Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grandmother's Button Box

Did your mother have a button box? Mine did; maybe she still does. It was a shiny green and gold Christmas tin, filled to the top with beautiful buttons of every description. When I was a child, I spent hours sifting through it, sorting the baubles by color and size, appreciating the cheerful clatter as I scooped up handfuls and watched them fall through my open fingers.

My grandmother enjoyed crafting and sewing too. Growing up, I spent a week of every summer vacation at her house, and the two of us whiled away many happy hours embroidering felt animals and piecing quilt blocks. In her later years, though, Grandmother was diagnosed with macular degeneration; eventually, she became completely blind and unable to do the hand work she loved and gave away most of her supplies. But after she died, I put together a small basket of some of her beautiful old things.

Old lace, wooden thread spools, darning eggs, a thimble, and shell buttons.
My grandmother has been gone sixteen years now; today, inspired by this blog post and a subsequent email conversation with its author, I made some simple earrings from six matching mother-of-pearl buttons, a handful of jump rings, and a pair of sterling silver ear wires. 

Thanks to Santa! Carolina for the idea.
I plan to use the rest of Grandmother's buttons to make a necklace, a charm-style bracelet, and at least one more pair of dangly earrings.

Next, I will move to my own button box. It contains the leftovers from the long-ago days of sewing for myself and my young boys. And somewhere I have a bag of extra buttons from garments I have purchased over the years. I need to track that down and add them to the collection too.

But I have other unique items I intend to incorporate into some special jewelry pieces.

A map, sand and a seashell, and a black pearl from Tahiti.
The key to my brother Greg's house in southern Illinois.
These mementos will probably be transformed into pendants. When they are finished, I will post pictures here.

Have you ever incorporated memorabilia or family heirlooms into jewelry, crafts or home decor?


Julee J. Adams said...

I got a bunch of buttons from Mom and I love them very much. Dad bought a dress for Mom when they first started dating and it had metal "doodlebug" buttons. I have a few of them left. We need to use and display our pretty things, don't we? Celebrate them. Thanks for sharing!

Pam Asberry said...

Yes, Julee. NOTHING is for saving. :-)

Anonymous said...

My Grandmother also had a button container and jars of buttons. I loved playing in her buttons and other craft supplies. She had a huge drawer full of fun things. I can also remember her teaching me how to sew at a very young age and she let me use scrap fabric to sew my own creations. I kept a few seing supplies of hers too :)I was thinking of making a shadowbox or frame collage and hanging it on the wall for display of a few of her things and a couple pics of her :)

Pam Asberry said...

Thank you for sharing your memories, Anonymous. I love the shadow box idea. If you decide to go for it, I hope you will share a picture with me!