Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Love Buttons!

Last year, I rediscovered an old love.
I love buttons. Here's something I wrote soon after this rediscovery...

I’m not quite sure what it is about buttons, that makes me love them so. Perhaps it is the shape, the sound as they clink together or the feel as they trickle through outstretched fingers. Maybe it’s the multitude of possible colours and designs. I mean, who could not love something that can be shaped like a cat for a child’s jumper, or as little blue hearts all the way up the back of my wedding dress (thank you to my friend for finding them for me!).
I don’t think my love of buttons really has much to do with their proclaimed use – that of buttoning up things. That would be far too practical and boring.

I remember playing with my mother’s buttons as a child. I can see the jar in my mind. It was bright yellow plastic, tall and round. The lid was soft and flexible and you could almost see through it – but not quite. I can almost remember the smell. There’s something very nostalgic about that smell. Perhaps it came from the buttons themselves, or maybe the container, or maybe even the remnants of fabric still clinging to the occasional button. Either way, I like this memory.

On a wet, dreary afternoon, I would get out that button jar. The contents were tipped upon the table or the floor and hours were spent pouring over them as my imagination took flight. Some days, they became precious gems, bought for exorbitant sums of imaginary money. Other times they were fruit. Sometimes just a bunch of plain old buttons. Those buttons got sorted, counted, lined up, put in matching colour piles, gazed at, rubbed, clenched in small hands and eventually poured back in their jar to sit on the shelf for another day.

I recall buttons that shone and glittered. Then there were the many brown ones, and the matching pairs of animals. Some were new, left over from one of my mother’s sewing projects. Others must have been really old (at least in my child’s mind). All had a story, whether make believe or real.

I had all but forgotten about my childhood love of buttons. I mean, not being a sewer (as yet), I haven’t exactly had much use for buttons of late. And the ones of my clothing, well, they are just part of the clothing I guess.
I had forgotten…until recently.

I was looking for card making inspiration. It was somewhat lacking. I was bored with the usual designs I’d been working with over the past few years. I needed something new, something fresh. In my search, I came across some scrap book edges that had been made with a combination of paper shapes (circles, stars, hearts) set on a background of different coloured strips of card (squiggles and straight lines). And they had buttons and ribbon on them. They looked really cool – the combination of flat card with the texture of ribbon and the raised surface of buttons…just what I was looking for! This is proving to be a very poor description of what I saw. Suffice to say that I was inspired! And I must admit to quietly pulling my cellphone out of my bag in the middle of the store aisle and taking a couple of quick pics! This would have to be about the only useful purpose I have found thus far for the little camera inbuilt into my phone and I am to this day still a little shocked at my audacity.

Using that idea as a starting line, away I raced in a bent of creativity. One evening and 19 cards later, here are a few of my creations. I like to find something that works, then use a variation on that theme a few times to see what I can come up with. A number were a birthday gift for my sister-in-law, who wanted a pack of “thinking of you” cards. I bought a packet of new blue buttons, some red, green and blue ribbon and a jar of second hand buttons for the project, with the rest of the ‘ingredients’ already in my craft stash.

Boyo cooked cheese on toast for dinner at around 8pm and I only finished then because I had to clear the dining table and get ready for work the next day. I think that tells you just how happy and busily occupied I was!!!

I’m grateful really that I have found this new use for buttons. Now I can have a lovely stash of buttons and again delight in their look and feel, but also know that I’m not keeping something for the sake of just keeping it, but that it has a use – a beautiful use in fact.


MaxineD said...

looks as though i have found a new source of inspiration for gifts for you :-)!!!

Little Bit said...

And your sister-in-law LOVED those cards - most of them having been used already!

I remember many hours wiled away at Nana and Poppa's going through Nana's button jar as well!!!