes, or was very small - something I like to use on a QC block - it seems as though I didn't want any button to go into the last pile. The "last pile" was where the absolutely ordinary white buttons went. The whole process took a couple of hours.
One thing I am sure of and that is that I certainly doubled my button supply in one day -- what surely took this woman her lifetime to accumulate. She can know that I will lovingly take care of her buttons. I was lucky enough to find several lovely abalone shell buttons without buttonholes (perfect for painting on Gerry). Also, I love all glass buttons and I found several of these. There were also some lovely black buttons – just right for my black QC quilt that lives in the back corner of my mind! And there were many uniquely designed or shaped buttons that move the imagination!










These are not even all the buttons and the pictures don't do them justice! An idea came to me as I admired my new stock --how many buttons do I typically use on a quilt block? Not very many! So I then considered how many buttons I'd have to use and blocks I'd have to make to use all of my buttons -- I guess I'd better get busy!!!! I do so like to look at them though - they are very inspiring to me. One thing about crazy quilting is that the more embellishments you buy the more time you have to spend sorting -- a part of crazy quilting I apparently relish since I keep buying embellishments! Well, whenever I think of how many buttons I have, I've decided to think of Laurie's (who I met at CQ International retreat in CO) beads so I can feel better. You cannot imagine a stock of beads large enough that is Lauries supply!! (Poor gal hardly knows me and I pick on her so!) Ahhh - if only I had the beads Laurie has!

8 comments:

Gerry Krueger said...

I immediately notice the ones suitable to paint. But I'm also a buttonholic I too hate the "last pile". Great find... I'm spending the weekend sorting lace in about the same way.....all over the place....

Gerry K.

Lauri said...

Hi Connie
That wasn't even all my beads!! I left a couple of boxes at home. What can I say I havve an obsessive compulsive thing going. Good job on doubling your stash:)
Lauri

kerrykatiecakeskeb43 said...

Way to go, Connie! You can never have too many buttons, I say!
Hugs,
Kerry

Cathy K said...

Connie, I think you did good. That's a heck of a lot of beads! Some are downright awesome! WTG! Hugs, Cathy

quiltlion said...

Connie, WOW! You wont want for buttons in the future will you? Lyn G

Karen said...

I too love buttons and you had a good day with your latest find! Congratulations - don't you just love playing in the button box?

Susan said...

What a fabulous find! Have you seen the Button Box cq blocks that Sharon Boggon made? And Jo in New Zealand is making one now. What fun!

Barbara Gordon said...

Some really beautiful finds..! Love the lamp shade especially. Don't find things like that around here...